Metes and Bounds

Oriental

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Apr 21, 2005
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I have read a LOT of deeds while researching various places in the Pines over the years. In describing the dimensions of the property, the deed will provide directions (in degrees from North or South) and distances (measured in chains and links) that are referred to as the "metes and bounds". Each segment of the property line is called a "course" and usually ends at some landmark or monument such as a tree or a stone. Often, the description provides very interesting information about historic places, roadways, watercourses, etc. For a long time, I thought that I would start a list of some of the unusual monuments described in some of these conveyances. Today I found one from an early deed that caught my eye.

. . .(4th) North seventy nine degrees East six chains and seventy five links to a crooked pine leaning toward the swamp much nawed (gnawed) by the bears called the bear tree thence (5th) . . .

others that stuck in my mind include the following:

. . . Beginning at a pine on the east side of the said branch (Tulpehawkin) a little above an old Indian cabin. . .

. . . (4) East fourteen chains and fifty links to three pine trees standing one chain and a half south west from the frog pond. . .

. . . Beginning at a pine standing on the east side of Wading River by an old Indian Batsto . . .

The last one confirmed for me that the term Batsto was indeed a general Indian name for a bathing place and not just the specific Batsto that we are all familiar with.

I would love to hear of any interesting landmarks that others have come across.
 
Apr 6, 2004
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Very cool find with the description of an Indian cabin on the Tulpehocken. I wonder if it might have been a Swedish style cabin that was built by a Lenape Indian (I imagine that the Swedes taught the natives how to build them). Perhaps, too, the Indian Cabin in the vicinity of present day Egg Harbor City lake was such a cabin. The word "Batsto" is indeed the Swedish word for a sauna. There is also a Batsto Creek in Delaware, btw.
 

Oriental

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Apr 21, 2005
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I wonder if it might have been a Swedish style cabin that was built by a Lenape Indian.

The word "Batsto" is indeed the Swedish word for a sauna. There is also a Batsto Creek in Delaware, btw.
We will probably never know if the "cabin" was traditional or influenced by the Swedes.

Perhaps the word Batsto is not of Indian origin after all.

Thanks!
 
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RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
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As a surveyor, I have seen hundreds of beginning points and calls that cannot be reestablished because of vagueness or the loss over time of the physical features that were cited.
One of the worst was a parcel on Turtle Creek Road near the Wading. If I can find it I will post it.
The deed, not the parcel. :)
 

1Jerseydevil

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Feb 14, 2009
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Property lines are somewhat permanent or established. I'm surprised that non-permanent objects are used for reference points. I understand the stones that Guy finds. I understand the concrete monuments used today. I've seen pipes driven in the ground. When the temporary landmarks are long gone, how does a surveyor know where to begin?
 

Teegate

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I have not been saving them but quickly found this one. I know the location of it but it appears to be hard to get to without crossing private property.

stove.jpg
 
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Teegate

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Property lines are somewhat permanent or established. I'm surprised that non-permanent objects are used for reference points. I understand the stones that Guy finds. I understand the concrete monuments used today. I've seen pipes driven in the ground. When the temporary landmarks are long gone, how does a surveyor know where to begin?

Most times they have other ways such as an adjacent deed or line.

I have a map of old properties showing land ownership from the mid 1700's in the middle of Wharton. I have a general idea where the places are but after years of looking at that map I still have not narrowed it down. On Saturday Jessica and I were in that area far into Wharton and not near any private property. We are walking and come upon a classic survey "three" blaze tree that was fairly recent. It could be one of the corners but I see no reason for it to be there at all. Nobody would need to survey there. I doubt the person who put it there was NOT a surveyer.


IMG_4780a.jpg
 
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RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
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.......When the temporary landmarks are long gone, how does a surveyor know where to begin?
That only comes with experience. I started surveying as a summer job in 1975 and have worked on hundreds of boundary surveys over the last 45 years. The difficulty varies with each.

One of the quickest ways to get started with a really tough metes and bounds description is to plot the configuration of the deed using the bearings and distances. Then, search the oldest available tax maps or other map sources for the area in which you are working for a parcel having a similar shape. As Guy said, having the adjoining deeds is a must. Those deeds will help rectify the angles between boundary lines, which may be in different bearing realms and help identify similarities between the problem deed calls and the adjoiners'. You can then look for markers that might have been placed in later years on common corners.
 

1Jerseydevil

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Guy
Were there other blazes? Usually painted after blazing, hunters mark drive lines for deer hunting. Blue seems to be the "latest" color but I have seen old blazes of white, red, green, and yellow. A single blaze is just marking the line, 3 blazes seem to denote the start or end. I have seen two but haven't figured that out.
 

1Jerseydevil

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Redneck350
Thanks for the info. Isn't there a keystone or something somewhere where the major lines are taken from? Haines resurveyed his property some years ago. Some of the new survey lines appear to start at the same place then angle off. Others are way off in the hundreds of feet in both the North and West directions from the old survey lines. Your job must be challenging at times.

Is there an accuracy "standard" such as inches or feet? I realize accuracy is closer in cities andr towns because there are many points to take measurements from. What about what we're talking about, vast expanses of land where you must cut survey lines?
 
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manumuskin

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That only comes with experience. I started surveying as a summer job in 1975 and have worked on hundreds of boundary surveys over the last 45 years. The difficulty varies with each.

One of the quickest ways to get started with a really tough metes and bounds description is to plot the configuration of the deed using the bearings and distances. Then, search the oldest available tax maps or other map sources for the area in which you are working for a parcel having a similar shape. As Guy said, having the adjoining deeds is a must. Those deeds will help rectify the angles between boundary lines, which may be in different bearing realms and help identify similarities between the problem deed calls and the adjoiners'. You can then look for markers that might have been placed in later years on common corners.
I have used that same tactic.Plot the shape and then try to match it to existing property lines on the shape file of properties for that area.Occasionally have had success doing that.
 

Oriental

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Apr 21, 2005
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Centuries ago individual surveyors would have their own unique way of marking trees that they used as reference points in a survey. The number of slashes, etc. helped identify which surveyor "ran the line". I will try to find it and post.
 

Oriental

Explorer
Apr 21, 2005
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One of the quickest ways to get started with a really tough metes and bounds description is to plot the configuration of the deed using the bearings and distances. Then, search the oldest available tax maps or other map sources for the area in which you are working for a parcel having a similar shape.
I do this all the time. The latest was two days ago when I was trying to determine the extent of the old Union Forge Tract. What never fails to amaze me is how many of the current property lines in the pines are relics of original surveys made in the mid-1700s. In the case of Union Forge, probably 70-80% of the original bounds are reflected in current tax maps.

Where the method fails is in a place like Wharton where countless surveys were consolidated into a larger tract. When that happens, the shapes of the early surveys contained within it disappear. When the iron era commenced in the pines, many ironmasters made "including surveys" that had the same effect.
 
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bobpbx

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Oct 25, 2002
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I do this all the time. The latest was two days ago when I was trying to determine the extent of the old Union Forge Tract.
Are you finding it near the dam at the Chatsworth lake outlet? Is most of the settlement just downstream on the west side of the river? This seems to be one of the forgotten forges.
 

Teegate

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Redneck350
Thanks for the info. Isn't there a keystone or something somewhere where the major lines are taken from? Haines resurveyed his property some years ago. Some of the new survey lines appear to start at the same place then angle off. Others are way off in the hundreds of feet in both the North and West directions from the old survey lines. Your job must be challenging at times.

Is there an accuracy "standard" such as inches or feet? I realize accuracy is closer in cities andr towns because there are many points to take measurements from. What about what we're talking about, vast expanses of land where you must cut survey lines?
Haines has quite a few rare and large stones on his property lines allowing the surveyors to easily find a place to start from.