Public Land Rectangular Surveys Surveys have been used since the 1790s to identify public lands in the United States. The are based on principal meridians and baselines. Townships, approximately six miles square, are numbered with reference to baseline and principal meridian. Ranges are the distances and directions from baseline and meridian expressed in numbers of townships. Every four townships a new baseline is established so that orthogonal meridians can remain north oriented.
Public Land Rectangular Surveys Continued Sections in townships are numbered 1-36 within townships (usually 1 mile square). Sections are divided into quarter sections. Quarter sections are divided into 40 acre quarter-quarter sections. Fractional units of section quarters are designated as numbered lots.
Terms Section - Secs, basic unit, square tract of land one mile x one mile, 640 acres Township - T, 36 sections arranged in 6 miles x 6 miles array, 23,040 acres Range - R, assigned to township by measuring east or west of principal meridian, vertical strip of land 1 mile wide Range lines - north to south lines marking township boundaries Township lines - east to west lines marking township boundaries
Metes and Bounds They designate the boundaries of land parcels by describing lengths and directions of lines from a point of beginning (POB) or monument. Lines are described with respect to natural or artificial monuments and baselines. Line length is measured along a level plane. Directions are bearing angles with respect to the previous line.
Township Largest land designation in legal description (named in reference to principal meridian and baseline) T2N,R1E refers to Township 2 North Range 1E Used to measure east or west ranges Used to measure north or south townships
Township Continued: Townships are divided into 36 sections, 1 square mile each.
Township Continued: Each section has halves and quarters. A section contains 640 acres, - a half section contains 320 acres, - a quarter section contains 160 acres, - a half of a quarter contains 80 acres, - a quarter of a quarter contains 40 acres, etc.
Steps in Locating Property 1.Find the principal meridian and baseline that crosses. 2.Locate the state and county of the property. 3.On township map, locate the section. 4.Find the quarter within the section. 5.Find the quarter-quarter within the quarter.
Land designation systems State made land grants –Indiscriminate metes and bounds Plot is described in terms of the location of trees, streams, rocks and neighboring landowners. –Original 13 states, HI, KY, ME,TN,TX, VA Federal government-made land grants –Federal township and range system Uses surveyed system of meridians, baselines, townships, and ranges –Remaining 30 states
Tallahassee Principal Meridian/Baseline At corner of Bloxham Street and East Gaines Street
Tallahassee Principal Meridian/Baseline Top View
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