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.
Used to measure north or south townships Used to measure east or west ranges Township • Largest land designation in legal description (named in reference to principal meridian and baseline) • T2N,R1E refers to Township 2 North Range 1E
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 • Find the principal meridian and baseline that crosses. • Locate the state and county of the property. • On township map, locate the section. • Find the quarter within the section. • 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