North & South Carolina Boundary

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Article taken from "Backsights" Magazine published by Surveyors Historical Society



To Their Excellencies, The Governors: Of The State of North Carolina, The Honorable A.W. McLean; And Of The State of South Carolina, The Honorable John G. Richards:

We have the honor to report that, in accordance with your commissions to us of March 13th 1928 and April 9th 1928 respectively, we have completed the surveying and permanent marking of the line between the two States from the Atlantic Ocean to Lumber River, a distance of 43.08 miles. We have reproduced it as it was originally.

MAP: Attached to this report and made a part hereof, it is a permanent map of the line bearing our signatures. This map is drawn to a scale of 5,000 feet to the inch, and shows the topographical features of the country, the angles which the line makes with the true meridian as determined by observations on the star Polaris, and a table of distances from the North and South of the line to old blazes, corners, etc., which have from time to time been made by land owners and others to mark what they considered to be the State line after the disappearance of the original markings.

HISTORY OF LINE: A letter dated November 22nd 1785, from Major Wm. Blount to Benjamin Hawkins and others, found in N.C. "State Records". Vol. 17, Page 578, gives a clear description of the line which has just been re-established, mentioning the mouth of Little River, the Boundary House and its latitude, and the direction of the line. It further describes the line as having been "confirmed and extended by commissioners appointed by the Legislatures of the two States agreeable to the order of the late King George the Second, in Council."

The original map of this survey is on file with the N.C. Historical Commission at Raleigh and is easily identified by the above description. The map bears the date 1735.

A letter from the Board of Trade to Governor Gab Johnson, dated September 12th 1735 (Vol. 4, Page 17, N.C. Colonial Records) refers to the fact that the line between the two States has "at last been adjusted by commissioners on both sides."

There can be no doubt, therefore, that the Boundary House line of 1735 was the accepted line between the two States.

EVIDENCE OF CORRECT REPRODUCTION: The remains of the Boundary House, i.e., of the brick used in its chimney or piers, were easily found. They were pointed out to your commissioners by the late Mr. Jerry Vereen a month before his death. He was the oldest citizen in the neighborhood and was a man of good repute. This site is also well known to the local inhabitants as the site of the old Boundary House.

The original map shows this house, sometimes called the Club House, as being "two and one-half miles and forty-four poles from the sea." The sea is a very indefinite point to measure on account of tide fluctuations and changes wrought by shifting sands. Nevertheless, we have satisfactorily checked and proven by measurements the accuracy of this statement.

The location of the house was further verified by means of a photostatic copy of a chart furnished by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey prepared from a survey made in 1873. Fortunately this chart showed the position of the house with reference to the surrounding topography and to two other points on the original line. It is, therefore, attached to this report and made a part thereof.

Having proven beyond any doubt that the correct location of the house had been found, a trial line was next run and a large long leaf pine located some thirty-one miles northwest of the Boundary House which property owners said had always been observed as a State line tree, and at which certain properties cornered. This tree stood in a forest of much younger and smaller growth and towered above the other trees. It was dying of old age and forest fires, and had been freely boxed for turpentine. Only on one side was there a narrow strip of sap wood which sustained its life. It carried two sets of blazes on the surface of the dead portion of its sides. The age of these blazes could not be determined because they were in dead wood; however, one set was thought to be about thirty years old and the other possibly one hundred, but not old enough nor conclusive enough to be considered original marks. Nevertheless, it appeared that an original line tree had been found so it was cut down and sawed into blocks, and these were split up until there suddenly appeared an old blaze well inside of the tree and completely healed over without. Feeling sure that this was an original mark, there only remained the counting of the annular rings to conclusively prove it. The section of live, or sap wood which still remained, made possible the counting of these rings from the center to the outside edge.

Three hundred and forty-nine (349) rings were counted. Allowing six years, or rings, as the time required for the seedling tree to reach the height of the blaze, made the tree 355 years old when cut down. Next, 193 rings were counted in from the youngest (outside) ring to the one for the year that the blaze was cut. Subtracting 193 from the year 1928 gave 1735 as the year in which the blaze was made, which also was the year of the original survey. The tree when blazed was 162 years old.

It was therefore established beyond question that this long leaf pine was blazed by the original surveyor to mark a point in the line between the two States.

The block containing this blaze was sawed through the blaze into two parts, one for each State both clearly showing the rings. One part accompanies this report and is made part hereof. It is conclusive evidence and should be preserved as such, in the Hall of History.

Having thus identified and definitely located two points (the Boundary House and the pine), in the original line thirty-one miles apart, a line was run between them and produced southeastwardly to the seashore and northwestwardly to the Lumber River, thus re-establishing the original State line....

Submitted to Backsights by William D. Bennett, Raleigh, NC


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