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Providence, and from thence along the eastwardly side or banke of the sayd river (higher called by the name of Seacunck river), vp to the ffalls called Patuckett ffalls, being the most westwardly lyne of Plymouth Collony, and soe from the sayd ffalls, in a streight lyne, due north, until itt meete with the aforesayd line of the Massachusetts Collony; and bounded on the south by the ocean; and in particular, the lands belonging to the townes of Providence, Pawtuxet, Warwicke, Misquammacok, alias Pawcatuck, and the rest vpon the maine land in the tract aforesayd, together with Rhode Island, Blocke Island, and all the rest of the islands and banks in the Narragansett Bay and bordering vpon the coast of the tracts aforesaid (Fisher's Island only excepted),
This charter was in force until 1843, when the constitution adopted in 1842 became effective.
For a history of the northern and eastern boundaries see Massachusetts, pages 93–94. .
In 1703 substantially the present western boundary was adopted by an agreement made between the commissioners from the two colonies of Rhode Island and Connecticut, namely, “A straight line from the mouth of Ashawoga River to the southwest corner of the Warwick purchase, and thence a straight north line to Massachusetts.” This line was actually run by Rhode Island and is still known as the Dexter and Hopkins line, but Connecticut would not accept the line as thus marked. Rhode Island appealed to the King, and the agreement of 1703 was confirmed in 1726. In September, 1728, commissioners from the two colonies met and ran the line 58
In 1839 commissioners were appointed by Rhode Island and Connecticut to survey the line and erect monuments. The following described line was established:
Beginning at a rock near the mouth of Ashawoga River, where it empties into Pawcatuck River, and from said rock a straight course northerly to an ancient stone heap at the southeast corner of the town of Voluntown, and from said rock southerly in the same course with the aforesaid line, until it strikes Pawcatuck River. From the southeast corner of Voluntown a straight line to a stone heap at the southwest corner of West Greenwich ; from thence a straight line to the southwest corner of the ancient town of Warwick, and which is now a corner of the towns of Coventry and West Greenwich; from thence a straight line to the northwest corner of the town of Coventry; thence a straight line to the northeast corner of Sterling; thence a straight line to the southwest corner of Burrillville, and thence a straight line to a stone heap upon a hill in the present jurisdictional line between the States of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and at all of said corners, excepting said Warwick corner, we have erected monuments of stone, marked R. I. and C., and have also placed similar monuments on all the principal roads crossing the line, and at other suitable places.
And we have caused the ancient monument which was erected at the Warwick corner in November, 1712, to be reset and a large heap of stones to be made
For agreements of 1703 and 1728, decisions of English council, etc., see Rhode Island Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. 3, pp. 204-213, 1835.
around it. Said monument is marked with the letter C. on one side, and on the other RHODE ISLAND and the traces of other letters and figures, **
The work of these commissioners was ratified in 1846.
In 1630 the Plymouth Council made a grant of Connecticut to Robert, Earl of Warwick, its president. This grant was confirmed hy King Charles in 1631, and on March 19 of that year the earl conveyed his title to Lord Say and Seal, Lord Brooke, Sir Richard Saltonstall, and others, associated under the name of The Plymouth Company. 62
A charter was granted by Charles II to Connecticut in 1662, of which the following is an extract :
do give, grant and confirm unto the said Governor and Company, and their Successors, all that Part of Our Dominions in New England in America, bounded on the east by Narraganset River, commonly called Narraganset Bay, where the said River falleth into the sea; and on the North by the Line of the Massachusetts plantation; and on the South by the Sea; and in Longitude as the Line of the Massachusetts Colony, running from East to West, that is to say, from the said Narraganset-Bay on the East, to the South Sea on the West part, with the Islands thereunto adjoining.
Prior to this time the two colonies of Connecticut and New Haven had continued separate, but they were united under this charter, which was accepted by them April 20, 1665.64 The Duke of York having been granted a charter in 1661, by which the lands west of the Connecticut River were embraced in his jurisdiction, the question of boundary immediately arose. About this time Col. Richard Nichols, George Cartwright, Sir Robert Carr, and Samuel Maverick, had been appointed commissioners by the King and clothed with extraordinary powers to determine all controversies in the colonies. The matter was referred to them, and, after a full hearing, they determined that the southern boundary of Connecticut was the sea (Long Island Sound) and its western boundary the Mamaroneck River and a line drawn north-northwest from the head of salt water in that stream to Massachusetts. The territory south and west of these lines was declared to belong to the
L' Rhode Island acts and resolves, January, 1846, pp. 12, 13, 14.
w For an excellent historical description of the boundaries of Connecticut see Bowen, C. W., The boundary disputes of Connecticut, Boston, 1882.
61 For a historical description of this and other royal grants of the Connecticut area and of lands now in Pennsylvania and Ohio formerly claimed by Connecticut, see Western Reserve Univ. Bull., August, 1923, pp. 37-57.
62 Dwight, Theodore, jr., History of Connecticut, p. 19, New York, 1840.
63 Thorpe, F. N., op. cit., vol. 1, p. 535. For a history of the claims made by Con. necticut to a narrow strip of land called “the gore" along the 420 parallel (the south line of New York) and to the “ Western Reserve” see Report of the Regents (of New York) Boundary Commission upon the New York and Pennsylvania boundary, pp. 418 et seq., Albany, 1886.
64 Thorpe, F. N., op. cit., p. 529.
Duke of York. It was supposed that this west boundary would run about 20 miles east of the Hudson River, but it was discovered later by surveyors from Connecticut that it actually intersected the Hudson near the present site of Tarrytown.
In 1674 the Duke of York received a new charter in substantially the same terms as that of 1664. New controversies concerning jurisdiction led to a new agreement, dated November 28, 1683, between the governors of New York and Connecticut, which fixed the boundary substantially as it now exists between the two States and was sanctioned by the King. This agreement is as follows: 65
It is agreed that the bounds meares or dividend between his Roy11 Highss Territory in America and the Colony of Connecticut forever hereafter shall begin att a certain Brook or River Called Byram Brooke or River which River is between the Towns of Rye & Greenwich that is to say att the mouth of the said Brooke where it falleth into the Sound at a Point Called Lyon's Point which is the Eastward Point of Byram River, and from the said Point to goe as the said River Runeth, to the place where the Common Road or Wading place over the said River is and from the said Road or Wading place to goe North North west into the Country soe farr as will be Eight English miles from the aforesaid Lyons Point, and that a Line of twelve Miles being measured from the said Lyons Point According to the Line or Generall Course of the Sound Eastward where the said twelve miles Endeth Another line shall be Runn from the Sound Eight miles into the Country North North West and alsoe that a fourth line be Runn that is to say from the North most end of the line first menconed unto the Northmost end of the Eight mile line being the third menconed line which fowrth line with the first menconed Line shall be the bounds where they shall fall to runn. And that from the Eastward End of the fowrth menconed Line (which is to be twelve miles in Length) A Line Parralell to Hudson's River in every place twenty miles distant from Hudson's River shall be the bounds there between the said Territory or Province of New Yorke, and the said Collony of Connecticutt soe farr as Connecticutt Doth Extend Northwards that is to the South line of the Massachusetts Collony.
Only it is Provided that in case the Line from Byrams Brooke Mouth North North West Eight Miles and the line that is thence to runn twelve miles to the end of the third foremenconed line of Eight Miles Doe Diminish or take away any Land within twenty myles of Hudsons River that then soe much as is in Land Diminished of twenty miles from Hudsons River thereby shall be added out of Connecticutt bounds unto the Line aforemenconed & Paralell to Hudsons River and Twenty miles Distant from it the addition to be made the whole Length of the said Paralell line and in such breadth as will make upp Quantity for Quantity what shall be diminished as aforesaid.
A survey of the south western part of the boundary was made in 1684 and ratified by both parties. It was then decided that in accordance with the agreement a tract of land estimated at 61,440 acres should be permanently released to Connecticut by New York, in exchange for which New York should receive an equivalent area in a tract of uniform width between the Sound tract and the south line
Report of the commissioner appointed to ascertain the boundary line between States of New York and Connecticut, transmitted to the Legislature of New York Apr. 10, 1857, p. 110, Albany, 1857.
of Massachusetts, but for various reasons the survey of the equivalent lands was not made at that time.
This settlement of the boundary dispute was not satisfactory to the settlers in the tract added to New York who for the next 40 years endeavored to have the line moved west. Four sets of commissioners appointed successively for this purpose were unable to come to an agreement. A fifth set, appointed in 1725, entered into articles of agreement settling the manner of the survey, but they ran only the line bounding the tract on Long Island Sound. For some cause action was then suspended until 1731, when the commissioners of 1725 surveyed and set off the oblong or equivalent territory to New York, defining and marking its boundary, which was to remain forever the dividing line between the respective Colonies. The line ran substantially as at present and is as follows: 66
Beginning at Lyon's Point, in the mouth of a brook or river called Byram river, where it falls into Long Island sound, and runnning thence up along said river to a rock at the ancient road or wading place in said river, which rock bears north 12° 45' east, 550 rods from said point; then north 23° 45' west, 2292 rods; then east-north-east, 13 miles and 64 rods, which lines were established in the year 1725, by Francis Harrison, Cadwallader Colden, and Isaac Hicks, commissioners on the part of the then province of New York, and Jonathan Law, Samuel Eells, Roger Wolcott, John Copp, and Edmund Lewis, commissioners on the part of the then colony of Connecticut, and were run as the magnetic needle then pointed: then along an east-north-east continuation of the last-mentioned course, 134 miles, and 21 rods to a monument erected in the year 1731 by Cadwallader Colden, Gilbert Willett, Vincent Matthews, and Jacobus Bruyn, junior, commissioners on the part of said province, and Samuel Eells, Roger Wolcott, and Edmund Lewis, commissioners on the part of said colony; which said monument is at the southeast corner of a tract known and distinguished as the oblong or equivalent lands; then north 24° 30' west, until intersected by a line run by said last-mentioned commissioners, on a course south 12° 30' west, from a monument erected by them in the south bounds of Massachusetts, which monument stands in a valley in the Taghkanick mountains, 121 rods eastward from a heap of stones, in said bounds on the top or ridge of the most westerly of said mountains; then north 12° 30' east, from a monument erected by said last-mentioned commissioners at said place of intersection, and standing on the north side of a hill, southeasterly from the easternmost end of the long pond, along the aforesaid line to the aforesaid monument erected in the south bounds of Massachusetts, being the northeast corner of the oblong;
For more than a century no further controversy arose, but after 1850 questions of jurisdiction were raised, and in 1855 Connecticut made a proposition for a new survey. Several sets of commissioners were appointed; 67 but nó agreement being reached, finally, in 1860,
66 New York Stat. 1829, vol. 1, pp. 61–65; Rev. Stat. 1882, vol. 1, pp. 127–128.
67 See Report of commissioners appointed in 1856 to ascertain the boundary between the States of New York and Connecticut, Albany, 1857, which includes map and historical data.
pursuant to an act of the Legislature of New York, the line was run by the New York commissioners, Connecticut not being represented.
The first section of the act of the New York Legislature is as follows:
1. The commissioners appointed by the governor to ascertain the boundary. line between the States of New York and Connecticut are hereby empowered and directed to survey and mark, with suitable monuments, the said line between the two States as fixed by the survey of 1731.07
Twenty years later other commissioners representing the two States agreed to accept the survey of 1860, and their report which was ratified the same year, was as follows:
We agree that the boundary on the land constituting the western boundary of Connecticut and the eastern boundary of New York shall be and is as the same was defined by monuments erected by commissioners appointed by the State of New York, and completed in the year 1860, the said boundary line extending from Byram Point, formerly called Lyon's Point, on the south, to the line of the State of Massachusetts on the north. And we further agree that the boundary on the sound shall be and is as follows: Beginning at a point in the center of the channel, about 600 feet south of the extreme rocks of Byram Point, marked No. 0, on appended United States coast survey chart; thence running in a true southeast course 314 statute miles; thence in a straight line (the arc of a great circle) northeasterly (82.27 miles) to a point 4 statute miles due south of New London light-house; thence northeasterly to a point marked number one, on the annexed United States coast survey chart of Fisher's island sound, which point is on the longitude east three-quarters north, sailing course down on said map, and is about 1,000 feet northerly from the Hammock or North Dumpling lighthouse; thence following said east three-fourths north sailing course as laid down on said map easterly to a point marked number two on said map; thence southeasterly to a point marked No. 3 on said map; so far as said States are coterminous.
This agreement was confirmed by the Congress of the United States February 26, 1881.69
The line of 1860 was so poorly marked that the Legislature of New York in 1887 and the Legislature of Connecticut in 1902 ordered a resurvey, which was made in 1909–10. In that survey the line of 1860 was followed as closely as possible. Where old boundary stones of suitable size were found they were reset in concrete bases, and about 100 new ones were added, made of cut granite 12 by 12 inches by 9 or 10 feet, set in concrete bases 4 by 4 feet in section and 5 or 6 feet deep. (See p. 6.) This survey was approved by the State legislatures in 1913 and formally ratified by congressional
eta See Report of the commissioners to ascertain and settle the boundary line between the States of New York and Connecticut, Feb. 8, 1861, in which will also be found a complete account of this controversy.
es New York Rev. Stat., 1882, vol. 1, p. 136. e 21 Stat. L. 351.