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line three miles east, making the same allowance for the variation aforesaid, and at the extremity. whereof, and near the sea, we erected a monument of stones, and from thence ran a line north two degrees and a quarter east, one thousand and nine "hundred and forty-one rods, till it also met the termination of the said line, drawn from the first mentioned cove as aforesaid, making proper boundaries in the course of said line.
The aforegoing is a just account of our proceedings, and report the same accordingly.
J. HONEYMAN, JR.
GEORGE BROWN. And it is voted and resolved, That the said report be, and it is hereby, accepted by this assembly.
In the year 1748 the legislature of Rhode Island appointed commissioners to continue the line to the Connecticut corner, recognizing the Woodward and Saffrey stake as the place of beginning. Massachusetts failed to appoint commissioners, whereupon the Rhode Island commissioners proceeded to complete the running of the line. In their report they say,
That we not being able to find any stake or other monument which we could imagine set up by Woodward and Saffrey, but considering that the place thereof was described in the agreement mentioned in our commission, by certain invariable marks, we did proceed as followeth, namely: We found a place where Charles River formed a large current southerly, which place is known to many by the name of Pappatalish Pond, which we took to be the southernmost part of said river, from the southernmost part of which we measured three English miles south, which three Eng'ich miles did terminate upon a plain in a township called Wrentham. (See Howard's Reports S. C., vol. 4, page 632).
From this point they ran the line. From this time forward repeated steps were taken by Rhode Island by resolutions, and by appointment of commissioners at different times to ascertain and run the line, in connection with commissioners from Massachusetts; commissioners from both colonies met more than once, but they failed to agree upon a boundary in place of that established under the agreements of 1711-'18. Rhode Island alleged a mistake in her commissioners, in the place of beginning (that is, on Wrentham Plain), as the ground of these efforts.
This controversy, however, embraced the entire line from the State of Connecticut to the Atlantic Ocean. Massachusetts asserted that an encroachment had been made on her territory from Burnt Swamp Corner to the ocean by Rhode Island, who, on her part, claimed that the jurisdictional line of Massachusetts from said corner to the Connecticut line was, in its whole extent, upon the territory of Rhode Island. The legislatures of the respective States having failed, after repeated effort, to adjust the controversy, Rhode Island in 1832, by a bill in equity, brought the subject of the northern boundary, from Burnt Swamp Corner to the Connecticut line, before the Supreme
Bull. 226-04- -7
Court of the United States, which in 1846 decided that the jurisdictional line claimed by Massachusetts was the legal boundary of the two States between these points.
While this suit was pending an attempt was made to settle the long controversy by an amicable adjustment of the whole line from Connecticut to the ocean. Commissioners were appointed by both States in 1814 to ascertain and mark the true boundary from Pawtucket Falls to Bullock Neck. In 1845 the same commissioners were authorized to ascertain the line from Burnt Swamp Corner to the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1846, the equity suit having been decided, they were authorized “to erect suitable monuments at the prominent angles of the line, from the Atlantic Ocean to the northwest corner of Rhode Island, and at such other points on the line as may subserve the public convenience.” A majority of said commissioners agreed upon a line and erected monuments in 1847.
The report of the joint commission was dated Boston, January 13, 1848.
The line so agreed upon as a boundary between Burnt Swamp Corner and the northwest corner of Rhode Island was a straight line, varying a little from the irregular jurisdictional line established by the decision of the Supreme Court, and is described in the joint report of the majority of the commissioners of January, 1848, as follows, viz:
Begin at the northwest corner of Rhode Island, on Connecticut line, in latitude 42° 00'29" north, and longitude 71° 48' 18" west of Greenwich, thence easterly in a straight line 21.512 miles to Burnt Swamp Corner, in Wrentham, being in latitude 42° 01' 08" and longitude 71° 23' 13".
Upon this line were placed twenty-seven monuments, exclusive of that at Burnt Swamp Corner.
The general assembly of Rhode Island, in May, 1847, ratified and established the line from the ocean to the Connecticut line, “to take effect and become binding whenever the said agreement and boundary line should be ratified by the State of Massachusetts.”. The legislature of Massachusetts did not ratify the said agreement and boundary line, but proposed another joint commission, which was agreed to.
The attempt made by these commissioners to settle the line having failed, Massachusetts commenced a bill in equity before the Supreme Court of the United States for an adjudication of the boundary line from Burnt Swamp Corner to the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1860 both States agreed upon a conventional line, and asked that a decree of the United States Supreme Court should confirm the same, which prayer was granted, and the line was thus finally established by a decree rendered in the December term, 1861, which is as follows, viz:
Beginning at Burnt Swamp Corner (so called), in Wrentham, in latitude 42° 01' 08'' north, longitude 71° 23' 13" west of Greenwich, being the northeasterly corner of Rhode Island.
Thence in a straight line to the center of a stone monument in the division line, between Attleborough and Pawtucket, on the easterly bank of the Blackstone River, being in latitude 41° 53' 36" north, longitude 71° 23' 14" west.
Thence easterly, by the northerly line of the town of Pawtucket, to a point where said line intersects the highest water mark on the easterly side of Farmer's or Seven Mile River, which point is shown on accompanying sheet marked “A,” and designated as “Bound No. 1,” being in latitude 41° 53' 54'' north, longitude 71° 20' 40" west.
From Bound No. 1 the line runs southerly, following the highest water mark on the easterly side of Farmer's or Seven Mile River, as designated in said sheet marked “A,” to its junction with the highest water mark on the southerly and easterly side of Ten Mile River, at a point designated as “Bound No. 3."
From Bound No. 3 the line runs southerly, following the highest water mark on the southerly and easterly side of said Ten Mile River, as shown on sheet marked "A," to a point designated as “Bound No. 13,” said last point being at the most southerly bend of Ten Mile River in said line of highest water mark.
The line of “highest water mark” as shown on Sheet A is defined by offsets at right angles to straight lines shown on said plan in blue ink, from Bound No. 1, and passing through points designated as bounds numbered 2 to 13, inclusive.
From Bound No. 13 the line runs southeasterly, being a straight line to the center of a stone pier in the middle of Runnin's River, on the north side of the road leading by Luther's store.
Thence through the center or middle of said Runnin's River as the same is at low water at a point when such line intersects the dividing line between Barrington and Seekonk, being in latitude 41° 46' 28, longitude 71° 19' 23".
Thence northeasterly, following the dividing line between Barrington and Seekonk, to a point at the northerly extremity of the dividing line between Barrington and Swanzey, in latitude 41° 36' 34'', longitude 71° 19' 30''.
Thence in a straight line southeasterly to the center of a copper bolt in King's Rock, so called and well known, near an ancient monument on said King's Rock, being on the west side of the road leading from Warren to Swanzey. This point is in latitude 41° 45/ 22.98, longitude 71° 16' 35/1.75.
From King's Rock the line follows the dividing line between Warren and Swanzey to Mount Hope Bay, running in a stright line southeasterly to a point on the Birch Swamp Farm, in latitude 41° 45' 08'', longitude 71° 15' 58'.5.
Thence in a straight line to Mount Hope Bay, passing through the center of a copper bolt in a bowlder, in line of extreme high water at Toweset, to low-water line of said bay. This bolt is in latitude 41° 42' 45''.27, longitude 71° 13' 54'' 70.
From Toweset the line runs southeasterly, crossing Mount Hope Bay, to the westerly end of line dividing Fall River and Tiverton, where the same intersects low-water line of said Mount Hope Bay.
Thence easterly, following said dividing line between Fall River and Tiverton, passing through the middle of a town way on the north side of farm belonging to John Chase, and through the southerly end of Cool's Pond, in a line passing through the middle of a highway eight rods wide.
Thence running southerly through the center of said eight-rod highway to a point in line with the stone wall on northerly side of farm of Edmund Estes. This wall is easterly of the Stafford road (so called).
Thence running easterly in line with said wall to a point in line of highest watermark on the westerly shore of South Watuppa Pond, which point is shown on accompanying sheet marked “B” and designated as “Bound A.”
From Bound A the line runs southerly, following the highest watermark on westerly side of South Watuppa Pond, and of Sawdy Pond, and of the streams connecting said ponds, as shown on said sheet marked “B,” to a point designated as
"Bound F,” said last point being at the most southerly end of Sawdy Pond in said line of highest water mark.
The line of “highest watermark” as shown on sheet B is defined by offsets at right angles to straight lines from Bound A, and passing respectively through points designated “B” to “F,” inclusive, and on the South Watuppa Pond is also the line that would be traced by a level thirteen inches above a bolt in stonework on westerly side of waterway in gatehouse of reservoir dam of Watuppa Reservoir Company, Quequechan River. On Sawdy Pond the highest watermark is the line that would be traced by the level of an iron bolt driven in west side of flume to sawmill at northerly end of said Sawdy Pond.
From Bound F the line runs southeasterly, being a straight line to the monument known as “Joe Sanford's bound,” being the center of a copper bolt in stone on land of Joseph Tripp, and is in latitude 41° 35' 37", longitude 71° 08' 13".
From Joe Sanford's bound the line runs southerly, following the westerly line of the town of Westport to the Atlantic Ocean, passing easterly of Quicksand Pond through the center of a bound known as Peaked Rock, situated in latitude 41° 29' 58", longitude 71° 07' 34".
The first point in this line southerly of Sanford's bound is on the north side of milldam at Adamsville, 85.58 feet easterly of straight line from Sanford's to Peaked Rock.
The second is 113.94 feet easterly of said straight line, and is on the easterly side of road leading from Adamsville to the ocean.
The third is 234.48 feet east of said straight line, on the road leading to Little Compton, by Philip Simmons' house.
The whole of the line thus described is shown on a plan herewith presented, which, with sketches A and B, is made a part of this report and attested.
It will be observed that the above decree of the United States Supreme Court makes no reference to the line from Burnt Swamp Corner to the Connecticut line.
It will also be remembered (vide p. 62) that the “line of 1848,” so called, was ratified by Rhode Island and rejected by Massachusetts. In 1865 the legislature of Massachusetts took action in regard to this portion of the line, as follows, viz:
Resolved, That the boundary line between the State of Rhode Island and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, from the line of the State of Connecticut to Burnt Swamp Corner, begins at the north west corner of the State of Rhode Island on the Connecticut line, in latitude 42° 00 29'' north, and longitude 74° 48' 18" west of Greenwich, a and runs in a straight line 21 and 300 miles to Burnt Swamp Corner, in Wrentham, being in latitude 42° 1' 8" and longitude 71° 23' 13".
This is the line agreed upon by the commissioners, called the “line of 1848," ratified at the time by Rhode Island, but rejected by Massachusetts.
The tardy ratification of the line by Massachusetts was, in its turn, rejected by Rhode Island, on the ground that the then recent settlement of the eastern boundary by the decree of the Supreme Court had so changed the aspect of the controversy that she could not consent to the adoption of the line of 1848 as her northern boundary.
a This is a clerical error. “Longitude 74° 48' 18'' ” should read “longitude 71° 48' 18".” (Vide Borden's Tables, p. 64.)