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Government was asked to detail officers of engineers to act with said commissioners in surveying and fixing the line.
Until their reportis at hand the boundary can only be found by following the old county lines. In view of the expectation of such report at an early day, it has not been thought best to go into an examination of the old county lines.
This State was set off from Virginia on December 31, 1862. It was originally formed of those counties of Virginia which had refused to join in the secession movement. It was admitted to the Union as a separate State June 19, 1863. It originally contained the following counties: Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Monongalia, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Ohio, Pendleton, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie, Roane,Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt, Wood, Wyoming.
In 1866 it was enlarged by the two counties of Berkeley and Jefferson, transferred from Virginia. Its boundary with Virginia is made up of boundary lines of the border counties above enumerated, and can be defined only by reference to the laws by which these counties were created. In the constitution of 1872, after a recapitulation of the counties which were transferred from Virginia to West Virginia, is found the following clause defining the boundaries upon the south and west.
The State of West Virginia includes the bed, bank, and shores of the Ohio River and so much of the Big Sandy River as was formerly included in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and all territorial rights and property in and jurisdiction over the same heretofore reserved by and vested in the Commonwealth of Virginia are vested in and shall hereafter be exercised by the State of West Virginia, and such parts of the said beds, banks, and shores as lie opposite and adjoining the several counties of this State shall form parts of said several counties respectively.
(For a history of the boundaries of West Virginia, vide Pennsylvania, p. 86; Maryland, p. 89; Virginia, p. 96.)
In the year 1663 the first charter of Carolina” was granted, which, two years later, in 1665, was enlarged by the second charter of Carolina.” The following extracts from these two charters define the boundaries:
Charter of Carolina, 1663. All that territory or tract of ground, scituate, lying and being within our dominions of America, extending from the north end of the island called Lucke Island,
which lieth in the southern Virginia seas, and within six and thirty degrees of the northern latitude, and to the west as far as the south seas, and so southerly as far as the river Saint Matthias, which bordereth on the coast of Florida, and within one and thirty degrees of northern latitude, and so west in a direct line as far as the south seas aforesaid.
Charter of Carolina, 1665.
* * *
All that province, territory, or tract of land, scituate, lying or being in our dominions of America, aforesaid, extending north and eastward as far as the north end of Currituck River, or inlet, upon a strait westerly line to Wyonoke Creek, which lies within or about the degrees of thirty-six and thirty minutes, northern latitude, and so west in a direct line as far as the south seas.
This is an extension of the charter of 1663, by which its northern boundary was removed from the approximate latitude of 36° to 36° 30', on which parallel it is now approximately established. Although the exact year in which the division of the province of Carolina into the two provinces of North and South Carolina appears somewhat uncertain, I find it generally put down as 1729. The division line between the two provinces, North and South Carolina, appears to have been established by mutual agreement.
In the constitution of North Carolina of 1776 this line is defined as shown in the subjoined extract:
The property of the soil, in a free government, being one of the essential rights of the collective body of the people, it is necessary, in order to avoid future disputes, that the limits of the State should be ascertained with precision; and as the former temporary line between North and South Carolina was confirmed and extended by commissioners appointed by the legislatures of the two States, agreeable to the order of the late King George II in council, that line, and that only, should be esteemed the southern boundary of this State; that is to say, beginning on the sea side at a cedar stake, at or near the mouth of Little River (being the southern extremity of Brunswic County), and running from thence a northwest course through the boundary house, which stands in thirty-three degrees fifty-six minutes, to thirty-five degrees north latitude, and from thence a west course so far as is mentioned in the charter of King Charles II to the late proprietors of Carolina. Therefore, all the territory, seas, waters, and harbours, with their appurtenances, lying between the line above described, and the southern line of the State of Virginia, which begins on the sea shore, in thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, and from thence runs west, agreeable to the said charter of King Charles, are the right and property of the people of the State, to be held by them in sovereignty, any partial line, without the consent of the legislature of this State, at any time thereafter directed or laid out in anywise notwithstanding.
On December 2, 1789, the legislature passed an act ceding to the United States its western lands, now constituting the State of Tennes
On February 25, 1790, the deed was offered, and on April 2 of the same year it was accepted by the United States.
In the Revised Statutes the north and south boundaries of the State are claimed to be as follows: The northern boundary, the parallel of 36° 30'; the southern boundary, a line running northwest from Goat Island on the coast in latitude 33 5
56' to the parallel of 35°, and thence along that parallel to Tennessee; while the western boundary is the
Smoky Mountains. It is strange that the Revised Statutes should contain such a statement of the boundary lines when is thoroughly well known that it is incorrect, especially as regards the southern boundary. In the case of the northern boundary the intention has been from the earliest colonial times down to the present to establish a line upon the parallel of 36° 30'. This is found to be the wording of every legislative act relating to it, and the errors of this boundary are due simply to errors in surveying and location. The following brief and comprehensive sketch of the north and south boundary lines of this State, and of the various attempts made to locate them, is taken from Professor Kerr's "Geology of North Carolina,” Vol. I, page 2:
“The first and only serious attempt to ascertain the northern boundary was that made in 1728, by Col. Wm. Byrd, and others, commissioners on the part of the two colonies, acting under royal authority. From the account given by Byrd of this undertaking, it appears that they started from a point on the coast whose position they determined by observation to be in 36° 31', north latitude, and ran due west (correcting for the variation of the compass), to Nottoway River, where they made an offset of a half mile to the mouth of that stream, again running west. The line was run and marked 242 miles from the coast, to a point in Stokes County, on the upper waters of the Dan River (on Peter's Creek) the North Carolina commissioners accompanying the party only about two-thirds of the distance. Beyond this point, the line was carried some 90 miles by another joint commission of thetwo colonies in 1749; this survey, terminating at Steep Rock Creek, on the east of Stone Mountain, and near the present northwest corner of the State, was estimated to be 329 miles from the coast. In 1779 the line was taken up again at a point on Steep Rock Creek, determined by observation to be on the parallel of 36° 30' (the marks of the previous survey having disappeared entirely), and carried west to and beyond Bristol, Ten
This last is known as the Walker line, from one of the commissioners of Virginia.
These lines were run and the latitude observations taken with very imperfect instruments, and the variation of the compass was little understood, so that it was not possible to trace a parallel of latitude. The line, besides, was only marked on the trees and soon disappeared, and as the settlements were very scattered the location soon became a matter of vague tradition and presently of contention and litigation, so that in 1858, at the instance of Virginia, commissioners were appointed to relocate the line from the end of the Byrd survey westward, but for some reason they did not act. In 1870 commissioners were again appointed by Virginia and similar action asked on the part of this State; and the proposition was renewed in 1871, but ineffectually, as before. In all these numerous attempts to establish the line of division between the two colonies and States, the intention and the specific instructions have been to ascertain and mark, as the boundary of the two States, the parallel of 36° 30'. The maps published towards the end of last century by Jefferson and others give that parallel as the line, and the bill of rights of North Carolina claims that “all the territory lying between the line above described (the line between North and South Carolina) and the southern line of the State of Virginia, which begins on the seashore in 36° 30' north latitude, and from thence runs west, agreeably to the charter of King Charles, are the right and property of this State.” But it appears from the operations of the United States Coast Survey at both ends of the line that the point of beginning on Currituck Inlet, instead of being, as so constantly assumed, in latitude 36° 30', or as determined by the surveyors in 1728, 36° 31' is 36° 33' 15", and the western end (of “the Walker line,” of 1779, at Bristol, Tenn.) 36° 34' 25.5". It is stated in Byrd's Journal that the variation of the com
pass was ascertained to be a little less than 3° W. [The magnetic chart of the United States Coast Suryey would make it 3o E.) And no account is given of any subsequent correction, and if none was made at the end of the line surveyed by him the course would have been in error by nearly 3°, as the amount of variation in this State changes a. little more than 1° for every 100 miles of easting or westing. So that the northern boundary of the State as run is not only not the parallel of 36° 30' bit is:får from coincident with any parallel of latitude, and must be a succession of #curves, with their concavities northward and connected at their ends by north and south offsets.
The southern boundary between this State and South Carolina and Georgia was first established by a joint colonial commission in 1735 to 1746. The commissioners run a line from Goat Island on the coast (in latitude 33° 56' as supposed) NW. to the parallel of 35°, according to their observations, and then due west to within a few miles of the Catawba River, and here, at the old Salisbury and Charleston road, turned north along that road to the southeast corner of the Catawba Indian lands. This line, resurveyed in 1764, was afterwards (in 1772) continued along the eastern and northern boundaries of the Catawba lands to the point where the latter intersects the Catawba River; thence along and up that river to the mouth of the South Fork of the Catawba, and thence due west, as supposed, to a point near the Blue Ridge. This part of the line was resurveyed and confirmed by commissioners under acts of assembly of 1803, 1804, 1806, 1813, 1814, and 1815, and continued west to and along the Saluda Mountains and the Blue Ridge to the intersection of the “Cherokee boundary” of 1797, and thence in a direct line to the Chatooga River at its intersection with the parallel of 35°. From this point the line was run west to the Tennessee line, between this State and Georgia, in 1807, and confirmed and established by act of 1819.
The boundary between this State and Tennessee was run, according to the course designated in the act of 1789, entitled " An act for the purpose of ceding to the United States certain western lands therein described" (the State of Tennessee); that is, along the crest of the Smoky Mountains, from the Virginia line to the Cataluche River (in Haywood County), in 1799, under act of 1796. It was continued from this point to the Georgia line in 1821. The commissioners who completed this line, at the date lastmentioned, instead of following their instructions, diverged from the crest of the Smoky (Unaka) Mountains at the intersection of the Hiwassee turnpike, and run due south to the Georgia line, thereby losing for the State the valuable mining region since known as Ducktown.
And as to thesouthern boundary, the point of beginning on Goat Island is in latitude 33° 51' 37'', as shown by the coast survey, and instead of running from Goat Island northwest to latitude of 35° and thence along that parallel, it appears, from the South Carolina geographical State survey of 1821-25, that the course from the starting point is N. 47° 30' W., and instead of pursuing the parallel of 35° it turns west about 10 miles south of that line, and then on approaching the Catawba River, turns northward pursuing a zigzag line to the forks of the Catawba River, which is about 12 miles north of that parallel; and from this point to the mountains the boundary line (of 1772) runs, not west, but N. 88° W., bringing its western end about 17 miles too far north, and reaching the (supposed) parallel of 35° at a distance of about 130 miles east of the Catawba River. The loss of territory resulting from these singular deviations is probably between 500 and 1,000 square miles.
The following extract from the constitution of 1796, of Tennessee, defines the eastern boundary of that State, which is the western boundary of North Carolina, as it was intended to be run and marked:
Beginning on the extreme height of the Stone Mountain at the place where the line of Virginia intersects it in latitude thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes north;