Well, Jerry, I defer to your evidently superior experience on early patents.
I confess: virtually all the patents I've plotted (and I've mostly worked
with deeds) have been after 1700. It makes you wonder, though, what these
people were thinking. Did they suppose that no one would ever care about
the boundaries of that land off in the woods? I have seen statistics,
though, to the effect that even by the time of the revolution, and
extraodinarily high % of people (maybe 90%) still lived within around 50
miles of the coast.
The population that I'm most familiar with, the Scotch-Irish who settled the
upper Valley of Virginia starting in the 1730s, by no means confined
themselves to the major water courses, although these were taken up first.
Access to markets was hardly a factor, and if it came into the picture at
all, by that time the original settlers had long since moved on farther west
anyway, pushing the frontier. These people were mostly pasturers - and land
speculators. I live in this same area today, 250 years later, and most of
this land remains essentially undeveloped, except for deforestation which
took place in the 1800s to fuel the iron furnaces, yet it was practically
all owned by the time of the Revolution. And the Scotch-Irish carried this
pattern on west into now WV, western MD and PA, TN, KY - settling on upland
tracts, or landlocked rolling country, where at least minor streams could be
expected. But these people (lets call them early western Virginians, since
most of this land fell into the VA claim area) were pretty meticulous about
including metes and bounds in all their deeds - most of them even close and
match the claimed acreage, more or less <g>!
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2007 10:14 PM
Subject: Re: [DMU] Term Miles End
Back in the 1600s especially, the surveying was rudimentary. The trees
were thick and the instruments and measuring devices were not accurate in
any sense. Almost all of the early ones had to settle on a river or big
stream to get their supplies and sell their wares. Many of the patents
just had courses "into the woods." Even later, you find earlier patents
being repatented with sizable differences in the acreage.
-------------- Original message --------------
From: "John B. Robb" <johnrobb(a)rev.net>
> Steve's miles end explanation seems very exceptional to me. It sort of
> violates the whole spirit of VA patents which is that they are custom fit
> the land (ditto for the VA reserve in OH). I certainly haven't seen
> anything like that in the upper Shenandoah Valley.
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