I too read this book and found it fascinating.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Broyles" <steve.broyles(a)attbi.com>
Sent: Saturday, July 19, 2003 8:29 AM
Subject: [DMU] "Measuring America"
I've just finished reading "Measuring America", by
published by Walker Books. Anyone who likes history and who is
in how the U.S. came to be surveyed will find this to be a great read,
researched, and very informative. Linklater, who turns out to be a
Englishman who has spent a lot of time in the U.S., was fascinated by the
regularity of the public land one mile grid that he saw while flying cross
country, and wondered how it came to be. The book spends a lot of time on
the history of measurements and surveying, the English transition from the
feudal system to private land ownership, the difficulties faced by
in the wilds of America, and more.
An interesting note for Virginia researchers: in some areas of Virginia
surveys were "large", as if the surveyor used a longer
chain than normal.
According to the book an early American surveying manual said the chain
should be 22 yards (the standard length) for open land, 24 yards for
woodland, and up to 32 yards in forest. It sounds strange to us today,
a strongly entrenched idea of those times was that an acre's size
of many other things) depended on how useful the land (or thing)
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