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Salem Survey

Salem Survey image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
Letter to the Editor
OCR Text

CorresDondence of The Courier. It is said the streets in tbe city of Phila delphia cross each other at richt anglesliUe lines on a ches board. Now section, an oïher governniental lines in the subdivisión of lands, in tlie several townships as a rule do the s-uiio tliing. But if you east your eye on the map of the township ot' Salem you wil] find thut township is an exception ti the ru'o. Instcad of the lines crossing each other likc lines on a chess board, man; of them zigzag across the town in a ver unbccoming manner. It is the purpose o this artiele, as briefly as may be, to show how this stdte of tilines came about. The original survey of the townsbip of Salem was made, or guessed at in 1816. The set tlement of the township comn.enced in 1825, and it was not long after this before the pioncurs of Sblem began to discove that thire was smuething wrong about the lines. As a matter of fact, in inany case thcy could find no lines at all. They coul( not properly lócate their lands. They Lnew not where to construct their fences, buik their houses, or plant their orchards ; an many an angry discussion and bitter quar rel took place in regard to this matter. In 1842 the contention and strife, the disquie and anxiety with respect to the lines on the part of the people of Salem had become so great that they caused a memorial to be ■ent to G ngress praying for resurvey of the township. The government pranted theii request, and a resurvey of the township was made in 1844. Tho resurvey was made by Harvey Parke, and is known as the " Parke survey," And now the wretchet condition of the original survey was more fully disclosed. Of the 60 miles of subdi visión lines returned in the original surve; as run and inarked, 24J miles were never run at all, and many that were run an niarked were exceedingly erroneous. The iulv wt9wm nl-JA HioMiprpH thp inpt (njl the township itsclf was deficiënt in land The government had cold to tho people o Salem 631 acres of land more than they ever owned in that township. To make matters worse 147 purchasers of lands ha( got in the aggregate 382 acres more than they paid for. The purchtsers of the re maining 128 tractsgot 1,01 3 acres lepsthan they paid for. Pioncers of Salem had beei led to believe that if they could on'y get a new survey earh person would, at least, ge as much land as he had paid for. Yuu maj judge their surprise then, when the new surveyor tolJ them that bis instructions re quired him 'o look up the old lines and re cstalili.h them, and only make new line where he could find no old ones. So tha the okl survey, as far as it went, grossly fraudulent, and deceptive as it was, was re established. This was a sevcre blow to the owners of d ficient tracts. Many of these owners were men of slender means, and h:i vested all, or nearly all, their available sub htanee in the purchase of these lands. I true that t-ome of them lost but Hule but otlittrs lest a large poriion of their land and in eoiue cases they lost more than one third of the land thcy bad paid for. They not only lost their land but tluy suffere' the mortification of baving it taken trom them after they had contended so long, so Mtraeg ly, and so justly for it. Hut the government hud spoken and must be obey ■■'. They khan piayed Congress for re:ief ff they lost their land they wantcd pay for it. The gdvernment then ordered Lucius Ljons, fcurvejor general, of Detroit, to pro ceed t) Salt-ni, make a personal inpection of every deficiënt traot of land, take tebti mony, and estmurte the damages sustainei by the owners. He did po, and his repor was inaiie the basis of n application to Congress for compensation. The matter wa pla'ed in the hands of Governor Woodbridge who was then United States Senator and he procured the passage of a billby the passaife of a bilí by the Senato making the necesi-ary appropriation, but that being a short te.-sion the bill was not acted on in the house and did not become a law. The cext year, Governor Felch having succeeded Governor Woodbridse in the Senate the matter was transfened to him. But Governor Felch either did not take that lc ■] interest in the matter that his predecesscr had done, or there had been a reaction in the minds of Senators on the subject for he was uimble tq procure the passage of the inTr-sary bill unless tbc people of iSa'em would be satisficd with having the original purchase money for the landB they had lost returned to them. This was doeuied at that time no just compensation and was indignantly refused. And thert the matter rests ; a stigma on the governnient for they knew the claim was a just one, not only frotu the sworn testiraony of the pcople theiutelves who had lot their land, but trom the tostiuiony of I'urke wiio made the rwsurvey, and of Lyon who es imateii tí il:iiuases ; both gentlemen the acercdited oflBcers of the governruent. Yours traly, Feb. 2. 1880.