Thence Up the River with the Meanders (1830 style)

April 13, 2009
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Posted By Kent McMillan on 4/12/2009 at 1:40 AM

Here's an interesting thing. The line shown below in yellow is most likely where a Central Texas surveyor reported in 1830 that he ran a meander line along a river. This reconstruction was backed in from some corners of the 1830 survey about three miles away in the upland prairie.

It looks as if the closest that the 1830 surveyor actually got to the river was about 1200 ft. In places, the meander line departs by roughly 3,800 ft.

The land closer to the river was probably as overgrown in 1830 as it is in places still today. I was wondering how the surveyor was able to run some courses up to 840 varas (2361 ft.) in length through that jungle on his traverse of the river meanders. This construction suggests the obvious explanation. He wasn't.

Of course, the call in his field notes for "up the River with the meanders thereof" extends the actual grant to the river bank (the gradient boundary) with all of its sinuosity, regardless of where he ran his meander line.

Best regards,
Kent McMillan, RPLS Austin TX

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