Land surveyors, astronomers and history buffs from all across America, England and Australia will gather in Philadelphia this summer to mark the forgotten grave of early surveyor and astronomer Charles Mason.
surveyors, astronomers and history buffs from all across America, England and Australia
will gather in Philadelphia this summer to mark the forgotten grave of early
surveyor and astronomer Charles Mason. The event is part of “Surveyors Rendezvous 2013,” a large
annual gathering hosted by the Surveyors Historical Society on Aug. 28-31.
teamed with colleague Jeremiah Dixon in the 1760s to lay out the Mason-Dixon
Line, a colonial boundary that settled long disputes between Maryland,
Pennsylvania and Delaware. Decades later, after Pennsylvania outlawed slavery,
their line became the quasi-legal division between slave states and free in
pre-Civil War America.
Aug. 31, in a ceremony open to the public, Charles Mason’s burial place will
receive its first-ever grave marker – 226 years after his death – in the form
of an authentic 1766 Mason-Dixon Stone, from the historic line the two
died in 1786 and was laid to rest at Christ Church Burial Ground, in the shadow
of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. His friend Benjamin Franklin paid for the
funeral, but Franklin didn’t include a tombstone.
off the three-day symposium will be a pilgrimage to one of the most historic,
but little-known, surveying sites in America – Mason and Dixon’s “Stargazer’s
Stone.” This ancient field-stone monument, still standing in remote Chester
County after 250 years, is where the pair determined latitude and longitude
from the stars and began measuring due south with 66-foot Gunter’s Chains to
establish today’s line between Pennsylvania and Maryland.
resurveys, done using Mason and Dixon’s original field notes and journals, have
revealed that the real ‘Stargazing Spot’ was hundreds of feet south of the
historic stone. The actual position of Mason and Dixon’s 1764 astronomical
observatory has been located, and Surveyors Rendezvous 2013 will mark its exact
point with a colonial square-head iron spike and a new field-stone monument.
will also be an unveiling of a historic marker at South Street, the
southernmost edge of colonial Philadelphia. All are encouraged to participate
in these historic dedications. Additional information, including Rendezvous 2013 registration details,
will be available soon.
For more information about
the Surveyors Historical Society, visit
Surveyors Rendezvous 2013 to Mark Mason Grave
January 28, 2013