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Land Cruising - Prospecting:
 Introduction To Land Cruising

 Land Cruising And Prospecting

 The Compass

 Examining And Locating

 Early Surveys

 Corner Marks

 Points For Homesteaders

 Prospecting For Gold, Etc.

 Sampling Ore

 How To Locate A Claim

 Read More Articles About: Land Cruising - Prospecting

Land Cruising And Prospecting

( Originally Published Early 1900's )


The first thing for a hunter or trapper to know if he is going to do anything in this line is how to read a map, find the location of different places, counties, towns, cities, rivers, railroads, the points of the compass, etc., the top of a map being always north. The next thing is to have a good map both state and township, not the cheap advertising maps but maps procured from some party or firm with the base lines, principal meridians and scale of miles on them; township maps six miles square or fractions thereof representing the flats and surveys and general topography.

Maps of Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and the Western States can now be furnished by the writer of this book. They are photolithographic copies and cost from 50e to $1.00. If no photo-lithographic is available a tracing will be made of the township wanted in any of these states for $1.50 and up, according to the size. The maps are on a scale of two inches to the mile and are very accurate.

A wall map of the United States is three sheets, size 49x47 inches and scale 40 miles to the inch can be furnished for $1.25, also one 18x 28 inches with contours, scale 111 miles to the inch for 80c.

These are the proper maps for a cruiser as they are very accurate and show the hills, mountains and valleys, rivers and are very plain. In sending for a township map you must give town-ship and range number which will be found on the state maps.

We will assume we have a state map of Wisconsin. The first thing to do is to find the base line and principal meridians. All reliable maps have these. Principal meridians are starting points for all surveys and run north and south. The range of the townships are numbered on this line east and west. There are five principal meridians in the United States besides Wilmet's meridians for Washington and Oregon.

BASE LINES. These run east and west and from the base lines townships are numbered north and south. There are several and their location is shown on all state maps, that are any good. For example, we will take state map of Wisconsin, which we have under consideration, and look for the principal meridian. We will find that it passes through, commencing at the extreme end of the most westerly point of the Northern Peninsula of Michigan, and runs due south, leaving the state at a point due north of Galena, Ill. The base line starts at about Still-water, Minn., and runs due east to a point near Marinette;. Wis. The number of the. principal meridian is four or the fourth principal meridian. They are all numbered in the different states and in making inquiries about land, always give the principal meridian and its number and the range of the township line. This must be had in order to find any particular township on the map. We must also understand. section corners, quarter section corners, meander corners, witness corners and bearing trees.

SECTION CORNERS. These are monuments or mounds placed by the government surveyors and consist of mounds in the prairie placed at the corners of each section and thrown up from four pits, one pit on each section of land. In the mound is placed a stone with as many notches cut on the east and south side of it as the coiner is miles from the township line. In timber it consists of a stake about four feet long and eight inches in diameter driven into the ground. at the intersection of the section lines. It is faced on four sides and each face fronting toward a section and bearing plainly cut on the face the number of the section, the township and range. The figures are sometimes traced in with red paint or red chalk. The stakes are notched the same as the stones in the mounds on the prairie.

QUARTER SECTION LINES. These lines are marked by monuments midway between section lines. In prairie land it is mounds thrown up from two pits by the United States surveyors, one pit on each side of the section line, with a stone in the mound, with these figures and this letter cut on itó1-4-S, which means one-fourth section corner. In a timbered country it is a tree or a stake driven in the ground and hewn on two sides facing the sections and the figures and letter 1-4-S is cut on it.

BEARING TREES AND MOUNDS. Surveyors often use these where parties are liable to destroy the originals either from selfish motives or accident. The destroying of these mounds or trees is punishable by law with fine or imprisonment or both. They are stone mounds on the prairie and trees or posts in the timber. For section corners they are four in number and the trees are usually located on the sections they represent and a spot is hewn off flat, facing the section corner and on the flat surface is cut the number of the section, township and range and near the ground is cut the letters BT, meaning Bearing Tree. For the quarter sections there are two, usually located on the sections they represent and are marked 1-4-S and the mark faces the section, post or tree that is on the corner.

MEANDER CORNERS. These are the same as section corners with the exception that the posts or stones are marked M. C. Also Witness Corners are the same as for section corners, the difference being that the posts or stones are marked W. C.

Sometimes in the course of time bark grows over the markings on trees and when marks are found this way one must be careful in removing the bark and not destroy the marks, and when digging into a mound after you are done put things back as you found them.

MEANDERING. When surveying streams and small inland lakes, surveyors are often forced to "meander." Meander corners are also used where government surveyors run up against a swamp, lake or large river they cannot cross, then a meander corner is made showing which way the surveyor went to get around the obstacle. As above stated they are the same as for section corners only M-C being used instead of S-C and on the stone in the mound or on the trees is marked M-C.

WITNESS CORNERS. These are used when the true corner would come in a lake, river or impassable swamp. A section corner is made closing on one or more section lines at that point and are the same as the one that should have been on the true corner. They are the same as section corners but are marked W-C instead of S-C and as above stated take the place of the true corner when it comes in a swamp, muskeg or other place that is impassable.

TOWNSHIPS. For the novice I would recommend that he consult the township diagram here illustrated and numbered.

A township contains six square miles of land, that is, it is six miles across each end of it and contains thirty-six sections of six hundred and forty (640) acres each. These sections are also one mile square or a mile across each end and are numbered from one to thirty-six. They are again divided into four pieces containing one hundred and sixty acres each. These are again divided into four pieces containing forty acres each. They are called sections, quarter section and forties respectively. Marginal lots lie on the north and west sides of townships and no survey lines are run into the interior of sections by the United States surveyors except meander lines -where they are necessary.

Bear in mind that 2000 single paces are one mile but to save counting "cruisers" always use double paces. These are called "cruising paces" and the "cruising paces" will be used in this book for all illustrations. Therefore 1000 paces are one section or one mile, 500 are one-half section and 250 are a quarter section. Paced on a section line 60 paces are about one-fourth of a forty, 80 about one-third and 160 about two-thirds, all paced on the section lines, and there are sixteen forties in one section of land.

All land cruisers carry a notebook ruled in three-inch squares or one section and these three inch squares are subdivided into sixteen squares or sixteen forties and the ability to keep your pencil in the note-book into a position w yourself on the section depends the accuracy of your work. Section and quarter section corners should be established in your book and your line of travel should be in dotted lines. Also establish your witness corners and your meander corners, if you have to make any and ten or fifteen paces are not considered bad mistakes.

Before leaving this subject of maps it would be well for the young cruiser to understand some of the signs and symbols used on maps. Grass or meadow land are shown by tufts of grass scattered over land thus.

These symbols are not shown on all maps. Even some good accurate maps do not show them, but if you wish to construct a map they are handy.

CONTOURS. These are much used on maps and are very handy for the cruiser or prospector as they show the height and the steepness of hills and mountains, also the valleys. Contours are thirty feet apart in height or straight up and where they are far apart represent sloping land and where close together high and steep. When they bend in they represent a valley.

The upper sketch represents three hills, one larger than the other. The lower sketch are con-tours. It also shows their height and steepness. They are very handy to tell how rough or smooth land is.

These symbols are all very handy for a cruiser or prospector as they show him what kind of a country he is going to butt into, whether it is swampy, hilly, hardwood or pine, and their location. Whether the country is well watered, shows the lakes and rivers that he may have to cross, also the roads and towns, also the height of the hills and mountains. All these things are very valuable to the cruiser and miner as well as to the hunter and trapper.

In looking over a piece of land to judge the soil fairly accurate, oak, maple and poplar timber denote rich clay, no sand, and well drained; popple, birch and brush denote increase of sand and decrease of loam. Jack pine denotes sandy soil and subsoil. Norway pine denotes sand and clay; elm and ash denote rich bottom lands and poor drainage, taken by the large pine land is no good, the real estate man to the contrary not-withstanding. I have never seen any that you could raise a fight on with a barrel of Indian whiskey. It is well to examine upturned roots of trees and mounds made by gophers for sub-soil. In prairie land you will find crab holes and a mound beside them. Examine these mounds for top and subsoil.

As a general thing the tops of ridges are thin and poor and in some parts of the country they are bare and rocky, while the valleys may be good farming land. If you are looking for a claim or homestead on government land, be sure of the rainfall, especially so in the western states. This can be found in the reports of the weather signal service, also the highest and lowest temperature. Address Department of Agri-culture, Washington, D. C.

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