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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

Examining And Locating

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

We will assume for an illustration that you are hunting or cruising or running a line of traps and you run across a piece of land or a piece of pine that "looks good" to you but you don't know where it is, or rather its location or your location on the map. You are standing looking at it and that's all the good it will do you if you can't find it, and also yourself, on the map.

Perhaps you have sent to the H-T-T and got a list of unoccupied government land in every county in the western states, and I want to say here that the list is accurate. Perhaps you have selected a county in some state where the climate is congenial to you or you think the trapping good, also the, hunting, prospecting or timber, and you have sent to the land office for that district and got a plat of the township and perhaps several.

I will say in passing that you won't know what plats to send for even if you can't locate the land on the map, for, in sending you must give the range and township number, so there you are, and mind you these plats only show the occupied land and not the vacant land you want. You can look at these plats until you are cross-eyed for all the good they do you. Or, perhaps you have met some settler and made inquiries. How do you know that they have told you the truth?

I once asked an American citizen of Swedish descent in regard to some government land that I had a suspicion was near where he was located and his answer was, "I tank their no government land hayre." When to my certain knowledge there were thousands of acres, not all good land of course, but with some nice spots of from forty to a hundred acres that were firstclass farming land and several good cranberry marshes.

Now right here is where the timber cruiser or land looker steps in and if you are on to your job you can look these people in the eye and tell them to go to that place where they are not troubled with snow or ice, also tell the pine land sharks the same. We will assume you are equipped with a good compass and maps of the section you are exploring. The first thing you want to know is to find where you are, so the first thing you will do is to find a section corner and if you find one right away that is in good order, well and good. You will look on the post and find, for an illustration, these letters and figures cut in the face, R 47-T 7-W, which means to the old cruiser Range 47, Township 7, West.

We will now take out map (remember for an illustration we are using a state map of Wisconsin) find the principal meridian and the No. 47 on it. Now we will find the base line and trace it west from the point where it crosses the prim cipal meridian until we come to the figure 7 on the seventh row of township. Now we will trace this line with our finger north or toward the top of the map until we come to the intersection of Range 47 and at this point is the exact location of that section corner and the exact spot in this world you are standing on. On our section corner post we will also find the letter and number S 15, which means section 15. We have now got our township and section number and we will take our plat of this township, find section 15 and look things over.

We find a railroad runs through the middle of the township and there is a station named Spider near the center, also about nine miles west and four or five miles north is the town of Iron river, also we note that this land is in Bay-field Co., also in the little pamphlet the H-T-T sent of unoccupied land, that this county has 5,880 acres of unoccupied government land and the U. S. land office is at Wausau, Wis. Now all we have to do is to write to the land office and ask them for a printed application blank, giving him the number of the section or quarter township and range, and saying, we wish to file on this piece of land, and the land agent will do the rest.

Now, we will take another example that is not so easy. I looked for a section corner three days once to locate a quarter section of pine timber. All around this piece of pine it had been burned over by a severe forest fire, ana all the section corner marks were gone and the quarter section marks as well. The land around my piece of pine land was covered with a rank growth of brush. In knocking around I came to the conclusion that due south was the best way out into old timber, where I could run onto a section corner or quarter section corner. I cleared a place in the brush, set and leveled my compass, took a look thru the sights and lined with an old burned tree trunk. Taking our pack sack and compass we paced about 100 paces to our stub tree, setting our compass again and taking a line thru my sights I connected with another old stub, and it was 150 paces to this one, making 250 paces or one forty. I here made a quarter section post (not a corner, as I was running a random line) and noted this in my notebook on a dotted line.

I kept on this way until I had gone 1,000 cruising paces and knew I was one mile due south of my starting point. I here put a mark on a stub and lopped down a lot of brush around it as I had done previously and cut an X on the stub to distinguish it from my other random corners. I ran this line this way for six miles and came up against a tamarack swamp. I saw that I had to meander either east or west to get around this swamp, so I made a random meander corner by cutting M-C on a fine stub and lopping down some more brush.

By the lay of the land I concluded I would get into old timber by meandering due east. Setting my compass and taking a line I ran three miles or 3,000 paces, blazing my line every forty or every 250 paces and noting it in my book on my dotted line and ran into another tamarack swamp. After thinking the matter over, the next morning, we back trailed due west to our old meander corner of the day before and ran a random line seven miles west in the same manner as our other lines and got into old timber at last.

After looking around a while we found an old post with these letters cut on it, 1-4-S, which showed me it was a quarter section corner. On looking around again we found two trees with the bark partly grown over a flat surface cut on the tree. We carefully cut off the bark and found the letters B-T, which meant "bearing tree," and we knew it was on a quarter section corner and by running a line one half mile or 500 cruising paces north or south we would strike a section corner.

We did so, running north, and found no section corner and made one, noting it in our book as usual. (I will say here in passing that it is an unwritten law among the better class of cruisers to establish or repair a section or quarter section corner). We now ran a line 1000 paces, or a mile, due north again and found a good corner, bearing trees and all. On the post and bearing trees were cut the letters and figures R-32-T-2-W which we knew meant Range 32, Township line No. 2, west.

We now took our state map, found our principal meridian, found the Range No. 32 on it. We now found our base line and traced it west until we found the figure 2, then north up the map until we came to the range line 32 and found we were in Taylor Co. We also found S-9 cut on the post, which told us it was Section No. 9. We now referred to our township plats and found we were on the northwest corner of it and about five and a half miles northeast of a place called Perkinstown and that the Yellow River ran thru the northwest corner of the township, also that there was a railroad about eleven miles east of us.

We also found that we had to resurvey some of this country in order to locate our piece of pine timber we were after, inasmuch as it was burned over land and all section corners were destroyed. This we could easily do, as we had only to refer to our sketch in our notebook for the lines we had run to bring us into our present position. We found we had run six miles due south to our meander corner where we ran into the first swamp, then three miles due east and got up against our second swamp. Then back to our meander corner, then seven miles due west and found the old quarter section post partly destroyed. Then one mile north to our present position.

From our sketch we found we were seven miles west and one and a half miles north on our random line we had run at first. Now by traveling seven miles west would bring us back to our random line. So setting our compass on the exact section corner, we started running our line due west, pacing 250 paces and selecting one of our three-inch squares or a section, in our notebook we checked a forty, and so on until we had struck our random line, then north to our pine (all the time keeping our pencil in the notebook in a position to ourselves on the sections). We found on comparing our notebook with our township plats that our pine was in range 33, township 3, west, section 17 and the southwest corner forty and this finished our job.

Before starting on this trip we found the true meridian by the sun and noted the variation on our compass. The above is a small sketch of our trip and will show the young cruiser the trouble he will have in finding his first section corner sometimes. The state map of Wisconsin we have used will apply to any state and I will state here that if you can find one section corner in this United States you can find any other piece -of land that has been surveyed by Uncle Sam, no matter if the section corner is in Florida and your land is in Alaska you can find the land and locate it if you have the time and a good compass.

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