Surveyor’s Journal Entry Ten
U.S. Congress Lands Surveyed Under Land Ordinance of 1796
In 1798, Congress set aside all of the land south of the U.S. Military District, bordered by the Scioto River to the west, the Ohio River to south, and the Seven Ranges to the east, for sale by the Federal Government.
The U.S. Congress Lands, covering the southeast region of Franklin County, were surveyed by Deputy Surveyors John Mathews and Ebenezer Buckingham in 1799.
This was the first survey in Franklin County to be conducted under the Land Ordinance of 1796, which called for all townships to be uniformly measured six miles square and then divided into 36 one-mile square sections, each containing 640 acres.
Although the land ordinance of 1785 initiated the use of the rectangular system for the survey of government lands in the Northwest Territory, it did not provide specific, legal guidelines for deputy surveyors to follow.
The 1796 legislation required that all surveys be astronomical and use true meridian and parallel lines; that field books, containing a complete description of the land and location of monuments and witness trees, be the primary evidence on which plats are based; that plats be recorded in books to be kept by local and federal government entities as a matter of public record; and that deputy surveyors’ pay be increased from two dollars per mile run to three dollars.
Within the U.S. Congress Lands of Franklin County, the following political subdivisions were eventually established:
Hamilton Township (1807)
Madison Township (1809)
Village of Lockbourne within Hamilton Township (1831)
Town of Groveport within Madison Township (1847)
Town of Canal Winchester within Madison Township (annexed 1851), which was originally part of Violet Township in Fairfield County (1828)
In 1801, Congress Lands along the northern boundary with the U.S. Military District were reallocated for settlement by Revolutionary War refugees from Canada.