Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Survey of 1729

First, a correction: ASM has determined that the dates of the 2009 field session will be May 22 through June 1...mark your calendars.

Comparing Surveys
On 26 September 1729, Robert Hanson submitted his survey of the newly erected Charles Town (aka Port Tobacco) to the County Commissioners. Using his description, I have drawn the survey plat and placed it beside the 1888 plat of county surveyor H. C. Page. As you can see, the two drawings differ to the point where one cannot be aligned on the other with confidence.

Hanson divided the 60-acre town land into 100 lots with streets, reserving one acre for a market square and excluding the previously surveyed courthouse (3 acres) and church (1 acre) lots, which appear to have been circumscribed by the new town boundaries.

The 1729 survey is oddly shaped. I think it reflects, in part, the linear nature of the 18th-century town, with prospective lot owners vying for ready access to the creek for shipping. Locals registered 46 of the 100 lots between 1729 and 1732. Lots 20, 33, and 34 might already have been taken up by Francis Ware and John Speakes as residents of the former Chandlers Town. The smaller (50 acre) town of the late 19th century took the form of the New England village green. The creek, long filled with silt, no longer was the focus of the town...everything appears to have faced in toward the courthouse and church.

Here are the last lines of Hanson's survey. They tell us that there was a plat prepared of the town, presumably with the numbered lots illustrated.

"Containing and now laid out for Sixty acres Exclusive of one Acre for the Church & three acres formerly laid out whereon to build a Court house, and have also laid out one acre of the said Sixty acres for a market place and Divided the Remaining fifty nine acres into one hundred Lots staked out & numbered from one to one hundred, with Convenient Streets & Lanes according to the directions of the saud act which by the Platt hereunto annext may appear" (italics added).

This plat has not emerged and it may not survive.


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