Alternate Systems of Legal Subdivision and Description of rural land in North America

650 Words Dec 12th, 2013 3 Pages
Land surveying is the technique of determining position of points on the earth and using them to define boundaries and draw maps. It divides the land into parcels by providing correct descriptions, which is then assigned for ownership and other purposes.

The original charter group from England brought the “Metes and Bounds” system of describing land or real estate to U.S. where it had been used for many centuries. It was used in the original thirteen colonies that became the United States based on the English common law.

This system defined the boundaries of a parcel of land by using physical features of the local geography along with directions and distances. The boundaries are described in running prose style, working around the
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Both the “metes and bounds” and rectangular survey system created dispersed pattern of isolated farmsteads that can be seen in rural United States. The homesteads created by block patterns, each with large 160 acres lots, and regular pattern of rural roads created this dispersed pattern.

The French and Spanish, the other two primary charter groups, brought their own land description and allotment. The French introduce the “long-lot” system, originally in the St. Lawrence Valley, and subsequently in other places like Mississippi Valley, Detroit, Louisiana and other places. This system created elongated land divisions where the length was typically 10 times the width. It started from a narrow river frontage and stretched far back to a road. This system provided each settler equal access to the river and a fair distribution of both fertile land and lower quality back areas along the valley slopes.

This system created dwellings in the front of the holding allowing neighbors to be close together is an arrangement called the “cote”.

The Spanish also introduced similar long-lot system in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico and Texas.

There were other variations of land grants and surveys in various other regions:

In New England, the English tradition of agricultural village was adopted. This contained land grants for “towns” that were 6 miles square. It

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