“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Shadehill in Perkins County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Public Land Surveying

Public Land Surveying Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, July 16, 2020
1. Public Land Surveying Marker
The Development of a Land Survey System
Early methods for allocating unsettled land often led to overlapping claims and border disputes. On May 20, 1875, Congress passed the Land Ordinance of 1785, implementing a standardized system of land surveys that eased boundary conflicts. The survey system divided territory into six-mile square townships. The townships were then divided in 36 sections, each section being one square mile or 640 acres. This rectangular system of cadastral surveys provided an easy way to describe and locate tracts of land and record property boundaries.

Modern Survey System
In 1812, the General Land Office was created by Congress and was responsible for the surveying and selling of 1.8 billion acres of public land domain.

Survey System of the Past
Gunters chain used for measuring distance by survey crews. One chain is 66 feet in length. There are 80 chains in a mile.

The Homestead Act of 1862
The Homestead Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on
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May 20, 1862. Upon paying a registration fee and filing an application, homesteaders could lay claim to 160 acres of surveyed Government land. A patent (deed of title) to the land was granted free and clear if they lived on or cultivated the land at least 5 years. While 160 acres may have been sufficient for an eastern farmer, it was too small for farmers on the dray plains and western states to make a living. in 1909, Congress enacted the Enlargement Homestead Act increasing the acreage to 320 acres. By 1934, over 1.6 million homestead applications were processed and more than 10 percent of all lands (270 million acres) passed from public to private ownership.
Erected by U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureSettlements & Settlers.
Location. 45° 43.142′ N, 102° 9.536′ W. Marker is in Shadehill, South Dakota, in Perkins County. Marker can be reached from Forest Road 5740, one mile north of Forest Road 5626. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Lemmon SD 57638, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Welcome to the Grand River National Grassland (within shouting distance of this marker); Great Plains Weather: Land of Extremes (approx. 0.2 miles away); From Bison to Cattle
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(approx. 0.2 miles away); Hugh Glass - Adventurer (approx. 3.8 miles away); Hugh Glass (approx. 4.3 miles away); Shadehill Dam & Reservoir (approx. 4.3 miles away); a different marker also named Hugh Glass (approx. 4.3 miles away); Seim, South Dakota (approx. 4.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shadehill.
Also see . . .  Picnic area where the marker is located. (Submitted on August 2, 2020, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 3, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 16, 2020, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 127 times since then and 26 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on July 16, 2020, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
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Sep. 28, 2023