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Favorite corner recoveries

100+ posts Member

The Ute Meridian in Western Colorado was twelve townships surveyed in 1890 and 1891 by Daniel Major. It was intended to be a reservation for the Ute Indians but that did not happen. According to some, because of the Meeker Massacre of 1879 the reservation was moved to Utah. The Ute Meridian was surveyed using the three-mile method, with exception in T1N, R1E where the three-mile method was used only in Sections 30 through 33. It was monumented with occasional stones but mostly 3" square cottonwood posts and pits.

In 1915 A. Teller performed a dependent resurvey of T1N, R1E and set iron pipe and brass cap monuments. It was reported that at that time they recovered only 30% of the 1890 era monuments.

In 2012 I and my staff performed a survey for the withdrawal of BLM lands to facilitate the expansion of a major airport. This required monument recovery in T1N, R1W as well as in T1N, R1E. In T1N, R1W which had not been resurveyed in the sections we were involved with we recovered not a single monument despite diligent research and ground searches. In T1N, R1E we recovered eighteen of the 1915 monuments, most of them apparently unused since originally set.

Many of the monuments were in poor condition. Some caps were dislodged and or missing. Many of the iron pipes were reduced to rust on a cement core. A shiny new aluminum pipe and cap represented one section corner but the associated plat revealed only three-point control. The fourth point was easily recovered and a double proportion solution suggested a new search position about twelve feet from the existing monument. Using the always-reliable Schonstedt, a Bounty Hunter metal locator and a Whites pinpointer we were able to detect a signal indication of a possible monument. Careful excavation to about a foot deep revealed the faint ring of rust shown in the first two photos. Other photos show the typical condition of other monuments recovered during this survey.


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Topic starter Posted : October 11, 2021 2:19 pm
Gene Kooper, Brad Ott, Loyal and 2 people liked
Ric Moore
500+ posts Member

Very cool find!  Western Colorado, expansion of major airport?  Grand Junction area?

Posted : October 11, 2021 2:52 pm
KScott liked
5,000+ posts Member

I was surveying along a range line and kept running into oddly marked stones. I was reading the notes and finally looked closely at them as they were hard to read and the IR on the stones was for Indian Reservation. That line was the western bound of the indian reservation, but the present day location is a good 30 miles east of that line. It really shrunk from the surveyed line. 

Posted : October 11, 2021 3:08 pm

Mike Marks
1,000+ posts Member

My favorite is the 1970s BLM rehabilitation of the southern portion of the western boundary of  the Nez Perce Reservation in northern Idaho, surveyed and monumented in 1863.  Difficult terrain but fairly open mature forest.  The boundary delineates segregated lands so it trumps subsequent Section/Township/Range surveys.

It's essentially a straight line bearing about S20°E for 15 miles with mile and half mile monuments set.  The GLO surveyor that did the original survey has a good reputation and his field notes, plat, etc., were immensely helpful.  He was surveying fast and light so the monuments were mostly redwood hubs he'd had shipped in from Portland, no redwoods in Idaho and they're very rot resistant so any evidence of them was conclusive.  Did a good job concerning BTs and he'd also bury trash adjacent to the hub including whiskey bottles full of charcoal, spent brass cartridges and other artifacts.

We found about 10 original monuments (!) by traversing the record to the next locus, a few were standing proud with their tops rotted off, but we had to search for stumps that may have been BTs and if we felt we're good to commence a search removing all the duff in a 20 foot circle, scraping the native soil with a grain shovel and a few times and behold, a square hole appeared with obvious rotted redwood below ground.  Let me emphasise such a task could take a half a day and isn't on the punch list of the modern surveyor's cut and run attitude. 

His survey was amazingly close to a 16 mile straight line based on found monuments and our modern T2/chain survey essentially validated it.

Posted : October 11, 2021 3:39 pm
Gene Kooper, Loyal, FrozenNorth and 1 people liked