|Other County Histories | Civil War | 1886 | 1913 Vol. 2 | 1916 | Depression ||
Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 1. History
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
Townships are the largest subdivisions of land run out by the United States Surveyors. In the governmental surveys township lines are the first to be run and a township corner is established every six miles and marked. This is called "Townshipping." After the township corners have been carefully located the section corners are established. Each township is six miles square and contains 23,040 acres or 36 square miles, as near as it is possible to make them. This, however, is frequently made impossible, first by the presence of lakes and large streams; second by state boundaries not falling on township lines; third by the convergence of meridians or curvature of the earth's surface; and fourth by inaccurate surveys.
Each township, unless it is one of the exceptional class referred to, is divided into 36 squares, which are called sections. These sections are intended to be one mile, or 320 rods square and contain 640 acres of land. Sections are numbered consecutively from 1 to 36. Beginning with 1 in the northeast corner, they run west to 6, then east to 12, then west to 18, and so on, back and forth, until they end with section 36 in the southeast corner.
Additional subdivisions may be made in like manner as indicated on the diagram. All sections, except fractional sections, are supposed to be 320 rods or one mile square and therefore contain 640 acres, a number easily divisible. Sections are subdivided into fractional parts to suit the convenience of the owners of the land. A half-section contains 320 acres; a quarter section, 160 acres; half of a quarter contains 80 acres; and a quarter of a quarter contains 40 acres, and so on. Each piece of land is described according to the portion of the section which it embraces as the northeast quarter of section 10; or the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 10. The diagram shows how many of these subdivisions are platted, and also shows the plan of designating and describing them by initial letters, as each parcel of land on the diagram is marked with its description.
After establishing township corners, section lines are next to be run, and section corners established. When these are carefully located the quarter posts are located at points as nearly equidistant between section corners as possible. These corners, when once established by government surveyors cannot be changed, even though it is conclusively shown that mistakes have been made, thus causing sections or subdivisions thereof to be either larger or smaller than others. Local surveyors are guided by local laws, however, in dividing sections into smaller parcels. For instance, in dividing a quarter section into two pieces, the distance between the government corners is carefully measured and the new post is located at a point equidistant between them. This plan is followed in running out eighties, forties and twenties. In this way if the government division overruns or falls short, each portion gains or loses its proportion. This is not the case, however, with fractional sections along the north or west sides of a township, or adjoining a lake or large stream of water. Many of the readers of this history, no doubt, have noticed in land deals, where the purchaser preferred to have a local surveyor employed to survey and make a true estimate of the number of acres embraced in the purchase whether it was a twenty, forty, eighty, or 160, that instances of a "short" or "long" acreage were found.
Chillicothe township is somewhat like the Second Congressional District in form, being shaped like a boot. Grand river forms its boundary, a distance of some thirty miles. The township is composed of parts of township 57, range 23 and township 57, range 24, lying north of the river and part of township 58, range 24, lying east of the east fork of that tortuous stream. The township abounds in a variety of lands. The uplands are rich and highly productive and the river bottom lands that are being reclaimed by drainage and otherwise, are equally if not more productive than the former. The first settler in Chillicothe township was Joseph Cox, who erected a cabin on 12-58-24, in the year 1833. Section eleven was first occupied by William Linville in 1834. Caleb A. Gibbons and Brannock Wilkerson also located in the Cox neighborhood, while south of the present city of Chillicothe, Elisha Hereford and Daniel E. Todd located in 1834. Land opened for entry in this section in 1835, but not until 1839 could entries be made in the north part of the township. Among the early entries were those by J. B. and GeorgeShriver, Wm. Moberly, Elizabeth Munro, Joseph Wolfskill, William Yancey, David Curtis, Isaac N. Ryan, John Graves, David Carlyle, John Ryan, Jesse Newlin and others. On the 12th of August, 1836, three speculators, David S. Lamme, Caleb S. Stone and David M. Hickman, residents of Boone county, entered 160 acres of land on the north side of Grand river, section 21-57-23, about four miles southeast of Chillicothe. On the 24th of November following they laid out a town on about twenty-five acres of this tract, which they called Jamestown, but which was afterward well known as "Jimtown." This was before the organization of Livingston, and the plat is on file in the recorder's office in Carroll county. A few lots were sold in Jamestown, and a store-house built, but with the upbuilding of Chillicothe its prospects were blasted. Not until February, 1839, was Chillicothe township known, it having originally been called Medicine township. Cream Ridge, Wheeling, Medicine and Rich Hill townships were embraced in Chillicothe township.