Journal and Field Notes
The Boundary Lines Between
The United States
The Chaktaw Nation of Indians
surveyed pursuant to the Treaty
of Mt. Dexter concluded on the
16th Nov. 1805
The survey was completed on November 28, 1809. The surveyors
arrived at St. Stephens by "pirogue" on December 1, 1809, settled
accounts, and arrived at "Washington" (probably Washington,
Mississippi) on Christmas even of 1809; "the pack horses arrived on
the 31st [and] the Indian chiefs leave me on the 15th of January,
1810".2 The survey was over.
The Journal was marked "received by the U.S. Government on
May 21, 1810.
On August 24, 1814, the British captured Washington, D.C., and
burned the public buildings. Edward Tiffin, Commissioner of the
Government land office ["GLO"] had anticipated that the wood GLO
building would be burned, and he had his clerks and anybody else
he could muster to stash the records -- probably including the
Journal -- in private homes, which saved them.
Ultimately, the Journal was placed in the National Archives,
from which we obtained a copy in 1994.
The Journal,3 hitherto little known4 and incredibly detailed,
supplies nearly all we know about the survey.
Cast of Characters. The three main people involved were surveyors
Silas Dinsmoor and Levin Wailes, and local helper James Powell.
2Journal, p. 217 [all page citations not otherwise identified
are from the Journal].
3Hereafter cited as "Journal" [all page citations not
otherwise identified are from the Journal.
4As will be seen, the copy belonging to surveyor Levin Wailes
was bound and given by his son in the 1850's to the Mississippi
Historical Society, in 1859 but by 1938 could not be located. A
copy of it, made in 1878, is in the University of North Carolina
Library at Chapel Hill. Charles S. Sydnor, A GENELEMAN OF THE OLD NATCHEZ REGION: BENJAMIN L.C. WAILES (1938) 40 n. 27, 243 n. 34 [hereafter SYDNOR].
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