Surveying in Early America - The Point of Beginning, An Illustrated History

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George Washington, our first president, began his professional life as a lead surveyor and remained devoted to the importance that landed property had in creating personal wealth for individuals and government stability for a developing nation.  Whether determining a colonial border, setting a boundary for a tract of land, accurately recording a sale, or making a map, the colonist’s relationship to the land was determined and recorded. 
Washington promoted the idea that an accurate recording land ownership, borders, and boundaries was an integral part of American’s future economic stability.
At the age of 16, Washington headed west with a surveying company owned by Lord William Fairfax. Lord Fairfax noted the strengths that Washington possessed, and took an interest in his career. This relationship would shape the young Washington into the leader he would become. A year later, Washington formed his own surveying company and made several trips westward towards the Ohio River Valley. His knowledge of the western territories convinced the British government in Virginia to commission him into the Army in 1753, even though he had no real military experience.
Surveying the Ohio Country: George Washington and the Practice and Politics of Western Expansion award-winning photographer Dan Patterson and American historian Clinton Terry vividly and accurately document and retrace the steps surveyors took to map the Ohio River Valley.  Patterson and Terry thoroughly create detailed and historically accurate narratives paired with exquisite and vivid photographs of these little known expeditions of our founding father.  Working with Colonial re-enactors at sites in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, from Fort Normal to Colonial Williamsburg, Patterson recreates the effort of Washington and his team of surveyors to map the American wilderness and occasionally lay personal claim land to great expanses of land along the way. Through the lens of Patterson camera, readers will see what Washington saw as he worked to learn his trade and then lead expeditions into the American interior using instruments and methods employed 260 years ago.
Terry describes Washington’s journey providing extensively researched historical facts to the visually rich images photographed by award winning American photographer Dan Patterson. Together the authors document a stunning and authentic recreation of the early days of our first commander in chief and the mapping of the Ohio Country.   From the practice of land and survey measurement and development of Gunter’s Chain, a measuring chain based on the dimensions of an acre to the practices employed in property documentation, the authors illustrate and narrate the power and politics of the surveyors job.  Several chapters are dedicated to detailing the techniques used for individual instruments, and the responsibilities of each member of a full colonial surveying team, methods that did not substantially change until the invention of GPS technology.