Fourth survey district of Tennessee, 1808-1810

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The survey book of John McClellan, surveyor for the Fourth Survey District of Tennessee covers the area in the 4th District for the years of 1808-1810. The counties covered in the original were: Anderson, Bledsoe, Campbell, Knox, Overton, Rhea and Roane. Many of the present counties were not in existence at the time of the surveys and some of the residences mentioned could well be within one of the modern counties of: Cumberland, Morgan, Scott and Fentress. These latter counties were formed much later. in fact, several of the Bledsoe grants were in the Grassy Cove area and this is in Cumberland County now. To determine the exact location will be difficult as many of the creeks and rivers cover more than one county.

The abstracting of these surveys includes all of the names given in the original. The names include the owner or the one applying for the title, which may or may not have been carried through with, chain bearers sometimes listed as CB or SCB or CCB, the neighbors when they adj. or adjoin the original and the surveyor (not indexed). The items left out of the abstracting are primarily the “calls” or the surveyor’s indication of the compass directions and the poles/feet/rods. Many of these are very difficult to interpret and most readers will not be able to use this information anyway. A typical set of calls would appear as follows:

Aaron Rennow and Samuel Hornsby plat

Situated in Overton County and poplar cove on the waters of paplar cover on the waters of Obids River beginning on a white oak near the creek corner to Jacob Maberry running thence south thirty seven east fifty poles to a maple by a small spring, corner to Randolph Clark. Thence with his line south five west one hundred and fourteen poles to a sugartree on a steep bank corner Jacob Smeeler thence with his line south eighty two south eighty two t thirty six poles to a stake, by creek corner to Eli Millingard, thence north fifty west 20 poles to a black walnut, thence 58 W 146 p to a large poplar thence ninety two and four tenths poles to a stake thence east 112 & 6/10 p to the beginning.

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As you can see, if you know where everyone else lives, then you can locate this tract nicely as it is between the properties of Jacob Maberry, Randolph Clark, Jacob Smeeler and Eli Mullingard. You have no exact starting point and the lines, if run, may or may not close to make the place. The surveyor used rock, trees, creeks, and rivers to make the indications and many of these are no longer in their proper places. This information has been left out of the abstracting.

The spelling is taken as it can best be transcribed and not necessarily as it ought to be in modern terms. The reader will have to interpret these, i.e. Skiller in Bledsoe County is Skillern and Tallett should read Tollett. In reading both the WPA records and the original volume in the court house at Kingston, they tried to transcribe as it is written.

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