283 M. Survey’d, give or take a few

John Mitchell’s monumental 1755 map of North America has a curious annotation in the North Carolina Piedmont. About 15 miles southwest of present-day Salisbury, one sees “283 M. Survey’d”. So what 283 miles were surveyed?

238 mile marker of the Granville Line survey on John Mitchell’s 1755 map of North America.

The horizontal darker green line is the southern boundary of the Granville District and the annotation indicates the distance the survey of that boundary had covered from its origin on the Outer Banks.  On the image below, the red X marks the location of the “283 M. Survey’d” annotation.

The red X marks the “283 M. Survey’d” annotation

So, exactly how accurate was the mid 18th Century survey of the Granville Line?

Taking a mid-18th Century survey as the gold standard, one can see that Google Maps isn’t too far “off”, showing the distance as 286.55 miles

According to Google maps, the distance is 286.55 miles. One could reasonably argue that the 3+ mile discrepancy is due to poor cursor placement on my part and that the original survey was spot on!

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One thought on “283 M. Survey’d, give or take a few

  1. It is more likely that the moving barrier island chain on the Carolina Coast made a geological repositioning from 1749 when the survey was done until Google landed on this same segment of the earth’s firmament! That’s also why we don’t know where William Byrd, Edward Moseley et al. started on their dividing line a few years earlier.
    Larry E. Tise, PhD, Historian, Philadelphia and ECU

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