Vol. III.
August, 1884.
No. 10.

This Association, as a body, is not responsible for the subject matter of any Society, or for statements or opinions of any of its members.


By Samuel J. Baker, Member of the Civil Engineers' Club of Cleveland.

[Read April 22, 1884]

In presenting this paper to the Club, it may be well to state that as it is addressed to our members generally, and not to our surveyors alone, I have made it somewhat more explanatory than I should have done were the latter the case. Accordingly, I shall preface what may be said of the surveys of our city, with some historical statements showing how the surveys came to be made, which I have condensed from the writings of our honored fellow-member, Col. Charles Whittlesey, who has, especially in his " Early History of Cleveland," stored up for us such a great stock of valuable information on this and all kindred topics of our pioneer history, and to whom I here make all due acknowledgments. Doubtless none of our members are unaware that our city forms part of the " Western Reserve, " but all may not know what is meant by this title, and as the first surveys of our city were made in connection with those of the tract so called, it will be necessary to go back a long time in history in order to show both the origin of the title and of the surveys. Mr. Hosea Paul has, in his valuable paper to the Club on " The Systematic Division of Land, " briefly outlined some of this history, which I shall give more in detail.

The Colony of Virginia as originally granted embraced all of North America between the 34th and 48th parallels of north latitude. James I. of England divided Virginia into a north and a south part and granted the same to two companies called respectively the "London" and the "Plymouth" company. To the latter company was granted, by a Charter dated November 3, 1630, the north part, being all the land between the 40th and 48th parallels, from the Atlantic to the mythical "Great South Sea," to be forever called "New England." This grant "covered New York, Canada and most of Pennsylvania and Ohio and the Northwest." In the same year, the Plymouth Company granted a portion of its territory to its President, Robert, Earl of Warwick, and as the description in this grant is a curious one, I will give it full: "All that part of New England in America which lies and extends itself from a river, there called Narragansett River, the space of forty leagues upon a straight line near the seashore towards southwest, west and by south, or west as the coast lieth, towards Virginia, accounting three English miles to the league, all and singular the lands and hereditaments whatsoever, lying and being within the bounds aforesaid, north and south in latitude and breadth aforesaid, throughout all the main lands there from the Western Ocean to the South Seas." This description, Col. Whittlesey writes, formed the legal puzzle of a century and a half, as to what lands it included and what it did not. March 19, 1631, Earl Warwick conveyed the same land "more or less" to the founders of the State of Connecticut, by grant termed the "Patent of Connecticut." This grant covered most of Pennsylvania, but Connecticut was finally ousted from her claims there, and the western boundary of the former State was finally established there, as it now is by a commission of the United States in 1785 and 1786, who set a stone monument where the line came to the lake shore. The State of Connecticut, to strengthen its political rights, had obtained from Charles II. April 23, 1662, a confirmatory Charter by which her north boundary was fixed as the parallel of 42 degrees and 2 minutes north latitude, and her south boundary was finally fixed as the 41st parallel.

By a deed to the United States, of September 13, 1776, Connecticut relinquished all claim to her western territory, excepting and reserving all that part between her north and south boundaries, as aforesaid, bounded east by the west line of Pennsylvania, and west by a meridian line distant 120 statute miles therefrom; hence this tract has since then been called "The Connecticut Western Reserve," and popularly the "Western Reserve," and still shorter the "Reserve," by which latter name I shall allude to it hereafter. The political status of the Reserve was in dispute between Connecticut and the United States until 1800, when the United States confirmed Connecticut's title to the soil of the tract, and Connecticut released all her claims to political authority over it. In May, 1792, Connecticut made a grant of one-half million acres, exclusive of the islands in Lake Erie, from off the west end of the Reserve, to those of her citizens who had suffered loss, chiefly by fire, from the depredations of the British in the Revolution; hence these lands are called the " Fire Lands. " On the 5th of September, 1795, she deeded for the sum of $1,200,000, three million acres from off the east end of the Reserve to a stock company of 57 individuals formed at Hartford, and known as the "Connecticut Land Company," and it is from the deeds to its members that Abstracts of Title to lands in this county are dated. At that time Lake Erie was supposed to lie nearly east and west, and so it was thought there must be an immense tract between the Land Company's land and the "Fire Lands." This was called "the Excess," and a company called the "Excess Company" bought the title to it from the State, but this "excess" turned out to be as mythical as the "Great South Sea" as instead of an excess there is a deficiency, the actual area of the Land Company's tract, including the islands in the lake, being about 2,837,100 acres, as figured after all surveys and sales had been made, by the late Leonard Case, Sr., who was agent here for the State of Connecticut for the sale of some lands reverting to it. The same day it received its deeds from the State the Land Company deeded the whole tract in trust to three trustees, John Morgan, John Caldwell and Jonathan Brace, and it is by deeds from these trustees that title to nearly all the land in the Reserve has been obtained.

The Cuyahoga River had for many years before this formed, together with the "Portage Path" and the Muskingum River, an important boundary line between Indian tribes, and so recognized by the whites in treaties with them, the "Portage Path," as is generally known, being and old Indian trail between seven and eight miles long, connecting the Cuyahoga River where it belongs to bend to the northeast, about thirty-five miles form its mouth, with the headwaters of the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum, and over which the Indians carried or made a "portage" of their canoes. In 1796 the Land Company determined to extinguish the Indian title on their tract east of the Cuyahoga and the "Portage," and to survey this part into townships five miles square, or nearly so, by running meridian lines every five miles west of Pennsylvania and parallels of latitude every five miles north from their south boundary line.

The townships bounded by these lines were designated by both "range" and "tier" numbers, the first numbering west from Pennsylvania and the second north from the 41st parallel. Those bounding on the lake formed irregular or fractional townships. To carry out this scheme the Land Company, in 1796, sent out surveyors, with their assistants, numbering together 43, all under the direction of General Moses Cleaveland, of Canterbury, Wyndham County, Connecticut who was appointed general agent of the company. As is generally known, it is from him that our city is named, after dropping out the first "a" in his name, originally through inadvertence. He was also one of the directors of the company, having $32,600 stock in it. Augustus Porter, of Salisbury, Conn., was made also the astronomer and mathematician of the party.

The other surveyors were John Milton Holley, Richard M. Stoddard and Moses Warren, Jr., all of Connecticut. Augustus Porter had been engaged since 1789 in surveys in Western New York, on what is called the "Holland Purchase." The whole party proceeded to Buffalo, where General Cleaveland made a treaty with the Indian chiefs, and obtained from them a grant of the land east of the Cuyahoga and the Portage. It is related in the journal of Seth Pease that the Indians received, besides goods and two beef cattle, one hundred gallons of whiskey, "fire-water" then, as now, forming an important element in our relations with "the noble red man."

The whole party then proceeded along Lake Erie, and on the 4th of July, 1796, reached the western boundary of Pennsylvania, and discovered the monument set near the shore on said line by the commission of 1785, and which they used as the starting point of their surveys in "New Connecticut." They celebrated the "Fourth" in a patriotic manner at the mouth of Conneaut Creek, which is less that two miles within the State of Ohio, with speeches, gunpowder and "toasts," consuming in the latter, according to Cleveland's diary, "several pails of grog." The party, including teamsters, cooks, etc., numbered fifty-two.

I might, did not the limits of this paper forbid, give some account of the particulars of the township surveys then commenced, and also make some quotations from the biographical sketches of the leading surveyors given by Colonel Whittlesey, but will only quote his general remark that the qualifications necessary to success in surveying these Western wilds were such that those engaged were generally the most prominent men on the frontier.

The southeast corner of the Reserve was fixed at 68 miles from the lake. The first four range line west of Pennsylvania were the only ones run up in 1796, and nearly all the township lines east of the Cuyahoga and north of the 6th or 30-mile parallel were completed in 1796. The lines were run with reference to the true meridian, obtained by observations of the polar star when possible. The variation of the needle at the mouth of the Cuyahoga was 1 degree and 30 minutes east. The variation at this harbor in 1880 observed by the Government engineers was 1 38' 5'' west according to Col. Whittlesey. There is in the rooms of the Western Reserve Historical Society in this city, a collection of early maps of Cleveland and the Reserve, among them a map of the Reserve made in 1797 by Seth Pease, which is very well executed. It measures about 33 inches by 20 inches. Pease was noted for his ability as a draughtsman and penman. This map shows the land west of the Cuyahoga, marked "Unsurveyed and subject to Indian claims." The township of Cleveland is shown as lying in the 12th range and west of the 7th and 8th tiers of townships, being bounded East by "Euclid" and what is now Warrensville townships and north and west by the lake and river, being and irregular and large township, marked as containing 25,242 acres. It is known in deeds as the 7th township in the 12th range. Out of this original township of "Cleveland" have since been formed. " Cleveland," "Newburgh" and more that half of "East Cleveland" townships, the line between the two latter townships being the line between the 7th and 8th tiers and strikes Wilson avenue at Cedar avenue. While the remaining parties were engaged on these township surveys, Porter had started from the Pennsylvania line to traverse the lake shore west and to fix the west line of the Reserve at the point where the sum of the departure of his courses should equal 120 miles. This he did, though west of the Cuyahoga he had to take the risk of running in Indian territory. This west line strikes the lake near the middle of Sandusky Bay. The east line of the "Fire Lands" strikes a short distance east of the mouth of the Vermillion River. I submit a rough time outline map of the Reserve, merely to show the manner of its sub-division into townships, the present counties embraced it, some of the important rivers, and the "Fire Lands," and "Portage Path." (See Map No. 1.)

Leaving the parties engaged on the township lines, General Cleaveland proceeded to the mouth of the Cuyahoga, which he reached July 22 1796. The party landed near the foot of Union lane, and soon after built a store-house and cabin for the surveyors near a spring on the side hill south of St. Clair street and west of Union lane, now Spring street.

Porter and party, after completing the traverse of the lake shore, returned to this point, and all the parties, after surveying most of the townships north of the sixth parallel, reached here at different times in September. On the 16th of September, 1796, was begun the first survey of our city. On the 22d, Holley, Shepard and Spafford left here to run out the eastern part of "Cleaveland" township into what are called the "100 Acre Lots." they being generally 25 chains east and west and 40 chains north and south, "Cleaveland" being one of six townships that the directors had decided to allot and sell for the general benefit of the company. The numbers of these lots run from 267 to 486, and why the numbers so begin instead of with No. 1 seems to be "one of the things no fellow can find out." Lands in "Newburgh" and "East Cleveland" townships have since been sold and allotted with reference to these 100 Acre Lots, and I shall not again refer to the survey of them. To return to the survey of the city.

There is in the office of the City Civil Engineer, where I am employed, on the fist page of a volume entitled "Maps and Profiles, Vol. 1" a map entitled "A Plan of the City of Cleveland," and a careful copy which is presented herewith (see Map No. 2).

As may be seen, there is in the lower right hand corner a rather quaint picture representing two Indians, one with a gun, standing on a plain. To the left is a tent, on which is painted the above title and to its left a tree. In the background are some hills. This picture, in the said record, is in colors. In the left part is the map proper, showing the Cuyahoga and Lake Erie, and the original streets and lots of the city "city" as it was ambitiously entitled at the very outset. Following this map in the volume above mentioned, is the description of these streets and lots, entitled "The Survey of the City of Cleveland, begun September the 16th, 1796 (by Seth Pease), situated on the east side of Cuyahoga River, at is mouth containing 220 lots," following which is a statement by I.N. Pillsbury, then City Civil Engineer, that the foregoing map, minutes and descriptions are accurate transcripts of a copy made in 1842 by said Pillsbury, from the original map minutes of the survey of Cleveland, made in 1796 by Seth Pease. Following is a statement of Leonard Case, Sr., Esq., dated February 6, 1843, that he carefully compared the said copy of Pillsbury's with the original map and minutes (which were recognized by the Hon. Calvin Pease as being in the handwriting of his brother Seth), and that the same was "as near a fac-simile copy of the original as can usually be made by ordinary writers." Following is the certificate of Ralph Granger, Esq., of Fairport, O., a nephew of Seth Pease, acknowledged in Cleveland, February 21, 1843. Mr. Granger states that he also compared Pillsbury's copy with the original, which is a small manuscript, entitled "Field Notes made on the Connecticut Western Reserve, by Seth Pease." He refers to the map as "bearing the figure of a bell," evidently meaning the tent or wigwam, as I take it, next to the Indians in the picture. Thus it will be seen the city was without doubt a very careful copy of Seth Pease's map and minutes of the original survey, and the only one, so far as I know, now in the city. Where these original minutes and map now are I am unable to say. They are not in possession of the Historical Society nor of the heirs of Leonard Case. Judge Ranney informed me lately that he remembered well the map being in possession of Leonard Case, Sr., who granted it jealously, the judge having with difficulty obtained it for a short time one day to use in some legal matter. This map was not the earliest one made, however. There is, on the first page of the Historical Society's Volume of Old Maps, a map this probably the first one made of the "City." It was found among the papers of J. Milton Holley, by his son, Governor Alexander H. Holley, of Connecticut, and sent by him to Colonel Whittlesey, who has a reduced copy of it in his "Early History of Cleveland," and who writes of it as follows: "It is indorsed in the handwriting of Amos Spafford, 'Original Plan of the Town and Village of Cleveland, Ohio, Oct. 1st, 1796.

"The sheet is formed by pasting several sheets and parts of sheets of foolscap together, evidently extemporized in the field. It was the first rough sketch used by the surveyors before their return to the east." Further on, he says: "After the return of surveyors" [that is, to Connecticut, they leaving here October 17, 1796.- S.J.B.] "regular field notes of the surveys of the city were made out by Seth Pease, which are regarded as the official returns. With these notes is a map, styled on the face of it, 'Plan of the City of Cleveland, 1796,' which is substantially the same as the one here given" [that is, the one printed in his book. - S.J.B.] "The river bluffs are slightly different, and the sand pit at the mouth is longer." [Col. Whittlesey, by this latter map, undoubtedly refers to the map of which I have presented a copy, but the date "1796," is not on the title. - S.B.J.] Again the writes: "Several copies of the plat were made during the winter of 1796-97, for the use of the company, but it was never engraved. About the year 1816, soon after the organization of the village corporation, when some new streets were thought to be necessary, the authorized book of field notes with its miniature plan, was brought here by James Root, Esq., brother to Ephraim Root, the secretary of the company.

"This book remained here until about the year 1856, since when, not being in official custody, it has disappeared. There is not now upon the Western Reserve a collection of the papers, maps, field books and proceedings of the company, from whom all our land titles are derived. A part of the field notes by Pease, Holley and Warren are in my possession." It was undoubtedly from these minutes and map so brought here by James Root that Pillsbury made his copies.

It is generally understood I believe, that Seth Pease made the original survey of "Cleaveland," as well as recorded the minutes and made the map of it, but in his biographical sketch of Augustus Porter, Colonel Whittlesey gives extracts from a letter of Porter to the late Judge Barr, of this city, dated at Niagara Falls, January 10, 1843, written in answer to a request for information which seem to upset this idea. Porter writes: "Had I all my original papers connected with the subject above named, such as my journal, original field notes of surveys, taken on the ground, calculations on contents, geographical remarks, of persons employed, etc., I should be able to give you such information, and it would give me much pleasure to do so. But unfortunately all these documents were lost in my dwelling-house at this place, destroyed in 1813 by British troops." (Porter, in this letter, by Col. Whittlesey, writes entirely from memory of what occurred forty-seven years before, and therefore may be slightly wrong in some of his statements).

Porter says, further on in this letter: "Having returned from Sandusky Bay to Cuyahoga. I remained there some time - perhaps two or three weeks - and surveyed the outlines of a piece of land designed for the town. Its dimensions I do not recollect - probably equal to about a mile square, bounding west on the river and north on the lake. I made a plat of this ground and laid it off into streets and lots. Most or all the streets I surveyed myself, when I left it in charge of Mr. Holley to complete the survey of the lots." This certainly indicates that Pease did not make the survey, as supposed, but it generally known as his, so I will allude to it; undoubtedly he assisted in making it. Colonel Whittlesey says that in those of his journal he has found, Holley says nothing about working on these "two-acre" lots as stated by Porter.

In 1801 Amos Spafford made a re-survey of the streets and lanes of Pease's survey, and made a new map of the so-called "city," which, with the description of the streets, lanes and "Square," was recorded in the Trumbull County Records at Warren, O., February 15, 1802, in Vol. A. page 100. Colonel Whittlesey says this was done in obedience to a statute, and the Land Company and it grantees became bound by it. Trumbull County, by the way, was erected by the United States, July 10, 1800 and embraced exactly the whole of the "Reserve" and islands, with county seat at Warren. This record, however is informal, being without the signature of Spafford or of any acknowledgment or indorsement of any member or officer of the Land Company. A copy of this map and description was entered in the Records of Cuyahoga County, in Vol. A, page 482. etc., of Deeds, Nov. 22, 1814, and Dec. 26, 1856, transcribed into Vol. 2, page 24, of Maps. A copy of this map and description was entered in the City Engineer's Record, before mentioned by I.N. Pillsbury. The descriptions are entitled "Minutes of the Survey, Nov. 6, 1801." At the end of the description of streets, etc., is written: "For the particular numbers and boundaries of each lot, reference is to be had to the field notes and map in the Register's office in the county of Trumbull, or in the city of Cleveland." This leaves it somewhat doubtful to me whether by the "field notes and map" last-mentioned, reference is made to those of Seth Pease or to other new ones made by Spafford, but most likely to those Pease; but the latter, I am satisfied, are not on record in Warren, or they would have been copied into our County Records long ago, or have become known to some of our Examiners of Titles, and they certainly are not in the County Records here, and, so far as I know, there are no copies in this city besides those in the Engineer's Office. Certain it is, that for particular description of the two-acre lots, reference must be had to Pease's notes. I append a copy of Spafford's map, from the Engineer's Record (see Map No. 3). It will be noticed that there are buildings shown on this map in black. These, it is said, represent all the buildings standing in 1814, and were put on by Alfred Kelley, Esq., when the map was recorded here. The lines of Euclid avenue, from the "Square" to the end of Huron street, are also shown, but they were probably put on about the same time, as Euclid avenue was laid out as shown, in October, 1815, by the Trustees of Cleveland Village. Spafford's map does not differ materially from Pease's, except that in it "Maiden Lane" shown on Pease's , and which occupied about the location of the present Michigan street, is not shown at all and that Vineyard and Union lanes are straightened, and Superior lane is opened from Water street to the river. Besides these lanes, there were ten original streets, each six rods or ninety-nine feet wide, except Bath (now Front) street, which was irregular, and Superior street, which is 8 rods or 132 feet. Those parallel to Lake Erie are Lake, Federal, Superior, Huron and Ohio; their course is north 56 east. Those at right angles to them, or north 34 west are Water, Ontario, Erie and Miami. This latter is shown as part of "Ohio" street on Spafford's map, but a part is now called Sheriff street and the remainder Ontario street. The lots generally, except those which are irregular by reason of bounding on the lake or river, are two chains wide by ten chains deep, containing therefore, two acres. The old bed of the river is also shown on Spafford's and not on Pease's. I noticed that on Dare map of Cleveland, published in 1868, a copy of Pease's map is erroneously entitled "Spafford's." I also noticed some errors in the description of streets accompanying Spafford's map. For instance, it says Superior street is 50 1/2 chains long from the west line of Water to west line of Erie Street. It should be 51 chains. Also that the "Public Square" contains 10 acres, should be 9 1/2 acres, it being 9 1/2 chains east and west, and 10 chains north and south, by reason Superior street being 1/2 chain wider than Ontario street. (The east line of the "two-acre lots" or Original Town is now the centre of Brownell street, and of Canfield street north of St. Clair street, being the south line is parallel with and 112 1/2 feet south of Parkman street, being the south line of "Parkman lane and same produced westerly.") Spafford's description says the length of the south line of the "city" is 38 1/2 chains; it should be 37. Also, that it is 10 1/2 chains from said south line to north line of Ohio street; it should be 11 1/2. Spafford's makes the course of the south line of Bath street south 60 west; Pease's south 64 west. But this is probably due to an intentional change of direction. Pease's descriptions of streets and of lots tally very closely with each other, except that by the first he makes Lake and Superior streets 20 chains apart and parallel, and by the lot depths given they are 20.12 chains apart on the east line of Water, and 20.03 chains on the west line of Erie street. Also Lake street, south line, is 49.54 chains long, by the lot fronts, from east line of Water to west line of Erie Street, instead of 49.5 chains, as by street description.

In 1797 the surveyors returned to the Reserve, but neither Cleaveland, Porter nor Holley came with them. Seth Pease was chief surveyor, with eight assistant surveyors, among them being Warren, Stoddard, Spafford and Amzi Atwater of the 1796 party, the latter having then been a surveyor's assistant, however, In this year were surveyed the "Cleveland Ten-Acre Lots," so called, extending from the two-acre to the 100-acre lots, or from Brownell street to Willson avenue. In the City Engineer's Record, before mentioned is a copy of the minutes of this survey (which was made principally by Moses Warren, Jr.) taken by Pillsbury, and noted as "extracted from the private notes of Leonard Case." There is also a map of these lots, drawn to a scale of 15 chains to the inch, accompanying, which bears the statement: "Drawn from the original notes, January 27, 1855: J.N. Pillsbury, C.E." It does not seem that there was any map of the survey of these lots made by Warren at the time of his survey. I lately compared the Engineer's Record with what I supposed to be these private notes of Leonard Case, referred to by Pillsbury, and which are in the handwriting of Mr. Case Sr., and accompany a small map of the lots, also drawn by him, and find that while they agree generally, there are verbal differences and entire omissions of certain courses, etc., in Mr. Case's notes: so I think Mr. Case must have previously had another copy of the original notes from which Mr. Pillsbury made his. Up to a very recent time there was not in this county or elsewhere, that I can learn, any public record of the survey or laying out of these, lots, forming such a large part of the most valuable portion of our city, but March 27, 1879, Mr. Jno. L. Culley, one of our members, entered in Vol. 11, page 32 of the County Record's maps, a map and field notes of these lots both of which I find to be the same as those in the Engineer's Record and he adds the statement: The above map and field note of 'Cleveland Ten-Acre Lots' are a correct copy of the same as they are to be found in the office of Leonard Case, of this city; the map and notes in said Case's possession are supposed to be only authentic ones in existence." I cannot find that the Case heirs have any map or notes of these lots other than those of Mr. Case, Sr., which, as I said before, are somewhat different from the Engineer's Record. I lately discovered in the Western Reserve Historical Society Rooms an authentic copy of Warren's notes. In a small volume, about 4 by 6 inches, entitled "Field Notes, 1797," at the beginning of the Sixth "Book," so called, of this volume, is the following titled "Traverse of the Portage from Cuyahoga to Tuskarawas, part of the second parallel and Survey of the ten-acre Lots in the town of Cleveland by Moses Warren, Jr.," and below is written, "Transcribed by the late Genl. S.D. Harris, surveyor, Ravenna, Ohio for me. Presented by

(Signed)Chas. Whittlesey."

Then, after the copy of the notes of the surveyors mentioned in the title, comes that of the notes of the survey of these lots, closing with the words, "Extracted from the original notes and compared by Moses Warren, Jr.," (which words are evidently part of the original). Then follows the statement: "I certify the foregoing to be a correct copy of the original on file in my office.

(Signed)Samuel D. Harris,
"County Surveyor of Portage County, August 16, A.D. 1845.

"Note -- In the foregoing copy I have been careful to preserve the spelling as in the original. (Signed) S.D. Harris."

The whole of Mr. Harris copy is written in a clear and neat hand.

I till lately supposed that the notes of Leonard Case, Sr. were the authentic ones, but this, taken together with I found said notes to be, throws a different light on it. It is curious, but I do not find Col. Whittlesey in his published writings mentions this copy as having been made for him, although I know of his informing a gentleman of its existence quite recently. I took an exact copy of this copy by Mr. Harris and found it to compare very closely with Pillsbury's, the difference being merely verbal except that in the former the north line of Euclid avenue is said to be 65 links longer than the south side, and in the latter 62 links, and the former would correctly make the front on St. Clair street of lot 131 - 14.06 chains instead of 14.6 chains as in Pillsbury's and also give the depth of the lots on the south side of Woodland avenue as 20 chains, which is omitted in Pillsbury copy. I have corrected Pillsbury's copy in the Engineer's Record accordingly, and that recorded at the Court House should also be corrected.

From the fact of Mr. Harris copying directly from the original notes in his possession, and having as states, been careful to copy even the mode of spelling. I am satisfied that this is the only well authenticated copy of the notes now in Cuyahoga County. Having now settled this question, let us inspect the notes themselves.

They begin under date of August 20, 1797, and described as this day's work the laying our of what is now Euclid avenue from the east end of Huron street to Wilson avenue, the centre line of the latter being the dividing line between these ten acre lots and the 100 acre lots, and being a north and south line.

As the next day's work in this survey is dated "Monday, August 21st," it follows that the survey was begun on Sunday, the surveyors evidently not having the fear of the "Connecticut Blue Laws" before their eyes. There were three roads laid out by this survey, called the "North," "Centre" and "South" highways, and being now called St. Clair street, Euclid avenue and Woodland avenue respectively, each 99 feet wide, and their respective courses being N. 58 E., N. 82 E., and S. 74 E., all extending from the line of the city as laid out by Pease, to the line of the 100-acre lots, the first connecting with Federal street, the second with Huron, and the third with Erie street of Pease's plot. Warren erroneously terms "Federal" (now St. Clair) street "Lake" street in these notes. Midway between the "North" and "Centre" and "Centre and "South" highways were run lines, also from the "city" line to the 100-acre-lot line, and which form the rear boundaries of the lots, which were laid out 5 chains wide (except those adjacent to the city line, and the 100-acre-lot line), their side line running back to these rear division lines, at right angles with the highways. Thus, the streets and rear lines of lots all radiate from the original town, each making and angle of 12 with the next adjacent north or south and the side lines of the lots are parallel and make angles of 24 deflection at the rear lines, the whose resembling a fan or a section of a spider's web. As stated by Col. Whittlesey, the object of laying out the lots and streets in this fashion was not, as has been supposed by some, from a preference for such a geometrical plan, but to equalize the lots as to value. The front being the same, and the value decreasing according to the distance from the "city" this decrease was to be compensated by the increased depth of the lots. I present a map (see No.4) of the survey, drawn from the notes, and which, as well as the copies of Pease's and Spafford's maps, presented, was made for me by Mr. Otto Dercum, of the City Civil Engineer's Office. Payne avenue has been opened along the dividing line between the St. Clair street and Euclid avenue lots, and Garden street on that between the Euclid avenue and the Woodland avenue lots. Perry street, Sterling avenue, Case avenue and Kennard street have also been opened upon the side lines of lots, as shown in dotted lines on map here presented. The lots fronting on the south side of Woodland avenue are the only ones that actually contain 10 acres each, being 5 chains front and 20 chains deep, and the reason the rear is parallel to the front of this tier is probably on account of the Kingsbury Run ravine lying along the rear line. The other lots from the very nature of their boundaries, differ widely in area, some having less than acres, some as high as 35 or 40 acres, and one, No. 166, about 100 acres. The numbers of the lots, as will be seen, begin at the west end of the south tier and run east, then begin again with the next consecutive number at the west lot of the next tier north, and so on. When these numbers were assigned is something of a question, probably in 1801, in which year the Land Company divided the unsold portions of the six townships, including "Cleveland", which had been reserved for the benefit of the company, into tracts of 1,00 acres each. The whole $1,200,00 of each stock was divided into 90 drafts, each representing $13,333,33 1/3, and the tracts were drawn in a lottery by the holders of these drafts. To equalize these tracts as to value, certain of the 2- acre and 10- acre lots were added to them. There is in the Historical Society maps a very old map of "Cleveland Township," showing the 2- acre, the 10- acre and the 100- acre lots, the latter parceled off into 16 1,000- acre tracts, and the numbers on the 10-acre lots are given just as they stand today; and a table is added to the map showing what lots were added to what tracts, and to whom they went, and this, so far as I know, is where the numbers were assigned.

Warren set square posts for the front corners of all the lots. The figures shown at the lots corners on the map are the numbers of his tallies or each 5-chain measurement from his beginning point, which are marked with ciphers.

His descriptions of the highways sound queerly enough at the present day. Of the "Centre highway" he says: The land admits of an excellent highway to the middle of No. 24 and then of a good cartway north of the swamp to the 100-acre lots; the soil is preferable to that of the city, timber oak, hickory, chestnut, box." This is slightly different from the Euclid avenue of our day, with its block-stone pavement, electric lights, elegant residences, &c. Of Woodland avenue he says: "The land admits of an excellent highway, but is not as good for grass as that of the centre laid out yesterday." Of St. Clair street he says; "In the beginning of the 3d and 20th tallies are small brooks; the land is swampy and scalded, but hard clay bottom, will require causewaying to be good road, but can be passed as it is, and is good land for grass."

I will now give some figures to show how Warren's measurements compare with modern measurements.

As is generally the case in old surveys, there is found a considerable surplus or excess above the recorded fronts of these lots. This is due largely from the tendency of a chain in constant use, as it was in these old surveys, to elongate from the opening and wearing of the rings connecting its links. Considering, however, that these early surveys were made with the primitive compass and iron chain, and through a thickly wooded country, it must be conceded that the measurement both of the 10- acre and the 2- acre lots show a notable uniformity of surplus, showing that they were taken with considerable care.

In 1855 a survey of the 10- acre lots from the 2- acre lot line to Wilson avenue, and from Euclid avenue to St.Clair street, was made under G.A. Hyde, city engineer, by Charles Hermany, assistant and from the results of his survey I will give some comparisons. At that time the east line of the 2- acre lots, or centre, of Canfield street and Brownell street, was defined by two stone monuments, one on the south line of St.Clair street and one on the south line of Euclid avenue(and Huron street), and the east line of the 10- acre lots, or centre of Wilson avenue, was also defined by stones on the south lines of St.Clair street and Euclid avenue. These I will term the "end monuments." There was also a stone on the south line of St.Clair street and in the centre of Case avenue; also one on north line of St.Clair and centre of Sterling avenue; also stones on the south line of Euclid and centres of Perry, Sterling, Case and Kennard. There is no record as to who originally set these monuments, but I think likely they were set partly by Ahaz Merchant, who was county surveyor here more than fifty years ago, and partly by his son Aaron, also county surveyor after his father, both of whom set many monuments that are not recorded. John Shier, both of whom I will speak again, may have set the ones on the 2-acre lot boundary and the one at Perry st. However that may be, these stones have long been regarded as correct by surveyors. I have never heard of their being disputed. There were no stones set by Warren -- only posts at the lot corners - and undoubtedly these stones were set according to the location of these posts. They are all now in existence, except the ones at Canfield street and Case avenue, which have been lost. Hermany's measurements, it is worthy of note, are recorded as having been made with a steel tape. His measurement on St.Clair street, between the end monuments, was 11,126.3 feet. Warren's was 11,056.65; surplus 69.65 feet, equal to about 0.63 feet per 100 feet, 0.416 feet per chain and 2.08 feet per lot, making the lots 332.08 feet wide, instead of 330 feet by Warren. A straight line between the end monuments in St.Clair street was 97.05 feet from the stone at Sterling, instead of 99 feet as it should be, and was 1.51 feet north of the stone at Case avenue. This latter stone was found to by only 0.17 feet, or two inches west of where a proportionate distribution of this surplus between end stones would bring it. On Euclid avenue, between end monuments, Hermany's measurement was 8,296.38 feet; by Warren it was 8,238.05; surplus, 58.33 feet, equal to 0.708 feet per 100 feet, 0.467 feet per chain and 2.355 feet per lot, making their front 332.355 feet instead of 330 feet. A straight line between the end stones made the one at Perry 4.27 feet south, the one at Sterling 1.29 feet south, the one at Case 0.92 feet south, and the one at Kennard 0.08 feet south. I found written by L. Case Sr., on the back of his map of the 10- acre lots, a statement of the following measurements made by I.N. Pillsbury, May 30, 1860:

On south line St.Clair from the 2- acre to the 100- acre lots, 11,124.2 feet, being 2.1 feet less than Hermany's and making a difference of 0.02 feet, or about 1/4 inch less surplus in each 100 feet. On Euclid south line, between same lines, he makes 8.294.67 feet, being 1.71 feet less than Hermany's showing same rate of difference as on St.Clair.

I have no other direct measurement taken at one time between the end stones in Euclid of later date that this of Pillsbury: but from careful steel-tape measurements, taken at various times on Euclid avenue since 1870 by the late Assistant City Engineer C.A. Walter, and myself, and connecting them by the angles turned, with these end stones, I find the distance to be 8,293.27 feet, being 1.40 feet less than Pillsbury 's and 3.11 feet less than Hermany's making the surplus 0.670 feet per 100 feet and 2.211 per lot=0.144 feet less than by Hermany. I have no other connected careful measurements between end stones on St.Clair street; neither have I any very close measurements on Woodland avenue, but taking the recorded frontages in sub-divisions on the north line of this avenue, plus the widths of streets, we get from the east line of Erie to the centre of Willson a total of 8,359.46 street (which may, however, be considerably short, as there is generally a surplus in the allotments). Warren's measurements =125.81=8,303.46 feet=56 feet surplus=0.445 feet per chain, 0.674 feet per 100 feet, and 2.225 feet per lot, being almost exactly the same as on Euclid avenue. A straight line run in 1869 by the city engineers, at the time Woodland avenue was paved, between monuments on said north line, one on east line of Erie and the other in centre of Willson, shows that said north line is pretty straight, monuments set to define it at following streets being as follows with reference to said straight line: At Vine street, 0.25 feet N.; at Chapel street, 0.32 feet N,; at Greenwood, 0.49 feet N.; at Forest, 0.33 feet N.; at Case avenue, 0.10 feet N., and at Kennard street, 0.17 feet S. Only one monument on the south line of the avenue was measured to - that at Humboldt street; it was 97.92 feet distant, being 1.08 feet too far north.

The rate of surplus in the 2-acre lots seems to be somewhat less than that in the 10-acre lots -- at least on most streets. Take Superior street, for instance. I found among Leonard Case, Sr.'s, papers a copy of a survey made by Messrs. Pillsbury and Whitelaw in 1859.

They make the distance in centre of Superior, from stone on east line of Square to west line of Erie street, 1,327.67 feet. Seth Pease's distance is 20 chains or 1,320 feet; surplus, 7.67 feet=0.383 feet per chain.

Pillsbury's measurement in 1852 in centre of Lake street, between stones in centre of Water and Erie streets, is 3,385.67 feet. Pease's distance in 51.04 chains, or 3,368.64 feet; surplus = 17.03 feet or 0.334 feet per chain. This measurement of Pillsbury's is almost exactly the same as measured in Superior street, from centre Water to centre Erie, by C. A. Walter and myself, ours being 3,385.86 feet. By Pease it is 51 chains or 3,366 feet; surplus=19.86 feet=0.389 feet per chain; the distance from the stone Mr. Walter set in the centre of Water street to the on east line of the "Square" being 2,008.77 feet steel-tape measurement, and from thence to the centre of Erie street 1,376.9 feet, measured with a chain to nearest tenth, but which is only 0.23 feet longer than Messrs. Pillsbury and Whitelaw's. The distance by C.A. Walter and myself in centre St.Clair street, from stone centre Erie street to stone on east line 2-acre lots is 1,241.31 feet. Pease's distance is 18.75 chains or 1,237.5 feet, making surplus 0.203 feet per chain. Walter & Co.'s measurement in centre Brownell street, or east line of 2 - acre lots, from stone on south line of Huron street to stone on south line of 2- acre lots, is 2,093.12 feet. By Pease it is 311/2 chains=2,079 feet; surplus=14.12 feet=0.448 foot per chain. The sum of various measurements in centre Erie street, from stone centre Superior street to south line of 2 - acres lots, mostly by Hermany in 1855, is 3.586 feet. By Pease it is 54 chains or 3,564 feet; surplus=22 feet=0.407 foot chain. Of course all these rates of surplus are only general averages, using extreme points. In actual surveying the rate may be found to be somewhat more or less by using intermediate stones controlling -or street lines.

It is rare to find an old street laid out perfectly straight, as recorded, and all of our original streets are more or less crooked, due to the haste, difficulties of field work and imperfect instruments of original surveyors. I might show many more comparisons of distance, &c., but will let what I have given suffice. I have spoken of stone monuments in the streets of the original town. These streets, it is understood, were nearly all so defined by Mr. John Shier, who was appointed City Surveyor and Engineer May 11, 1836, by the City Council, on motion of Mr. W.V. Craw. He was the first "City Engineer," the "City" being incorporated March 5, 1836, bounded east by the lot line in the centre of Perry street. Prior to this east and south bounds of the 2- acre lots had been those of the village. The 10- acre lots were annexed in 1850. Mr. Shier was ordered by the Council August 3, 1836, to establish the lines of streets in the city, and report his doings to Council for record, but I do not find that he ever made any such report, though I searched for it in the City Clerk's Records. May 30, 1838, he was ordered to proceed in setting stones for corners of streets. Mr. Shier came to this country from Scotland, where, I am told he had received a very thorough training as an engineer. He was subsequently located in Canada. Mr. John Whitelaw, our Water Works Engineer, informs me that he took his first lessons in surveying over there from Mr. Shier, who was a very careful, painstaking surveyor. The stones he set here were substantial ones, with hole in top, set in the centres of streets. The stones previously set by Ahaz Merchant, and others, had generally been on the street corners, the outside faces of the stones being on the street lines. Some of these still exist. April 21, 1841, the Council, on resolution of Mr. Bolton, ordered the City Clerk to record in the City records an exact copy of Seth Pease's map and notes of the "city" and also record his map of the Western Reserve in the county's record but this was not done. It remained for Pillsbury, who was elected City Civil Engineer April, 1853, to record the original surveys of our city, and the work remains credit to his memory. He makes a statement in an old volume in the Engineer's office, that when the took office he found not one solitary book, map, plan or record of any description in the engineer's office, and therefore he started this record as "No. 1 and Vol. 1 of Engineer's Records." The reason he found nothing undoubtedly was that before his time the City work was done by private engineers, who kept the notes of their work as their own property - as I find that My 3, 1854, the Board of a general survey of the city, of employing three young men regularly in the engineer's office, and of making the furniture, books, maps, &c., in the office the property of the city, showing that previously they had not been.

I will speak but briefly of that part of our city west of the river. It lies in the Township of Brooklyn. That part of the Land Company's Tract west of the Cuyahoga was surveyed in 1806 by Abraham Tappan, of Painesville, in continuation of the plan east of the Cuyahoga. A large portion of the Township of Brooklyn was incorporated as the "City of Ohio" in 1836, and annexed to Cleveland in 1854. Nearly all of this City of Ohio is embraced in the following large and important subdivisions - "Taylor Farm," "S.S. Stone's and - "Benedict and Roots," the first being made in 1833, and the others subsequently. Ahaz Merchant was the surveyor of all these allotments. They are all on record at the Court House, and so I need not refer to them. Some of the streets laid out by these allotments are defined by monuments, but there is still a great dearth of "stone monuments" over there (except in the cemetery).

Having now concluded what I have to say on the old surveys, I may, perhaps, be permitted -- though foreign to the subject of this paper -- to say a few words in conclusion regarding the present regulations of the city in passing upon allotment plats and street dedications. Prior to 1875 there was nothing in the laws of this state to prevent owners of land putting on record allotments laying out lots and streets in any manner they saw fit. They necessarily took advantage of this lack of restraint, and each man allotted his land and laid his streets to suit himself. This accounts for the many narrow, crooked and unconnecting streets in the portion of our city outside the original portion. In 1875 the Legislature passed a law requiring the approval of plats by the City Council before they could be recorded, and to govern the Board of Improvements in recommending the approval of plats, and ordinance was prepared under the direction of the City Engineer, B.F. Morse, and passed by the council June 26, 1882. This prescribes that streets laid out in new plats shall as nearly as practicable be in continuation of streets already laid out, shall be properly defined by stone monuments, shall be properly graded, ditched, bridged or culverted as required, and the title shall be good in the dedicator: streams and ravines must be indicated on the plat, and the lots must be properly numbered and figured, so that they can be located from the monuments. All these requirements are sound. I cannot say that they have all been strictly lived up to by the Board and Council since the ordinance was passed, but they have been very largely, and especially as to the proper defining and title of streets; and while we cannot help what was done before the law of 1875 was passed, we guard against similar action in the future, and certainly all of our surveyors are, or should be, as much interested in seeing that the ordinance is complied with as are the city authorities or the public generally.


Webmaster's note: This transcription was typed by Shelia Harris (for which we are grateful) and I have done limited proofreading to date. As with all transcriptions, it is not to be used as an authoritative or primary source for measurements or facts appearing in the original text. That text was transcribed (with permission) from a rare copy of the JAES held by the library of the Western Reserve Historical Society, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Cleveland Cartography

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June 21, 2003

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