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Florida was originally settled by the Spaniards, and was held as a Spanish province nearly two hundred years. In 1762 it was ceded by Spain to Great Britain, who divided it into the two provinces of East and West Florida, separated by the Apalachicola River, with a northern boundary substantially as at present. (Vide Fairbanks' History of Florida.)
In 1783 Great Britain retroceded Florida to Spain, and the northern boundary was fixed by the treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain signed in the same year. Spain, however, claimed the territory as far north as the parallel of latitude of the mouth of the Yazoo River,
Previous to this, in 1763, France had ceded Louisiana to Spain, which Spain retroceded to France in 1800, and in 1803 France ceded the same to the United States, who claimed that the eastern boundary of the said province of Louisiana, so often ceded, was the Perdido River, while Spain claimed it to be the Iberville River and Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain. The controversy arising from the difference of interpretation of these various treaties and cessions was terminated by the treaty of Washington in 1819, whereby Spain ceded to the United States the provinces of East and West Florida.
On March 30, 1822, by an act of Congress, the territory ceded to the United States by Spain was made the "Territory of Florida," embracing the same extent as does the present State.
On March 3, 1845, Florida was admitted into the Union as an independent State.
(For a history of the northern boundary of Florida vide Georgia, p. 104.)
In 1831 Congress passed an act relating to the boundary between Florida and Alabama, of which the following in an extract:
AN ACT to ascertain and mark the line between the State of Alabama and the Territory of Florida, and the northern boundary of the State of Illinois, and for other purposes.
That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized to cause to be run and marked the boundary line between the State of Alabama and the Territory of Florida, by the surveyors-general of Alabama and Florida, on the thirtyfirst degree of north latitude.
(Vide U. S. Stat. at Large, Vol. IV, p. 479.)
In 1847 the agreement of commissioners previously appointed by Florida and Alabama was ratified, and the line is described as follows, viz:
Commencing on the Chattahoochee River near a place known as "Irwin's Mills’· and running west to the Perdido, marked throughout by blazes on the trees, and also by mounds of earth thrown up on the line at distances of one mile, more or less, from each other, and commonly known as "Ellicott's Line," or the "Mound Line.⠀' (Vide Florida Code, 1873, p. 100.)
This line was run in 1799-1800 by A. Ellicott. The line was retraced, remeasured, and marked in 1853-54.
The line between the two States is given in general terms in the Florida Code as follows, viz:
Commencing at the mouth of the Perdido River, from thence up the middle of said river to where it intersects the south boundary line of the State of Alabama and the thirty-first degree of north latitude; then due east to the Chattahoochee River.
In 1798 the United States formed the Territory of Mississippi, including
All that tract of country bounded on the west by the Mississippi, on the north by a line to be drawn due east from the mouth of the Yasous to the Chattahouchee River, on the east by the Chattahouchee River, and on the south by the thirty-first degree of north latitude. (Vide U. S. Stat. at Large, Vol. I, p. 549.)
In this act was a clause reserving the right of Georgia and of indi viduals to the jurisdiction of the soil thereof.
South Carolina and Georgia having ceded to the United States their claim to territory west of their present limits, the General Government, in 1804, by an act of Congress, annexed the tract of country lying north of Mississippi Territory and south of the State of Tennessee, and bounded on the east by Georgia and west by Louisiana, to the Territory of Mississippi. (Vide U. S. Stat. at Large, Vol. II, p. 305.) Also in 1812 the United States added to Mississippi Territory all the lands lying east of Pearl River, west of the Perdido and south of the thirtyfirst degree of latitude. (Vide U. S. Stat. at Large, Vol. II, p. 734.)
By these additions the Territory of Mississippi was made to comprise what is now included in the two States of Alabama and Mississippi. On March 8, 1817, by an act of Congress the territory of Alabama was formed from the eastern portion of the Territory of Mississippi, with the following boundaries, viz:
Beginning at the point where the line of the thirty-first degree of north latitude intersects the Perdido River; thence east to the western boundary line of the State of Georgia; thence along said line to the southern boundary line of the State of Tennessee; thence west along said boundary line to the Tennessee River; thence up the same to the mouth of Bear Creek; thence by a direct line to the northwest corner of Washington County; thence due south to the Gulf of Mexico; thence eastwardly, including all the islands within 6 leagues of the shore, to the Perdido River; and thence up the same to the beginning. (Vide U. S. Stat. at Large, Vol. III, p. 371.)
On December 14, 1819, Alabama was admitted as an independent State, with the above boundaries. It was, however, made the duty of the surveyor of the public lands south of Tennessee and the surveyor of lands in Alabama Territory to run and cut out the line of demarcation between the two States of Alabama and Mississippi, and if it should appear to said surveyors that so much of the line designated as running due south from the northwest corner of Washington County
to the Gulf of Mexico should enroach on the counties of Wayne, Greene, and Jackson, in the State of Mississippi, then the same should be altered, so as to run in a direct line from the northwest corner of Washington County to a point on the Gulf of Mexico 10 miles east of the mouth of the River Pascagoula. (Vide U. S. Stat. at Large, Vol. III, p. 490.) This line was run and marked in 1820. (For the history of the boundaries between Alabama and Georgia vide Georgia, p. 104. For the history of the boundaries between Alabama and Florida vide Florida, p. 108.)
The boundary between Alabama and Tennessee is the thirty-fifth parallel of north latitude (vide North Carolina, p. 102), from Nickajack (vide Georgia, p. 104) west across the Tennessee River, and on to the second intersection of said river by said parallel. (Vide Alabama Code, 1876, p. 189.)
The boundary between Alabama and Mississippi was to be run by surveyors, under the act of admission of Alabama. The report of said surveyors is not at hand, but the line as laid down in the Mississippi Code is as follows, viz:
Beginning at a point on the west bank of the Tennessee River, six four-pole chains south of and above the mouth of Yellow Creek; thence up the said river to the mouth of Bear Creek; thence by a direct line to what was formerly the northwest corner of Washington County, Alabama; thence in a direct line to a point ten miles east of the Pascagoula River, on the Gulf of Mexico. (Vide Mississippi Code, pp.
(For the early history of the extent of Mississippi Territory vide Alabama, p. 109.)
On December 10, 1817, the western part of the Mississippi Territory was made a State and admitted into the Union, with the following boundaries, viz:
Beginning on the river Mississippi at the point where the southern boundary of the State of Tennessee strikes the same; thence east along the said boundary line to the Tennessee River; thence up the same to the mouth of Bear Creek; thence by a direct line to the northwest corner of the county of Washington; thence due south to the Gulf of Mexico; thence westwardly, including all the islands within six leagues of the shore, to the most eastern junction of Pearl River with Lake Borgne; thence up said river to the thirty-first degree of north latitude; thence west along said degree of latitude to the Mississippi River; thence up the same to the beginning. (Vide U. S. Stat. at Large, Vol. III, p. 348.)
(For further information concerning eastern boundary, vide Alabama, p. 109.)
In 1819 the line between Mississippi and Tennessee was run by commissioners. Their report is not at hand. In 1833 the legislature of Tennessee passed an act establishing "Thompson's line." The details of "Thompson's line" have not been found. In 1837 the line was again
run by commissioners from the two States and ratified by the legis latures. The commissioners' report was as follows:
Commencing at a point on the west bank of the Tennessee River six four-pole chains south, or above the mouth of Yellow Creek, and about three-quarters of a mile north of the line known as "Thompson's line," and twenty-six chains and ten links north of Thompson's line at the basis meridian of the Chickasaw surveys, and terminating at a point on the east bank of the Mississippi River (opposite Cow Island) sixteen chains north of Thompson's line. (See Laws of Tennessee, 1837, p. 27.)
The boundaries were fixed by the act of Congress admitting the State of Mississippi, as follows, viz:
Commencing at the most eastern junction of Pearl River with Lake Borgne, thence up said Pearl River to the thirty-first degree of north latitude, thence west along said degree of latitude to the Mississippi River, thence up the same to the point where the southern boundary of Tennessee strikes the same. (See U. S. Laws, vol. 6, p. 175.)
Mississippi claims to the middle of the Mississippi River, where the river forms her western boundary. (See Rev. Stat., 1857.)
The original territory of Louisiana was acquired from France. (See p. 19.) In 1804 a portion of this, comprising the area of the present State of Louisiana, with the exception of the southeastern portion, immediately adjoining the present State of Florida, was organized into a Territory under the name of Orleans, while the balance of the Louisiana purchase retained the name of Louisiana Territory. On April 30, 1812, the Territory of Orleans was admitted as a State under the name of Louisiana, and at the same time the name of the Territory of Louisiana was changed to Missouri Territory. In the same year the limits of the State were enlarged in the southeast to its present boundaries.
The following act defines the Territory of Orleans:
All that portion of country, ceded by France to the United States under the name of Louisiana, which lies south of the Mississippi Territory, and of an east and west line to commence on the Mississippi River at the thirty-third degree of north latitude, and to extend west to the western boundary of the said cession, shall constitute a Territory of the United States, under the name of the Territory of Orleans. (Eighth Congress, first session.)
The following clause from the act admitting Louisiana defines its original boundaries:
Beginning at the mouth of the river Sabine; thence by a line to be drawn along the middle of said river, including all islands, to the thirty-second degree of latitude; thence due north to the northernmost part of the thirty-third degree of north latitude; thence along the said parallel of latitude to the river Mississippi; thence down the said river to the river Iberville, and from thence along the middle of the said river and lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain to the Gulf of Mexico; thence, bounded by the said Gulf, to the place of beginning, including all islands within three leagues of the coast. (Twelfth Congress, first session.)
The following is a description of the addition to the State of Louisiana in terms of the act:
Beginning at the junction of the Iberville with the river Mississippi, thence along the middle of the Iberville, the river Amite, and of the lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain, to the eastern mouth of the Pearl River; thence up the eastern branch of Pearl River to the thirty-first degree of north latitude; thence along the said degree of latitude to the river Mississippi; thence down the said river to the place of beginning, shall become and form a part of the State of Louisiana. (Twelfth Congress,
The north boundary of Louisiana was surveyed by a joint commission of the State and the United States.
Texas declared its independence of Mexico in 1835. On December 29, 1845, it was admitted to the Union. As originally constituted, it embraced, besides its present area, the region east of the Rio Grande, now in New Mexico, extending north to the forty-second parallel, its eastern limits coinciding with the western limit of the United States, as laid down in the treaty with Spain of 1819. (See "Texas accession," p. 23.)
In 1848 the eastern boundary of the State was extended slightly, as noted in the following act:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Congress consents that the legislature of the State of Texas may extend her eastern boundary so as to include within her limits one-half of Sabine Pass, one-half of Sabine Lake, also one-half of Sabine River, from its mouth as far north as the thirty-second degree of north latitude.
In 1850 the State sold to the General Government for the sum of $10,000,000 that part lying north of the parallel of 36° 30′, and that portion lying west of longitude 103°, as far south as the parallel of 32°, as set forth in the following clause from the act of Congress relating to this transfer:
First. The State of Texas will agree that her boundary on the north shall commence at the point at which the meridian of one hundred degrees west from Greenwich is intersected by the parallel of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, and shall run from said point due west to the meridian of one hundred and three degrees west from Greenwich; thence her boundary shall run due south to the thirtysecond degree of north latitude; thence on the said parallel of thirty-two degrees of north latitude to the Rio Bravo del Norte, and thence with the channel of said river to the Gulf of Mexico. (Thirty-first Congress, first session.)
The following act defines the northern boundary of Texas:
AN ACT to authorize the President of the United States, in conjunction with the State of Texas, to run and mark the boundary lines between the Territories of the United States and the State of Texas.
Beginning at the point where the one hundreth degree of longitude west from Greenwich crosses Red River, and running thence north to the point where said one hundreth degree of longitude intersects the parallel of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, and thence west with the said parallel of thirty-six degrees