USCGS PA-WV Meridian (45), 1883, Pennsylvania-West Virginia
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member seventhings
N 39° 43.420 W 080° 31.160
17S E 541194 N 4397198
Quick Description: USCGS PA-WV Meridian Stone (45), 1883, PA-WV, is a dressed sandstone shaft set by the 1883 - 1885 re-survey of Pennsylvania’s western boundary with West Virginia.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 8/13/2007 6:13:36 AM
Waymark Code: WM205Q
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member GEO*Trailblazer 1
Views: 103

Long Description:
USCGS PA-WV Meridian Stone (45), 1883, PA-WV, is a12-inch by 12-inch dressed sandstone shaft that projects 15 inches. It was set by the joint boundary commissioners of PA and WV who had engaged Cephas Sinclair and C. H. Van Orden of the US Coast and Geodetic Survey (USCGS) to re-survey the PA-WV boundary from the Ohio River to the southwest corner of PA.

The stone is located along the south side of McGuffey Road (WV) and Young Road (PA), about 0.16 miles north of the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, about 5.5 miles southwest of New Freeport, PA, about 4.2 miles northwest of Hundred, WV, about 1.8 miles north-northwest of Littleton, WV, and on the Greene County, PA, - Marshall County, WV, boundary line. It is depicted on the USGS topographic map for the Littleton (WV-PA) Quadrangle, but it is not numbered. Were it numbered, it would be stone number 45 from the north end of the PA-VA Meridian boundary line at the Ohio River. The stone is in neither the National Geodetic Survey nor Geocaching databases.

The stone is a sandstone shaft with a roughly pyramidal top, and is in fair condition. The pyramidal top is has been damaged and rounded, and it has a quarter-inch centering hole at the flattened apex. A large chunk is missing from the northwest vertical face near the top, and the southwest corner of the top has been chipped off. The east face is inscribed with a cut “P”, the west face with a cut “WV”, and the north face with “1883”. Faint remnants of an inscription are visible on the south west face, but are unreadable. The commissioners’ report describes the stone as “sandstone”, but it appears to be an exceptionally dense type of sandstone (similar to the coarse-grained marble that is native to the area). The stone is located along the south side of McGuffey Road/Young Road. It is about ten feet south of the centerline of the road, and about three feet higher than the road.

The convention for naming the boundary stones along the PA-WV Meridian boundary line is to use the sequential number assigned each on the US Geological Survey (USGS) topographical charts. Although this stone is the 45th boundary monument south of the Ohio River, the historical record suggests that it was originally the 46th of 47 stones set by the 1883 survey. It is the first boundary stone north of the southwest corner of PA.

To reach from the intersection of US Highway 250 and WV State Highway 69 in Hundred, WV, go northwest on US Highway 250 for about 7.2 miles to the intersection with Georgetown Road (gravel). Turn right and go northeast on Georgetown Road for about 0.5 miles to the intersection with McGuffey Road, a rougher gravel road that leads easterly and uphill. Turn right and go easterly on McGuffey Road for about 1.0 miles to the state boundary line and the stone on the right.

HISTORY OF THE SW CORNER OF PA AND THE ELLICOTT LINE
The original 1680 grant by Charles II to William Penn provided that the southern boundary of Pennsylvania would extend for five degrees of longitude from the west bank of the Delaware River. From 1763 to 1767, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon ran the colony’s southern boundary (the “West Line”) westward from the boundary intersection point at the northeast corner of Maryland. They estimated that the length of the line would be 252.8 miles or 253.5 miles (they provided two estimates), but only got as far as Brown’s Hill, about 230.67 miles from the northeast corner of Maryland. They were prevented from completing the line for the full five degrees of longitude by the objections of representatives of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy who, under the terms of George III’s Royal Proclamation of 1763, had veto rights over westward colonial expansion. Since the true length of PA’s southern boundary is 253.13 miles, Mason and Dixon’s survey fell 21.46 miles short of its objective.

In 1782-83, Alexander McLean and Joseph Neville completed Mason and Dixon’s line to the (estimated) limit of five degrees of longitude. In 1784, commissioners and surveyors James Madison, Robert Andrews, John Page and Andrew Ellicott of Virginia, and David Rittenhouse, John Lukens, John Ewing and Thomas Hutchins of Pennsylvania, fixed the southwest corner of Pennsylvania by astronomical observation. To perform this task, the surveyors divided into two parties: one at Wilmington, DE, near the west bank of the Delaware River and the other in the vicinity of the southwest corner of Pennsylvania. They made simultaneous observations of a distinctive celestial event: the eclipse of the moons of Jupiter. By noting the time difference between the simultaneous observations by the two teams, they were able to calculate very accurately both the distance between the two parties in degrees of longitude and the corrections necessary to determine the location of the western end of the line relative to the location of the western observatory. With these values, the surveyors were able to ascertain the location of the west end of the West Line without reference to the actual distance (as would be expressed in feet, rods and miles) from the east end. As a result, they estimated that they were 23 miles west of where Mason and Dixon had left off in 1767. In 1948, Thomas Cope evaluated the 1784 survey’s performance; he determined that their position for the southwest corner of Pennsylvania was 23 feet west of a point exactly five degrees of longitude from the west bank of the Delaware River. He also noted that the position was 22 miles west of Brown’s Hill.

In 1785-86, Andrew Ellicott ran a meridian northward from the southwest corner of PA first to the Ohio River (to establish PA’s western boundary line with Virginia – now, West Virginia) and, second, to the southern bank of Lake Eire (to establish PA’s western boundary with the “Northwest Territories”). The meridian forming PA’s western boundary line is one of two “Ellicott Lines”, the other being the boundary between the United States and the Spanish Territory of Florida (now the boundary between the states of Alabama and Florida). Starting in 1785, Thomas Hutchins, Geographer of the United States, used that portion of the PA Ellicott Line extending north from the Ohio River as the base line for the first US Public Land Survey.

In 1883-85, joint boundary commissioners Col. James Worrell, James McCullough, and William Walker of Pennsylvania, and Joseph Gist, Capt. John Chipley and Francis L. Hoge of West Virginia, engaged Cephas Sinclair and C. H. Van Orden of the US Coast and Geodetic Survey, re-surveyed the Ellicott Line for the 63.6 miles from the Ohio River to the southwest corner of PA, and the West Line from (their estimate of) the northwest corner of MD for the 55.2 miles to the southwest corner of PA. The commissioners (McCullough, Chipley and Hoge) set 47 new boundary monuments (48 were planned) along the meridian, and 40 new boundary monuments (41 were planned) along the West Line, including a monument at the intersection of the two lines. Their eastern-most monument (the “Sinclair Stone” at Sinclair’s estimate of the PA-WV-MD tri-state boundary intersection point) lies 0.75 miles east of a monument established by the US Corps of Topographic Engineers in 1860, and 0.20 miles east of the intersection point as established by a survey directed by the US Supreme Court in 1910.

According to residents of the area, the 1883 monument at the southwest corner of PA was replaced with the current stone monument in the 1970’s.

Forty-two boundary monuments are depicted on the USGS topographic charts along the meridian from the southwest corner of Pennsylvania and the Ohio River. Only the monuments between Number 23 and Number 32 are labeled. Four of the monuments have PIDs. However, discrepancies between the historical record and the position of the depicted monuments (and between the historical record and the descriptions of those monuments with PIDs) suggests that more than five of the original 1883 stones are either not depicted or were lost. Additionally, one monument is depicted and labeled “Old Meridian Monument”; presumably, it is one of the 1785 stones. Given the extent of mining and drilling activities along the northern half of the PA-WV meridian, it should not be surprising that several of the 1883 monuments are lost.

Thirty-five of the 40 boundary monuments set in 1883 and 1885 along the parallel between the southwest corner of Pennsylvania and the tri-state boundary intersection point are depicted on the USGS topographic charts. Only one, the eastern-most (the “Sinclair Stone”) is labeled (as Number 222).

References:

Cope, Thomas D., “Westward Five Degrees in Longitude”, Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Academy of Sciences, vol. 22, 1948

Report of the Secretary of Internal Affairs of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania containing the Reports of the Surveys and Re-surveys of the Boundary Lines of the Commonwealth, (Harrisburg, PA, Edwin K. Meyers, 1887). The reports and correspondence pertaining to the 1782-83 and Ellicott surveys are at pages 282 – 379. The reports of the commissioners and surveyors for the 1883-85 USCGS surveys are at pages 380 – 430.

“The Point of Beginning of the United States Public Land Survey”, Milestones (The Journal of Beaver County (PA) History), Vol 3. No. 4, Autumn, 1977, at (visit link)
Monumentation Type: Dressed stone

Monument Category: State boundary marker

Accessible to general public: yes

Explain Non-Public access:
Road right-of-way


Historical significance:
See above


County: Greene County, PA, - Marshall County, WV

USGS Quad: Littleton (PA, WV)

NGS PID: None

Other Coordinates: N 39° 43.420 W 080° 31.160

Other Coordinates details:
Handheld coordinates are not accurate due to heavy tree-cover.


Approximate date of monument: 10/01/1883

Monumentation Type (if other): Not listed

Monument Category (if other): Not listed

Monument Website: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
1. A closeup photo of the monument is required.
______
2. A 'distant' photo including the monument in the view is highly recommended. Include the compass direction you faced when you took the picture.
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