Blog : Famous Historical Land Surveyors

Famous Historical Land Surveyors

Land surveying has played a vital role in the formation of all nations and the United States is no exception. In fact, did you know that one of the largest original land holders in the state of Georgia, Nobel Jones, was the state’s original and sole surveyors during the formation of Georgia? To this day Nobel Jones’ family is still the only “original” Georgia families that reside on the over 800-acre property (Wormsloe Plantation) they were allotted during the original settlement of the state.

Nobel was not the only famous land surveyor in US history, however. Many prominent figures in the formation of our great nation also spent a portion of their career within the surveying industry. Here are a few of the most notable figures that may surprise you:

George Washington – One of America’s most famous (and earliest) land surveyors is George Washington himself. The young future president got his bright start at the age of 17 in 1749. It was not long until he was appointed to be the Surveyor General for Virginia. Washington actually played an essential role at this time, because surveying the land promoted expansion westward.

Thomas Jefferson – Thomas Jefferson was appointed to work as the Albermarle County surveyor in Virginia in 1773. He also promoted surveying by sending Lewis & Clark on their expedition to explore the land gained through the Louisiana Purchase.

Abraham Lincoln – George Washington and Thomas Jefferson weren’t the only president to work as a surveyor. The nation’s 16th president got his start as a self-educated man in Kentucky. He worked as a storekeeper and postmaster in addition to surveying land and studying law at the same time. It is clear that Lincoln was a man with a great deal of talent and many skills, seeing how much time he spent participating in different types of work before he became president.

Daniel Boone – As an American pioneer and explorer from Kentucky, Daniel Boone resolved settler’s claims to land. He was known to have spent much of his time traveling around the American frontier. In spite of the fact that he had no formal schooling, Boone went on to become an expert tracker by the time he was a teenager. In the years following, he took to surveying.

Henry David Thoreau – Though most might know of Thoreau as an author, he actually became a surveyor in the 1850s before he published his books. Being a surveyor allowed Thoreau to use his career to facilitate his hobby. Thoreau used his observations to journal his ideas.

Benjamin Banneker – As a self-taught African American mathematician and surveyor, Benjamin Banneker was remarkably successful. In 1789, Washington even appointed Banneker to be part of the team surveying the future site of Washington, D.C. The project took about two years.

William Clark & Meriwether Lewis – Lewis and Clark were tasked with some of the most intensive land surveying in American history. While Lewis had a reputation as more of a planner, Clark was an expert surveyor and mapmaker. Together, the partners traveled across the land then known as the Louisiana Purchase, making their way to Oregon to scout it out.

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