The following is a small excerpt taken from the full article which can be read at:
A History of Iron County, Michigan


Remembering Our Ancestors Through Genealogy

A History of Iron County, Michigan

The crews of each surveyor ordinarily consisted of two chainmen, two axmen and additional Indian help to pack supplies, prepare meals, move camp and perform other minor duties as needed.

All section corners were well marked, the actual corner usually by a solid stake driven deeply into the ground, while two sturdy trees were chosen nearby as bearing trees. These witness trees were blazed on the side facing the corner post, the description of the corner being scribed into the blazed section in letters and numbers approximately two and one half inches in height. Though most of these bearing trees have been destroyed through fire, decay and acts of man, some still remain in remote places, the markings in some cases being deeply imbedded in the growth of a century. The chain used in measuring the lines was the Gunters chain consisting of 100 links, each link being 7.92 inches in length, making a total length of chain 66 feet or four rods. All chain and axmen were under oath in the performance of their duties and the following affidavits of the crew of Francis S. Houck during the survey of Township 46 Range 33 are included here for their historical interest.

I, Oliver Trowbridge and George B. Cook, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of chain carrier, in all surveys of United States Lands in which I shall be employed as such; and that I will level the chain in measuring over uneven ground, and plumb the tally pins, whether sticking or dropping the same; and that I will report the true distance to all notable objects, and the true length of all the lines that I may assist in measuring, and mark correctly letters and numbers at all corners that I may be required to mark, to the best of my skill and ability.
(Signed)
G. B. Cook.
O. Trowbridge.
June 1852.

We, Adomiram J. Paine and Truman R. Rhead do solemnly swear that we will well and faithfully perform the duities of axmen, in blazing and marking the lines and corners in all surveys of United States lands in which we may be employed as such, to the best of our skill and ability.
(Signed)
A. J. Paine.
T. R. Rhead.
June 1852.

Upon completion of the survey of each Township, the deputy surveyor in charge of the work submitted a complete notarized record of the field notes to his superior, the Surveyor General for the States of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.


I have often wondered why I couldn't find Truman on the 1850 census. Now I know. He was apparently working on a survey crew in 1850 and since they were in undeveloped territory, he wouldn't have been accessible to the census taker. Of course, I haven't found him in 1860 either. Was he still working on survey crews in 1860? Has anyone found him on the 1860 census? Has anyone found his wife, Phebe Catharine Gregory on the 1860 census?