By J. Stanley Clark
The history of the northern boundary of Oklahoma is very closely associated with that of the Panhandle. After Missouri had been admitted into the Union as a state in 1820, the region north of 36° 30' became known as the "Unorganized Territory." This vast region was chosen as a suitable one for Indian reservations.1 Many tribes were removed into the region between 1825 and 1850.2 For several years the people of those states bordering upon that region had been asking for a better form of government for the country beyond them.3
Numerous resolutions and petitions were brought to the attention of Congress, all urging the organization of the "Territory of the Platte" or the Nebraska country.4
Finally on Thursday, February 10, 1853, Mr. William A. Richardson, of Illinois, Chairman of the House Committee on Territories, presented for consideration the final form of a bill for the government of the proposed territory.5 Mr. Howard of Texas opposed the measure because, by the Act of 1830, the Indians had been assured that their land would never be incorporated in any territory or state without their consent.6 Another objection voiced against the proposed bill was that Nebraska would be too large if its southern boundary was set at 36° 30', and it was suggested that the boundary be limited to 39° 30'.7
3Roy Gittinger, "The Separation of Nebraska and Kansas from the Indian Territory," Chronicles of Oklahoma, I, 9-29.
6Laws of the Colonial and State Governments relating to Indians and Indian Affairs, 1633-1831 (Washington, 1852), Law of May 28, 1830.
Mr. Hall, of Missouri, in reply said:
"The reason why this bill fixes 36° 30' as the southern boundary of Nebraska is, because the road from Missouri to New Mexico crosses the line of 36° 30' and therefore you have to run down to that line to protect that great travel. That is the reason why the boundaries are so extensive."8
The bill passed the House, but failed because of Southern opposition in the Senate. The two senators from Texas, Thomas J. Rush and Sam Houston, led the opposition, because they were afraid that in the event of the organization of the territory, that some of the hostile Indians of the Plains' area would remove to Texas and cause trouble along the Texan frontier.9
In December of that year, on the first day that Congress met, Augustus C. Dodge of Iowa introduced a bill in the Senate that provided for the organization of the territory. John G. Miller of Missouri introduced a like bill in the House of Representatives a few days later.10 This time they felt assured that speedy attention would be given to their legislation because interest in the region had been quickened by the great railroad projects that confronted Congress.
Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois was Chairman of the Senate Committee on Territories. After several revisions, the bill was finally reported from the committee with three amendments. One provided that the two territories be named Nebraska and Kansas; one, changed the southern boundary from 36° 30' to 37° and the other repealed the Missouri Compromise.11 The House finally gave its final approval to the amended bill and the President signed it May 30, 1854.12
Senator Douglas gave as the reason for changing the southern boundary of Kansas Territory that the attention of his committee had been called by the chairman of the committee on Indian Affairs, Mr. Sebastian, of Arkansas, to the fact that if the boundary were placed at 36° 30' it would divide the Cherokee country; whereas by taking the parallel of 37° north latitude as the southern boundary, the line would run between the Cherokees and the Osages,13 along the northern boundary of the Cherokee Nation set by treaties with the United States made in 1828 and 1833.14 A map of Kansas and Nebraska, indorsed August 5, 1854, by George W. Manypenny, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, shows the thirty-seventh parallel as the boundary between the Osage and Cherokee reservations. The Committee on Territories thought the map was accurately drawn.15
Indian tribes located within the limits or jurisdiction of the territory of Kansas were in no way to become a part of the territory of Kansas until such tribes signified their assent to the President of the United States to be included within the territory.16 Plans, however, were immediately furthered for the survey of the southern boundary proposed in the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Mr. Phelps, a Congressman from Missouri, introduced a bill in the Lower House that provided for the survey.17 After being changed by amendment, it finally passed the House June 23, 1856, the Senate June 30, and was approved by the President on July 8th.18 It read as follows:19
15Geo. W. Martin, "The Boundary Lines of Kansas," Kansas Hist. Coll., 60-61. "This parallel did not, however, form the dividing line between the Cherokee and Osage Nations; lands belonging to the former extended into Kansas approximately 2½ miles."
1911 Stat. L., p. 27. "A supplementary act", approved Aug. 18, 1856 made an appropriation of $35,400 for the expense of surveying the line.
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the President of the United States is hereby authorized and directed to cause the southern boundary line of the territory of Kansas, between the state of Missouri and the territory of New Mexico, to be surveyed and distinctly marked, and a plat of said survey shall be deposited in the office of the Secretary of the Interior, and another plat of said survey shall be deposited in the office of the secretary of the territory of Kansas."
Lieut. Col. Joseph E. Johnston was placed in command of the surveying party sent to mark the boundary.20 He had under his charge four companies of the First cavalry, and two companies of the Sixth infantry, with J. H. Clarke and Hugh Campbell, astronomers and J. E. Weysel, surveyor.21 The troops were necessary to protect the surveying party from hostile Plains Indians. The party was directed to observe the land particularly to see if it would be suitable for a railroad right-of-way.22
On May 16, 1857, the command left Fort Leavenworth and reached the initial point for the beginning of the survey May 28. For the first two weeks, the expedition was hampered by rain and rising water.23
20The journal kept by Johnston on this survey has been edited by Kyle H. Miller, "Surveying the Southern Boundary Line of Kansas," in Kansas Historical Quarterly (Topeka, 1931). I, (1931), 104-139. The footnotes and comments of Mr. Miller are especially instructive.
22House Executive Document, 35 Cong., 1st Sess., No. 103. Letter of Colonel J. E. Johnston to Secretary of War John B. Floyd, February 13, 1858.
23Miller, op. cit., 111n. A letter from the Neosho river, dated June 11, was published in the Lawrence Herald of Freedom, July 11. An excerpt mentions: This morning four companies of cavalry and one of infantry struck tents, and together with seventy-five wagons laden with supplies, took up their line of march westward, as military is wholly unneeded at this early stage.
...Every twenty-four hours we are favored with one or more heavy storms of wind and rain accompanied by thunder and lightning, and at this writing the Neosho is rising and rolling rapidly. At this point, owing to a sudden bend in the river, the line will run for a distance of three miles, directly thru the heavily timbered bottom, which being now covered by water is impassible; therefore a detention of several days must be endured.
The following entries are indicative of the general nature of Colonel Johnston's manuscript:24
May 30th. Mr. Weysse commenced work on the line. Marked the initial point 5,770 ft. north of Mr. Clark's observation. The Missouri line is marked by blazing trees on a breadth of from ten to twenty feet, so that we had no mode of fixing the initial point accurately in reference to it.
May 31st. Mr. Weysse commenced running and marking the Kansas line. The wood being thick and the ground broken, his progress was slow. About a mile and one monument.
June 6th. Heavy rain in the morning. Mr. Clark moves his observatory to the W. side of the Neosho. Troops moved about 7½ miles to Tar Creek, to which the line was measured.
June 7th. The troops encamped on Russell's Ck. about 4 miles from the ford of the Neosho near Mr. Clark. Mr. Weysse crossed Four Mile Creek, on which Mr. Kennerly made his camp.
June 8th. The cavalry started at 10 A. M. for Camp Snow twenty miles W. where we have 800 bushels of corn. Mr. Weysse reached the Neosho too late, when it was rising rapidly and no longer fordable. Rained all night.
June 9th. River still rising. Another rain at night.
June 10th. Mr. Weysse's surveying party crossed the river in a canoe. Ran the line about ¾ mile in the bottom. On the 11th, reached Mr. Clark's station. On the 12th, Mr. C gave the meridian and the new tangent was established.
24Miller, op. cit., f. n. p. 110 mentions that more than one hundred wagons with their teamsters, and a thousand horses and mules accompanied the surveying party.
Formerly a cairn of stones six feet high stood at this State corner, but it was removed to make way for a road built on the State line. Charles N. Gould, Travels through Oklahoma, 9.
The river was falling, but not fordable.
The pioneer party of about twenty travelled ahead of the group each day in order to observe the topography of the land as well as to be on the lookout for Indians. Although the primary purpose of the expedition was to survey the boundary line, it was also necessary to make a report upon the advisability of using the route for the construction of a railroad.25
Indians were passed at various times, but no trouble was had with any until on July 30th, when the surveying party was driven in to camp by two Kiowas. The account in Johnston's journal follows:26
August 1st. Capt. Garnett's party arrived about 10. Mr. Weysse about 12. His account of the affair two days ago was that two Indians joined his party from the front, shook hands with everybody. Gave them to understand partly in Mexican, partly in English, that they had talked to me
25House Ex. Doc., 35 Cong., 1st Sess., no. 103. Letter of Col. Johnston to Secretary of War Floyd, February 13, 1858.
& Capt. G. & that they were going then to find a broken-down horse I had given them. They accompanied the party for sometime, long enough to see who were armed, them took leave & went off to the rear. Soon rejoined, accompanying the party as before, watched their opportunity &, when the little wagon was hidden by a low ridge from the guard, shot the driver and drove off the vehicle at full speed, one riding one each side. The guard ran back, but when they reached the crest of the hill the Indians were at long gunshot. The soldiers, out of breath, fired without effect. After crossing the Cimarron, they cut the mules out of the harness, ransacked the wagon, cutting off some of the curtains & drove off the two mules. They had thrown the driver, LeClair, out, on stopping. He was probably dying, for when our men came out, his hand was grasping the singletree as if he had caught it in his fall and died instantly....The trail of the Indians (2, each with a led mule) had been followed about 33 miles E. of N. They had, after riding 6 or 7 miles, mounted the mules; had evidently traveled all night & were on their way to the gathering of Indians in the vicinity of Fort Atkinson to receive their annual presents. Capt. D after becoming satisfied on this point, turned back, according to instructions. Poor Le Clair was probably killed with a gun & ammunition just presented to the savage by the strange policy of the Indian Department."27
At another time "30 or 40 Kiowas, a few women among them, spent the morning in camp trading buffalo robes, moccasins and lariats. The spokesman of yesterday, who seemed to (be) the old chief's staff officer, was so grieved to see us going, that he thought nothing but whiskey could revive his drooping spirits."28
Buffalo were sighted numerous time on the journey, and hunts were organized to provide food for the camp. Two men of Lieut.
27In 1849 the newly created Department of the Interior took over the administration of Indian Affairs, much to the disgust of army men.
Col. Johnston's command died during the trip westward, and a "teamster was dangerously wounded with a butcher knife and picket maul by another."29
Final calculations on the line were made September 10. During the later part of the survey, Mr. Waysse worked under the protection of two companies of infantry.30 They were going through a country, described by Dr. James in 1820 as having grown less pleasant, less abundantly supplied with grain and less fertile with every mile of that march.31 Josiah Gregg described this region as being uninhabitable, "not so much for want of wood (though the plains are altogether naked), as of soil and of water; for though some of the plains appear of sufficiently fertile soil, they are mostly of a sterile character, and all too dry to be cultivated." There was no hope for this vast area, thought Gregg, save "some favorable mutation should be wrought in nature's operations to revive the plains and upland prairies." "These steppes," he said, "seem only fitted for the haunts of the mustang, the buffalo, the antelope, and their migratory lord, the Prairie Indian."32 The region was still referred to as a vast desert in 1858.33
From the initial point on the Missouri boundary, found from astronomical observation to be in longitude 94° 40' 26.3" to the New Mexico boundary on the 103° meridian was found to be 462 miles and 1001 feet, the corner stone being established near the source of Willow Creek, a small tributary of the Cimarron.34
31Edwin James, "Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mts." Thwaites, Early Western Travels, XV, 193-200. James was the chronicler of the Stephen H. Long Expedition.
33John B. Beall, In Barracks and Field, 211. Mr. Beall's entry in his diary on August 8, 1857 reads: "Late in the evening in a desolate spot among the sandhills, near the northern extremity of the American Desert, we encamped. Company had a few kegs of water in the wagon—enough to make a cup of coffee for each man. Men were sent out to look for water, and about a half mile from encampment there was found in a depression a shallow pond in which countless tadpoles sported. Some of the companies, where officers had not had the foresight to provide water in kegs, obtained here a scant supply for coffee."
34Beall, op cit., 216. John B. Beall was a young Georgian who had recently enlisted. He kept a diary of his experiences on this expedition.
Kansas was admitted to the Union on January 29, 1861, with its present boundaries.35 The boundary that touches Oklahoma was described as follows:
"Beginning at a point on the western boundary of the State of Missouri, where the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude crosses the same; thence west on said parallel to the twenty-fifth meridian of longitude west from Washington..."
The part of Kansas Territory west of the 25th Washington meridian detached by this act was made a part of the Territory of Colorado thirty days later.36
When the southern boundary of Kansas was thus established, complaints from the Cherokees reached the Secretary of the Interior to the effect that the meridian of 37° north latitude was not the true boundary of the Cherokee Nation, and they desired that some provision should be made to correct the mistake. It was suggested that the boundaries of Kansas be so modified as to make her southern line coincident with the northern boundary of the Cherokee land.37
Nothing came of this suggestion until after the Civil War, when the United States agreed to survey, at its own expense, and mark by conspicuous and permanent monuments the boundary line as far west as the Arkansas river.38 A commissioner from the Cherokee Nation as well as one from the United States, was to approve the survey.
Nothing definite was done in pursuance of this provision until the year 1871, when W. G. Gallagher was appointed as commissioner on behalf of the United States to cooperate with the commissioners on the part of the Cherokees. Mr. Gallagher declined
and R. G. Corwin was substituted in his stead; but he having also refused to serve, the place was finally filled by the appointment of James M. Ashley.39 The Cherokee National Council on their part selected John Lynch Adair.40
After Daniel P. Mitchell, contract surveyor, had completed the running of the eastern Cherokee boundary line, he began work on the northern boundary.41 He commenced the survey on October 13, 1871, at the east bank of the Neosho river on 37° of longitude and surveyed that line to the left bank of the Arkansas river, completing the task October 23, 1871.42 The distance was found to be 105 miles, 60 chains and 75 links in length. Mr. Mitchell's entry for the first day follows:
October 13th 1871 I began work on this line.
In order to find the precise point of beginning according to my instructions, I went to the east bank of the Neosho river where a large mound indicates the south boundary of the state of Kansas at that point and traced said south boundary east one mile, and found it well marked with closings of the subdivisional lines from the Kansas side of the line. Thus finding the line to correspond with this, I retraced the line to the mound on the East bank of the Neosho River. Thence I ran West with Burt's improved solar compass. Variation of the needle 10° East.
39Royce, Charles C., op. cit., 365. Mr. Gallagher appointed February 27, 1871; Mr. Corwin, April 14, 1871; and Mr. Ashley, May 4, 1871.
41Mitchell Survey Notes, "C. Delano, Sec'y of Int. to T. W. Walker, Com. Ind. Affairs, Jan. 18, 1872."
42One copy of these field notes was sent to the Secretary of the Interior and one to Tahlequah, Cherokee Capital. This copy with plat and numerous letters concerning the survey in now in the Phillips' Collection.
This survey was approved by the commissioners December 11, 1871.44 It was found that the amount of the "Cherokee Strip" or land north of 37° longitude that rightfully belonged to the Cherokees embraced an area of 434,679.36 acres.45
By article seventeen of the Treaty of 1866, the Cherokees had agreed to cede, in trust to the United States, such portion of their grant that was in the state of Kansas.46 This land was to be sold for the benefit of the Cherokees. By February, 1879, 156,848.47 acres had been disposed of, leaving an unsold balance of 277,830.89 acres to be sold under Congressional Act of February 28, 1877,47 which was approved by the Cherokee National Council December 1, 1877, should be disposed of to settlers at not less than $1.25 per acre and that48 "all of said lands remaining unsold after one year from the date at which they are to be offered for sale at the local land offices, shall be sold by the Secretary of the Interior for cash, in quantities or tracts not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres, at not less than one dollar per acre." The proceeds of the land sale were to be placed in the Treasury of the United States, subject to the order of the Council of the Cherokee Nation.49 Land offices for the sale were opened at Larned, Kansas, July 14, 1879; at Wichita and Independence, August 13, 1879.50
After the Civil War, it was ascertained that part of the Quapaw reservation extended about one-half mile up into Kansas. The Quapaws ceded this land, amounting to about twelve sections, to
the United States. They received one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre for the tract.51
No other disputes have caused an alteration of the boundary line, set at 37° longitude. However, from the 166th mile to the 266th mile, this line was resurveyed in 1872, and from the 207th mile to the 268th mile in 1873 by the General Land Office.52
The story of the panhandle of Oklahoma, old Beaver County, is encompassed in that of empires and republics. The Treaty of 1819 excluded it from the Louisiana Purchase; consequently its history lies outside the United States until Texas was admitted as a state in 1845.53
The Missouri Enabling Act of March 6, 1820 had extended the line prohibiting slavery north of 36° 30' from the southwestern corner of the newly created state of Missouri westward to the Spanish country.54 This line cut across the possessions of the state of Texas. The slave state of Texas had no desire to hold land north of that line, notwithstanding its exclusion from the Louisiana Purchase. Texas was willing to surrender her claims to any territory north of 36° 30', and was making plans to do so, when a dispute arose with the department of New Mexico, concerning the boundaries of the Texan un-organized counties of El Paso, Worth, Presidio, and Santa Fe, situated in its western and northwestern limits. The legislature of Texas was called together by her governor for the purpose of maintaining her claim to the disputed territory, by force, if necessary.55
President Fillmore asserted that Texas could not possibly confer any authority which could be lawfully exercised beyond her
51Kappler, "Treaty with Seneca, Quapaw, etc.," 1867, Indian Laws and Treaties, II, 741. Cf. C. C. Royce, "In Indian Land Cessions," 18th Report, Bureau of American Ethnology, 1896-97, 844-845.
53M. L. Wardell, "Southwest's History Written in Oklahoma's Boundary Story," Chron. of Okla., V. 13, (Sept., 1927), 294.
55James D. Richardson, (Ed.), A Compilation of Messages and Papers of the Presidents, VI; Millard Fillmore, "To the Senate and House of Representatives," August 1850; 2603.
own boundaries.56 To settle the disputed boundary, Senator Benton, of Missouri, introduced a bill early in the first session of the Thirty-first Congress to retire the western limit of Texas to the parallel of 102° west longitude, and the northern boundary "from the frozen region of 42° to the genial clime of 34°," two and one-half degrees south of the Missouri Compromise line.57 On the same day, Senator Foote, of Mississippi, introduced an omnibus bill, one part of which provided that another state should be carved out of Texas.58 Other proposals followed, and finally Senator Pearce presented a bill for the establishment of the northern and western boundary of the state, and the relinquishment of Texas of the territory claimed by her exterior to the limits. It provided that the boundary on the north should begin where meridian of 100° west is intersected by the parallel of 36° 30' north latitude, and run along it to the 103rd meridian, thence south to the 32nd parallel and along that parallel to the Rio Bravo. In consideration of the reduction of boundaries, the cession of territory, and the relinquishment of claim, Texas was to receive ten million dollars.59 "Better to have the boundary run by gold than by steel; by money rather than blood," commented Senator Withrop, of Massachusetts.60 The President in his annual message called attention to the gravity of the boundary problem.61
The threatened crisis was averted by Congressional action, September 9, 1850, when the Senator Pierce bill passed.62 Meantime, the Texas legislature of November 25, 1850 approved the Congressional Act of September 9, accepting every concession, with the indemnity of $10,000,000,63 so by proclamation, on December 13,
58Ibid., 31st Congress, 1st Sess., 168. Cf. W. J. Spillman, "Adjustment of Texas Boundary in 1850," Texas Hist. Quart., VII, (Jan. 1904, 177-195. Marcus Baker, "The Northwest Boundary of Texas," U. S. Geol. Survey Bulletin, No. 194.
61Richardson (ed.), op. cit., VI, Millard Fillmore to Congress; "First Annual Message," Dec. 2, 1850, 2628.
1850, President Fillmore officially and definitely settled the northern boundary of the Texan Panhandle on the parallel of 36° 30' north latitude.64
By the above act, land north of 36° 30' became public domain.65 Colorado was organized as a territory on February 28, 186166 with the same boundaries as at present and on August 1, 1876 was admitted as a state. Its southern boundary is the 37th parallel of north latitude. Colorado borders Oklahoma from the point where the 37th parallel crosses the 25th degree of longitude west from Washington to the 103rd meridian. This line was first surveyed by the party under the command of Lieut. Col. Johnston.67 A monument called the terminal monument was set on the spot that chaining indicated was the intersection of the 103rd meridian with the 37th parallel.68
Captain J. N. McComb in the summer of 1859 conducted an exploring party from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the junction of the Grand and Greene rivers. On his return he went to the Southwest corner of Kansas, (then at 103rd meridian) and erected a monument, which has since been designated by his name, two and one-quarter miles east of the Johnston terminal.69 The McComb monument was of cobble-stone, 8 feet at the base, conical shaped, 5 feet high and 2½ feet across the top.70
69Senate Document, 89, 58 Cong., 3rd Sess., "Letter of December 3, 1904." McComb established the monument at a point 11,582 feet east of the Johnson monument because of errors made in Colonel Johnston's determination.
70On July 19, 1860, Mr. Ehud H. Darling who had contracted to survey from that point westward along the 37th meridian, set a stone 30xlOx8 imbedded 20" in McComb monument, 10" projecting; engraved on S. E. "Ind. T. on the Southwest "N. M,." on the northwest "Col. T." on the northeast "1868" and "103" W. L."—Senate Document, 89, 58 Cong., 3rd Sess.
In 1872, Mr. J. J. Major set a terminal monument to mark the corner of Kansas-Colorado-Indian Territory. Of this terminal monument he says:71
"Made excavation and deposited can, bottle, bones and stakes, and broken flagpoles. Planted a white pine, seasoned, sawed pine post 8 feet long, 8 inches square, deeply and legibly marked on the north 25 L; on the south 207 M; 26 chains; on the east K; on the west C. Built mound with four pits to the cardinal points."
In 1874, Mr. Major surveyed and marked at every mile the thirty-seventh parallel from the above monument westward to the Johnston monument. At a distance of 55 miles, 22½ chains, he reached the McComb monument and 2¼ miles further the Johnston monument which he found to be:72
"A large earth mound 12 feet at base and 3 feet high, sodded, with several stones about it...Dimensions of capstone, 18x13x15, marked K, 103 L. N.M., with black paint, nearly obliterated 18 more recently cut into the stone; situated on a high table-land; new description N.M., 103 L., 1874, on opposite sides."
The Darling survey was considered the official line forming the southern boundary of Colorado, but when a question concerning its accuracy arose, Congress intervened. Congress has the power to fix or alter boundaries between territories, but after a boundary line of a state has been solemnly declared by its enabling act, it appears that the Supreme Court is the only branch of the Government which has power to determine controversies thereon.73 Notwithstanding that fact, and regardless of Colorado's prerogative as a state to ignore Congressional action, legislation was passed:74
7432 Stat. L., pt. 1, 57 Cong., P. 574; 552. $31,500 were appropriated for surve. 33 Stat. L., pt. 1, 58 Cong., p. 410. $993.89 additional was appropriated for survey of September-October, 1903.
"For the resurvey and re-establishment, on the line of the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude, of the boundary line between the State of Colorado and the Territories of New Mexico and Oklahoma, which is coincident with said parallel between the twenty-fifth and thirty-second degrees of west longitude from Washington...."
This survey was executed by H. B. Carpenter in 1902-3.75 Mile corners were established and marked by durable iron pipes 4 feet long, with flanges at the bottom, set 2 feet in the ground and surmounted by a brass cap with suitable markings thereon to indicate their location.76 This line established by Mr. Carpenter passed through "several towns lying wholly within the state of Colorado, according to the supposed boundary, as originally surveyed, and along the entire line there is a material and, in many places, excessive variance between the lines of the two surveys."77 The variation was found to be as much as one-half mile north and south of the re-established line.
Complications arose in regard to the status of people who lived within the limits of the two surveys and they were desirous of knowing whether they were residents of the State of Colorado or had been placed under Territorial jurisdiction.78 The representatives in Congress from Colorado were divided upon the point. Finally, Congress passed Senate Resolution 78 that provided for the acceptance of the Carpenter survey as the official boundary-line.79
7558 Cong., 3rd Sess., Sen. Doc. 89. The work was commenced in September, 1902 and completed in October, 1903.
77Sen. Doc. 89, op. cit., "Letter of Secretary of Interior Hitchcock to President Roosevelt, Jan. 7, 1905."
78Ibid., "James Cowie, Secretary of State to E. A. Hitchcock, Secretary of Interior, July 11, 1904."
79Cong. Record, 60th Cong., 2nd Sess., Dec. 19, 1908; 440, Dec. 12, 1908; February 13, 1909. Cong. Record, 59th Cong., 3rd Sess., Jan. 10, 1905; 632; 668.
This resolution did not meet with the approval of President Roosevelt, so he returned it to the Senate, December 19, 1908.80 As a result, the Darling survey remained the official boundary. This decision was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1925,81 so a resurvey was made of the Darling line, 1927-30, and marked as the permanent boundary.
A short boundary between New Mexico and Oklahoma is known as the Cimarron meridian. It was established in 1881 by Messrs. Chaney and Smith, U. S. Surveyors, by their own independent determination of latitude and longitude. Their work seems to have been done with commendable accuracy although their establishment of the point of intersection of the 37th parallel with the 103rd meridian was later moved 14.11 chains further south. This corner is in latitude 37° 00' .645", being practically correct and the longtitude is about one-tenth mile too far west. The south end of the meridian is 2 miles 14.65 chains east and 5.47 chains north of the northwest corner of Texas.82 A faulty survey of the New Mexico-Texas boundary caused the discrepancy.83
By the proclamation on December 13, 1850, President Fillmore officially and definitely settled the northern boundary of the Texan Panhandle on the line of 36° 30'84 Eight years later, provision was made for running and marking the line.85 John H. Clark contracted to make the survey, as well as to run the boundary line between Texas and the Territory of New Mexico, and mark the 100th meridian. He had accompanied Lieut. Col. Johnston's expedition along the 37th parallel in 1857, serving as astronomer.
80This veto written for Pres. Roosevelt by his Attorney-General mentioned the inadvisability of taking 5 post offices, land, and inhabitants from a State and there-by leaving the region liable to lawlessness.
82P. M. Baldwin, "Boundaries of New Mexico," New Mexico Hist. Rev., V. 2, (April 1, 1930.) The Cimarron meridian is 34 miles, 42 chains and 24 links long.
He arrived at Rabbit Ear Creek the third of August, 1859 and proceded at once to establish the corner of the boundary at the juncture of the parallel of 36° 30' and the 103rd meridian.86 Mr. Clark had been advised not to work in that region during the winter because "he would be subjected to the rigors of the climate in a region well known to be barren and desolate in the extreme, with little grass for the subsistence of the animals (for the transportation of a sufficiency of corn would be almost impossible) with water of a gypseous and deleterious character, and with little fuel."87 Apparently he heeded the warning of the Secretary of the Interior, for he proceeded to run the line along the 193rd meridian south, and did not return to the 36° 30' parallel until the next season.
Mr. Clark's party reached the point of the intersection of the 36° 30' parallel with the 100th meridian June 8, 1860. He prolonged the meridian to the 37th parallel to see how it compared with the point established on that line in 1857, and found that the point on the Kansas line was about 1700 feet west of that on the line forming the boundary between Indian Territory and Texas. The surveying party began tracing the 36° 30' parallel westward on June 20, 1860 and advanced but a short distance when great difficulty was experienced from want of water. At one time, eighty-seven miles were surveyed by the party without water, so finally Mr. Clark marched the surveyors to the other end of the line (103rd meridian) and completed the survey by running the line back to the last monument established.88
The Clark party constructed fifteen monuments upon the parallel, finishing the survey July 12, 1860. Mr. Clark thought that the monuments would endure the "wear of time, wild animals and wild Indians as well as any monuments ever constructed
87Ibid., 5. It was at Rabbit Ear Creek that the surveying party met the only band of wild Indians during their operations. About 60 Comanches appeared, begging,but when told they could not be fed and replying "If you cannot feed us, feed our captains," and tried to approach closer, they were threatened and driven away.
in the United States to mark boundary lines," —and that some of them perhaps would "remain on the earth's surface to a distant future."89 This location of the north boundary of Texas was confirmed by Congress and the State of Texas in 1891.90
The line marked by the Clark monuments is the true southern boundary of the Oklahoma Panhandle, although it is now known that it is not exactly on the 36° 30' parallel of latitude. During the latter part of 1931, a government surveying party, under the direction of Arthur D. Kidder and Hugh B. Crawford identified the Clark survey of 1860 and surveyed the actual line of 36° 30'. They found the latter named line to begin about 300 feet south of the present marker on the New Mexico state line, and from there that it makes a latitudinal curve to the northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle, where it crosses the Clark line by a few yards.91
About 5000 acres of land lies between the Texas-Oklahoma boundary line and the true line of 36° 30', but the boundary line will not be readjusted, although some of the property owners in the strip affected have been afraid to pay taxes to Texas lest later on they would have to pay taxes to Oklahoma. That opinion has arisen because property owners out there have been under the impression that the Kidder-Crawford survey was made to correct the Clark survey.92
89Senate Document, No. 70, 17, "Letter to J. M. Edmonds, Land Com. Oct. 14, 1860, from John H. Clark."
91"Oklahoma and Texas Panhandle Boundary line to be Re-established," Panhandle Herald, November 12, 1931, C. F.; "Boundary Changes on Panhandle" Texhoma Times, November 19, 1931.
92Letter from Assistant Com., Gen'l Land Office, July 22, 1937. Also of Carl Mayfield, Guymon, July 24; also letter of I. D. Divine, Texhoma, July 24.