Timeline of the History of Surveying and the Surveyor’s Society in the State of Alabama

1776, July 4th – The United States declares its independence from England.

1785, May 20th – The Land Ordinance of 1785 is passed. It comes to be known as The United States Rectangular Land Surveying System. First Survey on Public Lands by the United States begins when the beginning point is established on the Pennsylvania boundary at the Ohio River.

1796, May 18th – The first Surveyor General is appointed in the United States for lands Northwest of the Ohio River.

1797 – Issac Briggs is appointed Surveyor General of the of lands east of the Pearl River

1798, April, 7th – Congress establishes the Mississippi Territory includes most of the current State of Alabama.

1799, April 10thEllicott Stone set on the 31st parallel, the boundary between the United States and Spain.

1807 – Seth Pease replaces Issac Briggs as Surveyor General.

1810 – Thomas Freeman replaces Seth Pease as Surveyor General

1817, March 3rd – Alabama Territory is created from the Mississippi Territory

1817, March 29th – General John Coffee appointed Surveyor General of the North District of the Mississippi Territory.

1817, May 4th – Surveyor General John Coffee drafts his Instructions to Deputy Surveyors.

1817, December 10th – Mississippi becomes the 20th State.

1819, December 14th – Alabama becomes the 22nd State.

1820, May 26th – John Coffee and Thomas Freeman meet in St. Stephens and make plans to complete the survey of the Alabama-Mississippi State Line.

1827, December 14th – Cypress Lumber Company offices burn, Government Land Office Records destroyed.

1855 – Commissioner of the General Land Office ordered the publishing of Instructions to the Surveyors General of Public Lands of the United States.  This became the Manual of Instructions for the Survey of the Public Lands of the United States. With issues of 1881, 1890, 1894, 1902, 1909, 1919, 1930, 1947, 1973 and 2009.

1881, January 11th – 13th,  Justice Thomas M. Cooley gave a speech to the second meeting of the Michigan Association of Surveyors and Civil Engineers at Lansing Michigan of the Judicial Function of Surveyors. This became known as Cooley's Dictum.

1935, September 2nd, the Alabama Board of Registration (later Board of Licensure) for Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors is created. The first Board members were appointed in April 1936.

1936, August 7th, F.C. Basenberg, P.E., P.L.S. becomes the first licensed surveyor with a license number of #6. On the same day Elwyn Conner, P.L.S. becomes the first single registrant licensed surveyor with a license number of #11.

1962 – American Title Association and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping publish the first ATA/ACSM “Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for Land Title Surveys” – Now known as the ALTA/ACSM Standards. The 2011 edition being the current standard.

1990 – ASPLS publishes Alabama Law Land Surveying & Boundaries Statutes and Case Law compiled by Donald A. Wilson.

1992 – ASPLS publishes The Faircloth Notes on Land Surveying in Alabama, compiled from Professor James M. Faircloth’s notes and edited by Milton E. Denny and Daniel S. Turner.

2009 – ASPLS sponsored publication of Alabama Boundary Law by Jeffery N. Lucas.

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