Lancaster, Andrew Ellicott, 1806. Folio, 13” x 8”, 1 page , pen & ink on laid paper exhibiting watermark R G [Gravell 815-816, PM-81], boldly signed by Ellicott. Luzerne Co. District Surveyor George Haines copy, sent to him in the field at Wyalusing. Lightly toned at folds, tissue reinforcements on verso, otherwise fine condition.
Having completed the surveying and laying out of the District of Columbia boundary and correcting Pierre L’Enfant’s plan of the Federal City in 1793, Ellicott was commissioned by Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Mifflin to lay out a road from Reading to Presque Isle , surveying the recently purchased Erie Triangle, laying out the towns of Erie, Franklin, Warren and Waterford. He was subsequently commissioned by George Washington in 1796 as the U.S. representative on the joint commission to establish the southern boundary between the United States and Spain where ‘Ellicot’s 2nd Line” was laid out along the 31st parallel. ‘Ellicott’s 1st Line ‘, established little more than a decade earlier’, defined the western boundary between Pennsylvania and the Ohio Country and became the principle meridian for future northwestern surveys.
By 1801 Ellicott’s precise but contentious reputation was well established yet respected and he was offered the position of U.S. Surveyor General by Thomas Jefferson. He declined the offer, being weary of travel and the injection of politics in federal service. He instead accepted appointment of Thomas McKean as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Land Office.
One of the first orders of business of the newly formed Commonwealth following the Revolutionary War was the resolution of Connecticut land claims in Pennsylvania, which had resulted in the first and second Yankee-Pennamite Wars. The seventeen townships established by the Susquehanna Company at Hartford overran the claims of Pennsylvania settlers. Passage of the Compromise Act 1799 intended to relieve Pennsylvania and Connecticut claimants through the establishment of clear chain of title to lands claimed by both parties.
This document, in the hand of Secretary Andrew Ellicott, is the original re-survey order issued by the Board of Property to District Surveyor George Haines. The decision was made on the petition of Robert H. Rose for the Proprietary John Reed on behalf of Samuel Meredith and John B. Wallace for multiple land claimants in the vicinity of Wyalusing Creek, Luzerne County. Counter-signed by Surveyor General Samuel Cochran and Samuel Clardenin
Dr. Robert H. Rose of Philadelphia is relatively unknown to historians today however; he was appointed as special agent for innumerable Pennsylvania land claimants during this period. After travelling through this area with Colonel Pickering, he is known to have represented claims amounting to 1.3 million acres of frontier lands claimed by the Susquehanna Company and the Holland Land Company.
An exceptionally rare manuscript document signed by one of America’s pre-eminent surveyors, one whose achievements endure to this day.
Ref: Pa State “My Pennsylvania: A Brief History..”; Lorna Hainesworth “The Life and Times of Andrew Ellicott”; David Craft “History of Bradford County”.