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Camp Caesar
Cowen West Virginia
September 24-26, 2009
Welcome to the Survey Camp on the "Dividing Line"
The "Dividing Line" was surveyed in 1785, forming the northern boundary of Greenbrier County and stretching entirely across present day West Virginia, from Bath County, Virginia, to the Ohio River at Washington Bottom (the site of George Washington's 2314 acre land grant). Within a few years of the Dividing Line survey, discrepancies in the locations of various portions of the line became evident, with some of those problems having vexed the courts over the years, and continuing to intrigue surveyors today.
  • Click HERE for details on Rendezvous Activities.
  • Click HERE for an excellent slideshow of Rendezvous 2009 events.
Camp Caesar
The Surveyors Historical Society met at their annual Rendezvous over the weekend of September 11 through 13 in Akron, Ohio. Hosts and planners for the event were Mike and Ann Besch, both instructors at the University of Akron. Mike and Ann, in addition to their students and the State and local surveying societies all put on a good meeting combining education, fun, good eating and all of the other things that always make Rendezvous memorable occasions.
Speakers at this years events were Dr. Kevin Kern, Roger Moore, Milton Denny, Ann M. Besch. Dr. Kern provided a background to the many varied methods of survey that were experimented with in early Ohio history. Mr. Moore is an actor and speaker specializing in the Native American or Indian. Milton Denny presented early surveying tools and techniques as well as discussing the importance of river travel in our country' early history. On the final day of learning, Mrs. Besch compressed a 15 week lecture series on the surveying in Ohio into less than a 5 hour period. The early surveying systems experimented with in the State of Ohio set the basis for all of the Federal Land Surveys that followed across the country.
Extracurricular activities included a trip to the Hale Farm, a relaxing site just outside of Akron. After having a delicious bar-b-que lunch, we were treated to a fashion show of 18th century garb and accoutrements by the folks at the Smiling Fox Forge. We then spent a wonderful afternoon outside viewing many periods of surveying and equipment. We had demonstrations by a group of Civil War period surveyors, the Department of the Geographer of the Army was there as well as Colorado native Don Livingstone of the U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers. Mike Besh and his students had a full Vietnam era artillery surveying camp set up, including an M-37 truck with 50 cal mounted on the back. Following the days activities we were treated to a wonderful hospitality room at the hotel.
The next day after Ann's lecture, we went on something resembling a scavenger hunt. Our task was to locate the most number of large stone arrowheads that marked what was one time a portage path connecting two of the major rivers in Ohio. The hunt took place in a driving rainstorm and consisted of physically driving around in autos finding and noting the stones. Wet but fun.
That evening, the formal banquet and annual fund raising auction was held. Dressed in our finest period wear, we listened intently to Major William C. Schenk (Ohio surveyor James L. Williams), head chainman for Israel Ludlow tell of some of his exploits on the early Ohio surveys. The food was great and the Society benefitted greatly from the generosity of its members.
For the final, voluntary day we all piled into canoes on the Tuscarawas River to float in the fog and rain to the “Crossing Place”. This is a location called for in the 1795 Green Ville Treaty. We were searching for a called for bottom oak that marks the eastern terminus of a 153 mile line. The oak had previously been located and verified by local surveyors Besch, Williams, David Broemsen and John Sabila as well as the students, the “Gathering of Potential Surveyors”. A fine dock had been built that made climbing a steep muddy bank possible. A ceremony was held in the drizzle that included driving a golden rebar and the signing of a plat depicting a survey of the very spot on which we all stood. Little remains of the famous oak tree but this effort will guarantee permanence of its location.
The Surveyors Historical Society joins together thanking all of the folks that contributed to the success of Rendezvous, 2008. We will be seeing everyone come fall in West Virginia for Rendezvous, 2009.

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The Surveyors Historical Society – and the Virginia Association of Surveyors – held the RENDEZVOUS ’07, this September 13 through 15, 2007 at George Washington’s Birthplace, Westmoreland County, Virginia. One of the most thoroughly enjoyable and educational surveyors’ events of any year, the national SHS Rendezvous is held at a different location around the country each fall. There have been outstanding past Rendezvous in Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington state, Illinois and Indiana to name a few. This year we Rendezvous again in the Old Dominion – on the occasion of Virginia’s 400th Anniversary.
Sept 13-17
RENDEZVOUS ’07 was a celebration – and examination – of George Washington’s long career as a land surveyor . . . from his earliest training at age 14, to his duties as an appointed Virginia County Surveyor, to his work for Lord Fairfax in Virginia’s western mountains, to his explorations and surveys throughout the distant Ohio Territory on behalf of his army veterans, to his key role in mapping the new Nation’s Capital, to his very last survey done the month he died. In all, George Washington conducted more than 200 land surveys that have survived, done across half a century from 1747 to 1799.
RENDEZVOUS ’07 featured lectures on Land Surveyor George Washington, colonial surveying campsites, the Revolutionary War Army “Geographers” who made General Washington’s maps, hands-on displays of antique surveying equipment, the annual SHS picnic (graciously sponsored this year by Virginia Association of Surveyors), an “Antiques Roadshow” and Swap Meet with old time survey artifacts of every description, tours of the National Park Service historic site, a re-enactment or retracement of George Washington’s very first land survey – done on the lands of his birth as a training exercise in 1747 – an entertaining auction and a closing Saturday evening banquet (complete with tour) was enjoyed by all at Stratford Hall, Robert E. Lee’s ancestral estate, seven miles away.
Click Here to read the American Surveyor Magazine article by Bart Crattie. View the PDF of the article as it appears in the publication.
Click on the image on the right for pictures of this years Rendezvous and George Washington’s Birthplace.


 
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