Macon Co., MO

Amy E. Batchelder

Generally, the lands of the public land states, including Missouri, are organized into "Civil or Congressional" townships that are generally 6 miles by 6 miles, or 36 square miles. Each township is divided into 36 sections, with each section being one mile square and containing 640 acres.

1 section=640 acres
1/2 section=320 acres
1/4 section=160 acres
1/4 of 1/4 section = 40 acres

The public lands were surveyed using the rectangular survey system. There is a national system of principal meridians (north-south lines) and base lines (east-west lines). The intersection of a given principal meridian and the base line is the initial or base point for measuring directions from that point.

The boundaries of a given township are identified by east- west lines called Township Lines and north-south lines called Range Lines, generally creating squares or rectangles. A Township identification will include either "North" or "South" in its descriptor because, although it is an east-west line, it is identified as being north or south of the Baseline. Likewise, a Range identification will include either "East" or "West" in its descriptor because, although it is a north-south line, it is identified as being either east or west of the applicable Prinicpal Meridian. In Macon Co, MO, all the Townships are designated "North," such as T56N or T59 N. Likewise, all the Ranges in Macon Co, MO are designated "West," such as R16W or R14W.

I know this isn't easy to grasp if you haven't dealt with it before. It is confusing that the term "township" means two different things: One is for the very general Civil division of land into sets of 36 sections each and the other is a surveying term used to establish the legal description of a parcel of land. The legal description includes the specific subsection, section, township, and range.

For example:
The NW quarter of the SE quarter, Section 25, T57N, R16W.

Census records are generally arranged by State, County, and Township (the Civil Division). Land records are organized by subunit, section, township, and range (but do not include the name of the "Civil" township in which the land is located). I created my charts, in part, to create a link so that researchers can more easily move between standard map information, census data, and land records.

Bevier T57N/R15W Bevier, Keota, Summit
Callao T57N/R16W Callao, Hammock P.O.
Chariton T56N/R15W College Mound, Ardmore, Binkley
Drake T60N/R17W Tullvania, Goldsberry (also in White Twp)
Eagle T58N/R14W Axtell, Lyda P.O., Sumner P.O.,
Blackwell Station
Easley T60N/R16W Mercyville, Gifford, South Gifford,
Walnut P.O., Hamel
Hudson T57N/R14W Macon City (County Seat), Carbon
Independence T59N/R15W Barnesville, Plainview, Maple, Cottage P.O.
Jackson T59N/R13W Nickellton
Johnston T60N/R13W Sue City
La Plata T60N/R14W La Plata
Liberty T58N/R15W Bloomington, Seney P.O.
Lingo T57N/R17W New Cambria, Lingo
Lyda T59N/R14W Atlanta, Economy P.O., Vienna, Love Lake
Middle Fork T56N/R13W Woodville, Cox, Centreville
Morrow T56N/R16W Kaseyville, Barryville
Narrows T56N/R14W Excello, Narrows Creek P.O.
Richland T60N/R15W Cardy, La Crosse, Newburg, Oliver Station
Round Grove T57N/R13W Anabel, Round Grove, Beverly
Russell T58N/R17W Hart, Evelyn P.O.
Ten Mile T58N/R13W Ten Mile P.O., La Porte, Redman,
Hinkle P.O.
Valley T58N/R16W Cash P.O., Dodd P.O.
Walnut Creek T59N/R16W Ethel (also in White Twp), Elmer
White T59N/R17W Ethel (also in Walnut Creek Twp), Ethel Lake, Goldsberry (also in Drake Twp)

*All land in Missouri is measured from the 5th Principal Meridian.

Manual of Instructions for the Survey of the Public Lands of the United States, 1973, Prepared by the Bureau of Land Management, Technical Bulletin 6, United States Department of the Interior, p. 60:

The fifth Principal Meridian was adopted in 1815. Longitude 91 degrees, 03 minutes, 07 seconds. A principal meridian is intended to conform to the true meridian, extending north or south or in both directions.

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Ernie Miles...... This page was updated Thursday, 17-Apr-2008 18:03:35 MDT.