|This is the 1902 township map for Sumner county. It shows all 30 of the townships. Below is a smaller map of the 1878 townships. By comparing the two you can see that there have been changes in the political townships in the county. |
There are two types of "Township".
One is the political township. It designates voting districts within the county. The other is the township used in land survey system. Some articles will tell you that your ancestor lived in a particular political township such as Guelph Township. This is useful if all you want to know is the general area where your ancestor lived. If you want to know the exact parcel of land they lived on you need the legal description of their property from the county court house. For an explanation of how to locate the land see below the maps.
|Click the map for a large map. Map will open in a new tab or window.|
|Click HERE for a very large modern map. Map will open in a new tab or window.|
Click HERE for Map legend.
Click HERE for Detail Views from Map.
(Note : These images are VERY large.)
|The usual system of land survey was first proposed by Thomas Jefferson, but wasn't adopted until after the Civil War. How it works is that each area to be surveyed is divided by a "Principal Meridian" that runs North-South through the area and a "Baseline" that runs East-West. Everything is located from the point where they meet. In Sumner county the Principal Meridian runs through the county so we have to be careful of whether the land lies East or West of this line. The Meridian is the section line that is two miles East of Downtown Wellington. The Baseline doesn't run through the county so everything will be South of that line.|
In order to locate a parcel of land within Sumner County you need the legal description. This will look something like SW¼S18–T35S–R1E, or even SW¼S18–35S–1E. In other word it is the South-West quarter of section 18 of Township 35 South and Range 1 East. [ I happen to know that this particular land lies on the state line two miles East of Hunnewell because that was the land owned by my ancestor in the 1870's and 80's. ] This system will work regardless of what political township your ancestor lived in at any given time. Political townships can change over time but the legal description will remain the same.
|Now you have your ancestors land description and want to locate it. There are a few things you will need to know in order to do that. For survey purposes a "township" consists of 36 square miles laid out in a grid as at right. Notice that the numbering starts in the upper right hand corner and reads right to left then drops down one level and continues left to right and so on. This is counter intuitive and sometimes confusing.|
|Now click on the larger map above and a new tab or window will open with a larger version. You may have to right click and tell your browser to show it full size. Having the map printed on paper may make it easier to read both the Township and Range at once. Now, scroll over to the left hand side of the map. that's where you will find the township markings. Using the example above, Township 35 is at the bottom left. Across the top of the map are the Range markers, shown in Roman Numerals on this particular map. Range 1 East is about a quarter way from the right hand side of the map. Note that you can see Range 1 East and Range 1 West side by side here. Find the right edge of Range 1 East and the top of Township 35 South. Slide down from Range 1 East and to the right from Township 35 South until the two lines meet. This should bring you to a point where you have section number that look like the example to the right. Note that Section 1 of T35S–R1E is to the lower left. Next follow the section numbering till you locate Section 18.|
|Next you need to know how parcels within a section are found. Looking at the example to the right you will see smaller and smaller divisions and how they are designated. The smallest divisions are usually designated "Lot".|
|There's one other little trick you might need to know. Lets say your out looking for your ancestors land. You've followed all the steps with the map correctly and now have it marked. Your traveling North on a road and you come to what looks at first like a dead end, but, there's another road a few yards to the left that continues on. You've come to what's known as a "Correction Line". This is caused by the curvature of the Earth. If your traveling North and the road jogs left that tells you that you are on the West side of the Meridian. If it jogs right, your on the East side. If the property your looking for is in Range East and the road jogs left...........OOPS! HOWEVER, there are other reasons for a road to jog. Like a creek that makes it impossible/difficult to cross if the road continued straight [ runs North/South for a distance ]. Remember, most of the roads were originally meant to be used by horse and wagon, not by automobiles.|
|I hope this helps you find your ancestors land.|