Archive for February, 2009

Thoreau surveys Concord’s Upper Mill Brook 

In 1846 Thoreau began his surveying activity by mapping 61
acres at Walden Pond including depth measurements for the pond bottom using  readings taken through the ice :at locations shown on his survey map.


133a  Walden Pond [1846]


His next survey of
5.7 acres was three years later and a mile to the northeast:

135 Isaac
Watts’ Woodlot Nov. 1849


Streams and ditches
shown suggest land located between Lexington Road and Cambridge Turnpike (?)

During  1849-1850 Thoreau surveyed a lot adjacent the railroad:

32 Moore & Hosmer’s Lot by RRoad 1849-50



One year later in February 1851 he surveyed White’s Pond

White Pond Feb. 17 [1851]


and later that year a property of 94.2
acres including Cambridge Turnpike and Sandy Pond Road was surveyed as:

60a Plan of Edmund Hosmer’s Farm in Concord Mass. … June 17, 18,
& 21, 1851


Six months later Thoreau surveyed an adjacent large lot of
1,650 acres that he divided into 18 lots approximately 92 acres each (?):


90a Plan of Part of the Ministerial Lot, in the
Southeast Part of Concord … Dec. 9, [18] 51


After two more years in 1853 Thoreau surveys 205 acres of adjacent land
and maps existing and
potential drainage ditches on John B. Moore’s farm:

94a    Plan of John B. Moore’s Farm Concord
Mass. … Feb. 1853


(Seven years later in April 1860 the farm
was surveyed again in preparation for its sale at auction.)on May 10, 1860.

That second survey created a
valuable first example of redundant recording of geographic coordinates .g. of
Mill Brook stream crossings  of
Hawthorne Lane and Cambridge Turnpike in 1853 and 1860.


http://www.concordlibrary.org/scollect/Thoreau_surveys/94b.htm )

Later that year (1853) a survey was made of an
adjacent property of 93 acres for:

131 Plan
of Augustus Tuttle’s Farm, Concord Mass. … Aug. 1853


Two years later Thoreau extended the survey by adding 2 acres more to the east

132a Plan of a Woodlot
in Lincoln Mass., Belonging to Augustus Tuttle … June 21, 1855,


Four years later he
worked across the street to prepare a 12 acre:

Plan of A. Bronson Alcott’s Estate; Concord, Mass. … Sept. 22, 1857


Then going next door
the following year to survey 26.8 acres for:

74 Plan of
the Kettell Farm (so called) in Concord Mass. Belonging to Samuel Staples …
Apr. 8 & 9, 1858


shape of this property suggests a need for Mill Brook access whether for crops,
livestock of fishing or other resources.

Next he worked on a
second survey since 1853 of the 100.5-acre John B. Moore’s Farm:

plan of John B. Moore’s Farm … Apr. 1860


That led the following month to a new drafting for a public
auction of John B. Moore’s farm covering 100.5 Acres spanning both sides of
Lexington Road:

94b [Printed item] Plan of John B. Moore’s Farm in
Concord Mass. Surveyed by Henry D. Thoreau. To be Sold at Public Auction on the
Premises on Thursday May 10th 1860 at 1 o’clock p.m. N.A.  Thompson &
Co. Auctioneers. Office Old State House, Boston.


Later that year in
the fall of 1860 Thoreau surveyed the 22 acres of land adjacent to the Alcott
property to create:

Plan of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Estate in Concord Mass. … Aug. 20, 1860


Ten days later Thoreau records a 7.7-acre:
91  Plan of Geo. Minot’s Land on the Mill Brook … Aug. 30 & 31, 1860


The shape of this property suggests a need for Mill Brook
access whether for irrigating crops, watering livestock, Fishing or other water
related activities in 1860 Concord,


Thoreau’s Surveys of the Upper Mill Brook tended to occur in a geographic sequence that appears to reflect a proximity to his prior survey in the Upper Mill Brook area.

He may have merely been providing his services to the next nearest neighbor, based upon a prior customer’s recommendation.  Good business.

An index map of the above surveys may be displayed with each survey’s estimated location outline plotted on a 1906 map by Gleason:


Comments, corrections and suggests are welcomed.  Future versions should be far more accurate, this is a work in progress.

On-line access to Thoreau’s Surveys provided “Courtesy Concord Free Public

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