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The sequence of field survey notes recoded by Henry Thoreau corresponds to the chronological order of his work as a surveyor.
See:Field-Notes of Surveys Made by Henry D. Thoreau SinceNovember 1849, ms. volume contains entries dated 1849-1861. The  field survey notes do not include reference to Thoreau’s survey of Walden Pond in 1846 but its first entry contains a description of Thoreau’s survey of “Isaac Watts’ Woodlot Nov. 1849”.   See: http://www.concordlibrary.org/scollect/Thoreau_Surveys/135.htmSee:  (Isaac Watts’ Woodlot Nov. 1849, survey  # 135 in the Concord Free Library, Special Collections of Henry David Thoreau Land and Property Surveys).

(the CFPL survey #’s appear in alphabetical order of the property owner  but  bear no relation to their chronological order.

Survey # 135 can be difficult to locate on the ground today but I believe its northeast corner is at the location of Thoreau’s birthplace on Virginia Road which is also the current home of the Thoreau Society.

The survey’s western most corner which Thoreau refers to as point “A” on his sketch is at the former home of the Thoreau Society on Old Bedford Road. (approx.)

Moss states that: “I think it was the woods back of the old Kettell place on Lexington Road.  It was divided into 52 lots and cut in 1849-50.”1

Thoreau appears to have made a math error in the notes that appear on this survey, his first since surveying Walden Pond three years earlier.

Square rod area measurements are given for each lot shown on Survey # 135.

The survey includes 14 odd shaped lots on its periphery plus 38 regular shaped ¼ acre lots internally for a total 52 lots.

When reporting the cumulative area of 14 odd shaped plus 38 uniform quarter acre lots Thoreau appears to under-count the area of the odd shaped lots by a quarter acre.

The 14 odd shaped lots on the periphery listed and numbered by Thoreau include:

92 square rods in lot # 15 (lower right)

58 square rods in lot # 01 (lower left)

70 square rods in lot # 33  (middle left)

65 square rods in lot # 18   (above lower right)

60 square rods in lot # 19+  (above #18)

60 square rods in lot # 44+  (above #19)

70 square rods in lot # 45  (upper right)

60 square rods in lot # 52  (above #45)

140 square rods in lot # 51  (left of #52

30 square rods in lot # 50  (below #51)

50 square rods in lot # 37  (below left of #50)

62 square rods in lot # 36  (left of #37)

64 square rods in lot # 35  (left of #36)

66 square rods in lot # 34  (left of #35)


Thoreau incorrectly computed the total area for 14 odd shaped lots as = 907 square rods (907 /160=5.66 acres).

By my calculation the sum of the  area for the 14 odd shaped lots is 947 square rods=5.91A.

Difference of 0.25 A

Plus 38 uniform quarter A lots/4=9.50 acres.

Grand total area = 5.66 (or 5.91) plus 9.50 = 15.16 or 15.41 acres

Thoreau said:  “Surveyed 52 lots of a quarter of an acre and some cases more.”

(All but one of the odd shaped lots was more than a quarter acre.)

1 Moss, Marcia. A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library (Geneseo, N.Y.: Thoreau Society, 1976), page 12

 

 

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