THE LIBERTY BELL PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA
Zippy and Crew share the "Benjamin Banneker" Story.
The first African-American Surveyor.
Story line: Derek Horneman, Survey Tech with Urban Terrain, LLC
Illustrations: Dylan Bolden, Rodriquez Consulting
Zippy and Crew tell the "Mason and Dixon Survey" story.
Way back in the year 1730 there was an argument happening in the American Colonies about the location of a property line. This was before the United States of America had become a country, but the King of England knew that it was important for the people in America to know where their property was located. A property line is the limit of the land that a person owns and is sometimes where your mom or dad stop mowing the grass. There also may be a fence on a property line, but sometimes these invisible lines go across mountains and rivers. This was the way this line was – no one knew where it was.
This argument was between the William Penn family and the George Calvert family. The property of the William Penn family became known as Pennsylvania and the property of the George Calvert family became Maryland. The biggest problem for the people in America at that time was that they didn’t have good maps to show where these property lines were. Also, the description of where the land was located was not easy to understand.
To stop this argument, the king of England sent two surveyors named, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon to America in 1763 to mark this property line on the ground. They had to make sure that the marks were easy to see and easy for the people to know that they marked the property line. To do that, they brought big stones from England that were carved into a long square shape. The stones also had letters carved into them; a “P” for Pennsylvania and “M” for Maryland.
Mason and Dixon used equipment with telescopes to look at the stars. This helped them to find out where they were on the earth. Using this equipment, they began near Philadelphia to mark the line with the stones that they brought along. They set a stone at each mile that they passed.
After more than 250 years, we can still find these stones along the line between Pennsylvania and Maryland. We even call this line the Mason and Dixon line because of the two men who marked this line so many years ago.