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Discrepancy in Abe Lincoln's Musick Ferry Road survey explained     Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 13, 2004]  MIDDLETOWN -- An unusual and important event, "Walk in Abe Lincoln's Footsteps -- Retrace his Musick Ferry Road Survey," is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. at the New Holland-Middletown Middle School in Middletown.

For over 10 years, members of the Illinois Professional Land Surveyors Association have pored over and pondered Abraham Lincoln's 1834 survey for a road from Middletown, then called Irish Grove, to the county line, in the direction of Jacksonville. The survey became known as the Musick Ferry survey and was signed by Lincoln on June 2, 1834.

Lincoln served as the deputy surveyor of Sangamon County from 1833 to 1837.

A discrepancy in the original survey was noted in a book published in 1967 entitled "A. Lincoln With Compass And Chain," written by Adin Baber of Kansas, Ill.

Some time ago, a professional land surveyor from the Chicago area telephoned a Middletown historian to say that he had read the Baber book and hoped that before he died he could walk in Lincoln's footsteps and try to figure out the survey discrepancy noted in the book.

The discrepancy came to light again in 2003 when the Baber book was republished by Robert E. Church, the executive director of the Illinois Professional Land Surveyors Association.

The original survey by Lincoln and his crew -- Michael Killion, Hugh Armstrong, John Kelso and Robert Loyed -- started at Salt Creek just north of Middletown and ran southwest through New Salem and on to the Morgan County line in the direction of Jacksonville.

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"On Sunday, Nov. 14, we will be able to explain the discrepancy in the Lincoln survey, due to a recent discovery by IPLSA member Mr. Tracy Garrison," says Bob Church.

The retracing event on Nov. 14 is being co-sponsored by the Illinois Professional Land Surveyors Association, headquartered in Rochester, and the Knapp-Chesnut-Becker Historical Society, of Middletown.

Church and Garrison will give a PowerPoint presentation about the original survey and what the discrepancy is all about. The Illinois Professional Land Surveyors Association will donate items to the Knapp-Chesnut-Becker Historical Society to commemorate the event.

The public is invited to this free event. Refreshments will be served. The New Holland-Middletown Middle School is handicapped-accessible.

[News release from the Illinois Professional Land Surveyors Association]

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