Originally posted on the by Papa-Bear-NYC on 24 August 2008 - 02:48 PM.

It all started with . Well actually maybe it's all Holograph's fault with his great . And it could never have happened without the Internet and Google Books, and NOAA's publications.

What is it I'm talking about? A couple of weekend's ago I found and recovered a marvelous monument on the Massachusetts / New Hampshire boundary. It turns out to be the most important spot on the boundary whose location was determined in 1741 and is probably the most important and historic point in that area which happens to be known and visited by NO ONE AT ALL.

The Pine Tree (sorry it's hard to see - but notice the stones piled around its base)

Here's how I got there:

Summer 2007: a discussion on this forum introduced me to the Eastern Oblique Arc which is explained in Holograph's site above and in the . Being the history buff / benchmark hunter / compulsive list maker that I am, I said "Wouldn't it be cool to find all those 19th century marks".

Sept. 2007 - I go to Maine and New Brunswicjk and actually find a bunch of these marks (see ).

April 2007 - A coincidence of a trip with the County High Pointers and benchmarking led me to meet up with Dave (ddnutzy) and together we found a bunch more of the EOA stations (see ).

I was intrigued as to why a few of the stations in Massachusetts pre-dated the main survey that the Coast Survey did there by some 10 to 15 years (including Manomet). It was then I discovered and learned about Simeon Borden and his early survey of Massachusetts.

I did a bit of internet research and learned a little about Borden's "Trigonometrical Survey of Massachusetts" and NGS Surveyor was gracious to send me a copy, including Borden's Map (which, with some help from my Photoshop savvy son, I put up on-line here ). I discovered that in addition to making the survey of Massachusetts, Borden also surveyed selected points on the border, one of which ( ) I found in July (logged under Watatic 2 since the state line station is not on GC — see the last bit of this log including the last few photos). Apparently he set a few monuments such as that one, but on the whole he surveyed existing monuments and included their locations in his results.

One was called "Pine Tree" and it was near the end of the east-west line of the New Hampshire border. a couple of weeks ago I was going near that area, so I figured out the location using the modern datum, and went and looked for it. Well (besides getting lost on the way back from my car), I found much more than I bargained for.

There was a monument with all kinds of dates on it: On one side was "1741" which included a picture of the original pine tree used when the line was first laid out. On the North and South sides under th "M" or "NH", were the dates 1825-27, when the line was first marked by stone monuments, and 1890, when the present monuments replaced the older ones. The another date (not engraved on the monument), was 1834 when Borden measured the location of the point (this date was given in C.G.S. Publication No. 76, ). Ironically, it is Border's coordinates that appear on the monument. On the remaining (west) side was the date of the original Royal Decree (1740).

Here's the east side of the monument with the Pine Tree:

And here's the west side which dates the decree and gives the names of the surveyors (George Mitchell and Richard Hazan):

Now I was really, really intrigued. This was no ordinary state boundary marker. When I got home, I did some more research and discovered this was the actual Point of Beginning of the 1741 survey. It was originally called "Mitchell's Boundary Pine". I found the log of one of the original surveyors (Hazan) in an obscure genealogical journal and I quote:

So the history of this point can be traced as follows:

The only monument with similar documentation on the stone itself is , which includes Borden's 1834 copper bolt and an 1890 marble monument with many of the same names of commissioners and surveyors as this monument.

As far as I have been able to discover, all the points surveyed by Borden made their way into the NGS data base, but many of them (including this one) are not published since the original descriptions were lost. This station has a PID of MY2668. I've entered a full description in my NGS recovery log, so hopefully in a month or so, you'll be able to read this sheet.

In the mean time I logged it here on GC under station which is near by and which I also recovered the same day.

Here's my log for this station (put under Gumpus as a note) which includes all the photos and quotes from various decrees, surveys, &ct.

[Note: (added 2015): the 3 Borden stations on the Mass-NH border that I recovered in 2008 are marked with small red circles on the title picture of the Borden Map at the top of this article.]

Check it out. But if you are a boundary monument buff like me and decide to go and find it, do yourself a favor - take a waypoint at your car before you venture into the open woods for the short .3 miles trek to the stone. You might save your self the 4 mile walk back that I enjoyed on that hot day!

Geocaching Benchmarking Forum Responses

Mega Scooter replied on on 24 August 2008 - 02:58 PM

Papa=Bear=NYC = HERO

Klemmer & TeddyBearMama replied on on 24 August 2008 - 04:08 PM

WOW! Is that the oldest recovery of an NGS documented (and just re-documented) monumented station? Sure seems like it to me! Fantastic research and effort finding it!

Papa-Bear-NYC replied on on 24 August 2008 - 05:26 PM

This will get a monumentation date of "UNK", with first recovery of 2008.

In actuality, until Borden surveyed it in 1834 (as a third order station tied to "Gumpus" & "Marsh and Jones") it was established as part of the boundary but not tied into and adjusted to the CGS network (as would be true for most boundary or property monuments). So the first entry would be 1834 and it would be sort of like a church steeple and say "First Observed".

Still, 1834 is not too shabby.

Look at Borden's map and you'll see it in the upper right with the stations "Gumpus" and "Marsh and Jones' H." above it (little triangles) and this monument (unlabeled) a little circle on the boundary just between and below them, a little west of the east end of the straight east-west line.

There is also a table I found in USGS Bulletin No. 13 "The Boundaries of the United States and the Several States" (1885) which gives latitude and longitude of all the Borden boundary stations in the section on Massachusetts (3 for Vermont, 8 for NH, 16 for CT and 7 for RI).

foxtrot_xray replied on on Posted 24 August 2008 - 04:11 PM

Great writeup!! I can only dream that one day my road travels will take me up there and you can take me on a trip.

Interestingly, I dunno if I never saw Holograph's site or I just missed it, but I never knew the Eastern Oblique Arc came all the way down here to Atlanta, and beyond. Interestingly, none of the stations come near my house, they like, encircle it. However, according to here, the stations listed:

Great job, Papa! Once you finish all this, you are going to be *SO BORED*. :)

Papa-Bear-NYC replied on on 24 August 2008 - 06:04 PM

Yeah, that area has changed a lot.

My luck in Maine is that there has been relatively less development there than in most of the East; and in NH and Mass. I guess it's just luck.

What I consider the most rewarding find is to find the original mark (usually a copper bolt or just a hole). That's easier in the northeast where there are many more of the marks on bedrock. In the more southern areas there tends to be more topsoil, even on mountain tops, so the marks were often underground with more flimsy surface marks (like a nail on a stake). So you get resets (disks set on concrete posts, etc.) which are accurate markers of the station, but just not as cool.

ddnutzy replied on on 24 August 2008 - 04:21 PM

I was impressed when we went out earlier in the year but now I'm amazed at what you do when searching for old benchmarks. This station is without a doubt the most intriguing benchmark that I've heard about. Keep up the interesting work. It's well worth reading about. Dave

Papa-Bear-NYC replied on on 24 August 2008 - 05:35 PM

Thanks Dave

And you were a pioneer in finding many of these old Borden marks. Interestingly, the oldest marks in Massachusetts (several from 1832), Rhode Island (Beaconpole Borden), New Hampshire (Gumpus) and Vermont (Jilson Borden), all of which I think you recovered, are all Borden stations.

And digging up Mount Tom Borden with you last April was the highlight of that trip for me.

There's plenty more left out there. Let's get going!

seventhings replied on on 24 August 2008 - 05:25 PM

Richard -

Superb research, recovery & narrative. Hall of Fame material. Kudos.


GEO*Trailblazer 1 replied on on Posted 24 August 2008 - 06:27 PM

GOLD - 2008

Goes to Papa-Bear-NYC.

I salute you...
Great job my friend.

68-eldo replied on on Posted 24 August 2008 - 10:03 PM

Another great expedition and an equally great report.

Thank you for sharing.

Holtie22 replied on on Posted 25 August 2008 - 03:48 PM


Fantastic Find!!! What a wonderful job of research and recovery. Having grown up in Pelham, NH, I have known about this marker ever since our 4th grade unit on local history (1964), but I have never seen it. My father owned Merrimac Optical Company, located at the corner of Pulpit Rock Road and Coburn Road, an area that has now been excavated as part of the huge gravel quarry that straddles the state line. (It is interesting that the road is named Coburn in NH, and Colburn in Mass. - your research seems to indicate that Coburn would be the more correct spelling.)

My father was an avid outdoorsman and had told us kids that he had seen this marker, which is pictured in many local history documents, but he never said exactly where it was. I used to work at the optical shop in the summer and after school, and had gone looking for the Boundary Pine monument on occasion with my brothers, but we were always searching along the section of state line between Coburn Road and Route 38. We didn't have ready access to the materials that you were able to find giving an accurate location. (Besides, we were just kids out looking for adventure!)

As a side note, it is interesting that the 1740 decree of the King that you cited also provided the basis for NH's claim to the land that became Vermont. Then-governor Benning Wentworth interpreted the phrase "...due west across said river until it meets His Majesty's other Goverments" to mean that New Hampshire extended just as far west as Massachussetts, ie. to within 20 miles of the Hudson River. Wentworth began issuing charters for Townships based on that premise in 1749, (the first being somewhat immodestly named Bennington), and the great dispute with New York was off and running, finally settled by the people of Vermont declaring themselves to be an independent republic in 1777, and admitted into the Union as the 14th state in 1791.

Thanks for your extraordinary efforts in recovering this unique mark and in resurrecting a quest of my youth.

Thanks Bob Papa-Bear-NYC replied on on Posted DDD

Thanks Bob

It's nice to know they taught about it in school. Too bad it's a little too much for a field trip.

As far as Coburn/Colburn, I think that both spellings were in use. The quote from Hazan (surveyor) says Colburn's Meadow, and the monument (150 years later) says Coburn. And The History of Dracut (1922) which was a great source, was written by Silas Coburn, no doubt a decendent. Go figure.

Basically New Hampshire won the lottery on this one from George II, and Mass. refused to cooperate in the 1741 survey. So the governor of NH (Jonathan Belcher) appointed the surveyors. What's overlooked is the Governor Belcher WAS ALSO governor of Massachusetts and was later accused of favoring their cause (although there's not much you could do with that decree). And it would seem that both surveyors were local to Massachusetts. Go figure!!

Camper1 replied on on Posted 26 August 2008 - 08:19 PM

The ultimate "proud find" ! Congratulations and keep up the enviable and details reports.

Shorelander replied on on Posted 02 September 2008 - 12:18 AM

dadgum! That's a superb find. Congratulations!

Papa-Bear-NYC replied on on Posted 19 October 2008 - 10:55 AM

An update on this station.

As mentioned, this station was non-published since there was no description available (although the location was in S.P. 76 "Triangulation in Massachusetts", probably because Borden had surveyed it in 1834).

After I found the station this August, I logged the mark as FOUND with the NGS and provided a complete description. Well lo and behold, last Friday a batch of my recovery logs to the NGS were put into the database including this one. It is now published (I call it a Lazarus Log :D ). Horray! Here's the link:

Of course it would also be nice to get it "published" by Geocaching.com, but that would be a much harder task. :anicute:

Difficult Run replied on on Posted 19 October 2008 - 11:47 AM

I'm gonna nominate Papa-Bear as "Benchmarker of the Year."

Who'll second me?

Klemmer & TeddyBearMama replied on on Posted 19 October 2008 - 02:33 PM


pgrig replied on on Posted 19 October 2008 - 04:10 PM

Hip, hip, hooray! :anicute:

joshnme2 replied on on Posted 11 November 2008 - 08:43 AM

that has got to be the best benchmark I have ever seen !!!!