mcwhorter land claims in kentucky, lincoln county, later became casey Counth
McWhorter Lives and Times

McWhorter Land Claims in Kentucky

John and George McWhorter both claimed and were granted land south of the Green River in what would become Casey County, Kentucky, then part of Lincoln County, Virginia.

Surveyors’ terms

For understanding the surveying methods of the time, as well as the details in the surveys, we are indebted to James Franklin Sutherland.

The chaincrew handled a chain with 50 links, each 7.92 inches long, making a 33-ft long chain. A "pole" was a unit of length of 16 feet 6 inches, so the chain measured a distance of two poles. Four-pole chains were also used in some places. The chain made it possible to create a more-or-less level line, avoiding the error that would be caused by measuring the land’s surface directly, using the same principle by which laser measuring is done now.

The marker was usually the landowner, who knew where the property lines were. Later a county official examined the survey, signed it and filed it.

John McWhorter’s claim

John McWhorter’s 150 acre parcel of land was first surveyed November 17, 1798. The surveyor that November day was J. Jones, assisted by chainmen, Reubin Simpson and George McWhorter, and the "marker" was John McWherter.

Shaped like an elongated pentagon, John McWhorter’s plot was described in the survey as being "On south side of Green River about 1 1/2 miles below the mouth of Knob Lick Fork of said river."

The survey began at "2 small white oaks near to a small lick." From there the line went 309 poles 52 degrees east of due north (Sutherland believed they used magnetic north rather than true north) to a "dogwood and black gum on a line of Robert Todd’s [property] thence with said line to a sugartree (corner of said survey)."

Next was a line 213 poles long 77 degrees west of due south "to his southerly corner, thence with a line of B. Pettit’s [land]. From there a line went in a direction 44 degrees west of due south for 138 poles, and finally a line extended for 90 poles 52 degrees east of due south to the beginning of the survey.

George McWhorter’s homestead

George owned a 57-acre lot on a bank of the Green River. The curve of the bank meant the surveyors had to measure a 9-sided rounded figure. The surveyor was F. Montgomery, with George McWhorter and Adam Morris serving as chainmen. The survey was examined and recorded by James Thompson.

Beginning at a maple and elm on the bank of the Green River, the first line went 30 poles 30 degrees west of due north up the river "binding all the way said lines at low water mark." The measuring of the bank went like this: 50 poles 42 degrees west of due north, then 12 poles 65 degrees west of due north, 22 poles 8 degrees west of due north, 15 poles 44 degrees east of due north, then 40 poles 84 degrees east of due north, "to a beech standing on the bank of the river near a small branch the first above said McWhorter’s improvement."

From there a line 100 poles long struck away from the river bank 65 degrees east of due south "to a sugartree and dogwood," from there it went 89 poles 25 degrees west of due south to another "dogwood with a red oak and buckeye" and finally 44 poles 65 degrees west of due north to the beginning.

Last updated 3/17/2003       Copyright© 2003 by Karen McWhorter Wilhelm