Drawing the Line: How Mason and Dixon Surveyed the Most Famous Border in America
THE FIRST POPULAR HISTORY OF THE MAKING OF THE MASON-DIXON LINE
The Mason-Dixon line-surely the most famous surveyors' line ever drawn-represents one of the greatest and most difficult scientific achievements of its time. But behind this significant triumph is a thrilling story, one that has thus far eluded both historians and surveyors. In this engrossing narrative, professional surveyor Edwin Danson takes us on a fascinating journey with Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, two gifted and exuberant English surveyors, through the fields and forests of eighteenth-century America. Vividly describing life in the backwoods and the hardships and dangers of frontier surveying, Drawing the Line discloses for the first time in 250 years many hitherto unknown surveying methods, revealing how Mason and Dixon succeeded where the best American surveyors of the period failed. In accessible, ordinary language, Danson masterfully throws the first clear light on the surveying of the Mason-Dixon line. Set in the social and historical context of pre-Revolutionary America, this book is a spellbinding account of one of the great and historic achievements of its time.
Advance Praise for Drawing the Line
"Drawing the Line combines a fast-moving story, a human drama, and a clear account of surveying in the era of George Washington. An intriguing interaction of politics and science."-CHARLES ROYSTER, Boyd Professor of History, Louisiana State University, and Winner of the Bancroft Prize in History
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American angle arrived astronomer royal Baltimore’s Bird’s Board of Longitude boundary Bradley’s Brandywine British Bryan’s field calculated Calvert Castle chains Charles Mason chronometer circle clock colonial commissioners Creek crew crossed degree of latitude Delaware Earth east eclipse England equal altitudes error feet geodetic George Greenwich Harrison’s inches Indians James Jeremiah Dixon Jersey Joel Bailey John Bird John Harland’s land London longitude prize Lord Baltimore lunar distances mark marker Maryland Mason and Dixon measured Meridian arcs Middle Point milepost minutes Mountain Nevil Maskelyne night observatory parallel of latitude passed Paxton Boys Penn’s Pennsylvania Philadelphia Post mark’d West precise proprietors province quadrant Quaker right ascension River Royal Society sidereal Six Nations Society’s star survey team surveyors Susquehanna table of offsets Tangent Line tangent point telescope Thomas Penn tion transit instrument transit of Venus true latitude true parallel wagons West Line William yards zenith distances zenith sector