The Texas Surveyor - January 2022 - Magazine - Page 9
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required the railroads to survey two sections for everyone received
by the railroad company, with the State receiving the even sections
and the railroad receiving the odd sections.
The Memphis, El Paso and Pacific took steps to preserve its 16
mile reservation across the state by filing a map and description
of each route with each land district and the General Land Office.
The Memphis, El Paso and Pacific fell on hard times and was
placed in receivership. Their failure led its leading and principal
stockholders to form the Southern Trans-Continental Railway
The Texas Western went through a series of acquisitions and name
changes before it became the Southern Pacific Railroad Company.
By late 1857, they had installed 23 miles of track between Marshall
and Swanson’s landing. The line was rerouted from Marshall to
Waskom during the Civil War.
Origins of the Texas & Pacific
The Texas and Pacific Railway was incorporated by an Act of
Congress on March 3, 1871 at the request of the Southern TransContinental Railway Company and the Southern Pacific Railroad
Company for the purpose of building a transcontinental railroad.
This was essentially a merger between the Southern Pacific
Railroad and the Southern Trans-Continental Railway. In 1873,
the T.&P. purchased the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific Railroad to
acquire the Reservation.
The T.&P. received its predecessors’ reservations, and the
reservation west of Jones and Taylor Counties were widened to
80 miles to accommodate the increased donation. The T.&P.
Reservation consists of three divisions: the Eastern Division
located east of Fort Worth, the Brazos
Division located between Fort Worth and
western Jones and Taylor counties, and the
Pecos Division, extending west to El Paso.
The Pecos Division is further divided
by the areas east of the Pecos River
and those areas west of the Pecos. The
Eastern Division was mostly surveyed by
District Land Surveyors. The Brazos and
Pecos Divisions were surveyed by T.&P.
Surveyors, including W.C. Powell, using
blocks that were 6 miles by 8 miles.
Most of the surveying west of the Pecos
was performed by Jacob Kuechler, a former
GLO Commissioner, as principal surveyor.
In October 1878, Kuechler began at a
point known as K-0 located on the TexasNew Mexico State line west of the Pecos
River. Kuechler traversed over 1,000 miles
using a chain and compass along lines of
least resistance. He showed no preference
to block lines and many times he went
diagonally across sections. Field work was
completed in May 1879. A map and field
notes were prepared and filed at the General Land Office.
Paul McCombs was hired to check Kuechler’s work because local
surveyors found an error in the location of the south boundary of
the 80-mile reservation. McCombs assembled a survey party and
proceeded to West Texas. Ultimately, McCombs confirmed that
Kuechler’s work contained errors. McCombs or the land office
clerks interlined in red ink changes to acreages, distances, and
monuments in Kuechler’s field notes. These interlined Field Notes
were copied into the patents issued by the State to the Texas and
Pacific Railway Company in 1884 and 1885.
To learn more about this topic, read Backsights on “Old Timey”
Texas Surveyors and Re-Surveying of the Texas and Pacific
Surveys West of the Pecos River found in One League to Each
Wind available through the TSPS store or join us at the 2022 TSPS
Symposium in February to learn much more about some issues
discovered over the years, the case law that affects this area, and
the different ways excess acreage was handled. ■
Josh W. Leamons, RPLS, Attorney at Law, currently serves as the TSPS Vice President and Chair of the Standards
Committee. Josh is a Partner at Searchers Surveying & Engineering LLC in Fredericksburg, TX. He, Stan Piper and Timothy
“Andy” Nold will be presenting the class “The Texas & Pacific Railroad, Part I & II” at the 2022 TSPS Symposium in
Odessa, TX on February 25-26.
Register today at www.tsps.org/symposium.
The Texas Surveyor | January 2022