Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013
College of Graduate Studies
Concordia University - CGS
570 Fallbrook Blvd., Suite 203
Lincoln, NE 68521

8:30 A.M. - 12:45 P.M.

Jerry Penry RLS 504
Lancaster County Engineering Department 

Jerry Penry is a licensed land surveyor in Nebraska and South Dakota who began his surveying career in 1984.  Originally from Atkinson, Jerry attended Southeast Community College in Milford and has remained in southeast Nebraska.  After employment for twelve years with various private surveying companies in Lincoln, Jerry has worked in the surveying department of Lancaster County Engineering since 1997.  He has nearly thirty articles published in professional magazines and has authored several books on topics including surveying, railroads, and World War II.  Jerry currently lives in Milford with his wife, Jenny. 

“The Alt Resurveys of Grant & Hooker Counties
Less than ten years after the completion of the surveys by the General Land Office in Nebraska, it became increasingly evident that widespread fraud had taken place by several U. S. Deputy Surveyors, particularly in the Sandhills region.  In many instances, the monuments had not been placed, topographic features were erroneous, and land locators had established homesteads away from where legal descriptions should have placed them.  Homesteaders appealed to Congress who had never dealt with such a widespread and unusual situation.  Finally, in 1894, funds were appropriated to completely resurvey 44 townships in Grant and Hooker counties.  The resurveys were mostly done by Willard W. Alt of Wahoo, Nebraska, who not only had to reestablish the section lines, but also had to maintain the bona fide rights of the land owners.  New parcels had to be created to define the locations of the homesteads where  the improvements already existed on the ground.  This topic describes the fraud that existed, the surveyors involved, and the methods used by Alt to perform the resurveys.

Robert Harvey’s “Instructions to County Surveyors” 100 Years Later”  
In 1914, Nebraska State Surveyor Robert Harvey published a book titled “Circular of Instructions to the County Surveyors of Nebraska”.  This book was an expanded version of a similar book published by Harvey in 1903 that described many aspects of surveying that had never previously been discussed in any textbook.  Harvey’s vast knowledge of determining the locations of lost and obliterated government corners as well as describing the “Short Cut Method” proved invaluable to Nebraska’s county surveyors who were searching for guidance.  The book quickly became known outside of Nebraska and was one of the most sought after publications by surveyors, landowners, lawyers, judges, and universities.  Even the General Land Office sought Harvey’s book to aid in the writing of their own future publications.  One hundred years has now passed since the issue of the instructions.  This topic will review Harvey’s publication and discuss the relevance of still finding the original government corners despite a century of advances in technology.