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Title: "As false as the Black Prince of Hades": resurveying in Arkansas, 1849-1859

Author: Bragg, Don C.; Webb, Tom;

Date: 2014

Source: Arkansas Historical Quarterly. 73(3): 268-292

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: In April 1856, a surveyor named Granville McPherson, toiling in the rugged hills north of present-day Harrison, Arkansas, was growing increasingly frustrated. The source of his aggravation was a deeply flawed original land survey filed by one of his predecessors, Charles H. Pelham. Years earlier, Pelham had sworn under oath that he had faithfully executed an original survey of this area to fulfill a contract with the U.S. government's General Land Office (GLO). An accumulation of evidence suggested otherwise, however. Many in Arkansas were well aware of Pelham's surveying inadequacies. Indeed, McPherson had been hired to fix more than one of Pelham's suspect efforts. Even an untrained eye could compare the plat maps of Pelham and McPherson and quickly recognize the discrepancies. One can only imagine what McPherson might have uttered to himself if he saw fit to label this particular example of Pelham's work "as false as the Black Prince of Hades" in his official survey notes!

Keywords: history, Arkansas, Public Land Survey System

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Bragg, Don C.; Webb, Tom. 2014. "As false as the Black Prince of Hades": resurveying in Arkansas, 1849-1859. Arkansas Historical Quarterly. 73(3): 268-292.


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