Crumpton Plats

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Plat?
Webster describes a plat as, “a map or chart of a piece of land with actual or proposed features”. Old plats of early Georgia are measured drawings of land and/or water. In Georgia, we use the meets and bounds descriptions, or bearings and distances between two points, or the meandering of a road, path or stream.

What does a plat show? Some early Georgia plats show:

  1. name of grant or grantee
  2. state and county
  3. date of survey or date of grant or both
  4. names of adjoining landowners (AL)
  5. names of chain carriers (cc)(same as chain bearers (cb)
  6. name of previous landowner (PL)
  7. acres
  8. names of path, road, branch, creek, river, town, swamp, pond
  9. name of surveyor
  10. book and page where recorded

What does the back of a plat show? Some early Georgia plat backs show:

  1. name of grant or grantee
  2. acres
  3. date of survey or date of grant
  4. name of surveyor
  5. book and page where recorded

Who were the chain carriers?
In early surveying, heavy chains were used to measure distances, usually in increments of chains and not feet. Steel tapes were not available. The chainmen or chain carrier or chain bearer consisted of the applicant himself and anyone he could procure to assist in the work. In the early days, chainmen were required to be sworn before performing their duties. Men or strong boys chosen were usually kinsmen or neighbors. Many genealogical puzzles have been solved by knowing the chain carriers.

What is a chain?
A chain (ch.) is 66 feet. This distance was used because it was easy to figure acres using a chain. 1 chain x 10 chains = one acre. 10 chs. x 10 chs. = 10 acres; 10 chains x 100 chains = 100 acres, etc. etc. Many plots were measured 40 chs. X 40 chs. = 160 acres, or 45 chs. X 45 chs = 202 ½ acres. Plats were usually drawn at a scale of 1”=10 chains, or 1”-=20 chains, or 1”=40 chains.

In Georgia, we discontinued using chains in the early 1960s’. My earliest plats showed distances in chains and not feet. About this same time, we discontinued using the old staff compass, and started using a transit. The theodolite replaced the transit in the 1980s’ and today electronic measuring devises are used with computer input, and plats are drawn electronically.

Additional Resources

Where can I learn more about plats and surveying?
An outstanding book, Georgia Land Surveying History and Law, by Farris Cadle is recommended for details on early surveying and platting in Georgia. And I give Farris many thanks for his guidance over the years.