Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



It is the intent of the author to present a detailed overview of the great variety and specific types of geographical information that are available within the original land surveyors' notes and plats in a geographical manner. The author believes that these notes and plats have been overlooked for more than 100 years as a source of valuable geographical information. The author believes that these materials have been overlooked primarily because geographers did not realize the amount of material available; neither did they know how to use them and where to find them. These notes and plats create a seldom used, therefore to most geographers, new pool of geographical research data for the interested scholar. Previously published material concerning the history of land surveying in South Dakota has ignored the original land surveyors' notes and plats as sources of original information. Other works have traced the spread of surveying across the state chronologically; but have not defined the data available in the original notes. The purpose of this paper is to familiarize the scholar and reader with the large amount of geographical data available in the original notes and plats and suggest possible current applications. In order to best illustrate the importance of these notes and plats, the author has chosen a geographical area to evaluate and demonstrate their use and value. The area selected is Beadle County in east central South Dakota. The author selected Beadle County as the study area for several reasons. Beadle County is the author's home county, and hence he is familiar with place names and geographical conditions. Additionally, it was easy for the author to conduct on-the-spot research. Also important in Beadle County's selection is the fact that it is not located on the boundary between any two different land survey systems. Another consideration is that the county is not bounded by, or part of, an Indian reservation. The last two criteria are important because they would tend to add additional data recording requirements to the original surveyor.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Geography -- Research -- South Dakota -- Beadle County

Surveying -- South Dakota -- Beadle County -- History

South Dakota State University Theses



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University