# Mastering U.S. LEGAL DESCRIPTIONS

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1 Mastering U.S. LEGAL DESCRIPTIONS This FREE Webinar is offered by Midland College in collaboration with Alyce Hoge of Land Training. Alyce Hoge is the instructor for the Midland College Professional Land Management Certificate Program Online! For more information, please visit us at 1

2 Agenda I. INTRO Impact of Legal Descriptions History of U.S. Land Ownership Types of Legal Descriptions Metes and Bounds Congressional II. Calculating & Platting Acreage III. Conclusion 2

3 Legal Descriptions Wording of the description must be sufficient to identify the specific tract of land on the ground. Impact of Insufficient Description: #1 Mistake in Conveyance Instruments Most Common Cause of Title Failure Voids Lease 3 *Can refer to other documents that contain the description

4 History of U.S. Land Ownership Early Land Acquisition Frontier took possession Disadvantages: Took BEST Lands Gaps, Unused Lands No Surveys, No Recordation laws Result: Patchwork Quilt 4

5 Metes & Bounds Measurements Mathematical measurements directions, feet, degrees, minutes and seconds. Boundaries Use natural barriers to describe lands Landmarks on adjoining lands form the boundaries: trees, streams, rocks, etc. 0 Source:

6 Metes & Bounds 1 Beginning at a stake in the SE Corner of the NW quarter of Section 1, *the old oak tree bears N 25 degrees E 100, THENCE N 60 degrees W 500 to the fence, THENCE N 60 degrees 4 E 500 to the barn, THENCE S 0 degrees E 500,to the point of beginning. 2 3 NW X NE Put the center of the compass here. Move compass to new point marked X. Continue to move compass with every new point. 0 SW *Not part of actual description, just gives bearings for the initial location. SE See through Compass Source 1: Source 2: AAPL Land Reference Guide, p. 38 / 0

7 Metes & Bounds Bounded Descriptions Uses adjoining tracts as the boundaries described by current ownership in adjacent lands: On the North by lands of A.J. Boudreaux, On the East by lands of P.T. Thibodeaux, on the South by lands of Pierre Hebert, on the West by lands of Clothile Cormier, described as acres, more or less... Sectionalized Descriptions Being 160 acres of land, more or less, Section 9 in Block 2 of the M.D. Anderson Survey, Abstract 1550, in Harris County, Texas Lot & Block Descriptions Typically in Subdivisions Lot #, Block #, Subdivision Plat - recorded in county where the property is located.) Lot 56, Block 25, of the town of Spring, Texas, according to the plat recorded in Volume 23, Page 56, of the Plat Records of Harris County, Texas. 7

8 History of U.S. Land Ownership The Land Ordinance of 1785 Adopted by Continental Congress Leadership Thomas Jefferson Established all new territories would be measured under the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) Jeffersonian/ Congressional/ Rectangular Survey System 8

9 History of U.S. Land Ownership The Land Ordinance of 1785 A Surveyor from Each State Appointed Divide Territories into Townships of Six (6) Miles Square By Lines Running Due North and South And Others Crossing These At Right Angles W N P M Base Line E 9 S

10 THE BEGINNING OF THE U.S. PUBLIC LAND SURVEY SYSTEM Located On The Ohio/Pennsylvania Border Split Between The City Of East Liverpool, Ohio and The Borough of Ohioville in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. The Road On Which It Lies is Ohio State Route 39 and Pennsylvania Route

11 11

12 12

13 Working from a Principal Meridian and Baseline Surveyor Marks off the Township Line into Grids of Six (6) Miles Square (or 36 Square Miles) 13

15 Public Land Survey System Townships Are Further Divided Into Sections of 1 Square Mile (640 Acres) Sections are then numbered from 1 to 36 15

16 NORTH & WEST BOUNDARIES CORRECTION SECTIONS LOTS N 5 2N 6 miles 6 miles Baseline 3W 2W 1W 1N 1S 6 miles 1E 2E 3E 4E 2S 3S

17 36 SECTIONS: Each 1 Mile by 1 Mile 640 Acres

18 LOTS

19 LOTS

20 Public Land Survey System Each Section then Further Divided into Halves, Quarters and Quarter/Quarter Calls 20

21 Public Land Survey System Township = 6 miles wide x 6 miles long or 6 Mile Squares Section = 1 mile wide x 1 mile wide or 1 Mile Square 21

22 Public Land Survey System 22

23 1

24 SECTION = 640 ACRES NW NW 160 Acres W2 NE4 80 Acres E2 NE4 80 Acres NE NW/4 SW NE/4 SW 40 Acres 40 Acres W2 NW/4 SE/4 20 Acs E2 NW/4 SE/4 20 Acs N2 NE SE 20 Acs S2 NE SE 20 Acs SW SW/4 SW 40 Acres SE/4 SW 40 Acres N2 NW SW SE 5 ACS S2 NW SW SE 5 ACS 2.5 Acres W2 NE SW SE 10 Acs SE SW SE 10 Acres NW SE SE 10 Acs SW SE SE 10 Acs NE SE SE 10 ACS SE SE SE 10 Acs SE 24

25 NW READ IT BACKWARDS! Where is the N/2 SW/4? NE 1 SW 640 Acres SE

26 NW READ IT BACKWARDS! Plat the NW/4 NE/4. NE 1 SW 640 Acres SE

27 NW Plat the NW/4 SE/4 NE/4. READ IT BACKWARDS! NE 1 SW 640 Acres SE

28 NW Plat the NW/4, SE/4 NE/4. READ IT BACKWARDS! NE Note the comma 1 SW 640 Acres SE

29 NW READ IT BACKWARDS! Plat the W/2 NE/4, NW/4 SW/4 NE 1 SW 640 Acres SE

30 Conclusion I. INTRO Impact of Legal Descriptions History of U.S. Land Ownership Types of Legal Descriptions Metes and Bounds Congressional II. Calculating & Platting Acreage III. Conclusion 30

31 Thank You Questions? This course is provided by the Petroleum Professional Development Center (PPDC) of Midland College and developed and delivered in cooperation with Alyce B. Hoge of Land Training. 31

32 1

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