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October 7, 1997

Here's more of Jerry Adamson's story about the two brass cap land markers in southern Noble county.

"These brass caps were manufactured somewhere east of the Mississippi river about 1910 and probably were shipped via railroad to Carrizozo, New Mexico. There the government surveyor, on July 19, 1914, received the brass caps and with a survey party commenced the survey and re-monumented thousands of acres according to his instructions.

"Overlooking the Tulsarosa basin of New Mexico, at an elevation of near 8,500 feet, located miles from a town, a road, the railroad, in the White Mountain Wilderness, one can see the grandeur of the Southwest. From that location, White Sands National Monument, Trinity Site (the first atomic bomb), the Capitan Mountain range, the Malpais lava flow, the Sacramento Mountains, one can view 10 million acres of natural wonders. Here is where the surveyors established the intersection of line between townships 9 and 10 South, with the line between townships 10 and 11 East. Because of surveying errors, two monuments were required. Located on a very steep, rocky slope, where hawks and eagles fly with ease, here was the planned destination for these two brass caps.

"Somewhere in this journey of crossing the Midwest, being routed through railroad yards, loaded and offloaded numerous times, they found their way to the back of a pack animal at Carrizozo. This could have been a mule or a horse, but as the story goes they had come within a quarter mile of their destination when somehow their trip was interrupted. Different rumors exist as to whether the mule fell off the trail or the crew got drunk, but on a spring day in 1979, the location was found and six brass caps were recovered at a location on slightly sloping terrain on the Spring Canyon Trail, about 100 yards below the junction with a trail going northerly, all of which is about one-half mile north of Spring Cabin. They were lightly covered with forest debris of leaves and needles. Four of these monuments are commonly called one-quarter corners (dividing a section into four parts) and the other two, known as township corners, for monumenting township corners (every six miles).

"The rumors can be dismissed by the U.S. Surveyors Official Field Notes, dated July 31, 1914. He states: 'I discontinue this survey for the reason that extensive retracements of the lines ... failed to develop any evidence of the location of the original corner and expensive resurveys would have been necessary to have re-establishment.' He now had two large monuments that he did not need. He could have anticipated the need to return to complete the survey and left the monuments at a convenient location.

We'll conclude Mr. Adamson's story of the brass caps in the next Northwest Corner.