Land surveying dates back to ancient times as a profession that combined mathematics, law, history, design and construction into an art. Flash forward to Colonial America and beyond, can you think of any land surveyors from this time period? To your surprise, you may know more land surveyors that shaped America than you thought.
America’s first president and earliest land surveyor surveyed throughout his life. George started learning the craft in 1749 at the young age of 17 years old. During this point in history parts of America were undiscovered. Washington was an integral part of surveying land that helped the westward explorations and expansions. By the end of his surveying career he completed nearly 200 surveys totaling more than 60,000 acres.
2. Daniel Boone
The American pioneer and explorer, Daniel Boone spent much of his time exploring the American frontier specifically Kentucky in the late 1700s. Boone learned land surveying without any formal schooling and made a living as a deputy county surveyor.
3. Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson, America’s 3rd president in 1773 was hired as a surveyor in Virginia. Jefferson came from a land surveying family as his father, Peter Jefferson was called the “land surveyor for the crown.” Thomas Jefferson was the vision behind the Lewis and Clark expedition and promoted surveying during this exploration through the Louisiana Purchase.
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4. Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was yet another president that was a land surveyor. In his 20s Lincoln was hired as a surveyor assistant and held this position for a year. It is said that he stepped away from land surveying and sold his equipment to pay off a debt. After land surveying he went right into politics and ran his first successful political campaign in 1834.
5. Benjamin Banneker
Benjamin Banneker was an author, surveyor, naturalist and farmer from Maryland who was born in 1731. For two years, Banneker did survey work for the capital in 1789 by planning and surveying Washington, D.C.