You’re watching Jeopardy and the topic is infrastructure – ‘These are famous land surveyors throughout history.’ Do you have an answer? Are there ANY famous land surveyors? Yes, there are famous land surveyors, and their names might surprise you (at least three U.S. presidents). Let’s take a look at a few of the more notable surveyors through history, just in case you ever make it on the show:
George Washington. In 1749, at the age of 17, young Washington was appointed as the Surveyor General in Virginia. Washington wasn’t just our first President; he became the first Registered County Surveyor in America.
Benjamin Banneker. Benjamin Banneker, a self-taught African-American mathematician and surveyor, was appointed in 1789 by President George Washington to survey the area which would become Washington D.C., a project completed between 1791 and 1793.
Thomas Jefferson. Another Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, was appointed County Surveyor for Albermarle County in Virginia in 1773. One of Jefferson’s most famous presidential acts was to organize the Lewis & Clark Expedition to explore and survey the vast expanse of land known as the Louisiana Purchase.
Other famous land surveyors. Daniel Boone, another historical figure famed for his pioneering and exploration, was a land surveyor who resolved settlers’ claims to land titles. British explorer Captain James Cook not only sailed into every ocean, but he also surveyed the lands he found along the way. The surveying efforts of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon survive in the “Mason-Dixon Line”, is still identified today as the unofficial boundary between the South from the North. Abraham Lincoln was working as a land surveyor when he was first elected to the Illinois legislature—making him the third presidential land surveyor.
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