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2010 Exhibit

Rich & Bountiful Country

The 2010 West Virginia Day exhibit linked Monongalia County's colonial land-granting and iron production history with the piece of surveying equipment recently acquired by the WVRHC. It is believed Washington presented this surveying tool, known as a circumferenter, to Samuel Jackson, pioneer of the region's 19th Century iron industry, in 1784 during Washington's visit to Fayette County, Pennsylvania, shortly after the Revolutionary War. The Jackson-Washington circumferenter consists of a compass and protractor indicating points and degrees that were used by surveyors to plot horizontal angles to determine land boundaries. This delicate piece of equipment was likely used by Jackson to survey land in Monongalia County during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. According to WVU Libraries Curator John Cuthbert, the circumferenter was essential in measuring and marking the numerous land claims, grants and purchases of settlers and speculators who competed for ownership of western Virginia during that time. The circumferenter was displayed alongside early maps and pioneer surveys of western Virginia. Land grants and documents signed by the likes of Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, to name a few, were also on view. For more on the circumferenter, see our blog post, Libraries to Celebrate West Virginia Day on Friday.