Townships & Land Patents

Federal Township Survey Plats & Land Patents

Established in 1812, the United States General Land Office was charged with surveying and managing all public lands belonging to the federal government.  Upon ratification of the Onis-Adams Treaty in 1821, control of colonial Florida passed from Spain to the United States, and in 1824 the post of Surveyor General of the United States for the Territory of Florida was established to survey all of Florida using a system known as the Public Lands Survey System (PLSS).  Such surveyed public lands were then offered for purchase, beginning in 1825.  The resultant land patents, similar to modern deeds, documented the transfer of ownership from the federal government to individuals.  Additionally military warrants granted public lands to soldiers rather than pay for service.

Washington 1834 Survey 2S 29E_250w.jpg
Randolph 1850 Resurvey 2S 29E_250w.jpg

Deputy Surveyor
Henry Washington's
1834 Survey of Township 2S, Range 29E

a fractional township west of the Atlantic Ocean...consisting of 3851.61 acres

Deputy Surveyor
Arthur M Randolph's
1851 Survey of Township 2S, Range 29E

a fractional township west of the Atlantic Ocean...consisting of 7295.93 acres

The PLSS is a rectangular survey system based upon a unit called a township.  A township is a six mile square area of land, defined by east-west axes (also called townships) that form the northern and southern boundaries of any township, and north-south axes (called ranges) that form the eastern and western boundaries of any township.  Townships are identified according to relationship to a central north-south axis, or meridian, and a central east-west axis, or base line, identified for a particular system.  The Tallahassee Meridian and Base Line serve as the origin from which most of the Florida territory was originally surveyed.

Townships are divided into thirty-six (36) one-square mile (640 acre) sections which are numbered consecutively, commencing with the section located in the southeastern-most corner of the township.  Sections are then divided into quarter-sections that are 160 acres in area, and again into quarter-quarter sections that are 40 acres in area.  Areas made irregular in shape due to natural boundaries such as rivers or coastlines were typically identified as government lots.

Present-day Atlantic Beach includes all or portions of Sections 4, 5, 8, 9, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 of Township 2 South, Range 29 East (T2S, R29E).  The Township Survey Plats below, along with numerous land patents and military warrants issued by the Florida District Government Land Office provide a better understanding of early settlement patterns that still influence development of the City today.

[Sources:  United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records; The National Atlas, Public Land Survey System; White, C. Albert, A History of the Rectangular Survey System.  US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC: 1981]

  • Major Edward Hopkins, Military Warrant MW-0392-074, Certificate No 35113, issued August 15, 1860:  163.17 acres consisting of aliquot parts 3 & 4, Section 7, and aliquot part 12, Section 8, Township 2 South, Range 29 East.
  • Alexander W Murkland, Land Patent FL0440_.193, Certificate No 712, issued January 23, 1879:  142.18 acres consisting of aliquot part 2 of Section 7, and aliquot parts 4 & 5 of section 8, Township 2 South, Range 29 East.

  • Solomon F Halliday, patentee for Surgeon's Mate Robert Turner, Military Warrant MW-0952-277, Warrant No 57279, issued June 10, 1879:  94.00 acres consisting of aliquot part 1, Section 6, and aliquot part 1, Section 7, Township 2 South, Range 29 East.

  • Edmund Roundtree, Land Patent FL0730_.154, Certificate No 3702, issued August 1, 1883:  78.49 acres consisting of aliquot part 1 of Section 18, Township 2 South, Range 29 East.

  • Michael Bowes, Land Patent FL0490_.459, Certificate No 4330, issued February 13, 1884:  141.61 acres consisting of aliquot part 8 of Section 8, and aliquot part 1 of Section 28, Township 2 South, Range 29 East.

  • John N Niles, Land Patent FL0520_.493, Certificate No 4370, issued October 11, 1884:  123.04 acres consisting of aliquot parts 3, 4, and 7 of Section 9, Township 2 South, Range 29 East.

  • Hiram Farrington, Land Patent FL0750_.404, Certificate 4625, issued February 10, 1885:  157.73 acres consisting of aliquot parts 2 & 3 of Section 30, and aliquot parts 1 & 2 of Section 31, Township 2 South, Range 29 East.

  • Eugene F Gilbert, Land Patent FL0610_.390, Certificate No 9108, issued October 15, 1887:  180.30 acres consisting of aliquot parts 1, 4, and 5 of Section 21, Township 2 South, Range 29 East.

  • John Smith, Land Patent FL0880_.254, Certificate No 10020, issued November 15, 1892:  40.00 acres consisting of aliquot part 15 of Section 8, Township 2 South, Range 29 East.

  • Andrew V Floyd, Land Patent FL0920_.205, Certificate 12800, issued April 27, 1897:  130.92 acres consisting of aliquot parts 13 & 14 of Section 8, and aliquot part 4 of Section 17, Township 2 South, Range 29 East.

  • Mary P Hoag, Land Patent FL1090_.428, Certificate No 17856, issued November 24, 1905:  113.56 acres consisting of aliquot parts 2 & 3 of Section 17, Township 2 South, Range 29 East.