Quest in Roots:
This page is an extract from the full Quest in Roots history book. You can purchase a CD
In 1870 the Hudson Bay Company charter to Rupert''s Land was sold to the Dominion of Canada.
This same year saw the beginning of the Dominion Land Survey. Manitoba became a postage stamp sized province in 1870. Its western boundary was the west side of range twelve. Thus the area in which we live was part of the Northwest Territories at this time.
It wasn''t until 1873 that our area was surveyed.
The land was surveyed into sections, townships and r~nge.s. Townships were horizontal divisions every SIX miles north from the United States - Canada boundary. Ranges were vertical divisions every six miles west of the first meridian. Every township and range, a six mile square, had 36 sections in it. A section was a mile square, 640 acres, with one chain ~idth ~llowance between each for a road. Starting m the nght hand corner of a township each section was numbered from right to left, then left to right, repeated until number 36 appeared on the top right hand corner of the township.
Each section was divided into four quarter sections of 160 acres and designated by their directional location. For example, S.E. 19-12-15 means the land is located in the southeast quarter of section number 19 in township 12 and range 15 W.
As part of the settlement for giving up Rupert''s Land the Hudson Bay Company was granted 1/20 of all the land south of North Saskatchewan River. This meant that the Hudson Bay Company was given section eight and the south half and northwest quarter of section 26. In every fifth township, 5, 15, etc., the company acquired the whole of section 26.
To cover the cost of education in the territories sections 11 and 29 were reserved as school lands.
All other odd numbered sections were at first reserved as public land and after 1881 and 1882 were reserved for the Canadian Pacific Railway.
The land could only be sold and the money was used to offset the cost of the railroad. Even numbered sections lying within one mile of the mainline or branches of the Canadian Pacific Railway were reserved if needed for town sites, etc.
Thus only eight sections in a township were left for homesteaders.
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