Jerry Penry, PLS, is a licensed land surveyor in Nebraska and South Dakota with over 30 years of experience, and a degree in land surveying. Jerry's keen interest in history and research led to him write several books on the topics of land surveying, World War II, and railroads and he has had nearly forty articles published in professional surveying magazines. Over the past ten years, he has been a featured speaker for conferences, historical societies and commemorative historical events. For the past three years, Jerry has developed working seminars where surveyors obtain “hands-on” experience in the field. Jerry is employed at Lancaster County Engineering in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he manages the surveying department. He and his wife, Jenny, live in Denton, Nebraska.
Thursday, January 11, 2018, 3:00 - 5:00 p.m., or
Friday, January 12, 2018, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
As early as the 1850’s, people have been attempting to define the location of the Geographical Centers of both the United States and North America. Several locations in Kansas became early sites for the center of the United States which was bolstered by findings from two government agencies. The admission of Alaska and Hawaii as states complicated the issue for Kansas when tourism and bragging rights were at stake. The center of North America had similar issues with both North and South Dakota claiming locations that once threatened legal action. The battle continues with the use of trademarked phrases and legal precedents. Some have also mistaken the geodetic center of North America at “Meades Ranch”, Kansas as being one of the geographical center locations. This is a historical look at how nearly 20 different towns have each claimed to be at one of the center points and the role that surveyors helped in determining some of them.
Harvey's Instructions to County Surveyors
Friday, January 12, 2018, 8:00 - 10:00 a.m., or
Saturday, January 13, 2018, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
In 1902, due to the prevalence of land disputes and litigation, the State of Nebraska appointed the state surveyor, Robert Harvey, to oversee and settle these cases. Harvey uncovered a systematic method used in many cases by fraudulent deputy surveyors, in which monuments were established, but in locations where most retracing surveyors would not find them. Harvey published a circular of instructions detailing how to find the original pits and mound monuments and how to correctly retrace the GLO surveyor's work which he defined, the “Short-Cut Method”. This circular quickly gained national attention. It was sought by surveyors and engineers, lawyers and judges, land owners and universities, and by the GLO in Washington, D.C. One hundred years have passed since Harvey published his revised and expanded edition of his circular of instructions in 1914. Robert Harvey's method of researching and finding lost section corners as described in his publication remains the same today despite a century of advances in technology.
GLO - 1855 Manual of Instructions
Saturday, January 13, 2018
8:00 - 10:00 a.m.
This class will be a detailed examination of the 1855 Manual of Instructions to the Surveyor General of the Public Lands of the United States. Since both Kansas and Nebraska began their surveys under this manual, it is important for modern surveyors, particularly in the eastern portions of these states, to correctly know how to follow the footsteps of early surveyors when retracing their work. Changes occurring in subsequent manuals will also be discussed and how the modern surveyor needs to correctly understand the rules that were in place depending upon the area that was surveyed.