Not for Gold or Adventure – Only for the Love of Surveying

“Chaining Oregon: Surveying the Public Lands of the Pacific Northwest 1851-1855”

“Chaining Oregon” is the first comprehensive history of the early surveyors of the Pacific Northwest. The work they performed for the US General Land Office between 1851 and 1855 contributed to the westerly movement of American settlement. They imposed order on the land of the western valleys and adjacent mountains in what are now the states of Oregon and Washington.

When Surveyor General John B. Preston and his cadre of engineers, including William Ives, Butler Ives, James Freeman, and George Hyde, arrived in the Oregon Territory in 1851, there was little precedent for the legal systematic description of private landholding. When the last of these surveyors left in 1855, the western interior valleys of the territory from Puget Sound to the Oregon-California border lay measured in the precise pattern of townships and sections that characterized the US Rectangular System.

These surveyors were not lured to the Oregon Territory by a longing for gold or for a lust for adventure. They were trained as engineers and scientists and were gifted with an artist’s power of observation. These men were there to do a job. Unfortunately the work and experiences of these hard-working men have remained largely out of view until now. With “Chaining Oregon”, Kay Atwood brings the surveyors, their work, and their legacy out of the shadows and into the deserved light of scholarship. Using the surveyors’ personal diaries, letters, and field notes, along with historic maps and photographs, Ms. Atwood is able to weave personal detail into the broader historic context to create a book that is appealing to not only surveyors and historians but to the general public as well.

Regularly priced at $27.95/softcover, publisher McDonald & Woodward is offering “Chaining Oregon: Surveying the Public Lands of the Pacific Northwest 1851-1855” at a special 30% discount now through September 30, 2008. 
For more information about this book, the author, and the special discount, please visit