BLM official follows in footsteps of ancestor who was country's first surveyor general
Patrick Putnam recently followed in the footsteps of his ancestor, Rufus Putnam, appointed by George Washington as the country's first surveyor general from 1796 to 1803.
Patrick Putnam, associate manager for the Phoenix
District of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, installed 10 survey monuments across Arizona this spring with the help of the BLM's Arizona Cadastral Survey staff.
Staff field survey chief Geoff Graham came up with the idea of connecting Putnam to his ancestor for a story in American Surveyor magazine.
"I first heard about Rufus when I was in grade school, and only now have I learned the specifics of cadastral surveying," Patrick Putnam said. (Cadastral surveying is showing or recording property boundaries, subdivision lines,
buildings, and related details.)
Putnam kept a daily journal and BLM Public Affairs Specialist Pamela Mathis directed a video diary of his four-day journey. Mathis envisions using an edited video for school presentations and You Tube.
Rufus Putnam, who also was a Revolutionary War general, traversed the frontiers of Ohio and Florida on foot, horseback and mule.
Patrick Putnam's trek was much easier with a truck and ATV.
Patrick Putnam began his modern-day adventure at a camp on the Navajo Nation. The BLM provides surveys on tribal lands and Navajo
surveyors helped on this
project. Only 20 percent of the two-million-acre reservation has been surveyed.
The cadastral team used satellite GPS to establish a starting point for measuring corners.
The team then subdivided
a township into sections of
one square mile. A marker or monument was set every half-mile, adding rocks to make them more visible.