SHORT CUT METHOD
The "Short Cut Method" was a way in which the contract surveyors hired by the Government Land Office purposely established the original monuments in such a way that it took them less time. This method was highly illegal and created many erroneous corner locations that left monuments in locations much differently than if the subdivisions within the township had been surveyed properly. It typically created long and short half miles since quarter section corners were often stubbed out in one direction instead of being placed at the midpoints and on line. The field notes by the GLO surveyors also fictitiously showed the corner locations to be where they should have been placed had the surveys been done properly.
Despite the many erroneous corner locations that were created and monumented, the locations of any found original monument legally holds since this is where the original surveyors had placed them. Nebraska State Surveyor Robert Harvey was likely the first surveyor to accurately describe what had taken place with many original surveys and detail his findings into a book. This information aided surveyors who were searching for the original monuments which were not being found in the locations where the notes described.
The link below is to a pdf placed on the Nebraska State Surveyor's website which is a scanned copy of Robert Harvey's book titled "Instructions to County Surveyors of Nebraska" which was published in 1914. This book quickly gained wide fame and was used by surveyors all across the United States who were retracing the original government surveyors and were finding problems with the work that had been done. The book also contains information about recovering original monuments in addition to describing the "Short-Cut Method".
This link is to a published article by Jerry Penry describing the life of Robert Harvey and the "Short-Cut Method" that he uncovered.
SHORT CUT METHOD - Part 1
SHORT CUT METHOD - Part 2
© Jerry Penry 2009