Thursday, January 10, 2019

Fences and Landowning in the Post

Marc Fisher had an article in the Post about walls, which touched on fences, which included a quote from an expert which I found to be wrong!!  I commented there, which I'll copy here:

"From the nation’s earliest days, when only white male landowners could vote, many built fences on their land to show their neighbors they were eligible voters, Dreicer [the expert] said."
This is irrelevant to the theme of the article.  Irrelevant because a fence to mark boundaries of ownership isn't like a wall.  Think of our northern boundary: it's marked, but neither fenced nor walled.  We have the symbol of ownership (US sovereignty ends and Canadian begins) without needing a physical barrier.

But I call BS--I'm sure Dreicer never built a fence. A fence requires work, both to build it the first time (particularly stone wall fences but even split rail fences) and work to maintain.  You don't build a fence to declare ownership; you build a fence to keep animals in or out.  That's why we used to have fence viewers.  See  BTW there are interesting regional and historical differences whether a landowner was required to fence his/her animals in, or to fence to keep free-ranging animals out.
Land ownership in the 13 colonies was marked by the metes and bounds system

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