b'The Public Landsquares. The Earths surface is round andAct of 1785 not flat, so parcels would not be per-fectly square, but they could be close.When the American Revolution was The land in the Northwestover, the new government had no money Territory was to be surveyed and divided but it had land. To pay soldiers for into tracts of land six miles square (6their service, the government gave a miles x 6 miles), called townships. Thensoldier a land warrant as payment. A each township would be divided into 36warrant is a claim (ownership), in this sections, each being 1 mile x 1 milecase to a certain number of acres in the square. Each township and each sectionwestern territory. These warrants dif- was assigned a number so it could befered according to how long a man served identified. One square mile was equal toin the military and what his rank was. If 640 acres of land. Land would be sold forthe soldier died in the war, then his $1 an acre or $640 a section. Within eachfamily received the warrant for his land. township one section was to be saved, notThe warrants in the Virginia Military sold, in order to provide money to supportDistrict (VMD) were for areas from 100 new schools. In many townships, this wasacres to 15,000 acres.Section 16[see graphic (NN)] , near theDescribing specific pieces of land center of the township. This system ofwas not easy. The boundarieswere unclear because no con-sistent method had beenestablished for markingtracts of land. Areas of landare called parcels. Mostparcels were only describedas a certain amount of land(a number of acres) in ageneral region. Members of the newCongress knew that the landparcels in the western terri-tories needed to bedescribed more precisely.Congress passed the PublicLand Act of 1785. They rec-ommended that land be Congress reserved section 16 near the middle of eachtownship for the use of public schools.marked in areas shaped like Graphic (NN)page 34'