This article is the first in a new series that will walk you through a survey to retrace the east boundary of the Weber Grant in Stockton, California. As part of this tutorial we will learn how to set-up a project folder structure, conduct and organize our boundary research, plan our initial boundary field surveys, and analyze our field survey results. We’ll construct property corner histories, and carefully determine corner locations based on available evidence. Then we will produce a high-quality cartographic map using open source tools to map the results of our work. Before we get started, we need some background on the Weber Grant.
Karl Weber, or Chaptain Charles Weber, was a German who immigrated to America in 1836. After coming to California he settles in San Jose and became a business partner of William Gulnac. Together they ran several businesses, including a corn mill, a bakery, a blacksmith shop, a salt mine, a shoe shop and a cattle ranch. William Gulnac petitioned the Mexican governer for a land grant. He was awarded a large plot of land near modern day Stockton, California. He failed in his attempts to settle the land and eventually sold it to his former business partner, Charles Weber. Weber began to settle the land grant, which was eventually recognized by the United States government after the end of the Mexican-American war. After the ware Weber moved to his land grant and laid out a town, which was named Tuleburg. Tuleburg was later renamed to Stockton, in honor of Commodore Robert Stockton. Weber built his family home at Weber Point. Stockton rapidly grew as the head of navigation on the San Joaquin River.
The Weber Grant is also known as the Rancho Campo De Los Franceses or “Ranch of the Camp of the French”. This name was taken because of the camp of French fur trappers contained within the grant just South of Stockton near the modern day town of French Camp.
When working on a large survey project it is helpful to break the project up into small chunks. In this article series we will originally deal with the northern most part of the east boundary of the Weber Grant. This segment starts at the intersection of the east boundary of the Weber Grant with the Calaveras River, which forms the grant’s north boundary. It runs south along Highway 88 to the intersection of Highway 88 and Comstock Road. This segment is shown in Diagram #1.
What initial research to we need to conduct to identify corners that control the location of the grant boundary for this first segment?
The land grant was excluded from the public land survey system. Its east boundary was surveyed by the GLO surveyors that worked in the area. As a consequence, we need to obtain the following documents the GLO township plats and GLO survey field notes.
The grant boundary in this area also runs within or near Highway 88. As a consequence, we need to obtain whatever boundary surveys and right-of-way maps Caltrans has available for Highway 88 in this vicinity.
Anytime I’m working on a boundary survey in San Joaquin County I also obtain copies of the county tax assessor maps and any boundary survey maps that have been filed with the County Surveyor in my project area.
Here is a summary of the records we want to obtain as part of our initial research:
- GLO Township Plat
- GLO field Notes
- Caltrans Right-of-Way Maps
- County Tax Assessor Maps
- County Filed Survey Maps
Project Folder Structure
Before I start the work of actually obtaining the documents we’ve identified, I’ll want to create a folder structure for my project. This will allow me to store and organize the records as I obtain them.
I’ve decided to use a folder structure for this project with five (5) top-level folders. The first is for research. The second is for field surveys. The third is for boundary analysis. The fourth is for work products. The fifth folder is for GIS. Inside the research folder I’ve created four (4) sub-folders. There is a folder for Caltrans records, a folder for County Filed Survey Maps, a folder for County Tax Assessor Maps, and a folder for GLO records. Diagram #2 shows the initial structure of our project folder.
Our next steps in the project will be to identify property corners along the first segment of our east boundary. Once we’ve identified and catagorized those corners, we will construct preliminary property corner histories for each corner. After this is complete we can begin to plan for our first field survey.