A Feud Older Than the Civil War

For the past 160+ years, a feud in Texas has been ongoing, and it involves the image below.

Google Maps
Google Maps

The fuss is all about that red north/south borderline that extends from just northwest of Dalhart to west of Midland/Odessa. It separates Texas from New Mexico...and, it's not where it's supposed to be. It's not even straight up and down.

What is the Issue?

Basically...an incompetent surveyor.

The Compromise of 1850 set the border between Texas and New Mexico. In 1859, surveyor John H. Clark was commissioned to draw out that boundary along the 103rd Meridian West.

Clark got it wrong.

For 320 miles, that east/west border between Texas and New Mexico is about 3 miles too far west. Take a look at how the border between Texas and New Mexico compares with the border between Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Google Maps
Google Maps

See how that Texas line is just to the left (west) of the border above?

That's just under 3 miles of land that should belong to New Mexico. That's not much, but when you extend that small error southward for over 300 miles, that adds up to 942 square miles, or about 603,000 acres.

That's a lot of land and a lot of mineral rights.

How Bitter is the Feud?

New Mexico looks to have a right to the land, but through the years Texas has taken the attitude that's what's done...is done. Supposedly, a rich Texas landowner even solicited the help of a Presidential friend to tell New Mexico to back off.

For the most part, the arguments from the governments of both states have been tongue-in-cheek and light-hearted. However, a bill in 2005 proposed to sue the State of Texas for that controversial land. The bill never made it out of the legislature.

So...Now What?

When New Mexico gained its statehood in 1910, it appeared that a clause would allow them to reclaim that land. Texas wagged a big Texas finger (the index, not the other) in the face of New Mexico's statehood and said, "Nope"!

It looks like the status quo will continue to reign.

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Gallery Credit: Daniel Paulus



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