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LONG-LOTS IN WASHINGTON COUNTY, TENNESSEE Ja m e s C. H a m l e t t East Tennessee State University The landholding is an areal unit on the earth’s surface which can be observed and recorded in order to understand better man’s complex spatial arrangement. Landholding units can be typed and classified into major land division systems. In the United States, as elsewhere, land division systems have been noted as part of the landscape by observation of landholding shapes. The initial settlement in Colonial New England was by towns. These towns were large land parcels, usually four to ten miles square and characterized by a central settlement. Remnants of the character of these early towns are still in evidence today.1 With the exception of New England, the Thirteen original colonies and the colonial frontier were settled indiscriminately; settlers procured land and established boundaries following no pre-conceived plan. The metes and bounds, an indiscriminate method of settlement, can be recog­ nized by irregular-shaped landholdings.2 In the late 1700’s the Congressional land survey was established; this survey covered all land in the United States that was .not settled prior to 1785. The survey’s basic units, the six mile square township and the one mile square section, are still in evidence throughout most of the central and western part of the United States.3 Various non-Federal rectangular land division systems can also be found in the United States. Imitations of the Congressional system, these non-Federal systems can be distinguished by their rectangular shape; however, each particular system’s landholding base is not uniform in that it does not always adhere to a size as does the standard Congressional township.4 The French institutionalized a land division system. This system’s basic land holding unit is an elongated landholding known as the “long-lot.” The long-lot is particularly noticeable on the flood plains of the St. Law­ rence River in Canada and the Lower Mississippi River in Louisiana.3 The association between the French and the long-lot is firmly fixed; neverthe­ less, the long-lot has been found in areas occupied by other ethnic groups. There is evidence of the elongated landholding in many parts of the world. Long-lots are linked with two German settlement types: (1) the Waldhufendorf and (2) the M arschhufendorj0 In South America longlot landholdings are found in Brazil, British Guiana, and Paraguay.7 Long-lots are even evident in the Outer Hebrides Islands3 and the abovementioned early New England towns.0 It should be somewhat evident that long-lots can and do occur under various physical and cultural conditions. The presence of the long-lot in Washington County, Tennessee, however, might be considered atypical. 34 It is not assumed that long-lots are indigenous only to Washington County, Tennessee. The lots could possibly occur in any area in the Ridge and Valley Province or any other area for that matter. Washington County, Tennessee, was used as an example in order to substantiate this possibility. The French employ their long-lots along navigable streams. The German Waldhufendorf and its associated elongated landholdings can be found in narrow mountain valleys in Europe. Similar physical locations are characteristic of, and in part responsible for, the linear-shaped landholding in Washington County, Tennessee: a navigable stream and narrow mountain valleys, both types of locations being generally related to transportation. The former would seem the most acceptable location for long-lots. Such is not the case historically. The latter would appear to be the least likely because of sparse population in the mountains; never­ theless, this argument can be ignored as a result of particular physical and cultural aspects of the Washington County area. In any instance, the long-lots do exist in both types of locations today. Evolution of the Long-Lot Washington County is located in the northeastern part of the state of Tennessee. The county lies mainly in the Ridge and Valley physio­ graphic province. The extreme eastern part of the county, however, con­ tains some remnants of the Blue Ridge Mountain System, but the majority of the area is characterized by many parallel valleys and...


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