This article was just in our local paper in NC. It's lengthy but interesting.......
Georgia eyes land (and water) to its north
By Barbara McRae, Editor
Georgia is taking steps to draw North Carolina and Tennessee into a boundary commission to move the state lines to the 35th parallel. This detail from a Nantahala National Forest map shows the 35th parallel in red above the state boundary line in black. Note that the further west you go, the greater the discrepancy. If Georgia succeeds in its land grab, Macon County will lose about 8,000 acres.
Some Georgia legislators have come up with a novel way to get more water to their thirsty state: Move the boundary a little bit north. That would put the Nickajack Reservoir in western Tennessee on the Georgia side of the state line and give Georgia a way to dip into the Tennessee River.
The move would have ramifications beyond Tennessee's water. Moving the boundary line to the 35th parallel, as state Sen. David Shafer and others propose, would bring parts of North Carolina into Georgia along with parts of Tennessee.
Are the legislators kidding? Apparently not. In a guest column he wrote for the Athens Banner-Herald on Feb. 12, Shafer quotes Georgia Law: "The boundary between Georgia and North Carolina and Georgia and Tennessee shall be the line described as the thirty-fifth parallel of north latitude, from the point of its intersection by the River Chattooga, west to the place called Nickajack." Shafer contends that his bill would simply right a nearly 200-year wrong.
The line was mismarked in 1818 because of the inferior tools Georgia provided to mathematician James Camak, who was hired to mark the western section of the line; Camak was about a mile off.
However, Georgia's luck had been better in 1811, when the state sent Andrew Ellicott to locate the 35th parallel in the east. Ellicott's Rock, which now forms the corner of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, was so accurately located that modern tools can do no better.
According to Shafer, Georgia intends to create a boundary commission to work with Tennessee and North Carolina to accurately survey and correctly mark the boundary at the true 35th parallel.
So far, officials and members of the public in the other states don't seem very enthusiastic about making the change. After all, the line as it currently exists has been accepted for more than a century.
Representative Roger West, who lives in Clay County and represents the 120th district, including Macon County, in the N.C. General Assembly, threw cold water on Georgia's claim.
"As long as that line's been established, I can't see them overturning it now. I think they're serious about getting access to the water in the Tennessee River. They should be talking with Tennessee about buying water. I don't think I'd take on a battle to move the state line."
Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, a surveyor, was quoted in the Chattanooga Times Free Press as saying, "I would think that using what we in the survey business call adverse possession... if this line has been there that long, almost 200 years (or) 190 years, surely that's the line now."
Tennessee House Majority Leader Gary Odom (D-Nashville) said (jocularly), "I think we need to have our militia down there."
It is unlikely to come that, but precedent exists for armed conflict over state lines. In fact, a battle called the "Walton War," between North Carolina and Georgia, was the impetus for sending Ellicott to find the 35th parallel in 1811. Ironically, Ellicott's work proved that Georgia's claim to old Walton County was ill-founded.