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The Transit Line: Where the Holland Purchase begins

Posted 26 November 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – In 1927, the Daughters of the American Revolution put up this historical marker at the corner of Ridge Road and Transit Road in the town of Murray. It marks the eastern boundary of the Holland Land Company.

By Adam Tabelski

The Transit Line was run by Joseph Ellicott, agent for the Holland Land Company, in 1798 using a transit instrument. It marked the eastern boundary of the Holland Purchase and stretched from Pennsylvania to Lake Ontario.

In order to make the line semi-permanent, Ellicott’s surveying team cleared trees along the entire route to the width of four rods (one chain), or about 66 feet.

According to the“Pioneer History of Orleans County,” the long break in the forest resulted in “a convenient land mark to the early settlers in locating their lands, and serving as a guide in finding their way through the woods.” Indeed, the pioneers traveling westward 200 years ago crossed this noticeable break in the trees and knew they had finally reached the Holland Purchase.

The Transit Line is where the surveying of the Holland Purchase began, and when you drive down Transit Road today you are literally following in the footsteps of Joseph Ellicott and his team, not to mention the numerous pioneer families who first settled in our region.

Photo by Adam Tabelski – This photo taken in early fall shows modern-day Transit Road, looking north. On the left is Carlton, on the right is Kendall. The road separates many townships in Western New York.