Tree used by surveyors to mark the location of a survey corner; the tree is located near the survey corner and is inscribed with survey data. Also known as a bearing tree.
Ran across this recently on one of our rambles. I was intrigued at this old tree out in the ‘middle of nowhere’ bearing such a sign and had to look it up.
I have long been aware that long ago, property in our area was measured by ‘stepping off’ a certain parcel. A certain number of steps marked the boundaries, which leads to the fact that some folks have found if they had to call in a surveyor at some point, the property lines may not match what you thought.
I am sure this had to do with the size of a person’s step, and lack of a compass for true directional sighting.
I was familiar with the term Benchmark. defined here
2. often bench mark A surveyor’s mark made on a stationary object
of previously determined position and elevation and used as a reference point in
tidal observations and surveys
There are some out near the highway, concrete set with a metal plaque marking specific corners.
I have seen a copy of an old deed written out like this:
 ‘From the witness tree 38 paces north and then west to the pile of rocks at the corner…’
Now where did you say we are?