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Deed Description - Check Lot - Maine

I am looking for a definition of "Check Lot".

I have found a deed description that calls for "Check Lot #7", for example.  Can anyone define the term "check" as it is used here.  It is 1 of 16 lots that makes up what appears to be a "School Lot".  Here in Maine the funds obtained from the sale of the timber on said School Lot or the sale of the property itself, was to go to the school(s) in the town.  The Check Lots started with #1 in the SE corner, north through Lot #4, then west to Lot #5, then south through Lot #8, then west to 9, north through 12, west to 13, then north through 15.

Thank you for any insight you may have.



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  • Hi Bernie,

    Thank you for responding, I just found what you wrote,I did not get a notice (email) that anyone had added anything to this discussion. Do not know what is up with that. But thanks for sharing. I am sure Garth will be please with your help.

    Best Regards,

    Your Friend, Billy

  •  Hi Garth,

    Yes, these lot were not property lots  as owner ship at this time. they were more like grid line for inventory. They were like imaginary lines to divide lots into different area for sale of timber.

    As in where this log was cut and who owed the school and how much board feet was taken from this area.

    The term check lots may have come from the system they used . The school was paid by a inventory system using checks in a check book. These had numbers and a stub with the same number to tack on a cut log and also recorded in this check book. The final board feet could be tallied at the saw mill if necessary to that point. These checks kept up with where this lumber came from and who owed who even at the mill.States with public lands systems use Township,Range and sections. all 16 section are school land. The forestry service has it's own system for dividing sections as do timber cruiser  but most are similar in some way to this. This is a very old term used back in the day and modern systems have replaced it. I have a real good friend who also worked for the forest service for many years and he lives closer to you and is also a member here. His name is Bernie J. Marocco. He may know something about all of this and can shed more light. I am sure he would be happy to help if he can. I maybe able to email him.

    Best regards again,


    • Government Professional

      Garth and Billy;

      Billy it's always nice to hear from you! My understanding of the term 'Check' refers to the 'Scaling' of the logs sold to the mill. So in effect, a more common term is 'Scale sale' in forestry jargon. Generally the optimal way to do these is to have the timber stand cruised by a forester prior to cutting in order to get a better idea of the potential volume and value coming off the stand. Check sales are not uncommon though. I'm told a forester who worked for the USFS on the Alaska Panhandle region that they would do 'check scales'  by a third party scalar of logs sitting in the water at harbors waiting for shipment to the mills. The process included tagging those logs. That forester also told me that the term for check scaling in central America was 'fracturas' or scale slips; much like truck load 'way bills' in construction tallying.

      The whole idea here in the Maine case was to tag each log leaving the property (in this case, lot number'). This was a way of tracking the amount of logs going to the mill in order to work out the percentage of proceeds. That way the logger would not be tempted to lop off the higher valued butt end for his profits before sending the remaining upper logs to the mill. It's not necessarily fool proof however, unless checked by a third party.

      Best regards;;


  • Billy,

    Are you saying that some time after the 2,640' x 2,640' lot (LOT #25, the school lot) was laid out per the town's lotting plan, the town or the  Board of Trustees for Ministerial and School funds ( in this case) then divided it into 16 lots for tracking harvests?  So if, at the time, I wanted some timber, I could cut the timber on a specific check lot, possibly chosen by the town, then they could keep track of it better and charge me a percentage for the wood harvested.  Is that correct interpretation of your post?  I'm still left wondering why the term "check" and not a "flamingo" or "pickle" lot.  How was the term coined?

  • Hi Garth,

    I am not 100% sure of this but I think it was a term or deed used in setting up a lot or boundary as to a person agreeing to pay for the timber they had cut and only that. They would not own the lot. The school would still own it but you would only pay for what you cut down and removed. By this label one would know what land timber was for sale on and not the land. But by this deed you would have these rights to the timber when you cut it.This was like buying the minerals but not the land. As you know most school lands are set a side to continue to make money for the school.

    Like I said I think but I have only seen it used this way.

    Very good ?.

    Best Regards,


  • Thank you all for your responses.

    Kevin, I'll first address "payment" to schools...it does NOT pertain to my question, my questions is  "what a check lot is".  It was only a historical bit of info that the proceeds from timber went to the schools.  In most cases those lots were sold off long ago.  Why "check" lot and not just School Lot...in fact some deeds call for "school lots 8"  or "school lot 4".  So why say check rather than school.

    I'm only looking for a definition, hoping that it may aid in what was trying to be done at the time the lots were created.  I found the plan for the perimeter of the School Lot, but I'm not able to put my hands on the plan for the check lots.  The plan for the school lot is not real useful as no measurements labeled, scaling assists in finding the physical evidence on the ground.

    In this particular case, most of the deeds call for "check lot #XX being 10 acres in size, but that is not the case on the ground.  Some have been surveyed 660x660, exactly 10 acres, but while lots 12 and 13 combined are supposed to be 20 acres, the actual size based on another survey (using physical evident) is 800x1276, almost 3.5 acres larger.

    Jim, thanks for the link.  At least the check lots are shown on that plan.  Like you appear to surmise, I think a check lot is a sort of remnant lot in the court case you linked to, but here The Entire school lot is established about 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile, and it was divided into 16 "check" lots.  It must have been a general term used at the time, I just don't know from where it was derived.  Interesting enough...that court case is in Burnham, where I am involved with another tough survey.

  • Seeking Employment

    I will look into this.

  • You need to provide more information or clarify your request better.  Are you questioning why "Check Lot 7" is of a differing size?   Or why they are called "Check Lot" in general?  As the the payment of timber proceeds to the local school, I do not understand the importance of that in this question if you are asking about a measurement or description issue.

  • Land Surveyor

    I'm not in Maine, but could it be a remnant lot?

    A quick google search shows there are other "check lots" in the record:


    Maine Reports
  • Land Surveyor

    From the context of what you have explained,I strongly think the Deed is requesting you to verify the data on the said check lot number else it could mean creating a check lot for the school lots which to me is not in the purview of your job as a  surveyor except you are maintaining a a registry.

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