How did Google find Lenoir? It’s a moving target on these maps.

In 1847, the North Carolina legislature approved the incorporation of the Caldwell and Ashe Turnpike. The purpose of this thoroughfare was to facilitate trade between western Virginia, Tennessee, and even Kentucky with North Carolina via a route through what is now Watauga and Caldwell counties.This scenic toll road connected Johnson City, TN, with Lenoir, NC, the latter now home to a Google data center. The Caldwell and Ashe Turnpike was completed within a few years and persists today on our State highway map as U.S. Highway 321. What did it look like on the great North Carolina wall maps of the 1850s? Continue reading

A new Map History email listserv

Back in the old days, questions or announcements related to any aspect of cartographic history were easily broadcast far and wide via the MapHist listserv.  A few years ago, MapHist migrated away from an email listserv to an on line forum. Although well designed, the forum has failed to maintain the passion and level of discussion that existed previously in MapHist’s listserv format. In an effort to recapture those qualities, the International Society for the History of the Map recently created the ISHMap-List, an email listserv open to anyone interested in cartographic history. You can sign up for this email discussion group at no charge via this web site:

Although membership in ISHM is not required to subscribe to ISHMap-List, you are welcome to join ISHM here.

Re-stating Blome’s A Generall Mapp of Carolina

A Generall Mapp of Carolina Describeing its Sea Coast and Rivers, London Printed for Ric. Blome, was published in A Description of the Island of Jamaica: With the other Isles and Territories in America, by Richard Blome (Burden, Plate 420). The title page in the first edition of the book is dated 1672. Continue reading

Join us at Hope Plantation on January 18!

 I hope to see you at Hope Plantation on January 18. Please see registration details below.

Exploring Northeastern North Carolina’s

Early Architecture and Maps

January 18, 2014 ♦ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm


9:30 -10:00 am ♦ Registration and Coffee

10:00 am ♦ Reid Thomas, Restoration Specialist, NC State Historic Preservation Office
Exploring Northeastern North Carolina’s Early Architecture

An illustrated survey of regional buildings from the recently discovered oldest dated house to ones built up to about 1840 will be presented. Several fascination buildings (from humble one-room abodes to finer multi-room houses) that have been studied over the last 20+ years will be highlighted.

12:00 -1:00 pm ♦ Lunch

1:00 pm ♦ Jay Lester, Independent Scholar, Chapel Hill, NC
To David Stone and Peter Brown, Esq.: this first actual survey of the state of North Carolina taken by the subscribers is respectfully dedicated: The Story of the Price-Strother Map

The 1808 Price-Strother map of North Carolina, published with the financial backing of David Stone, was the first map of the State by actual survey. A review of the map was published in 1964 in the North Carolina Historical Review. Through many hours spent in archives, libraries, and on line, a greatly expanded and corrected history of the map is now pending publication in the MESDA Journal.

2:30 pm ♦ Dale Loberger, Historic Interpreter, Monroe, NC
Hands-on demonstration of surveying equipment of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

Advances in science and the demands of a developing continent led to rapid growth of tools and techniques for describing physical geography and bringing order to the untamed world. Learn through experience how early maps were created from the instruments devised to measure and plan the future of a new world.


Conference registration fee $25.00  ♦ *Registration Deadline January 15, 2014

Printable flyer for registration:

Make check payable to:

Historic Hope Foundation / 132 Hope House Road / Windsor, NC 27983

Phone: 252-794-3140 / Fax: 252-794-5583 / Email:

Another La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt Map of the Carolinas?

© North Carolina Map Blog.


Although neither rare nor of great historical significance, a certain style United States regional map, centered on the Carolinas, captured my attention a few years ago after observing the remarkable frequency with which many of these maps were wrongly attributed to François-Alexandre-Frédéric, duke de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt. These maps cover the Carolinas and portions of surrounding states. Continue reading

Re-Stating Cook’s 1773 Map of South Carolina

In June 1766, the South Carolina legislature published the following solicitation:

ANY Person or Persons capable and inclinable to make an accurate MAP of the Province from actual Survey, are desired to give in their Proposals as speedily as possible.

Answering that call were… Continue reading

What’s in a name? Green’s Path

The East Coast Greenway organization’s vision is …a green travel corridor [that] will provide cyclists, walkers, and other muscle-powered modes of transportation with a low-impact way to explore the eastern seaboard. Over 300 years ago, there was a trail in eastern North Carolina that undoubtedly required muscle power. It was literally a green way or, more specifically, the Green Path, as illustrated here:

Detail from the 1775 Mouzon map, courtesy of the David Rumsey Collection

Detail from the 1775 Mouzon map, courtesy of the David Rumsey Collection

Continue reading

Saturday Map Seminar at MESDA, November 9

We hope you’ll join other cartophiles for a day devoted to the discussion of colonial era maps. The event will be at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Old Salem, Winston-Salem, NC, on Saturday, November 9, 2013 (MESDA on Google Maps). The event will include lectures and an opportunity to see some extraordinarily rare map treasures in the Moravian Archives. Here are details that have been shamelessly copied from the MESDA event site:

MESDA Saturday Seminar: Mapping the Early South III: New Insights

November 9, 2013

9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m

Explore and discuss recent findings in the study of important early maps of Virginia and the Carolinas, including the Fry-Jefferson Map of Virginia; Carolina Comparative Cartography – Mouzon and Others; and early maps of Wachovia in North Carolina.


Moderator: Margaret Pritchard, Senior Curator and Curator of Maps, Prints & Wallpaper, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Henry G. Taliaferro, Map Dealer, Partner, Cohen & Taliaferro LLC, New York City

Jay Lester, Independent Scholar, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Johanna Brown, Director of Collections, Curator of Moravian Decorative Arts, Old Salem Museum & Gardens


$65 / $60 for Friends of MESDA (Cost includes all sessions, seminar materials, and lunch)


Space is limited.  Pre-registration is required to ensure a place.  To register or to receive a brochure please call 336-721-7360 or email Or download a registration form.

We hope to see you there!

You survey mine and I’ll survey yours

In 1767, portions of the South Carolina frontier were surveyed by a party of North Carolinians, led by none other than the North Carolina Governor himself, William Tryon.  A year or two later, a substantial portion of the frontier of North Carolina was surveyed by James Cook, a South Carolinian, at the request of his government. Why couldn’t each province survey its own lands? Continue reading