Rare Maps of North Carolina

In this blog post, we’ll list a few of the rarest of the rare maps of North Carolina published prior to 1800.  The list is anecdotal; a map makes the list if I don’t recall seeing an example sold in the past 20 years, despite the number of surviving institutional copies, or if I’m aware of no more than five extant copies. Let’s get started! Continue reading “Rare Maps of North Carolina”

Kocherthal 1709 map of Carolina

A very brief historical background on Kocherthal and the Palatines

Before we get to the map of the Carolina region published by Joshua Kocherthal in 1709, a very brief historical background is in order. The Palatine region of western Germany was devastated repeatedly by wars in the 17th Century and early 18th Century. Famine and poverty inflicted by constant war are frequently cited as reasons for emigration of German Palatines during this period. If decades of war and famine had not yet instigated mass migration, what encouraged the Palatines to finally overcome inertia in 1709? Continue reading “Kocherthal 1709 map of Carolina”

The cartographic wanderings of Carolana

On 30 October 1629, King Charles I issued a grant to Sir Robert Heath, his attorney general, for all the land in North America between 31° and 36° north latitude. This land was designated Carolana, i.e. “land of Charles.” During the next 150 years, Carolana made sporadic and wandering appearances on maps. Continue reading “The cartographic wanderings of Carolana”

No love for Carte de la Caroline

Cartographic historians and collectors of 18th Century maps of what is now Virginia and the Carolinas love “wow” maps, such as the Churton-Collet map of North Carolina and the Fry-Jefferson map of Virginia. A few maps, such as Carte de la Caroline Meridionale et Septentrionale et de la Virginie, receive no love at all and are essentially ignored. Why is that? Continue reading “No love for Carte de la Caroline”

John Lawson’s virtually unknown published map of “Ocacock Inlet”

Renowned British map dealer, scholar, and author Philip Burden made an exciting discovery at the Admiralty Library in Portsmouth, UK. Burden discovered four previously unrecorded small charts of locations on the east coast of North America, bound within an extremely rare small atlas by Philip Lea. Continue reading “John Lawson’s virtually unknown published map of “Ocacock Inlet””

History Derailed, or, the libel of James Cook.

Eighteenth Century South Carolina surveyor James Cook has been dead for over 200 years. Let’s make believe he’s still living and still surveying. What else would he be doing?  He’d be suing several late 20th and early 21st century writers and publishers for libel. His case would be a slam dunk. Let’s examine the evidence of libel and then the facts. Continue reading “History Derailed, or, the libel of James Cook.”

Daniel Dunbibin, Nicholas Pocock, and Trees

One noticeable feature on a select few Carolina coastal charts published during the last half of the 18th century is a row of trees along the Grand Strand, a section of coast now dominated by high rise hotels and condos. Who “planted” these trees? Daniel Dunbibin or Nicholas Pocock?

18th Century charts by Nicholas Pocock, George Le Rouge, and John Norman each show a line of trees along the coast of present-day Myrtle Beach.
Image credits: 1770 Pocock image courtesy of Boston Rare Maps. 1777 Le Rouge image courtesy of North Carolina Collection at UNC-CH. 1794 Norman image courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library.

Continue reading “Daniel Dunbibin, Nicholas Pocock, and Trees”

283 M. Survey’d, give or take a few

John Mitchell’s monumental 1755 map of North America has a curious annotation in the North Carolina Piedmont. About 15 miles southwest of present-day Salisbury, one sees “283 M. Survey’d”. So what 283 miles were surveyed?

283 mile marker of the Granville Line survey on John Mitchell’s 1755 map of North America.

Continue reading “283 M. Survey’d, give or take a few”

What’s in a name? Conetoe, NC

Conetoe: A small but wonderful community in eastern Edgecombe County, about 6 miles southeast of Tarboro.

First, let’s get the pronunciation correct; it’s cuh-NEAT-uh, according to the NC Gazetteer. Don’t even think about pronouncing it Cone Toe. Ok, I’ll confess, I can’t help but think “Cone Toe” when I see Conetoe. It sure would help if they would revert to the original spelling. What is the source of this town’s unusual name? Continue reading “What’s in a name? Conetoe, NC”

Occacock from Actual Survey

A small map published in late 1795 holds a special place of distinction in North Carolina’s cartographic history. Occacock from Actual Survey. By I. Price 1795 was the very first map drawn, engraved, and printed in North Carolina.*

Occacock from Actual Survey by Jonathan Price Continue reading “Occacock from Actual Survey”