What’s in a name? Bellin “Reckoned” wrong in Carolina.

Determining the origins of unusual place names found on early maps of Carolina is a fun, and perhaps nerdy, exercise. Some, such as Lockwood Folly, have interesting, and sometimes obscure, historical origins. Others, like Murder and Surveyor’s Ferry, have their origin in copying errors by cartographers and/or engravers. What about Reckoned, on the Catawba River at the current site of Fort Mill, SC?

Reckoned is shown as a place name on Jacques-Nicolas Bellin’s 1757 Carte de la Caroline et Georgie (including its own little circle!) and Bellin’s 1764 La Caroline dans l’Amerique.

Carte de la Caroline et Georgie - 1757

Carte de la Caroline et Georgie – 1757

La Caroline dans l'Amerique - 1764

La Caroline dans l’Amerique – 1764

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the source of this peculiar place name? Bellin used John Mitchell’s monumental map of North America, published in 1755, as the source for much of his information. Indeed, one finds the first use of Reckoned on that map:

A map of the British and French dominions in North America with the roads, distances... by John Mitchell, 1755

A map of the British and French dominions in North America with the roads, distances… by John Mitchell, 1755

However, it wasn’t a place name. Bellin completely overlooked the rest of the phrase:

The Catawba town of Wateree is "Reckoned About 400 M. to Appomatox"

The Catawba town of Wateree is “Reckoned About 400 M. to Appomatox”

I reckon one can’t always rely on maps for accuracy.

Our previous “What’s in a name?” posts can be found right here.

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