Map Wars IV: The Minister Strikes Back

In earlier blog posts, we’ve discussed the resurrection of the plates for the 1833 MacRae-Brazier map and their use by Wellington Williams to publish a “new” map of North Carolina in 1854. The following episode involved their use by an unknown publisher (J.H. French?) for a bizarre map that turned out to be a publisher’s mock up for the map that is the subject of today’s post. What does a minister have to do with all of this?

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Map Wars: Episode II – A “new” NC wall map.

There are, of course, numerous examples of maps whose publication history far outlived their accuracy from either a physical or political geographic perspective. One of the best examples from North Carolina is the 1833 MacRae-Brazier map.

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1833 MacRae-Brazier map of North Carolina

Note: Analogous to the Star Wars movies, we’re starting in the middle of the story. We’ll eventually circle around to Episode I, the story of the original MacRae-Brazier map. The fact that I’m starting in the middle of the story is what prompted the post title; this mid 19th century commercial cartographic competition did not involve light sabres or other weaponry. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post… Continue reading

A Town with Two Names

One of the great 19th century wall maps of North Carolina was published by William D. Cooke in 1857. There are no more than 10 currently known extant copies of the map, existing in no fewer than 6 states or variants. The first two states, including a set of proof sheets (state 1) held by the British Library, show Edgecombe County’s seat as Tarboro. On the 3rd and subsequent states, the town is shown as Tauboro. It’s not unusual for misspelled place names on early maps to be corrected on later issues of the map. But to take a perfectly spelled place name and, seemingly, “mess it up”? At first glance, that made absolutely no sense. Turns out, it was supposed to be changed… to Tawboro! The explanation is found in an 1859 newspaper article transcribed below. Continue reading