James T. Paterson – Confederate dentist and map publisher

This map of NC/SC, with a curious imprint, “Published by James T. Paterson”, contains no date or place of publication.

James T. Paterson 1865 map of North and South Carolina
Image courtesy of the State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

Although there is a plate number in the upper left corner, the type of paper and numerous folds are more indicative of a pocket map than a map extracted from an atlas. I stumbled upon copies of this map at the Library of Congress and UNC a dozen or more years ago. At that time, internet searches did not provide any clues about the origin of this map. Oh my, how times have changed!

The map

At first glance, the map appears to be, and in fact is, copied from the Johnson & Browning map found in late 1860 and early 1861 issues of their Johnson’s New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas...1 Paterson copied Johnson & Browning’s map even to the point of including the “32” plate number at top left corner, though omitting the “33” from the top right corner. The title imprint at lower right credits Paterson instead of Johnson & Browning.

Confirmation that the map was issued in pocket format has been confirmed by extant copies still in original covers. The cover title is “Map of the Seat of War in North and South Carolina” and states “sold by M.M. Cohen”.2 There are no known copies of an atlas published by James T. Paterson, nor have any advertisements been found for such. However, 200 copies of the separately published map of the Carolinas were advertised for sale by M. M. Cohen of Augusta, Georgia, in February, 1865:

1865 ad for James T. Paterson map of North and South Carolina
From the February 4, 1865, issue of the Daily Constitutionalist (Augusta, GA)

An 1865 date of publication makes sense, as that was when the “seat of war” shifted to the Carolinas.The map of “North and South Carolina” was the last in a short series of cartographic works published by Paterson.

Paterson’s other maps

The first two maps published by Paterson were during a visit to Richmond, Virginia, in 1861 (more on that later).  One, a map of the seat of war in Virginia and Maryland, lists Paterson as publisher,  the firm of Hoyer & Ludwig (Richmond) as lithographers, and sold by George L. Bidgood (Richmond) and Tucker & Perkins (Augusta). This may have been an original production “Compiled from the latest maps.” The other map, of Kentucky and Tennessee, states “Published by JAMES T. PATERSON, RICHMOND, VA”. Like the map of the Carolinas, Paterson’s map of Kentucky and Tennessee is a blatant copy of a Johnson & Browning map.

Paterson’s third map, Map of Northern Georgia and Tennessee... was published in Augusta, Georgia, in 1863. It also appears to be an original production. The map was “lithographed/published by J.T. Paterson & Co.” This map was engraved by “F. Geese”. Frederick Geese is listed as a lithographer in an 1870s Richmond directory.

Who was James T. Paterson?

James Thomson Paterson was born on 13 October 1831, in New Keith, Scotland, and baptized on 7 November 1831.3 This blogger has been unable, from the comforts of home, to find any information on his early life or education. On 1 January 1855, the 23 year old “Physician” married a 31 year old widow, Jane M. Nutter Huckins, in Boston, Massachusetts.4  A few months later, the Boston Herald published a 21 April 1855, “Letter from Iowa”, which included the following statement: Persons who desire to see this beautiful [Des Moines] valley of Iowa, would do well to call upon Dr. James T. Paterson, 25 Winter street, Boston, who designs to come here this spring to practice as a surgeon dentist. He can give particulars...5

The next four years of J.T. Paterson’s life remain elusive. There is no confirmation that he ever went to Iowa. According to an 1868 obituary, “there [Boston] he married, and there his wife died, after which he removed to Charleston, South Carolina, where he worked as a dentist for some time, and then moved to Augusta, Georgia…”6 Another paper indicates that his first wife died after they moved to Charleston, SC.7 No obituary for his first wife has been found on line. No mention of Paterson has been found in Charleston, SC, newspapers between 1855 and 1859.

James T. Paterson was well established as a dentist in Augusta, Georgia, by 1859 when he can be found in the city directory.8 He married Catharine “Katie” A. Browne Talbird in Augusta on 21 July 1860. They may have taken a combined honeymoon/continuing education trip to Europe. In November 1860, Paterson advertised that he had returned from Europe and that “he will introduce some of the latest techniques in Artificial Teeth, that are highly recommended in London, Edinburgh, and Paris.” According to a brief biography published in 1982, James and Katie’s only child, Ida, died in Augusta in July 1864.9

The Late Inconvenience

James T. Paterson’s dental advertisements can be found in the Augusta newspapers through May 1861, after which they are noticeably absent. By early October of that year, Paterson was in Richmond, Virginia, where he served on the Board of Managers of the Georgia Hospital in Richmond.10 During Paterson’s time in Richmond, he obviously became interested in the lithography and printing business, as evidenced by the inclusion of his name on two maps published while he was in Richmond.

When the Confederate government decided to move currency printing operations from Richmond to Columbia, South Carolina, James T. Paterson secured the contracts. He soon had lithography and printing operations in Columbia and Augusta, printing Confederate currency, bonds and postage stamps, in addition to contracts for printing currency and bonds for individual states. (The Appendix contains newspaper descriptions of these Columbia and Augusta operations.) It is amongst collectors of Confederate currency and scripophily that the “James T. Paterson & Co.” is best known.

The Late James T. Paterson – watch for it on the “Murder Channel”

Within the first few months after the Late Inconvenience, James T. Paterson had sold his lithography and printing business in Augusta and moved to Savannah. In his new coastal location, Paterson was a successful shipping agent and also had a timber business with operations in Darien, Georgia. These professional pursuits came to an abrupt end with his death in May 1868.

I’m sure most readers are aware of those TV programs that “cram” a five minute story about a suspicious death (almost always involving husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend) into a one or two hour TV program. Had those shows been around in 1868, undoubtedly, James T. Paterson’s death would have been a feature story.

Following James T. Paterson’s death, his body was returned to Augusta and buried in the cemetery there. Shortly thereafter, George Paterson, James’s brother, had the body exhumed and the stomach removed. George sent his brother’s stomach to Savannah, then to Charleston, and then back to Savannah before it was finally examined. An overdose of laudanum,11 was determined to be the cause of death. George accused Katie Paterson of intentionally giving her husband a fatal dose of the drug, resulting in her indictment for murder by a grand jury one year after her husband’s death. Katie claimed that James had accidentally self-administered an overdose of laudanum. The judge dismissed the case due to insufficient evidence and a lack of witnesses.  That was not the end of Katie Paterson’s courtroom appearances.

One year prior to James Paterson’s death, he had purchased a $10,000 life insurance policy, with his wife named as beneficiary. The insurance company refused to pay, claiming that death by his own action was not covered. Katie Paterson won the initial judgement as the court ruled that accidentally killing oneself did not constitute suicide. The insurance company appealed and the case was eventually settled by the Georgia Supreme Court with a reversal of the original judgement. The thirty page Supreme Court summary includes all sorts of intrigue, including the fact that Katie Paterson was still married to her first husband when she married James Paterson and, at the time of the latter’s death, his wife was an alleged cheat. Like I said, this is classic “Murder Channel” material.

If those 30 Supreme Court pages aren’t enough, you can also read a short story written by (perhaps even about) Kate B (Browne) Talbird, published in 1859.12 She also published a poem lamenting the death of Hope, in the 22 February 1860, issue of the same newspaper, a mere five months prior to her marriage to James Paterson.

Isn’t this a map blog?

Well, it’s supposed to be a map blog. However, one could make a sound argument that James T. Paterson’s story is more interesting than his maps. Next time, we’ll try to focus on more interesting maps and less interesting people.


The following newspaper accounts from August 1862, provide us with a contemporary description of Paterson’s lithographic and printing operations in Columbia and Augusta.

Lithographic Establishment of J. T. Patterson & Co.
From the Columbia (S. C.) Southern Guardian, August 13.

Mr. Editor: We arrived here a few days since from Sumter, being our first visit to your truly charming little city. Since our arrival we have been busy in search, not of the “elephant” but of the picturesque and beautiful, and active in taking notes “by the wayside” of all worthy of being noted. First in our note book, and under the head of “lithography,” comes the establishment above mentioned. Through the kindness of Dr. James T. Paterson, one of the proprietors, we were permitted, on Friday, the 1st instant, to visit the extensive and flourishing establishment the subject of this paper.
We were first conducted to the printing room, where we found a large number of workmen industriously plying at their presses, printing government notes exclusively. The lithographic execution of the bank notes, being on copper, surpassed anything of the kind we have seen South, while the printing exhibited a care and neatness reflecting no little credit on the printers, who evidently stand in the front rank of their profession.
The “engraving department” we found under the charge of an old Charleston favorite, Mr. F. Borneman and Mr. G. Grinevald, who politely exhibited to us several specimens of their work. Messrs. P. & Co. are certainly fortunate in having secured the services of such able and skilful engravers.
We ere next ushered in the sanctum of Mr. F. Geese, the gentlemanly foreman of the establishment. Among his many duties he has also charge of the “transfer” department. This, to us, novel and curious operation was kindly performed in our presence, and in a savoir faire style, which at once convinced us that, in this department too the right man was in the right lace.—To Mr. Geese we are also indebted for an exhibition of lithographic work in the form of bonds, certificates of stock, maps, diplomas, drafts, bills of exchange, &c., all admirably executed, and exhibiting in a strong light the resources of this establishment, and of its branch, now in successful operation, we are informed, in Augusta, Georgia. The coupon bonds engraved and printed for the State of North Carolina cannot in our opinion fail to add to the well-earned reputation of this popular establishment. These bonds, we are told, were executed at the branch establishment at Augusta , which was established at a heavy expense to meet the wants of the Post Office Department, and for the benefit of the States of Georgia and North Carolina.
We next visited the “drying room,” which is under the care of Mr. C. Cumming. Finding ourselves suddenly surrounded by mountain high “rocks,” we could not overcome the temptation of putting in practice our knowledge of “spirit rapping.” But a tempting pile of C’s which attracted our attention, and upon which we were tempted to operate, stubbornly refused to follow the medium, so we retired in disgust, and made our way to the “paper room,” which is also in charge of Mr. Cumming. We minutely examined the books of this important department, and must admit were gratified to find the admirable system adopted for the delivery and return of sheets. So perfect is the scheme, that detection would immediately follow an attempt to conceal a single sheet. Our next introduction was to Mr. E. J. Durban, who politely spread his account books before us, and called our attention to the number of notes struck off weekly. The force employed being considered, we must admit that we were surprised at the exhibit; it tells well, however, for the faithfulness of the printers and good management of the proprietors.
To Dr. J. T. Paterson we return our thanks, and tender the grateful acknowledgement of the ladies of the visiting party for his kind attention during our visit in his model establishment. We commend him to the favorable notice of his community as a high-toned, energetic, and unassuming gentleman, who has worthily succeeded in securing the patronage and confidence of the Treasury Department, and who, we are sure, will not fail to win the good wishes and support of those who are ever ready to sustain honest efforts and unflinching enterprise.

DAILY CONSTITUTIONALIST [AUGUSTA, GA], August 19, 1862, p. 3, c. 1
Lithographic Engraving and Printing Establishment.—We publish, this morning, an article from the Columbia (S.C.) Guardian, of August 13th, giving some account of the Lithographic establishment of J. T. Paterson & Co., in that city. Allusion is made in that article to the establishment here, which is a branch of the one in Columbia. A more particular reference to it may not be uninteresting to our readers. Through the kindness of Mr. Wightman, one of the proprietors, and Superintendent of the works, we are enabled to do this, as he has accompanied us through the several departments, and exhibited to us the various kinds of work done in each.
The establishment is located in the building at the corner of Broad and McIntosh streets, formerly known as “Washington Hall,” the entrance to which is on McIntosh street, nearly opposite the Post Office. Five Lithographic presses are employed in printing State Bonds, Postage Stamps, &c., the Confederate Bonds being printed in Columbia. Employment is given to some ten or twelve persons, among whom are some ladies, who paste the gum on the backs of the stamps. The company is now engaged in printing Bonds for the States of Georgia, North Carolina, and Mississippi, and the style of their execution is very creditable.—This work is not done in the ordinary style of lithographing, but is first engraved on steel or copperplates, and thence transferred to stone, from which the sheets are struck off very rapidly. This part of the business is in the hands of a competent engraver, whose work is the best evidence of his ability in this line.
The presses and the paper, if we remember correctly, are all of Southern manufacture; and as the business of the establishment increases, additions and improvements of an important character will be made. Mr. Tucker, one of the proprietors, assures us that it is the intention of the Company when deemed practicable, to add steel, copperplate, and wood engraving to the departments now in operation; and the names of the parties whom we have mentioned are a sufficient guarantee of what will be accomplished. The average number of postage stamps now printed daily is about 250,000; this is in addition to the bonds, bills, &c., of which a large number is printed here.
The importance of such an establishment as this in our midst, cannot be properly appreciated at the present time, as it is a novelty in this section of our Confederacy; but as the wants of the Government, of the States, and individuals, come to be readily and satisfactorily supplied here, it will take a prominent place among the industrial enterprises of our community, and add greatly to its own business as well as to that of the city. Messrs. Paterson & Co. should, by all means, receive a liberal patronage and a general encouragement.



  1. map ver. 2.0 in Ira Lourie’s Johnson U.S. Map Project, see http://www.johnsonmapproject.org/map-identifier.php . For a high resolution image of Johnson & Browning’s map, see https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3900.np000152/
  2. Click “details” tab on the catalog entry for the copy in Duke University Library: http://search.library.duke.edu/search?id=DUKE000823718
  3. PATERSON, JAMES THOMSON (O.P.R. Births 159/00 0050 0167 KEITH) via www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/
  4. “Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001,” database with images,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FHQD-MR8 : 13 July 2016), James T. Paterson and Jane M. Huckins Nutter, 01 Jan 1855; citing Marriage, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States, , town clerk offices, Massachusetts; FHL microfilm 818,098.
  5. Boston Herald, Tuesday, May 1, 1855, page 4, column 2: http://www.genealogybank.com/nbshare/AC01090419165424314941475253836
  6. Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, South Carolina) · Wed, May 27, 1868 · First Edition · Page 2, accessed via newspapers.com.
  7. Georgia Weekly Telegraph (Macon, GA), 28 May 1869.
  8. Directory for the city of Augusta, and business advertiser for 1859, published by R.A. Watkins, p111, available on line at http://www.archive.org/details/directoryforcity00watkrich
  9. DeTreville, John R., “James T. Paterson”, in Richmond County History, 14:1 (Winter 1982):33-41. This blogger greatly appreciates the kindness of Elaine Benton of the Augusta Richmond County Historical Society in providing a copy of this article. The article does not cite a primary reference pertaining to the daughter, Ida, and I have been unable to find any other reference to a child of John H. Talbird and Catharine/Kate Talbird, or of James T. Paterson and Catharine/Kate Paterson.
  10. Daily Constitutionalist (Augusta, GA), Sunday, October 20, 1861, p2, accessed via GenealogyBank.com (goo.gl/U1BkJu)
  11. Laudanum = alcohol based painkilling solution containing morphine and codeine
  12. The story, “May Rivers”, was published in the 19 October 1859, issue of the Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, SC, is located about 20 miles north of Augusta.)

What's on your mind?