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Has the “Mouzon” manuscript map been found?

The “Mouzon” manuscript map:  In 1940, the antiquarian map and book selling firm of Henry Stevens, Son, & Stiles, afforded “another opportunity to collectors to inspect a further selection from their unrivalled [sic] collection of decorative and historical maps now in New York.” The Old Print Shop, based in New York City, acted as their local agent and arranged for a printed catalogue, which includes the following credit:  “The catalogue [was] designed and the maps described by Henry Stevens, grandson of Henry Stevens of Vermont, famous American Bibliographer and Bookseller.”

The following is the entry for Item 98 in the catalogue.



CAROLINA, 1775. [An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina with their
Indian Frontiers, Mountains, Rivers, Swamps, Marshes, Bay, Creeks, Harbours, &c., with the Roads and Indian, Paths as well as the Boundary or Provincial Lines, the Several Townships and other divisions of the Land in both the Provinces ; the whole from Actual Surveys by Henry Mouzon and others. London: Robt. Sayer and J. Bennett, May 30th, 1775].
Size 4 sheets, each 22 3/4 x 16 1/4 = 45 1/2 x 32 1/2  inches.    $375.00   (98)

*** THE ORIGINAL DRAWINGS made by Mr. De La Rochette from the Surveys of Henry Mouzon and others. From these drawings the copper-plates (from which the map, see infra, was printed) were engraved on a slightly larger scale, the printed map measuring 56 x 39 inches as against the 45 1/2 x 32 1/2  inches of the drawings. On the verso of one of the sheets of the drawings is the following endorsement “Original Drawings of 4 Sheet North & South Carolina made by Mr. De La Rochette in which are the Harbours of CharsIston (sic) & Port Royal—part of the Stock of the late Mr Sayer—Will’d to Laurie & Whittle.”

A careful comparison of these originals with a copy of the printed map as published by Robt. Sayer & J. Bennett in 1775 fails to show any discrepancies except that the Drawing is on a smaller scale and that the top left corner of the top left sheet, which in the printed map is occupied by the title (as given above), is blank. In the printed map a few small sailing ships together with some dotted lines (marked “A Good Channel”) leading into some of the Harbours bordering on the Atlantic have been introduced.

On May 13th [1920] there was sold by public auction at Puttick & Simpson’s Sale Rooms in Leicester Square London “The remaining Stock of Messrs. Laurie & Whittle” and it is from there that these drawings in all probability emanated.[efn_note]According to a newspaper advertisement published in The Times on April 26, 1920, the auction of “the remaining stock of engravings, drawings, maps, and engraved plates of Messrs. Laurie and Whittle, the celebrated publishers of the 18th Century, the Property of a Descendant, deceased… will sell by auction…on Thursday May 13th and the following day…” It is interesting that Stevens would leave out the year of the auction some twenty years after it occurred. It makes one ponder if he had written this catalog description many years earlier.[/efn_note]  Laurie & Whittle were the descendants of a long line of Map-makers the following being the chronological history of the firm:
P. Overton                     1720-1745                   Whittle & R. H. Laurie           1813-1818
Sayer — —                     1745-1794                   R. H. Laurie … …                    1818-1858
Sayer & J. Bennett       1770-1787                   A. & A. A. Findley …              1858-1875
Robt. Laurie & Whittle 1794-1812               Imray Laurie, Norie & Wilson           1876
from which it will be seen that Laurie & Whittle, to whom these original Drawings were bequeathed by Mr. Sayer, were the successors to the firm of Sayer & Bennett the publishers in 1775 of the printed map of which these original Drawings are the prototype.
There is no indication on the printed map that it was drawn by Mr. De La Rochette and it is possible that the endorsement on the back of these drawings is the only evidence of this fact. For the Printed Map see infra.


The manuscript map attributed to Mr. De La Rochette was sent to Charles Rush, Librarian at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Rush invited William P. Cumming, the leading authority on colonial era maps of the Southeast, to inspect the map. Due to the difference in size between the manuscript map and the printed “Mouzon” map, Cumming had serious doubt that it was the very map used as a template by the engraver. Acting on this opinion (and perhaps also due to the hefty price), Rush returned the map to The Old Print Shop in April 1945.  There, the trail went cold. Business records for Henry Stevens, Son & Stiles are not known to survive. Internet searches and searching WorldCat and a number of individual library catalogs turned up nothing but old photostats at UNC.

Recently, Craig Keeney, Cataloging Librarian at the South Caroliniana Library on the campus of the University of South Carolina, set about to assess some material in the Henry P. Kendall Collection that had never been catalogued. One item in the drawer was a map, in four sheets, that matched the description of Item 98 in the 1940 catalog… except for one rather large discrepancy. The map at USC is virtually identical in size to a printed “Mouzon” map, i.e., much larger than the dimensions given in the 1940 catalog.

Upon inspection of the USC map, it was found to be a manuscript map (not engraved or lithographed) on 18th Century laid paper. Most puzzling, the handwritten endorsement on the verso, as stated in the Item 98 description above, and added in the mid 1790s or later, matched perfectly with the illustration in the 1940 catalog, and also matched perfectly the UNC photostat. Perfectly, including every ink blemish, smudge, and paper feature.  Despite the discrepancy in the size of the map at USC versus the reported size of the manuscript for sale in 1940, the perfect match of the endorsement, smudges, and focal paper loss on the verso is sufficient proof to this blogger that they are one and the same. Unless an acceptable explanation is forthcoming, one is forced to conclude that the measurements reported in the 1940 catalog and subsequently by Cumming, are wrong. Unfortunately, I can’t prove that, either.  One of the photostats at UNC includes a Yale University Library ruler next to the manuscript map. So, regardless if the photostats were reproduced actual size or not, the ruler lying next to the manuscript should allow us to make a precise measurement of the 1940 manuscript map. My calculations using that method, unfortunately, match the dimensions listed in the 1940 catalog. One possible explanation is that the ruler was lying next to a previously made reduced size photostat, and not next to the actual manuscript map.[efn_note]I thank Alex Clausen, business parter of Barry Ruderman (https://raremaps.com) for this potential solution to the puzzle.[/efn_note] However, in Southeast in Early Maps, Cumming states specifically that, in 1945, he “examined the original MS sheets with Mr. Rush”, not a photostat.

The only remaining puzzle is how Henry Stevens, Son, & Stiles, managed to record such precise (down to the fraction of an inch), yet grossly erroneous measurements for the map drawn by Louis De La Rochette, and how these same grossly erroneous measurements were confirmed by others. I’ve puzzled and puzzled til my puzzler is sore[efn_note]$1 to Dr. Seuss[/efn_note]. I’ll leave it to brighter minds to solve that one.

One can reasonably conclude that Henry P. Kendall acquired from Henry Stevens, Son & Stiles, the manuscript map used as a template by the engraver for the “Mouzon” map of the Carolinas published in 1775. It would not have been the first, nor the most expensive, purchase Henry Kendall made from the Stevens firm. Kendall purchased a 1733 map of North Carolina by Edward Moseley from the same company in 1931 for $750.

Would you like to see this historically important manuscript map? Perhaps you  can solve the puzzle! The map will be available for viewing at the MESDA Map Seminar in Winston-Salem, in October. Register soon! Space is limited.

Questions, comments, and especially corrections are most welcome. Please use the “What’s on your mind?” comment box below.

Additional reading:

A previous blog post discussed how the “Mouzon” map did not originate from Henry Mouzon.

University of South Carolina Library bibliographic record for the manuscript map:

Oct 21-22 Map Seminar, Winston-Salem, NC – Registration open!

The long-awaited program, Cartography & Culture: Mapping the Early American South, will be held at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) in Winston-Salem, NC, on October 21-22, 2022. The organizers have created an outstanding program with an All-Star lineup of speakers. Further details on the program and registration are available here: https://mesda.org/program/mesda-fall-seminar/ .
This program has been generously sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Frank H. Holcomb of Houston, TX. I hope to see you there!

James Wimble: 1738 map of NC

In 1738, James Wimble’s chart of the coast of North Carolina was published in London. The lengthy title: To His Grace Thomas Hollis Pelham Duke of Newcastle Principal Secretary of State and one of His Majesties most Honourable Privy Council, &c. This Chart of his Majesties Province of North Carolina With a full & exact description of the Sea-coast, Latitudes, Capes, remarkable Inlets, Bars, Channels, Rivers, Creeks, Shoals, depth of Water, Ebbing & Flowing of the Tides, the generally Winds Setting of the Currents, Counties, Precincts, Towns, Plantations, and leading Marks, with directions for all the navigable Inlets; are Carefully laid down and humbly dedicated, by Your Grace’s most humble, most dutiful, & most Obedient Servant, James Wimble. Continue reading “James Wimble: 1738 map of NC”

A bad good authority?

In his 1854 report on the survey of Beaufort Harbor in North Carolina, Lieutenant James Maffitt stated the following:

…Wimble’s chart published in 1737 (one hundred and seventeen years ago,) gives eighteen feet as the depth on the bar at low tide. It is also stated on good authority that Lawson’s chart published in 1718 coincides with Wimble’s in the depth at low water.

John Lawson died in 1711. Furthermore, neither the original English version of Lawson’s map of Carolina, published in 1709, nor subsequent German and Swiss derivatives, show any soundings in the vicinity of Beaufort. I have been unable to locate a Lawson published map or manuscript map that shows soundings at the inlet to Beaufort, nor any map published circa 1718 that might have been misattributed to Lawson. The not-so-“good authority” is not named by Maffitt, so one is impeded in trying to investigate from that angle. Edward Moseley’s map of North Carolina, published in 1733, contains an inset of “Port Beaufort”. Perhaps that is the map to which the “good authority” was referring. If anyone has a better suggestion, please let us know via the “What’s on your mind?” comment box. Thanks.

Carolina map related articles in recent publications

December 2021 issue (No. 167) of The Journal of the International Map Collectors Society (aka IMCoS Journal) contains Boundaries of the Palmetto State: How royal instructions, survey errors, Indian Treaties, and negotiations with neighbours shaped South Carolina  by Edward E. Poliakoff.  IMCoS members have on line access to this current issue and all prior issues. A preview of the above essay is available on line, but you’ll have to join to read the full essay.

The Winter 2021 issue (No. 112) of The Portolan, the journal of the Washington Map Society, contains Hilton’s Carolina Pilotage with Shapley’s Chart before Locke and Lancaster, by Paul Hughes. The cover illustration for this issue is a 1662 ms map of Cape Fear River. Members of the Washington Map Society have on line access to The Portolan. The latest issue is currently being shipped to members but has not yet been posted on line (as of 1/19/22).

Bird’s eye views of North Carolina towns

Bird’s eye views are one of the most attractive map forms. They were most popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They are particularly fascinating because their creation more often relied on the ingenuity of the artist cartographer than on an actual view from upon high. Continue reading “Bird’s eye views of North Carolina towns”

Mayodan – a mill town born in the wilderness

Mayodan – a mill town born in the wilderness, Posted on 28 April 2020 by crmaps . This is the second of two posts in the past two years that completely vanished from this blog a few months after being posted; even the image files for this post disappeared from the blog’s media library page. If anyone has an explanation, or even better, a preventive cure, please share via the “What’s on your mind?” comment box near the bottom of this page.

In the 1890s, the town of Mayodan developed almost overnight on the Mayo River in western Rockingham County, NC. A map dating from the founding of this town was recently brought to my attention by Michael Buehler, proprietor of Boston Rare Maps. Continue reading “Mayodan – a mill town born in the wilderness”

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”