Re-Stating Cook’s 1773 Map of the Province of South Carolina

In June 1766, the South Carolina legislature published the following solicitation:

ANY Person or Persons capable and inclinable to make an accurate MAP of the Province from actual Survey, are desired to give in their Proposals as speedily as possible.

Answering that call were… James Cook and Tacitus Gaillard, the former skilled in the art of surveying, the latter a merchant who was also a member of the House of Assembly. Their lengthy proposal included a budget of 18,000 pounds proclamation money, the equivalent of approximately 3,000 pounds British Sterling. Cook & Gaillard’s manuscript map, measuring almost 8 feet in height, was completed in 1769, approved by the Assembly in March 1770, and subsequently engraved in London by John Lodge. The map was published in 1771. Only the eastern half of the great manuscript survives, preserved in the South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston. Only a single surviving copy of the published map is known, preserved in the British Library (the Library of Congress has a photostat of the British Library’s copy). The printed map measures over 6 feet in height.

As soon as it was published, it was an outdated map. A boundary settlement between North Carolina and South Carolina in 1771 added new territory to South Carolina, the so-called New Acquisition. Cook immediately set about the task of revising the 1771 map, shrinking it to just under 3 feet and incorporating not only the New Acquisition, but also showing for the first time on a printed map the following features in North Carolina: Tryon County, King’s Mountain, and Tryon Mountain.  Cook’s new map also provided an accurate depiction of the Catawba and Broad Rivers to their headwaters in North Carolina, a region more or less drawn by guesswork on the earlier 1770 Churton-Collet map. The new map was engraved in London by Thomas Bowen and published in 1773 under the title, A Map of the Province of South Carolina with all the Rivers, Creeks, Bays, Inletts, Islands, Inland Navigation, Soundings… (Bowen’s 1773 dated imprint is at the bottom left corner, outside the neat line). Bowen initially shrunk the 1771 map from 9 engraved plates to one plate, with some updated district and township boundaries, roads, soundings, and place names supplied by Cook. The New Acquisition and Tryon County portion of the map, and two additional insets, were engraved on a second plate and printed on a second relatively narrow sheet that was pasted to the top of the first sheet.

Cumming (Southeast in Early Maps, map 443) located 5 surviving copies of the 1773 map, and described two states of the map. Thanks to Google and WorldCat, a total of 12 surviving copies have now been located, existing in three different states.

The difference in the first two states is isolated to the title cartouche; for the third state, a publisher’s imprint is added below the bottom neat line. There are no cartographic changes from the first to third states.

State 1:  When Cook drew his manuscript, he left a blank space for the name of the Speaker of the House, likely knowing that there would be a newly elected Speaker by the time his map was engraved. However, the engraver also left a blank space:

Map of the Province of South Carolina 1773CookState1a

On surviving State 1 copies, the Speaker’s name has been added in manuscript, either copying the engraving error (Lawlins) of the Speaker’s first name (Rawlins), or with the correct first name :

Map of the Province of South Carolina 1773CookState1b


State 2: The word “Hon’ble” was re-engraved to provide more space for the Speaker’s name, which was incorrectly engraved as “Lawlins Lowndes”:

Map of the Province of South Carolina 1773CookState2


State 3: A publisher’s imprint was added at the bottom center, outside the neat line:

Published according to Act of Parliament, July 7th 1773, and Sold by H. Parker in Cornhill.


Number of currently known surviving copies by state:

1st state: five

2nd state: four

3rd state: four


Locations of known copies:

Moravian Archives (2)

Clements Library (2)

University of South Carolina

Library of Congress

John Carter Brown Library

Biblioteca Nacional de España

David Rumsey Collection

British Library

Harvard University

Bibliothèque nationale de France

Private collection


Digitized copies available on line include:

Biblioteca Nationale de Espana (1st state, with manuscript “Lawlins Lowndes”),

John Carter Brown Library (2nd state, but lacking the top strip),

David Rumsey Collection (2nd state),

Bibliothèque nationale de France (2nd state),

Library of Congress (3rd state).


Did you find a copy of this map in an attic? The author of this post would be very interested in seeing and/or acquiring a copy of this map and can be contacted via the “What’s on your mind?” comment box below.

If you want to learn more about the 1771 Cook-Gaillard map, the 1773 Cook map, and other Carolina maps from that era, it’s not too late to register for Mapping the Early South III, at MESDA in Winston-Salem, on Saturday, November 9, 2013. UPDATE: THIS CONFERENCE IS SOLD OUT.

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