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Historic Maps of Kentucky

Historic Maps of Kentucky

Thomas D. Clark
Copyright Date: 1979
Pages: 96
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  • Book Info
    Historic Maps of Kentucky
    Book Description:

    Maps published frorn the third quarter of the eighteenth century through the Civil War reflect in colorful detail the emergence of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the unfolding art of American cartography. Ten maps, selected and annotated by the most eminent historian of Kentucky, have been reproduced in authentic facsimiles. The accompanying booklet includes an illuminating historical essay, as well as notes on the individuaL facsimiles, and is illustrated with numerous details of other notable Kentucky maps.

    Among the rare maps reproduced are one of the battlefield of Perryville (1877), a colorful travelers' map (1839), and a map of the Falls of the Ohio (1806) believed to be the first map printed in Kentucky.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6526-4
    Subjects: History, Technology, Geography

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
    (pp. iv-iv)
    (pp. v-vi)

    • 1. A Virgin Borderland
      (pp. 1-8)

      EARLY cartographers portrayed what was to be Kentucky as an unknown land crossed by streams of uncertain names and mysterious courses. Seventeenth century French were satisfied to present it as a vast wilderness lying vaguely south of the “Ouabache” River and penetrated by two or three westward-flowing lateral streams. To document their ignorance they generously adorned their cartographical perversities with symbols for trees and allowed the region to slumber undisturbed in its arboreal fastness.

      It is to be doubted that French adventurers in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys before 1750 ever got fixed in their minds the true relations between...

    • 2. The Royal Boundary & the Westward Movement
      (pp. 8-16)

      BY mid-eighteenth century Anglo-French rivalry in the Ohio Valley had involved the two nations in a struggle to monopolize the rich western Indian trade. An equally attractive lure was the all but inexhaustible land resource. In 1749 Celeron de Blainville came south from the St. Lawrence settlements to plant leaden plates at the mouths of the lateral streams of the Ohio.¹ To give higher visibility to the French claims de Blainville attached tin shields to trees along the way. Technically at least this was an invasion of territory to which the London Company of Viginia had been granted charter rights,...

    • 3. The Walker Line & the Jackson Purchase
      (pp. 17-21)

      TO THE south the border between Kentucky and North Carolina (Tennessee) remained in dispute when Kentucky was admitted to the Union in 1792. No effort had been made by Virginia to rectify the obvious error in the Walker line from Steep Rock Creek westward. Because of this error, dispute between Kentucky and Tennessee was an inevitability. When North Carolina ceded its western lands to the United States in 1789 it left the boundary confusion to the two future states.

      When the North Carolina cession, in form if not in fact, made the western territory a federal responsibility, the United States...

    • 4. Dr. Walker’s Legacy
      (pp. 21-30)

      CONFIRMATION in 1820 of the compact between Kentucky and Tennessee ended only one phase of the boundary dispute. In reviewing the actions of the two state legislatures and the governors one is almost led to think the feud was carried on for the sadistic pleasure it gave governors and legislators. Fierce state loyalties gave rise to a do-or-die posture when the thought of surrendering territory was suggested. Tennesseeans must at times have been puzzled by their neighbors’ maneuvering and jockeying. In 1818 the Kentucky General Assembly nullified in a single act all the laws pertaining to the state’s southern boundary.¹...

    • 5. A Boundary in Equity
      (pp. 31-36)

      TO A rational observer of the Tennessee-Kentucky boundary dispute in 1845 it would have seemed that the Duncan-Nance Survey should have at last settled the troublous border confusion. The commissioners and their surveyors had attempted to mix equity and precise surveying to please both states and their citizens living along the boundary. They had raised an interesting academic question: just what line were they to establish, a precedental or a reputed one? Later a closer check of their work revealed rather casual practices, which made following their established line well-nigh impossible.

      Duncan and Nance repeated a serious mistake of their...

    • 6. The Ohio Low Water Mark
      (pp. 37-44)

      AFTER the lapse of eighty years Kentucky had established its boundaries on three sides, and had agreed with Missouri to accept the midcurrent or thalweg of the Mississippi River as far upstream as the Illinois peninsula.¹ From that point north the boundary was the low water mark along the northern shore of the Ohio. Few questions in the history of the Ohio valley have been more controversial than that of where and when low water occurs. This river has been a constantly forming one, washing down from its headwaters millions of tons of sedimentary materials, depositing them one year and...

    • 7. Patterns on the Land
      (pp. 45-56)

      ONE of Kentucky’s most vexing and costly tributes to the British tradition inherited from Virginia was the attempt to extend the ancient land system of a small, densely settled country to a sprawling western land empire where space and distances seemed limitless. The failure on the part of the Crown and then Virginia to devise a systematic scheme of western land survey before settlers crossed the Cumberland mountains led to a chaotic situation. In the endless expanse of virginal wilderness, where tracts of land in any size a claimant chose were available, it was inevitable that land-greedy settlers would generate...

    • 8. Years of Conflict
      (pp. 56-60)

      THE Ohio River, more than a political and sectional dividing line, contributed strongly to the psychological awareness of Kentucky as a border and southern state. This tradition had deep historical roots. Originally the river was a boundary between the northern and southern Indian groups, the area of Kentucky being largely a common hunting ground. In the era of thrusting open the anglo-American frontier west of the Appalachian highlands, the Ohio separated settlers from the antagonistic Indian villages to the north. Later, as settlers came to occupy both banks of the river, the stream separated people of common origins by both...


    • [Introduction]
      (pp. 61-66)

      THE mapping of Kentucky was begun well before the region became a political entity, and even before it bore a localized name. As a borderland lying across the southern half of the Ohio Valley and across the upper South, it has occupied a strategic geographical position. The spreading settlements formed in central Kentucky were located directly in the path of the moving frontier in late eighteenth-and early nineteenth-century America. As Cumberland Gap in the southeastern corner of the Commonwealth and the river passage to the northeast poured settler-immigrants into the region, landmarks sprang up in the location of forts and...

    • 1. North America, Thomas Conder
      (pp. 66-67)

      THE map of North America in 1794 remained a physical puzzle to British cartographers, even after the signing of two international treaties. It was not that the government was entirely ignorant of the physical and political details of the continent. In attempts to administer Indian affairs, the colonial governments, the fighting of two continental wars, and vigorous exploration of the Atlantic shoreline, crown offices had accumulated a vast amount of detailed information. This, however, seems not to have been available to the commercial map-makers. Thomas Conder was an English cartographer and engraver whose birthdate and other biographical details are unknown....

    • 2. The United States, John Russell
      (pp. 67-68)

      AMONG the engravers or sculptors of maps in the last quarter of the eighteenth century was John Russell. He seems to have been a humble artisan tucked away in a corner of the London publishing house of H. D. Symonds and J. Ridgeway. He was a British subject, and more than likely a Scotsman. His career seems to have been of short duration, and he did all of his work for one publisher.

      Either Russell was freely pirated or he generously permitted other engravers and publishers to exploit his work. For example, Alexander Anderson’s map of Kentucky, published by John...

    • 3. Kentucky, from Elihu Barker, W. Barker
      (pp. 68-70)

      ELIHU BARKER’s map of Kentucky is the most important one produced in the eighteenth century, John Filson’s notwithstanding. It was prepared sometime before 1793, possibly early in 1792, and presents the new state at the time of its admission to the Union. Without the distortions that characterize the Filson map, it gives a sense of the settlement patterns and conveys with almost unbelievable accuracy the physiographic features of the state, especially the myriad ganglia of the Commonwealth’s stream system.

      The evidence of Barker’s life and cartographical work is meager. It seems reasonably certain that he was either an Englishman or...

    • 4. Kentucky with Adjoining Territories
      (pp. 70-71)

      AT THE opening of the nineteenth century in America there was a throbbing interest in the land. Geographers, cartographers, and statisticians not only were measuring the young nation’s accomplishment to date, but they were busily projecting it into the future. This was the age of geographers such as Jedidiah Morse,The American Geography,1789; Charles Volney,Views of the Climate and Soil of the United States;and Thomas Jefferson,Notes on the State of Virginia,Charlottesville, 1787, which contains J. M. Randolph’s map, printed in London, and which describes the western country. Payne’sGeographybelongs in this category.

      The map...

    • 5. Kentucky, John Melish
      (pp. 71-72)

      JOHN MELISH, 1771-1822, was born in Methven, Perthshire, Scotland. He served an apprenticeship with a wealthy cotton factor, took the examinations in the University of Glasgow, and became an employee, la ter a partner, of his master. Melish arrived in Savannah, Georgia, in 1806, and between 1809 and 1811 he traveled extensively in the United States. He left the business field to become a writer and geographer. He was a self-taught draftsman and cartographer, drawing many of the maps appearing in his various books.

      In 1811 he traveled down the Ohio River by skiff and then went overland on horseback...

    • 6. A New Map of Kentucky, H. S. Tanner
      (pp. 73-74)

      THIS map of Kentucky appeared in the 1839 and final edition of Henry Schenck Tanner’sNew American Atlas.It is the most precisely drawn and artistically executed map of the Commonwealth published to that date. Tanner was the ablest of the American cartographers of the first half of the nineteenth century, and in many respects was a pioneer in making cartography a precise science. He was one of the first map-makers to project his work upon a global scale rather than upon local measurements and distances.

      Tanner was born in New York City in 1786, but early in childhood moved...

    • 7. Kentucky & Tennessee, John Bartholomew
      (pp. 74-75)

      ADAM and Charles Black of Edinburgh were engravers, printers, and publishers who specialized the creation of international atlases and geographies. They were associated also with the famous map publisher John Bartholomew, whose name appears on the map reproduced here. His house has continued down to the present time, and John Bartholomew and Son are major suppliers of cartographic materials. Together the Blacks and Bartholomew published 1867 a new edition ofBlack’s General Atlas of the World.They included in this work sixty-six maps, thirteen of which were of American regions and states. The Kentucky-Tennessee map was 43H in the series....

    • 8. The Limestone Road, Victor Collot
      (pp. 76-77)

      THIS fascinating profile of the Limestone-Washington-Lexington-Frankfort Road in 1795 is essentially a topographical survey of this arterial entryway. It traces the route through a five-mile-wide corridor of virginal country. The survey was made by two highly observant French military officers, General Victor Collot and Adjutant General Waring.

      Collot had served on Marshall Rochambeau’s staff in the American Revolution. While in this service he became interested in possibilities of trade between Europe and the new nation. After the surrender at Yorktown he became governor of French-controlled Guadelupe, a position he held until 1794 when the British overran the island. Collot was...

    • 9. Rapids of the Ohio River, Jared Brooks
      (pp. 77-78)

      JARED BROOKS, a Louisville surveyor who had laid out that part of the city located on the escheated tract of the famous tory land speculator Dr. John Connolly, prepared this map of the Falls area on the Ohio. Brooks made this survey at the request of the newly chartered Ohio Canal Company. He may also have been instructed to make the survey by the United States War Department. A map drawn by Brooks in 1805 was transmitted to Congress in 1807. In the meantime he prepared this version of the map, in somewhat more picturesque design, which was apparently submitted...

    • 10. The Perryville Battlefield, Edward Ruger & Anton Kilp
      (pp. 78-80)

      GENERAL George B. McClellan made the observation that when the Civil War began the United States War Department had no precise maps of the country. To the south the Confederacy was even more handicapped. The Kentucky maps then in popular use had been drawn with political administration, commerce, and travel in mind. Not until the war had ended was an adequate military map of the Commonwealth made available.

      During and immediately after the war the War Department collected approximately 750 maps prepared by field officers and cartographers of both armies. In the late 1880s Captain Calvin D. Cowles, 23rd United...

  7. NOTES
    (pp. 81-84)
    (pp. 85-87)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 88-90)