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The 1753 Fry-Jefferson Map and Its Predecessors and Derivatives

Guide to the Fry-Jefferson Map of Virginia and related maps in the Library of Virginia's collection

Early Maps and Town Surveys

John Lederer
Published in The Discoveries of John Lederer
London: Printed by J. C. for S. Heyrick, 1672
Bound volume
Special Collections
Call number: F229 L46

In 1669 John Lederer, a German immigrant, crossed into the Piedmont and in 1672 published a description of his travels. Until the mid-1600s, European mapmakers relied on information obtained from Indigenous peoples about Virginia’s interior. The lack of surveys and reliance on visual impressions gave maps like Lederer’s a conjectural quality. Finding a pass through the Appalachian Mountains to the Pacific Ocean occupied European explorers and colonists who hoped to tap the riches of the Far East.

Johannes Fredericus Gronovius (1611–1671)
In Flora Virginica
Lugduni Batavorum [Leiden], 1762
Bound volume
Special Collections
Call number: QK191 .G87

Flora Virginica, first published by Johannes Gronovius in 1739–1743, represented a catalog of botanical specimens collected in Virginia by John Clayton, son of a Virginia lawyer. The map appeared in the second edition, published by Laurens Gronovius (1730–1777), who provided a key to the waterways and locations of Clayton’s discoveries. While still impressionistic, the map’s concern with details of the interior is reflected in the inclusion of the names of numerous counties. It is one of the earliest botanical maps of any region in the world.

John Senex (ca. 1678–1740)
Published in A New General Atlas
London, 1685, 1719
Engraving with outline color
Call number: G3790 1719 .S4

First published in 1685 by Christopher Browne (fl. 1684–1712), the 1673 map of Virginia by Augustine Herrman continued to be a source for English publishers long after the map became outdated. John Senex obtained a copy of Browne’s publication, revised it slightly in 1719, and then published his version in A New General Atlas. Senex added longitude lines as well as a distinctive cartouche that depicts tobacco and shellfish as the staple products of the region. Unlike the Herrman model, later derivatives oriented north at the top of the sheet rather than to the right.

Herman Moll (ca. 1654–1732)
Published in Atlas Minor
London, 1736
Call number: G3842 .C5 1736 .M75

A simplified derivative of Augustine Herrman’s 1673 map, Herman Moll’s map was the most familiar depiction of these colonies available during the first half of the eighteenth century. It was the last important map to restrict Virginia to the Tidewater region. Moll showed English and Indigenous plantations and houses as well as the names of counties. First published in 1708 in John Oldmixon’s volume The British Empire in America, the map subsequently was included in editions of Moll’s popular Atlas Minor from 1729 to 1763.

The son of an Amsterdam bookseller, Moll settled in London about 1678. By the time of his death in September 1732, Moll had developed a significant reputation for his distinctive style of engraving and lettering, for his many map publications, and for being an outspoken champion of British territorial claims in North America at the expense of the French.

A NEW and ACCURATE MAP of VIRGINIA and MARYLAND Laid Down from Surveys and Regulated by Astronl Observatns
Emmanuel Bowen (ca. 1693/1694–1767)
London, 1752
State 1
Engraving with hand-coloring
Call number: G3842 .C5 1752 .B6

Maps, like families, have lineages. Emanuel Bowen first published A New and Accurate Map of Virginia and Maryland in 1747 in A Complete Atlas; or, Distinct View of the Known World, using sources such as Herman Moll’s popular 1736 map of the colony, and, possibly, Henry Popple’s 1733 map of North America, in which the colony of Virginia was based on Augustine Herrman’s 1673 map of Virginia and Maryland.

A New Map of Virginia humbly Dedicated to ye Right Honble Thomas Lord Fairfax
Sir William Keith (1680–1749)
In The History of the British Plantations in America
London: S. Richardson, 1738
Bound volume
Special Collections
Call number: F229 .K28 1738

Arriving in Virginia in 1714, William Keith served as chief customs officer for the southern colonies and later as lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania (1717–1726). Returning to London where he struggled to regain his fortune and spent time in debtors’ prison, Keith decided to publish a multivolume history of the British plantations in America. Only one volume was ever published. Based on sheets 6 and 10 from Henry Popple’s work A MAP of the BRITISH EMPIRE in AMERICA with the FRENCH and SPANISH SETTLEMENTS, Keith’s map covers the area from Newark, New Jersey, to Sampe Bay, South Carolina, and includes both the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. The names and spellings are almost identical to those found on Popple’s maps. The map’s engraver is unknown.

A General Map of the Known and Inhabited Part of Virginia
William Mayo (1860)
Copied from original manuscript in State Paper Office, London. Book 12, No. 16.
Charles Booth
Pen and ink with watercolor on linen
Call number: G3881 .F1 1731 .M3

Three years after William Mayo helped prepare the 1728 map of the Virginia–North Carolina boundary line, he drew a map of Virginia at Lieutenant Governor Sir William Gooch’s request. This map is most accurate in depicting the Virginia–North Carolina boundary and the new Piedmont counties, such as Goochland, and it shows the drainage system of the Shenandoah Valley.

Plan of the Town of Fredericksbg. as first laid off in 50 Acres of Land by Royston and Buckner 1721
Pen and ink and watercolor
Call number: 755.36/1721

In 1721 John Royston and Robert Buckner laid out an ambitious town plan for Fredericksburg with fifty-acre allotments for sale to trustees and other interested parties. An act of the General Assembly in February 1728 established Fredericksburg, and the surveyor of Spotsylvania County, George Hume (or Home), reportedly laid out the town again on 13 August 1728. Because his plat did not survive, it is unknown whether Hume made any noticeable changes to the 1721 plat.

A Plan of Richmond
William Mayo (1684–1744) and James Wood (1707–1759)
Pen and ink and watercolor
Call number: 755.44/1736

In 1733 William Byrd II of Westover (1674–1744), one of the colony’s leading landowners, asked his friend William Mayo to lay out on Byrd’s property a new town to be called Richmond. Mayo asked James Wood, surveyor of Orange County, to assist him in the undertaking. Byrd used their plat during the first sale of lots in the spring of 1737, listing names of the owners and the lots purchased. The General Assembly established Richmond in 1742 and incorporated it as a town, although “stiled the city of Richmond,” in 1782.

Marlborough Town as Surveyed by Theodorick Bland
[William Buckner] and
The Town of Marlborough surveyed by John Savage
Copied by John Savage, Surveyor, Stafford County, 26 April 1734
Pen and ink
Tipped in entry for John Mercer, Land Record Book
Bound manuscript
Personal Papers Collection, Accession 20487

In April 1691 the General Assembly ordered each county to purchase fifty acres of land for laying out a new town that would operate as a center for the tobacco trade. Before the repeal of the act in 1693, at least three towns were surveyed: Marlborough in Stafford County, Queenstown in Lancaster County, and Yorktown in York County.

Marlborough served as the county seat until 1718 and was abandoned by 1723. Three years later, John Mercer began purchasing town lots and soon acquired almost the entire site. Mercer attempted to revive the town by building a house, a mill, a brewery, and a glass factory. His fleet of ships loaded and unloaded at his wharf, and he owned several warehouses, a tavern, and a racetrack. The town served as an important shipping point during the Revolutionary War but ceased to exist by 1800.