Catalog Archive
Auction 182, Lot 194

First English Map of the Lower Mississippi River

"Course of the River Mississipi, from the Balise to Fort Chartres; Taken on an Expedition to the Illinois, in the Latter End of the Year 1765", Ross, John (Lt.)

Subject: Colonial Central United States, Mississippi River

Period: 1775 (dated)

Publication: Jefferys' The American Atlas

Color: Hand Color

13.8 x 44.4 inches
35.1 x 112.8 cm
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Following its victory over the French in the Seven Years War, the British sent the 34th regiment to remove the last French holdout in Illinois Country - Fort de Chartres. The British also sought to open the area to English settlement and ordered the surveyor attached to the regiment, John Ross, to survey the course of the river from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Fort de Chartres (just south of St. Louis). Based in part from earlier French maps, Ross' survey presents a variety of details including towns, forts, Indian villages and tribes, quarries, mines, tributaries, and more. Numerous notations are also found along the river's path including "Arkansas or the Handsome Men", "Here Ferdinand de Soto First Discovered the Mississippi in 1541", and "the Great Gulf, a Dangerous Whirlpool." Not surprisingly, details are more prevalent on the eastern bank of the Mississippi as British forces were not allowed to access the Spanish-controlled western banks. First published in 1772, this is the second edition with updates in New Orleans including additions to Fort St. Leon and Fort St. Mary. Printed for Robert Sayer at 53 Fleet Street in June 1775. An important map of the American South that would also become the future boundary of the United States only eight years later.

References: Sellers & Van Ee #781; Stevens & Tree #31b.

Condition: A

On watermarked paper with scattered foxing that is almost entirely confined to the blank margins. Issued folding.

Estimate: $3,250 - $4,000

Sold for: $3,250

Closed on 4/28/2021