Captain Thomas Hutchins (1730-1789), A Topographical Plan of that part of the Indian Country...
A Topographical Plan of that part of the Indian Country...
Published: Philadelphia, 1765
Paper size: 17 x 30 3/4 inches; frame size: 28 3/8 x 32 1/4 inches
A Topographical Plan of that part of the Indian Country through which the
Army under the Command of Colonel Bouquet marched in the Year 1764
containing “A map of the country of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, showing
the situation of the Indian towns with respect to the army under the command
of Colonel Bouquet”
A Topographical Plan of that part of the Indian Country. . . is one of the
most attractive maps on a small scale engraved in the eighteenth century.
It is important for two reasons - the map is a visual testament to the
significance of personal observation in the recording of Ohio’s geographic
data and, more crucially, the map served in large part as the basis for
Hutchins’s greatest work A new Map of the Western Parts of Virginia,
Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina. . . It is a compilation of
geographical information that is far above the average of the day, embodying
as it does the information furnished by an engineer in the field and one who
was in a position to draw his map with authority and conviction.
Thomas Hutchins’s dual map, published in 1765, represents a composite
picture of the country through which Colonel Bouquet marched in 1764. The
location of the sixteen campsites established by Bouquet during the march
are shown along the top portion of the map, while a general map showing the
land between the Ohio and Muskingum rivers fills the main portion,
elaborately contained within beautiful baroque framing lines. Hutchins’s accompanied Bouquet in his expedition, serving as assistant
engineer on the Colonel's journey up the Ohio River, from Fort Pitt to Big
Beaver Creek and across country as far as Muskingum River, to subdue and
make peace with the Native Americans. Following the conclusion of the
French and Indian War, the Ottawa chief Pontiac assembled a confederacy of
Indian tribes to attack the British posts located between Fort Detroit and
Fort Pitt. Although their attempts were thwarted, the English authorities
wished to extract peace declarations from the Native Americans and to
liberate white captives taken prisoner during both the French and Indian War
and the Pontiac rising. Hutchins's map was first published in William Smith's 1765 publication, An
historical account of the expedition against the Ohio Indians. . . largely
upon the request of Colonel Bouquet. Hutchins worked closely with Bouquet
and it is likely that the two men, and possibly others, pooled their
knowledge of the march and brought it together for William Smith to write.
The authorship of the book was attributed to Thomas Hutchins for many years,
but re-ascribed after the discovery of a letter from William Smith, provost
of the University of re-ascribed after the discovery of a letter from
William Smith, provost of the University of Philadelphia, to Sir William
Johnson dated January 13, 1766, proving that Smith was at least the compiler
of the work. Regardless of who wrote the text and who brought together in
journalistic form the account of Bouquet's expedition, there is no question
that this and the other maps and sketches that came out in the book are the
work of Hutchins. Born in Monmouth County, New Jersey, Thomas Hutchins grew to be a faithful
civil servant, a military officer, an engineer and mapmaker. He had a long
and checkered career, first in the armed forces of His Majesty George III
and later under the command of the President of the United States as first
geographer to the new nation.
His first military rank (in 1756) was ensign in the Second Pennsylvania
Regiment, and in short order he became quartermaster of the Third Battalion.
With Forbes, he was present at the establishment of the first English
garrison in the Ohio Valley. After two years of work with George Croghan as
deputy Indian agent, Hutchins applied for and received a commission as
ensign in the British Army, and from then to the end of the Revolutionary
War he was attached to the 60th or Royal American Regiment. By 1777 he had
achieved the rank of Captain.
Hutchins's knowledge of the Western Country and his experience in the
Indian department made him a valuable asset of the army and he was
frequently called upon to serve as guide, interpreter, engineer, and
mapmaker. His reputation grew and his services as mapmaker were much in
demand. Acting in the capacity of an engineer he inspected nearly all the
British posts in North America from Michillimacinac to Pensacola; he also
helped to choose sites for new ones and design their fortifications.
The original map is in the William Clements Library.
References: Brown, Early Maps of the Ohio Valley, No. 45; Smith, The Mapping
of Ohio, 60; Pritchard and Taliaferro, Degrees of Latitude, 230-231, fig.
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