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Captain Thomas Hutchins (1730-1789), A Topographical Plan of that part of the Indian Country...

Captain Thomas Hutchins (1730-1789), A Topographical Plan of that part of the Indian Country...

  • $ 185,000.00


Captain Thomas Hutchins (1730-1789)

A Topographical Plan of that part of the Indian Country...

Published:  Philadelphia,  1765

Engraving

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.

178


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