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A map of the most inhabited part of Virginia containing the whole province of Maryland with part of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and North Carolina, Virginia c. 1775 (Sixth edition, original published 1753)

Maker: Peter Jefferson (1708-1757) and Joshua Fry (1700-1754)
Medium: Paper engraving  P8 Museum Purchase in 1951
Did you know that several of the nation’s founders had at one time been surveyors?
In early colonial society surveyors were generally literate men of some wealth and status within their communities. They were well-versed in local politics and knew the backroads well. Surveyors had an adventurous spirit; they mapped uncharted territory through swamps and mountains, meeting landowners and county officials to complete their tasks. Some early surveyors include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Boone, and even Abraham Lincoln.
First published in 1753, this map by expert surveyors Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson, father of Thomas Jefferson, was one of the earliest accurate maps of Virginia and Maryland. It was commissioned in 1750 by the Governor of Virginia for the Board of Trade and Plantations in London—at that time, The British were concerned about the French encroaching on their territory west of Virginia and wanted to have a clear picture of their territories. Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson were a natural fit for the job. Fry was an English-born landholder who had studied at Oxford. He came to Virginia around 1720, married an heiress, and became the first professor of mathematics at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. When he moved Albemarle County, he was appointed chief surveyor. Peter Jefferson, a former county sheriff and surveyor from Goochland County, became Frye’s assistant in Albemarle. Before working on this map, the pair had surveyed the Fairfax County line in 1746 and the boundary of North Carolina and Virginia in 1749.
The cartouche in the lower left hand corner drawn by English artist Francis Hayman (1708-1776), depicts a seated merchant negotiating with a tobacco planter while an enslaved man serves a beverage. This scene portrays the Chesapeake’s economy driven the export of tobacco. Slavery made that economic success possible – and slave ships like the Lord Ligonier arrived in Annapolis as described in Alex Haley’s novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family. His ancestor Kunta Kinte, from Gambia, was sold into slavery in Virginia in 1767. While there wasn’t a dedicated area for slave auctions in Annapolis, advertisements reveal sales took place in a variety of settings, including taverns and coffeehouses.
If someone were telling Peter Jefferson in 1750, the year he surveyed this map, that 41 years later someone of African descent would become one of the first surveyors to map out the new United States capital city, and that this same man would be a correspondent of his seven-year old son, Thomas Jefferson, he most likely would have been surprised. Born free to a white former indentured servant mother and former enslaved father in Baltimore County, Benjamin Banneker grew up to be a highly skilled Renaissance man ; in addition to surveying, he was also an astronomer,  an author of almanacs, and a landowner. In 1791 he worked with Andrew Ellicott to map out the capital city that became Washington, D.C. To learn more about Benjamin Banneker and his accomplishments, visit the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum near Ellicott City or the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis.
By Rachel Lovett, Curator

Hammond-Harwood House

The mission of the Hammond-Harwood House Association is to preserve and to interpret the architecturally significant Hammond-Harwood House Museum and its collection of fine and decorative arts, and to explore the diverse social history associated with its occupants, both free and enslaved, for the purposes of education and appreciation.
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