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Last Updated 05/21/01


Cartography and Exploration


NAMING CAROLINA*

BY WILLIAM PATTERSON CUMMING

[Vol. 22 (1945), 34-42]

“I remember,” wrote Sir Walter Raleigh, “a pretty jest of Don Pedro de Sarmiento, a worthy Spanish gentleman, who had been employed by his king in planting a colony upon the straits of Magellan, for when I asked him, being then my prisoner, some questions about an island in those straits, which might, me-thought, have done either benefit or displeasure to his enterprise, he told me merrily that it was called the Painter’s Wife’s Island; saying, while the fellow drew that map, his wife sitting by desired him to put in one country for her, that she might in imagination have one island of her own.”1 Sir Walter Raleigh might well have added that the mapmakers of his century customarily filled up the blank spaces of the new lands they portrayed with their own imaginary geography or with the misconceptions of explorers. Thus throughout the sixteenth century appeared maps of the New World with Verrazanno’s Sea, a great arm of the Pacific Ocean extending across the continent to within eighteen miles of the Atlantic and occupying the space on the Atlantic seaboard which we now call North Carolina; by the first of the seventeenth century this sea was metamorphosed to a great lake, of unknown extent, which covered northern Georgia. By 1672 the Great Arenosa Desert, 180 miles long, was added to the topography of piedmont South Carolina; and the lake, variously called Apalache, Ushere, or Ashley, as well as the Arenosa Desert, is found in many maps of the foremost European geographers until as late as the middle of the eighteenth century.2

Correct cartographical representation of the New World was difficult even under the most favorable circumstances during the first two centuries after its discovery, owing to meagre information and inaccurate reports from explorers. For the geographer the nomenclature of the southeastern region of North America— that is, the area south of Virginia and east of the Mississippi—added another complication in the rivalry of the different nations who attempted to settle it. The first attempt at permanent settlement within the present limits of the United States was made on the Carolina coast by the Spaniards in 1526. They were followed by the French in 1562, who in turn were succeeded by the English in 1585. Thus to the original Indian names were added the Spanish, the French, and the English. Sometimes cartographers attempted to add new information to an earlier Spanish-type map; sometimes they replaced the old names with new; and again they gave both or all, indiscriminately, making confusion worse confounded. The very name given to the southeastern area itself has undergone successive changes; and these mutations add to the general complexity.

The most confused and confusing problem in the study of the nomenclature of this region has been to determine how and when the name Carolina was first applied to the country between the peninsula of Florida and the Virginia colony established at Jamestown. In 1663 Charles II of England granted, to eight men who had been of service to him in regaining the throne lost by his father, the proprietorship of a province (which Charles II named in his own honor Carolina) with a latitude from 31° to 36° N. and extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This munificent gift cost him nothing, and two years later he extended the bounds south and north from 29° to 36½°. In spite of numerous claims and appearances to the contrary, the name Carolina apparently was not used for, or applied to, this region before this date, 1663.

To examine the local use of the name and to clarify the problems involved, it will be necessary to go back to the French attempts at settlement on the south Atlantic coast during the middle of the 16th century. In 1562 a French Huguenot settlement under Ribaut built a fort and began an abortive colony at Port Royal, on what is now Parris Island in South Carolina. This settlement was named Charlesfort. Two years later, in 1564, under Laudonnière, the French again came and built a fort, called la Caroline, or, in the commonly used form given in the Latin reports, Carolina, on St. Johns River in Florida, near the present site of Jacksonville. Historians of the Carolinas, such as Ashe,3 Oldmixon,4 Governor Glen5 of South Carolina, Dr. Alexander Hewat,6 eighteenth century mapmakers like Delisle7 and Homann,8 and modern scholars like J. G. Kohl,9 have stated that the French called their colony Caroline or Carolina. These writers, however, have given no specific reference to documents for their statements, which can therefore be dismissed. In the numerous contemporary relations, reports, and maps published, two temporary settlements, Charlesfort and la Caroline (or Carolina), are mentioned; but the country itself is called “Florida” or “Floride Française.”

In 1629 Charles I of England granted to Sir Robert Heath a charter for the land extending from 31° to 36° of latitude (the present Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina to Albemarle Sound) and westward within those parallels to the Pacific, with the generosity characteristic of the kings of that period in granting land in the New World. In the charter printed in the Colonial Records of North Carolina,10 transcribed from the originals in the British Public Record Office, both CarolAna11 and CarolIna are used as the name of the province thus granted.

But in the subsequent correspondence with Baron Sancé over the colonization of some French Huguenots under this grant, a correpondence starting in 1629 and lasting for some years, the briefs of the letters made from the originals in the BPRO, as published in the Collections of the South Carolina Historical Society,12 use CarolIna only, and not CarolAna. In answer to a request for an examination of the original documents and a report on the form of the name, C. T. Flower, secretary of the BPRO, reports to the writer that he has had an examination made of Patent Roll C.66/2501/M26 (the Heath charter of 1629) and of the correspondence of Baron Sancé concerning the French Huguenots, and that in both cases the only form in the Latin and English grants and in the Sancé letters is CarolAna.13 Thus the incorrect form “Carolina,” in the Colonial Records of North Carolina and in the Collections of the South Carolina Historical Society, which has misled modern scholars, is due to incorrect transcriptions or poor proofreading in these nineteenth-century publications.

In 1654 Francis Yeardley, son of the Governor of Virginia, wrote to John Ferrar, formerly deputy treasurer of Virginia, about discoveries to the south of Virginia. In this letter, as first printed in the State Papers of John Thurloe (London, 1742), again by Peter Force in his Tracts (Washington, 1836), and finally by the secretary of the South Carolina Historical Commission, A. S. Salley,14 Yeardley uses only Carolina, and not Carolana. Yeardley’s letter of 1654 is found in the state papers of John Thurloe, secretary to the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell, which are now preserved in the Bodleian Library MS Rawlinson A 14. In response to a request for a report, E. Lobel, Esq., Keeper of Western Manuscripts of the Bodleian, informs the writer that both within the letter and in the endorsement, only the form Carolana, not Carolina, is used.15 Mr. Salley’s modern annotated edition of Yeardley’s letter does not go back to the original, but is apparently a reprint of a part of the incorrect text found in the State Papers of John Thurloe (London, 1742).

In the New York Public Library is a MS map, dated 1657 and made in London by Nicholas Comberford, with the title “The South Part of Virginia now the North Part of Carolina.”16 But Mr. Victor Hugo Paltsits, former Curator of MSS and Chief of the Division of American History in the New York Public Library, has examined the map and states that the second line of the title, “now the North Part of Carolina,” is added in darker ink in a later seventeenth century hand, and is not part of the original 1657 title. This conclusion17 has been substantiated by the recent discovery of another copy of this map, also dated 1657, now owned by the Greenwich Maritime Museum, which is identical except that it does not have this second line.

In a widely used map made in 1657 by Nicholas Sanson, geographer royal of France, the name Caroline appears halfway up along the roast of what is now South Carolina. This map of “Florida” by Sanson, which has Carolina at Port Royal, does not apply it to the region but refers to a marked settlement at the mouth of the river entering Port Royal. This is the location of Charlesfort, and is evidently the result of a confusion of Laudonnière’s fort “la Caroline” on St. James River and Ribaut’s Charlesfort at Port Royal.18

Thus an examination of these documents before 1683 in which the name Carolina occurs shows that it was used only for the Laudonnière fort of 1564 and not for any region or settlement, and that the English grant to Sir Robert Heath was for Carolana, not Carolina. The name Carolina as applied to this area was first officially used in the fifth section of the First Charter of Charles II, where the King states: “and that the country ... may be dignified by us... we of our grace... call it the Province of Carolina.”19

Two interesting MS documents in the British Public Record Office, turned up in this study of Carolina, throw light on the authoritarian origin of some early Carolina place names and are revealing as evidence of cartographical methods of nomenclature during the colonial period.

In 1670 and 1671 John Ogilby, probably the foremost mapmaker of his time in England, was preparing an English edition of Montanus’ America,20 and he decided to include a map of the recently established province of Carolina. He approached Peter Colleton, one of the Lords Proprietors, who wrote the following letter to John Locke, at that time secretary to Lord Ashley, the Earl of Shaftesbury, one of the most active of the Lords Proprietors:

To my honoured frend Mr. John Lock

Sr.

Mr. Ogilby who is printing a relation of the West Indies hath been often wth mee to gett a map of Carolina wherefore I humbly desire you to gett of my lord [Ashley] those mapps of Cape feare & Albemarle that he hath & I will draw them into one wth that of port Royall & waite vpon my lord for the nominations of the rivers, &c: & if you would do vs the favour to draw a discourse to be added to this map in ye nature of a description such as might invite people wth out seeming to come from vs it would very much conduce to the speed of settlemt. & bee a very great obligation to

yr most faithful

frend & servt

P Colleton21

Locke the philosopher was also the author of the “Fundamental Constitutions” of Carolina, a feudal and autocratic legal system which was accepted by the Lords Proprietors and which they attempted to enforce upon the settlers of their province. It showed little political sense of the liberal laws needed for an American colony settled by Englishmen, and was unsuccessful in practice. It explains, however, how and why the nomenclature of the region should be referred to Lord Ashley, the Lord Chief Justice of the province has written notes for the requested description of the new country. This description is evidently the rather obvious propaganda chapter which Ogilby printed between pp. 204 and 212 of his America, published that year (1671). Among other notes by Locke on the back of Colleton’s letter is a section listing the names of points along the Carolina coast.22

The map Carolina referred to in Colleton’s letter appeared in Ogilby’s America, with the title “A New Map of Carolina, by Order of the Lords Proprietors.” It has been known ever since as the First Lords Proprietor’s Map, and was undoubtedly sold as a separate to would-be settlers for the new province. In the same bundle of papers with Colleton’s letter to John Locke is a map, endorsed by Locke as “Carolina [16]71” and with his notations on it.23

A comparison of the two maps shows that this MS map is a rough early draft of Ogilby’s map. It has many of the same names, given on no earlier map, which are found on Ogilby’s map. Ogilby’s map gives many more names than are found on Locke’s draft; the names of the Lords Proprietors24 are more frequently repeated. On this official printed map, reading from south to north, are Craven River, Craven County, Colleton River, Berkeley County, Ashley River, Ashley Lake, Cooper River, Porte Carteret, Cape Carteret, Clarendon River, Clarendon County, Albemarle River, and Albemarle County.

Some of these names, such as Cape Carteret, Ashley River, and Albemarle River, were already in use by 1670, but the names of the counties would evidently be the result of some authoritative decision; and, from the title’s “By Order of the Lords Proprietors,” the official approval of the new names is indicated. Thus from Peter Colleton’s letter, through Locke’s notes and rough chart, the MSS in the BPRO preserve the successive steps in the nomination of places along the Carolina coast, many of which are still in use.25 Other place names are given along the coast for the first time on any map; but the preponderance of the names of the Lords Proprietors shows the origin and authority for the nomenclature.

One name on Ogilby’s map deserves special comment; below Charles Town is a large island, named in honor of the secretary-philosopher “Locke Iland.” But, alas, the island was a geographical error; between the Stono and the South Edisto are several islands, as the settlers discovered when they extended their explorations. Ten years later, when the Second Lords Proprietors’ map appeared (in 1682), a number of unnamed islands are delineated where Locke Iland was. Like the painter’s wife island of Raleigh’s story, the place was non-existent; and on modern maps John Locke, Ashley’s secretary and English philosopher, has not even a swampy inlet or a tidewater creek named in his honor, though he was once Landgrave in the titled nobility of the fair province of Carolina.


Footnotes

* This article is part of a study being made with the aid of a grant from the Social Science Research Council.

1 Walter Raleigh, The History of the World in Five Books, bk. II, chap. 23, sect. 4, in the Works of Sir Walter Raleigh, Kt. (Oxford, 1829), IV, 684.

2 W. P. Cumming, “Geographical Misconceptions in the Cartography of the Southeast in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” Journal of Southern History, IV (1938), 476-483.

3 T. Ashe, Carolina: or a Description ... (London, 1682). Reprinted in A. S. Salley, editor, Narratives of Carolina (New York, 1911), p. 140. Mr. Salley pointed out the error in Ashe’s statement in a note on page 140; later he corrected and greatly expanded this note, with copious illustrative quotations, in his The Origin of Carolina, Bulletin of the Historical Commission of South Carolina, no. 8 (Columbia, S. C., 1926). To Mr. Salley the present writer is indebted for several suggestions in the preparation of this article.

4 John Oldmixon, The History of the British Empire (London, 1708), I, 325-327. Reprinted in Salley, Narratives of Carolina (New York, 1911), p. 319.

5 James Glen, A Description of South Carolina (London, 1751).

6 Alexander Hewat, An Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of the Colonies of South Carolina and Georgia (London, 1779), I, 18. Reprinted in B. R. Carroll, editor, Historical Collections of South Carolina (New York, 1836), I, 23.

7 Guillaume Delisle, “Carte de la Louisiane et du Cours du Mississipi ...” dated June, 1718. Delisle, the French royal geographer and founder of modern scientific cartography, has the legend across the face of what is now North Carolina, “Caroline, ainsi nominez en l’honneur de Charles IX par les Francois qui decouvrirent en prirent possession et si etablirent l’an 15....” This map was designed for a political purpose, to invalidate the English claims in the imperial struggle for colonies between France and England; but the authority of Delisle and the general excellence of this map gave it widespread popularity with both the French and the English. Delisle’s map continued to appear in atlases until after the American Revolution.

8 J. B. Homann, “Amplissimae Regionis Mississipi Sui Provinciae Ludovicianae....” about 1737, in many Hoffman atlases. This map is fundamentally a copy of Delisle’s map, referred to above. Delisle’s inscription concerning Carolina has been translated into Latin.

9 J. G. Kohl, National Intelligencer, July 22, 1864. “The French built on their Riviera May ... a fort which they called Fort Caroline or Carolina. Some mapmakers and geographers applied this name, as an appellation of a country or territory, to the whole region. So we see, for instance, on a map of North America by Cornelis a Judaeis (1593), the whole French Florida called Carolina, in honor of Charles IX, King of France. [Kohl is incorrect; Jode’s “Carolina” is written below a fort drawn on the “R. Mayo.”] So we may say that we have three kings as godfathers to this province: Charles IX, of France, Charles I, and Charles II, of England.” Kohl was the first great historical cartographer in this country.

10 The Colonial Records of North Carolina, I, 5-13.

11 Carolana Carolus, Latin form of Karl+ana, Lat. suffix meaning of or belonging to. The use of the suffix—ina, —ine is more common for the formation of feminine titles; and for the —ana form, the euphonious variation -iana is more usual, as in Christiana. Possibly Charles I used the —ana to avoid any implied connection with the earlier French settlement at la Caroline.

12 Collections of the South Carolina Historical Society, V (1897), 200 ff.

13 Letter dated September 1, 1937. The English translation given in Colonial Records, I, 5-13, is an unenrolled exemplification of 4 August, Charles I (7), in the Shaftesbury Papers and contains only the form “Carolana” in the original document.

14 Salley, Narratives of Carolina, pp. 25-26.

15 Letter of August 27, 1937.

16 W. P. Cumming, “Nathaniel Batts and the Comberford Map,” American Historical Review, XLV (1939), 83, note 5.

17 W. P. Cumming, “Nathaniel Batts and the Comberford Map,” American Historical Review, XLV (1939), 83-84, note 5.

18 Sanson’s map continued to be used for various atlases until 1700 and influenced other maps. About 1660 Duval also published a map with the same mistake; so did Visscher in a map of North America published about 1700. Homann’s “Virginia, Marylandia et Carolina” (1714), prolifically used in many atlases by Homann, Doppelmaier, Ottens, and others throughout the eighteenth century, incorporated the same error.

19 “First Charter granted by King Charles the Second to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina,” reprinted in Colonial Records, I, 23.

20 For a discussion of the complicated problem of Ogilby’s part in the publication of this work and of the date of the Carolina map, see I. N. P. Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island (New York, 1915-1928), II, 262, and W. P. Cumming, “Geographical Misconceptions in the Cartography of the Southeast in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” Journal of Southern History, IV (1938), 484, note 20.

21 British Public Record Office, Shaftesbury Papers, section IX, bundle 48, no. 82. Photocopy in writer’s possession.

22 The list apparently based largely on a letter to the Lords Proprietors by Robert Sandford, who explored the coast south of Cape Fear in 1666; Sandford’s Relation of a Voyage on the Coast of the Province of Carolina is reprinted in Colonial Records, I, 118-138.

Albemarle from 35 1/2 to 36 1/2. This may refer to Albemarle River (now Albemarle Sound, formerly called Roanoke River) or Albemarle County, both so named shortly after the proprietary was granted. Compare Colonial Records, I, 120, 153, 155. General George Monk, Duke of Albemarle was preëminently the restorer of Charles II to the throne and was first Palatine of Carolina.

Ashley Ashley River. The present Ashley River; named by Robert Sandford during his voyage along the coast in 1666. Compare Colonial Records, I, 137. Anthony Ashley Cooper, Baron Ashley, later the Earl of Shaftesbury, was chief justice of Carolina.

Berkeley. Berkeley Bay, between Cape Romain and Cape Fear, is the present Long Bay. Compare Colonial Records, I, 137. It was so named by Sandford in honor of Lord John Berkeley, Chancellor of Carolina, and his brother, Sir William Berkeley, governor of Virginia. The name was never applied, apparently; it is not even given in Locke’s MS map or Ogilby’s First Lords Proprietors’ Map.

Carteret Cape Roman. The cape was renamed for Lord George Carteret, Admiral of Carolina, by Sanford in 1666. Compare Colonial Records, I, 138. The name soon reverted to Cape Romain, one of the two oldest and best known names along the entire coast. Cabo de Santa Elena and Cabo de Santo Roman were named during the Ayllon expedition and first appear on Juan Vespucci’s World Map of 1526, now in the New York Hispanic Society Library.

Clarendon Cape Fear. Clarendon was the name of the county around the Cape Fear River (Colonial Records, I, 72) and on Ogilby’s map (about 1672) was also the name for the river. Cape Fear River is the Rio de Principe of the early continental mapmakers, the Cape Fair-River of Hilton’s Relation (1664), the Charles River of Horne’s Brief Description (1666) and the accompanying map, the “Charles River neere Cape Feare” of Robert Sandford’s Relation and of the seventeenth century MS map in the Blathwayt Atlas, John Carter Brown Library, Providence, R. I., the Clarendon River of Ogilby’s map (about 1672), and the “Cape Fear R or Clarendon R” of the Gascoyne Second Lords Proprietors’ Map (1682). Locke’s name, Clarendon, after the Earl of Clarendon, High of England and one of the Lords Proprietors, did not last long, for Cape Fear River continued to take its name from Cape Fear, first bestowed upon the cape in Sir Richard Grenville’s narrative of 1585 and in John White’s account of 1587. Compare also George Davis’s “An Episode in Cape Fear History,” South Atlantic Magazine (January, 1879), reprinted as “Origin of the Name, Cape Fear,” in Sprunt, Chronicles, pp. 1-7. John Hilton explored the Cape Fear River in 1662, naming about twenty branches, islands, and points on the river, many of them apparently after names of members of the expedition: Long Island (Anthony Long was on the ship with Hilton), Blower Ile (Pyam Blower was a master), Fabian River (Peter Fabian was a companion). Point Winslow, Goldsmith, Hory, Borges, and Brown suggest other unmentioned members of the expedition, as may Crane, Green, and Greenless. But these names, though they appeared on several manuscript and some printed maps for a few years, soon fell into disuse, as there was no permanent settlement made on the river for several decades. The only names given by Hilton for places along the Cape Fear River still in use are Turkey Quarter, Rocky Point, and Stag Park. Compare W. C. Ford, “Early Maps of Carolina,” Geographical Review, XVI, no. 2 (April, 1926), 264-273, and Sprunt, Chronicles, p. 28.

Colleton. “Ashpow als Colleton R” does not appear until Ogilby’s map (about 1672). The Ashepoo River, lying about halfway between the South Edisto Inlet and Combahee River, is an unnamed river referred to in Sandford’s Relation (Colonial Records, I, 129). It is shown as Colleton’s River on Gascoyne’s map. (1682), but soon after this the name was dropped for the Ashpow or Ashepoo. Sir John Colleton, a Barbadoes planter, was high steward of Carolina.

Craven North Side of port Royal. Locke may refer to Craven County or to Craven River (called Combahee except on Ogilby’s map, about 1672). The Earl of Craven was of the English Privy Council and first High Constable of Carolina.

Edisto 32 d’s 30 m. S. C. “Orista was the Spanish interpretation of the name of the Indian tribe which the French called Audusta and the English subsequently Edisto.” A. S. Salley, Origin of Carolina (Columbia, 1926), p. 20, n. 1.

Port peril 32 d. 25m. Sandford’s name for St. Helena Sound; the name is found only here and in Sandford’s Relation (Colonial Records, I, 129).

Kiwaha 32d 40m. The name given to the country of the Kiawah by Sandford (Colonial Records, I, 127); the name referred to the country around the Ashley River but was apparently not subsequently used by Locke or the early mapmakers.

23 BPRO, M. P. 1/11 (formerly Shaftesbury Papers, IX, 48, no. 80). Photocopy in writer’s possession.

24 Earl of Clarendon, Duke of Albemarle, Earl of Craven, Lord Ashley, John Lord Berkeley, Sir William Berkeley, Sir John Colleton, Sir George Carteret.

25 The names of some of places have been changed: Colleton River reverted to its earlier Indian name, Ashepoo; Porte Carteret is Charleston Harbor; Clarendon River is the Cape Fear; Cape Carteret reverted to its old Spanish name of Cape Romain; Ashley Lake is the non-existent Ushere Lake of John Lederer’s map of 1672, which was incorporated with the rest of Lederer’s imaginary geography and nomenclature on Locke’s MS map and the Ogilby map and continued to be found on subsequent maps for eighty years and more.



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