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North
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Historical
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Last Updated 05/21/01


Cartography and Exploration


WIMBLE’S MAPS AND THE COLONIAL CARTOGRAPHY OF THE NORTH CAROLINA COAST

BY WILLIAM P. CUMMING*

[Vol. 46 (1969), 157-170]

James Wimble’s manuscript map of the North Carolina coast, dated April 16, 1733, and preserved in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, although crude in execution, has more hydrographic detail of the area delineated than any other chart up to that period.1 His printed map of 1738,2 executed with professional engraving and cartographic skill by the foremost maker of sailing charts in England at the time, omits some data found on the manuscript of 1733 but includes much additional information, both hydrographic and topographical. Despite inaccuracies, it remained the best coastal chart of the region until the end of the eighteenth century.3

Wimble brought to bear on the making of his maps exceptional firsthand knowledge of the area which he describes.4 He also had good reasons for recording this information. Born in Hollington, Sussex, in 1696 and trained as a mariner, he sailed in his own ship across the Atlantic to New Providence in the Bahamas in 1718. He traded in the West Indies and in New England, occasionally returning to England; three years after reaching the West Indies he was also trading in North Carolina and soon had purchased land on Albemarle Sound. He increased his land holdings in that area materially in the next few years, chiefly on the Scuppernong and Roanoke rivers. By 1731 he turned his interests to the Cape Fear River and began land purchases there, where the number of plantations had multiplied during the previous five years under Governor George Burrington’s encouragement. Wimble’s 1733 map shows extensive knowledge of the best anchorages and of the depths of water in the sounds and up the rivers all the way from Albemarle Sound to Cape Fear. Such knowledge was necessary for mariners in the shipping trade, since the plantation owners loaded their produce aboard ships from their own or nearby landings with good anchorages.5 Dangerous as the navigation was along the North Carolina Outer Banks, and treacherous as the sand banks and shoals were to inland navigation, no chart of the region had yet been printed which was useful to the practical navigator or which approached in adequacy the charts already in existence for the waters in and around Boston, New York, the Chesapeake Bay, the South Carolina coast. The absence of good charts which prompted Wimble to make his maps did not result from lack of previous attempts but from the difficulties involved.

The conception and portrayal of the Outer Banks and the Carolina sounds on maps of the colonial period illustrates well the problems encountered in the delineation of newly discovered lands by the European map maker. Giovanni da Verrazano, in 1524, saw Pamlico Sound beyond the Banks from the masthead of his vessel and reported that the South Sea formed a gulf from the west similar to the Gulf of Mexico from the east and that it was separated from the Atlantic by an isthmus only a mile wide at this latitude. For a hundred and fifty years his misconception was reflected in many maps and in explorers’ reports. The Spanish charts, during much of the sixteenth century, presented the Carolina sounds as a large deep bay dotted with islands. John White, in his maps, made the first approach to accuracy; his surveys were made in conjunction with Thomas Hariot, the brilliant mathematician who accompanied the 1585 Roanoke voyage. For nearly one hundred years most European geographers based their representations of the area south of the Chesapeake Bay on White, often with marked divergencies in accuracy and detail. About 1660 voyages of New Englanders and others along the coast resulted in maps with soundings and with increased detail of navigable inlets and passages,6 such as those by Nicholas Comberford (1657), Nicholas Shapley (1662), Robert Horne (1666), and Richard Blome (1672); John Ogilby’s First Lords Proprietor’s Map (ca. 1672) incorporated new information; it shrinks the northern sound, however, to “Albemarle River,” exaggerates the size of Pamlico Sound, and projects Cape Hatteras unduly eastward into the Atlantic. Joel Gascoyne’s Second Lords Proprietors’ Map (1682) greatly improves the proportional dimensions of the sounds, gives a number of soundings along the Atlantic coast, and shows the shoal areas off Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout which were so disastrous to shipping. In 1684 William Hack’s manuscript map, unfortunately never printed, gives careful soundings which begin at Roanoke and Hatteras inlets and which show navigable passages for shallow draft vessels on both sides of Roanoke Island up to and in Albemarle Sound as far as Little River. In rather surprising contrast is the great series of the West-Indische Paskaarts by W. J. Blaeu (1617, 1621), J. A. Colom (1631), A. Jacobsz (1643), Henrik Doncker (1659), Pieter Goos (1660), in various editions, which are found in the Dutch sea atlases for a hundred years; they present the Outer Banks merely as a scattered string of offshore islands. J. van Keulen’s Carolina (1682) is a retrogressive map, placing Ocracoke and Pamlico Sound south of Cape Hope-Engano (Cape Lookout), although this chart continued to appear in the great Dutch sea atlases for nearly fifty years.

The most important chart to the maritime traders and colonizers of North Carolina was “A New Mapp of Carolina By John Thornton ... and Will: Fisher,” published in 1689 in the Fourth Book of the English Pilot. Unfortunately, it was full of errors and inaccuracies—unfortunate, because The English Pilot was the Bible of English mariners; and the Fourth Book, of prime importance in the history of American cartography, contained the first great collection of charts of British (not Dutch or German) origin delineating the coast of America.7 Many of its American coastal charts were repeatedly and extensively revised, but the Carolina map was reprinted and even reengraved without improvement.8 Its inaccuracies were very dangerous to attempted navigation in those waters: its “Corituck” and “New Inlet” were inlets not usable by Wimble’s time, “Roanoke Inlet” was erroneously put opposite Colleton Island and called “Old Inlet,” and Roanoke Island itself was portrayed as a small islet hugging the mainland shore. Cape Lookout was shown as barely a protuberance, with shoal water, along the Outer Banks; and the only settlements noted were “Capt. Willobies P.ta” on Currituck Sound and “Charles Town,” a temporary and soon abandoned settlement of the 1660’s on the Cape Fear River.

Thus it was that in 1733 any navigator who had to enter the treacherous inlets and sail the shallow sounds and rivers along the North Carolina coast must have felt the lack of helpful charts continually and keenly. Wimble, who used the Fourth Book of the English Pilot for its charts of Boston Harbour, Narragansett Bay, Charlestown Harbour in South Carolina, and the West Indies, evidently felt both an obligation to the publishers of The English Pilot and a hope that his map, sent to England in 1733, would be substituted for the inadequate chart of Carolina. In his letter to Captain Cullen,9 written on the back of the map, he asked that Cullen have it printed by William Mount, adding that he wished it to be dedicated to Mount, then senior partner in the firm of W. Mount and Thomas Page, publishers of The English Pilot.10 Mount, however, did not print it; what Captain Cullen did with the manuscript and how it finally reached the Rawlinson Collection, now in the Bodleian, is not known.

The map reflects some of Wimble’s current interests and activities in North Carolina. By 1731 he had shifted his active interests in the acquisition of land from Albemarle Sound to the Cape Fear River. Governor Burrington was promoting the southern area of the province for colonists and trade, and Wimble’s recent purchase of 305 acres in the proposed town that was to become Wilmington is reflected in his showing on the map his new house, “Wimblton Castele,” and the name “New Carthage,” which appears on the map as well as on the deeds for the land which he sold the same day that he finished the draft of his map.11 Wimble’s knowledge, moreover, of the inlets, sounds, bays, creeks, and river anchorages was based on his twelve years of trading and navigation. Since 1721, according to his own statement on the map, he had been navigating the waters of the province; by 1723 he had begun purchasing land on the Scuppernong River, which flowed into Albemarle Sound. His location of inlets along the Outer Banks may be taken as a reasonably accurate depiction of the topography of that time.12 Wimble’s map is strictly hydrographic; he limits himself to the soundings and to the passageways for ships, piraguas, and canoes, with soundings and land contours adjacent to navigable water. He names the inlets, sounds, rivers, islands, and streams, but does not list a single landowner, although he puts “X’s” for the towns and, with perhaps pardonable pride, draws a picture of questionable accuracy showing his own recently built house on the Cape Fear River.

The slightly concave coastline between Roanoke Inlet and Cape Hatteras on Wimble’s 1733 and 1738 maps, however, is probably inexact, as the curve on modern charts bends outward into the Atlantic farther eastward than Cape Hatteras, and on the White 1585 and other early maps is a cape which is as pronounced as Cape Hatteras.13 At this latitude Wimble has an inlet and a shoal of two fathoms in 1733 and of nine feet in 1738; “Wimble Shoals,” first so-called on the 1738 map, is the only eponymous nomenclature of Wimble which still remains on modern charts. From the evidence of John White’s maps it appears that in the sixteenth century there was a prominent cape at this latitude (35 degrees, 32-34 minutes North Latitude). Winds and tidal movements or some unrecorded hurricane subsequently eroded the coast, moving the sand inward or southward toward Cape Hatteras. At the same time or later, further erosion so narrowed the banks that a shallow inlet formed back of the shoals. The delineation of the coastline on the Ogilby and Gascoyne maps is too generalized to be dependable; but the William Hack MS map of 1684 shows “Broken sand hills” at this latitude with no marked cape-like formation; probably the coastal changes occurred before the data were gathered for the Hack map.

A major reason that Wimble’s map of 1733 was not published may have been the appearance in the same year of Moseley’s map of North Carolina.14 Edward Moseley had a wealth of information about the location of colonists which he collected while serving as surveyor general of the province. He informed the Duke of Newcastle in May, 1731, that he was preparing a large map of the province. On November 14, 1732, Governor Burrington wrote to the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations that he was enclosing detailed drafts of Beaufort and Ocracoke and had already sent them one of Cape Fear River. He added that he was pleased that a map, for which he had promised ten guineas, had been sent instead to Colonel Martin Bladen, one of the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, since he was at that time “very poor.”15 This was undoubtedly Moseley’s map, and the three insets of Cape Fear, Beaufort, and Ocracoke on that map are based on the drafts of those harbors sent by Burrington. Since none of these original drawings is in the files of the Board of Trade and Plantations, they were apparently not returned after being sent to the engraver. The insets of the three harbors are more detailed and accurate than the corresponding locations on Wimble’s maps, which, however, give more information about general coastal conformations, soundings, and navigable water routes. Moseley’s map extends the rivers much farther to the interior than any previous map, with the names of settled and Indian villages along them; Wimble’s rivers stop at the head of navigation, which is presumably the extent of his personal knowledge and interest.

Although his 1733 map was not accepted by the firm of Mount and Page for publication, Wimble continued to gather information for an improved version. This revised chart he must have taken with him when he went to London in 1737 to present his plea before the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations for compensation for the loss in 1732 of his brigantine the “Rebecca.” He had written to the Duke of Newcastle in 1736, requesting his support in obtaining a place as collector of customs in one of the vacancies at Bath or Cape Fear, preferably the latter; at the same time he indicated his desire to dedicate his map to the duke, with the probable implication that he hoped the duke would promote its publication. Wimble said that he could count on his brothers, who had positions in the Excise Office in England, to provide the funds necessary to purchase the collector’s position. Although written from Boston, where Wimble’s wife and children were living, his request indicates that he was then hoping, or at least was willing, to make his residence in North Carolina, where he had invested widely in land purchases.16

Boston in N.w England          
July 10: 1736                             

My lord

Your Gracesses most dutyfull servant takes leave to truble your grace with thise lines [to] aquaint your grace that at Cape faire and at bath town in northcarolina the Coll.rs places are at present both Vacant baging yt. yr. Lordship will be so gracetious as to helpe me to ome [one] of ym. [them] the former ishould rather because ihave a Small instrust [interest] there and wure alaying out of ye. rever and asetelling of [it]. Some time agoe in govenoor buringtons time and have Undertakeing ye ole Coste of the ole Colleny to be newly taken in a plaine draft and woold becompleated in a month times to ye advantage of navigation and dedicated to your grace making no doute but if your grace will help One of ym places but wat i shall behave my Self So To be accotd of

Your Graces most faithfull and most fectiont Servant to Comd

James Wimble                         

PC

Some time past your grace was So well pleased to recommend me to the Earl of willmington and from ye Earle to ye govennoor of N.o Carolina as his Excellency told me there being no place under his disposhall of profit therefore id rely on yr gracious favours my bro.rs belonging to ye Accsses (Excise) office In England i make no dout but they will pay the Same yr Lordshipe may be out in obtaineing it for me and also be my Sercuerty as shall be Request.d

[Endorsed: fol. 238v]

To His Grace Thomas Pellom
Duke of N. Castle
London
In his majts Servis

Boston July 10, 1736                    
M.r Wimble                                    

As noted earlier, Wimble’s 1738 map is the best hydrographic chart of the North Carolina region before the closing years of the eighteenth century.17 It shows that Wimble continued surveys and soundings after 1733, as it exhibits more detailed and sometimes different information not only along the coast but up the estuaries and rivers back of the sounds. He added also the names and locations of numerous settlers along the waterways. He has fewer names of colonists than Moseley, and the names often differ. As an active trader he must have visited many of the river landings to gather and deliver cargoes to the plantations; the differences from Moseley’s map do not imply errors on either map, since the five years between the publication of the two maps was one of rapid land acquisition and reselling.18 Wimble himself had become an energetic real estate salesman, and his map has marks of promotional activity. He had his own name on the map seven times: Wimble Shoals; Wimble River, opposite Bath; Wimble as a property owner on the south bank of the Mariatick R [Roanoke]; on the east bank of the Scopernong R [Scuppernong]; at the forks of the New River; at the Northeast Branch of Cape Fear River above Turkey Creek; and on the east bank of Black River where it flows into the Northwest Branch of Cape Fear River. For some reason he does not indicate his ownership of 205 acres on Eagle Island at the forks of Cape Fear River or of the 305 acres in Wilmington, where he had his “Wimblton Castele” and was selling lots briskly at the time he sent the map to England.19

The only eighteenth-century maps after Moseley and Wimble to incorporate significant new information about North Carolina are Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson’s Virginia (1751 [1753]),20 John Collet’s North Carolina (1770),21 and Henry Mouzon’s North and South Carolina (1775).22 The change of emphasis in topographical detail on these later maps is interesting. Fry and Jefferson extended their map sixty miles south of Virginia (to 35 degrees, 34 minutes North Latitude) to include the Granville District, using information given them by William Churton, a surveyor of the Granville District; and the revised 1755 edition of their map shows recently acquired information about the upper reaches of the Roanoke, Pamlico, Neuse, Cape Fear, Yadkin, and Catawba rivers. Collet’s North Carolina map (1770) shows the extraordinary growth of population and settlements westward toward the Blue Ridge; in the coastal region he uses and adds to Moseley and Fry-Jefferson, though he follows Wimble almost entirely for the soundings, which he gives rather sparingly. At Cape Fear Collet shows the shallow New Inlet across the peninsula about eight miles above the point of the Cape made by a storm in September, 1761.23 Mouzon (1775), whose chief contributions in his map are to the south of the North Carolina line, depends upon Collet in his delineation of North Carolina; he includes, however, recently formed counties and adds the “New Acquisition” to South Carolina formed by the new boundary line between the two provinces, for which he had drawn an official draft in 1772.24 His soundings, both along the coast and in the rivers, are more numerous than on Collet; although he follows Wimble’s readings generally, he has made some use of new sources.25 It is the first map after Wimble (1738) on which “Wimble Shoals” appears and probably, because of the wide use of the Mouzon, it helped to establish the name in general use. The details given on these maps show vividly the changes and the developments in the province since the 1730’s. In Moseley’s and Wimble’s time usual transportation and travel were by shallow-draft boat, piragua, and canoe; few roads existed except from plantations to the nearest water landing. In Collet and Mouzon most of the names of individual property owners along the sounds and up the tidal rivers have been dropped; names of towns, courthouses, and small settlements have greatly increased; and roads, however poor, have begun to crisscross the land.

Wimble’s map clarified and made less hazardous the routes of entry for North Carolina coastal navigation and thus encouraged the commerce and trade between the province and England, New England, and the West Indian colonies. Moseley’s map stimulated the imagination of those searching for colonizing ventures by its encouraging vision of a back country, fertile but unoccupied. Together these maps must have played a significant part in the rapid increase in the export of lumber, tar, and turpentine that made North Carolina a major source of naval stores for England and the West Indian colonies,26 and in the tidal flow of immigration that Governor Burrington labored for and Governor Gabriel Johnston reported as occurring in the period after 1740.27

MAP TRANSCRIPTION

The frequent illegibility and unorthodox spelling of Wimble’s manuscript map of 1733 has made a transcript of the entire document advisable. The transcription has been checked against the original manuscript. For examining the map and the accompanying letter and suggesting readings of cruxes in Wimble’s idiosyncratic orthography, the author is indebted to Mr. D. H. Merry of the Bodleian Library. Appreciation is also conveyed to the London critic and novelist, Charles Julian H. Mitchell, who, when he was a student at Oxford University in 1958, brought the map to the writer’s attention.

Transcription of manuscript in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Rawlinson MS D.908.f-207r [map] and f.207v [accompanying letter].

A. Title

A Large and aisect Drafe [exact Draft] of the Sea Cost of N.o Carolina with the true Latt.d of ye Harbours from Sholote Inlet to Coretuck with a true Dreft [Draft] of Cape faire Rever the depth of Water and the Land Marks of Sailing In to Cape faire Rever the Govennors pint on ye w.t sid [west side] of the Rever Gest apesid [just opposite] with the ball heed Rons and And Leads you over the Barr In 3 fath.m water as you may See by ye line Dran [Drawn] A:B [Top center; no cartouche]

Drafted and Layd out in Ap.1 16:1733 By James Wimble wo as yausd [who has used] the Coast and trad [traded] this 12 yeare past Desiering the same may Be in Prent for the safe Gard of Shipeing and trad J Wimble [bottom left; no cartouche]

Size: 80.7 cm. (31 3/4 inches) (two large sheets, 40 cm. [15 3/4 inches] and 40.7 cm. [16 inches] sewn together with coarse thread) by 32.5 cm. (12 3/4 inches).

Scale: 1 inch = 3 nautical miles

B. Wimble’s letter on reverse of map: Rawlinson MS D.908 f.207v.

Sr

I do Heare present you this Draft of the Sea Cost of North Carolina from Corretuck Inlet Latt:d 36:30 N.o to Sholote Inlet Latt:d 33 20 N:o wich Lays down ye shols withen and with out ye true Debth of Water on ye Cost and also In the Harbors the Land marks to Sail over Cape faire rever And Into Oakerecock Barr, also the Latt:d of the Inlets as May be Sen by the Drafe withen menchend It flows at Roanoak Inlet Hateras Oakerocock S E B E and ye flod Rons In tell tis half Hebb (at half flod it is hy water on ye Barrs) At Cape fare Rever S E B E true tid roning 4 mil an hour with then [within] sid of the Barr Sailing in to Cape faire Rever kepe the Governors point wich is on ye wt Sid of the Harbour Gest hoopesid [just opposite] of the Ball Heed a Sandy point of ye Et Sid of the Inlet as by the Line A B Leads you fairly between the Midell ground and the flat shole wich Lys on the Starbord Sid of you in Sailing over the Barr. Yn [then] you will have 3 fatm Water at hy water at Low water you will have 14 foot it Near Sheefts [never shifts] Nor Shals or Deapens Hopeing you will have this prented By M.r Mount On Tower Hill London, wich is My well this Drafe to be Dedycated to the S.d Mount stationer and that you May Bring the Same or Send them out Into the World wich you will oblige S:r your most Obliging Servant

James Wimble                         

Capt. Collen remember to bring me a stell [still] and Worm of a 100 gal and a Small Still and Worm of 30 gal.n If pas he bell [? pays the bill] and i will pay yo according to achange and youl oblige me S.r your Humble servant J. Wimble [at bottom of page in different hand] £100 Acette [marked through: ? account] i ecspet [?accept] this Draft his worth [?Hy Worth: ?a signature]

C. Legends, names, and soundings on face of the map:

Rawlinson D.908 f.207r.

[Readings given as indicated under headings. The symbol “x” represents buildings in a town; “t” is the symbol for anchorage site; numbers represent depth in fathoms unless followed by “f” or “foot,” although apparently there is some confusion here in omissions of “f.”]

Scale of English Leagues 20 to a degree [to north or right of map, along longitude line].

I. Albemarle Sound to Virginia Border, reading West to East.

Edenton [t for anchorage in bay; 2 (fathoms); 9 x’s for town] yaypim

Baches Grave [Batts’ Grave Island]

porquemons

Litell rever

pesgotanck

North Rever

P. ol: pt [Powell Point]

Coretuck C.

Coretucks Inlet 10 [feet]

Pasage for a Conoa [canoe]

N.o Banks 2, 6, 6, 6, 6

Abbaramal Saund 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2

II. South bank of Albemarle Sound to Cape Hatteras

Muratuk Rever

Crendoruk Creek

Scoppernang t [with house on east bank]

Abbaramale County

Alligator rever t

Maromoskets

The Best way Into Roanoke or N.o lo untr [? N.o to E entry] 2, 3, 3

Roanok islad 10, 10, 10, 9 [foot soundings between land and island]

RoaNook inlet is but 10 f. water and run in N W b W 3, 7, 8

Dogs [The Dugs]

New Inlet: B

Brokun ground two fath.m water ye sholesse 3, 8, 2, 6 [Wimble Shoals]

Checkercomocomet 8, 8

Table Land 8, 7

A good Chanell 3 mil from the Cape point in 3 fath.m woter

Cape Hatoras Latt:d 35:10 N t, 6, 5, 5, 3, 3, 5, 5, 6, 5, 7, 6, 6

III. Mainland readings along Pamlico and Neuse Rivers

Pamlico County [“Ba” beginning Bath, partly erased]

Bath town [eleven x’s for a settlement]

N Devideing Creek

Mathapungo

Coretuck

Pungo Blufe

Durom Creek

S: devideing Creek

Ingenon Island [Indian Island]

Bare Rever

Brant Island Shole

Newse town [eight x’s for a settlement]

trent Rever

Seodor Isle [Cedar Island]

[Pamlico River soundings:] 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, foot, 3, 3, 2, 2, t

midel ground 3, 3, 3, 2

Royal Shol, Bluf Shole foot 9 1/2, 2, 3, 3, 2, 10

IV. Outer Banks area, from Cape Hatteras southward to Cape Fear

hateras: Bancks 2, 3, 6, 10, 10

Hateras Inlet ft 8, 3, t, 10, 10

Long Shole

pamlico Sound 3, 3 1/2, 3, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 3

oakerecok: B

Bechen Island Bay W b N y.n run for the R.d [?] oakerecock Inlet Lattd 35:56 [34:56] 5, 4, 3, 15, 3, 3, 8, 9, 9

Oakerecock Bancks 6, 8

Crabgut Inlet

Crab Inlet Bancks 8, 10

Bare Rever Inlet 9, 2, t

Bare Rever

10 Legues from ye Land the Currant Sets to ye Southward Constently and with out the Sholes in 50 fa.m water the Current Sets Strong to the N:E 3 mil an hour

Current Sets to ye N:E 3 mil an hour 50

Bare Inlets Banks 8, 10

A passage for Conoas

old topsaile Inlet or Cape Look out Latt.d 34.20:No

Cape look out Shols 2, 8, 8, 5, 8, 10

Crosond [Core Sound] t, t [seven x’s for a settlement]

good Inlet into Cor sound in 12 foot: and rons in NWt 6, 5, 2, 4, t, t

Cor Sound Banks 10, 8

New Rever foot 5

New. topsail Banks 10, 7

New topsail foot in ye [?] Inlet pond Bar 10, t, 2

Rech Inlet Banks 10, 8, 6

A pasage for a petiaugo

Rech Inlet foot 9

V. Cape Fear River branches to Cape Fear, reading southward

N: E: Rever 4, 4, 3, 2, 4, 2

B: R: [Black River]

N: W: R

N: W: Rever

ole tone [building symbol]

old toun Cr

New Carthage town t t t [twenty-seven x’s for a settlement]

Wimblton Castele

Browmswick town t [ten x’s for a settlement]

Govennors: pt [enclosure with house]

Govennors Creeke

Cape Land

Bal hed

Cape Fair Latt:d 33 33 N

Cape Faire Shole [soundings along shoal:] 5, 5, 3, 1, 6, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 6, 5, 4

A pasage over Severall parts of thes Sole in 10-11 fool [t] wat:r as you may See mark.d down [in feet] 11, 11, 10, 9

Chanell way A B 7, 6, 5, 4, 2, 2, 5, 6, t, 3, 3, 2 1/2, 4, 4, 3, 3, 4, 2, 3, 2, 3

Midel Ground

oak Island

feet 6 [inlet]

Lockheads fally

Leezabeth Rever

Lost B 5 foot

Sholote


Footnotes

* Dr. Cumming is professor emeritus of English at Davidson College, Davidson.

1 See Plate 1. A transcription of information on the map and of the accompanying letter follows the main text of this article.

2 Plate 2: To His Grace Thomas Hollis Pelham Duke of Newcastle ... This Chart of His Majesties Province of North Carolina ... James Wimble ... 1738 [cartouche, top left] Sold by W. Mount on Tower hill and J. Hawkins in Fenchurch street London and the Author at Boston in New England [bottom right corner]. Size: 95.7 cm. (37 ¾ inches) by 56.5 cm. (22½ inches). Scale 1 inch = 7½ miles. See description in William P. Cumming, The Southeast in Early Maps (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1962), 208-209, hereinafter cited as Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps. “Pelham Pre(cinct),” given on Wimble’s map as part of Bath County between “New Hanover Precinct” and “Onslow Pre.,” never existed as a legal entity.

3 Besides the general maps of North Carolina referred to in this article, detailed maps of Cape Fear and Cape Lookout appeared before the Revolution. See Edward Hyrne’s “A New and Exact Plan of Cape Fear River ... 1749,” J. B. Speer’s “Plan of the Entrance to Cape Fear Harbour” (1766), and Captain Lobb’s “Cape Lookout” (1764), described in Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps, Nos. 270, 355, 340. D. Dunbibine’s “Chart of the Coast of America from Cape Hateras to Cape Roman” was published in John Norman (ed.), The American Pilot (Boston, 1792). “A New Chart of the Coast of North America, From Corrituck Inlet to Savannah River ... by Captain N. Holland ... 1794,” appeared in The North American Pilot, Second Part (London: R. Laurie and J. Whittle, 1795), No. 13. Jonathan Price published a chart of Ocracoke Inlet in 1795. In 1798 Price and John Strother published “A Chart of the Coast from Cape Henry to Cape Roman” and “A Map of Cape Fear River and Its Vicinity.” In 1806 Thomas Coles and Jonathan Price, both civilian surveyors employed by the federal government, made a large manuscript “Chart of the Coast of North Carolina Between Cape Hatteras and Cape Fear” (size 36 ½ inches by 26 inches; scale: 1 inch = 7 miles), with insets of Ocracoke and Cape Lookout, now in the National Archives, Washington, D.C., Records of the Office of Chief of Engineers, RG 77, Map H22. Herman R. Friis, “Highlights of Geographical and Cartographical Activities of the Federal Government in the Southeast: 1776-1865,” Southeastern Geographer, VI (1966), 44. Their survey of Cape Lookout was made in late October, after their revenue cutter “Gov. Williams” went down in a gale September 28, 1806, reportedly with a loss of maps and detailed records. This loss is mentioned in the unpublished report (January, 1807) of William Tatham, one of three commissioners who had been appointed by Albert Gallatin, secretary of the treasury, to survey the coast from Hatteras to Cape Fear: National Archives, Acc. No. 27, 109. Tatham’s own original manuscript of the coast is in the Library of Congress Map Division. In 1827 Captain Alexander Dallas Bache of the U.S. Army made several charts of the North Carolina inlets and harbors. After 1845, as superintendent of the Coast Survey, he initiated the triangulation surveys of the Outer Banks and North Carolina sounds which continued to appear thereafter. A. D. Bache, Catalogue of the Hydrographic Maps, Charts and Sketches, Published by the United States Coast Survey (Washington: U.S. Coast Survey, 1866).

4 Wimble’s career is described in detail in William P. Cumming, “The Turbulent Life of Captain James Wimble,” North Carolina Historical Review, XLVI (January, 1969), 1-18, passim, hereinafter cited as Cumming, “Captain James Wimble.”

5 The wide distribution of plantation owners along the banks of the sounds, rivers, and creeks appears clearly on the Moseley (1733) and Wimble (1738) maps. Governor Burrington complained that the situation fostered the evasion of customs duties and resulted in material loss of revenue to the province. William L. Saunders (ed.), The Colonial Records of North Carolina (Raleigh: State of North Carolina, 10 volumes, 1886-1890), III, xvii, 155, 336, 340, 436-437, hereinafter cited as Saunders, Colonial Records.

6 For fuller description of these maps, see Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps, under their individual headings.

7 Coolie Verner, A Carto-Bibliographical Study of the English Pilot, Fourth Book, With Special Reference to the Charts of Virginia (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1960), 3.

8 The Carolina chart was dropped from the Fourth Book about the middle of the eighteenth century, but a new unimproved engraving was made for the Dublin edition of 1767. See Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps, 169, 238-239, and 283.

9 The letter is transcribed following the main text of this article.

10 William Mount was also master of the company of stationers from 1733 to 1735. Mount and Page were both of the second generation of the firm; Richard Mount had died in 1722 and the elder Thomas Page died March 15, 1733, after which William Mount became the senior partner. See A. H. W. Robinson, Marine Cartography in Great Britain (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1962), 118, and W. R. Chapin, “A Seventeenth-Century Chart Publisher: Being An Account of the Present Firm of Smith & Ebbs, Ltd., Printers and Stationers, Who Have a Continuity in Business of 300 Years,” American Neptune, VIII (1948), 1-24.

11 See Cumming, “Captain James Wimble.”

12 The examination of the opening and closing of various inlets along the North Carolina coast since the first English colony in 1585 has been made elsewhere and does not need to be repeated here. See the various lists and comments in David Beers Quinn (ed.), The Roanoke Voyages; 1584-1590: Documents to Illustrate the English Voyages to North America Under the Patent Granted to Walter Raleigh in 1584 (London: Hakluyt Society [Second Series, No. CIV], 2 volumes, 1955), II, 856-868, passim, hereinafter cited as Quinn, Roanoke Voyages; Gary S. Dunbar, Historical Geography of the North Carolina Outer Banks (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1958); David Stick, Outer Banks of North Carolina, 1584-1958 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1958), 7 ff.; Report of Special Committee on Inlets Which Investigated the Proposal to Construct Certain Additional Inlets on the North Carolina Coast (Morehead City: North Carolina Fisheries Commission Board, 1923), 10-70, passim.

13 Cape Kenrick, shown but not named on White’s maps (he refers to it as “the poynt that lyeth to the southwardes of Kenricks mounts”; see Quinn, Roanoke Voyages, II, 617), apparently still existed in 1657, when the Comberford map was made. It shows on Velasco (1611), Smith’s “Ould Virginia” (1624), Vingboons (1639), Dudley’s “Virginia Vecchia” and “Florida è Virginia” (1647), and probably Blome (1672). It is difficult to tell how many of these were influenced by White’s maps, but certainly not all. The position and contour of the banks islands has been changed during the past four hundred years by tide, wind, hurricane, and other contributing factors. Professor Quinn (Roanoke Voyages, II, 865) estimates that Cape Hatteras has moved 4,000 feet west and 4,000 feet south since 1584.

14 Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps, Plates 51-54, pages 36, 51, 83, 200-202.

15 Captain Burrington to Lords for Trade and Plantations, November 14, 1732. Saunders, Colonial Records, III, 372.

16 British Public Record Office, London, Colonial Office 5/899, folios 237-238, Wimble to the Duke of Newcastle, datelined Boston, July 10, 1736.

17 Reproduction: Plate 2.

18 On the north bank of Albemarle Sound and its tributaries (excluding the Roanoke and Chowan), Moseley, who owned land near Edenton, lists the names of fifty-six landowners; Wimble, for the same region, names only eight landowners, including two not given by Moseley, and marks the location of thirty-six unnamed settlers. On the Roanoke River and south bank of Albemarle Sound Moseley names eighteen settlers; Wimble, who owned property on both Roanoke and Scuppernong rivers, lists seventeen names and gives the location of twenty-eight other unnamed settlers. Moseley’s map is far better in detail and accuracy north of Albemarle Sound; Wimble’s is better for the south bank and its tributaries. Wimble gives the location of a shipyard on the Scuppernong River which is one of the earliest mentions of a definitely located shipyard in North Carolina. The Duckenfield shipyard on nearby Salmon Creek is given on a plat of 1767 (Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps, 238). It is possible that Wimble’s ship the “Rebecca,” registered, as built in North Carolina in 1730, was constructed on the Scuppernong, although the shipyard on the Cape Fear River is more probable. Wimble, it will be remembered, had built his own ship that sailed across the Atlantic in 1718.

19 A letter written to the Bishop of London from Richard Marsden on March 13, 1737 [1738], has this postscript: “Capt Wimble intreats your Lordship to accept this map of North Carolina.” Saunders, Colonial Records, IV, 245. Marsden was a minister of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in the Cape Fear River parish; Carolina was part of the diocese of the Bishop of London. This map, or another sent to Wimble’s patron, the Duke of Newcastle, to whom the map is dedicated, was engraved by John Mynde and printed by Mount and Page, who, as customary, did not return the original draft. Wimble’s gift to the Bishop of London may have been a copy of his printed 1738 map. No manuscript map by Wimble is found at present in the Public Record Office or in Lambeth Palace, to which the archives of the Bishop of London’s Fulham Palace were transferred and where Marsden’s letter is preserved (Fulham Papers, American Colonial Section, VI, 266-267). Wimble himself may have been in London when Marsden wrote his letter; he was in London on November 20, 1737, when he wrote a letter to the Duke of Newcastle; he obtained an affidavit from Chaloner Jackson in London which was signed on April 3, 1738; and he appeared before the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations in person April 13 and May 10, 1738.

20 Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps, 52-54, 219-221, 256.

21 Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps, 56-58, 85-86, 244.

22 Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps, 59-61, 87-88, 256-258; William P. Cumming, North Carolina in Maps (Raleigh: State Department of Archives and History, 1966), 21-22.

23 Lawrence Lee, The Lower Cape Fear in Colonial Days (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1965), 5, 163, 241, hereinafter cited as Lee, Lower Cape Fear. Collet also gives new sounds for the approaches to Cape Fear River. Collet was commandant of Fort Johnston near the mouth of the river.

24 Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps, 246.

25 See footnote 3 for the surveys of Hyrne and Lobb of Cape Fear and Cape Lookout.

26 Lee, Lower Cape Fear, 149-155.

27 Saunders, Colonial Records, IV, 1074. Many of the settlers reaching Piedmont North Carolina after 1750, however, arrived by the Great Wagon Road from Virginia and up along the river valleys from Charleston, S.C.



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