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Rare Revised & Improved Revolutionary War Edition of De Brahm's Seminal Map of South Carolina and Part of Georgia

Fine example of the rare second state of De Brahm's 4-sheet map of South Carolina and Georgia, first published by Thomas Jefferys in London in 1757.

This revised second edition of the map is of great historical importance, incorporating onto the largely blank template of De Brahm's 1757 map a thorough and detailed mapping of South Carolina and much of Georgia, based upon information collected by John Stuart, Britain's chief Indian Agent from 1762 until the American Revolution. The dating of the map is also of considerable interest, issued at the height of Britain's Southern Campaign of the American Revolution, which included the taking of Savannah in December 1778 and the Siege of Charleston in the Spring of 1780. It would not be until the following year when Washington replaced General Horatio Gates with General Nathaniel Greene that the tide would turn in the south.

First Edition of De Brahm's Map

De Brahm's map is the most important and influential map of South Carolina and Georgia during the British Colonial era. As noted by Cumming, "For the first time, for any large area of the southern colonies, a map possesses topographical accuracy based on scientific surveys."

De Brahm was a German-born military officer who befriended the Bishop of Augsburg, who was then promoting a Georgia Colony to displaced Germans. De Brahm emigrated to Georgia in 1751 and was soon employed as a surveyor in Georgia and South Carolina, where he was appointed surveyor general in 1754. De Brahm undertook an extensive coastal survey during the first part of the decade. As noted by Henry Taliaferro:

In 1752, De Braham announced plans to publish a new map of both colonies in an advertisement in the South Carolina Gazette, in which he invited plantation owners "who desire to have their particular Plantations inserted therein … to send copies of their respective Plats." The completed manuscript was sent to London where the Board of Trade approved it and commissioned Thomas Jefferys to publish the work. At the lower center is a dedication to Lord Halifax, the President of the Board of Trade.
The map is drawn on the grand scale of one inch equals five miles. It shows the coastal areas from the North Carolina boundary southward to St. Marys River in Georgia, then inland to the Indian Country. For the coastal region and up the major rivers as far as the settlements extend, great care and detail in surveying is evident. The amount of topographical information given in the low country is impressive; swamps, marshes, and the winding of tidal channels and rivers are delineated. The boundaries of all the organized parishes in South Carolina are laid down. At lower center is a lengthy index to land holdings in South Carolina, the obvious result of his address to planters in 1752.
De Brahm included an unusual feature along the border between North and South Carolina. Entitled "The Nature of the Land in this Course," it is an analysis of the topography De Braham observed when he ran the forty mile boundary line inland from the mouth of inland creek. It almost has the character of aerial photography. This feature was omitted from the second state of 1780.

The map is a vast improvement over earlier maps, accurately depicting the course of rivers and tributaries, correctly locating islands and parishes. The cartouche illustrates the colonies lucrative indigo trade.

John Stuart Revises De Brahm's Map

De Brahm's map is known in two editions, this 1757 edition and a heavily revised second edition, issued in 1780. The complete title of the second edition is:

A Map of South Carolina and a part of Georgia. Containing the Whole Sea-Coast; all the Islands, Inlets, Rivers, Creeks, Parishes, Townships, Boroughs, Roads and Bridges: As Also, Several Plantations, with their proper Boundary-Lines, and the Names of the Propietors. Composed From Surveys taken by the Hon. William Bull Esq. Lieutenant Governor, Captain Gascoign, Hugh Bryan, Esq.; and William De Brahm Esqr. Surveyor General of the Southn. District of North America, Republished with considerable Additions, from the Surveys made & collected by John Stuart Esqr. His Majesty's Superintendant of Indian Affairs. By William Faden Successor to the late T. Jefferys, Geographer to the King. Charing Cross 1780.

The Newberry Library description of the 1780 edition of the map notes:

Even though De Brahm's name remained on the map's title, he likely had nothing to do with this updated version. De Brahm had spent the years 1765-1780 either in Florida conducting surveys of the peninsula's eastern coast or in London answering charges of misconduct during his Florida tenure. The title names John Stuart, Superintendent for Indian Affairs, who was a likelier source for the updated information. As Superintendent, Stuart had a keen interest in surveys of the southern colonies, as he was charged with negotiating and surveying the 1763 Proclamation line between the numerous Indians of the Southeast and the southern colonies. Stuart thus worked closely with the surveyors of South Carolina and Georgia and likely used their records to update De Brahm's earlier map.

Comparison between 1757 and 1780 editions


1: ...Composed / From Surveys taken by / The Hon. WILLIAM BULL Esq. Lieutenant Governor, / Captain GASCOIGN, HUGH BRYAN, Esq; / And the AUTHOR / WILLIAM De BRAHM, / Surveyor General to the Province of South Carolina, one of the Surveyors of Georgia, / And late Captain Engineer under his Imperial Majesty CHARLES VII. / ENGRAV'D BY / Thomas Jefferys, Geographer to his Royal Highness the / Price of Wales.

2: ... Composed / From Surveys taken by / The Hon. WILLIAM BULL Esq. Lieutenant Governor, / Captain GASCOIGN, HUGH BRYAN, Esq; / and WILLIAM DE BRAHM Esqr. / Surveyor General of the Southn. District of North America, / Republished with considerable Additions, from the SURVEYS made & collected by / JOHN STUART Esqr. / His MAJESTY'S Superintendent of Indian Affairs, / BY WILLIAM FADEN / Successor to the late T. JEFFERYS, Geographer to the King. / Charing Cross 1780.


1: London Published According to Act of Parliament by T. Jefferys Octr. 20 1757.

2: London Published as the Act directs by Wm. Faden. Charing Cross. June 1st 1780.


1: To the Right Honourable / George Dunk, Earl of Halifax / FIRST LORD COMMISSIONER / and to the rest of the Right Honourable the / LORDS COMMISSIONERS of TRADE & PLANTATIONS. / This Map is most humbly Inscrib'd to their Lordships, / By their Lordships most Obedient / & most devoted Humble Servt. / William de Brahm

2: To the Right Honourable / Lord George Germaine, / FIRST LORD COMMISSIONER / and to the rest of the Right Honourable the / LORDS COMMISSIONERS of TRADE & PLANTATIONS. / This Map is most humbly Inscrib'd to their Lordships, / By their Lordships most Obedient / & most devoted Humble Servt. / William Faden


The 1780 second edition of the de Brahm is so heavily revised as to practically constitute a different map altogether.

From Amelia Island in the south to the Little River in the north, the coast has been meticulously redrawn. In the later edition, there is much more substantially more coastal detail, with many more toponyms and use of engraving to denote land classes.

In the interior, little of the information from the first edition remains unchanged. Faden maintains some of the original river systems, although they have been mostly been modified and extended, and he adds many more waterways. Additionally, he extends the land use depiction paradigm that was introduced sparingly in the first edition.

The parishes of the first edition have been superseded by precincts, which now dominate the organization of the colony. The following precincts are delineated and named:

  • Cheraw Precinct

  • Georgetown Precinct

  • Camden Precinct

  • Orangeburg Precinct

  • Charlestown Precinct

  • Beaufort Precinct

  • Ninety Six Precinct

These precincts derive from the 1768-'69 District Court Act, which had established seven new districts, each of which operated as true judicial entities, with their own courthouses and legislative members.

The border with North Carolina now reflects the finalization of the North Carolina-South Carolina Border Survey in 1772. Although the survey continued until 1815 in more far-flung parts of the state, this initial line was settled and replaced the

Around "Charlestown" there is now far more information. A fort has been added to Sullivan Island. "The Neck" of Charleston is now labeled. A road leading from Hobcaw Ferry to the northeast. Soundings have been added in Charleston Harbor, and off the coast throughout the map.

Augusta, Georgia, which was previously denoted only by Ft. Augusta, has now taken the form of a city.

Camden, which was laid out in 1760, is shown at building-level. The "Court House built in 1772" is labeled, as is the "Goal" [sic], and Mr. Kershaw's house, "Kershaw's Corn Mill", "Kershaw's Saw Mill". And just to the northeast "Indian Town belonging to the Catawba Nation now reduced to about 80 Fighting Men".

Georgetown, SC is now shown as well.


The 1780 edition would seem to be by far the rarer of the two maps. We note only 1 appearance of the map at auction in since 1984 (this example).

Condition Description
4 sheets, joined as 2 sections.
Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps, 310; Pritchard & Taliaferro, Degrees of Latitude, 37; George Washington Atlas (Yale), maps 36-37.
William Faden Biography

William Faden (1749-1836) was the most prominent London mapmaker and publisher of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. His father, William Mackfaden, was a printer who dropped the first part of his last name due to the Jacobite rising of 1745. 

Apprenticed to an engraver in the Clothworkers' Company, he was made free of the Company in August of 1771. He entered into a partnership with the family of Thomas Jeffreys, a prolific and well-respected mapmaker who had recently died in 1771. This partnership lasted until 1776. 

Also in 1776, Faden joined the Society of Civil Engineers, which later changed its name to the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers. The Smeatonians operated as an elite, yet practical, dining club and his membership led Faden to several engineering publications, including canal plans and plans of other new engineering projects.

Faden's star rose during the American Revolution, when he produced popular maps and atlases focused on the American colonies and the battles that raged within them. In 1783, just as the war ended, Faden inherited his father's estate, allowing him to fully control his business and expand it; in the same year he gained the title "Geographer in Ordinary to his Majesty."

Faden also commanded a large stock of British county maps, which made him attractive as a partner to the Ordnance Survey; he published the first Ordnance map in 1801, a map of Kent. The Admiralty also admired his work and acquired some of his plates which were re-issued as official naval charts.

Faden was renowned for his ingenuity as well as his business acumen. In 1796 he was awarded a gold medal by the Society of Arts. With his brother-in-law, the astronomer and painter John Russell, he created the first extant lunar globe.

After retiring in 1823 the lucrative business passed to James Wyld, a former apprentice. He died in Shepperton in 1826, leaving a large estate.