Important early map of the Northern part of New York State, published by Amos Lay.
Lay's map of New York was the best general map of the region at the time of its publication. The map provides a detailed view of the Canadian border just one month after the United States declared war on Great Britain in the War of 1812. The map shows most of Lake Erie and all of Lake Ontario with the counties of Upper Canada well shown. It delineates the St. Laurence River to St. Regis at the US/Canada boundary. Details the route of the Erie Canal, here as a "Proposed Canal" shown running from Lake Erie east to the city of Rome. Filled with information on land surveys and development, wagon roads and trails, Military tracts, towns and villages, and notes Indian Reservations highlighted in yellow.
This map showed considerable improvement over the previous edition, with broader coverage. It is remarkably detailed, and appears to be carefully drawn and reasonably accurate. Like its predecessor, it focuses on land divisions, but it also shows county boundaries, and includes detailed coverage of roads and hydrography.
This is the second Map of New York State by Amos Lay, after his map of 1801. David Rumsey notes:
In 1817 Lay extended the State map south to include New York City. This map extends only to the Pennsylvania border. Lay's 1801 map covers only the most northern parts of the state. For some reason, his 3 editions of the state map expand coverage from north to south ending with complete coverage in the 3rd edition.
Phillips states that this map was engraved by Samuel Maverick in Newark, New Jersey, although nothing on our copy indicates this.
[The map] shows the Proposed Canal from Rome to the west, and shows Indian Reservations in yellow. Much information on land surveys and development, Military tracts, and evolving towns.
The map's importance is highlighted in a letter by Theodorus Bailey to Thomas Jefferson on July 21,1812, writing to Jefferson
Mr Amos Lay of this State, has compiled a Map of the northern and western parts of our State, lying north of the northern line of Pennsylvania, and embracing the whole of our western and northern frontier, and the adjacent country on the Canada side—which is in like manner laid down from actual survey, and possesses an equal Claim to accuracy as the former—this work is in the hands of the engraver, and will probably be compleated in a few weeks—With your permission, I will do myself the pleasure to transmit you a copy, as soon as the same shall be compleated.
Lay's map was well timed, coming 10 years after Simeon De Witt’s map and at the outbreak of the War of 1812. Lay had apparently learned something about the value of advertising, for he placed many newspaper advertisements for this and his subsequent maps. In January, 1813, Lay (who gave his address as “City Hotel, New York”) placed the following advertisement in the New York Evening Post:
LAY’S NEW MAP OF THE STATE OF NEW-YORK
The Subscriber now offers to the Public his New Map of the State of New-York, which is rendered more desirable than any heretofore published by reason of the improvements and additions made thereto, particularly as regards the Western and Northern parts of this State the bounds of particular Tracts, Towns and Counties, are designated with accuracy from the best information, with the view to accommodate those non-residents who are the proprietors of Lands in the Western District and for the convenience of the Traveller, the principle Roads and Villages are delineated with accuracy. To those desirous of tracing the active operations of our troops on the Western and Northern frontiers of this State the last season, this Map is to be preferred to any other yet published, because it exhibits with accuracy that part of Upper Canada, situate west of the Niagara River, and North of Lake Ontario and the river St. Lawrence.
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Subscriptions received at the Book-store of Messrs. Whiting & Watson, Broadway, New-York, where subscribers will be pleased to call for their Maps.
Those Subscribers resident in the country will have their Maps delivered, or sent to some place in their vicinity.
Printers in the adjoining states are respectfully solicited to give this advertisement a place in their papers, and to procure subscriptions. For their services in obtaining subscriptions and collecting the amount they will be entitled to a commission of 20 per cent. and the Maps will be forwarded on applications to Messrs. Whiting & Watson, Broadway.
Lay's map is scarce on the market. This is the first example we have offered for sale.