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Description

The Republic of Texas in 1841

Highly detailed map of the Republic of Texas, published in 1841.

Cheffins map of the Republic of Texas was one of two maps of the Republic included in William Kennedy's important 1841 book, Texas: the Rise, Progress and Prospects of the Republic of Texas. 

The  map is most likely drawn in part directly from William Kennedy's own reporting, as Cheffins was best known for making British Railway maps.  William Kennedy was in Texas from April to December 1839.  In 1842, he returned as British Consul to the Republic of Texas at Galveston and in that year started proceedings to settle six hundred families south of the Nueces, a project never carried out" (Streeter 1385).

The map lists all of the Empresario Grants as of 1836, along with the topographical details, roads, towns and other information.  The map is extremely detailed in its location of mines, forts, Harrisburg, Lynchburg, Bath, McNeil’s Landing, Carancahua Creek, New Washington and "Droves of Wild Cattle & Horses", Mustang or Wild Horse Desert."

The link between Cheffins and Kennedy is worthy of greater study.  While most bibliographers have attributed the Cheffins map to being based on the Mitchell-Young map of the Republic of Texas, Kennedy's decision to have his own map made by a leading British map draughtsman suggests that he may have included his own input into the mapmaking process.

The Cheffins map rarely appears on the market.

Charles Frederick Cheffins Biography

Charles Frederick Cheffins  was a British mechanical draughtsman, cartographer, consulting engineer, assistant to John Ericsson and George Stephenson, and surveyor for many British railroad companies in the mid-19th century. He is also known for the 1850 Cheffins' Map of English & Scotch Railways and other maps.

Upon completion of his education, he started working at Messrs. Newton and Son, patent agents and mechanical draughtsmen. 

From 1830 he found work under Captain John Ericsson, to assist in making the drawings for the locomotive engines. The next year he became assistant to George Stephenson, and worked in the preparation of the plans and sections of the projected Grand Junction Railway.  

On the completion of the parliamentary submissions for the Grand Junction Railway, between 1832 and 1833, he set up his own cartographical and drawing business, and spent over two decades working as surveyor for numerous railroad construction projects in the United Kingdom. In 1838, he published his first Map of the Grand Junction Railway and Adjacent Country; and the next year Cheffins's Official Map of the Railway from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool under sanction of the directors.

 In 1846, Cheffins commissioned John Cooke Bourne to produce his History of the Great Western Railway. Occasionally Cheffins also published lithographical work by others. In the year 1848 he had been elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and continued to take interest in all the proceedings.

His work on a map of the Republic of Texas was probably commissioned directly by Willima Kennedy for his book, Texas: The Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the Republic of Texas, published in London in 1841.