Important Early Map of the Upper Mississippi River Valley & Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, etc.
Original color example of Jonathan Carver's important map of the Upper Mississippi Valley, etc., first issued in 1778. This 1781 edition was issued in color, as noted on the title page Carver's book, the only edition in color.
Carver is credited with traveling farther into the unknown West than any other English explorer before the Revolution.
The map, extending from the western shore of Lake Huron to Lake of the Woods, locates numerous Indian villages and traditional homes, and has many notes regarding the terrain. Though it copies the notorious false islands in Lake Superior and the non-existent mountain range in Michigan, it is one of the earliest maps printed in London to be based upon actual explorations in the region.
Filled with details and notations such as "Traders go no farther than these falls" and "seldom travel this way except War Parties" and many more. The route of Carver's travels are clearly shown along the Mississippi, Fox, Minnesota and St. Pierre rivers.
The map is one of the most important contemporary accounts of the region, with the information in the Northwest portions becoming a staple of later maps for several decades.
Jonathan Carver (1710 - 1780) was a colonial American Settler who envisioned westward expansion of the colonies through conquest of the Native American Tribes in the midwest. He was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts and then moved with his family to Canterbury, Connecticut.
In 1755, Carver joined the Massachusetts colonial militia at the start of the French and Indian War. In 1757, Carver, a friend of Robert Rogers, enlisted with Burke's Rangers. Burke's Rangers would in 1758 become a part of Rogers' Rangers. During the war he studied surveying and mapping techniques. He was successful in the military and eventually became captain of a Massachusetts regiment in 1761. Two years later he quit the army, in favor of a plan to explore the new territories acquired by the British as a result of the war.
In 1766, Robert Rogers contracted Carver to lead an expedition to find a western water route to the Pacific Ocean, the Northwest Passage. There was a great incentive to discover this route. The king and Parliament had promised a vast prize in gold for any such discovery.
Carver left Fort Michilimackinac in the spring of 1766. He traveled by Canoe the well-utilized trade routes of the French. His route took him along the northern coast of Lake Michigan, cut across to what is now the Door County peninsula in Wisconsin and proceeded along the western edge of the bay until reaching what is now Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Carver stayed briefly at the small Metis settlement at the foot of Green Bay (Lake Michigan), as well as a French monastery nearby in De Pere, Wisconsin. He continued up the Fox River to the village at the north end of Lake Winnebago. Continuing up the Fox River he arrived at the "Grand Portage" a well used portage between the Fox River and the Wisconsin River.
Carver crossed to the Wisconsin River and then traveled down the Mississippi emerging at the great trade encampment at Prairie du Chien. He then proceeded north into what is now Minnesota. By the late summer he had reached the Saint Anthony Falls. He spent some time with the tribe near the falls but turned south, down the Mississippi to find a more suitable place to spend the winter. During this portion of the trip he discovered Carver's Cave.
Carver wintered in a tribal village in what is now eastern Iowa. The next spring he encountered James Tute and James Stanley Goddard, who had been sent to accompany Carver on his journey. They continued exploring and mapping up the Mississippi River through what is now Minnesota, and Wisconsin. They then headed for Grand Portage on Lake Superior, hoping that Rogers had sent supplies there for them. However, instead of supplies they found a letter from him chiding them for having spent as much money as they already had and warning them to be more thrifty in the future. Unable to proceed without the badly needed supplies, they headed back to Fort Michilimackinac, arriving there on August 29, 1767.
On his arrival, he learned that his sponsor, Royal Governor Robert Rogers, was under suspicion of plotting treason against England. In the spring of 1768 the first ship of the season took Carver and Rogers both to Detroit. Carver travelled in the relative comfort of a passenger cabin, while Rogers was forced to sit out the journey seated upon the ballast rocks in the hold of the ship. Rogers was taken to Montreal to be court-martialed, and although he was found not guilty of the charges against him, he was not returned to his position as Royal Governor. Carver submitted a list of expenses to his superiors, but payment was denied on the grounds that Rogers had not had sufficient authority to order such an expedition.
Carver was outraged. He believed that he had been legitimately hired by the Crown to map and explore the newly acquired territory. He believed that he had possibly identified a Northwest Passage. He had spent two years working and now had little to show for it but maps and log books. No one seemed interested. In 1769 Carver left for England to petition the government for his promised payment and for a reward for identifying a potential Northwest Passage.
He left his wife Abigail in the colonies and never saw her again. He spent the remainder of his life petitioning the British government for his payments. He did in fact ultimately get two separate grants from the crown, although not the great reward for identifying a Northwest Passage.