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An Amos Lay Rarity

Rare separately published map of the United States (with a nice treatment of Upper Canada), with credit to Amos Lay of New York, published by Thomas Starling in London. 

Includes an early appearance of "Ouisconsin or Northwest" Territory (two years before the establishment of Wisconsin Territory), with Hudson Bay Company's Territory immediately to the north.  Several important routes are showing in the west, including Major Stephen Long's route from St. Louis to the Rocky Mountains and back and the trader's route from Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico

The treatment of the Missouri River is excellent, identifying a number of Indian Villages, as well as numerous settlements across the state of Missouri.  The map also identifies a number of canals and proposed canals, in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.  In the south, a number of different Indian Lands are shown. 

In Wisconsin, Goveror Cass's route is shown.  In 1820, Michigan Territory Governor Lews Cass led an expedition to the northwestern part of Michigan Territory, in the Great Lakes region in today's northern Minnesota. Its purpose was to map the region and locate the source of the Mississippi River.  The Cass expedition erroneously identified what became known as Cass Lake as the Mississippi's source.  

The map also shows a Proposed Railroad, extending from The Hudson River just north of Hackensack, New Jersey, running north and west along the southern New York State border and on to Fort Wayne Indiana and finally Rock Island on the Mississippi River in Illinois.  The route pre-dates the establishment of the Rock Island Railroad by about 20 years.

In Florida, an number of different land grants are shown, including:

  • General LaFayette's grant near Tallahassee
  • Alachua's Grant south of Gainsville
  • Mirando's Grant near Tampa
  • Delospino's Grant and Fleming's Grant near Cape Canaveral
  • Aredondes First Grant near Fort Myers

Among the more fascinating elements of the map is the highly excellent early detail in Texas, 2 years before its declaration of Texan independence.   Of note, several massive land grants are shown, including the Austin Colony, Burnet, Zavala, Vehlein, along with a note at the far right stating "Part of a Grant to Stephen Fe. Austin, in 1827; extending East & West about 55 miles."  Towns and place names in Texas include:

  • Station De Witt
  • Darby
  • San Felipe de Austin
  • Jackson
  • McNeale
  • Baytios
  • Brazoria
  • Galveston
  • Fort Settlement
  • Bolivar
  • Harrisburg
  • Matagorda
  • Nacogdoches
  • Chichis
  • Mosquito Landing


The name Ouisconsin dates back to 1674 when explorer Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle misread Marquette's capital letter "M" (Meskousing), which was written by hand in cursive script. He thought the letter "M" was two letters, "Ou," and printed the new spelling, "Ouisconsin" onto maps.

As American soldiers and officials traveled through the area for the first time following the War of 1812, they initially used the French spelling "Ouisconsin." But when large numbers of lead miners streamed into the area in the 1820s, the U.S. government began to refer to it differently in debates and legislation. These legal documents created by the government in Washington D.C., sometimes used the French spelling, but they gradually introduced the "W" and the uniquely American, "Wisconsin."

The U.S. House of Representatives Journal was the first to print Wisconsin in the February 1, 1830 entry during discussion of "laying out a town at Helena, on the Wisconsin river, in the Territory of Michigan …" In the five years that followed, the modern spelling was used with increasing frequency in government publications as well as in commercially published books and maps. On July 4, 1836, when territorial status was authorized, we became officially "Wisconsin, although Canadian and French writers often used "Ouisconsin" until the end of the 19th century.

Rarity & Editions

This is apparently the first edition of the map, pre-dating the inclusion of the the Canal Profile views above the Florida inset map which was added in 1834.

This 1833 edition of the map is known in a single example in the Library of Congress.

We locate only the example in an 1834 edition in the collection of the Library of Congress, Yale, UT-Arlington, 

Condition Description
Segmented and laid on linen, with original slipcase.