(A) A Plat Exhibiting the State of the Surveys in the State of Florida with References.
1853 (dated) 22 x 25 in (55.88 x 63.5 cm)
An exceptional example of the 1853 Land Survey Map of Florida. This map represents the state of the Land Survey in Florida as of September 30, 1853. Shows the state divided into several hundred numbered plats, some of which are marked with an 'S' to state that they had been fully surveyed, and some with a 'T' suggesting that they had only been surveyed externally. Labels several important Seminole War Forts including Fort Bassinger, Fort Center, Fort Thompson, Fort Beynaud, Fort Adams, and others. Notes the Everglades, Big Cypress, Fort Lauderdale, Lake Okeechobee, and many of Florida's lakes and river systems.
Also shows both the Arrendondo Grant and Forbes Purchase. Arredondo Grant is a layover of the Spanish Land Grant program, which bequeathed it to a powerful Spanish merchant - Arrendondo. With incredible difficulty and protest, the land grants were dissolved when Florida became part of the United States. Forbes Purchase refers to a large tract of land in the Florida Panhandle that was purchased from Spain by three American traders in the late 18th century. After Florida became part of the United States there was an attempt by the government to seize this land, but it was shot down by the United States Supreme Court. Unfortunately, as Forbes Purchase was mostly uninhabitable swampland, it was impossible to develop and later sold off in lots.
The map is dated to 1853 and attributed John Wescott, Surveyor General. Wescott (here misprinted as Wescoll) took the office of Florida Surveyor General in 1853. He is known to have issued two map of Florida to accompany his annual reports - this is the first. The second, in 1854, represents a major update and add an inset of the Florida Keys.
The General Land Office, created in 1812, was an independent agency charged with the administration and sale of public lands of the western territories of the United States under the Preemption Act of 1841 and the Homestead Act of 1862. During a time of frenetic energy and rapid westward expansion, the Land Office oversaw the surveying, platting, mapping and eventually the sale of much of the Western United States and Florida. The structural layout of the western United States that we see today, and many of their district and county divisions, are direct result of the early surveying work of the General Land Office. More importantly, as a branch of the Federal Government in Washington D.C. and the only agency able to legally sell and administer public lands in the western territories of the United States, the General Land Office played a pivotal role in consolidating power away from the original states and into the hand of the centralized federal government. The General Land Office was absorbed into the Department of Interior in 1849 and in 1946 merged with the United States Grazing Service to become the Bureau of Land Management. Today the Bureau of Land Management administers the roughly 246 million acres of public land remaining under federal ownership.
Very good condition. Minor toning on original fold lines. Blank on verso.
Servies, J. A. , A Bibliography of West Florida, #3097. Phillips (America) p. 284.