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Details 1868 Farmer's Railroad and Township Map of Michigan

1868 John Farmer Map of Michigan

Map of the State of Michigan and the Surrounding Country. - Main View

1868 John Farmer Map of Michigan


By Michigan's most famous map publisher.


Map of the State of Michigan and the Surrounding Country.
  1868 (dated)     31.5 x 23.5 in (80.01 x 59.69 cm)     1 : 785000


An attractive example of John Farmer's 1868 separate issue map of Michigan. This is an iconic map of Michigan and was published in many editions from 1844. Based upon county land office survey work, the map covers all of Michigan including the Upper Peninsula. It also includes most of Lake Michigan and the western half of Lake Huron. The Great Lakes are full of rhumb lines illustrating sailing directions between important points. In its day, this map was considered indispensable for emigrating to, doing business in, or simply traveling around Michigan.
Publication History and Census
This map was popular and published in multiple editions between 1844 and 1873. It was initially copyrighted in 1844, with revised and updated copyrights appearing in 1849 and 1858. After this point is appears that the copyrights were not updated as regularly, but the map itself continued to be revised. It is not clear how many editions were issued, but the present example is the 23rd edition.

Despite their popularity at the time of publication, all of Farmer's work has today become scarce. The present example, published posthumously by his children, was issued in 1868 and is one of only two surviving examples of this issue.


John Farmer (February 9, 1798 - March 24, 1859) was an American cartographer based in Detroit, Michigan, in the first half of the 19th century. Farmer was born in the town of Half Moon, Saratoga County, New York where he trained to become a school teacher, mastering, among other academic skills, drafting. At the time, Michigan Territory has a shortage of school teachers and, in 1821, recruited Farmer to head the Lancasterian School in Detroit. Farmer supplemented his salary by using his drafting skills to copy manuscript surveys for new settlers arriving in Michigan. This work must have brought him to the attention government officials, who employed him to compile and draft a map of Michigan's first federally funded road. In 1826, he also published, along with Orange Risdon, one of the earliest maps of Michigan. Working in the 1830s, Farmer taught himself engraving in order to issue a second, more detailed map focusing on the southern half of Michigan's lower peninsula. In 1835, he issued an important general map of the Territories of Michigan and Wisconsin, which became one of his most enduring maps, going the various editions for nearly 25 years. Most of his early map plates he sold to J. H. Colton, who republished them under his own name and imprint. In 1844, Farmer issued State of Michigan and the Surrounding Country, the map that most defined his career. It became the essential Michigan map, indispensable for anyone planning to emigrate to Michigan, do business, or even move about the state. He updated and revised this map throughout the remainder of his life. He also issued a rare wall map of Michigan measuring 5 x 6 ft. After his death, in March of 1859, following a long mental decline, the Farmer map plates passed to his widow Rachel, and sons, Silas, Arthur, and John, who continued the business under Farmer's imprint. More by this mapmaker...


Good. Backed on archival tissue. Wear and some repaired splits on original fold lines. Two spots, center.


OCLC 35060674.