1795 Carey / Lewis Map of South Carolina

The state of South Carolina : from the best authorities. - Main View

1795 Carey / Lewis Map of South Carolina


The earliest map of South Carolina published in the American Republic.


The state of South Carolina : from the best authorities.
  1795 (dated)     11.5 x 18 in (29.21 x 45.72 cm)     1 : 980000


This is an excellent first state example of Samuel Lewis’ 1795 map of South Carolina for Carey's General Atlas, the first atlas published in the American Republic. It illustrates the state’s mountains, rivers, coastline, settlements, and infrastructure as they appeared soon after independence.
A Closer Look
Although no legend is present, a range of information is clearly displayed. The ‘precincts’ marked out were soon relabeled as 'districts' and then 'counties'. They went through several rounds of subdivision, but some rump counties retained their earlier names, such as Orangeburg, Beaufort, and Charleston. The triangles in the northwestern portion of the state indicate Native American settlements, which were connected by road but largely separated from White settlements, with the exception of areas with a specific function, such as forts, the Aera Ironworks along the Catawba/ Wateree River, and the town of Cow Pens (now Cowpens), appropriately named for the large cattle enclosures.

The war had deeply affected South Carolina. More fighting took place there than any other state and the population was torn apart by vicious fighting between both regular and irregular forces, leading to some of the worst atrocities of the war. Cherokee tribes, angered at increasing frontier settlements, sided with the British but faced counter-attacks by the revolutionaries early in the war and had to cede the remainder of their land to the state. South Carolina was the first American colony to have a majority Black population and African Americans were heavily impacted by the war, often encouraged or pressed into service by both sides, and as much as one-quarter of the enslaved population in South Carolina escaped to British lines seeking the (often false) promise of freedom.
Publication History and Census
This map was made by Samuel Lewis and engraved by William Barker for the first (1795) edition of Carey's General Atlas (sometimes subtitled American Edition of Guthrie's Geography improved). The prevalence of the map is difficult to determine since it is sometimes cataloged independently and sometimes with the atlas, but both the individual map and the entire atlas are held by a handful of universities and research institutions in the United States and Europe.


Matthew Carey (January 28, 1760 - September 16, 1839) was a Dublin born publisher who established himself in Philadelphia in the late 18th and early 19th century. A young man of socially progressive views, Carey's first known publication, produced when he was but 17 years old, was a pamphlet criticizing dueling. Another pamphlet, issued in the same year, attacked the Irish penal code. Shortly afterwards, in 1779, legal issues, possibly arising from his liberal political activism, forced Carey to flee to Paris. In Paris, Carey had the good fortune to befriend the visiting American diplomat and founding father, Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790). As an Irishman chafing under the rule of England, Carey sympathized with and admired the American revolutionary. The liberally minded pair struck up a lifelong friendship and Carey was hired to work at Franklin's press in Passy, France. A year later, Carey returned to Ireland and resumed his politically provocative publishing career with The Freemans's Journal and The Volunteer's Journal. It didn't take long for political pressure to once again force Carey from Ireland - this time to America (1784). Although largely without funds, Carey convinced Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (1757 - 1834), who he knew from Franklin's Paris circle, to lend him funds to establish a new publishing concern in Philadelphia. Despite this loan, Carey's firm remained under financed and opened on a shoestring budget. It was most likely his limited budget that led Carey to some of his most important publishing innovations. At the time cartographic publishing was dominated by large printing houses in London and Paris where most, if not all, of the work was completed in house. Without the finances to emulate this large publishing houses, Carey was forced to outsource much of his publishing work. This set the stage for subsequent American publishers who, in order to compete effectively with European firms, relied on an often bewildering network of alliances and collaborations. Carey was also a master of republishing many of his own maps in multiple different atlases and formats to maximize their profitability. His most important work is without a doubt the 1795 issue of the American Atlas the first atlas to be published in America. Carey died in 1839 but was succeeded by his son Henry Charles Carey (1793 - 1879) who, in partnership with his brother-in-law Isaac Lea (1792 - 1886), published numerous important maps and atlases under the Carey and Lea, Lea Brothers, and Lea and Blanchard imprints. More by this mapmaker...

Samuel Lewis (c. 1754 - 1822) was an American engraver, cartographer, draftsman, and geographer active in Philadelphia in the first part of the 19th century. Though his place of birth is uncertain, most agree that Lewis emigrated from Dublin, Ireland, in the late 18th century. Lewis' earliest cartography work was produced in partnership with the well-known Philadelphia publishers Matthew Carey and Henry Schenk Tanner. In 1804, with the intention of republishing high quality English maps in the United States, Lewis partnered with the eminent British map publisher Arron Arrowsmith. Their first joint publication was A New and Elegant General Atlas, but many others followed including an American edition of Arrowsmith's important double hemisphere wall map of the world. Arrowsmith also worked with Jedidiah Morse, among other important American cartographers of the period. Ralph Brown considers Lewis to be "the most enterprising commercial map-maker of the period � " Lewis is best known for his map related to the expedition of Meriwether Lewis (no relation) and William Clark. In 1814 Lewis, copying directly from William Clark's manuscript, issued A Map of Lewis and Clark's Tracks across the Western Portion of North America. This important document was the first published map derived from the Lewis and Clark Expedition and profoundly transformed the cartography of the American northwest. Samuel Lewis of Philadelphia should not be confused with Samuel Lewis of London, another cartographer active during roughly the same period. Learn More...

William Guthrie (1708 - March 9, 1770) was a Scottish historian, journalist, and writer. Born in Brechin, he studied at Aberdeen University with the idea of becoming a parochial schoolmaster. Instead, in 1730, he elected to settle in London and try his hand at literature. He covered parliamentary debates f or the Gentleman's Magazine and soon earned a reputation for being a political writer. He published several scholarly works, including a History of England from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to 1688 in four volumes, and, most notably, his Geographical Historical, and Commercial Grammar. Learn More...

William Barker (fl. c. 1794 – 1815), often listed as 'W. Barker,' was an engraver based in Philadelphia who engraved most of the maps for Carey's General Atlas, published in multiple editions between 1795 and 1818. Learn More...


Carey, M., Carey's General Atlas, (Philadelphia: Carey) 1796.    


Good. Central fold line visible and some wear present along fold line. Some minor imperfections on the right side of the map.


Rumsey 2542.015, 2931.039. OCLC 1013328562.