Osgood Carleton (June 17, 1742 - June 1816) was a Massachusetts-based mapmaker, surveyor, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer, and all-around polymath, active in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Carleton was born in Nottingham West, New Hampshire, the eldest of 7 children. His father was a farmer and in his early years Carleton had no opportunity for formal education. He joined the colonial militia and participated in the French and Indian War (1754 - 1763). During the war, he became close to the British-Swiss engineer John Henry Bastide (1700 - 1770), under whom from age 15, he served as a clerk for 5 years - likely Carleton's formal education dates to this period. Carleton's own writings suggest he traveled extensively in British circles with Bastide. He later returned to New Hampshire, establishing himself as a surveyor, completing both civil and private contracts. During the American Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783), he joined the Massachusetts Regiment, later the 16th Continental Regiment, where he served as quartermaster with the rank of sergeant. In 1777, He was promoted to lieutenant in the 15th Continental. When his health failed, he was transferred to the Invalid Corps - where he also served as quartermaster until mustered out in 1783. After the war, Carleton settled in Haverhill, Massachusetts. In the wake of the War, education in practical sciences where in high demand and in June of 1787, the Boston Board of Selectmen approved his application to open a school offering lectures in surveying, gauging, mensuration, algebra, geometry, geography, astronomy, dialing, navigation, gunnery, architecture. Around the same time Carleton took up commercial mapmaking, partnering with the chartmaker John Norman (1748 - 1817). He was involved with the publication of Norman's c. 1790 nautical atlas of the United States - the second such atlas published domestically. Carleton also received state patronage for his cartography, issuing the first official large-scale maps of Massachusetts and Maine, as well as significant maps of Connecticut and Rhode Island. He also issued a popular almanac, Carleton's Almanac, the precursor to the still published Old Farmer's Almanac. Despite renown as a cartographer, teacher, and publisher, Carleton struggled with penury, declaring bankruptcy in 1803. After his bankruptcy, he turned fully to commercial cartography, becoming one of American's first professional cartographer. He issued various coast pilots, atlas maps, and maritime guides. Even so, when he died in 1816, his estate was calculated at a meager 33.44 USD.

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