Tag Archives: Maps

Documenting the World of Outlander #6: The Frasers and the Gentleman’s Pirate

[This post was written by Alison Thurman and Josh Hager, Reference Archivists]

This blog is intended as a “bonus feature” for fans of Outlander who want to explore the world of Jamie and Claire through original documents housed at the State Archives of North Carolina. SPOILERS for all episodes of Season 4!

Outlander, the hit series from Starz, has officially arrived in colonial North Carolina. Starting In Season 4, Jamie and Claire traversed the state from Wilmington to the mountains. The State Archives of North Carolina has joined them on this journey as we showcase documents that provide a window into their world. Welcome to our biweekly series, Documenting the World of Outlander, wherein each new entry in our series will focus on one topic that appears on screen in Outlander.

The time has come to mourn the end of Season 4 of Outlander, but our journey sharing records from the State Archives that document Jamie and Claire’s experiences in North Carolina is far from over. This week we would like to focus on piracy; a topic that was introduced in Episode 1 and was intertwined with the story throughout the entire season. As you will remember, Jamie and Claire began their journey in the coastal city of Wilmington and, for many history buffs, there can be no discussion of coastal, colonial North Carolina without examining the rich history of the “golden age” of piracy.

What would a good drama be without a colorful and sinister villain? This season, pirate Stephen Bonnet was introduced as that villain; he has been a nemesis to the Frasers since their first meeting in Wilmington. His presence follows them throughout the rest of their journey as they travel westward from Wilmington, to Cross Creek and Fraser’s Ridge.

Many fans have speculated that the character of Stephen Bonnet in Outlander is inspired by the historical pirate, Stede Bonnet, a scourge of the seas in 1717-1718. They are certainly both colorful characters. Stede Bonnet was a unique figure in the pirate world as evidenced by his nickname the “Gentleman’s Pirate.” He abandoned a prosperous plantation and respectable family in Barbados while experiencing one of the most interesting midlife crises in nautical history. He ordered a ship built to his specifications, hired a crew with money from his own pockets, filled the captain’s cabin with a library of books worthy of a gentleman and, with no seafaring experience, sailed off on his ship, Revenge, to live the life of a pirate. Bonnet was a contemporary of the fearsome buccaneer, Blackbeard, a name that many along the North Carolina coast and the towns of Bath, Wilmington and Edenton knew well in 1717 and 1718. Bonnet sailed alongside Blackbeard off and on during this time and he became familiar with the hidden inlets and creeks of the Cape Fear River and the various shallow waterways and sandbars that make up the dangerous waters off the Outer Banks. He was a part of Blackbeard’s flotilla of ships when his flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, was grounded in what is now Beaufort Inlet. He and Blackbeard shared a complicated professional relationship and parted ways in 1717. Bonnet led a very intriguing life which you can read more about at  https://www.ncpedia.org/, the Blackbeard 300 Anniversary blogs, and many other published secondary sources.

Have you ever visited the quaint town of Southport or taken the ferry to Bald Head Island? If so, you have traveled through the waterways that were the site of the Battle of the Cape Fear River in 1718. Bonnet, who was using the aliases Edwards and Thomas at the time, had anchored his ship, Royal James, off the mouth of the Cape Fear River to make repairs. When the governor of South Carolina, Robert Johnson, heard that Bonnet was close by, he sent Col. William Rhett, commander of two sloops, to confront him. After several hours of battle, Bonnet and his crew surrendered, were taken prisoner and sent to Charleston, South Carolina for trial.

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Map of Cape Fear River and its vicinity from the Frying Pan Shoals to Wilmington MC.167.C237.1798ps

The sites involved in the Battle of the Cape Fear River in 1718 were included in a map prepared by Jonathan Price and John Strother at the request of the commissioners of the port of Wilmington, published in 1798. It portrays Frying Pan Shoals and the Cape Fear River from its mouth to Wilmington. Soundings are given, and the depth of the water is also indicated by shading. Tributary streams are shown and named. Smith’s Island is present day Bald Head Island. Can you see on this map the point of land where the Elizabeth River and Dutchman’s Creek meet? On the Moseley Map of 1733 this land was called Bonnet’s Point.

The map reveals that the topography of the land has changed very little, although the shifting sands and varying depths of the waterways make this area one of the most dangerous areas for vessels to navigate. To learn more about the battle of the Cape Fear River and the history of piracy in the Cape Fear and southern coastal North Carolina regions, be sure to visit the Maritime Museum in Southport, NC.

Very few original records pertaining to Stede Bonnet and piracy off the North Carolina coast survive at the State Archives of North Carolina.  Most of the relevant documents are found in a collection of records called the British Records. The British Records consist of photocopies and microfilm of documents at the Public Records Office in London, as well as other European repositories, which contain information about colonial North Carolina. They are drawn primarily from the papers of the Admiralty, Board of Trade, Colonial Office and Treasury Board, among many others in the Public Records Office and include a wealth of information on a variety of topics such as trade, shipping, correspondence between colonial NC government officials and crown officials, military matters, Native American relations, immigration and others. A concerted effort began in 1969 by the Colonial Records Project to collect these records for use at the State Archives. We are fortunate to have them today because, even though they are not original records created by the people of NC, they contain information critical to North Carolina history and culture. There are finding aids for them in the Archives Search Room, including paper files and card files. They are arranged by series or chronologically. Much of the information in the finding aids is in the MARS online catalog, but not all. The paper finding aids have been scanned and are available on our website at https://archives.ncdcr.gov/records-foreign-collections#british-records  One thing to keep in mind is that they are available for viewing and research only. No reproductions of them for publication are possible without the permission of the Public Records Office in London.

Most of the information we have today on Stede Bonnet and his pirate activities came from the testimony given at his trial and those of his crew. The trials took place in Charleston, SC and the original records are not in North Carolina. However, for those of you interested in the Battle of the Cape Fear River and the fate of Bonnet, there is information in the Treasury Board records at the State Archives that might be helpful to you. One such document representative of the collection is included here. Located in the Treasury Board, Admiralty’s Sessions records, it is a document describing the “Minutes of proceedings in trial of Stede Bonnet, alias Edwards, alias Thomas, for taking sloops FRANCIS and FORTUNE. 28 Oct. – 12 Nov. The FRANCIS taken at “Cape James alias Cape Inlopen”, and the FORTUNE, Thomas Read, commander, taken at Cape Fear. Details of Cargoes taken, etc.”

The document records the proceedings of the trial of Stede Bonnet, alias Edwards, alias Thomas. It includes not only the charges, but also lists the names of the crew members, their pleas and testimony about their activities not only in North Carolina, but all along the Atlantic coast. Most of his crew were convicted and hanged. Bonnet did escape while in captivity in Charleston, however, unlike Outlander’s fictional villain, Stephen Bonnet, who escaped the authorities with the help of Jamie and Claire, the historical Stede was recaptured, tried, convicted and hanged on December 10, 1718.

The demise of Blackbeard off the island of Ocracoke in 1718 ended the “age of piracy” in colonial North Carolina. The legacy of piracy has remained strong, especially with the discovery of the Queen Anne’s Revenge in Beaufort in 1996. For information about the Queen Anne’s Revenge Project you can visit  https://www.qaronline.org/ For those interested in underwater archaeology, there is also information about the conservation lab dedicated to the artifacts recovered from the ship’s site located at East Carolina University.  As one of several institutions displaying the ship’s artifacts and interpretation, you also should not miss a visit to the Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

We sometimes romanticize pirates like Stede Bonnet and Blackbeard, but the notion of Outlander’s Stephen Bonnet as a charming rouge quickly faded for the Fraser family in Season 4. Will he reappear in seasons to come or have the Fraser’s escaped his hold on them? Time will tell.

As the Droughtlander begins, we hope to help fill the gap by continuing our blog series, Documenting the World of Outlander. We will now be posting a new blog monthly, showcasing documents focusing on a topic that was covered on screen during Season 4. We hope you will continue to share with us in the fun of exploring the world of Jamie and Claire Fraser through documents at the State Archives of North Carolina.

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Documenting the World of Outlander #5: Mapping Colonial North Carolina

[This post was written by Alison Thurman and Josh Hager, Reference Archivists]

This blog is intended as a “bonus feature” for fans of Outlander who want to explore the world of Jamie and Claire through original documents housed at the State Archives of North Carolina. SPOILERS for the first 9 episodes of Season 4!

Outlander, the hit series from Starz, has officially arrived in colonial North Carolina. This season, Jamie and Claire will traverse the state from Wilmington to the mountains. The State Archives of North Carolina will join them on this journey as we showcase documents that provide a window into their world. Welcome to our biweekly series, Documenting the World of Outlander, wherein each new entry in our series will focus on one topic that appears on screen in Outlander.

With a few weeks left to go in Season 4, Jamie and Claire have now traveled from the bustling colonial port of Wilmington through Cross Creek and up to Fraser’s Ridge. Our intrepid adventurers have traversed the colony from ocean to mountains, seeing the varied landscapes that make North Carolina such a geographic wonder. To parallel with their journey’s end at Fraser’s Ridge, we would like to showcase our map collections to get a better handle on Jamie and Claire’s Carolina voyage.

We’ll start with a map of the Wilmington area, where Jamie and Claire first arrived in the colony in the first episode of Season 4.

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Map Collection. MC.195.W743.1743v. (Vault Collection No. 4). A plan of Wilmington scituate [sic] on the east side of the north-east branch of Cape Fear River agreable [sic] to the original survey by Jeremiah Vail, c.1743.

This map, dating to circa 1743, is the earliest map in our holdings that shows the city of Wilmington. Prepared by cartographer Jeremiah Vail, this map was the earliest plan of the city of Wilmington as laid out by the city’s proprietors in 1733. No place names, street addresses, or property owners appear on this map due to its early date. However, you can use the Cape Fear River’s placement to map out the equivalent current areas of the still-bustling port city. It’s possible that Jamie and Claire may have used a map such as this example to navigate their way through Wilmington’s streets when they first arrived in North Carolina.

Our next example takes us up the Cape Fear River to the town of Cross Creek, site of Jamie’s aunt’s plantation and the harrowing events of the second episode of Season 4.

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Map Collection. MC.195.F284.2014ma. Fayetteville, N.C. about 1770 (after Sauthier), by Dan MacMillan, 2014.

A couple of characteristics about this map should jump out at you immediately. The first idiosyncrasy is that the map shows Fayetteville, not Cross Creek. Fayetteville became an incorporation city in 1783 when Cross Creek and the neighboring town of Campbellton merged and named the new city in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette. The fact that Fayetteville appears on this map rather than Cross Creek, in addition to the modern type face, is a giveaway to the second peculiarity; this map is not actually from Jamie and Claire’s time but rather is a contemporary depiction of the Fayetteville area circa 1770. Fayetteville resident Dan MacMillan painstakingly created this map of Fayetteville in 1770 using land records from the State Archives of North Carolina, including deeds and land grants. Many of the property owners shown on this map could have interacted with the Frasers as they made their way through Cross Creek. Notice that the Cape Fear River snakes right through the middle of the city, thus connecting Fayetteville to Wilmington. It should therefore come as no surprise that Fayetteville would later become one of the most prominent distribution centers in North Carolina, especially after the advent of railroads allowed Fayetteville to become a transfer point of goods from the Cape Fear River to all points inland.

We end our pictorial journey with a map of the entirety of the colony from 1770.

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Map Collection. MC.150.1770c1. A Compleat Map of North-Carolina from an actual Survey, by John Bayly, William Churton, John Abraham Collett, and Samuel Hooper (publisher), 1770.

In this map, colloquially known as “the Collett map,” we see the colony from the Atlantic to the Appalachians. Unlike earlier maps, the Collett map utilizes surveyed information to create what was in 1770 the most accurate map of the colony ever produced. The summary of the map from our online catalog MARS provides further information:

This map was prepared by Captain John Abraham Collet (1756-1789), a Swiss-born army officer and commander of Fort Johnston at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, and [it] was based largely on surveys conducted by William Churton (1749-1767), surveyor of the Granville Land Office. It was engraved by John Bayly and published in London by Samuel Hooper. The map portrays all of North Carolina west to the Blue Ridge Mountains near present day Morganton. The Collet map is far more accurate and comprehensive than any previous map of North Carolina and depicts for the first time the roads and settlements in the growing western part of the colony.

From Cross Creek, Jamie and Claire would have taken the rivers and roads depicted on the Collett map as they journeyed further west toward Frasers Ridge. What modern features can you spot on this map?

If you’re interested in further map research, your best resource is NC Maps, an award-winning website collaboration between the State Archives of North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Outer Banks History Center. You’ll find maps sorted by location, date, and more. Plus, you can view maps in different sizes and zoom in to the smallest detail to find that one elusive town, road, or body of water.

Now that we’ve mapped the Frasers to their new homesite, we’ll now turn our attention to a slightly more dangerous topic. Join us in our next entry as we look at piracy in the world of Outlander!

Documenting the World of Outlander #4: Cherokee Land Boundaries

[This post was written by Alison Thurman and Josh Hager, Reference Archivists]

This blog is intended as a “bonus feature” for fans of Outlander who want to explore the world of Jamie and Claire through original documents housed at the State Archives of North Carolina. SPOILERS for the first 9 episodes of Season 4!

Outlander, the hit series from Starz, has officially arrived in colonial North Carolina. This season, Jamie and Claire will traverse the state from Wilmington to the mountains. The State Archives of North Carolina will join them on this journey as we showcase documents that provide a window into their world. Welcome to our biweekly series, Documenting the World of Outlander, wherein each new entry in our series will focus on one topic that appears on screen in Outlander.

In the most recent episodes of Outlander we have seen Jamie and Claire receive a land grant for 10,000 acres in the back country of North Carolina upon which they build a homestead they name Fraser’s Ridge. Fraser’s Ridge appears to be a successful farm and happy home for the Frasers, but there is always a new challenge around the corner wherever they go.  In this case, one of the realities of living in the North Carolina back country in 1767 for Jamie and Claire, is carving out a peaceful and respectful relationship with their closest neighbors, the Cherokee Indians, also referred to as the Tsalagi. In this entry of our blog series we would like to focus on Native Americans, specifically the Cherokee, and showcase some of the documents in the State Archives that pertain to the complicated history of colonial expansion and changing land boundaries in North Carolina during the late 1760’s and beyond.

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Links to State Archives of North Carolina Materials

The newest addition to the North Carolina Digital Collections is Links to State Archives of North Carolina Materials. This ongoing digital reference collection is of original records from the State Archives that have been made available online by third party institutions. This collection is comprised of URLs to items within the various websites. Links may lead directly to an item or may link to collection landing pages on third party websites.

Links to State Archives of North Carolina Materials includes the following websites: Ancestry, FamilySearch, North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, North Carolina Maps, and YouTube. Several collections on Ancestry and FamilySearch have been partially digitized or are in progress, and therefore may not be complete. Also make sure to read the description of items within NCDC as some of the websites State Archives materials have been mixed with non-State Archives materials to form their final collection.

Please keep in mind that to successfully use the Ancestry links, your computer needs to be logged on an Ancestry account. If you are not logged in, the Ancestry links will take you to the Ancestry homepage. If you don’t have an Ancestry account, contact your local public library branch who may have a subscription or the State Library of North Carolina to gain access on site.

Record types include: North Carolina maps, a selection of North Carolina county records, and vital records. For a more complete list of record links included, see the landing page of the collection on NCDC.

If you’d like to see more materials related to North Carolina held at institutions throughout the state, please visit the State Library of North Carolina’s NC MOSAIC project on NCDC.

Treasures of Carolina: Map “La Florida”

[This blog post was written by Andrea Gabriel, Outreach and Development Coordinator for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

La Florida Map, 1584, Map Collection, Outer Banks History Center.

La Florida Map, 1584, Map Collection, Outer Banks History Center.

La Florida is hand-tinted map drawn by Geronimo de Chaves (c. 1523-1574), Royal Cosmographer to Phillip II of Spain for publication in Abraham Orelius’ (1527-1598) atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, first appearing in 1584. This maps reflects the names of Native American settlements and mountains. Little detail of present-day North Carolina is shown but this map does depict the current Cape Fear River, albeit under its earliest name, “Rio Jordan.”

This map is the earliest item in the custody of the State Archives. It is part of the collection given to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources by Outer Banks writer and historian David Stick, whose books, maps, and original archival materials formed the research collection at the Outer Banks History Center in Manteo, administered by the State Archives of North Carolina. The holdings of the Center document the history and culture of the North Carolina coast and adjacent areas.

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A selection of the state’s historic documents will be exhibited in Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives of North Carolina at the Museum of History, October 24, 2015–June 19, 2016. Documents from the Archives vault, unique letters, historic photographs, public records, and other media will illuminate the myriad of ways in which the holdings of the State Archives document the workings of our government, provide evidence of civil liberties, and preserve the history and culture of North Carolina. This exhibit is sponsored by the Friends of the Archives and runs through June 19, 2016. Additional funding was provided by the N.C. Bar Association Foundation, the Raleigh Times, and Wells Fargo.

To learn more about the exhibit, please see: https://ncarchives.wordpress.com/tag/treasures-of-carolina/

For a full list of documents that will be on display only a limited time, see: https://ncarchives.wordpress.com/2015/09/09/plan-to-visit-treasures-of-carolina/

See the State Archives Facebook calendar or Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources events calendar for more upcoming events.

On June 23, the State Archives Examines How North Carolina Got Its Shape

[This blog post comes from a Dept. of Cultural Resources press release – you can find other news related to NC Cultural Resources here.]

Map graphic for FOA talk “History and Reestablishment  of the NC-SC Boundary”  by Presented By Gary W. Thompson

“History and Reestablishment of the NC-SC Boundary” by Gary W. Thompson, North Carolina Geodetic Survey, will take place Monday, June 23, 2014, 1:30 p.m. in the Archives & History/State Library Bldg Auditorium.

RALEIGH, N.C. — From present day Manteo to Monterrey, Calif. at one time was all Carolina. King Charles II had awarded land grants in 1663 and 1665 to eight Lords Proprietors, his allies. This established Carolina south into Florida and north to the present North Carolina and Virginia border.

A lot has changed since then, but fixing the border between the two Carolinas has been an ongoing process that will be examined during a State Archives of North Carolina hosted program “A History of the Boundaries Surveyed” June 23 at 1:30 p.m., in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Building on Jones Street in downtown Raleigh. Beyond academic discussions, the boundary results affect gas and cigarette taxes, property values and more subjects then you may imagine.

The State Archives holds and will display several maps that illustrate the shifting boundaries of these states. By the late 1600s, North and South Carolina were recognized as separate entities and initial shape was given for the two states, but the exact boundary location was disputed for nearly 200 years. The two states in 1994 began a joint effort to re-establish the boundary. This effort took almost 20 years. The program will examine how this was achieved in the 21st century.

Gary Thompson, chief of the North Carolina Geodetic Survey, will provide an overview of the history of the North Carolina-South Carolina boundary in his presentation “History and Re-establishment of the North Carolina-South Carolina Boundary.” The free, public lecture will take place in the auditorium and maps from the collections of the State Archives of North Carolina will be on display in the State Archives Search Room.  Both events are sponsored by the Friends of the Archives.

For additional information, please call (919) 807-7326. The State Archives of North Carolina is within the Office of Archives and History in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

About the State Archives of North Carolina

The State Archives of North Carolina State Archives collects, preserves, and makes available for public use historical and evidential materials relating to North Carolina. Its holdings consist of official records of state, county and local governmental units, copies of federal and foreign government materials, and private collections. The Friends of the Archives, Inc. was formed in 1977 to provide private support for the State Archives of North Carolina. For more information about the State Archives, visit http://www.archives.ncdcr.gov.

About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources 

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDCR’s mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state’s history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.

Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state’s communities. NCDCR’s Divisions of Archives and Records, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR’s State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for people who are blind and have physical disabilities.

NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state’s creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

Housing for an Oversized Map

[This blog post was written by Emily Rainwater, Conservator for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

The Mouzon Map and the housing created to protect it.

The Mouzon Map and the housing created to protect it.

An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina with their Indian Frontiers [M.C. 150.1775m], surveyed by Henry Mouzon II and known familiarly as The Mouzon Map, was published in 1775.  The map was utilized by American, British, and French forces during the American Revolutionary War.   It was printed in four separate plates, each with an overlapping edge designed to be adhered together into a single map. The State Archive of North Carolina owns two copies; one that is in its four separate pieces, and another that has been adhered to form a single map.

As you can imagine, a map that is made up of four already large pieces of paper is quite huge – 42 inches in height and over 56 inches in width! This is too big for even our largest map case drawer, so a customized, unique housing needed to be constructed when the map came down from display.

The housing had to meet several requirements:

  1. Constructed of archival quality materials that age well and will not contribute to the map’s deterioration
  2. Large enough for the map to lay flat as a whole piece, with some extra wiggle room for a protective border
  3. Allow for access to the map when needed
  4. Rigidity, allowing the map to be stored on top of the map case as it is too large for the drawers. Since a few inches of the housing will extend beyond the platform of the map case, the housing must be supportive enough for this function.

Diagram of the structure of the portfolio case constructed to house An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina with their Indian Frontiers [M.C. 150.1775m], also known as the The Mouzon Map.

Diagram of the structure of the portfolio case constructed to house “An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina with their Indian Frontiers” [M.C. 150.1775m], also known as the The Mouzon Map.

We decided on a rigid portfolio case with twill ties. The map itself was hinged to a piece of double wall, corrugated BB-flute board with long fiber tissue and wheat starch paste. These hinges keep the map from sliding around, but will also be easy and safe to remove if needed in the future. The double wall structure means the board is constructed of two layers of corrugations, making it very strong and rigid. A protective top layer of double wall corrugated board is laid directly on top of the map.

The outer components of the structure are two pieces of corrugated polypropylene board, known as Coroplast. Coroplast is chemically inert, will not off-gas, is extremely durable, and is made of archival grade plastic. Small cuts were made in the Coroplast so that cotton twill strapping could be threaded through each board. This strapping allows the two exterior pieces of the portfolio to be tied together, and secures the inner pieces of corrugated board.

Though size presented some challenges, this custom-built housing will continue to protect this object for many years to come.

The Mouzon Map portfolio case closed and tied.

The Mouzon Map portfolio case closed and tied.