Plat of the Seven Ranges of Townships being part of the Territory of the United States N.W. of the River Ohio which by a late Act of Congress are directed to be sold.
Philadelphia: Mathew Carey, 1796. Engraving. Plate mark: 24 1/4 x 13 3/4 inches. 33 x 22 1/4 inches.
The Original Township Ranges: Remaking the American Landscape
A fundamentally important map in the westward development of the United States and the mapping of Ohio and the Old Northwest. This map was created as a result of the Land Ordinance of 1785, which set out an orderly method for surveying and selling western lands. The Confederation Congress hoped that proceeds from these sales would help settle the debts growing out of the American Revolution. The map was created from the surveys of Thomas Hutchins, who had been Geographer to the United States until his death in 1789. Hutchins had already surveyed the area several times, and he and his assistants mapped out four of the original seven township ranges before he died. The final three ranges were subsequently mapped, and the "Seven Ranges" became the first portion of Ohio surveyed under the Land Ordinance of 1785. The area surveyed under the Ordinance and depicted on this map is in the form of a triangle, with a ninety-one mile western boundary, a forty-two mile northern boundary, and with the Ohio River forming the eastern boundary. Each township range would consist of thirty-six square miles of territory divided into thirty-six separately numbered square mile sections, each made up of 640 acres. Certain sections were reserved for the federal government, and others were earmarked for sale. Section sixteen in each township was set aside for a public school. The map is drawn on a scale of four miles to the inch. The true importance of this map is not its immediate cartography, but what it set in motion. From these townships westward, all of the United States (excepting those areas along the Mississippi or in the Southwest, where French and Spanish settlement had created different land patterns) were laid out in the township grids from Ohio to the Pacific Ocean. More than any other act of man, this has transformed the landscape of America, as anyone looking out an airplane window can readily see. "Very few printed pieces are of more importance in the history of Ohio than this survey of a part of the future state" - Fifty Ohio Rarities. The present map is in Wheat & Brun's first state, without the publisher's imprint below the neat line at the bottom.
Clements Library, Fifty Ohio Rarities 39; Evans 30918; Karrow (Ohio) 2441; Ristow, pp.145-47; Sabin 94884; Smith, Mapping of Ohio pp.123-25; Vail 1081; Wheat & Brun 676.