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A Survey of the Northern Neck of Virginia…

Warner, John __Cartographer
Place Made:
London England
Date Made:
ink –paper
Accession Number:
In 1649 the exiled King Charles II granted the Northern Neck of Virginia–the region between the Potomac and Rappahannock River–to several loyal supporters. In 1722 this grant was consolidated under Thomas, sixth Lord Fairfax (1693-1781). While Fairfax’s grant extended between the headwaters of both rivers, what constituted the headwaters was left unclear. At stake were hundreds of thousands of acres stretching from the Chesapeake Bay well into the Shenandoah Valley.

In 1728 Robert “King” Carter (1662/3-1732), Fairfax’s agent in Virginia, accused the Colony of issuing land patents within Lord Fairfax’s grant. To negotiate a settlement, in 1733 the crown appointed a commission to survey the bounds of the Fairfax grant. Two teams of surveyors–one representing the Colony, the other Lord Fairfax–were assigned to find and map the headwaters of the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers. At the conclusion of the survey the Colony instructed William Mayo (d. 1744) to compile a map. Because Mayo had been one of the surveyors appointed by Virginia, Fairfax refused to accept his map and asked John Warner to produce a rival map. When the maps arrived in London Fairfax was eager to present his case in the best light. To compete with Mayo’s visually superior map he had Warner’s map reduced and elegantly engraved for the Privy Council in 1737.

Finally, in 1745, Fairfax negotiated a settlement with the Colony of Virginia in which the Colony accepted his ambitious geographic claims to an area of more than 5 million acres in return for his accepting the preexisting patents within his claim. This map, published following the settlement, represents the final accommodation between the Colony and Lord Fairfax.

STATES: Prichard and Taliaferro identify five states of this map; This example is of the 4th state.

REFERENCES: Pritchard and Taliaferro, Degrees of Latitude, 27
Wooldridge, Mapping Virginia, 102-106

Credit Line:
Gift of Frank H. and Carol C. Holcomb