An 1859 Plat Map for $5

I’ve seen copies of the 1859 plat map of Hancock County, Illinois. I even have a color reproduction of it that apparently is slightly smaller than its original size of four feet by four feet. According to an advertisement in the 27 January 1859 issue of the Warsaw [Illinois] Bulletin, the map sold for $5 originally and included rollers and would be delivered on or before 1 January 1859.

When one stops and thinks about it, the creation of the map would have been quite an undertaking given the technology and equipment of the time. When put in context of 1859 mapmaking, it sometimes is a wonder maps of this age are as correct as they are. It was not simple task (there were no computers to lay out the images) and it’s easy to criticize the map for the occasional error which people usually notice if it involves their family. The correct information tends to get ignored because “my family’s information is wrong” and that somehow takes precedence over what information is correct. My two ancestral families who owned property in the county are shown as owning the correct parcels.

The map is pretty much as described in the advertisement. I have a color reproduction of it that is smaller than the original–it’s not four feet on a side. The text can be read, but is small in places. The plat information was obtained from county records and I can see my Trautvetter ancestor’s property in section three of Rocky Run Township–under the spelling of Troutfetter and Troutretter. My Rampley ancestor (not shown in the illustration) is incorrectly listed as Ramsey on the map. The variant spellings are reasonable.

$5 was quite a bit back in 1859, but it’s a pretty neat map.


One thought on “An 1859 Plat Map for $5

  1. These old plat maps are wonderful! I can now access online the 1874 plat map for Yazoo County, MS from the Library of Congress web site — in color, I might add.
    I first saw it (in black & white) on fiche at the local LDS library several years ago. I saved images of portions of the map and put them on my computer when I got home. I then printed them, cut and pasted them together to use for the areas of interest.

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