Map that textbook

Map

A sketch of a map drawn for a textbook yields some interesting information.

Here’s a mid-19th century, hand-drawn map of the Indian tribes in the United States, as per the creator’s assumption of what was known in 1650 (the original interpretive date of 1592 has been marked out and replaced by 1650). This is a manuscript map made by the US Army, meant for publication in a geography or history textbook. Its located in the Library of Congress.

Around the Red River in today’s Texas, Oklahoma and southwestern Arkansas, the tribes are simply hand-labeled as “Texans.” The Caddos in Louisiana have been identified as “Appalachians” but the darker color than their supposed kin east of the Mississippi indicates that the map maker may have recognized that they were indeed separate.

Tribes are identified through language kinship, but I don’t think this map reflects that. If it did, the Caddos would be shown in a different color beyond Louisiana to include the Wichitas of the Cross Timbers, as the Caddos had a language of their own, unrelated to the other tribes. The Shoshones would have extended into Texas, as the Comanche language had Shoshone roots.

This is a fascinating history lesson of historiography!

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Published in: on October 16, 2019 at 3:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Red River expedition

Freeman Custis overlay map from 1974 by E M Parker a civil engineer original 1806 map Louisiana Digital Library

Nicholas King’s map of the Freeman-Custis expedition of 1806, with the 1976 overlay by E.M. Parker. (LSU)

In 1806, President Thomas Jefferson instructed Peter Custis and Thomas Freeman  to find the source of the Red River as part of a Corps of Discovery for the Louisiana Purchase. Spanish troops stopped them in today’s Bowie County (TX)/ McCurtain County (OK) at the Spanish Bluffs.

That same year, Nicholas King drew a map of the expedition’s rather short journey, which was published, along with explorers’ journal, in 1806. In 1974, engineering professor E.M. Parker from Centenary College in Shreveport overlayed the 1806 map with important points from the Custis and Freeman journal. This map was used in the book, “Southern Counterpart to Lewis and Clark: the Freeman and Custis Expedition of 1806,” by renowned historian Dan Flores.

I was nosing around the digital collections listed at by the Louisiana State University (Shreveport) libraries and found the Parker map. It contains a plethora of information about the places and people the exploring party met. If you like to read maps, this is a good one to read!

Link to the “zoomable” map (http://louisianadigitallibrary.org/islandora/object/lsus-nwm%3A3)

Link to the 1806 journal (http://ir.uiowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=9108&context=annals-of-iowa)