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Monday, February 18, 2013

Edward Moseley: Impressions of the Albemarle

1708/9 Map of the Albemarle by Edward Moseley

Edward Moseley may have been a controversial conservative politician in North Carolina at a time when any educated "gentleman" might get away with anything, but one thing's for certain... he was a well-educated surveyor as well.  

The image here is of a map of the Albemarle or Roanoke Sound region in North Carolina that Moseley produced not long after his arrival in April 1704 from Charleston.  He worked there after arriving from London around 1700 as a court clerk for Gov. James Moore and as a librarian for Dr. Thomas Bray and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG).  The SPG (founded in 1701 by the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Tenison) was a religious wing of the Anglican state church whose mission since the Vestry Act of 1703 was to restore the Church of England in the colonies and rid them of dissenters.  Like today's class struggles, rich planters of the Albemarle supported this, but the common people of Albemarle, used to a more egalitarian freedom, certainly did not.  As historian Noeleen McIlveena writes "A detailed narrative of the conflicts in Albemarle illustrates the tangible strategies southern planters adopted to counter resistance and to fortify their wealth and privilege."  

Planters ideals of a slave society clashed with those found in the Albemarle's egalitarianism, "who battled the expansionistic slave society" that invaded the South, mostly from Barbados planters.  From McIlveena's point of view, the period 1660-1713 was a "tale of almost continual struggle" between conservative and liberal (somewhat analogous to Tory and Whig) forces in the colony.  John Culpepper, John Gibbs, and even a Lord Proprietor, Seth Sothel fomented rebellions in North Carolina... all hampered its development throughout this period.  Government proceedings were generally held in personal homes on the frontier because the money for public facilities never materialized.  The reason that McIlveena's book stopped at 1713 was because the Tuscarora War became a turning point for political affairs in the colony.  That required another book.  At that time, a major impediment to colonial expansion (big bucks for the British) was essentially eliminated... the Indian.  Afterwards, Tories (as large, wealthy families) and the SPG (established Anglican arm of government) drove home the message of the Vestry Act and conservatism entrenched itself in the colony.  

For the most part, conservatives won the battle, driving Quakers and other dissidents into the background.  Still, a powerful liberal force developed in Britain within a couple of decades and the repression calmed a bit... only a bit.  Unfortunately for the egalitarian folks, Moseley and his "Family" syndicate stuck around in the Lower Cape Fear, fought in the Revolution, became governors and other officials (as well as ex-Confederate soldiers) and tried to take over Wilmington at gunpoint in 1898... generally caused a lot more trouble...  AND took over colonial and state politics.  These guys wrote a slightly different version of our history, too.  Here's another blog entry that goes into this aspect.

I'm sure that you've probably noticed our peculiar conservative trend... lol

It was into this early ungovernable maelstrom that Edward Moseley originally came, proud but penniless, to build his fortunes in Carolina.  He was born in 1682 in St Giles, Cripplegate parish of London, raised in an orphanage because his father, John, died while he was a boy... a really nice orphanage, however, for wealthy orphans... with a superb education at the Royal Mathematical School as one of Christ's Hospital's "Blue-boys," referring to the long blue coats worn by the students.  He studied navigation from lessons provided by Isaac Newton himself!  Meant to be apprenticed to mariner Jacob Foreland for three years on the trade to Bilbao, Spain, rich friends, instead, bought out his apprenticeship in 1697 and he came to Carolina soon after... maybe with James Moore himself... who may also have toted John Lawson on his first trip to America in 1700.  Imagine the two surveyors together on a long sea voyage... maybe that's what turned them against each other.  :)  Thus, North Carolina gained much... and suffered greatly by his influence.  It's a matter of opinion... depending on your political slant.

I still think that Moseley might have been the reason that Lawson left Charles Town so early to explore Carolina, finally to arrive at his historical destination in Bath County, North Carolina.  :)

Nonetheless, we know much of North Carolina's early history due to Moseley's early presence here... and his maps!  One of these maps has been recently discovered (re-found) by the Lambeth Palace Library and printed in their publication in 2010.  A professor friend of mine, Dr. Larry Tise, a North Carolina scholar, among many other talents, found this map and brought it to my attention.  

It is now that we have three wonderful impressions of the same area of North Carolina, all drawn by the same individual and representing his various motivations through this period of conflict.  This is worth a study!

The second map available is incomplete as far as the Albemarle region is concerned.  It covers only the area along the Virginia border that Moseley helped to survey (if a shortened trip) in 1728.  In this Boedlian Library version, he lists the habitations of various settlers and locations of Indians.  

1728 Map of the Dividing Line by Edward Moseley
The third map is one more familiar to modern scholars... the 1733 map of fame that informed decades of North Carolinians and their British authorities of the values of settling in this colony.  It may also have gained more wealth for Moseley and his in-laws, as well.  This copy comes from the North Carolina Archives in Raleigh. 

1733 Moseley Map of North Carolina - Albemarle portion

Taking these three maps, I'd like to study this area through Moseley's eyes and through the troubled times in which he lived and worked.  I shall divide this study into a county by county treatment to facilitate detailed views in these maps.  This is part of a larger work that I am doing on Edward Moseley and his Carolina world.  This blog article includes a watered down summary of the section on Chowan Precinct...

Chowan Precinct

The 1708 Map... 
1708 Moseley Map of the Albemarle - Chowan Precinct portion
Before Bertie Precinct came along in 1722, Chowan Precinct extended west over the Chowan River, here represented as "Chowanoake."  Settlement here involved a close relationship with three Indian nations: the Meherrin, the Chowanoke, and (more distant) the Tuscarora.  For the most part, these peoples lived on the west bank of the Chowan, having given up or sold their lands to early settlers like Nathaniel Batts or George Durant.

Of note here, the Nottoway River is paired with the name "Weyanoke," a point of contention in the "dividing line affair" when Phillip Ludwell and Nathaniel Harrison made their report.

"Coll. Pollock's" plantation is here on Salmon Creek.   William Duckenfield is just across Salmon Creek from Pollock, on the land that Nicholas Comberford had indicated as "Batt's House" in 1657.  Interestingly enough, this is the same location on which British authorities have lately located a small patch affixed to John White's 1587 watercolor map with a fort drawn beneath it.  That's an interesting find.

The most obvious mistake on this early map is the geographical configuration of the future town of Edenton, at this time, with no name.  Edenton was incorporated in 1715 as "The Towne on Queen Anne's Creek." It was later known as "Ye Towne on Mattercommack Creek" and, yet later as "The Port of Roanoke." It was renamed "Edenton" in 1722 in honor of Governor Charles Eden who had died that year.

In this interpretation, the shore that Edenton rests upon faces almost directly west, when in reality, it faces south.  It is interesting because this is where Moseley lives, denoted on the map by "Sedes Auth."  "Vaile" and "Porter" also refer to various future in-laws, Jeremiah Vail and John Porter.  He should have known this area quite well.  He was still new to Carolina, however.

Ominously, the area of present Edenton is marked as "Coll. Cary," alluding to Thomas Cary of South Carolina, for whom the "Cary Rebellion" was named.  Apparently, he occupied a central location in what would become the seat of government.  It's possible that many already looked at it this way, although meetings were still held in individual plantation homes.  Alluding to its importance, it also tells the location of a church that Moseley had great interest in promoting... the Anglican church of St. Paul's Parish.  At this time, like the future Edenton, the church had not been completely finished.  This was arguably one reason for Moseley's making the map, as well as promoting himself with the SPG.

Moseley sent this map to Britain along with Rev. William Gordon who left North Carolina after only a year in rather a hurry to escape the irreligious nature of the inhabitants.  He wrote in 1709 to John Chamberlain, Secretary of the SPG that:

Chowan is the westernmost, the largest and thinnest seated; they built a church some years ago, but it is small, very sorrily put together, and is ill looked after; and, therefore, I prevailed with them to build another, which they went about when I came away. The plan of it I brought over, and was desired to procure, if possible, from the society, as much glass as will be necessary for the windows, which by computation will amount to 325 feet.

Despite the lackluster opinion, St. Paul's Parish Church, then, owes quite a bit to Rev. Gordon.  Perhaps Moseley had reasoned in 1708 that the SPG would be able to help them pay for certain church supplies and that was his primary motivation... to incur favor with the SPG, perhaps to flatter the Archbishop himself.  That would soon become a forlorn hope. 

Still, the presence of "Coll. Cary" on top of what would become Edenton indicates that Cary was working to take over the government even at the time that this map was made, in 1708.  Do the North Carolina Colonial Records back this up?

As a matter of fact, they do.  Thomas Pollock complained in 1708:

"Notwithstanding which fair election, Mr Moseley not approving of the choice, he with those others being in all but sixty five, would needs name other five by themselves, and Mr Moseley and some others of his party making all the confusion they could in the time of election, and endeavouring to stir up strife and quarrels among the people, which if Col Pollock (being on a plantation of his that joined on the election field) had not hindered and pursuaded the people to keep the peace, would have ended in blows."

So, even as the map made its way across the Atlantic, Moseley stirred up trouble for the very people he made the map for... the SPG! 

In 1709, the Minutes of the Vestry show "Ordered that the way and method of beautifying the Church be left to Descretion of the Church Wardens for the year ensuing Viz enlarging repairing &c" and "Ordered that the Collector of this precinct do collect from each Tythable the sum of two shillings and Nine Pence. which rise sufficient to pay the publick Debts here mentioned and will advance the sum of twelve pounds towards the beautifying of the Chappell over and above the charge of the Collection."  

So, it would appear that the Wardens of the Vestry, of which Moseley belonged, was engaged in this purpose.  Cary, however, changed everything with his coup d’état.

Moseley had joined forces with Cary.  Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Tenison, who, early in its development, personally presided over meetings of the SPG, apparently thought this map a painful reminder of how Moseley sided with the Quaker faction, or at least the side that the Quakers supported.

Someone may have removed his name from the map... for maps were important tools at this time and Moseley's name may have caused some difficulty after the rebellion.  Then again, a friend of mine suggest that John Lawson may have joined Gordon for the weeks-long trip across the Atlantic and erased it to further his own ambitions.  Even though Moseley had made it, it still helped Tenison to understand the problems there and would have been used by him.  That explains how it was found in some miscellaneous papers of Tenison's regarding the SPG in Lambeth Palace's holdings. 

1708 Moseley map portion showing the bottom line of wording, which contains Moseley's name (beginning), significantly blotted out, yet the lined border around the wording nor any other wording appears largely unaffected.  His name was likely removed to possibly avoid embarrassment after the Cary Rebellion association became understood which immediately followed this map's arrival in London.

The 1728 Map...

1729 Map of the Dividing Line (portion) Chowan Precinct area.

The first major difference noticeable in this map is the extraordinarily different representation that Moseley gives to the Chowan River, which he calls "Chowan" in 1728, instead of "Chowanoake."  After all, Moseley had twenty more years of surveying experience in this colony.  He obviously understood it better than he did in 1708, after only four years of residency.  

On the west bank, he clearly notes a "Nansemond Indian Town" that he also notes five years later on his map of 1733.  He does not indicate the area south of this town, east of the Chowan River, that holds the Meherrin Indian Town and their territory across the river to the west.  

The purpose of mapping the line was, of course, to gain a better understanding of where it lay because of land disputes and an erroneous belief by Virginians that it ran much further south into North Carolina than it actually did.  Moseley adamantly charged that it did not and that the surveys he, as surveyor-general since 1723 and deputy of William Maule before that, had conducted truly lay within his own colony and not that of Virginia.  

As a result can be seen here the variation from the line from Currituck 2'30" from north toward the south to meet with the conjunction of the Nottoway and Chowan Rivers.  Note on this map that "Weyonoake" does not appear since it had been determined that they had left the area and the Nottoway had taken their place.  Here, also, the name of the Chowan changes to "Black Water River."  

As can be seen on Nicholas Comberford's 1657 map, however, "Weyanoke River" and "Blackwater Creek" do indeed meet at that same location.  Weyanoke=Nottoway.  

1657 Comberford Map (portion) showing that Weyanoke River is the Nottoway River.  Even the Weyanoke Town is indicated in the upper right.
A number of settlers just north of the line are indicated here.  A "W. Speight" next to "Speight's land" is indicated by Moseley just inside Virginia.  A 1696 patent to Thomas Speight, son and heir of Captain William Speight, mentions a Chowan deed on Bennett's Creek, indicated here by a road leading southward to it.  The older William Speight held 320 acres south of the dividing line in the northern part of Chowan that later became Gates County, the portion that shows here on Moseley's map.  This land was near present Sunbury, about eight miles SE of the location of "W. Speight" on this map.

This land was surveyed in 1695 by Samuel Swann, the second husband of Elizabeth Lillington, daughter of Alexander Lillington, whose third husband was Maurice Moore.  This made Samuel Swann's children neices and nephews of Edward Moseley after his marriage to Elizabeth's sister Ann Lillington Walker, the wife of Henderson Walker, acting governor of North Carolina when he died in 1704.   

This near-line occurrence may be explained since the Speights lived in Suffolk, Virginia, directly north of Gates County prior to moving to Bennetts Creek.  Still, William was born in Speight's Run, over ten miles north of the dividing line.  

In the deeds of Virginia, we find:

"10 November 1678. William Speight. Patent for 176 A. in Upper Parish of Nanzemond Co., at a place called Barbica; adjoyning Humphrey Griffin, neer the Crosse Swamp, etc. (NugII, pp. 193-194)"

"Cross Swamp" may refer to the lands of "J. Cross," seen on Moseley's map also north of the line.  That Moseley indicated the Speight land running south of the line may be a clue as to Virginia having patented land in North Carolina.  This exonerates Moseley historically for he had successfully satisfied Virginian William Byrd II, who accompanied the surveyors on this expedition:

"It must be owned, the report of those gentlemen was severe upon the then commissioners of North Carolina, and particularly upon Mr. Moseley. I will not take it upon me to say with how much justice they said so many hard things, though it had been fairer play to have given the parties accused a copy of such representation, that they might have answered what they could for themselves.

But since that was not done, I must beg leave to say thus much in behalf of Mr. Moseley, that he was not much in the wrong to find fault with the quadrant produced by the surveyors of Virginia, because that instrument placed the mouth of Nottoway river in the latitude of 37 degrees; whereas, by an accurate observation made since, it appears to lie in 36° 30' 30'', so that there was an error of near 30 minutes, either in the instrument or in those who made use of it.

Besides, it is evident the mouth of Nottoway river agrees much better with the latitude, wherein the Carolina charter supposed Weyanoke creek, (namely, in or about 36° 30',) than it does with Wicocon creek, which is about fifteen miles more southerly."

The 1733 Map... 

1733 Moseley Map of North Carolina (portion) Chowan Precinct

It is very apparent, that by 1733, Edward Moseley had learned a great deal about North Carolina.  This is an interesting map in its own right and I have many theories on why Moseley put it together.  Part of those were personal.  He wanted money, of course, and this map detailed land that was available to newcomers and otherwise potential buyers.  It also served him to make his "surveys," but we'll explore that in a moment. 

Overall, the 1733 map demonstrates that the colony is growing, despite the mutinous nature of its inhabitants.  Tory influence always helps business, at least.  Brunswick Town, Beaufort, Edenton, and Bath Town are new towns developed since 1708.   Wilmington is just then getting started and identified by the notation "Watson" on the east side of the Cape Fear River, across from the thoroughfare, named for the first person to receive a grant there from Burrington, John Watson in 1733 (patented in 1735 due to confusion with the records during the political troubles with the Family).  
Craven, Carteret, Onslow, Edgecombe, Bertie, Hyde, Beaufort, and New Hanover are all new precincts.  Insets show Port Brunswick or Cape Fear Harbour, Port Beaufort or Topsail Inlet, Ocacock (Ocracoke) Inlet, Explanation, and Directions for Ocacock (Ocracoke) Inlet.

Moseley extolls the virtues of North Carolina in the center of the map:

"This Country abounds with Elks & Buffalos at the distance of about 130 miles from the Sea & the whole affords plenty of deer, swine, bever, wild Cows & Horses.  Also Turkeys, partridges and all sort of water-fowl, with abundance of Swans.  The Rivers & Sea Coast are well stored with fish of all kinds, especially Sturgeon. The soil is naturally fertile, producing plenty of Peaches & Plumbs, Apples, Pears, and other delicious fruits and Eatables, without Art or Expense.  Its chief trading produce is Pitch, Tar, Skins, Pork, Indian-Corn, Cedar, Ship-Timber, and Bark."

It made for a great advertisement to encourage settlement in the colony.  Another note at the bottom of the map might interest prospective settlers concerned about safety, especially following the Tuscarora War:

"... nor is there any danger from Indians, none now inhabiting the Sea Coast but about 6, or 8, at Hatteras, who dwell among the English."

Albemarle, specifically, has "Chappels" and Courthouses dotting the map along the roads leading through the various counties/precincts of the Albemarle and along the waterfront areas bordering the Roanoke Sound.  Edenton is clearly marked as a well-formed city.  This map, held by East Carolina University is the only copy of this map in the United States; the other three are all located in England.  The intrepid Dr. Larry Tise of ECU and the University of Pennsylvania has already made a trip to London to see these beauties! 

The interesting history surrounding this copy, found in an attic in Edenton in 1982, surrounds the ascension of the Whig Robert Walpole to position of first minister in Britain, along with his close associates, two Pelham brothers, one Thomas Holles-Pelham, the duke of Newcastle, made Secretary of the Southern Department a few years before the Lords Proprietors decided to sell North Carolina to the crown.  This was officially in July 1729.  After that event, the liberal Whigs in government eschewed the old Tories, including their practices in favor of more efficiency in finance and patronage or favors.  It seems that Tory (actually, wealthy and powerful families) favorites like Charles Town in South Carolina had been far too much trouble for the Crown and they did not want North Carolina following that path.  The SPG's Anglican conversion fervor subsided somewhat and Quakers found themselves feeling more at ease.  What's more, Newcastle attempted to right the wrongs that the Tory, Moseley, and his Anglican South Carolinian "Family" had been perpetrating in the Lower Cape Fear as part of their Brunswick settlement. South Carolina tried to gain a foothold on the Cape Fear River, the only accessible river that North Carolina possessed.  If North Carolina had any hope of competing with other colonies, it was the Cape Fear River.  The Family put that in danger. 

The Brunswick settlement was an autonomous and illegal pseudo-colony along the confused South Carolina border that grew enormously by 1728 through Sir Richard Everard's illegal "blank patents."  During its development, the Family avoided proper land grant procedures, buying and selling property amongst themselves, and confusing the provenance of that property beyond recovery.  They also neglected to pay the rent.  This was the part that probably upset Newcastle the most.  Edward Moseley once again drew accusations that mostly concerned his surveying malpractice:

  • Mr. Lovick, and his two confederates Moseley and Wm. Little, ye Receiver General, to sign many pattents wherein ye number of acres are left blank…
  • … practices by Mr Moseley and his Deputies in returning to the Secretaries office Immaginary Surveys by which his relations hold great quantities of land more than are specified in their patents…
  • [Mr. Lovick] advised Sir Richard to grant no more Patents but by the Artifice and management of Mr Moseley then Surveyor Sir Richard did continue to issue Patents on which the Said Moseley and his Kindred were the most considerable gainers… 
  • Moseley and his Relations have in four or five years time strangely enriched themselves.  
  • Edward Moseley, Surveyor General of the late Lords Proprietors, and his Deputys, more especially Mr. John Ashe [deputy-surveyor in the Lower Cape Fear] etc. had been guilty of many vile frauds, and abuses in surveying ; one of their practices was, to survey without warrants for gratifications… 
  • Moseley when Surveyor did make surveys in his own house, and plotted out land upon paper, with bounds by waters, trees and other signs, and tokens, that he never saw, nor knew anything off, includeing much more then in the returns sett forth, for which patents went out in course. 
  • Moseley in confederacy with some of the Council endavoured to stir up divisions in the Assembly and to prevent it from doing business, hoping thereby to put off any enquiries into the frauds he had been guilty of while Surveyor General etc. 
  • There have been for several years past very corrupt doings in the Secretary's office concerning the lands, transacted by Lovick and Edwd. Moseley, Surveyor Genl. 

All of these accusations found in the North Carolina Colonial Records were probably true.  I have proven some, including the fact that he did not always survey warrants, but drew them from his map, presumably the one he worked on to promote his Family business, the map of 1733.  

He made this map under royal supervision of Governor George Burrington, literally a Scottish "bulldog" placed in the colony to disrupt the schemes of the politically powerful conservative Family.  

Moseley was an old pro when it came to kissing the royal arse and he immediately saw which way the wind was blowing... that might have been Thomas Pelham-Holles, duke of Newcastle, if it had not been for another governor having been commissioned March 27, 1733 to replace the increasingly paranoid Burrington (he thought that Family member Nathaniel Rice wanted to murder him... he probably did).  Newcastle himself did not receive notice until April 5. 

By this time, Moseley's map was on its way to Britain to be engraved by John Cowley.  Moseley could not have known that Burrington was being replaced so quickly.  Still, he must have got word to Cowley to change the dedication to reflect the new dedication to "Gabriel Johnston."  It would be interesting to see the name that was on it before.  I seriously doubt that Moseley would have liked it to have been "George Burrington" after he had voided Family property on the Cape Fear River to establish the port of New Town, later Wilmington, North Carolina.

1733 Moseley Map - cartouche dedicating the map to Gov. Gabriel Johnston

Independent researcher and Moseley map expert, Mike McNamara, had this to say about the map of 1733 in his article, "A New and Correct Map of the Province of North Carolina: The Discovery of a 1737 North Carolina Manuscript Map":

The Moseley map was undoubtedly highly anticipated. In May of 1735, a year and a half before it became available, Charleston, South Carolina printer Lewis Timothy advertised, “New and correct Maps of NORTH-CAROLINA by Edward Mosely [sic], dedicated to His Excellency the present Governor of the said Province, to be sold by the Printer hereto."  Two years later, the map was offered for sale in the Virginia Gazette, described as “very large Map, (being Five Feet long, and Four Feet broad, on Two Sheets of Elephant Paper) it’s not only Useful, but Ornamental, for Gentlemens Halls, Parlours, or Stair-cases”

The only American copy of the Moseley map of 1733 made the rounds.  Gov. Arthur Dobbs, serving North Carolina from 1753-1765 as the sixth royal governor after George Burrington, favored this map so much that he was painted holding it:

Ok... you don't believe me... here:

  What does it say on that map?  This ends the summary of the Chowan part of the map story.  More to come later!


Dethroning the Kings of Cape Fear: Consequences of Edward Moseley's Surveys

Purchase an e-copy for $5 or get a print version among more titles by B. C. Brooks

Aristocratic Pyrates of the Albemarle

Purchase an e-copy for $5 or get a print version among more titles by B. C. Brooks







Brunswick Town and Wilmington

 Purchase an e-copy for $5 or get a print version among more titles by B. C. Brooks





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