1852- Map of Jefferson County Virginia By S. Howell Brown
From Actual Survey with the Farm Limits 1852
This map was donated to The Historic Shepherdstown Museum by Mary Hartzell Dobbins. It was restored in 2022 with funds from a grant from Americana Corner.
S. Howell Brown was a teenager when he agreed to publish a Map of Jefferson County. He modeled his map on the Map of Delaware County (Pennsylvania). That map included two important features: “the exact farm limits of every farm of any size in the county with the owner’s name inserted,” and “every road—stream—mill—saw-mill—blacksmithshop—tavern— church—schoolhouse—country store—and in fact everything notable or worthy of notice.”
He began soliciting subscriptions for the map in 1848, and once he met his goal of 200, he began surveying the county. Four years later, the five-color Map of Jefferson County was complete. The map was oriented so that the county appeared to be lying on its side, which made it easier to read when mounted on a wall.
In 1847, Jefferson County became the second county in Virginia to establish free public schools for white students. Jefferson County was divided into 27 school districts, and Brown’s map showed each district’s boundary. It also included the boundary of every farm in the county as well as the name of the landowner in 1852.
The map features four illustrations: a view looking west on Washington Street in Charles Town; a view of The Gap and the U.S. Armory grounds in Harpers Ferry; a view of Shepherdstown as seen across the Potomac River from Ferry Hill; and the Shannondale Resort on the Shenandoah River. Brown reported the Fall in the Shenandoah River because of its importance as a source of power. He also noted turnpikes, ferries, bridges, fords in the river, railroads, sawmills, and gristmills.