Map of the Town of South Kingstown Washington Co. Rhode Island From Actual Surveys under the direction of Henry F. Walling 1857

Map of the Town of South Kingstown Washington Co. Rhode Island From Actual Surveys under the direction of Henry F. Walling 1857
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1857
hand colored lithograph on two joined sheets mounted on original wood rods
Professionally restored
old varnish removed, new silk edges, strong lithographic impression, original colors and restored colors, paper toned, evidence of earlier paper stains, some crackling, areas of loss filled
35.5 × 51.5 inches
Sale Status: 
For Sale

The scarce Map of the Town of South Kingstown Washington Co. Rhode Island 1857 surveyed and drawn by Henry F. Walling is a decorative and historical narrative about the Colonial era settling of the Atlantic Coast that concentrates on the founding, surveying and delineation of South Kingstown, the county seat of Washington County, Rhode Island with highlights about its Colonial era residents and the map is a portrait c.1857 of the thriving South Kingstown community. This extensively illustrated map thus presents the viewer with a complex work of mapmaking and art: the primary map is surrounded graphically with eight (8) detailed vignettes showing noteworthy homes, town buildings, the Court house and other institutions. The lower right quadrant displays a map of the town center of South Kingstown. Equally important is the South Kingstown shoreline with the Atlantic Ocean which heads due north as it continues into Narragansett Bay.  Along the shore the map portrays reefs, shoreline breaks, beaches, isolated rocks, islands and Point Judith with the Point Judith Light that provides nautical wayfaring.  A small pier is located and labeled. South Ferry is noted. The map in its entirety is enclosed within a decorative linear border, whose corner motifs relate to the map's decorative north arrow design. By design the map's limited color palette expresses South Kingstown's coastal location and extensive water features, with blue water color defining inland water bodies and coastal ocean waters, the shore itself outlined in yellow and the streets and ways of the South Kingstown village center originally depicted in a now faded red. Otherwise the map's artwork is fine black line drawing, shading and stippling. The texture of the lithographic stone imparts texture and depth to the scenes in the vignettes, and to the map's depiction of marshes, mountains and even the decorative lettering in the title block.

On the map South Kingstown is criss-crossed with historic, dated street layouts and named roads, lanes, cart paths and the early line of the "Stonington Rail Road 1837." The wall map records the "Ancient Route from Boston to New York laid out 1703" and a "Gate" along an unnamed road. One route, deemed important enough to be drawn beyond South Kingstown's western border into neighboring Richmond, leads to Kenyon's Mills & Clark's Mills, past the Boss Meeting House. The road to South Ferry is shown as "Laid out 1716." Numbered  and numerous school districts appear on the map. Town buildings include an insane asylum. The U.S. Post Office locations are marked in capital letters.  Mills, and other small factories are located, including a Carding Machine and Grist mills. Churches are labeled and located, including more than one Friends Meeting House and the Old Friends Meeting House. The Indian Burying Ground has a central location on the wall map near the early town's "The Hills or Commons" area.

Rhode Island born and educated Surveyor Henry F. Walling (1825-1889)1/ notes on this wall map the town's Colonial era settlement dates and the dates that South Kingstown's borders were established. Near the bottom of the map just east of Green Hill Pond,  printed below "Atlantic" is a note "1657 Pettaquamscut Purchase, the 1659 Namcook or Boston Neck Purchase"  and the town's incorporation in 1674 and its division into South Kingstown parcels in 1722. The town's western boundary is annotated : "West Line of Pettaquamscut Purchase as settled 1679." The north boundary is marked "Line established 1722." The western "Line between the old Towns of Kingstown and Westerly established 1685 & 1699."          

At a scale of 100 rods to the inch, this wall map offers layers of history. Reading the map even more closely, we discover the birthplaces of notable 18th c. Americans: Commodore Oliver Perry, whose farm is preserved as a historic site and a house noted as the "birthplace of  Gilbert Stuart the Painter." Recalling the political intrigue on both sides of the Atlantic prior to the American Revolution, the wall map locates in North Kingstown on the northerly shore of Bass or Pauscachuco Pond a house symbol: "Former Residence of Theophilus Whaley supposed one of the regicide Judges." 2/ Thus the profile of South Kingstown illustrated on this wall map is one of refuge, religious, political and economic where schools flourished, small factories and shops are numerous and travel throughout the town was enabled from the early Colonial era by roads, ways, ferries and ships and into the early 19th c. by the rail road.

The  1857 Map of the Town of South Kingstown  is found in few published collections and quite rare to market.


1. Henry Francis Walling was born in Rhode Island, and learned surveying an map making. His first position as a civil engineer and surveyor was with Samuel Barrett Cushing in Providence, Rhode Island. By 1850, Walling had established his own office and embarked on survey work in Massachusetts and the other New England states. Please see Walter W. Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, Commercial Cartography in the Nineteenth Century for a detailed biography of Walling and his unparalleled  contribution to civil engineering in the service of map surveys and to American mapmaking.

2. A History of Three of the Judges of King Charles I. Major-General Whalley, Major-General Goffe, and Colonel Dixwell: Who, at the Restoration, 1660, Fled to America; and were secreted and concealed in Massachusetts and Connecticut, for Near Thirty Years. With an Account of Mr. Theophilus Whale, of Narragansett, Supposed to have been also one of the Judges.              
President Stiles
Hartford: Printed by Elisha Babcock. 1794 [personal collection, Original Antique Maps]

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