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The “Carrigain map,” the most famous of New Hampshire maps, is named for Philip Carrigain (1772-1842), secretary of state of New Hampshire, who was granted much of the responsibility of compiling it. The map was authorized by the New Hampshire legislature in 1803. Carrigain may have engraved the cartographic portions, and he held the copyright. The map is based upon many individual surveys, and in its early stages, Carrigain, a lawyer, depended heavily upon the technical skills of Phinehas Merrill (1767-1815), a professional surveyor. In White Mountain history, the map is significant for incorporating the first illustrations of the mountains, in engravings by Abel Bowen after original drawings by James Kidder. (These were later reused several times, first in John Farmer and Jacob B. Moore’s 1823 A Gazetteer of the State of New-Hampshire.) They purport to be accurate, though the view of the mountains from Shelburne demonstrably is not, and the engraving of Crawford Notch is printed in mirror image.
The cartographic representation of what we now call the Presidential Range on the map itself is peculiar: a cruciform set of hachures in the shape of terraced peaks, whose layout bears little resemblance to the actual disposition of the peaks; even the axis of the cross is tilted away from the true axis of the range. Other ranges of the White Mountains, such as the Franconia Range and the Twin Mountain Range, seem to be represented, by design or accident, in roughly the correct orientation. Some peaks, like “Great Haystack” (now Mount Lafayette) and Whiteface, are identified on a map for the first time, though Mount Washington and many other peaks already named are not labeled here; the remaining Presidential peaks were not named until 1820. Cannon Mountain is labeled “Frank Mt.” (presumably for “Frankonia Mt.”). South of Great Haystack, we see the Pemigewasset River identified as the upper reaches of the Merrimack. (Writing nearly 60 years later, Charles Hitchcock said that he preferred Carrigain’s usage to calling the river the Pemigewasset, but he still used the latter name a few years later on his own map.) The Swift, Mad, and Hancock Rivers are identified. The legend states that although the peaks have not yet been triangulated, the most recent barometric measurements place their altitude at 7162 feet, halving the previous determinations, but still (according to the map’s legend) making the peaks double the height of any other mountains in the United States outside New Hampshire. The mountain named for Carrigain is first identified on Bond’s 1853 map. For more on the history of Carrigain’s map, see Frank C. Mevers and Mica B. Stark. “The Making of the Carrigain Map of New Hampshire, 1803-1816,” in Historical New Hampshire, vol. 52, nos. 3 & 4 (Fall/Winter 1997), pp. 79-95.
Other states and editions
Carrigain’s manuscript map from 1812, from which the engraved map was created, survives. The first printing was in 1816, of which 250 copies were given to the state for distribution to the towns and academies, and the second, which is very scarce, in 1818. A reduced and abbreviated monochrome photolithographed reproduction was issued in 1878 as one of two facsimiles in Charles Hitchcock’s
Atlas Accompanying the Report on the Geology of New Hampshire.
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