[Township of Wilksbarr [sic] and Vicinity]. Manuscript /, Isaac Chapman?
[Township of Wilksbarr [sic] and Vicinity]
[Township of Wilksbarr [sic] and Vicinity]
[Township of Wilksbarr [sic] and Vicinity]
Important Land Claim Map - Yankee-Pennamite Wars

[Township of Wilksbarr [sic] and Vicinity]

No place cited but likely Wilkes Barre,Pa: 1790-1802. Four joined sheets backed on linen, pen, ink and watercolor on mould-made paper, 40.5” x 30.5”. Some staining and light browning, few small losses, overall very good or better. Item #100254

In 1666 King Charles II granted charter to the Connecticut colony to certain lands in America including the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania. Ironically, King Charles II also granted charter in 1681 of Wyoming Valley lands to William Penn as repayment of royal debt to Penn’s father which included the Manor of Stoke and the Manor of Sunbury resulting in overlapping of lands between the two charters. In 1769 the land conflict between Connecticut settlers of the Susquehanna Company and Pennsylvania Proprietors would turn violent and deadly with the onset of the 1st Yankee-Pennamite War when Pennsylvania troops attacked the Connecticut settlers at Fort Durkee. The conflicts would continue until 1775 when invading Pennsylvania troops were conclusively defeated near Harvey’s Creek.
Following the 1781 Treaty of Peace, the State legislature was formed and the new state government pressed Congress to settle the Pennsylvania-Connecticut Claims. In 1782 Congress issued at Trenton, NJ the Trenton Decree stating that Pennsylvania owned the lands but also that Connecticut settlers claims should be honored. Subsequently the State Legislature enacted the Compromise Law in 1799 relating to lands lying in the 17 townships of Luzerne County therein noting that Connecticut settler’s deeds were not obtained following Pennsylvania’s warranty procedure and were therefore rendered worthless. this applicable to approximately 1.3 million acres of disputed claims. However, where clear title could be produced said claims would be warranted. This process began in the year 1800 and continued until about 1827.

The map comprises the area south and east of the Susquehanna River between Wilkes Barre and the Lackawanna Creek to the Lehigh River and Roaring Brook Creek, being an area of about 30 square miles containing more than 200 plats of approximately 300-450 acres each. The “Township of Wilksbarr “ [Connecticut Claim], one of five townships laid out by the Susquehanna Company [Hartford, CT] in 1768, is shown overlying a portion of “Part of the Manor of Stoke“ [Pennsylvania Claim]. A twelve block plan of “Wilkes Barr” (1774) on the Susquehanna River eastern bank lies within “The Manor of Stoke” and also within the “Township of Wilksbarr” illustrating well the underlying cause of the heated land disputes which resulted in the on-again, off-again Yankee-Pennamite Wars between 1769 and 1794.

Fours roads are shown colored and labeled, Road to Shoholo, Road to Capows [Capouse], Road to the Shades [of death] at Conrad Stocks on the Easton Road and Road to Easton. Hydrographic detail is prominently mapped showing numerous creeks and streams and an unnamed lake draining into the Lehigh River. Two Irregular plats, John Vanoman 400 ¾ ac., and Jeremiah Warder 425 ac., are colored blue and red respectively, both plats/surnames of which do not appear in contemporary documents.

The area immediately surrounding Wilkes Barre Township, as delineated here, is either blank or showing overlapping plats devoid of owner or acreage suggesting the map was an unfinished work in progress. The profusion of named warrantees and tracts in the outlying southern areas suggests the surveyor, likely Connecticut settler Isaac Chapman, had started construction of the map while aligned with Connecticut’s claims and then abandoned construction after passage of the Compromise Law of 1799.
An excessively rare manuscript map with direct association to the colonial Connecticut-Pennsylvania dispute, Susquehanna Company and the Yankee-Pennamite Wars.

We acquired this map about 20 years ago and have yet to identify a single similar cartographic item appearing at auction in the past 100 years. OCLC traces a single similarly relevant map, showing the Susquehanna Company’s claim in Northeast Pennsylvania, to the Library of Congress.

An exhaustive list of reference provided upon Request.

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