After Alabama became a state in 1819 and after the Indian Removal Act of 1830, white settlers and their African slaves arrived in the area in great numbers. This map was created under the auspices of the General Land Office, a federal agency that was formed in 1812. The agency took over functions begun under the Federal Land Ordinance of 1785.
This map shows Alabama divided into square townships 6 miles on each side (townships at the edges of the state tend to be smaller and irregular in shape). Some townships are designated A, B, C, D, or X. The scale seems to be 18 miles to the inch. The identified towns are Cahaba, Florence, Huntsville, Mardisville, Mobile, Montgomery, Sparta, St. Stephens, Tuscaloosa, and Wetumka. The Cherokee Cession is shown, as are the Choctaw Cession of 1830, the Chickasaw Cession of 1833, and the Creek Cession of 1832. One meridian runs through St. Stephens, a settlement along the Tombigbee River (here spelled Tombeckee) that served as the original capital of the Alabama Territory. Another meridian runs through Huntsville, the first incorporated town in the region. An east-west line at 31° north latitude divides Alabama from West Florida. Another east-west line divides the Northern and Southern surveyor’s districts.
The text at bottom reads “Exhibiting the situation of the Public Surveys, shewing what records of the same are on file in the General Land Office and the Surveyor General’s Office, the Townships, the field notes of which are yet to be transcribed for the General Land Office and recorded in this Office, also, what Townships the original field notes of which are not on file in either Office, having been destroyed by fire in December 1827, and which have to be retraced for the purpose of obtaining the Original Land Marks to be preserved on record in the General Land Office and This Office. Surveyor’s Office, Florence Alabama Jas H. Weakley Surveyor General of the Public Lands in Alabama.”
Ref: Jas. H. Weakley to James Whitcomb, Commissioner of the General Land Office, Nov. 16, 1840, in Public Documents Printed by Order of the Senate of the United States (Washington, D.C., 1841), vol. 3, pp. 134-135.
National Museum of American History
Location: Currently not on view
ID Number: PH.317489
catalog number: 317489
accession number: 230397
date made: 1840
Physical Description: paper (overall material)
Measurements: overall: 17 1/4 in x 15 in; 43.815 cm x 38.1 cm
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Credit Line: National Archives and Records Service