A Map of Kentucky from Actual Survey


Kentucky was admitted to the Union on June 1, 1792, becoming the 15th state of the United States. In 1793, Elihu Barker created the most accurate map of Kentucky up to that date, A Map of Kentucky from Actual Survey. The map includes Kentucky as well as the bordering “North Western Territory,” Virginia, and the “Tennassee Government.” It shows the mountains of eastern Kentucky and those between the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers in western Kentucky and indicates salt licks throughout the state as well as principal trails, towns, and settlements. Among the towns indicated are Washington, Charleston, Lexington, Versailles, Louisville, and Stanford. The map divides Kentucky into nine counties, but it does not show precise county borders. Barker provides useful descriptive notes, such as “fertile high land where it is reported are quantities of stones of a sulphurous effluvia” and “barren naked land.” Barker engraved the map for Mathew Carey (1760–1839), an immigrant from Ireland who in 1795 published the first atlas in the United States, the American Atlas. The map is from the Rochambeau Collection at the Library of Congress, which consists of 40 manuscript maps, 26 printed maps, and a manuscript atlas that belonged to Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725‒1807), commander in chief of the French expeditionary army (1780‒82) during the American Revolution. Some of the maps were used by Rochambeau during the war. Dating from 1717 to 1795, the maps cover much of eastern North America, from Newfoundland and Labrador in the north to Haiti in the south. The collection includes maps of cities, maps showing Revolutionary War battles and military campaigns, and early state maps from the 1790s.

Associated Name


Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Mathew Carey, Philadelphia


Title in Original Language

A map of Kentucky from actual survey

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map ; 44 x 99 centimeters


  • Scale approximately 1:700,000


  1. Matthew Edney, “Mapping U.S. History in the Early Republic” (Portland, ME: Osher Map Library & Smith Center for Cartographic Education, University of Southern Maine, 2012).  http://www.oshermaps.org/exhibitions/map-commentaries/maine-us-version-best-selling-european-historical-atlas-ca1800.
  2. Willard Rouse Jillson, “Elihu Barker Map of Kentucky,” Register of Kentucky State Historical Society 21, number 63 (September 1923).

Last updated: March 3, 2016