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BRITISH MAPS AND MANUSCRIPTS

An image of the trials of eighteenth century military expeditions along the inland waterways. Courtesy of the New York State Library.
The Albany to Oswego corridor was of necessity the major thoroughfare for westward movement in the mid-eighteenth century and became a main avenue of military transportation during the French and Indian War (1754-1763), and thereafter the Revolutionary War (1776-1783). It is to be expected, therefore, that many British surveys and maps focused on this water pathway across New York. One of these, an anonymous manuscript drawn about 1757,1 records many details of the Mohawk and Wood Creek corridor. (Click on the map below for more details.)

The British map drawn in 1757 that first revealed the true nature of the loop in the Mohawk River. Courtesy of the New York State Library.

On this map, a short distance east of the portage between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek, at Fort Stanwix, there appears a loop in the Mohawk River and next to that loop is written: "the Neck digged through in 1730."

Detail of the 1757 British map (above).

A second British map , dated circa 17562 and almost identical to the first, records the same detail, this time labelled "the Neck Diged through in 1730." On this latter version, the land area contained within the loop is shaded to emphasize the feature.

Another mid-eighteenth century view of the Neck. Courtesy of the New York State Library.
A third map , drawn about 17593 and recently discovered in the Clements Library at the University of Michigan, provides an even more detailed image of this feature, accompanied by the label "this Neck was cut through."

A map drawn around 1759 captures the most detailed view of this feature. Courtesy of the Clements Library.

Reference to the 1772 map prepared for Thomas Mante4 reveals that this feature is carried forward into later mapping, but without the identifying label.

The configuration of this feature is unmatched anywhere else on the Mohawk during the eighteenth century on any maps that have yet come to light. It appears as a uniform southward trending loop of the river with a connecting channel across the narrow neck of the meander, apparently cut through intentionally by artificial means.

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