Saturday, November 21, 2015
Augustine Herrman 1605-1686 - From Enemy Mapmaker to Commited Colonist
Article from The Salisbury Times (now called The Delmarva Times), Salisbury, Maryland from the Delmarva Heritage Series, by Dr. William H. Wroten, Jr.
Augustine Herrman (1605-1686) Artist Unknown c. 1800-1900 Maryland Historical Society
Augustine Herrman, son of a wealthy and important merchant of Prague (in present day Czechoslovakia) was able to speak at least six languages and in addition was an artist, surveyor, and mapmaker. As a soldier of fortune he fought in the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) under the famous (or infamous) Wallenstein at the Battle of Lutzen, where King Gustavus Adolphus was killed in 1632.
The next year, 1633, Herrman became interested in the work of the Dutch West India Company and sailed to America where he was active in the Dutch purchase from the Indians of lands on the Schuykill River. His rise to a position of importance in this Dutch Colony was rapid for he was soon a wealthy and prosperous merchant, banker, lawyer, sponsor of privateering, and influential in governmental circles. On occasions Governor Peter Stuyvesant chose him as an ambassador to Maryland, Virginia and sections of New England. Later, however Herrman fell from the good graces of the Governor when he opposed him in the Council, and for this Herrman was imprisoned.
In the meantime (1654-1655) the Dutch had taken over the Swedish settlement along the Delaware and thus they ran into conflict over boundary lines and land possession with Lord Baltimore's family. On September 30, 1659, two Dutch ambassadors, accompanied by some guides, mostly Indians, and conveyed by a few soldiers, left New Amsterdam for Maryland. On Oct. 16, this Dutch commission delivered a "declaration and manifesto" to the Council of Maryland which was meeting at Patuxent. It was suggested by the Dutch that in order to prevent further trouble, three delegates from each colony be appointed to meet "about the middle of between the Bay of Chesapeake and the aforesaid South river or Delaware Bay, at the hill lying to the head of Sassafras River and another river coming from our river almost meet together," with full power to settle the boundary and limits of the two provinces. After hours of debate, the Council on Oct. 19 announced to the Dutch, by way of the ambassadors, Augustine Herrman and Resolved Waldron, that the land settled and claimed by them in the vicinity of the 40th degree north latitude belonged to Lord Baltimore and the King of England and that such authority must be recognized. The Council made it clear, although using diplomatic language, that force would be used against the Dutch if necessary.
With this reply, Waldron returned to New Amsterdam, while Herrman journeyed on to Virginia to see how the Governor of that Colony felt about the matter and also if possible to create seeds of dissention between the two English settlements. The Dutch mission was unsuccessful but the disputed territory continued to be troublesome for Maryland and Delaware even after the Dutch had been removed from the area.
Augustine Herman, First Lord of Bohemia Manor (Czech Augustin Heřman, c. 1621 – September 1686)
However, during Herrman's visit to Maryland in 1659, Gov. Philip Calvert, recognizing this foreigner as a man of ability, took a liking to him. At the same time Herrman was quite pleased with the northern region of the Eastern Shore. Soon a deal was made between the two, whereby Herrman would make a map of the Province of Maryland, for which a large grant of land was to be given him at the head of the Chesapeake Bay. This estate was named Bohemia Manor, in honor of his native land. In 1666 he was made a naturalized citizen of Maryland, probably the first foreigner so honored.
The map was finally completed and published in London in the 1670's, being inscribed by Herrman as "Virginia and Maryland as it is now planted and inhabited this present year of 1670, surveyed and exactly drawn by the only labors and endeavors of Augustine Herrman, Behemiensis." This original map is supposed to be still in the British Museum, in four folio sheets, with a self portrait of the artist.
Southeast portion of Augustine Herrman Map showing the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland