In the last post, I showed examples of how New England communities were surveyed and designed to support a small farmer and tight-knit communities.
The maps of the Middle Colonies (the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland) tell a different story. Here the economy was centered on large plantations, growing crops for profit and not subsistence, and an individual-minded, business-centric society.
The surveyed lands make it quite clear that the individual plots were larger, designed to support one family or extended “family” with servants or slaves, and plotted individually. In the first map, you can see the size of the farms is much larger than the New England farms. (Notice the 1-mile scale legend.) In the second map, you can see how the farms were plotted individually – kind of haphazardly in the true metes and bounds fashion following the natural land features.
As genealogists, we know maps can be very helpful. I find it interesting that these maps go beyond the basic descriptive nature of a map to really inform our understanding of the nature of the community, how it was structured, and what it tried to do to survive.