First edition of Drew’s important map of Florida, published in Jacksonville

J. Bien Lith., DREW’S NEW MAP OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA Showing the Progress of the U.S. Surveys, the Completed & Projected Railroads, THE DIFFERENT RAILROAD STATIONS AND GROWING RAILROAD TOWNS The New Towns on the Rivers and interior, and the New Counties, up to the Year 1867. Jacksonville: C[olumbus] Drew Bookseller & Stationer, 1867.
Lithograph, 24”h x 24 ¾”w at border plus margins, outline and wash color by county. Folded and tipped into folder bound in brown cloth with blindstamped ornaments and title in gilt, printed front endpapers. Minor separations at fold intersections and a mended fold separation in upper margin. Still, better than very good for such a fragile map.

The first edition of the first large-format map of Florida after the Civil War, and one of the first maps of Florida to be published locally.

The map was published by Columbus Drew (1820-1891), a journalist, stationer, entrepreneur, financier, and poet who spent most of his adult life in Jacksonville. Drew, or those in his employ, appears to have compiled it from a combination of Army, General Land Office, and railroad surveys, and to have made every effort to make it as up to date as possible.

The map shows the state’s complex coastline and systems of waterways in great detail. Superimposed on this are county boundaries; the familiar grid of townships surveyed by the General Land Office; trails, roads and railroads; and cities, settlements and forts. Notes in the far south of the state (“Country occupied by the Seminoles” and “Indian Hunting Ground”) refer to the remnants of the Seminoles, most of whom had long since been forcibly relocated to what is now Oklahoma.

Florida at the time had a population well under 200,000, spread out over a vast landmass. With the displacement of the Seminoles, the end of the Civil War, and the development of the rail network in the 1860s (in particular the Florida Railroad from Fernandina on the Atlantic to Cedar Keys on the Gulf), the state was very much open for business. Drew’s map accordingly has a strong promotional quality: Planned east-west and north-south railroad extensions are highlighted, a variety of symbols indicate the status of General Land Office surveys, and a note near the bottom states that “The United States, the State, and the Railroad Companies have each large bodies of Valuable Land for sale”, along with a list of locations of the various land offices.

Per Antique Map Price Record and RareBookHub, the last example of this first edition to appear on the market was sold by Swann Galleries in 2006 for $6240. OCLC lists subsequent editions of 1870, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877, 1884, 1885.

Columbus Drew (1820-1891)
Drew’s parents had emigrated to America in the early 19th century and eventually settled in either Alexandria, Virginia, where Columbus spent his early years. Some time in the mid 1840s he married Marietta Hume Robertson, with whom he had five children, four of whom survived to adulthood.

He worked for a time as a proofreader on the National Intelligencer, and by 1847 was an editor of the Whig-leaning American, “which brought him in intimate contact and relationship with all the public men of the day.” (Drew, p. 10) In 1848 he was lured to Florida to take charge of The Florida Republican, at the time Florida’s foremost Whig newspaper. In 1855 the Republican changed hands, and Drew left to establish Columbus Drew’s Stationary & Printing Company (I’ve also seen it as “C. Drew, Bookseller and Stationer”) in Jacksonville. The following year he published a “Map of the State of Florida” in 1856, which today is a very great rarity.

Though as a Whig he opposed secession, he remained loyal to Florida and the Confederacy, serving in the Treasury Department in Richmond for much of the war. After the war he received a pardon and returned to his stationary business.

When the Democratic Party retook control of Florida in 1876, newly-elected governor George F. Drew (no relation) appointed Drew as State Comptroller. This at a time when “the credit of the State was gone, at home and abroad. The obligations of the commonwealth, the counties and the municipalities, at the depreciated value of fifty cents on the dollar and even less, and known under the pseudonym of “scrip,” floated broadcast as thick as leaves in Vollombrosa.” (Alice Drew, p. 9) How Drew came to hold the qualifications for such a difficult position, I cannot say. In any event, around this time he sold the stationary business to his son Horace, who renamed it the H. Drew Company. The firm operated under various names and at various locations in Jacksonville until it finally closed in 1971.

Columbus Drew seems to have been a man of parts, or at least his daughter Alice thought so:

“[He] was a lovable gentleman. His nature was kindly and his manner gentle, affable, and unaffected. He was an incessant reader, a contributor to magazine literature, and an art critic of no mean ability. A number of poems composed by him went the rounds of the American press.” (Alice Drew, p. 10)

I’m not so sure about his poetic gifts, but I’ll let you be the judge. When the women of the Confederacy were forced by the blockade to revert to spinning their own cloth, he composed this tribute to their efforts:

“Out of the garret, out of the barn

Summoned am I to my duty;

Long set aside with my lusterless yarn,

Robbed of my fabric of beauty,

I’m summoned to come with a whir and a hum

With a voice like the flying of chaff

From some mighty machine that the grain may be clean,–

‘Tis but me and my mighty distaff.”

(quoted by Alice Drew, p. 11)

As of May 2024, OCLC 38577092 and 908992004 give six holdings of this 1867 edition (American Antiquarian Society, Harvard, Jacksonville Public Library, State Library of Florida, Univ. of Michigan-Clements Library Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee). Fitzgerald, “Old Florida Maps”,  (Phillips, Maps of America, p. 285 (1874 ed.) Rumsey #5190 (1870 ed.)

Background on Drew from a biography by his daughter Alice J. Drew: Columbus Drew[:] Something of His Life and Ancestry and Some of His Literary Work (Jacksonville: The Drew Press, 1910).