Mills’ Atlas, Marlborough District

Unframed: $350
Framed: $500

By Robert Mills

This limited edition print of Marlborough District from Robert Mills Atlas of the State of South Carolina is printed on premium pure cotton paper. This antebellum print shows the Marlborough district of South Carolina in 1825.

Marlboro County was named for John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722). The county name was originally spelled Marlborough, but it was later shortened. The county was created in 1785 as a part of Cheraws District, and the county seat is Bennetsville. Welsh Baptists from Delaware settled in an area of the county known as Welsh Neck around 1737, and they were later joined by English and Scotch-Irish settlers.

Cotton growing made this a wealthy part of the state prior to the Civil War. The town of Blenheim was also known for its mineral springs. General Sherman's troops passed through the county in 1865, briefly occupying the town of Bennettsville.

Some famous Marlboro County natives are United States Congressman and diplomat Robert Blair Campbell (1791-1862), United States and Confederate Congressman John McQueen (1804-1867), and children's advocate Marian Wright Edelman.

It is after the famous South Carolina artist and architect Robert Mills, a native of Charleston, Mills studied architecture first in Charleston, and then later in Philadelphia.   Mills' many contributions to South Carolina include several courthouses and civic buildings. He is most famous for his designs for buildings in Washington, D. C. including the Washington Monument.

In 1820, Mills was appointed commissioner for the Board of Public Works for South Carolina, and was tasked with creating the atlas. The 1825 publication of Robert Mills’ Atlas of the State of South Carolina marked an American cartographic first. This volume is the first systematic atlas of any state in the union. No other state atlas of South Carolina was published for the next century and a half.

Mills commissioned surveyors to create the separate maps for the then 27 districts in the state. He then personally rescaled the surveyors’ work for inclusion in the atlas, and added a legend reflecting the new scale.

The atlas was presented to the South Carolina Senate on September 29, 1826. The Senate commended the volume as being a “fine specimen of American Science and Art.” Touted as being better than comparable European publications by the American Farmer, the Atlas and its accompanying volume, Statistics of South Carolina, are still in constant use by historians as invaluable research tools.

ARTIST: Robert Mills (1781-1855)

PRINTER: H.S. Tanner and Assistants

YEAR:  1825

TITLE: Robert Mills' Atlas, Marlborough District

IMAGE SIZE: 21 x 26 in. (53.34 x 66.04 cm.)

FRAMED SIZE: 22 x 26 1/4 in. (56 x 67 cm.)

PAPER: Ultrasmooth Fine Art Paper, 100% Cotton, Acid Free, Mould Made Buffered