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Purcell, Joseph

Joseph Purcell (fl. 1787-1807) was a South Carolina surveyor. He arrived in the Colonies aged fifteen to apprentice under the surveyor and cartographer William Gerard De Brahm (1718-1799), completing several manuscript surveys of Georgia and Florida. Following his apprenticeship he worked with John Stuart (1718-1779) of Charleston in the southern district of the British Indian Department where he completed a multi-sheet manuscript map denoting the locations of early southern Indian tribes. In 1787 the South Carolina Treasury recorded paying “Jos. Purcell… for making the sketch of a Map of the State & Georgia, exhibiting the matter in dispute between the said States respecting their Boundaries…”. He is noted for his "Map of the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia"; this is the only map which bears his name, but it is an important map for several reasons: it shows southern land claims to the Mississippi River; the locations of Native American tribes such as the Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminoles, and Creeks; and the briefly proposed State of Franklin in East Tennessee.  The map was first published for Jedediah Morse’s "The American Universal Geography" by Amos Doolittle in New Haven, Connecticut in 1788, and later by John Stockdale in London and John Jones in Ireland in 1792.