Augustine Herrman (1621-1686)
MSA SC 3520-14061
Founding of Maryland - Educational Project for Elementary and Middle
Maryland Public Television and Maryland State Archives (January-February 2003)
written by Maria A. Day, MSA Archival Intern
Augustine Herrman became the first naturalized citizen of Maryland by order of Cecil Calvert, Second Lord Baltimore. He became famous in his own lifetime by drawing the first accurate map of the Chesapeake Bay. He presented the map to Lord Baltimore in 1670. Many people living in England first learned what Maryland looked like from the engraving of Augustine Herrman's map.
Herrman was born in Prague, a city in the eastern European country of Bohemia (now called the Czech Republic). He left his own country and moved to the Netherlands. Later, he sailed to the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, located on the site of present-day New York City. He first came to Maryland in 1659, as one of the ambassadors sent by New Amsterdam's governor, Peter Stuyvesant. Herrman and fellow ambassador Resolved Waldron with a few soliders and native guides went to assess the situation on the Eastern Shore. At this time Englishmen, Dutchmen, and Native Americans all claimed land on the Eastern Shore. These groups were fighting each other for control of the land. They met with Maryland's leaders to settle a border dispute between Maryland and Dutch settlements along the Delaware Bay.1 Herrman had seen a large part of the Maryland colony on his journey, and must have admired the territory. Herrmann traveled south to Virginia before going back home to New Amersterdam.
In 1660, Herrman returned to Maryland and brought his family with him. The governor and council gave him limited rights of citizenship in the same year. He proposed to Lord Baltimore that he would draw an accurate map of the colony in exchange for ownership of land on the Eastern Shore, now in Cecil County. The Calverts awarded him 5,000 acres of land in return for his map of Maryland.2 Herrman named his new property "Bohemia Manor," after the country of his birth. In 1663, the Maryland Assembly signed a petition naming Herrman and his family naturalized citizens of Maryland.3 He became a respected plantation owner and held numerous county offices. Herrman spent about ten years charting the colony. He used this information to draw what was then the most accurate map of the Chesapeake Bay coastline. A London publisher printed engravings of his map beginning in 1673. Augustine Herrman died a wealthy man, and his son Casparius inherited 25,000 acres of land from him.
Herrman's choice to settle lands in Cecil County attracted other Dutch families to Maryland.4 One group of Dutch colonists to the region is important to mention. Two travellers visited the Herrman plantation and converted Augustine's son, Casparius, to their religious beliefs. These men were part of a Dutch religious group known as Labadists. Labadists followed the teachings of an evangelical Christian from the Netherlands named Jean de Labadie. The Labadists needed land to support a new community. Casparius gave them part of his plantation in 1683. Labadist and Dutch settlements grew along Herrman's Bohemia Manor, and stretched into the surrounding territory during the late seventeenth century.5
1Herrman's journal of this adventure is printed
in J. Thomas Scharf, History of Maryland from the Colonial Period to
the Present Day, vol. 1 (Hatboro, PA: Tradition Press, 1967),
244-249. The Calverts' response to their embassy is printed, ibid., 250-251.
Herrman's journal is also reprinted in Clayton Coleman Hall, ed. Narratives
of Early Maryland, 1633-1684 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1910),
2See entry for Augustine's son, "Herman (Herrman), Casparus Augustus" in Edward C. Papenfuse, et al. Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789, vol. 1 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979), 438.
3GENERAL ASSEMBLY (proceedings), Archives of Maryland, vol. 1, p. 462, September 17, 1663, Maryland State Archives, http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/megafile/msa/speccol/sc2900/sc2908/000001/000001/html/am1--462.html See also Scharf, "Note on Augustine Herrmann and the Labadists of Bohemia Manor," in Scharf, History of Maryland, vol. 1, 42.
4Scharf, History of Maryland, 374 ff.
5Scharf, "Note on Augustine Herman," 430-31 and Aubrey C. Land, Colonial Maryland--A History (Millwood, NY: KTO Press, 1981), 65.
to Augustine Herrman's Introductory Page