Dec 09, 2021 - Sale 2591

Sale 2591 - Lot 134

Price Realized: $ 4,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
(MANUSCRIPT MAP -- PENNSYLVANIA.) William Rittenhouse; and John Kunkle. Plan of the Town of Mifflinsburg. Situate on the South side of the River Susquehanna; Opposite to 3 Islands, in Catawisa Township Northumberland County, (about 30 Miles above Sunbury & about the same Distance below Wilksbury,) in the State of Pennsylvania. Laid out by the Proprietaries of this land Mess. Wm. Rittinghouse & John Kunchel. [sic]. Ink on vellum, 22 1/4x24 inches at widest; old folds and expected soiling but overall good. Provenance: Christie's New York, June 10, 1993, lot 389. Eastern Pennsylvania, 1796

Additional Details

The title here is misleading since there does exist Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania, approximately fifty miles to its west; however, the beginnings of the town of Mifflinville are represented by this original hand-drawn plat.

A tiny community on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Columbia County, Mifflinville's layout hasn't changed a great deal in the intervening 225 years since this document was drafted: the sparse north/south streets remain John, Mary, Ann, Market, Race, and Fair; the east/west streets shown here only to Fifth have expanded a whole two blocks up to Seventh. At the center of the map between Ann and Race streets we find "Burying Grounds" and indeed the town's cemetery is still located in that spot, with a modicum of homes and scarce businesses built up around it.

Lettered references are keyed with an explanatory panel at the upper left: "A. A Market place, and in the Center of it a public building. B for an English College. C for a German College. D is the ground or places marked and laid out for the different denominations of Christian Societies. The vacant ground, in Front of the Town, is to be left open for use of the whole Town, except the use of the Ferry, and the Fishing is Kept for the Proprietors & is marked in the Plan F/M or for a Fish market".

This is followed by an outline of Conditions for the town's establishment: "There are 10 places laid out for the use of Churches & meeting houses of the different denominations of Societies & the first 12 Settlers of any Society shall have the first choice of one of said 10 places, for that purpose, & the next 12 Settlers of any Society shall have the same choice as before & so on until the 10 places are applied for the purpose aforesaid. The out Lots belonging to the East Liberty lay about a mile from Mifflinsburg. April 8th 1796".

The industry and commerce which the proprietors surely imagined for the future of their town never much materialized and at no point has her population grown far beyond 2,000 residents; but from a historical standpoint it is delightful to compare this birth-certificate document to the Mifflinville of today and observe how closely it still resembles Rittenhouse and Kunkle's original 18th-century plan.

For an extensive history of the town (with mention of the present document) see J.H. Beers, Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania, 1915, pages 249-252.