Coordinates Series B, No. 11
Louis H. Everts: American Atlas Publisher and Entrepreneur

Persistent URL for citation:

Date of Publication: 06/08/09

Jefferson M. Moak

Jefferson M. Moak worked at the Map Collection of the Free Library of Philadelphia in 1974-1976 and the Philadelphia City Archives from 1987-2000.  He is currently senior staff archivist at the National Archives at Philadelphia.  His publications include: Philadelphia Mapmakers (Philadelphia, The Shackamaxon Society, 1976), Atlases of Pennsylvania (privately published, 1976), and Bibliography of Delaware and New Jersey Maps and Atlases (privately published, 1987). E-mail: or


Astract:  Louis H. Everts was a native of New York, resident of Illinois, and publisher in Chicago, Philadelphia and Buffalo. His life and business practices illustrate the growth and changes in American county map publishing between the post Civil War period and the pre-World War I era. 

Keywords: Louis H. Everts, Thompson & Everts, L. H. Everts & Company, The Century Map Company, county map and atlas publishing, county history publishing.

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     Louis Humphrey Everts (1836-1924) once described himself as “a very busy and successful man.” He spent most of his career of over forty years in the map and atlas publishing fields. Working within the restrictions of many different partnerships, he created markets for his products where often no market existed. His diverse work, although sometimes criticized by his contemporaries, has proven to contain lasting value for the historian today—for the individual maps, atlases and histories produced under his direction provide insight into a way of life long past. From his beginnings with the firm of Thompson and Everts (1865-1872) to the close of his career as proprietor of The Century Map Company (1902-1913), Everts rode the wave of county map and atlas publishing and, indeed, influenced its course over the years.

     He experienced many successes as well as the lows of declaring bankruptcy and entering a retirement home for itinerant volunteer soldiers owing to his financial straits. With few business records available, cartographic and local historians must rely primarily upon his vast publishing output to determine his true impact on the map and atlas business of the mid to late 19th century.[1] He claimed publication of “over two hundred” works by 1884. One should not doubt his claim, but no full bibliography of his works exists to verify it. His business methods may foil any attempt to compile an exhaustive list of his projects, but his identified work proves that he had the acumen necessary for marketing his products, and he unquestionably played an important role in the overall development of county atlas publishing in the United States.[2]

     According to the biography that Everts published in his History of Philadelphia in 1884:

Maj. Louis H. Everts, the publisher of this history of the great city of Philadelphia, has qualified himself by long experience and large enterprise for the preparation and issue of local historical work, in which line of business he is not excelled by any competitor in the United States. He had but recently left the military service of his country, when, in 1866, he established a publication house in the West, and as his operations extended, a removal to a more central point of business facilities was found indispensable, and he therefore transferred his headquarters to Philadelphia in 1872. Since then he has been a very busy and successful man. In all he has issued over two hundred local histories, embracing cities, counties, towns, etc., in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Ohio, Maryland, Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri, New Hampshire and California. In these many volumes are preserved, in an enduring and concise form, the valuable records of many American cities or other political subdivisions, from the day when they came into existence to that of the issue of the books, a fact the simple statement of which denotes the importance of his publications.[3]

     Born in East Otto, Cattaraugus County, New York on 14 April 1836 to Samuel C. Everts and Ruth Barnett, Louis Everts spent his boyhood in and around Otto.[4] His name appears interchangeably as Lewis or Louis in pre-Civil War records. In 1850, the Everts family consisted of Samuel, Ruth, and six children: Charles M., Carlos, Cornelia, Lewis, Frances, and James.[5] Samuel Everts’ biographer states that the family left Cattaraugus County in 1851 and settled near Geneva, Kane County, Illinois.[6] After Ruth’s death, Samuel married Lucinda Buck on 11 April 1857, who gave birth to Samuel’s seventh and last child: Edward Arthur Everts on 1 April 1858. She passed away the following year. Samuel’s last marriage occurred on 2 June 1861, to Lucretia Hinckley Van Sickle on 2 June 1861.[7] Louis married Louisa J. Ferson on 22 March 1859 in Kane County. In 1860, the (Begin Page 3) newlyweds were living in the same house as Thomas Cooley, a gunsmith, in St. Charles, Illinois. Louis gave his occupation as a clerk. Death soon overtook Louisa later the same year and Louis moved to Chicago where he worked in the dry-goods store of Potter Palmer.[8]

     Everts did not initially join the military at the outbreak of the War Between the States. After the Federal reverses of Manassas (Bull Run) and Wilson’s Creek during the summer of 1861 proved that the war would last more than a few months, Everts “resigned from the house of Potter Palmer, Chicago, to enter the army, assisting to raise a regiment in Kane County, Ill., and accepting a commission as lieutenant.”[9] The new Kane County regiment became the 52nd Illinois Regiment, also known as the “Lincoln Regiment.” As Everts later noted, he immediately received a commission as a second lieutenant in Company D on 23 September 1861, and a promotion to the rank of first lieutenant on 19 November 1861. The regiment fought both at Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing) in April 1862 and at Corinth, Mississippi, in October of the same year. He became an aide-de-camp to General Pleasant Adams Hackleman prior to the Battles of Iuka and Corinth. Hackleman perished during the latter campaign on 3 October 1862. Everts’ association with Hackleman, who was a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, eventually bore fruit as Lincoln promoted him, effective 1 June 1863, to the position of assistant adjutant-general of volunteers, with the rank of captain, on the staff of General Thomas William Sweeny, his former colonel from the 52nd Illinois, who now commanded the 2nd Division of the 16th Army Corps. Everts served throughout the remainder of the war in the Western Theatre, participating in Sherman’s March to the Sea and eventually marching in the Grand Review in Washington in 1865. He earned the rank of brevet major of volunteers on 13 March 1865 “for faithful and efficient services during the war.”[10]

     Everts met a fellow captain and assistant adjutant-general, also serving with the western forces, with whom he would enter business after the war: Thomas Hinckley Thompson. Everts received his discharge on 19 September 1865 and Thompson on 5 December 1865. As Everts recalled in 1900:

I entered business at first as Thompson and Everts, he was Quartermaster and I was Assistant Adjutant General of the Division and we were friendly, and when we left the service we started in Iowa in making maps of counties. We were very successful and I saw something in it. We made maps until the Chicago fire [in 1871] when Captain Thompson went into the furniture business and I took his interest. Then I conducted the business alone and made it large and profitable until it was necessary for me to visit Philadelphia and establish an office here.[11]

     In addition to this 1900 deposition, the primary source of information about Everts’ business activities remains his publications.

     Bates Harrington, in his expose How ’tis Done, stated that Thomas Thompson started the business in 1864, when he was discharged from the army, and began his operations in Dubuque County, Iowa. Thompson had worked in the cartographic trade prior to his service with the army. His brother, Moses H. Thompson, a civil engineer who operated the map publishing house of M. H. Thompson as early as 1860, published maps of various counties in Illinois.[12] Harrington related that Everts joined Thompson in the fall of 1865, and described Everts as someone who “was remarkably well adapted to the work thus entered upon. The sole obstacle in the way of his prospering was his impaired health. He was smart, active, genial, penetrating in his observation, sanguine of success, enthusiastic, and an unusually good judge of human nature.”[13] Harrington then detailed many of the operations and methods of Thompson & Everts. He later mentioned that his object was to concentrate on the “operations of one firm, on account of the perfection to which they brought their business in so short a time.”[14]

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     The first known publication by Thompson and Everts is a county map of Jackson County, Iowa, in 1867 (although Harrington stated that the two had worked on maps of Dubuque County and Jones County, Iowa, before then). At that time, they gave their publication address as Anamosa, Iowa, located in adjoining Jones County. In the following year, Thompson and Everts published a combined map of Scott County, Iowa, and Rock County, Illinois, by which time they were established in Geneva, Illinois. During their work on this map, the two engaged Captain Alfred T. Andreas as an assistant. Although his work on this map was not a great success, this association launched Andreas’s stellar career in map publishing.

     Between 1867 and 1872, the firm of Thompson & Everts produced a number of maps and branched into the atlas business in 1870. The firm issued maps of Jackson, Scott, Delaware, and Linn Counties, Iowa, and Rock Island and Carroll Counties, Illinois. Atlases of Henry and Johnson Counties, Iowa appeared in 1870 and of Stephenson and Kane Counties, Illinois in 1871 and 1872, respectively.[15]

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Figure 1. Title page from Everts & Stewart, Combination Atlas Map of Lenawee County, Michigan
(Chicago: Everts & Stewart, 1874). Courtesy Michigan State University

     As Walter Ristow observes, “In the 1870 atlases lithographic illustrations were placed at the rear of the volumes. After 1870 the illustrations are interleaved with township maps throughout the atlas.”[16] He further describes the typical Everts atlas as follows:

All of the combination atlas maps issued by Everts and his associates are modeled on the same pattern. They generally include maps of the United States, the pertinent state, and the featured (Begin Page 6) county, a history of the county several pages in length, plates of individual townships, and lithographic illustrations. Illustrations of farmsteads and town residences are particularly numerous, and virtually all aspects of rural and urban life are portrayed with pictures of factories, commercial establishments, interior and exterior views of retail stores, churches, and public buildings. The views show various types of carriages and wagons, as well as horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs in neatly fenced fields. Some later volumes have portraits of prominent businessmen and farmers and, in some instances, of their wives and children. Biographical sketches are also a feature of some atlases. Proprietors and individuals paid prescribed fees for having their homes or businesses pictures in the atlases.[17]

     A typical example of Everts' atlases from this period, the Combination Atlas Map of Walworth County Wisconsin, can be viewed online at the Web site of the University of Wisconsin.

     In 1870, Louis (again spelled as “Lewis”) lived with his sister-in-law, Adeline Everts in Geneva, Illinois, rather than with his father.[18] Adeline was the widow of Louis’s eldest brother, Charles, who served with the 4th Kansas Infantry during the Civil War and passed away while in the service.[19]

     Thompson & Everts engaged the Philadelphia lithographic firms of Norman Friend and Thomas Hunter to do the engraving and printing for all of their work in 1870–1872, an arrangement that Everts continued throughout the 1870s.[20] After Thompson’s departure from the business, Everts established a new firm in Chicago known as Everts, Baskin & Stewart, with David J. Stewart and Oliver C. Baskin. This firm produced at least five atlases in 1872–1873: Lee, McHenry & Ogle counties in Illinois (1872) and Rock and Walworth counties in Wisconsin (1873). Baskin dropped out of the partnership in 1873–1874 and the firm name was shortened to Everts & Stewart.[21] Between 1874 and 1876, the firms published no less than ten atlases under their imprint: the first three with Chicago addresses; the remainder with a Philadelphia address of 714–716 Filbert Street, the same address as the lithographic press of Thomas Hunter. Most of the atlases published by the firm of Everts & Stewart covered counties in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including that of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, which can be viewed at the American Memory Web site of the Library of Congress. During 1874–1875, Everts also published atlases under his own name or that of L. H. Everts & Company. He moved his business from Chicago to Philadelphia in late 1874.[22]

     In 1876, Everts formed a partnership with Dwight Watts Ensign (1839–1915) and his brother, James S. Everts (ca.1844–?) as Everts, Ensign & Everts, which lasted until 1877. The publications of the firm of Everts, Ensign & Everts include atlases of Broome and Genesee counties in New York, both of which can be found on the Web site of the New York Public Library. James Everts continued to work for his brother but not as a partner, as he appears in the 1880 census as a traveling collector.

      Louis H. Everts made a significant decision in 1876 when he changed his focus from publishing maps and atlases to county histories. The firm of Everts, Ensign & Everts published histories of Ontario County and Seneca County, New York, and L. H. Everts published a history of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, during the Centennial year. This shift toward county history publishing should come as no surprise. Many of Everts early atlases included historical summaries and several had the phrase "historical atlas" in their titles. Everts switch from atlas production to county history publication in 1876 was part of a nation-wide trend, which has been described by Michael Conzen.[23]

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     Everts’ business soon outstripped his ability to personally oversee everything:

It became so large and with so many accounts that it was impossible to conduct it so I thought of a plan of selecting some agent in whom I had confidence and giving him a certain interest in one or two publications, and that is the way I happened to have so many firms. . . . I furnished all the capital. I never was with but one man who furnished a dollar. These men would employ the canvassers and sell the books and I would send them five hundred dollars for instance and they would charge that to themselves and then credit it as they paid it out. I had at least half a dozen firms doing business that way in Michigan, Massachusetts and elsewhere.[24]

     His various endeavors resulted in the employment of many surveyors, draftsmen, historians and authors. Most of these professionals worked both for Everts and his rivals creating an interrelationship between the various publishing firms that proves difficult to decipher. Although the identities of most of these people remain unknown, a review of one Kane County resident’s work demonstrates these connections. Samuel Wilkins Durant (1827-1891) worked on a number of maps and atlases for Everts between 1870 and 1872, assisted O. L. Baskin and A.T. Andreas during 1873-1875 in the preparation of several atlases, and returned to Everts where he authored 10 county histories between 1876 and 1879. In 1883, he undertook much of the preliminary work and historical text for Andreas’s atlas of Dakota, and worked on the history of Kane County in 1888 for Beers, Leggett & Company.[25]

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     Everts admitted that he did not have personal control over the business of all of his associated firms. Between 1866 and 1887, the following firms are known to be part of Everts’ publishing efforts:

Firm Dates Location Publishing Specialty
Thompson & Everts 1866-1872 Geneva, Illinois maps & atlases
Everts, Baskin & Stewart 1872-1873 Chicago, Illinois atlases
Everts, Stewart & Company 1874 Chicago atlases
Everts & Stewart 1874-1876 Chicago and Philadelphia atlases
Everts, L. H. (& Company) 1874-1887 Chicago and Philadelphia atlases & histories
Everts, Ensign & Everts 1876-1877 Philadelphia atlases & histories
Everts & Ensign 1878-1879 Philadelphia histories
Everts & Fariss 1878 Philadelphia histories
Everts & Abbott 1879-1880 Philadelphia histories
Everts & Peck 1879-1884 Philadelphia histories
Ensign, D. W., & Company 1879-1881 Philadelphia histories
Everts & Richards 1884 Philadelphia history
Everts & Kirk 1885 Philadelphia atlas
Everts, Peck & Richards 1886 Philadelphia histories
Peck, R. T., & Company 1885-1887 Philadelphia histories


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It is possible that Everts may also have had a hand in the following endeavors:[26]

Firm Dates Location Publishing Specialty
Stewart & Page 1874 Philadelphia maps
Stewart, D.J. 1874-1875 Philadelphia maps
Tackabury, Mead & Moffett 1874 Philadelphia maps
Scott, James D. 1876-1877 Philadelphia maps
Fritts, Peter 1877 Reading and Philadelphia history
Thompson, Thomas H., & Co. 1877 Oakland, Ca. maps
Thompson & West 1878 Oakland, Ca. maps
Richards, L.J. & Company 1886-1889 Philadelphia maps and histories


     During the 1880s, Everts advanced money to J. W. Lewis to publish various county histories, mostly in New England. Lewis also published a history of Davidson County, Tennessee (1880), which was written by one of Everts’ stable of authors, W. Woodford Clayton. According to Everts, “we published one state by counties . . . He (Lewis) was a partner of Mr. Hurd, they both worked for me at one time and then went into business for themselves and Mr. Lewis died.”[27] Lewis used D. Hamilton Hurd as his principal author for the New England histories.

     Despite Bates Harrington’s disdain for the methods of the Thompson & Everts map publishing company, he apparently held Everts personally in great esteem. When discussing county histories in his expose, he stated:

L. H. Everts, or any firm with which his name is connected, will be found to be genuine. He will make them as good a history as can possibly be written. He employs none but the best men; he will not take an obscure man. The men having charge of his historical departments are men well-known in literary circles. In going to the expense he does, he must receive large support. When he publishes a history of a county, its citizens can console themselves in case of dissatisfaction, that no one else could have done near as well, and they have a volume that cannot be excelled in any particular. We deem it our duty to say this much from what we have seen of his late publications, as the same time knowing the gentleman will feel bitter toward us for publishing this book, in which we have been compelled to so often use his name.[28]

     Everts started to branch away from the business of publishing county histories in the 1880s to work on a number of religious reference works. These included the Baptist Encyclopedia (1881), Who Wrote the Book of (Begin Page 10) Mormon? (1882), The Mennonites (1883) and Cyclopedia of Methodism (1883). In 1887, he advertised in the Chicago Inter-Ocean for a Mason to sell a “standard Masonic work, copiously illustrated,” using the Van Buren address in Chicago.[29]

     He returned to atlas publishing with the introduction of two elaborate atlases of the states of Nebraska (1885) and Kansas (1887),both of which are available online from the David Rumsey Collection (see Figures 2 and 3). The illustrations in The Official Atlas of Nebraska included a rendering of his “Louiland Farms” in Richardson County, which James Everts operated for him. (This illustration is missing from the copy in the Rumsey Collection.)[30]

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Figure 2. Norton County, Kansas, from Official Atlas of Kansas. Courtesy David Rumsey Collection.

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Figure 3. Kansas Farm Scene. From Official Atlas of Kansas. Courtesy David Rumsey Collection.

     According to statements filed in his bankruptcy proceedings in 1900, Everts participated in several non-publishing ventures and other investments. He owned real estate in Washington state, although he considered it of no value. He also owned shares in the Dakota Mortgage Company; this company’s secretary was his former partner, Dwight W. Ensign, who had lived in the Dakota Territory and had been instrumental in the establishment of Ramsey County in 1883. Everts acted as president of the Cold Blast Feather Company, located at 56-58 Van Buren Street in Chicago; his half-brother, Edward A. Everts served as secretary and treasurer.[31] The Everts profited from the Cold Blast company until 1893, the year of the World’s Fair in Chicago—after which Edward died in February 1894, and the company was destroyed by fire the following November. Finally, Everts mentioned that he had been “induced to put some money in a company [and] was made the secretary and treasurer on a salary”; this unnamed company, perhaps in Chicago, failed.

     Louis H. Everts married Adeline (Addie) H. Utley on 3 July 1872 in Stephenson County, Illinois.[32] No record has been found of either husband or wife in the 1880 census. In the Philadelphia city directories, Everts appears as a resident of Philadelphia from 1875 to 1887, and as a resident of Chicago in 1888. His move to Chicago in the late 1880s lasted only a short time before he returned to Philadelphia. In February 1889, his bookkeeper informed him that his partner was spending the capital on non-publishing ventures. This partner, the publisher Lucius J. Richards, was branching into other manufactures. The 1890 Philadelphia city directory list Everts as a partner with Richards in two different firms: Everts & Richards, tinware, and Louis H. Everts & Company, publishers.[33] Everts had definitively returned to Philadelphia by 1890, as he appears in the 1890 (Begin Page 13) special census at 126 S. 11th Street. In his 1900 deposition, Everts stated that he had invested $5,000 in a business manufacturing coffee pots: “When I came here I found that [Richards] had rented a building at twenty five hundred dollars a year and was going into [the] coffee business as well as manufacturing pots. He hadn’t manufactured any pots.”

     Evert’s unhappy marriage with Adeline finally broke down in the late 1880s. According to an article in the Chicago Inter-Ocean:

The lightning process was applied to the case of Mrs. Adelaide H. Everts, a handsome woman of middle age, against Louis H. Everts, who is said to be a business man of some wealth. The bill was filed in the Circuit Court a few minutes before 10 o’clock yesterday morning and shortly after the case was tried before Judge Collins, the defendant having filed an answer neither admitting nor denying the charge of desertion. Mrs. Everts testified that she married defendant in 1872 in Freeport, Ill. and that he left her three years because she refused to sign a mortgage. Edward A. Everts, a brother of the defendant, said he tried to get Louis to live with complainant, but failed, his brother declaring he would never again associate with his wife. Everts is now in Philadelphia.[34]

     The court decided that Everts pay an alimony of $ 2,000 annually and lose all custody over his only child, Louisa.[35] On 14 April 1892, Everts married, for a third time, to Emma M. Montgomery of Philadelphia, a woman 22 years his junior.[36]

      His businesses took a downward slide during the 1890s. A loss of $17,000 in the endeavor with Richards made him look for more opportunities in the field he knew best: publishing. Everts worked on maps of Astoria and Port Townsend, Washington, in 1890, both surveyed by W. H. Whitney. He also published a history of Orkney Springs written by J. Thomas Scharf in 1890. In 1890-1891, he worked with the Union veterans to produce memorial volumes for the various posts of the Grand Army of the Republic, recording personal reminiscences of their members. According to one report, “The chief purpose of the volume is to contain a personal war sketch of every member of the post.”[37]

     After J. W. Lewis’ death in Boston, D. Hamilton Hurd invited Everts into a partnership (D. H. Hurd & Company) to produce the Town and City Atlas of the State of New Hampshire (1892). Everts also entered in 1892 into a partnership with Joseph A. Caldwell known as the Philadelphia Publishing Company.[38] This latter partnership sought to issue a history of the War of the Rebellion “based upon the Official Records.” Everts stated that he had the maps printed by Bien & Company of New York while the remainder of the book was printed in Philadelphia.[39] However, surviving copies of the maps located at the Library of Congress and Pennsylvania State University show that August H. Mueller of Philadelphia actually did the lithographic work. Unfortunately, Caldwell failed to raise any money for the publication and the entire enterprise folded.

     The firm of D. H. Hurd & Company dissolved in 1898 and a new partnership called Hurd & Everts replaced it in the spring of 1898 dedicated to the publication of a history of the Catholic Church in New England. In early 1900, Everts admitted that he was overextended and filed for bankruptcy. He stated in his bankruptcy deposition that part of the History of the Catholic Church in the New England States was published in 1899 but that many of the subscribers were unable to pay for their copies.

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     Although Everts does not mention it, he was also involved in a partnership with Lucius J. Richards in 1895, publishing three atlases of various areas in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As no other atlases are known to have been published by the two after 1895, it seems as though this was again a partnership with a specific purpose in mind. There exists an atlas published by L. J. Richards & Company in 1898 (New Topographical Atlas of Surveys, Worcester County, Massachusetts by D. J. Lake), but Everts’ role, if any, in this endeavor remains unknown.

     After his bankruptcy, Everts sought to settle his affairs during the first few years of the twentieth century. Sometime in 1904, he finally petitioned for an invalid’s pension based upon his military service. He stated that “up to 1898, I had accumulated a fortune slowly and by hard work, but the following three years swept every dollar of it away.”[40] Prior to this petition, he returned to his roots by creating yet another company focused on atlas publishing in 1902. The new firm, known as the Century Map Company, initially included Charles S. Rees as a partner; Rees left the firm for another non-publishing venture the following year. The Century Map Company published thirteen atlases between 1902 and 1913.

     The first two atlases published by the Century Map Company, with a Philadelphia imprint, cover Livingston and Wyoming Counties, New York in 1902. Anton (or Anthony) L. Westgard was listed as the primary surveyor for both atlases, together with surveyors J. O. McClure (Wyoming County) and Otto Barthel (Livingston County). Barthel was listed as the surveyor of record for four more atlases in 1903-1904. In 1904, Lew John (or James) Garfield Ogden is listed on the Ontario County and Wayne County atlases with Barthel. In 1908, 1909 and 1913, Ogden served as the principal surveyor/draftsman for three additional Century Map Company atlases. William Westgard also appears in the credits on the 1908 and 1909 atlases.[41]

     Everts moved to Buffalo, New York, prior to 1910, as he is found in the U. S. Census as a resident of Buffalo in that year. In 1911 and 1912, he published New Century Atlas of Counties of the State of New York under the imprint of the Everts Publishing Company of Buffalo, New York.

     Everts eventually retired during the 1910s and returned to Philadelphia. In 1918, he temporarily admitted himself into the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Dayton, Ohio, the closest such retirement home as no National Home existed in the Mid-Atlantic area.[42] In 1920, he and his wife lived at 2115 Green Street, Philadelphia. He died on 26 January 1924 at the age of 87 years; his widow applied for a widow’s pension on his Civil War service in the same year. He is buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

      His passing went unnoted in cartographic circles. Biographers and cartographic historians alike have judged his value and impact upon both the map and atlas business and the local county history publishing of the late 19th century by the disparaging remarks made by Bates Harrington and the emergence of other, more prominent, county atlas publishers including the Beers family, Alfred T. Andreas, George Ogle, George W. & Walter S. Bromley, Griffith Morgan Hopkins, and many others.

     The stretch of his career touched cartographers of many different generations. His early projects employed the talents of such familiar and unfamiliar 19th century names as A. T. Andreas, Dwight W. Ensign, David J. Stewart, Oliver C. Baskin and Samuel W. Durant. His last enterprise, The Century Map Company, propelled the careers of a new generation of surveyors and draughtsmen throughout the first half of the 20th century, including the Westgards and L. J. G. Ogden: Ogden eventually closed his career with the Bromley Company after World War II.

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      Louis Humphrey Everts personified the map and atlas publishing trade of the Old Northwest during the post-Civil War period. His natural diversification into county histories during the Centennial era captured many untold stories of a time long past in ways that deserve recognition by the modern historian.


1. In addition to his publications, there exist two other primary sources detailing his business operations at different periods: Bates Harrington, How’tis Done: A Thorough Ventilation of the Numerous Schemes Conducted by Wandering Canvassers together with the Various Advertising Dodges for the Swindling of the Public (Chicago: Fidelity Pub. Co., 1879) and Louis H. Everts’ bankruptcy filing in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Many of Everts' county atlases are available on the World Wide Web. Six of them (individually linked in this article) are on the Web sites of the David Rumsey Collection, the New York Public Library, the University of Wisconsin, and the Library of Congress. Many others can be found on the commercial site, which requires a subscription to view the high resolution images.

2. Cheryl Lyon-Jenness describes many of Everts' methods and his cartographic output in her article “Picturing Progress: Assessing the Nineteenth-Century Atlas-Map Bonanza,” Michigan Historical Review, 30:2 (Fall 2004): 167-204. The broader context of Everts' work is described in the relevant chapters of Walter W. Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1985), and in several articles by Michael P. Conzen, the most important of which are: "The County Landownership Map in America: Its Commercial Development and Social Transformation, 1814-1939," Imago Mundi 36 (1984): 9-31; "North American County Maps and Atlases," in David Buisseret, ed., From Sea Charts to Satellite Images: Interpreting North American History through Maps (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), 186-212; "The All-American County Atlas," in John A. Wolter and Ronald E. Grim, eds., Images of the World: The Atlas Through History (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1997), 331-65.

3. J. Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott, History of Philadelphia, 1683-1884 (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1884), 2332.

4. Everts’ birthdate comes from his marriage license, filed in Philadelphia in 1892. U.S. 1850 Census, Cattaraugus County, New York, Town of Otto, enumerated 7 August 1860. It is confirmed in James P. Snell’s article on “Samuel C. Everts,” written on 23 January1879, that appears in both History of Cattaraugus Co., New York (Philadelphia: L. H. Everts, 1879, 305-306) and Commemorative Biographical and Historical Record of Kane County, Illinois (Chicago: Beers, Leggett & Co., 1888, 456-460.

5. According to Snell, Samuel C. Everts was born in Massachusetts on 5 July 1805. The children’s dates are as follows: Charles N. Everts, 5 Oct. 1828 – 28 Feb. 1862, Carlos, 31 March 1831 – 28 June 1853, Cornelia R. 14 May 1833 – 12 September 1853, and Francis M. 11 June 1841 – 28 July 1863. The youngest mentioned, James R., was born 25 March 1844. Ruth died in 1856. “Samuel C. Everts”, The Past and Present of Kane County, Illinois (Chicago: Wm. Le Baron, Jr. & Co., 1878), 554. This 1878 biography contains several mistakes relating to its subjects.

6. Snell, "Samuel C. Everts"; The Past and Present of Kane County, 554, states that he purchased his farm in Kane County in 1853.

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7. Illinois State Archives, Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900 [online database]. The Samuel C. Everts farm appears to still (2008) be extant, located on Weber Road near the northwest corner of Peck Road and Keslinger Road outside Geneva, Illinois.

8. U.S. 1860 Census, Kane County, Illinois, St. Charles, enumerated 6 June 1860. Illinois State Archives, Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900 [online database]; Lyon-Jenness, “Picturing Progress’ 170.

9. Scharf and Westcott, History of Philadelphia, 2332.

10. Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1789-1903 (Washington, D.C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1903) 1:410. For the remainder of his life, Everts proudly wore the title of Major Everts. Copies of the papers surrounding this promotion appear, in full or in part, in three publications: History of Cattaraugus Co., New York (1879), 306; History of Philadelphia (1884), 2333; and Commemorative Biographical and Historical Record of Kane County, Illinois (1888), 460.

11. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Bankruptcy Act of 1898, Case # 540 – In the Matter of Louis H. Everts. Disposition of Louis H. Everts, 30 April 1900.

12. Lyon-Jenness, “Picturing Progress,” 171. The earliest known map of M. H. Thompson is that of Warren County in 1860.

13. Harrington, How’tis Done, 29. Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, 415, cites two earlier maps of Knox County (1861) and McHenry County (1862), Illinois done by Thomas Thompson and his brother, M. H. Thompson. Other early Thompson maps have emerged since Ristow’s publication.

14. Harrington, How ’tis Done, 53.

15. According to Harrington and Lyon-Jenness, maps were also issued for Jones and Dubuque Counties Iowa and Black Hawk County, Illinois, but this author cannot verify this statement. Despite the statements in Harrington and Lyon-Jenness crediting Andreas with the creation of the county atlas, the county atlas was already a known and popular entity on the East Coast. Henry F. Bridgens converted his wall map of Berks County, Pennsylvania into the first county atlas publication in 1861 and followed this in 1864 with Bridgens’ Atlas of Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. Silas Norman Beers led a collaborative partnership in producing at least twelve atlases of New York counties between 1865-1867. Other members of the Beers family, including Frederick W. Beers and Daniel G. Beers surveyed other counties in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware for atlas publications before 1870.

16. Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, 415.

17. Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, 415-16.

18. 1870 U.S. Census, Kane County, Illinois. Geneva, enumerated 3 June 1870.

19. She later married Stewart Hahn in 1875.

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20. Norman Friend (ca. 1814 – 1888) specialized in map engraving, operating a lithographic establishment in Philadelphia from 1849-1888; Thomas Hunter established a partnership with the dean of Philadelphia lithographers, Peter S. Duval, in 1869, and succeeded to sole ownership in 1874.

21. Baskin formed a separate company that lasted for a single year known as Baskin, Forster & Company which published the State Atlas of Indiana in 1875 and 1876. He collaborated with A. T. Andreas on several publications and eventually published several county histories under his own name. Lyon-Jenness, "Picturing Progress," 175-178, details some of the complex interconnections between the various map publishing firms during the 1870s.

22. Cincinnati Daily Gazette, 19 January 1875, carried an article on Everts’ effort to produce an atlas of the world by L.H. Everts & Company, “a publishing firm in Philadelphia.” There exists one atlas published by Everts with a Philadelphia imprint in 1874 and two atlases in 1875 with a Chicago imprint.

23. Conzen, "The All-American County Atlas," 354-55

24. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Bankruptcy Act of 1898, Case # 540 – In the Matter of Louis H. Everts, Disposition of Louis H. Everts, 30 April 1900.

25. Lyon-Jenness, “Picturing Progress,” 183-184; Pliny A. Durant, H. C. Bradsby and Samuel W. Durant, “Samuel W. Durant”, Commemorative Biographical and Historical Record of Kane County, Illinois, 495-497. Henry B. Peirce and Arthur Merrill, co-authors of The Past and Present of Kane County, Illinois published by Wm. Le Baron, Jr. & Co. in 1878, both authored parts of several histories for Everts between 1876 and 1879. The account of Samuel Everts in this 1878 history prompted a corrected biography in 1879 for the history of Cattaraugus County.

26. Most of these atlas publishers used the same format as Everts and the same lithographic/engraving team of Hunter and Friend. In addition, he may be the Everts of the firm of Everts & Able that published “Bird’s Eye View of Walla Walla, Washington Territory” in 1876. It is interesting that the biography of Samuel C. Everts appears first in an Everts publication in 1879, and later in the Kane County history of 1888 published by Beers, Leggett & Co., virtually verbatim. No known connection exists between these two firms, except through the presence of Samuel W. Durant.

27. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Bankruptcy Act of 1898. Case # 540 – In the Matter of Louis H. Everts. Disposition of Louis H. Everts, 30 April 1900.

28. Harrington, How ’tis Done, 193.

29. Inter Ocean, Chicago, Illinois, 9 October 1887.

30. This illustration is reproduced in Lyon-Jenness, "Picturing Progress," 206.

31. According to the revised (1888) article on Samuel C. Everts, the Cold Blast Feather Company was located in Chicago and New York, “dealing extensively in wholesale bedding supplies.” Snell, “Samuel C. Everts,” Commemorative Biographical and Historical Record of Kane County, Illinois, 460.

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32. Illinois State Archives, Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900 [online database].

33. Everts’ other partners in the latter firm were William H. Kirk and A. C. Howell.

34. Inter Ocean (Chicago), 26 February 1891. The separation after three years coincides with his move to Philadelphia.

35. Lyon-Jenness, “Picturing Progress,” 309.

36. Philadelphia Marriage License 1892 # 50787.

37. Springfield Republican, 25 December 1891.

38 Joseph A. Caldwell of Ohio was another prolific county atlas publisher of the 1870s.

39. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Bankruptcy Act of 1898. Case # 540 – In the Matter of Louis H. Everts. Disposition of Louis H. Everts, 30 April 1900.

40. Lyon-Jenness, “Picturing Progress,” 208.

41. Anton L. Westgard (b. September 1865 in Norway) was one of the pioneers in automobile road mapping with his work with The Survey Map Company of New York and the American Automobile Association. He later became the Director of Transcontinental Highways for the National Highways Association. James Ackerman, The Newberry Library, to Jefferson M. Moak, 22 October 2008. William Westgard (b. ca. 1872 in Norway) may have been a brother.

42. Lyon-Jenness, “Picturing Progress,” 208.

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