It appears that attics hold more than just old dresses and your brother’s baseball card collection. This past weekend, Bill Cupp uncovered Osprey City history cleaning out his mother’s attic on Elwood Lane. Tucked away between old deeds and stacked paintings, Cupp found a map of the Osprey area dated 1630. The lucky discoverer quickly contacted experts at Osprey University, who took possession of the document and tested it for authenticity. Today, the archival documents department of the university announced that the map indeed dated back to the early 17th century.
“We are astounded by the condition of the document,” commented Amanda Lee, archivist at Osprey University. “The ink is in surprising condition, with little evidence of oxidization. Whoever owned this map originally took special care of it.” University archivists have decided to store the map in a climate-controlled space while they acquire an appropriate display case. The archive was, however, able to provide a high-quality scan for public use.
Prof. Ian Hannigan, an expert in colonial American history, said that the map provided valuable insight into what Osprey City, or what was then called the “Town of Osprey,” looked like at its founding. “The town is depicted as generally surrounded by forests, which gels with what we have read in early written accounts of the area,” explained Prof. Hannigan. “The map also helps us date some of the place names in the Osprey area, such as Brittany Cove and Lake Powcotowet.” Certain farms outlying the town were also named in the map, and provide clues to the names of other parts of modern-day Osprey City. For example, Henry St. is named after the Henry farm, located just north of the colonial village. The map also shows that the First Congregationalist Church of Osprey occupies the same space as the original church built by Pilgrim settlers.
“What remains a mystery, however,” commented Hannigan, “is why the cartographer marked certain locations on the map that aren’t particularly important, such as the homes of E. and D. Woode and W. Thatcher.” Hannigan hypothesized that the individuals might have sponsored the cartographer, or one of them might have been the map-maker themselves. “Unfortunately, without a name to ascribe the work to, I’m afraid we will never know who created this map.” Once safely in a display case, the map will be displayed to the public at the Osprey University library, the centerpiece of an exhibit on Pilgrim Osprey City.