War, Maps, Mystery: Dutch Mapmaker Bernard Romans and the American Revolution

Oct 25, 2019 - May 3, 2020

A new exhibit this fall will share the little-known story of Revolutionary War Patriot and Dutch mapmaker Bernard Romans. Romans came to the American colonies in 1757 during the French and Indian War, surveying for the British along the Atlantic seaboard.  Romans became a supporter of American independence, joined the Continental Army, and eventually settled in Wethersfield, CT. Both the British and Americans used Romans’ maps during the American Revolution.  In 1780, he was captured by the British and died in 1784, mysteriously, while a prisoner.

Incredibly rare maps from the CHS collection, published by Romans and his contemporaries, as well as earlier Connecticut maps from the 17th and 18th centuries, will be displayed.

With special gratitude to Priscilla Romans Hexter
and Madeleine Hexter.

The Hexters are direct descendants of Bernard Romans and his first wife, Maria Wendell. Priscilla Hexter has done extensive research on the life of Romans. She identified his birth date of 1741 (not 1720, as claimed in several books and articles) and had his record at the Library of Congress changed.

The CHS is grateful to Priscilla for donating the Holster Atlas (including Bernard Romans’ map of the British Southern Colonies) to the CHS collection.

ASL Interpreted Labels

Watch ASD Executive Director Jeff Bravin interpret selected labels from the exhibit in American Sign Language.

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To support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Connecticut Historical Society will temporarily close now through April 22. All on-site programs and events are canceled during this time.Click here for CHS's digital programs.