Nicholas Scull II

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A plan of the city and environs of Philadelphia by Scull, 1751

Nicholas Scull II (1687–1761) was an American surveyor and cartographer. He served as the Surveyor General of Pennsylvania from 1748 until 1761.[1]

Early life[edit]

Nicholas Scull II was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1687. His father was surveyor Nicholas Scull, who died in 1703. Scull decided to become a surveyor, like his father, and apprenticed under Thomas Holme. He also studied under Jacob Taylor. He married Abigail Heap in 1708. Heap would have three sons with Scull: Edward, John, and Nicholas III. All three would become surveyors. The couple also had a daughter, Mary.[2]

Mid-life and career[edit]

He assisted in surveying the Old York Road, which his father helped bring to the area as of 1697. Scull became the first deputy surveyor for Philadelphia in 1719. He became deputy surveyor for both Philadelphia and the area in and around Buck, Pennsylvania in 1733. Scull's work took him to survey rivers such as the Schuylkill and Lehigh River. He handled land disputes in Delaware Water Gap region between the Dutch, French and early Pennsylvania settlers. In 1737, he participated in the surveying which led to the Walking Purchase. He worked closely with Benjamin Eastburn, who would later hire Scull's son as a surveyor.[2] Scull ran for Philadelphia County sheriff in 1744. He won, and from 1744-1746 he served as sheriff before he was asked to replace William Parsons as Surveyor General.[3] Scull became Surveyor General in 1748, and his son Edward took over his position as deputy surveyor of Philadelphia and Buck.[2]

As Surveyor General he published multiple maps of Philadelphia region, including at times with George Heap. His work was inspired by Lewis Evans.[2] He was a member of the Junto as of 1730, and was noted by Benjamin Franklin as being a book lover and able to speak in local the Delaware language.[3]

Death and legacy[edit]

He died in 1761 and was buried in Whitemarsh Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.[2] Scull's 1752 map of Philadelphia was adapted and republished by William Faden in London in 1777 during the American Revolution.[1]

Notable collections[edit]

  • A Map of Philadelphia and Parts Adjacent, 1752, by Nicolas Scull and George Heap, first edition, 1752, University of Pennsylvania[4]
  • To the Honourable Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, Esqrs., true & absolute proprietaries & Governours of the Province of Pennsylvania & counties of New-Castle, Kent & Sussex on Delaware this map of the improved part of the Province of Pennsylvania, 1759, Library of Congress[5]