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October 26, 2007

“A Remarkable Production”-Wheat
One of the First Separately Issued Maps of New Mexico Territory

142. [MAP]. UNITED STATES. ARMY. CORPS OF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS. PARKE, Jno.[John] G[rubb] & Richard H[ovendon] Kern. Map of the Territory of New Mexico Compiled by Bvt. 2nd. Lt. Jno. G. Parke, U.S.T.E. assisted by Mr. Richard H. Kern by Order of Bvt. Col. Jno. Munroe. U.S.A. Comdg. 9th Mil. Dept. Drawn by R. H. Kern. Santa Fé, N.M. 1851. Constructed under General Orders from Col. J. J. Abert, Chief Corps of Topogl. Engrs. [below title, 17 lines of lists of authorities and legend]; [lower right in image] Lith. of J & D Major 177 Broadway N.Y. New York, 1851. Lithograph map on wove paper, neat line to neat line: 61.7 x 84.7 cm. Verso with old blue crayon note: “Territory of New Mexico 1851” (tops of letters shaved). Light water staining at upper right, two old repairs closed with cloth tape (approximately 12 cm and 16 cm), slight bleed-through of adhesive, otherwise very good. This map is exceedingly elusive.

            First edition of one of the very first separately issued maps of New Mexico Territory and among the earliest official maps of the Territory issued by the United States after taking possession. Phillips, America, p. 494. Streeter Sale 431: “This map was a favorite of Carl Wheat...and also a favorite of Henry Wagner, from whom my copy came in 1938.” Wheat, Mapping the American West, pp. 131-132. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #730, Vol. III, pp. 19-22 (illustrated opposite p. 11).  Cf. Plains & Rockies IV:230:2n. The original manuscript map on which the present map is based is in the National Archives, filed as RG 77:1846-7, Pub. <>. This lithograph version follows, and is filed by the National Archives as RG 77: 1851, Pub.

            This historic map encompasses what is now Arizona and most of present-day New Mexico, with parts of Texas, California, Utah, Nevada, Oklahoma, Sonora, and Chihuahua. The far western section of Texas is shown, on a line west of the modern-day Panhandle town Perryton, south to present-day Girvin (shown as Horsehead Crossing on the Pecos River); the latitude is north of present-day Alpine. This area includes modern-day El Paso. Among features shown in Texas are the Canadian River and the route to Fort Smith. The map is a rich source of ethnology, locating various Native American tribes and pueblos. It also shows wagon roads, mule trails, rivers, routes of exploration, settlements, forts (many only recently established), and notes on the characteristics of the land.

            William H. Goetzmann (Army Exploration in the West, 1803-1863, Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1991, pp. 248-249) discusses the importance of Parke’s work and map:

One of the most important results of the military reconnaissances in New Mexico was Lt. John G. Parke’s basic map of the region from Pike’s Peak to Cooke’s wagon road in Sonora. It was drawn in 1851 by Richard Kern under Parke’s supervision and finished before they left on the Zuñi expedition with Sitgreaves. Parke’s map replaced Lt. J. W. Abert’s as the basic compilation of geographical information on New Mexico.... The original map was sent to the War Department, where it was printed and distributed among the officers of the government heading for that frontier region, and also among citizens interested enough to request a copy. Soon the military commander could add the results of other the base map, and the picture thus became more complete with time.... What the combined efforts of Simpson and Sitgreaves and of Parke and Pope amounted to was a beginning-the beginning of geographical knowledge concerning this obscure region and the beginning of ethnological knowledge concerning its obscure and romantic Indian peoples.

            Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #730, Vol. III, pp. 19-22:

[Parke’s map] gave the most comprehensive view of New Mexico that had been yet developed.... Parke’s published map is a remarkable production, both because it is a composite of the maps hitherto described, and because of the wealth of additional information contained on it. It would be of little assistance to attempt to describe this latter aspect of this map; it must be gained from a view of the map itself.... North of the route proposed by Simpson at such length the canyons of the Colorado are not shown, but the Moqui (Hopi) country, the Cerro Abajo and the Cerro la Sal, and the Green and the Grand rivers appear.... In the far northwest, in Utah Territory below the Wasatch range, and stretching east from Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada), is “The Spanish Trail leading from the Pueblo de los Angeles California to Abiquiu New Mexico”.... The names along the upper Grand River, and in the valley at the head of the Rio Grande del Norte, are remarkable in that they here appear so early, and though this whole country on the north and west is labeled “Unexplored,” this map must have been an eye-opener to Beale and Frémont, who passed through the Green and Grand area on their separate ways to California in 1853.

            Wheat, Mapping the American West, pp. 131-132:

The most ambitious work prepared by the Topographical Engineers in 1851 was the large “Map of the Territory of New Mexico”.... It was worked up by Parke while he was in New Mexico and was drawn by Kern in 1851, later being reduced in size for publication from the original drawing.... Its list of authorities for various regions is impressive, including such officers as Emory, Abert, Peck, Frémont, Marcy, Simpson, and Cooke; and such old-timers as “Old Bill Williams,” San Frain (sic), le Roux (sic), and Hatcher.... Roads and trails are carefully shown, usually with a legend stating Parke’s authority, and this seems to be the only-at least the earliest-map to carry the suggestion of Lieutenant Simpson that from Zuñi it should be possible to discover a wagon-road route down the Zuñi River to the Little Colorado, thence to Williams’ Fork, and on to the Colorado at the Mojave villages. This is very nearly the route actually later used by the Santa Fe Railroad, although Parke did not possess sufficient information to place Simpson’s suggestion adequately on his map. Much farther north the old “Spanish Trail,” from Los Angeles to New Mexico is delineated, but it is located too far south, in the wild Green-Grand river country. Parke and Kern did a most workmanlike job in constructing this map, one copy of which seems to have served the Boundary Commission party when it set forth under J. R. Bartlett.

            Assisting Parke in the preparation of this map was Richard Hovendon Kern (1821-1853), who accompanied several important Rocky Mountain explorations as an artist. Barely surviving Frémont’s fourth expedition, he eventually found work on the Simpson and Sitgreaves expedition, the work of which is reflected in the present map. He eventually became something of an authority on the Southern railroad route, and accompanied Gunnison on his railroad survey, during the course of which he was killed, supposedly by Paiutes. He and his brother Edward Kern arrived in Taos in 1848 and are generally credited with being the first artists of Taos. For more on Kern, see William H. Goetzmann & William N. Goetzmann, The West of the Imagination (New York & London: W. W. Norton, 1986), pp. 103-107, who designates Kern’s painting of Canyon de Chelly as the first and “a major iconic view of the mysterious vanished civilizations of the southwest.” For more on Kern, see: David J. Weber, Richard H. Kern: Expeditionary Artist in the Far Southwest, 1848-1853. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1985; and Roger Balm, Expeditionary Art: An Appraisal (Geographical Review, Vol. 90, No. 4, October 2000, pp. 585-602). ($6,000-$12,000)

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