Squibob’s Bravo Performance Mapping the Gold Fields in 1849
“Of Major Importance”—Wheat
290. [MAP]. DERBY, [George Horatio]. Sketch of General Riley’s Route through the Mining Districts July and Aug. 1849. Copied from the Original Sketch by Lt. Derby in the Office of the 10t. Dept. by J. Mc. Hollingsworth Asst. Ackermann’s Lithogr. 379 Broadway N.Y. [Washington, D.C., 1850]. Lithograph map, border to border: 54 x 50 cm; overall sheet size: 57.5 x 52 cm. Soft creases where formerly folded, otherwise an exceptionally fine copy of a map often found split at folds and in poor condition.
This map appeared in an important U.S. government report, House and Senate issues (priority indeterminate, though opinions abound): California and New Mexico. Message from the President of the United States…. References to book: Cowan II, p. 875 (#419). Howes C53. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 106a&b. Plains & Rockies IV:179b(1&2). Norris 2337. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush #31. Zamorano Eighty 14. Reference to map: Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region #79 (illustrated between pp. 46 and 47) & pp. xxvii-xxviii:
Of the maps which were actually produced in 1850, those of Lieutenant George H. Derby are of peculiar interest. Derby, though better known today as a brilliant humorist (he was the author of “Phoenixiana” and “The Squibob Papers”), was a trained and competent topographer, and while the engravers seem to have garbled many of his legends (such as “Mormont” for Mormon I[sland] and “Sonoran Camp” for Sonoranian Camp [Sonora]), nevertheless his “Map of General Riley’s Route…” (made in August 1849…but not published until 1850), his “Sacramento Valley from the American River to Butte Creek”…and his “Reconnaissance of the Tulares Valley”…are all maps of major importance. The first of these shows “Colluma,” “Angel’s” “Jamestown,” “Sullivan’s,” “Woods” and several other newly-settled camps.
Many of the mining camps and locations appear on Derby’s map for the first time, such as Angel’s Camp. See Erwin G. and Elisabeth K. Gudde, California Gold Camps: A Geographical and Historical Dictionary of Camps, Towns, and Localities Where Gold Was Found and Mined; Wayside Stations and Trading Centers (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975), numerous individual place names throughout, plus note on this map (p. 395). For more on Derby, see: Francis P. Farquhar’s edition of Derby’s report, reproduction of his maps, and biography in CHSQ XI, no. 2. George R. Stewart, John Phoenix, Esq., the Veritable Squibob: A Life of Captain George H. Derby, U.S.A. New York: Holt, . Thrapp, Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, I, p. 394.
Copyright Dorothy Sloan 2009