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Lot 34

First Description of the Southern Route from Camargo to the Gila River

34. CLARKE, A[sa] B[emet]. Travels in Mexico and California: Comprising a Journal of a Tour from Brazos Santiago, through Central Mexico, by Way of Monterey, Chihuahua, the Country of the Apaches, and the River Gila, to the Mining Districts of California. Boston: Wright & Hasty, 3 Water Street, 1852. 138 [6, blank] pp. 12mo, publisher’s original blind-embossed purple cloth, spine lettered and decorated in gilt. Minor shelf wear and light spotting to cloth, endpapers lightly foxed, scattered mild foxing to text, otherwise fine, with contemporary pencil signature of E. Clark and note: “100 miles from Fort Karne, Omahaw City on Misesura saw a Man et his Brothers.” Preserved in brown cloth slipcase. Seldom found in cloth, which is rarer than the wrappers issue (see next entry).

     First edition. Byrd 37. Cowan I, p. 48. Cowan II, p. 128. Edwards, Enduring Desert, p. 49: “Clarke’s description of the desert crossing is dramatically impressive.” Etter, To California on the Southern Route 1849 #32: “Clarke’s book is particularly valuable for studying the Mexican portion of the journey.” Graff 746. Hill I, p. 54. Hill II:302. Howell, California 50:376A: “First printed description of the route north from Camargo, Mexico, through Chihuahua and Sonora to the Gila River of Arizona.” Howes C451. Jones, Adventures in Americana 1275. Mintz, The Trail 534. Norris 796. Plains & Rockies IV:210. Sabin 13393. Streeter Sale 3169: “Though this is not one of the rarest ‘overlands,’ it is one of the most interesting... [the author’s] route had not previously been described.” Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 41.

     On p. 120 is an early reference to petroleum in Los Angeles.

Cf. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 138 (not noting cloth issue):

Clarke, a native of Conway, Massachusetts, sailed from New York on January 29, 1849, as a member of the Hampden Mining Company. After arriving in central Mexico, Clarke proceeded westward via Arizona and the Gila River. He arrived in Los Angeles on July 9. In the Gila area, he met Dr. Field, one of the two survivors of the infamous Fannin massacre. By August 2, the New Englander labored in the Tuolumne Diggings. He spent the winter of 1849 and 1850 in San Francisco and, in the summer of 1850, worked on the Yuba River. Only the last five pages of his account describe life in the mines. According to the author: “After spending a considerable portion of 1850 in Mercantile Business in Sacramento and Marysville, I arrived home in March, 1851.” According to a note, dated July 2, 1852, he published this account for his friends.


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