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“One of the Most Impressive Figures in American Westward Expansion” (Lamar)

223. [WATSON, Douglas S.]. West Wind the Life Story of Joseph ReddefordWalker, Knight of the Golden Horseshoe. Los Angeles: Privately Printed [by Johnck & Seeger, Printers] for His Friends by Percy H. Booth, 1934. [8] 109 [3] pp., one plate (frontispiece portrait from a photograph), one folded map, text illustrations (some full page, 5 after art work of Remington and others), chapter decorations by Lawrence A. Patterson. 8vo, original brown leather over tan boards, upper cover lettered in green, spine lettered in gilt. Fine, signed and dated by publisher Percy H. Booth.

     First edition, limited edition (100 copies according to most bibliographers, but the Eberstadts suggest 175 copies were printed; see Eberstadt 105:310a). Graff 4558. Holliday 1155.  Howell, California 50:421. Howes W165: “Presents all available information on an eminent figure of the early fur-trade era, the leader, in 1836, of the first trapping expedition into California over the Sierras.” LC, Utah, 48: “His first journey across Utah, 1833-34, with Captain Benjamin L. E. Bonneville’s exploring party, revealed the country North of the Great Salt Lake.” Norris 4127.  Paher, Nevada 2106. Rocq 16629. Streeter Sale 3043. Wallace, Arizona History IV:48.

     In an era of giants, Walker (1798-1872) seems to have done just about everything.  After serving in a somewhat domestic capacity in Missouri, he embarked on a trip to the West, where he scouted for Bonneville, discovering important overland routes, Yosemite Valley, and the Sequoia trees.  Following these adventures he worked as a guide for California emigrants, helped Frémont on his second and third expeditions, and assisted opening Nevada.  In his later years when he settled down in California, he acquired a cattle ranch in Monterey County east of Soledad mission. As Thrapp says, “His impact on the west was immense, his life replete with significant deeds, and Walker was a man with integrity, vision, intelligence, fortitude and great worth.” Lamar chimes in:  “Although a man of limited education, Walker was one of the most intelligent men to explore the West. His ability to command and his remarkable knowledge of Western geography make him one of the most impressive figures in American westward expansion.”  Coincidentally, Joseph’s brother Jacob died at the Alamo, as did his cousin.

     For information on fine printers Johnck & Seeger, see Barr, Presses of Northern California and Their Books 1900-1933, pp. 54-62.  ($300-600)

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