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Borderlands Mining Scheme, with Maps

12. CHERRY, Cummings. Cincinnati & Sonora Mining Association. Geological Report and Map of the San Juan del Rio Ranche, in Sonora, Mexico. By Cummings Cherry, Geologist and Mining Engineer. Also Report of Special Committee, Statistics of Silver Mining, Transcript of Title, &c. Cincinnati: Wrightson & Co., 167 Wall Street, 1866. 86 pp., 2 folding lithograph maps: (1) N.E. Section of Cherry’s Travelling and Military Map of Sonora. Scale 3/16 of an Inch to the League. [below neat line] Strobridge & Co. Lith. Cin. O. [neat line to neat line] 18.5 x 19 cm; (2) Map Illustrating the Report of Surveyor, of the Ranche San Juan Del Rio [neat line to neat line] 16.1 x 23.4 cm. 8vo, presentation binding of original full dark blue sheep with gilt tooling and red leather inlays, spine gilt with raised bands, a.e.g., inner gilt dentelles. Binding moderately scuffed and with some losses, corners bumped and exposed, front hinge starting, interior and maps very fine. Presentation copy with ink note on front flyleaf: “Señor M. Romero. Minister of the Mexican Republic Washington D.C. With the Compliments of the Cina. & Sonora M. Assocn. Cincinnati, Sept 14 1866.”

     First edition. Sabin (12479), Howes (C347), Streeter Sale (513), and others list various imprints related to this Borderlands mining venture, but not the present one. This mining company was yet another of the nineteenth-century schemes by U.S. citizens to exploit the supposedly dormant but rich mineral resources of Sonora. Such ideas had assumed various forms over the years, including a Confederate attempt to annex parts of Northern Mexico. In the present report, Cherry comments glowingly on the prospects to be had by developing Sonora’s mineral resources. He downplays such potential problems as Apache hostility, the objections of the Mexican government, and the lack of labor, preferring to emphasize that the vast wealth of the idle mines awaits only industrious hands to extract it. Ironically, the Company tried to sell itself just a year later, including issuing a large map of the area, a detail of which is shown in the first map of the present report. Such maneuverings revealed the speculative nature of the enterprise in which the real gold apparently was to be found in the pockets of others. Part of the appeal of this scheme was the rumor that continued to circulate at the time that the U.S. was going to annex Sonora. For other reports on mining schemes in Sonora, see Munk (Alliot), pp. 381-391 and passim and Gregorio Mora Torres, "Entrepreneurs in Nineteenth Century Sonora, Mexico" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Irvine, 1987), 146-93.

     Cummings Cherry (1846-1936) was a professional mining engineer who wrote several reports on mineral deposits in various areas of the United States. His trip through Sonora was made with his brother, James Cherry. The author may be the same Cummings Cherry who was an apostle of the Bickertonites of the LDS. ($750-1,500)

Sold. Hammer: $1,200.00; Price Realized: $1,410.00

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