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Beales’ Rio Grande Colony Map—“Of considerable importance” (Streeter)

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267.     [MAP]. BEALES’ RIO GRANDE COLONY. Map of the Republic of Texas, Exhibiting the Property of John Woodward. Drawn by Joseph Rodney Croskey 1842. Narine & Co’s. Lith. 11, Wall St N.Y. [lower right in image above neat line] J.F.S. New York, 1842. Lithograph map with grants and borders in original bright hand coloring. Neat line to neat line: 33.5 x 49.5 cm; overall: 35 x 41.5 cm. Creased where formerly folded (minor voids along some creases), two slightly darkened areas at top left, professionally washed and backed with archival tissue. Some areas have been supplied in expert facsimile, including the upper right portion, an irregular area at the top ranging up to two cms, part of the lower left corner and border, portions of the lower right border, and a small triangular area at right center. A rare map in any condition. The only sales record we find for the map and the pamphlet in which it was issued is the Eberstadt copy in their Catalogue 162 in 1963, where it was listed for sale at $750.

     First edition. The map appeared in the following pamphlet by John Woodward: An Abstract of the Constitutions, Laws and Other Documents Having Reference to, and including the Empresario Grants and Contracts made by the State of Coahuila and Texas to and with John Charles Beales…. (New York: Narine & Co’s Print, 1842). Eberstadt, Texas 162:915. Streeter 1444: “The map, ‘Exhibiting the Property of John Woodward,’ also dated 1842, is of considerable importance as it shows in colors the boundaries of the Arkansas grant, of the two Rio Grande grants, and of the two million-acre Milam or Rio Colorado grant held by Beales. It also shows in color the Galveston Bay grants. Various other grants are shown, but without colors. The north boundary of Texas is shown as running along the Red River to the mouth of the ‘False Washita’ River, which, instead of the Red River, is represented as the north boundary to the 100th meridian.” See Handbook of Texas Online: Beales’ Rio Grande Colony; John Charles Beales; and John Woodward. A recently published work on the Rio Grande Colony is Louis E. Brister’s translation of Eduard Ludecus’ letters from the colony, John Charles Beales’ Rio Grande Colony (Texas State Historical Association, 2008).

     This map reflects the interest that Woodward acquired in Beales’ three grants between the Rio Grande and the Nueces River, which are shown outlined in bright blue and green. Beales’ main settlement of Dolores is shown at its location just north of the Rio Grande, near the Presidio del Rio (present day Kinney County). The map shows major waterways, but some of them are portrayed highly inaccurately, such as the Rio Grande itself, which totally lacks the Big Bend area. A few towns are shown, one of which is Austin. Only one road is delineated, running from the Presidio just south of Dolores on to Nacogdoches and thence to Natchitoches. It is difficult to say what this map is based on; it seems to be an unusual amalgam of several potential sources, such as Arrowsmith, Ikin, Burr, et al. Given the text it accompanied, it would seem clear that Woodward’s main interest was in showing the grants rather than providing any other substantial geographical information.

     As Streeter observes, “Woodward played for a few years a brief but important part in Texas affairs and he seems to have been an able and unusual man.” Many of his land speculations in Texas occurred while he was Texas consul in New York (1836-1840); this resulted in such unpopularity that he was relieved of the position. He did acquire some interest in Beales’ colonies that are shown here, but efforts to place settlers on these grants were futile. He engaged in long, drawn-out efforts extending into the Reconstruction era seeking compensation for the losses he suffered in these land speculations. For a tragic story concerning a group of Beales’ colonists, see Mrs. Sarah Horn’s account of her captivity (see Item 224 herein).

     Peters (America on Stone, p. 294) has a brief entry on the lithographic firm of James Narine & Company in New York City at 11 Wall Street (active between 1839 and 1843). Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers (revised edition, Vol. III, pp. 308) lists the firm of Narine & Co. at 7 Broad Street in New York in 1853.


Sold. Hammer: $6,500.00; Price Realized: $7,800.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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