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“First Book Published under the Title `Oklahoma’”

Boomers Invade Native Lands

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445.     [OKLAHOMA]. JACKSON, A.P. & E.C. Cole. Oklahoma! Politically and Topographically Described. History and Guide to the Indian Territory. Biographical Sketches of Capt. David L. Payne, W.L. Couch, Wm. H. Osborn, and Others. A Complete Guide to the Indian Territory, Illustrated with a Map, Hunting and Fishing Grounds. By A.P. Jackson and E.C. Cole. Kansas City, Missouri: Ramsey, Millett & Hudson, [1885]. [1-5] 6-150, [2, ads] pp. 12mo (19.2 x 13.5 cm), 18 wood-engraved plates, 21 wood engravings (10 text illustrations, 9 tailpiece vignettes, 2 tailpieces). Title page and ad leaf at end not present (supplied in facsimile). Wants wrappers. First leaf waterstained, a few leaves at end with minor edge wear to blank margins, overall a good copy. The first leaf is clearly original with original stapling and a woodcut portrait printed on its verso. Of the reported copies, most lack the map, despite cataloguing that indicates its supposed presence. (Included with this copy are separate facsimiles of the wrappers and map.) The book also issued in cloth.

     First edition. Adams, Herd 1140: “Rare.” Gilcrease-Hargrett, p. 290 (lacking map): "Excessively rare." Graff 2174 (reported as having map but not present). Howes J3. Howes Catalogue 60-211: “Inordinately rare with the map. It has never appeared at public sale, and I know of but one other perfect copy.” Rader 2032. For more on Boomer David L. Payne (1836-1884), first cousin of David Crockett, see Thrapp, Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, p. 1123. Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol. XIII, No. 4 (December 1935), pp. 438-439:

There is in the library of the Oklahoma Historical Society an old book which contains some information concerning Western Indian Territory, that afterwards became Oklahoma Territory, which is not found in other historical publications. It is the first book published under the title “Oklahoma.” While the prefatory may seem somewhat bombastic, yet 50 years have shown that it was not over drawn. Had the writers known of the rich mineral resources; including coal, lead, zinc, and the great oil fields only awaiting development, they might have written an introduction which would have been considered an inspiration or a prophetic vision.

     This work is a bitter diatribe against the railroads and cattle barons and their supposed accomplices in the U.S. Congress. Jackson and Cole praise the efforts of David L. Payne and others to settle in Oklahoma, although all their efforts were frustrated by the intervention of the U.S. Army, who removed by force any squatters or Boomers that they found in the area. The authors proclaim the Territory is really public land and that anyone should be allowed to settle there. They argue that only the vastest and most notorious of conspiracies prevent the honest settler from enjoying the benefits of what is termed yet another American Italy.

     This book was written against the background of the struggle to open Oklahoma to settlement. After the Civil War, Native American tribes who supported the Confederacy were forced to surrender all their lands west of the 96th meridian. Those lands, however, lay fallow, exploited only by cattle grazers and the railroads. It was because of the persistent efforts of some of the people described in this work that the lands were finally opened.

     The plates, text illustrations, and vignettes display a dizzying array of quality, from accomplished to crude. Many are merely thematic and probably stock, such as the tailpiece showing a piece of celery. Others, however, are more dramatic and based on actual observations, a situation particularly true of the plates, most of which are sharply executed, dramatic, and well printed. Examples of some of the better plates are “Colonists Chained to their Own Wagons by the Military and Dragged through the Territory” (wagon train escorted by soldiers), “Capt. Payne as an Indian Scout” (battle scene), “Capt. Payne Crossing the Line Going to Oklahoma” (endless wagon train stretching into the distance), “Capt. Payne’s Last Camp in Oklahoma” (supposedly his expedition), “Camp Alice, on North Canadian, where Capt. Payne Was Arrested” (bucolic scene of tents in the countryside), “The Spring Drive, Crossing the Swollen River near Captain Payne’s Ford” (huge herd of cattle swimming a river), and “Ranch Branding in Oklahoma” (seldom seen image in cowboy iconography). The illustrations are by various firms, the best of which are those identified as Ramsey, Millett & Hudson in Kansas City, Missouri. The firm published maps, birds-eye views, journals, and books; among their outstanding works is McCoy’s Historic Sketches of the Cattle Trade of the West and Southwest (1874).


Sold. Hammer: $750.00; Price Realized: $900.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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