A ’59er s “Pike’s Peak or Bust” Guide with a Larger Agenda

“An important early guide to the Colorado Gold Region, with three Colton maps on two sheets”—Rumsey

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608. [PIKE’S PEAK GOLD RUSH GUIDE]. REDPATH, James & Richard J. Hinton (authors) & J[oseph] H[utchins] Colton (publisher). Hand-Book to Kansas Territory and the Rocky Mountains’ Gold Region; Accompanied by Reliable Maps and a Preliminary Treatise on the Pre-Emption Laws of the United States by James Redpath and Richard J. Hinton, of Kansas. New York: J.H. Colton, Publisher, 172 William Street [title verso: Davies and Roberts, Stereotypers, 113 Nassau Street, New York], 1859. [1, ad] [1, blank], [i-iii] iv-vi, [7] 8-177 [9, ads for railroad, etc., some illustrated, such as the Sibley Tent] pp., 3 maps on 2 folding sheets, 2 of the maps with original coloring (see below). 16mo (15.1 x 9.1 cm), original brown blind-stamped cloth, lettered in gilt on upper cover, and in blind on lower cover. Neatly rebacked, original spine preserved, title and second leaf foxed, otherwise fine. Maps with a few professional repairs to clean splits at folds (no losses), otherwise very fine.


Maps 1 & 2 are lithographed on a single sheet of banknote paper with original full color, both maps enclosed in a single ornate border measuring 68.5 x 41.5 cm; overall sheet size: 75.5 x 45.3 cm. (one clean tear to fold at juncture of map and upper cover, no loss), else very fine and fresh, with excellent color.

[1] Kansas and Nebraska. Published by J.H. Colton & Co. No 172 William St. New York. 1859 [below lower neat line at left] Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1858 by J.H. Colton & Co in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York [key at lower left, symbols for capitals, towns, villages, railroads, common roads] Explanations. Neat line to neat line: 44.2 x 37 cm. Rumsey 4872.004: “Taken from [Colton’s] 1858 General Atlas, minus the upper half of Nebraska—shows eastern Kansas and Nebraska.”

[2] Nebraska and Kanzas, Showing Pikes Peak and the Gold Region. Published by J.H. Colton & Co., 172, William St, New York. 1859 Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1855 by J.H. Colton & Co. in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York. Neat line to neat line: 19.5 x 37 cm. Rumsey 4872.004: “The lower half of [Colton’s] 1857 General Atlas map of the same title (without the reference to the Gold Region).” Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #995, illustrated preceding p. 179 (incorrectly labelled as #996) & Vol. IV, pp. 178: “The Gold Region and the routes leading to it, showing Montana, Denver City and Auroria (sic). The map extends west to Great Salt Lake.”

[3] Military Map of Parts of Kansas, Nebraska and Dakota by Lieut. G.K. Warren, Top. Engrs. from the Explorations made by him in 1855, 56 & 57. Exhibiting also Routes Reconnouered [sic] and Surveyed by various other Government Officers. J.H. Colton, No. 172 William St. New York. Lithograph map; border to border 44.5 x 80.3 cm; overall sheet size: 48.5 x 88.5 cm. Rumsey 4872.005: “Derived from the lower half of Warren’s 1858/1859 ‘Military Map of Nebraska and Dakota.’” Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #996, illustrated after p. 178 (incorrectly labelled as #995) & Vol. IV, pp. 179: “Extends from the Niobrara River, on the north, to the Smoky Hill Fork and Pike’s Peak, on the south, and from the junction of the Missouri and the Kansas at 94° 30’ West Longitude, on the east, to Long’s Peak, on the west. There is no detail of the gold region, but the words ‘Gold Field’ run along the South Fork of the Platte above and below the confluence of that stream with Cherry Creek.”

     First edition of one of the best of the ’59ers guides to the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, with a very thorough guide to emigration and proposed territorial organization. Eberstadt 137:522: “The original ‘Pike’s Peak or Bust’ overland guide.” Graff 3437. Hafen 14. Howes R120. Jones, Adventures in Americana 1417. Plains & Rockies IV:343. Rader 2773. Rumsey 4872. Sabin 68526. Streeter 2131: “The significance of this guide for a collection of 1859 publications on the Colorado Gold Region is due to the second and third maps.” Wheat, Transmississippi West, Vol. IV, p. 178: “Perhaps the most ambitious guidebook of the 1859 group [of Pike’s Peak Gold Rush guides] was the Hand-Book of Kansas Territory by James Redpath and Richard J. Hinton. The description and guide to the Pike’s Peak mining district has its own title: ‘Gold Regions of the Rocky Mountains. Description of the Country, History of the Gold Discoveries, full information as to Routes, Outfit, Time to Go, etc. etc.’”

     Two sources cited for the existence of gold are Dr. Webb of the New England Emigrant Aid Company and Colonel Frémont. Secondary sources for the assertion are trappers and Native Americans in 1835 and 1851, a Cherokee band in 1856 or 1857, and others leading up to 1859. The section on “Physical Geography of the Mountain Region” contains excerpts from the lectures of William Gilpin. The section on “What to Take” proposes an outfit and supplies for four miners for six months at a cost of $568.65. General matters discussed include setting up a mining company, how to treat Native Americans, suggestion that emigrants head for the mining region around April 15, the various routes, and suitable tents and tools for prospectors. The final section on “Proposed Territorial Organization” and appendix with “Preemption Laws Relating to the Public Lands” are more important for eventual consequences than how to find gold. These sections gave rise to the creation of Colorado itself. Scottish-born author James Redpath (1833-1891) was an anti-slavery activist and Free-Soiler who hoped this guide would spur a greater number of Free Soil immigrants to settle in Kansas Territory. Redpath’s co-author and kindred spirit in this venture was R.J. Hinton, journalist for the Boston Traveller and other eastern newspapers who went to Kansas in 1856. Hinton was a devotee of Garrison and John Brown (see Dary, Kanzana 74).

     The primary lure of this pocket map guide is its early discussion and cartographic features relating to the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, but it should not be overlooked that this is a also a great item for Kansas-Nebraska emigration and early advocacy of Colorado as a separate political entity. Among the tips offered to the prospective emigrant is “Who Should Go to Kansas.” Among those listed are young men, hard-working farmers, young women (for teachers and wives), carpenters, masons, blacksmiths, teamsters, tailors, shoemakers, etc., with the proviso: “Physicians, clergymen, lawyers, real estate brokers, gamblers, politician, and the like, had better stay home, for the territory is already bountifully supplied with them.” The authors give details on travel by railroad and first-class steamer, noting that deck passage on steamer provides “neither beds, nor meals, nor seats, nor any kind of accommodations furnished to deck passengers... The cattle are better provided for than deck emigrants.” Likewise, the food at the railroad restaurants is “filthy, bread badly baked and unwholesome,” and recommending that one carry one’s own spring water stating that the water provided is the color and consistency of coffee and is known facetiously as “Missouri water.” Regarding purchase of a trunk, the authors state: “Let your trunk, if you have to buy one, be of moderate size, and of the strongest make. Test it by throwing it from the top of a three-storied house; if you can pick it up uninjured, it will do to go to Kansas. Not otherwise.”

     Indian reservations in Kansas are listed and described (pp. 46-52) with the observation that the various tribes are occupying choice lands but, not to worry, they are being removed through the insistent demands of white settlers. Other subjects include material and commercial resources, forts, cattle and sheep raising, agriculture, projected railroads, etc.


Sold. Hammer: $5,000.00; Price Realized: $6,125.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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