Very Rare 1874 Edition of the Grand Format Pocket Map of Texas

by Colton, Roessler & Pressler

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260. [MAP]. COLTON, G[eorge] W[oolworth] & C[harles] B. (publisher) & A[nton] R. Roessler, [Karl Wilhelm] Pressler, et al (cartographers). Colton’s New Map of the State of Texas The Indian Territory and Adjoining Portions of New Mexico, Louisiana and Arkansas. Compiled from the Official County Maps of the General Land Office, the personal reconnaisances [sic] and geological explorations of Prof. A.R. Roessler, the Surveys of the Mexican Boundary Commission, U.S. Engineers, U.S. Coast Survey, U.S. General Land Office, the various Rail Road Cos., information furnished by Mr. Pressler, and other authentic materials by G. Woolworth Colton. Published by G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. 172 William St. New York 1874. [above neat line at lower left] Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1872 by G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington. [table at lower left to the right of title] Population of Texas by Counties 1870. New York, 1874. Lithograph map of Texas and adjacent regions, on banknote paper, relief shown by hachures, original rose outline of state borders, counties with original coloring in pink and green; neat line to neat line: 82.6 x 89.5 cm; overall sheet size: 86.5 x 93.5 cm, previously folded into original brown embossed cloth covers (15.4 x 10 cm), upper cover with large gilt lone star and lettering in gilt (Colton’s New Map of Texas New York G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co.), publishers’ yellow broadside ad (14.5 x 9 cm) used as pastedown inside upper cover: G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co., (Successors of J.H. Colton) Publishers of Maps, Atlases, Guide-Books, etc.... Professionally conserved, folds strengthened on verso, some minor losses at folds, cloth covers rehinged and rebacked, pastedown with insect damage at lower blank margin (slight loss of ruled border). A very good, fresh, and bright copy of a fragile, very rare map.

     This map is the 1874 edition of the previously described map which first came out in 1872, followed by an 1873 edition (one copy: UT Arlington), and other updated editions into the 1880s. OCLC gives no locations for this 1874 edition of the map. For the first edition, see Blevins, Texas: Mapping the Lone Star State through History, pp. 68-69 (illustrated from Library of Congress copy). Phillips, Maps of America, p. 846. Sharp, “A Collection of Maps of Texas in the Barker Texas History Center” in SWHQ, Vol. 60, No. 1 (July 1960), p. 109 (#66). Taliaferro, Cartographic Sources in the Rosenberg Library 344A (listing a photostat of the 1872 editon, and an original of the revised 1875 edition, 344B). Among the changes to this 1874 edition is a railroad from Gonzales to Columbus and removal of a railroad from Halletsville to Columbus. Another addition is the St. Louis and Mexico railroad route in East Texas.

     This very scarce, large-format pocket map is a descendant of De Cordova’s great 1849 map of Texas (see Martin & Martin 39). Colton purchased from De Cordova publication rights to his Texas map, and from 1856 onward Colton incorporated information from De Cordova’s map in his Texas maps. Colton chose his sources well, by using updates from Pressler and Roessler. “Having come to Texas as part of the German immigration into Texas, Pressler was keenly aware of the needs of potential immigrants.... After De Cordova employed Pressler to assist in correcting and revising his map of Texas... De Cordova sold his rights to J.H. Colton in 1855, at which time Pressler began work on a map of Texas on his own. In 1858 Pressler published a magnificent new map of Texas, one of the truly outstanding large scale maps of the state of Texas produced in the nineteenth century” (Martin & Martin 46, on Pressler).

     Hungarian Anton R. Roessler (1826-1893) was a notable cartographer, topographer, draftsman, geologist, real estate broker, mining prospector, self promoter, and “the most thorough and ideal crank of any age” (p. 156, Vasváry Collection Newsletter). His training, said to have been in Vienna, must have been rock solid, because Roessler became one of the best cartographers in Texas when he emigrated to Austin in 1860. In 1860-1861 Roessler served as draftsman, cartographer, and geologist for the Shumard Survey, the first in-depth geological and agricultural survey of Texas. Regrettably, the Shumard Survey derailed due to the exigencies of politics and the Civil War. Unlike some other members of the survey team, Roessler remained in Texas and served as chief draftsman of the Austin arsenal during the Texas Confederacy. Though later accused of plagiarism (and worse), which Roessler hotly contested, there is no doubt that he was responsible for preserving documentation on the 1858 Shumard Survey that otherwise would have been lost or destroyed when the geological survey rooms were converted into a Confederacy percussion-cap factory. Roessler was accused of stealing the Shumard survey data for private use in his mining and real estate ventures (the Texas Land and Copper Association and the Texas Land and Immigration Company of New York). In the late 1860s, Roessler worked as a geologist for the United States Land Office in Washington, D.C. In the 1870s he created sixteen county maps and at least three maps of Texas that bear his name. See Handbook of Texas Online: Anton R. Roessler and Keith Young, “The Roessler Maps,” Texas Journal of Science 17 (March 1965). Roessler’s incorporation of detailed documentation from the Shumard Survey into his maps makes them the most reliable nineteenth-century record of agricultural and mineral wealth of the state.

     Ristow states that “between 1831 and 1890, general map and atlas publishing in the United States was dominated by the companies founded by S. Augustus Mitchell in Philadelphia and Joseph H. Colton in New York City... The citizens of this vibrant and dynamic republic had a keen interest in geography, for they faced the challenges of exploring, mapping, and developing an entire continent. This created the fertile market for geographical and cartographical publications that was so effectively cultivated by the Mitchell and Colton firms” (Chapter 19 in American Maps and Mapmakers, p. 303). The Colton firm was founded by Joseph Hutchins Colton in New York in 1831, “where from small beginnings he established the business with which his name is identified the world over—the publication of the best grade of geographical publications and the most extensive house in America for many years for the manufacture of maps of every kind, atlases, school geographies, etc.” (Ristow, p. 315). In 1856, the Colton firm began to transfer to Colton’s two sons, George Woolworth Colton and Charles B. Colton.

     The present map is among the best and most accurate commercial maps of Texas for the time it was published, and the large format closely following that of De Cordova is very impressive. Updates have been added to the developing regions. A good example of this is Presidio County in the Trans-Pecos West, established in 1850 but not organized as a county until 1875, when it was the largest county in the United States with 12,000 square miles. Details shown in Presidio County on this map include lead and silver mines, Fort Davis, Fort Leaton, Spencer’s Ranch and spring, Van Horn’s Well, Jordan Spring, Read’s Spring, etc. The table of population for Presidio county is stated to be 1,636, which is actually the 1870 statistic (494 were women, 772 were Mexican immigrants, and the Black population soared with the arrival of the Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Davis in 1867). Reflecting a continuing controversy, Greer County in north Texas is still shown as part of the Lone Star State, even though it was eventually ceded to Oklahoma. El Paso is still designated as Franklin. This map also has excellent coverage of Indian Territory, eastern New Mexico, and adjacent territories.


Sold. Hammer: $7,000.00; Price Realized: $8,575.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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