“The first map of what is now Oregon to be lithographed west of the Rockies”—Streeter

Exceedingly Rare Gold Rush Map of Oregon & Northern California

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372. [MAP]. SCHOLFIELD, Nathan. Map of Southern Oregon and Northern California compiled from the best Authorities, and from personal surveys and explorations, exhibiting a reliable view of the rich Gold Region of the North, as well as the mineral region of middle California, Embracing also a corrected chart of the coast from San Francisco Bay, to the Columbia River agreably [sic] to the late United States Coast Survey by N. Scholfield, Civil Engineer. Lith. by J.W. Hartman San Francisco Published by Marvin & Hitchcock, San Francisco. Scale of Miles...Entered according to act of Congress in June A. 1851, by Nathan Scholfield in the Clerks office of the District Court for the Northern District of California. San Francisco: Marvin & Hitchcock, 1851. Lithograph map showing the California Gold Regions and Oregon; neat line to neat line: 60.4 x 44.1 cm; overall sheet size: 61.1 x 45.8 cm. Formerly folded, splits at folds neatly reinforced with archival paper (no losses), scattered mild to moderate foxing and browning, otherwise a very good copy of an exceedingly rare and important Western map. Preserved in a recent dark brown morocco and dark blue folding box and chemise. OCLC locates four copies: Huntington Library, Oregon Historical Society, University of California at Santa Cruz, and Yale. The last copy at auction was the Streeter copy in 1968.

     First edition. Streeter Sale 2685: “This is the first map of what is now Oregon to be lithographed west of the Rockies, and is one of the first, if not the first to show the new town of Portland, the new settlements on the Umpqua, and the road to California up the Willamette Valley. This and the Butler map, San Francisco, 1851, (copy in TWS) are among the few maps of California, lithographed there in 1850 and 1851 which have survived.” Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region, pp. xxxii-xxxiii & 206: “Scholfield’s map is one of the most interesting, as well as one of the earliest attempts to represent the newly explored Trinity and Klamath River diggings.” Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 734 & Vol. III, pp. 147-148:

Much the same as those of the commercial cartographers [but different because it] seeks to publicize local rather than general areas. For example, Scholfield portrays the lower Klamath River in some detail, showing “N. Orleans” and numerous tributaries, though detail on the Trinity is absent. On the Umpqua there is considerable detail, and a road is shown leaving Fort Vancouver and passing Portland and Millwakie (sic), going up the Willamette, past the Calapuya Mountains to Winchester on the Main Branch of the Umpqua. But after leaving the Rogue River, it becomes a trail and continues as such to the upper Sacramento. A curiosity is the “Western Line of the Gold County” extending across California from the Feather River to the “Redwoods R.” on the coast north of Trinidad. A few names appear in the California diggings; the best of these being “One House Town” on Clear Creek just below Shasta City. A road extends from Millwakie, near Oregon City, to Fort Walla Walla but nothing of the sort goes eastward from California. Oddly, nothing is given along the Lassen Cutoff, though in large type “Gold Region” appears to the East.

     Notice of publication of the map appeared in the Daily Alta California (Vol. 2, No. 183, June 11, 1851), p. 4:

PIONEER BOOK STORE. Just published a new map of Southern Oregon and Northern California.... The author of this map has spent much time in exploring and surveying these portions of the country, and it is presumed to be more accurate and reliable than any other yet published.

In the June 13, 1851 (Vol. 2, No. 185) of the Alta California, the editors printed a letter from Scholfield, in which he comments at length on his map, including:

Having spent considerable time in surveying and exploring this, as well as other portions embraced in this map, I am enabled to present the public with an approximate map, without pretending to perfect accuracy in all the details, but present it as an approximate map, correct in all its main features.... One year since it was not known where the Trinity river entered the ocean, or whether it was tributary to some other river. Parties of miners endeavored to have it done; but on account of the numerous falls and rapids and the precipitancy of its banks, it was not easily detected; others attempted by cruising along the coast, to find its entrance and ascend it from its mouth; but this had hardly been accomplished when a party with whom I acted, set out to explore the Klamath river and valley. And for that purpose, with the maps of Fremont, Wilkes, and several others, we sailed for a point on the coast in latitude 42 degrees where, according to these maps, the Klamath was made to enter the ocean. Here we found a river, but not such a one as we were led to expect.... We ascertained that the Klamath passed south, here it was joined by the Trinity, and then pursued its course to the ocean.

Having satisfied ourselves of the general worthlessness of this river or any in its vicinity, as a channel or communication with the interior, on account of the numerous rapids and high precipitous banks, running even into mountains, we left it in possession of the barbarous savages who inhabit it, and bent our sails for the Umpqua river. Here, contrary to our expectations, we found an excellent harbor, spacious and well protected, with sufficient depth of water for vessels of large class, although in the language of Commander Wilkes, of the United States exploring expedition, we were led to suppose the Umpqua afforded no harbor for seagoing vessels, and that there was but nine feet water on the bar. But we found eighteen feet on the bar at extreme low water, the same as at Columbia river...opening into a fine agricultural country in the interior.

After thoroughly exploring this river, and tracing its meanderings as well as its several tributaries...I deemed it expedient that a new one should be constructed, representing the main features of the country. I therefore offer this map to the public as the best representation of the country, till such time as the government surveys are completed. In addition to my own surveys, I have consulted in its construction the best maps extant, and the explorations and travels of scientific persons and miners, from which sources I have derived much valuable information. And lastly I have availed myself to the results of the late United States Coast Survey, by which I am enabled to give a corrected chart of the coast from San Francisco Bay to the Columbia river. Yours, respectfully, N. Scholfield.

     Cartographer-surveyor Nathan Scholfield and his son Socrates Scholfield, of Norwich, Connecticut, were among the original party who came to Levi Scott’s town site for Umpqua in 1850 at the time of the great excitement of the Gold Rush in Southern Oregon. Scholfield Creek was named for them. Miners traveling from Oregon to California passed through the Rogue River Valley, an area not well known or depicted on available maps of the time. Faulty maps of the area were an empediment to developing or even arriving safely in the the area. Thus, it is not surprising that the Scholfields accompanied Captain Scott in his town building and other ventures. See Verne Bright, “The Lost County, Umpqua, Oregon, and Its Early Settlement” in Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. 51, No. 2, June, 1950, pp. 111-126).

     Regarding lithographer J.W. Hartman, Peters in California on Stone (p. 128) lists only one lithograph by him (Map of Northern California. Exhibiting a reliable view of the Rich Gold Region. By N. Schofield, C.E., Lith. by J.W. Hartman, San Francisco...Entered 1851). Peters comments: “This is possibly the Hartman of Zakreski & Hartman. I have but one lithograph by Hartman.” Peters’ entry on Zakreski and the permutations of the firm from ca. 1850 to 1858, are on pp. 205-206. Wheat in Maps of the Gold Region [Addenda entry 15), lists another map by Zakreski and Hartman (The latest Map of the Mining District and Bay of San Francisco...1851). See also Wheat’s entries 94, 95, and 184. Tooley has a brief entry for Hartman citing only the present map (Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers, revised edition, Vol. II, p. 280).

     The firm of Marvin & Hitchcock is well known. They published books, maps, and letter sheets, and sold books, stationery, pocket cutlery, and “fancy articles” in San Francisco in the early 1850s. They appear in the early San Francisco directories at 168 Montgomery Street near Clay. To facilitate sale of their letter sheets, they published The Complete Letter Writer: Containing a Great Variety of Letters on the Following Subjects: Relationship, Business, etc. (San Francisco, 1853). Another of their publications was Urculla’s California Text-Book (San Francisco, 1852). The firm suffered losses in the devastating fires of 1850, but as indicated by this and other later imprints, they managed to survive and thrive. See Cowan, Booksellers of Early San Francisco, p. 75. The firm and the present map are listed by Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers, revised edition, Vol. III, p. 215.


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