El Rancho del Campo de los Franceses Evolves into Stockton

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384. [MAP]. VON FRANKENBERG, E. (delineator) & William Kierski & Brother (publishers). Map of the City of Stockton and San Joaquin Valley. By E. von Frankenberg. [above map title at left] W.S. Moses [table of businesses and keys to locations along left] Public Buildings and Some Business Places... Hotels... Manufactories... Banks... Merchants... [key at lower left] Explanation... [ad below key] For Sale at W. Kierski’s, (Bookseller and Stationer, Main Street.) And Others, Stockton. [left of title, at bottom of map] Table of Distances... [right of title, at bottom of map, inset map of the San Joaquin Valley showing relative position of Stockton] Sierra Nevada...Coast Range.... [Stockton?]: E. von Frankenberg, [1870? (per University of the Pacific); 1872? (per Bancroft)]. Lithograph town map, varnished and mounted on original cartographic linen (as issued), showing block numbers, some lot numbers, public buildings and business places, land ownership, drainage, etc., border to border: 56 x 43 cm. This map is in poor condition, and only its rarity allows us to offer it. Waterstained, browned from varnish, chipped and some splits at old folds (some losses; see illustration on our website). OCLC locates two institutions holding copies. The Bancroft Library has two copies, one of which is from the papers of Captain Charles Weber, founder and visionary of Stockton. The other copy of the map is at the University of the Pacific at Stockton.

     First edition. Not in standard cartographical sources. The names of Captain Charles Weber and Major Richard P. Hammond are not printed on this map, but their survey and mapping work in Stockton in 1848-1850 were the basis for it. Hammond was an officer in the Mexican-American War and became Weber’s business partner in the development of Stockton. Reps (Views and Viewmakers of Urban America 424-434) lists bird’s-eye views of Stockton as early as 1852, but printed maps of Stockton in the nineteenth century are uncommon. The Bancroft Library has the best collection of nineteenth-century maps of Stockton in the papers of Captain Charles Weber. The Bancroft-Weber cartographical material varies: manuscript maps, photocopies of original maps, and a few printed maps. The printed maps relate primarily to sales of Weber Estate properties in the 1880s.

     German born Captain Charles David Maria Weber (1814-1881) came to the United States in 1836, settling first in New Orleans and then spending about five years in Texas where he is said to have been involved with Sam Houston (some accounts say he fought the Mexicans with Sam Houston, and others claim he opposed Houston’s ideas on the boundary of Mexico and Texas). Health issues prompted Weber to emigrate to California with the Bartleson-Bidwell Party in 1841 (first overland party to California from the United States). At first he worked for John Sutter, but his ambitions were higher and he knew how to make a deal. In 1845 he obtained the 50,000-acre land grant El Campo de los Franceses. Captain Weber mined gold, raised cattle, and created a booming commercial depot for the southern mines, selling tools and goods to eager prospectors at Gold Rush prices. In 1849 Weber and Hammond surveyed and drew plans for Weber’s vision of Stockton, a grid of streets over a natural systems of sloughs and islands (Cornell has a photostat of a version of Weber’s plan by Hammond, printed in New York ca. 1849; no original copies located by OCLC, but as of 1955, the original printed map was in the possession of a a Weber descendant).

     Due to the efforts of Weber, Stockton was incorporated in 1850. Floods, fires, and claims problems required Weber to modify his original town plan of 1849-1850, and these modifications were achieved in increments between 1850 and 1880. Among the early printed maps of Stockton reported by OCLC is Map of the City of Stockton and Environs: With Additions and Corrections to March 1861, by Civil Engineer Duncan Beaumont, lithographers Britton & Rey, and sold by the Kierski firm (the latter being the same agent for the present map). According to OCLC, the sole holding for the 1861 map is Weber’s copy in his papers at the Bancroft Library. The present map was based on the 1861 map, which was larger in size (the 1861 map proper was surrounded by ads of local merchants).

     George H. Tinkham writing in 1880 in his History of Stockton (San Francisco: Hinton, 1880, pp. 74 et seq.) discusses the original surveys and map made by Weber and Hammond in 1848-1850, and remarks: “The original map drawn by Major Hammond is still in Captain Weber’s possession, and there is very little change in the present official map of the city.” Tinkham outlines the revisions necessary to the plan and the map to avoid the floods of the spring freshet, among other issues. He tells how the map was changed even after it was sent to the lithographers in New York. The passages in Tinkham are well worth reading in context of the present map. As an aside, Tinkham explains that many of the streets were named after generals in the Mexican-American war because Hammond was a veteran of that war. Weber finally settled on the name of Stockton for his town. The name Stockton was chosen to honor (and perhaps curry the favor of) Robert F. Stockton, second military governor of California and naval officer, who declared California to be independent of Mexico during the Mexican-American War. Stockton promised to promote Weber’s town, which prompted Weber to change the town name from Tuleberg to Stockton. Nothing ever came of that.

     Some aspects of the official map of Stockton were not worked out until the present edition of the map. The Weber-Hammond map was revised in 1861, but ongoing disputes and litigation regarding Weber’s land claims led to his shooting the alleged blackmailing Judge Heslep in July 1863. Thus, after much sturm und drang, the present map from the early 1870s was necessary to finally settle on what was actually the plan of Stockton.

     As noted in the first paragraph above, the Bancroft Library dates their two copies of this map ca. 1872, and the University of the Pacific in Stockton suggests ca. 1870. There are a few hints on the map. The Western Pacific Railroad is shown on the present map; that line arrived in Stockton in 1869, courtesy of Leland Stanford. The key on the map lists several businesses, and one such business is the Stockton Iron Works, which was established in 1868. More research could be done on this aspect.

     The mapmaker and its publisher are not recorded in standard cartographical references, nor have we found the map in auction and other sales records. Peter Palmquist (Pioneer Photographers of the Far West, Stanford University Press, 2000, p. 349) provides information on the agent for sales of the map, William Kierski (b. ca. 1839):

Book, photograph, and engraving dealer, publisher; active Stockton, California, ca. 1856-ca. 1873).... The company was owned by William Kierski and his brother, John Siegfried Kierski. The brothers, both natives of Prussia, resided in New York before immigrating to California. By 1856 they were co-owners of the William Kierski book and stationery store at the corner of Levee and Eldorado Streets in Stockton. By 1861, they were operating as Kierski and Brother. In addition to selling books and photographs, they occasionally published maps, including Map of the City of Stockton and Environs, with Additions and Corrections to March 1861, by Duncan Beaumont.... Kierski and Brother continued in various locations in Stockton until at least 1873.

Kierski also sold musical instruments, Japanese tobacco, “fancy bound books,” Japanese goods, and a “New Map of Stockton” (see pp. 241-242 in Transactions of the California State Agricultural Society during the Year 1861, San Francisco: Benj. P. Avery, 1862). He was among the first officers of Congregation Ryhim Ahoovim and a member of the Stockton Knights of Pitias Lodge (pp. 350 & 363 in George H. Tinkham’s History of Stockton).

     The delineator of the map, E. von Frankenberg, remains a mystery, although his name appears on other cartographic works in the Weber collection at Bancroft (e.g., undated ms. map of roads in Merced County and A.L. Bancroft’s 1874 Official Map of the County of Merced, California). As will be noted on the present map, a large tract of land housed the Stockton Insane Asylum, which was at the time the state asylum for all of California. We find this cryptic entry for E. von Frankenberg dated September 20, 1862:

AN INSANE BARON — A German Baron was brought up in the steamer of yesterday morning, and taken to the Insane Asylum. He has been an artillery officer in the Prussian service and named Baron Ewald Carl Stanislaus VON FRANKENBERG. He is of the impression that there are certain parties who are constantly aspersing his character, and although funds have been deposited with the Prussian Consul to pay his passage home, yet he will not leave willingly until he clears up the mystery of these unknown defamers.


Auction 23 Abstracts

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