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Brilliant, Fresh Copy of De Cordova’s Map of Texas

Revised and Updated by Karl Wilhelm Pressler

<p>Entire map</p>

[MAP]. DE CORDOVA, J[acob Raphael], Robert Creuzbaur, Charles W. Pressler, et al. J. De Cordova’s Map of the State of Texas Compiled from the Records of the General Land Office of the State, by Robert Creuzbaur, Published by J[oseph] H[utchins] Colton & Co. No. 172 William St. New York 1857 Revised and Corrected by Charles W. Pressler [below and left of title] Without my signature all copies of this map have been fraudulently obtained [engraved signature with rubric] J. De Cordova [left of title] Engraved by J[ohn] M. Atwood, New York. [above lower neat line at center] Entered according to Act of Congress on the 28th day of July 1848 by J. De Cordova, in the Clerk’s Office of the United States District Court for the District of Texas [untitled inset rectangular map at lower right showing Western U.S. (north from the Dakotahs and south to New Braunfels and Fredericksburg, Texas; west to the Pacific Coast, from San Diego to Southern Oregon)] [table at upper left indicating counties into which land districts fall] Reference to Land Districts [at lower left are seals of Texas and the Texas General Land Office along with certifications and facsimile signatures of Thomas J. Rusk, Sam Houston, David S. Kaufman, T. Pillsbury, John C. Hays, George T. Wood, W.D. Miller, Thomas W. Ward, George W. Smyth]. [New York], 1857. Lithograph map of Texas on banknote paper, showing counties, cities and towns, roads, rivers, Native American villages; wide ornate border (2.4 cm), original wash and outline color; neat line to neat line: 83.2 x 75 cm; border to border: 89.5 x 82 cm; overall sheet size: 90.5 x 83 cm; with original bright red pocket covers (16 x 10.5 cm), blind-embossed and lettered in gilt on upper cover: J. De Cordova’s Texas J.H. Colton & Co. York. Pastedown on upper cover with Colton ads on maize paper for Maps, Atlases, Guides, Books, etc., followed by De Cordova & Frazier’s notice of their General Land Agency in Austin, Texas, offering their services: Particular attention paid to the Collection of Debts, Payment of Taxes, and Recording Deeds in their proper Counties, Lands Located, Surveyed, and Patented at the usual rates, and good locations warranted. Numerous Tracts of Land for Sale in various parts of the State. Pocket covers with new sympathetic spine. A few tiny splits at map folds neatly reinforced, two very light spots at bottom of map, overall exceptionally fine, original condition, very bright with excellent color retention. It would be difficult to find a better copy. The restoration work was done by Green Dragon Bindery in their customary light-handed, archival methodology.

Provenance: Pencil signature “E.M. Stackpole” dated at New Orleans, January 7, 1858. Physician, entrepreneur, and Confederate officer Major Ellis Merrill Stackpole was born in 1826, at Bangor, Penobscot County, Maine, and died in 1886 at Galveston. He was on the Texas county tax rolls as early as 1846, when he settled at Fort Houston. Stackpole was present in a steamboat disaster in Galveston described in an article published in the Texas State Gazette (April 2, 1853) in which two passenger steamships named Neptune and Farmer engaged in a speed race during which the boilers on the latter ship exploded. At the time of the explosion, Stackpole was remonstrating with the ship’s captain to slow down. Stackpole was blown into the air and came to consciousness in the water. He settled in Dallas intermittently between 1848 and 1861 and was listed as prominent among the “enterprising merchants” in Dallas prior to the Civil War. He lost all of his inventory and warehouse in the infamous Dallas fire on July 8, 1860, thought to have been ignited by slaves, Northern abolitionists, and two Iowa preachers. Stackpole had a financial interest in a line of steamers from New York to Galveston and sometimes lived in New York, and at other times in Galveston. He served as a Major and quartermaster in Confederate General Gano’s brigade during the Civil War. Some of the most elusive Confederate paper money is signed by Stackpole, whose signature matches that on the present map.

Indeterminate Pressler edition (for more on the map in general, see description of the first edition, 1849, preceding). We have handled two 1857 editions of De Cordova’s archetypal state map of Texas: (1) The present map with date of 1857 in title, copyright statement dated 1848, title as above, etc. (2) The other 1857 edition that we sold had the date of 1857 in title (but altered on plate from 1851), copyright date of 1856, variant title, etc. OCLC locates only the Yale copy of the map with date of 1856 in the copyright statement. OCLC locates no copies of the present edition with 1857 in the copyright statement (yet Phillips, America, p. 845, matches the present copy, dated 1857, but with copyright date 1848 below). See preceding entry for the many references to the 1849 original map and statements regarding its historical importance.

Like Stephen F. Austin’s iconic colonial and Republic map of Texas, which first was published in 1830 with editions to 1846 and beyond, the present statehood map of Texas by De Cordova was of a quality and precision that encouraged subsequent updated editions after De Cordova’s first edition published in 1849, the first official map of Texas as a U.S. state (see preceding entry). According to Rumsey, editions of De Cordova’s statehood map of Texas appeared in 1849, 1850, 1851, 1853, 1856, 1857, 1858, 1861, and 1867 (we have had an 1866 Reconstruction edition, and doubtless there are other editions of the map). The bibliography of this important map is still incomplete. In short, the map was constantly updated and revised. Each revised version updates the geography of the state and documents the rapid growth of Texas. The present edition incorporates Pressler’s revisions, which were first published the previous year, but the present map contains additional revisions to update the 1856 edition (e.g., the addition of Jack County, revisions of the German-Texas colonization region, etc.). The 1857 edition in our Auction 22 had some variations from the present 1857 edition, such as the revision of title discussed above. Much remains to be discovered about De Cordova’s maps, which so influenced travel, commerce, emigration, and even armchair travelers. It is no wonder that all editions are quite rare—they were literally used up.

For more on De Cordova, see preceding entry for the original 1849 map. The present map was revised by Pressler, who was on board with De Cordova’s Texas map project from the beginning. It was Pressler’s surveys of Texas in 1846 and 1847 that were the basis for De Cordova’s first map of Texas. Pressler remained deeply involved in Texas cartographic efforts. He deserves more credit.

Handbook of Texas Online article on Pressler:

Karl Wilhelm Pressler (1823-1907), surveyor and cartographer, was born on March 26, 1823, at Kendelbrück in Thuringia, Prussia. Upon graduation from the Luthergymnasium in Eisleben on April 1, 1841, he entered a surveyor’s school at Weissensee; he passed the surveyor’s examination in 1844, when he entered the Prussian state service. Dissatisfied with political and religious conditions, he left Prussia in 1845 as a member of the Adelsverein and landed in Galveston, Texas, about February 1, 1846. His name gradually became anglicized to Charles William. He moved to Austin and was employed by Jacob De Cordova, who made him the head of surveying expeditions in 1846 and 1847. Pressler checked the details of De Cordova’s first map of Texas, issued in 1849. He surveyed in Guadalupe County in March 1848 and that summer returned to Germany. On June 18, 1849, he married Clara Johanna Doerk in Eisleben. They returned to Texas, where Pressler purchased a farm near New Ulm in Austin County. After moving to Austin in December 1850 he became a draftsman in the General Land Office. He became principal draftsman in 1858 and chief draftsman in 1865 and, except for short periods of service elsewhere, served until his retirement on January 16, 1899. In 1851 he and W. Voelker issued a map of Texas that was published in Germany and appeared in George M. von Ross’s Der nordamerikanische Freistaat Texas (1851), a descriptive book on Texas for the use of immigrants. Pressler was one of the incorporators of the German Free School Association of Austin in 1858. He computed the area of the counties in Texas for De Cordova’s Texas: Her Resources and Her Public Men (1858), revised and corrected De Cordova’s 1856 map of Texas, and in 1858 published his own map of the state. He worked for the engineering department of the Confederacy before receiving his captaincy on June 30, 1864, in the Texas Infantry. During the summer of 1867 he was city engineer for Galveston, and the same year his 1858 map of Texas, revised in 1862, was again revised and issued as the Traveler’s Map of the State of Texas. In 1870 he was employed by the United States commissary service, for which he compiled a map showing a new route from Austin to Fort Yuma, Arizona. From June 26 to October 22, 1869, he accompanied Capt. L.C. Overman of the United States Engineering Corps on an expedition to survey and inspect forts Richardson, Griffin, Concho, McKavett, Clark, Duncan, and McIntosh. In 1879 Pressler and Langermann issued a map of Texas in three sizes, and in 1889 Pressler prepared a map of Texas that was never published. He is also credited with the preparation of thirty-eight Texas county maps. Pressler died on February 6, 1907, in Austin and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery; he was survived by his wife and four children.


Auction 25 Abstracts

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