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1866 Reconstruction Edition of De Cordova’s Iconic Map of Texas

<p><em>J. De Cordova’s Map of the State of Texas</em>.... 1866</p>

[MAP]. DE CORDOVA, J[acob Raphael] & Robert Creuzbaur (compilers), G.W. & C.B. Colton (publisher), & H.P. Cooper (printer). 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 G.W. & C.B. Colton, 172 William St. New York. 1866 Without my signature all copies of this map have been fraudulently obtained [printed signature and rubric] J. De Cordova; [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; [above lower neat line at left] Printed by H.P. Cooper, 141 Fulton St. [untitled inset rectangular map (21 x 26 cm) at lower right showing West Texas, the Transmississippi West, Baja California, and Northwest Mexico]; [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, Samuel Houston, David S. Kaufman, T. Pillsbury, John C. Hays, George T. Wood, W.D. Miller, Thomas W. Ward, George W. Smyth]. New York, 1866. Lithograph map of Texas on banknote paper, showing counties, cities and towns, roads, rivers, Native American villages; decorative oak leaf border (2 cm), original wash and outline color; neat line to neat line: 84 x 75 cm; border to border: 90 x 80 cm; overall sheet size: 93 x 83.5 cm. Creased where formerly folded, other light creasing, small tear at top into border (not affecting image), small paper patches at each corner with very light residue from former mounting, several minor voids at folds, verso with remnants of pocket cover attachment with bleedthrough to recto (covers not present), overall very good; verso with two notes: “Texas Land Office Map of Texas” in ink, and pencil note “Land Office Map of Texas 1866.”

Reconstruction edition, showing Texas after the Civil War, before it was readmitted to the Union. The map is descended from De Cordova’s original 1849 edition (see preceding entry). This map must have been a reassuring image to many Texans at the time. No sooner had the Civil War ended than the discussion of dismemberment of Texas reopened. In fact, when Texas was annexed to the Union in 1845, a unique condition of its annexation was the privilege to divide itself into as many as five states. What a relief it must have been to see Texas still a single geo-political unit in this 1866 map. In the long Reconstruction Convention of 1868-1869, the question of dividing the State of Texas was formally raised. A constitution of West Texas was drafted, with a proposed capital of San Antonio for the new state (see Fifty Texas Rarities 43). Fortunately, on March 30, 1870, the United States Congress formally readmitted Texas into the Union, ignoring the call in some quarters for dismemberment.

Icons of Texas cartography tend to emphasize early exploration and Texas independence and revolution, but “the dynamic period from the close of the Civil War to the turn of the century contributed more to the Lone Star State’s historical image and cultural identity than any other era. During this time Texas returned to the union and then moved slowly away from the Old South as it reaffirmed its uniqueness within the United States” (David Coffey, “Post-Civil War Texas History 1865 to 1900,” p. 81 in Going to Texas: Five Centuries of Texas Maps, TCU Press, 2007).

Some things are well worth recycling. The present map evolved from the first official printed map of Texas, which was published in 1849. Pressler revised the map in 1855, and subsequently sold his rights to Colton the same year. Ristow (American Maps and Mapmakers, p. 459) notes editions in 1849, 1850, 1851, 1853, 1856 [Rumsey 3366], and 1857. Rumsey (4801) lists an edition as late as 1867, and OCLC shows editions as late as 1871. We have had the 1861 and other editions of the map. Obviously, this map was much in demand for over two decades and likely stayed in print from its creation in 1849 because of the high respect it deservedly earned. Any lapse in availability probably occurred during the Civil War.

This 1866 edition documents the tremendous growth and development of the state since the original edition of 1849. Many of the old colonies and grants have been over-printed with county names and added borders (e.g., Fisher-Miller Colony adds the counties of Llano, Mason, Kimble, Menard, San Saba, McCulloch, Concho, etc.). The change in the inset map of the Transmississippi West severely limits the 1849 overreach of the Texas Panhandle leaping to Pikes Peak and beyond, instead limiting it to an area north of the Canadian River. Other changes include redrawing of some rivers (especially in northwest Texas), addition of roads, railroads, etc.

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