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2007 Catalog > 10. Steen, Map of Western Territory


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10. Enoch Steen. [Untitled Map of the Western Territory to the Rocky Mountains] (Washington, D.C.: 1836). Published in Gaines Pierce Kingsbury, Journal of the March of a detachment of dragoons, under the command of Colonel Dodge, during the summer of 1835. In report of the Secretary of War, in compliance with a resolution of the Senate . . . dated Feb. 27, 1836 (Sen. Ex. Doc. 209, 24th Cong., 1st sess., p. 38; House issue, p. 37). Copperplate engraving with fine, bright original outline hand color. 19 x 34 3/4" at neat line with good full margins. Sheet size: 22 1/2 x 36". Old folds visible; minor darkening at some folds. Superb condition for this elusive map.

Price: SOLD.

Enoch Steen’s rare and beautifully executed map of the “Western Territory” from Fort Leavenworth to Pike’s Peak and south to Santa Fe provides an important early representation of the relocation of Indian tribes to their newly assigned lands in what is today Oklahoma. In the 1820s, the federal government pressured the Five Civilized Tribes of the South to surrender title to all of their lands east of the Mississippi in exchange for a “permanent” home west of the 96th meridian. Unfortunately, the Five Civilized Tribes were relocated on lands already claimed by indigenous southwestern bands. The Osage, Comanche, and Kiowa attacked the new arrivals, necessitating the dispatch of a unit of U.S. Army Dragoons under the command of Colonel Henry Dodge to quell the disturbances. Dodge and his troops subsequently embarked on an expedition to the Rockies to open up a route for western emigrants. Lieutenant Gaines P. Kingsbury kept the journal for a report to the U.S. Congress published in 1836. The unit’s cartographer, Lieutenant Enoch Steen, produced one of the two maps for the report—the map offered here, which was originally bound into the report.

Steen’s elegant map traces the route of the Dodge expedition from Fort Leavenworth up the South Platte River to the Rockies, south to Bent’s Fort, then back to Leavenworth down the Arkansas River and along the Santa Fe Trail. In addition to the expedition route, the map also records prominent topographic features (including an early reference to Pike’s Peak) and the lands of twenty-one named tribes. Thirteen of the tribes are those on reservations, with boundaries colored by hand, and eight tribes indigenous to the plains are named, ranging from the “Kioway” and “Comanchy” in the south to the Blackfeet in the north. The entire route of the Santa Fe Trail is indicated—here designated as the “Waggon road to St. Louis.”

Wheat speaks highly of the map and Wagner notes it to be "of great rarity" (only 500 copies were printed). A significant document of the West, the map stands as an important record not only of the Dodge Expedition but also of the early phase of the federal Indian relocation policy and the creation of Indian Territory. The present example is a remarkably clean one with lovely, bright hand color for the Indian reservation boundaries.

Refs.: Streeter sale, no. 1799; Wagner-Camp, no. 63; Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, vol. II, no. 421, pp. 149–150, illus. opposite p. 157.

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