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2007 Catalog > 34. Simpson, Report and Map of the Wagon Road Routes in Utah Territory.



34. James H. Simpson. Report of the Secretary of War, communicating, in compliance with a resolution of the Senate, Captain Simpson’s Report and Map of the Wagon Road Routes in Utah Territory (Washington, D.C.: Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 40, 35th Cong., 2nd sess., 1859). First edition. 84 pgs. 8vo report with new quarter-bound cloth and gilt-stamped spine. Contains the large folding map by Simpson: “Preliminary Map of Routes Reconnoitred [sic] and Opened in the Territory of Utah by Captain J. H. Simpson . . . in the Fall of 1858” (New York: J. Bien, 1859). Lithograph, black and white, as issued. 29 7/8 x 43" at neat line. Sheet size: 31 1/2 x 45 3/4". Report and binding are fine. Map has several corner separations; two short fold splits in margin; faint toning at edges; otherwise excellent. Overall a very clean example with the elusive map.

Price: SOLD.

Ten years after Topographical Officer Howard Stansbury first successfully reconnoitered the Great Basin, Captain James H. Simpson returned to search for a wagon road through Utah and Nevada from Camp Floyd at the south end of the Great Salt Lake to Genoa east of Lake Tahoe. Earlier survey parties had established routes through the northern basin, most notably along the Humboldt River, and other routes skirted the region to the south. Simpson found two paths through the center of the arid country that reduced the trek to California by over two hundred miles. His routes were almost immediately put into use by the Pony Express.

This document contains Simpson’s reconnaissance reports during the fall of 1858 and his outstanding, large, preliminary map showing the new wagon route. The map extends from Fort Bridger on the east to Pilot Peak on the west and from the north shore of the Great Salt Lake to south of Lake Utah. The maps shows the routes of Stansbury and Beckwith, as well as Simpson’s and includes excellent detail of the Mormon settlements and the topography of the region. The report further contains a preliminary report by Henry Engelmann on the geology of the country between Camp Floyd and Fort Bridger and an appendix of Ute and Shoshone vocabulary.

This report and its map constituted the preliminary groundwork for Simpson’s expanded report and map on the Great Basin, which he completed in 1859 but which was not published until 1876.

Refs.: Wagner-Camp, 345; Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, vol. IV, pp. 137–138, no. 998.


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