Guide through Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin & Iowa Showing the township lines of the United States Surveys, Location of Cities, Towns, Villages, Post Hamlets, Canals, Rail and Stage Roads.
Map By: J. Calvin Smith
Published By: James H. Colton
Date: 1840 (dated) New York
Dimensions: 20 x 24.75 inches (50.75 x 62.75 cm)
This is a well preserved mid-19th century traveler's map of the United States, still attached to its original book titled "The Western Tourist and Emigrant's Guide." The map and book offer a wealth up up-to-date information on what was once the Northwest Territory and at the time of publication was transforming into the American Midwest.
The map presents the states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Missouri, with Wisconsin and an oversized Iowa depicted as territories that have yet to be surveyed and settled by Anglo-Americans. Michigan too is only half surveyed with the majority of its population residing south of the 44th parallel. While many counties are surveyed and mapped, several are absent of any town or village and may have only had a handful of settlers if any.
In Wisconsin, large potions of land are distinguished under the Chippewa and Menomonie while another section is labeled Carvers Tract, which refers to a 10,000 square mile land claim in the upper Mississippi valley that in 1823 was deemed illegitimate by congress, yet still appeared in maps such as this some twenty years later. You can learn more about the history behind the Carver tract in a historical essay by the Wisconsin Historical Society.
The Iowa Territory appears in its largest form with only twenty established counties as well as a small Half Breed Tract that appears in the in the southeast corner. In this map, Iowa offers a clear visualization of the western frontier with much of the territory under the control of the Pottawatamies, Sioux, Iowas, and the Sacs and Foxes, which had previously occupied the Illinois Territory. Additionally, two long stretches of land are indicated to have been ceded by the Sioux, Sac, and Fox to the United States in 1830.
Modes of Transportation through the Western States
Throughout the map are a variety of lines delineating various modes of transportation throughout the old Northwest Territory. These include stage coach roads, canals (completed and proposed), and rail roads (completed and proposed), all of which are identified by a key in the lower right. Upon further examination, one will notice that most of the rail road lines are proposed and not yet in active use. This lack of railway infrastructure highlights the importance of travel by steamship along the rivers and canals and thus we find eight distance tables for steamship routes along the right border of the map.
The Accompanying Book
The book that accompanies the map offers a preface with a celebratory declaration of manifest destiny and westward expansion, emblematic of the era, followed by over 160 pages dedicated to the St. Lawrence and Mississippi Valley, the surveying process and sale of public lands, and a chapter on each state and territory shown in the map.
This map is sold as is, still attached to its original book but can be professionally removed and flattened for framing with the book as an accompanying reference.
Condition: Map is in B+ condition with bold original colors and minimal staining or tears. Common fold separations are apparent near fold intersections but most have been reinforced on the verso with archival materials. The book is complete with its original spin still in tact and minimal signs of ware on its covers.
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