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1863 Public Survey Map of Kansas and Nebraska


Map Showing the progress of the Public Surveys in Kansas and Nebraska.
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Title:    Map Showing the progress of the Public Surveys in Kansas and Nebraska.

Description:    This is an impressive example of the 1863 public survey map of Kansas and Nebraska by Mark W. Delahay, Surveyor General of Kansas and Nebraska. It covers the region from the Missouri Rivers to the western boundary of Nebraska and from the Neobrarah (Niobrara) River to the Osage Indian Lands. In doing so it is the first map to fully illustrate either political entity (Wheat, 1086). The map was prepared to illustrate the progress of the land survey work in Kansas and Nebraska, noted via a series of blocks representing the survey grid. An explanation near the left margin describes the various markings in the blocks. The map identifies various Indian lands and reservations, including those assigned to the Sac and Fox, the Pottawattamie, Delawares, Ottoe, Kickapoos, and others. Fort Leavenworth, the traditional starting point for most overland routes westward, as well as several villages, towns, cities and rivers are noted. This map was issued as part of the 1864 congressional report, Message of the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress at the Commencement of the First Session of the Thirty-Eighth Congress.

Date:    1863 (dated)

Source:    Annual Report of the Surveyor General, 38th Congress, 1st Session, 1863 (Washington) 1864.    

References:    Rumsey 1070.015 (1866 edition). Wheat, Carl Irving, Mapping of the Transmississippi West, 1540-1861, 1086.

Cartographer:    The General Land Office, created in 1812, was an independent agency charged with the administration and sale of public lands of the western territories of the United States under the Preemption Act of 1841 and the Homestead Act of 1862. During a time of frenetic energy and rapid westward expansion, the Land Office oversaw the surveying, platting, mapping and eventually the sale of much of the Western United States and Florida. The structural layout of the western United States that we see today, and many of their district and county divisions, are direct result of the early surveying work of the General Land Office. More importantly, as a branch of the Federal Government in Washington D.C. and the only agency able to legally sell and administer public lands in the western territories of the United States, the General Land Office played a pivotal role in consolidating power away from the original states and into the hand of the centralized federal government. The General Land Office was absorbed into the Department of Interior in 1849 and in 1946 merged with the United States Grazing Service to become the Bureau of Land Management. Today the Bureau of Land Management administers the roughly 246 million acres of public land remaining under federal ownership. Click here for a list of rare maps from The General Land Office.

Cartographer:    Joseph R. Bien was a topographer and an engineer working the later part of the 19th century. His name appears a number of state and regional atlases, including the important 1895 Atlas of New York. Most of Joseph Bien's work was published in conjunction with the New York Lithographing, Engraving & Printing Company, which was founded by Julius Bien. Joseph was almost certainly related to Julien, though whether he was a son, cousin, or brother, remains unknown. Click here for a list of rare maps from Joseph R. Bien.

Size:   Printed area measures 29.5 x 23.5 inches (74.93 x 59.69 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 1170000

Condition:    Very good. Some wear and toning along original fold lines. Professionally flattened and backed with archival tissue.

Code:   KansasNebraska-publicsurvey-1863 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)

Tags:    U.S. Government Map , Land Office , Westward Migration

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