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1863 Public Survey Map of Colorado

Map of Public Surveys in Colorado Territory to accompany a report of the Surveyor Gen.

1863 Public Survey Map of Colorado


A highly polished map' - Wheat



Map of Public Surveys in Colorado Territory to accompany a report of the Surveyor Gen.
  1863 (dated)    17 x 22.5 in (43.18 x 57.15 cm)     1 : 1000000


This is a beautiful 1863 public survey map of Colorado Territory. It covers the region from the Escalante Mountains to Julesburg and includes survey work, with the progress of the land survey noted via a series of blocks representing the survey grid. An explanation in the top right quadrant explains the various lines on the blocks. The map identifies the 'Road of Major Wynkoop in July 1863 pursuing the Ute Indians' and 'Berthoud's Wagon road to Salt Lake City.' Gold discoveries around Central City are noted. Several forts are noted throughout, along with other important trails, passes, peaks, rivers, lakes and various other topographical features.

Wheat (1085) considered this an important map,
…a highly polished work, marking the General Land office maps of the previous two years look crude by comparison. One reason for the advance is that to a considerable extent the map is a redrawing of the Ebet-gilpin map of the previous year. It is not, however, a slavish copy, a number of the place names being differently rendered; the upper Colorado River, called 'Bunkara' by Ebert and Gilpin, is 'Grand or Bungarara River' here; 'Roan or Book Mountains' become 'Book Mountains'; and to the many 'parks' named by Ebert and Gilpin is added 'Old Park,' on the headwaters of the White River west of North Park. (That was probably a mistake; the name 'Old Park' had originally been applied by the mountain men to South Park.) A great many new towns have been added, among them 'Laporte,' which net year became Fort Collins. Another feature is that this map shows a trail in northwestern Colorado with a legend, 'Road of Major Wyncoop in July 1863 perusing Ute Indian.' This apparently starts near the junction of the Gunnison and the Grand (or Colorado), makes north to White River and to Bear (Yampa) River at its confluence with the Green, then turns east, going to North Park. Doubtless from the Ebert-Gilpin map, this map picks up 'Berthoud's Wagon Road to Salt Lake City.'
This map was prepared by John Prince, Surveyor General of Colorado Territory for issue in 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.


The General Land Office (1812 - 1946) 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 hands 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.

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.


Government Printing Office, 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, (Washington) 1864.    


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


Wheat, Carl Irving, Mapping of the Transmississippi West, 1540-1861, 1085.
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