1859 Daniel A. Jenks Drawing: Covered Wagons Camp Pine Grove Creek, Rocky Mountains, Wyoming

Our-Camp 62d Pine-Grove-Creek Rocky Mountains. - Main View

1859 Daniel A. Jenks Drawing: Covered Wagons Camp Pine Grove Creek, Rocky Mountains, Wyoming


Covered wagons in the Rockies - on the overland trail.


Our-Camp 62d Pine-Grove-Creek Rocky Mountains.
  1859 (undated)     7 x 10 in (17.78 x 25.4 cm)


An exceptional discovery, this is a Daniel A. Jenks' original 1859 pen-and-ink drawing depicting a camp in the Platte Valley, in the Rocky Mountains of modern-day Wyoming, composed on his overland journey to California. It is part of a series of drawings Jenks composed trail-side covering his Transmississippi travels from 1849 to 1865. This is the only known example of one of Jenks' individual drawings appearing on the market.
A Closer Look
The image depicts the 62nd camp on Jenks' voyage, reached on June 11, 1859. It illustrates a wooded camp set next to a lively creek with the Rocky Mountains ascending in the background. In the foreground, a tent and three Conestoga wagons greet the viewer. Pioneers, possibly including Jenks himself, cook, chop wood, work on their wagons, and hunt. The image is pen-and-ink with color added by waxed pencil or crayon. Most of Jenks' images are black and white, but many of those associated with his 1859 overland voyage feature similar color. Jenks loved life on the road, and his trail-life is evident in the comfortable comradery evident here. In his own words,
I must confess there is a romance, a wildness about it that amply repays me for the many hardships and trials one endures on such a trip. In one word, I like it. At an early hour, the fires are put out and men, women and children seek their pile of blankets, spread upon the ground in around and under the wagons, where we sleep as sound, and awake in the morning as refreshed, as though we had a bed of feathers, to lie in and a roof to cover us. I have never enjoyed as good health before.
Jenks Describes This Camp
The following is transcribed from Jenks' journals,
Camp 62: Pine Grove Creek 6/11

Drove about 5 miles, came to a small creek and watered our stock, then drove about 4 miles further to the foot of the mountains, found a small creek and stopped for dinner. This Platte Valley, lying between two lofty ranges of mountains, is perfectly destitute of timber of any sort, save on the banks of the river where we found occasionally a narrow strip of cottonwoods. The soil is very poor, being a clayey gravel, strongly alkalized and almost destitute of grass and covered with clumps of sagebrush. It is quite chilly, bluffs of sandstone running out in all directions and with but few tributary streams crossing it. About 17 miles west from the river our trail forked, and which to take we knew not. But as one bore due west and the other northwest, we took the first name, as that was nearest the course we wanted to steer.

Our Georgia teams took the northwest road, they thinking it to be the proper trail, so here we separated. After dinner we drove on the creek to near its head, crossed a low hill, came down onto another creek, followed it up a piece until we struck a grove of pines where we camped for night. During afternoon had a terrible gale accompanied with rain and hail. This camp appears to have been occupied for some time by a company of US soldiers, judging from appearances. We crossed two bridges this afternoon, probably their work also, as bridges are a scarce article in these parts. Found here good grass for our stock and plenty of wood for ourselves and we needed it too, as we are wet to the skin and it is very cold tonight. We are within about a mile of the highest point in this pass.

Here we are on a stream that finally empties itself into the Atlantic. One mile further and all the streams from that on find their way to the Pacific. This is the backbone of Uncle Sam’s domain.
Publication History and Census
This image was drawn on June 11, 1859, when Jenks and his companions were encamped at Pine Grove Creek, Wyoming. As an original pen-and-ink drawing, it is unique. We see only two works relating to Jenks having entered the market, both of which were journals containing some sketches that appeared at Christies in 2012, where they collectively fetched nearly 185,000 USD. The Library of Congress owns 22 additional Jenks sketches. We are aware of no record of another example of Jenks' drawings appearing on the private market.


Daniel Albert Jenks (1827 - February 8, 1869) was an American gold prospector, pioneer, trader, cowboy, adventurer, artist, and diarist active in the Transmississippi from roughly 1849 to 1860. Jenks was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the son of a local Baptist deacon and grocer. His is best known for his drawing and detailed journals covering over 10 years of adventuring in the American West. Jenks first went west as a Forty-Niner in search of California Gold. Having some resources and education, Jenks secured a berth on a ship around South America to San Francisco. His journals describe in detail the brutality and lawlessness of the early California gold camps. He soon became disillusioned with prospecting and attempted to settle as a merchant's clerk in Yreka, on the California-Oregon border. A restless spirit, this proved too sedate for his liking and he quickly turned back to prospecting, only to, once again, become disillusioned. Jenks returned to San Francisco in 1857, from which he embarked on the homeward journey to Pawtucket. Like many 49ers returning east, he found he could not acclimate to New England society and once again, in 1859, set out west, this time overland. He, with friends and a wagon train, struck out overland from Kansas City, first for Colorado, where he left his friends, then north into Wyoming towards California. He arrived in Yreka August 25, 1859, and returned to clerking, and again to prospecting. His health failing, in 1865, he traveled back to Rhode Island, where he died in 1869 his hometown of Pawtucket, at just 41. Today, his journals and sketches are considered among the best records of the pioneer experience in the formative years of the American West. All in all, his journals consists of five volumes. The first three, covering from 1849 - 1859, were sold by Christies in 2012 into unknown private hands, fetching some 185,000 USD. The final two volumes, capturing from 1859 - 1965, are, to our knowledge, preserved at the Pawtucket Historical Society. The Library of Congress preserves 22 of his original drawings. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Some edge wear.