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Henry DeGroot:  DeGroot's Map of Nevada Territory exhibiting a portion of southern Oregon and eastern California. . . 1863 (with Guide to Degroot's Map of Nevada Territory, Etc., Etc.)

Maps of Southwest America (Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Texas)


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Title: DeGroot's Map of Nevada Territory exhibiting a portion of southern Oregon and eastern California. . . 1863 (with Guide to Degroot's Map of Nevada Territory, Etc., Etc.)

Map Maker: Henry DeGroot

Place / Date: San Francisco / 1863

Coloring: Hand-Colored

Size: 35 x 27 inches

Condition: VG

Price: $27,500.00

Inventory ID: 48596


Description:

The First Printed Map Devoted to Nevada Territory, with the First Printed Guide Book on Nevada Territory

This highly important early map of Nevada Territory includes details of the Washoe District, with Gold Hill, Virginia, Carson City, etc., silver mines located. Straddling the border with California is "Lake Tahoe or Bigler," and farther south Mono Lake.

Nevada is shown in its Territorial configuration, pre-dating its border with Utah being moved further east in the following years.  

The counties of both Nevada and eastern California are named, with some emphasis placed on eastern California, with numerous mining districts shown along both sides the California-Nevada border.  Similarly a number of roads are shown traversing the border, between the primary mining regions in California and those in Nevada.

De Groot's map of Nevada Territory, first published in 1863, is a landmark rarity.  As described by Howell in his Catalog 52:

Carl Wheat described De Groot’s 1863 map of Nevada as “truly an impressive performance, beyond even the fine map with which he greeted the birth of the Territory in 1861.” The map was entered for copyright in 1862, probably at the same time as the Guide . . . , but carried an 1863 imprint date, possibly to indicate that it contained the latest cartographic information. The map itself is a beautiful production, exceptionally accurate, and with physical details that indicate that De Groot was both a highly competent surveyor and a meticulous draftsman. The Guide, which may or may not have been printed prior to the map, contained a brief description of the Nevada Territory, tables of distances, and a list of the 41 mining districts keyed to their location on the map.  Neither Charles Camp nor Wheat were ever able to locate a copy of this Guide, and Wheat stated that “none of the principal libraries to which inquiries have been addressed possess it.”

The great historian H.H. Bancroft, managed to obtain manuscript copies of several of De Groot's maps, almost certainly from William H. Knight, who would later prepare several important maps of the region, which undoubtedly formed the basis for his maps of Nevada. 

Henry De Groot was one of the first miners to make the trip from California to "Western Utah" in June 1859, to chase his fortune mining at the newly discovered Comstock Lode.  Over the course of the next several years, he would prepare several manuscript maps, two printed maps and a 24 page pamphlet, which would become the first published maps and descriptions of the future Nevada Territory and the foundational source of information for the region. 

Wheat concludes:

A book-length study of De Groot would constitute an enlightening contribution to the history of the West, and perhaps a few notes on his life will encourage some scholar to embark upon such a project.   According to his own statement in the archival record of the Society of California Pioneers, De Groot was born at Duanesburg, Schenectady County, New York, on July 24, 1824 [or 1814] . . .  De Groot "studied law, and was admitted to practice. . . . Later he studied medicine, but . . . abandoned it, though the title of Doctor clung to him."   . .  .

On the discovery of gold, De Groot left for California among the earliest. [and] . . . reached San Francisco on February 28, 1849.   Some of his experiences in the Northern Mines he described in the Overland Monthly, September 1874 and April 1875.  Having made a modest pile, he . . . [returned] to New York in December 1849. . . His resources were quickly depleted, and with his young wife De Groot set out for California again within a few months. . . . According to an obituarty in the Mining and Scientific Press, April 1, 1893 . . .

"Every district and camp in California and Nevada has been visited by him.  At one time he accumulated considerable money but lost it in mining operations.  He was among the first to go to the Comstock and was a pioneer in Rees River, Cortez, Eureka, Pioche and other Nevada Distircts.  In several camps he established newspapers.  He was one of the most notable followers of mining excitements, having gone to Gold Bluff in 1851, Kern River in 1854, Frasher River, Washoe, Reese River, Aurora, Meadow Lake, White Pine and other camps when discovered.

For many years,  he resided in San Francisco . . . In addition to writing on mining subjects in the daily newspapers, he wrote for technical journals, the State Mining Bureau and U.S. Geological Survey.  He has been a frequent contributor to the Mining and Scientific Press for the last thirty years. . . .

. . . . He would walk from camp to camp and post himself thoroughly on the country.  At the time of the existence of the Old Hydraulic Miners' Association, he was assistant secretary and visited all the mines in search of data.  . . . During Ralston's time he did a great deal of mine-experting for the Bank of California . . ."

De Groot apparently became a professional journalist in the mid-Fifties.  . . . He went to the Fraser River in 1858, as a correspondent for the Daily Alta California, returning some seven months later to publish (without map) his rewritten dispatches as British Columbia; its Condition and Prospects, Soil, Climate, and Mineral Resouces Considered (1859).   Soon thereafter, he was off to the Washoe . . .  In July, 1861, Governor Nye appointed him to take the first census of Nevada Territory, and in 1864 made him first treasurer of Nye County. . . . He was accidentally killed by a Southern Pacific engine while reading a newspaper in an Alameda Station on March 29, 1893.

Provenance

The map bears the name (likely the signature) of George Selby.  It would appear that this is the same George Selby, a California Rancher and Teamster, who was living on the Marysville Road , who was murdered in his sleep on July 5, 1864.  According to accounts in the Marysville Daily Appeal of July 7, 1864, Selby had just reached agreement to trade his ranch for a ranch in Austin, Nevada Territory.

Rarity

Warren Heckrotte observes that "No other copies of the guide are known. The map alone is rare and is the first printed map devoted to Nevada. This map and the Bancroft map of the Pacific States, 1863, make the first printed use of the name "Lake Tahoe". The date 1863 on the map is not consistent with some features on the map and it may be that the map was advanced dated."

The present example is a recently discovered example, not previously known until it was acquired by us in 2016, making this the second known example of the first map and guide of Nevada Territory.


Condition Description: Expertly repaired tears where mounted previously booklet. Includes accompanying text, "Guide to Degroot's Map of Nevada Territory, Etc., Etc.," 10 pp. + 1 ad page.


Related Categories:
Maps of California (California, Nevada, Arizona)
Maps of Southwest America (Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Texas)