Fine large format map promoting settlement in Ramsey County, Dakota Territory, published by Heber M. Cree, formerly of the 7th Cavalry, whom the map notes as having been "in charge of survey north shore of Devil's Lake, D.T.; also survey of Fort Totten Military Reservations, and topographical survey of Fort Totten Military Reservation.
The map is quite remarkable in that it was produced in the year Creel left the 7th Cavalry and successfully founded the town of Creelsburgh, which would later become Devil's Lake, County Seat of modern Ramsey County.
The map is centered on the town of Creelsburgh, which is shown at the confluence of no less than 5 different railroad lines, including:
- Saint Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba RR
- C & N W R.R.
- V. C. & T. R. R.
- C. M. & St. P. R.R.
- Pembina, Fort Totten, Bismarck & Black Hills R.R.
- The mail route from Creelsburgh to Jerusalem is also shown
The Northern Pacific RR is also shown in the region.
In the southwest corner of Ramsey County, near Fort Totten Military Reservation, a number of trails are located, including
- Fort Stevenson Trail
- Turtle Mts. & Mous River Trai
- Brenners Jamestown Trail
- Smith's Jamestown Trail
In the southeast corner, the Boundary LIne to Chippewa Lands "Now Open For Settlement" is noted.
Heber M. Creel was a West Point graduate and Topographical Engineer, who joined the 7th U.S. Cavalry as a Second Lieutenant in the year after Custer's disasterous defeat at Bull Run on June 25, 1876. He had charge of the government property and steamboat "Dr. Burleifli," when Fort Rice was abandoned and the property moved to Fort Yates in 1878. He was with the expedition to locate Fort Meade. He surveyed Devil's Lake in 1880, and made a topographic survey of Fort Totten military reservation. In 1881, he participated in the Sitting Bull campaign and was part of the escort which led the great warrior chief and his band to Standing Rock.
After leaving the army, Creel settled in 1882 along the northern shore of the lake, founding the town of Creelsburgh, which would later become Creel City. The town became the county seat when Ramsey County was organized in 1883 and was incorporated in 1884 as Devil's Lake.
Creel became a prominent local buinessman, holding the titles of first postmaster of Creelsburgh, owner of the Devil's Lake Pioneer Press, a senior officer in the North Dakota National Guard (retiring in 1907 with the rank of Major General), and a player in the state Republican Party. The Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy describes his occupation as "real estate, stock and farming," so he presumably had a substantial financial interest in settlement and development of the region.
Creel's map is very rare. The last example to appear on the market which was listed in Americana Exchange was offered for sale by Eberstadt in 1954, with no examples listed in AMPR in the past 30 years.