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Rare separately published map of Dakota Territory, one of the earliest obtainable commercially published maps of the Dakota Territory.

Development is shown only along the Missouri River in the south and along the border with Minnesota. The map shows only the eastern portion of what are now North and South Dakota, though there is an inset showing the whole territory. The settlements in the region are quite sparce, although the map does show a number of wagon trails converging on Yankton, before proceeding north toward Geneva and Fort James and west on both sides of the Missouri River, as far north as Fort Thompson (established September 1864 and abandoned June 9, 1867).

The map also notes "American Creek" in what would become Chamberlain, South Dakota. The creek was noted by Lewis & Clark, later named Beaver Creek in 1857 by the Nobles Trail and later Ceder Creek in 1863 when it became the south boundary of the Crow Creek Reserve and finally renamed American Creek by Samuel Morrow during the 1868 Survey of Dakota Territory, at which time it was already the site of a "notorious road house" on the Ft. Randall-Ft. Sully Trail.

There is also an inset of the Pembina area of northeastern Dakota. This is only the second privately published map dedicated to Dakota alone, not including Minnesota, Nebraska, or any other adjacent areas, preceded only by the Smith Map of the Ceded Part of Dakota Territory of 1861.

The map bears the copyright of 1864, and it is possible that examples of the map may have been issued prior to 1869, although no extent examples with earlier dates are known to exist. Circumstantially, the evidence noted above suggests that the map is based upon information that could not have existed prior to the 1868 completed by Samuel H. Morrow on behalf of The Minnesota & Missouri River Railroad Company, which had been organized in Yankton in February 1867.

It is known that the map was also later bound into the most important early Dakota Territory emigrant's guide book, written by James Foster, which A.S. Rosenbach catalogued in 1917 and described as


387. FOSTER, JAMES S. Outlines of History of the Territory of Dakota, and Emigrants' Guide to the FREE LANDS OP The NORTHWEST. Accompanied with a new sectional map. By James S. Foster. Map. 8vo, original paper covers. Yankton, Dakota Territory, 1870. $85.00

Very rare. The large folding map was printed in Milwaukee in 1869.

Rosenbach's description suggests that the map was seperately published and in fact the Library of Congress copy of the map was separately published in 1869 (Phillips, 258). A significantly updated and revised edition of the map was published in 1872, promoting the Dakota Herald, described as "Engraved by J. Knauber, 1872," replacing the Lith. by L Lipman, and is most likely a completely different map, made several inches wider than the 1869 edition and showing significant progress in the township surveys and county configurations in the Southeastern part of the Territory.

James Foster was the organizer of the "New York Colony" in Syracuse, New York, which acquired lands and laid out settlements between the Big Sioux and Bon Homme Rivers in Dakota Territory in 1864. Foster later became Superintendent of Public Instruction, Commissioner of Immigration, a founder of Yankton, and held other similar posts during territorial days. The last example of the book to appear at auction was the Streeter Sale in 1968, where the book sold for $950.

Among the more interesting features of the map are the locations of several early routes, incuding:

Minnesota & Cheyenne Wagon Road

Fiske's Emigrant Route (shown in the inset map)

There is also an inset of the Pembina area of northeastern Dakota. This is only the second privately published map dedicated to Dakota alone, not including Minnesota, Nebraska, or any other adjacent areas, preceded only by the Smith Map of the Ceded Part of Dakota Territory of 1861.

The reference to Fiske's Emigrant Route is more accurately the Stevens or Mullan Route. The name refers to James Liberty Fisk, who led 4 expeditions from Minnesota to Montana in the 1860s. In May 1862, Fisk was commissioned Captain and appointed superintendent of emigration for a route between Fort Abercrombie, Dakota and Fort Walla Walla, in Washington Territory. Fisk travelled to St. Paul, where he enlisted the assistance of Pierre Bottineau, who had guided the Stevens Expedition of 1853. Fisk follows the Stevens route to Fort Benton, picking up a group of emigrants at Fort Abercrombie along the way. On his second expedition of 1863, Fisk took a more northern route, to avoid the problems caused by a drought in the region. On his third expedition in 1864, his party was attacked by Sitting Bull on September 2, 1864. After several days, the Sioux negotiated a truce, using Fanny Kelly, previously captured in July, as an intermediary. Kelly would later write an account of her captivity in 1871. In 1866, Fisk led his final expedition to the west, consisting of 500 emigrants and 160 wagons, reaching Helena in September.

The Minnesota and Cheyenne Wagon Road was created based upon a Congressional appopriation for the construction of Wagon Roads approved in 1864-1865. The road was planned to start from a point on the Minnesota state line south of Big Stone Lake, thence west across Dakota to the mouth of the Big Cheyenne, and thence up the Cheyenne to point of intersection in the mountains with the Omaha road, which had been approved in the same year and was to extend from Omaha, Nebraska,along the west bank of the Missouri to Niobrara, thence out that valley to the mountains. W.W. Brookings was appointed superintendent of the Minnesota and Cheyenne Road, and was given $30,000 to expend.

The following is excerpted from History of Dakota Territory, Volume 1, by George Washington Kingsbury, pages 402-409.

Work commenced on the Road on June 1, 1865. Brookings started out with his work of laying out a road from the foot of Big Stone Lake to the Big Cheyenne, thence up that stream. The work east of the Missouri was left until the western portions up the Cheyenne had been completed owing to the number of emigrants who were waiting to take this new road to the gold fields. The expedition proceeded without incident to Fort Sully, where it was to be joined by General Sully and his military escort of 600 men who were going along with the wagon road expedition, both as an escort and so that Sully couldlocate and build one or two military posts, one of which would be near the Black Hills. After waiting 3 weeks, Brookings continued on without Sully, proceeding as far as the Big Cheyenne, before returning east to lay out the road to the Minnesota Line, establishing the eastern terminus on the eastern boundary of the territory near the Red Pipestone Quarry at Flandreau.

The route was substantially marked, and bridged where fords could not be found, but a larger appropriation was necessary to put it in good condition for travel. "Brookings Crossing" on the James River, one of the places located on the expedition, is near the modern Town of Forestbury. The interior department ordered work suspended on the Big Cheyenne Wagon Road in the spring of 1866. The survey and a portion of the construction work on the road had been completed the year before, and the appropriation for the improvement had not been exhausted, and no cause for the discontinuance of the project was apparent. An explanation came out later, when it was found that the directors of the Union Pacific Railroad had, through General Curtis, a member of the peace commission and also a director in that company, represented to the department that the opening of the Cheyenne Road would be fraught with grave consequences owing to the uncompromising opposition of the Sioux Indians, who regarded the improvement as a pretext on the part of the whites to get into the Black Hills. This was contrary to reports of others familiar with the Sioux, who reported that the Sioux wanted the road built and traveled, because it would be the means to bring a class of whites through the country who would be generously disposed to the Indians, and whose sugar, coffee and flour were given out to them liberally by the emigrants and that the road would not jeopardize the safety of the Black Hills because its route would lead to the north from the forks of the Cheyenne.

In February 1867, Brookings was relieved of his office. This action terminated operation on the shortest and most practicable route from the Missouri to the gold fields of Montana and Idaho, and caused great surprise and indignation among the people of the territory. The Government was committed to the opening of this route, and valuable interests in Montana as well as Dakota would be detrimentally affected by its abandonment. An authentic statement giving the reasons for abandoning the project was given out from Washington a few weeks later, as follows:

The secretary of the interior has directed the suspension of surveys for certain wagon roads in the territories. This has been done upon the recommendation of E. B. Taylor, of Nebraska; Maj. Gen. 5. R. Curtis, General Sibley, and Henry W. Reed, of lowa, a majority of the commissioners appointed to treat with the hostile Indians of the Upper Missouri last autumn. In their judgment it would be highly impolitic and dangerous to make any further surveys of routes through a country inhabited by felon bands of Sioux Indians before the negotiations contemplated with the bands and tribes, as well as those already negotiated, have been fully completed and the annuities under the latter fully paid as stipulated.

There were reasons for believing that this recommendation of these gentlemen connected with the Indian peace commission was not given solely because they apprehended any objection from the Upper Missouri Indians, but in response to the influence of the Union Pacific Railroad then being constructed, whose policy was to discourage the opening of the Upper Missouri routes, and to direct emigration to the gold fields along and near the line of the great railway. In evidence of this, an article from the treaties made in 1865, to which these objecting gentlemen were a party, is here quoted:

Article 4th. The said band represented in council shall withdraw from the routes overland already established or hereafter to be established through this country, and in consideration thereof, and of their non-interference with the persons and property of citizens of the United States traveling thereon, the Government of the United States agrees to pay the said bands, etc., here giving the consideration, time of payment annually, to extend for twenty years.

This article was a part of all the treaties with the Missouri tribes. The Sawyer's Wagon Road from Sioux City via the Niobrara, and the Big Cheyenne Wagon Road were the only Upper Missouri roads then authorized by Congress. It is clear that these commissioners, who had induced the secretary of the interior to suspend the work, had forgotten this treaty stipulation or were guilty of gross misrepresentation in order to assist a rival route at the great expense of the emigrant in time and money. The Union Pacific Route, from the nearest point to the gold fields of the Northwest on their line, was greatly inferior in every essential feature for a wagon road and nearly double the distance of the Cheyenne Route.

An important, very early, map of Dakota Territory. Not in Streeter. OCLC locates only 3 copies of this map (British Library, U.of South Dakota, and U. of Wisconsin) and only a single example of the 1872 edition (U of South Dakota).

Condition Description
Folding map, lacking folder, restored with modern archival backing. Small areas of border and one fold junction supplied in facsimile. Full color by county.
Printed Maps of the Midwest 11-0535. Rosenbach Company Catalog for 1917, #387. Graff, 1389.