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John Preston's Monumental Map of Oregon and Washington

Rare and important map the western portion of Oregon and Washington, published in Chicago in 1856, and prepared by J.W. Trutch (future first Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia).

The present map is the third of John Preston's maps of the Northwest. Each treats the same region in an increasingly large scale. Beginning with two smaller maps prepared by Preston for the U.S. General Land Office in 1851 and 1852, and ending with this monumental work, Preston's mapping of the region would set the standard for the mapping of the Northwest, west of the Cascade Mountains for years to come.

Streeter states that this was the second separate map of Oregon and Washington, as well as the first to show Seattle. However, Warren Heckrotte noted Streeter's error on both accounts stating, "Streeter says that this is the second separate map of Oregon and Washington, the first being one of Colton, 1855. However, there is the map by Preston, then Surveyor General, which covers the same area: 'A' Diagram of a Portion of Oregon Territory,' dated 1852, scale 10 miles to an inch. Streeter also suggests that the Trutch map may mark the first appearance of Seattle on a printed map. Not so; one earlier is that by Tilton, Surveyor General: 'Map of a part of Washington Territory,' 1855."

John Preston

John Preston arrived in Oregon on April 20, 1851. On June 7, 1851, Preston drove the "starting stake" for the base surveys of the territory at what is today known as the Willamette Stone. The east-west Willamette Base Line and the north-south Willamette Meridian still define surveying and legal land descriptions in Oregon and Washington state.

Preston's survey team surveyed the lands into squares of a grid, termed a section, which is one mile on each side and includes 640 acres of land-the maximum acreage allowed for a married couple making a claim under the Donation Land Act; a single man could claim up to 320 acres. Thirty-six sections made up a township.

The surveyors took careful note of waterways, hills, prairies, and roads. Some recognizable places are already viable communities. The roads that are mapped include ancient routes such as the California-Oregon Trail, which had sections that paralleled both sides of the valley, as well as newer roads established in recent years. The roads converging on Salem from the outlying farming districts, for instance, reflect its recent importance as a mill town, powered by the waters of Mill Creek.

Joseph William Trutch

Joseph William Trutch (1826-1904) was a Canadian Engineer, Surveyor, and Politician. Born in Ashcott, England, Trutch's early childhood was spent largely in Jamaica, although his family returned to England in 1834, where he attended grammar school in Devon. Following an apprenticeship to civil engineer Sir John Rennie, he traveled to California after hearing news of the California Gold Rush of 1849. He arrived in British Columbia in 1859, following the Fraser River gold rush of 1858.

Following the establishment of the Canadian Confederation in 1867, J.W. Trutch worked to negotiate British Columbia's entry, which occurred in 1871 after he secured a promise for the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). Trutch was the first Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia following Confederation, a position he retained from 1871-1876. Following his tenure as lieutenant governor, Trutch was appointed a "Dominion agent for British Columbia", and helped to oversee the construction of the CPR in the province.

George W. Hyde

George W. Hyde was a land surveyor for the GLO in the 1850s. His primary survey work was in Josephine County, Oregon and in Hugo, Oregon, where he completed many of the original surveys of the region. George W. Hyde was also the Deputy Surveyor for the General Land Office in Oregon Territory, the brother-in-law of John Preston and the brother-law of Joseph W. Trutch.

Condition Description
Original gilt-lettered cloth covers. Few fold intersections reinforced on verso, but overall a very good plus example of this rare folding map.
STREETER VI, 3329. WHEAT, Transmississippi West IV, 899 and pp. 44--45.