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Promoting Central Washington -- Rare Early View By Frontier Newspaperman Legh Freeman

Rare birds-eye view style map of the Yakima Valley and Central Washington, published by Legh R. Freeman.

The view is centered on Yakima and the Yakima Indian Reservation, extending south to the Columbia River, and west to Seattle and Portland, and southeast to Pasco.

The map would seem to be focused on promotion of the resources in the region, emphasizing Irrigation Canals, Canal Projects, Proposed Canals, Electric Lines, Coal, Silver, Copper, Cattle, Railroads, Alfalfa, Sugar Beets, Fruit, Wheat, Timber and similar resources, crops, etc..

The map shows railroads, both completed and prospective, canals, and roadways. Legh Freeman was a frontier newsman best known for coming up with the idea of a railroad newspaper, one that would serve all towns located along a given railroad line.  

Legh Freeman and the Frontier Index

The following its drawn from the Encyclopedia of the Plains:

Legh Freeman . . . served as a telegraph operator in the Confederate army. He was captured in 1864 but later released after swearing allegiance to the Union and agreeing to serve in the American West. In April 1865 Freeman arrived at Fort Kearny, Nebraska, where troops were needed to guard the Oregon Trail. After being mustered out of the service late in 1865, Freeman acquired some old printing equipment and began editing and publishing the Kearney Herald. He was joined in 1866 by his brother Frederick, and when the Union Pacific moved past Kearney that fall, the brothers packed up their equipment, renamed their paper the Frontier Index, and moved to North Platte. Sometimes called the "press on wheels," the Frontier Index then moved from one railroad construction camp to the next, including the future towns of North Platte, Nebraska; Julesburg, Colorado; Laramie, Wyoming; and Ogden, Utah.

One study of Freeman's extant editorials found that 25 percent promoted town sites, 16 percent discussed local nonpolitical affairs, 15 percent local politics, 7 percent Indian issues, and 5 percent the newspaper itself. In his editorials he vociferously attacked Mormons, Chinese, Indians, politicians, opposition editors, construction-camp lawlessness, and President Ulysses S. Grant. On at least one occasion Freeman's biting editorials cost him his press and nearly his life. On November 20, 1868, in Bear River City, Dakota Territory (soon to be Wyoming Territory), a mob of infuriated railroad workers destroyed Freeman's printing equipment and drove him out of town.

. . . Like the mountain men he emulated, the editor tried to stay ahead of advancing settlement. . . . Freeman stayed in the newspaper business long after the completion of the transcontinental railroad: he published newspapers in Utah, Montana, and Washington. . . .His later years were spent in Washington, where he published the Washington Farmer and became involved in the populist movement. Representing himself as the "Red Horse Candidate," Freeman failed twice to obtain a senatorial seat and finished last in the 1914 North Yakima mayoral election. . . .


The view is very rare. OCLC locates a single example in the Washington State Library Collection.

Condition Description
Repaired tear at lower left corner. Minor loss at top right corner.