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The Mormon State of Deseret With A Port on the Colorado River

Rare late variant edition of this fantastic wall map of the United States, one of the most fascinating coast to coast maps of the United States published prior to 1840.

An unusual and extremely rare wall map showing the United States just after the Discovery of Gold in California in 1848 and immediately prior to the Compromise of 1850.  As such, it provides one of the most unique treatments of the Territories West of the Mississippi, including highly unusual territorial configurations.  These include

  • The proposed Mormon State of Deseret, configured with a port at mouth of the Colorado River where it meets the Gulf of California
  • A highly unusual New Mexico Territory, sandwiched between Deseret and Indian Territory
  • An oddly configured Texas, pre-dating the compromise of 1850, which created Texas's modern state configuration
  • Curious Minnesota Territory, following closely the Missouri River in the west
  • Massive Indian Territory, Oregon Territory and Nebraska Territory
  • California extending south the to Gulf of Mexico.

In California, the recent discovery of gold is highlighted with a huge section of the map in gold and that is marked on this map with “Gold Region”. Also of interest in the territory is the “Mormon Ft.” at the south end of the Great Salt Lake.  

1850 State of the Reed & Barber Map

This 1850 edition includes for the first time two of the most important Western events of the mid-19th Century. First, the 1848 discovery of Gold in California and the subsequent 1849 Gold Rush are marked brightly in yellow, with the words "Gold Region" added to the map. 

Second, farther to the East, there are also significant changes in what would become Utah Territory in September 1850. The name Deseret is added and an area of the map is shaded in Green, showing what would appeared to be recognition by the publisher of the proposal sent by Brigham Young to Washington to create the State of Deseret (1849), and the formal organization of a shadow government for the future state of Deseret in 1850. The names "Salt Lake" and "Mormons" are also added.

Brigham Young's State of Deseret

The provisional State of Deseret was founded in 1849 by Latter-Day Saint settlers in the Salt Lake city area. Brigham Young sent John Milton Bernhisel to Washington, D.C., to petition for territorial status, but later, in March 1849, elected to change the petition to a request for Statehood. The proposed state covered most of the lands from the Rocky Mountains and Oregon Territory to Mexico, extending west to the Sierra Nevadas and south to the Santa Monica Mountains, including Los Angeles and San Diego. While the provisional government met for several years, Utah Territory was formally created in 1851.

The present map is one of only two maps of which we are aware to shown Deseret in 1850 and provide a proposed boundary which includes an outlet to the sea.    


The 1850 map is very rare on the market, this being the first example we have seen.

Condition Description
Restored wall map, with new green silk edges. Evidence of soiling and cracks, but generally in good stable condition. Some small areas of facsimile within the image and paper reinstatement in the blank margin.
Rumsey 4311; Wheat 689 (1850 edition).Second edition (an earlier edition came out in 1833). Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, p. 98. Not in Wheat.