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Interesting early map of Indian Territory, showing the various regions controlled by the tribes relocated to the region, along with the Public Lands in the Pan Handle.

The map depicts early railroads, settlements, train stations, rivers, lakes, and the extent of the township surveys in Indian Territory. The map has been revised from earlier editions of the map with a similar title, to include Gate City in the Public Lands and to name and identify the route of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway through the Choctaw Nation.

The grant of the right of way to the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway was not without controversy. Prior to this line, the only two lines in operation were the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (running north and south) and the Atlantic and Pacific (running east and west). An application was processed by the Texas and Mexican Central Railway to run a line from Mexico to Fort Smith and then on to Chicago, but when the US Government began investing the granting of the application, it learned that the St. Louis and San Francisco was already actively pursuing a line. The Texas and Mexican Railway gave way to the application of the St. Louis and San Francisco, which was approved by the Upper House of the Choctaw legislature, but rejected by the lower house as a result of a controversial vote, which was later deemed illegal. When the bill approving the line was forwarded to Washington, dissident representatives of both the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations objected, the latter curiously so, since the line did not come within 6 miles of the Chickasaw Nation (although they claimed that their nation still required consolation).

In fact, the representatives of these nations were actually doing the bidding of the rival railroads (backed by Jay Gould), who feared increased competition. The Choctaws then sent proper representatives to Washington to support the bill. The matter became further complicated when the Texan and Mexican claimed that their agreement and joined in what would become a 3-way fight. The St. Louis and San Francisco ultimately prevailed, although not without extensive litigation.

George F. Cram Biography

George F. Cram (1842-1928), or George Franklin Cram, was an American mapmaker and businessman. During the Civil War, Cram served under General William Tecumseh Sherman and participated in his March to the Sea. His letters of that time are now important sources for historians of the Civil War. In 1867, Cram and his uncle, Rufus Blanchard, began the company known by their names in Evanston, Illinois.

Two years later, Cram became sole proprietor and the company was henceforth known as George F. Cram Co. Specializing in atlases, Cram was one of the first American companies to publish a world atlas. One of their most famous products was the Unrivaled Atlas of the World, in print from the 1880s to the 1950s.

Cram died in 1928, seven years after he had merged the business with that of a customer, E.A. Peterson. The new company still bore Cram’s name. Four years later, the Cram Company began to make globes, a branch of the business that would continue until 2012, when the company ceased to operate. For the final several decades of the company’s existence it was controlled by the Douthit family, who sold it just before the company was shuttered.