1876 Pacific Railroad map with references to notorious stagecoach robber Black Bart.

Williams New Trans-Continental Map of The Pacific R.R. and Routes of Overland Travel To Colorado, Nebraska, The Black Hills, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Montana California and the Pacific Coast


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SKU: NL-00208 Categories: , ,
Cartographer(s): Henry T. Williams
Date: 1876
Place: New York
Dimensions: 91.5 x 58.4 cm (36 x 23 in)
Condition Rating: VG


Rare first edition of this striking large format map of the West, published by Henry T. Williams, with a handwritten notes, including a note relating to the notorious stagecoach robber, Black Bart, who operated in Northern California and Southern Oregon from 1875 to 1883.

William’s map of the West follows the Transcontinental Railroad west from Omaha to San Francisco, along with a number of other early western railroad lines. The train stations along each route are shown and named, along with several proposed routes. The map is one of the best examples of the colorful and inviting maps used to promote tourist travel.

The present example of the map has been highly annotated, apparently by an early owner who travelled extensively along the West Coast and in California. Perhaps the most colorful of all notes is the area east of Yreka and the stage line from Redding across the Sierras (near Sheep Rock) and on to Yreka and Roseburg Oregon. A large blue circle includes the following note: “about here is where the Stages are robbed! Crossing the mountains.” This note is almost certainly related to one the most notorious western stagecoach robbers, Charles Earl Bowles (aka Black Bart, Charles Bolton or C.E. Bolton). A British-born old west outlaw, Bowles first made his way west on several prospecting trips to the California gold regions in 1849 and 1852. At some point he complained to his wife about an offensive incident involving employees of the Wells Fargo & Company stage line; it was the last she ever heard of him.

Beginning in 1875, Bowles (as Black Bart), committed 28 stagecoach robberies over the next 8 years, earning fame as the ‘Poet Robber’ because he left poems at the scenes of two of his early robberies. The annotation was likely made sometime between 1880 and 1882. Black Bart’s first robbery in this region was his 10th Stagecoach robbery, which was on the Oregon-Yreka-Redding Route, on October 25, 1879. This was the 1st of 8 robberies on the Oregon to Yreka Stage line, followed by 6 robberies on the same line in 1880-81, and 1 on September 17, 1882, including six in the general area of the circle on the map, between September 1880 and October 1881.

Further annotations on the map include:

• Routes by steamer along the Pacific are noted in blue pencil, showing distances between San Diego, San Pedro, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Humboldt Bay.

• Other notes along the west coast indicate the distances of the stage lines from San Diego to Anaheim, with another extending to the coast west of Santa Rosa and Healdsburg, near Becker’s, at the mouth of the Russian River (a reference to the Lumberman John Becker, who supplied redwood to lumber schooners bound for the southern ports).

• An “X” appears on the Columbia River, east of Vancouver.

• On the east end, in the margins, a blue circle defines “”Stations going out””, which include Omaha, Grand Island, Sidney (Nebraska), Cheyenne, Laramie, Green River (Wyoming), Ogden, Elko, Little Mountain (Nevada), Humboldt, Colfax (California) and Lathrop (California).

• Yosemite is circled and an area noted as “Mine” between Walker’s Valley and Sonora Pass, with the note “Big Trees.”

• The coastline of Washington is drawn in to the north, including Seattle and Victoria and Port Townsend, with Mt. (St.) Helens circled.

Overall, a fascinating set of notes by a thorough tourist or business traveller.

The 1876 map is the first of two editions, the second of which was issued in 1877 (date in the title box). There are a number of changes in the second edition, including the following:

Colorado (Colorado Central RR added with a loop down to Denver; Southern terminus of RR extended to Ft. Garland); New Mexico (Projected RR line from Ft. Dodge Kansas to Santa Fe; Denver & Rio Grande and AT&SF RRs extended from Colorado to Santa Fe); Arizona (Castle Dome Mountains added, new place names added along the southern part of the Colorado River); California (Southern Pacific RR extended to Santa Monica, New RR line connecting Oakland, Martinez, Tracy & Lahtrhop; Utah (proposed southern RR route from Denver to Salt Lake City removed) .

The verso includes extensive promotional information, train time schedules, etc.

An important map of the period, with remarkable contemporary annotations.


Condition Description

Fold splits reinforced on verso, with a bit of paper loss replaced in facsimile. Many annotations in blue and black pencil.