The United States in 1854
This map, folded and crumpled, we found in the possessions of Josephus Cavitt, born February 19, 1826. He was a great-great-grandfather of mine. He was the father of Sheridan, of whom I have written before: “Murder in Juarez, Trouble in El Paso“.
The paper is thin, but strong in most places. It is mostly white, not yellowed or browned, which tells me that it was made from a low-acid cotton rag fiber. The states and territories of the western half of the country looked quite different in 1854, didn’t they?
The northern areas of the West are: Oregon Territory, Missouri Territory, and Minnesota Territory. South of that are California, Utah Territory, and Indian Territory; all followed by Territory New Mexico, and Texas.
The map’s projection would be unusual for our own time, focusing Mexico at its center, and showing as much of Central America as it does United States.
The U.S. capitol is shown in a central etching, and George Washington is shown in a wreath of oak branches. Under his portrait is the designation ‘Hart’, and under that, it says “Published by Case Tiffany & Company 1854”.
Before putting the map into a protective archival clear envelope, we flattened it over a two-week period by carefully pressing small areas at a time by hand, then using plastic sand bags to weigh them down.