Keeler, William J.; National Map of the Territory of the United States from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean. Made by the Authority of the Hon. O. H. Browning. Secretary of the Interior. In the Office of the Indian Bureau Chiefly for Government Purposes under the Direction of the Hon. N. G. Taylor. Commsr. of Indian Affairs & Hon. Chas. E. Mix Chief Clerk of the Indian Bureau: Compiled from Authorized Explorations of Pacific Rail Road Routes, Public Surveys, and Other Reliable Data from the Departments of the Government at Washington, D. C. by W. J. Keeler. Civil Engineer 1867. Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1867 by Wm. J. Keeler, in the Clerks Office, of the District Court, of the District of Columbia. Washington, 1868.
Large folding hand-colored lithographed map on wove paper, on 30 sections mounted on original map linen, scale 30 miles to an inch, (land offices in red, minerals keyed to color, such as blue for silver and orange for gold, etc., symbols locating forts, military posts, and railroads completed and in progress. Full size is 1207 x 1450 mm. (47.5" x 57.5”) and folding to 266 x 225 mm.
This rare and important map is in the original green pebbled cloth with stamped borders and gilt cover titles. The folder is tight and clean, archival restoration to spine, original owner’s book plate on verso of map fold, Keeler’s letter describing the map is on the inside of cover as originally issued. The map is clean and bright, light toning to some fold margins. In very good condition.
Little is known of Keeler’s life. other then the fact that he was an engineer and surveyor with the Indian Bureau. Keeler's map of the Western US is now regarded as a landmark in the mapping of the Western United States, providing the best detailed and comprehensive look at the Western Railroad System after the close of the Civil War. According to Keeler's letter, the map "is a complete Railroad Map, the only one published which shows the whole of the great Pacific Railroad Routes and their projections and branches, together with all other railroads in the States and Territories bordering on the Mississippi on both sides, showing at a glance the eastern connections of those Pacific roads with the existing railroad systems of the country... The location of all the known mines of gold, silver, copper, and other valuable metals are carefully and accurately noted... The profound interest now felt by the whole American people in the great thoroughfares progressing or projected in the Indian troubles, in the rapid advance of settlement, and in the development of new features of grandeur and beauty, and new sources of national wealth, will cause this Map to be hailed as a source of instruction and enjoyment by all... Particular interest is invited to the Colorado river as here shown. It is from actual survey, and exhibits that magnificent stream as it has never been mapped before…"
In addition to deposits of gold, silver, copper, quicksilver, iron and coal, the map shows forts, military posts, railroads completed and railroads in progress. According to Wheat’s Mapping the “Trans Mississippi West:
"Keeler's map extends from Cincinnati to the Pacific, and from about the 32nd to the 42nd parallel--or frm Ft. Reno in Wyoming to Ft. Filmore in New Mexico; It has a superior showing of new military data, being in advance even of the Colton maps (for example, Ft. Fetterman on the upper North Platte, Camp Douglas near Great Salt Lake City, Ft. Reynolds, Ft. Morgan, and Ft. Sedgwick in Colorado). It also displays, with color symbols, deposits of gold, silver, coal, copper, and quick silver from eastern Colorado to California--information . . . economically pertinent to railroad operations. But primarily it is interesting for railroad routes west of the Missouri; The Union Pacific is shown completed as far as Fort D.A. Russell, near Cheyenne, the projected route then going past Ft. Sanders on the Larame, and past Ft. Hallbeck to Bitter Creek; alterations of the route made west of the Laramie by Dodge and his engineers in the summer of 1867 had not yet come to Keeler's attention. The route goes on by Echo Canyon to the Great Salt Lake Valley, then swings north around the lake to the Humboldt, somewhere in the stretch becoming the Central Pacific R.R. The latter, somewhat prematurely, is shown completed down the Truckee almost to the great bend of that river. What appears on this map as the "U.P.R.W.E.D." is represented as completed all the way to Ft. Wallace, near the west edge of Kansas (That was the expectation of the Company in the summer of 1867). Just beyond, inside the Colorado line, this road branches, one route going northwesterly to Denver, the other southwesterly to the Arkansas and the Purgatorie, thence to Ft. Union and Albuquerque, and on to California via the route later actually employed by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. From Albuquerque yet another line follows down the Rio Grande, with an extensive western branch turning off at Ft. McRae to seek out California via the Gila. This latter branch is not labelled. Keeler's railroad map is full of factual information.