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Description[Map]. J[acob] De Cordova. De Cordova's Map of Texas. Compiled from the Records of the General Land Office of the State, By Robert Creuzbaur, Revised & Corrected by Charles W. Pressler. New York: J. H. Colton & Co., 1857. Next to the title is printed, "Without my signature all copies of this map have been fraudulently obtained," followed by De Cordova's facsimile signature. Large format lithograph map, measuring 33.5" x 36.25", elegantly colored by hand, showing counties, cities and towns, roads, rivers, and Indian villages. Folded into original brown, blind and gilt stamped cloth covers with title in gilt on front cover. Text along the left edge titled "Reference to Land Districts" and lists the corresponding counties of each district. At lower left is found the official seals of the State of Texas and of the General Land Office with printed comments regarding the map from noted Texans Sam Houston, Thomas Rusk, etc. and their facsimile signatures. Inset map at lower right, measuring 10.75" x 9", is brightly colored and depicts west Texas, the southwestern state, and the Rocky Mountain States and territories. Inside of front board features period ads for works published by J. H. Colton & Co. and for De Cordova's General Land Agency. Scattered light foxing; staining from water droplets in the middle along the bottom edge. Toned in places along the folds with archival repairing to central horizontal fold. Chipped along the top and bottom edges. Adhesive ghosting where it is attached to the cover. Boards are heavily worn, but the map is in fine condition.
The map was first issued in 1849, 1850, and revised by German cartographer Charles W. Pressler for the Colton Company at least four times (1856, 1857, 1858, and 1861). With each new edition or issue the map makers have adjusted for the continuing change in Texas development. The format remained generally the same over the years. Jenkins states: "Sam Houston delivered a speech praising the map [the 1849 edition] on the floor of the U.S. Senate ...that it was 'the most correct and authentic map of Texas ever compiled.'" Of the 1850 edition: "An important and authentic map-possibly the finest of the period." (Eberstadt)
"[Jacob] De Cordova, a native of Jamaica, was one of the earliest Jewish settlers in Texas. He supplied goods for the Texas Revolution from New Orleans and settled in Galveston in 1837. [...] He was fluent in English, German, French, Spanish, Hebrew, and several Indian languages. He became one of the leading land merchants in Texas, and worked for thirty years promoting immigration into the state" (Jenkins). In 1847, De Cordova was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, but lost his bid for reelection in 1849. Working as a land agent, he, along with George B. Erath, laid out the town of Waco. He was instrumental in promoting immigration to Texas through speeches professing her wonders given throughout the United States and as far away as England. He also published a number of pamphlets and guidebooks including "The Texas Immigrant and Traveller's Guide Book" (1856) and "Texas, Her Resources and Her Public Men" (1858). De Cordova died in 1868.
Reference: Basic Texas Books 38; 38n. Eberstadt, Texas 162:241. Phillips, America, p. 845 (cites editions 1849-1857).
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