JOHNSON, Overton, and William H. WINTER (1819-1879)
Route Across the Rocky Mountains, with a description of Oregon and California: their geographical features, their resources, soil, climate, productions
Lafayette, In. John B. Semans, printer, 1846. Octavo. 152pp.
Original green drab boards with cloth spine. Cloth worn, hinges cracked but solid. Corners worn. Bookplate on front pastedown, contemporary ink inscription on front flyleaf. Some light foxing. In a red half morocco and cloth slipcase and chemise, spine gilt.
A very rare key overland guide.
One of the earliest and rarest of overland guide books to the Oregon Trail, chronologically the second such guide, preceded only by the Hastings guide of 1845. The authors went overland to Oregon in 1843. Winter went to California the following year, then returned to Indiana, where he arranged to publish this guidebook in time for the 1846 emigrant season. The guide provides a detailed account of the 1843 trip, a long description of Oregon, Winter's route to California, the Bear Flag movement, gold at Santa Barbara, and of northern California. The return route from California is also described, and there is a table of distances in the rear. Winter eventually settled in the Napa-Sonoma area. This is the issue with corrected text on pages 26 and 36. A rarity, afforded a "d" by Howes, who calls it "one of the greatest of early overland narratives." This copy with an ownership inscription which reads, "Jno. M.Gowan / Johnson classmate in / college for 3 years." A later hand has indicated that this was Wabash College, in Crawfordsville. A key guide and important work of Western Americana, with an interesting association.
Cowan I, p.315; Graff 2221; Howes J142, "d."; Sabin 36260; Streeter Sale 3145; Wagner-Camp 122.