California In 1837. Diary of Col. Philip L. Edwards, Containing An Account of a Trip to the Pacific Coast
Sacramento: A.J. Johnston & Co., 1890.
First separate edition. 6.5" x 4.75", 47 pp, in original printed wrappers. Small chip at upper corner of front wrapper, some loss to backstrip, else fine. Originally published serially in the 1860s, in the California magazine Themis, Edwards' diary describes the first recorded cattle drive in California and offers valuable description of California over a decade before the gold rush. "The Willamette Cattle Company was the first cooperative venture among the Oregon settlers from the United States. In 1835, President Andrew Jackson sent William Slacum, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, to report on the situation in Oregon. When Slacum discovered that the Hudson’s Bay Company held a monopoly on cattle in Oregon, he persuaded the American settlers to unite to buy cattle in California and bring them back to Oregon. In January 1837 the Willamette Cattle Company was formed for this purpose. That same year some 600 head of cattle were brought back to Oregon. The success of this venture gave American settlers a growing sense of independence from the Hudson’s Bay Company. The author, who served as Treasurer of the Willamette Cattle Company, originally came to Oregon in 1833 with Captain Wyeth’s party. Edwards arrived in San Francisco on February 29, 1837. This day-by-day narrative ends on September 18, somewhere near Mt. Shasta, as the company attempts to reach the Willamette Valley. Edwards’s account of the six months spent in the Bay Area is among the most important early descriptions of pastoral California" (Dorothy Sloan, catalogue for Auction 15, Fine Collection of Californiana Formed by Daniel G. Volkmann Jr. Graff 1216; Reese (Six-Score 36, noting that "aside from its cattle interest ... the book is also a California and fur item"); Herd 747 ("This rare little booklet is written in the form of a diary and contains details of the earliest cattle drive"); Cowan p.192; Howes E-66; Streeter Sale V, 3008.