An Atlas of Trails West of the Mississippi River

An Atlas of Trails West of the Mississippi River

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An Atlas of Trails West of the Mississippi River; by Carrie Eldridge; Published: 2001; 17x11; VI+44 pp; Soft Cover; Item # HB108-967

An Atlas of Trails West of the Mississippi reviews the “opening of the west.” The trails, the settlers, the events, and the countries who owned or laid claim to the western territories are all part of the history and the maps covered in this edition.

The first paragraph of the introduction may best summarize America’s migration westward, in terms of years and miles:

“American migration expanded and accelerated as the population moved westward across the continent. There is no definite date when one migration period ended and another began, nor due to the terrain, is there a definite line of advance. the first push, between 1625 and 1775, was almost entirely east of the Appalachian Mountains within the original thirteen colonies and was undertaken mainly on foot or horse. The second period of expansion, from 1765 to 1815, extended the trails through the mountains and opened wagon roads into the Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Cumberland River valleys. The third period, 1790 to 1840 consolidated the lands east of the Mississippi River through river and canal transportation and improved roads. Improved transportation allowed rapid expansion from New England along the Great Lakes and through lower Mississippi and Alabama. It took one hundred-fifty years to reach the Ohio River. Seventy-five years later by 1825, Americans had moved into the Mississippi Valley and occupied most of the one thousand miles between it and the Atlantic coast. The next twenty-five years were spend exploring the Far West. In 1849 discovery of gold in California opened in one year more than twice the land Americans had settled in the previous two hundred and twenty-five years.”

In large part, this book covers the exploration and some early migrations during the twenty-five years or so leading up to the 1849 gold rush.

At 11″ x 17″ this Atlas offers maps at a size which are easy to read. Mixed with the maps are an extensive background to the early settlers, their migrations, and the importance of these towns and trails. With two columns per text page, each the size of a standard page, this book is the equivalent to a book twice as thick. Below are the Table of Contents followed by a listing of the Maps and Illustrations in the order in which they appear in the book.

Table of Contents


A. North American Control

  1. Spain and Mexico
  2. France and Great Britain
  3. American Indians

B. Hazard West of the Mississippi

  1. Physical Barriers
  2. Climate and Vegetation
  3. Distance and Isolation

C. Opening the Great West

  1. Settlers in the Mississippi Valley 1800-1820
  2. Trappers and Traders 1810-1830
  3. Gone to Texas 1820-1830
  4. Overland Trail 1840-1850
    1. Oregon Trail
    2. California Travel
    3. Utah and the Mormons
    4. The Mexican War
  5. Miners and Mineral Wealth
  6. The Trails
  7. Improving Life
  8. Communication and Transportation
  9. Texas Cattle Trails
  10. Inventions & Western Growth


Western Forts


Maps and Illustrations

  1. Control of North America
  2. Expansion of the United States 1783-1853
  3. Mexico’s Northern Boundary
  4. Distribution of Indian Tribes
  5. Western Vegetation
  6. Physical Regions of the United State
  7. Precipitation
  8. The Advancing Frontier
  9. Mountain Man Territory
  10. Trails Through Mexican Territory
  11. Gone to Texas
  12. Western Trails 1840-1850
  13. California Routes 1841-1846
  14. Trails Used in the Mexican War
  15. California Gold Country Trails
  16. California’s Mother Lode
  17. Trails of the Miners
  18. Western Trails 1850-1865
  19. Rivers, Rails and Cattle Trails
  20. Major Migration Routes
  21. Three Families West