“Correct Map of the Gold Diggings”: May 20th, 1858

Detail of 1858 Map of Fraser Gold Diggings. Click for full image.

From UBC, this interesting 1858 San Francisco broadsheet “The Pictorial Newsletter of California” (large JPG file).  Most of the text is mundane births and deaths, but the map above from it is a lot of fun.  It’s especially interesting to see the “Cowitchin” Village at New Westminster.  Now, “Cowitchin” was often used as a generic term for many Coast Salish people in the early historic period.  But note too, just upriver at Fort Langley, a “Ninnimuch” Village, presumably Snuneymuxw First Nation, also known historically as the “Nanaimo” people, whose core territory would be on east Central Vancouver Island.  There are lots of reports of Vancouver Island nations paddling up and down past Fort Langley so its not that much of a surprise, but rather a nice testament to the extensive regional trade and, perhaps, permeable social networks in place across the greater Gulf of Georgia. It also makes me think the “Cowitchin Village” might indeed really be Cowichan. It’s notable the “Pinkslitsa River” (Harrison River) is the only lower tributary mapped, probably because it was an important route in and out of the middle Fraser, bypassing the canyon.  It’s a nice map, it’s early, and I’d never seen it before, so thanks to UBC and their Early BC Newspapers page.

Detail of 1858 map showing "Cowitchin" and "Ninnimuch" Villages on Lower Fraser.

From the UBC notes:  Pictorial News Letter of California: for the Steamer John L. Stephens San Francisco: Hutchings & Rosenfield; Charles F. Robbins, Printer, 1858

“Issued exactly one month after the first steamer left San Francisco headed for the Fraser (Bancroft p. 359), this appears to be the first separate publication relating to the Fraser River Gold Rush, and the first map published to illustrate the area for potential gold-seekers.”

You can also download a short PowerPoint file here, and there is an overview essay here.

4 responses to ““Correct Map of the Gold Diggings”: May 20th, 1858

  1. Do you know of a July 5, 1858 letter sheet written for this steamer by Hutchings? It says it has a view of Whatcom (my Bellingham ) in the states. Would awesome if I could find this. We have the oldest brick building in the state of WA, built for the Fraser Gold Rush.


  2. Hi Janet O,
    Sorry, no I am not familiar with that. I hope someone else is able to help, so check back here once in a while. Thanks for visiting the site!


  3. Very interesting post! Really like your blog! cheers 🙂


  4. Michelle;
    I enjoyed your presentation and would like to invite you to accompany our group of amateur historians The Pacific Coast Exploration Society as we travel the entire Fraser up to Lady Franklin rock. We will be in hovercraft and able to stop on any bar or beach along the way. The Hovercraft make very good time , and we expect to accomplish the trip in a day.
    Please contact us at 604-943-2384

    Ralph Heading


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