[FRÉMONT, John C. (1813-1890)]. Articles of Association of the Philadelphia and California Mining Company, together with the By-Laws, Lease, Map, &c. Philadelphia: John C. Clark, 1852.
4to., (9 5/8 x 5 7/8 inches). Large fine folding lithographed “Map showing The Property of the Philada. & Cala. Mg. Co. Mariposa California” (very slightly toned, slight offsetting to title page). Original publisher’s green paper printed wrappers, preserved in a modern cloth portfolio (just touched).
First edition. “This company publication includes the terms of a lease from John C. Fremont, a letter from him to the company dated November 10, 1851, and a report of the enterprise's condition and prospects” (Kurutz). The articles stipulate that “the subscribers hereto, having acquired a lease of Six Hundred feet square of land, granted by John Charles Fremont, upon which there is a large quartz vein of gold, situated upon the river Mariposas... and which is deemed to be of great value--the title to which property the subscribers have conveyed to the Trustees of this Company, in trust for the stockholders--offer an opportunity to others to participate in the advantages and profits of said property...”
In October 1848 Frémont had set out on his ill-fated fourth expedition, “partially financed by St. Louis businessmen eager to locate a central, all-weather railroad route through the Rockies. During the unusually severe winter, the expedition lost its way in the rugged mountains of southern Colorado, and ten men, a third of the expedition, perished in the snow. While Frémont and several reliable men in his party blamed the guide, William S. ‘Old Bill’ Williams, other members blamed Frémont himself. Despite the tragedy, Frémont pushed on to California, where gold had been discovered at Las Mariposas, a seventy-square-mile tract near Yosemite Valley that he had purchased sight unseen in 1847 for $3,000. Las Mariposas made Frémont rich, but he was not a shrewd businessman. Until he sold it in 1864, its legal entanglements and escalating costs diminished both his profits and his energy” (Pamela Herr for ANB).