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Photographs and Drawings from the Simpson Expedition

As Ephriam D. Dickson III details in the fall 2015 Utah Historical Quarterly, the James Simpson expedition to California resulted in the some of the earliest landscape photographs and drawings in Utah. Simpson employed the artist H. V. A. Von Beckh and the photographers Samuel C. Mills and Edward Jagiello to photograph the landscape and landforms over which his expedition passed, as well as military buildings and camp scenes–at Fort Laramie, Fort Bridger, Camp Floyd. The following is a sampling of the photographs and sketches produced during the historic expedition.


Near Ft Laramie

“Near Fort Laramie.” This view shows one of the spring wagons with the Simpson Expedition used to carry the camera and other survey equipment. Note the circling wagons in the background. By Samuel C. Mills and Edward Jagiello, July 1858. Library of Congress.

Devils Gate

“Devil’s Gate, Sweetwater,” by Samuel C. Mills and Edward Jagiello, August 17, 1858. Library of Congress.

Fort Bridger

“Fort Bridger, Utah,” by Samuel C. Mills and Edward Jagiello, probably September 1858. Library of Congress.

Camp Floyd

“Camp Floyd U.T.,” by Samuel C. Mills and Edward Jagiello. Library of Congress.

Butte

“Butte,” by Samuel C. Mills and Edward Jagiello, September 1858. This view shows one of the prominent red rock formations later known as the Devil’s Post Office located near the head of Echo Canyon. This was later the site of a stage station and Pony Express stop. Library of Congress.