Joseph Goldsborough Bruff

J. Goldsborough Bruff (October 2, 1804 – April 14, 1889) was an artist, draftsman, historian and topographer during the California Gold Rush era.


He was born in Washington, D.C.. In the 1840s, Bruff resigned from the United States Military Academy at West Point for a minor infraction of the rules. He then worked for the United States Bureau of Topographical Engineers where he created many of the maps used by the United States government, including maps of battle sites from the war with Mexico. In 1849, he was among the "49ers" who headed west during the California Gold Rush. He was a captain of the Washington City and California Mining and Wagon Company.

During the 1840s and 1850s, he kept extensive journals of his travels. He spent two years drawing pictures of the mining camps and the Mother Lode country. His pen-and-ink sketches were illustrated in his journal. Bruff spent his final 13 years in the office of the Supervising Architect, United States Department of the Treasury, Washington, DC.


Bruff died in 1889 and is buried at the National Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC. After his death, his writings were published in a two volume set of books called "Gold Rush: The Journals, Drawings, and Other Papers of J. Goldsborough Bruff." Many historians consider the writings to be some of the best sources of information on the Gold Rush. While serving as the supervising architect of the Treasury Department after the Civil War, he designed Cyrus Field's Congressional Gold Medal.

External links

* [ Oregon Trail]
* [ Joseph Goldsborough Bruff]

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