Newspaper Account of Wagon Train Journey to California in 1849 Gold Rush
Gold Rush Journey
Reported in the Oquawka Spectator,
Part I of III
Part II Part III
Below are newspaper reports of the experiences of 111 neighbors of Henderson Co., Illinois who went to California on two wagon trains from Oquawka, Illinois during the 1849 Gold Rush. Included are entries from a “journal”
kept by a reporter for the Oquawka Spectator
newspaper who traveled with one of the wagon trains, which apparently both departed from Oquawka on the 25th of March, 1850. The reporter’s name was Edward H. N. Patterson, a nephew of the owner of the newspaper, and he was on the same wagon train with which Elisha Davis Jackson traveled, but a few days into the journey it appears the train was split into two sections
, and Patterson continued his trip with the section in which E. D. Jackson and Capt. Pence were not members. The name of E. D. Jackson
appeared in the first story in a list of members who were planning to make the trip from Oquawka using a wagon drawn by oxen. His name also appears as “A. D. Jackson”
in a report published in the Oquawka Spectator
concerning another newspaper report published in the “Deseret News
of July 20 printed at Salt Lake City.” The experiences of this other wagon train were probably very similar to those on the train with which Elisha Davis Jackson traveled, since it appears the two trains took nearly the same route and under the same weather conditions. No record was found in this account, however, of an “Indian massacre at Cherry Creek” outside of Salt Lake City as was stated in the Bunce Genealogy and History
as being part of E. D. Jackson’s experience. Mention was made of an attack
made by the Utah Indian tribe on the Snake tribe, which could possibly be the episode remembered by E. D. Jackson. This record was kindly provided to me by Richard A. Pence, whose ancestor was Capt. Robert T. Pence, head of the wagon train with which E. D. Jackson traveled. For visitors interested in other stories about the 1849 Gold Rush, see the Journals of Sophrani Marchesseau
This is a transcript of Patterson’s journal and a few other stories published in the Oquwaka Spectator in the summer and fall of 1850. The record was transcribed from microfilmed copies of the newspaper.
At a meeting of persons intending to emigrate to California, with Ox Teams, the coming spring, held at the Court House on Saturday, the 23d inst. [Feb.], Samuel Gordon, Esq. was called to the Chair and C. S. Cowan acted as Secretary.
On motion, Thirty six came forward, and enrolled their names for California.
On motion, Saml. W. Lynn, Joel Haines, & Robert T. Pence, were appointed a Committee to prepare an estimate of the outfit necessary for the trip; said committee to report at the next meeting to be held on Saturday the 2nd day of March next, at 2 o’clock p.m. at the Court House at which time an election will be held for officers.
On motion, Joel Haines, Robt. T. Pence, & Isaac Morris were appointed a committee to inspect teams.
Resolved, That those persons intending to go to the gold diggings with ox teams, meet at Jack’s Mill on Tuesday the 5th day of March next with their teams, for the purpose of inspection.
Resolved, That the Editors of the Oquawka Spectator be requested to publish the proceedings of this meeting.
On motion, The meeting adjourned. Samuel Gordon,
Ch’n, C. S. Cowan, Sec’y
Ox Team Company
At an adjourned meeting of Californians by ox teams, held at the Court House, pursuant to notice, on Saturday the second day of March, 1850, J. W. Jones, Esq., was called to the Chair and C. S. Cowan officiated as Secretary.
The committee, appointed at the last meeting to prepare an estimate of the outfit necessary for the trip submitted the following (for each team four men to a team).
1 bbl. crackers
400 lbs. flour
2 bushel corn meal
400 lbs. bacon
30 lbs. sugar
30 lbs. coffee
3 lbs. tea best
1 bu. white beans
20 lbs. rice
2 bush. dr'd apples
5 lbs. saleratus
10 lbs. candles
2-1/2 bush. slt
1 scythe & snath
1 water cask
40 gallons iron bound.
On motion, the meeting proceeded to elect officers, consisting of one Captain and two lieutenants, whereupon the following persons were elected. Robert T. Pence, Captain; Isaac L. Morris, 1st Lieutenant, and Joel Haines, 2nd Lieutenant.
On motion; W. L. Stockton, Saml. W. Lynn and David E. Roberts, were appointed a committee to prepare By-Laws and Regulations for the Company.
Resolved, That we meet at Oquawka, on Monday the 18th inst. to commence the journey.
Resolved, That the Editors of the Oquawka Spectator be requested to publish the proceedings of this meeting.
On motion, the meeting adjourned.
T. I. A. Jones, Ch’n.
C. S. Cowan, Sec’y
Below we give a list of the names of a number of our citizens from this town and neighborhood, who have started for the gold regions. We wish them a prosperous journey, and a realization in full fruition of all their golden dreams, and a safe return to their friends.
With Horse Teams
With Ox Teams
C. H. W. Chapin
J. S. Chapin
Wm. F. Davis
Daniel D. Francisco
Wils. M. Graham
James W. Harris
Jas. A. Henderson
John W. Jones
H. C. Knowles
J. H. McDill
E. H. N. Patterson
James F. Rice
Moses M. Roberts
S. N. Snook
David A. Beaty
J. C. Beeding
M. H. Burd
O. Camp, Jr.
W. M. Dinwiddie
Felix G. Harris
A. T. W. Jack
E. D. Jackson
Nathan H. Jamison
C. B. Jones
Samuel W. Lynn
L. L. Morris
Robt. T. Pence
H. A. Ritchey
David E. Roberts
T. P. Stephenson
Wm. L. Stockton
J. B. Taliaferro
J. W. Larue & Family
We commence today the “Impressions” of our Junior, who is on his way to California. It is his intention to keep a daily journal of the trip, which will be laid before our readers as fast as received. To those who have friends in the train this journal will be very interesting.
by E. H. N. Patterson
- Monday, March 25th, 1850
I spoke the last word with no tear and no sigh, But it came from the heart—Goodbye friends, goodbye.
That may be original, and it may not; at any rate, I adopt the sentiment, which makes it as good as my own.
For California! for the land of gold, where countless treasures yet by man untold, lie buried in the sands that skirt the shores of rolling rivers—in ravines where pours the mountain torrent where the hand of spring removes the seal from many a mountain spring; for El Dorado of the setting sun, where yellow-bedded brooklets rippling run; we haste away—we leave our homes behind, our youthful comrades and our friends so kind. We haste away, the golden dust to find, which will old friendships yet still stronger bind. Then on, companions let us “push it through” and gain the “tin”—our industry’s just due. Who talks of hardships—volunteers to tell that many dangers in our pathway could well. We know the risk—anticipate each ill—but have resolved to conquer, and we will!
Tis much for the ideal—now for the practical. So much for the anticipations of warm and ardent hope—now for the dissipation or realization of Fancy’s dream.
We left Oquawka this morning with a fresh cool breeze from the southwest which added buoyancy to the ardor of our hope. Passing over a good road until we reached the “bottom” opposite Burlington—which was “hard”—we arrived at Burlington, where most of the teams “camped” for the night. Tomorrow we shall “sneak out” for Kanesville. Distance made, 15 miles.
- Tuesday, March 26
- Last night we had “one of those times.” Taking lodging in the wagons, we slept well “considering” until about 4 o’clock, when we were aroused by the alarm of “Fire!” Hastily arising—or rather, descending—from our wagon beds some of us hastened to the scene of the disaster and found a cooper shop enveloped in flames. It soon fell in, and California—like, we hastened to the wagons and returned to the smouldering mass of coals with our coffee pots and long before the sun came up we were indulging in a cup of the refreshing beverage. About 9 a.m. we started fresh and though the road from Burlington to Lowell is bordered for about a mile by the “grading” intended for the Mt. Pleasant plank road, we found the road generally very good to Lowell, which point we reached about sunset, where we crossed the Skunk, having travelled 18 miles. Tonight we have made a regular encampment, and entered upon the performance of emigrant duties.
So far uniform good feeling has prevailed in the Company—only excepting a small amount of fighting in camp tonight—this however is not very much to be regretted as the combatants were only dogs.
- Wednesday 27 March.
- This morning our Company adopted a regulation that no person shall be permitted to carry a loaded gun in the wagons unless the cap be removed from the tube. Slight fall of snow gave place to a steady cool breeze from the west. Soon after we left camp today we passed over some of the worst roads imaginable—no, not that, for a little rain would make them impassable for our teams. We passed Washington this afternoon, and have encamped in Bratten’s Grove at the junction of the North and south roads to the “Bluffs.” We shall strike out at the former in the morning. For sake of variety I visited a neighboring farm house this evening and had a chat about the “Diggings” and learned that many persons are leaving this—Van Buren County for California. A great many horse teams have passed this point on both roads and I had the satisfaction of learning that none had gone by so well fitted out and consisting of so generally good horses as our own. Distance 23 miles.
- Thursday, March 28
- Left camp this morning in good season and travelled over a beautiful road passing through Winchester, Birmingham and Libertyville. After we left Libertyville we were deceived by a “cut-off” and leaving the main road we found ourselves in for it—completely taken in and done for. The road for eight miles was awful—hills, hollows, mud holes, wet prairie, bad bridges—everything that could render a road execrable. I hope the boys didn’t curse it much but for my own part, I was much in the mood of old Deacon, whose hat flew off—“It’s against my profession to swear, but, neighbor, you will greatly oblige me by damning that hat.” At length, however, after traveling 28 miles we have encamped at Ashland, in Wapello County, all safe, except Aleck Henderson, who had an axletree broken on that road; it will be fixed in the morning and we will “grind” on—oats are worth 20 cts. here, corn the same, beans, 50 cts. The boys are all well. Good order prevails. The boys all appear pleased with Capt. Dan., and we may safely predict a prosperous journey.
- Friday, March 29
- We made a late start, this morning, and travelled only 19 miles passing through Agency City, Dahlonega and Kirksville. No one would take the last for a town, however, as I noticed only 3 or 4 houses. Today we passed Capt. Pence’s Company encamped near Dahlonega. [This is first indication that the wagon train had split in to two sections, one headed by Capt. Robert T. Pence, possibly comprised solely of wagons drawn by oxen, and the other with which E.H.N. Patterson continued his journey.] They are all well, and were holding on awhile where they could procure grain cheap. Jacob Babcock’s mess is encamped near us this evening.—People in this section of country have so many corn fields that they are compelled to number them; this may sound strange, but it is a fact that several miles east of the Agency I noticed a board, above a gateway, inscribed with the words—“Cornfield No. 2.”
- Saturday, March 30
- Today we passed through Oskaloosa, the largest town we have seen since leaving Burlington, and made 25 miles. Roads anything but first rate. We have been travelling all day on the ridge between the Des Moines and Skunk Rivers; the bluffs and timber of both being nearly all the time in sight—neither stream being more than 2 to 6 miles distant. The country is good—I mean the soil—and is tolerably well settled; it cannot, however, be said to equal the land between the Mississippi and Illinois, so far as I have had opportunities of judging. Corn and oats are “coming up” the further we go west—the price now asked being 30 cents.
- Sunday March 31
- Passed the day in camp, to recruit the horses and rest the men. This morning, in company with Slone, Wykoff, and Tinker, I took a stroll of about 6 miles—to the Skunk River and back. The Skunk is here quite a large stream, but it is not skirted by much timber. The country is very broken and well watered. In returning from the river, I noticed a singular object at some distance on the side of a hollow in the prairie, which I at first took to be a large tent—then a small house—but, upon approaching it, I discovered it to be an immense rock protruding from the surface of the ground. But this, although somewhat remarkable for a prairie country, is nothing to what we will yet see in the rock line. Today we were joined by Chapin’s and McElrea’s teams. The day has been cloudy, and, as I write, a slight shower is falling. It is my luck to stand guard tonight, so I must lay aside the pen and take my station. Lest it may be thought that “standing guard” in the settlements is unnecessary, I will state that a watch is obliged to be kept over the horses, who have not yet become accustomed to so large a stable as we give them, and occasionally create some disturbance by slipping their halters. Our friends at home may rest assured, however, that we have no danger to apprehend from stampedes, for even now, if one of our horses is turned loose you can’t drive him away from the train.
- Monday, April 1
- “All fools’ day” has passed off without many tricks having been played by our Company, or upon them.—We “rolled out” from camp about 9 o’clock, and reached Toole’s Point about 3, where we camped, having made about 20 miles. The rain last night made the roads very heavy. We paid, today, $1 for potatoes, 35 cents for oats and 50 cents per 100 lbs. for hay—but we are now in a section where we are charged 50 cts. for corn and oats. The land over which we passed today, I may safely assert, cannot be surpassed in fertility by any in the Union; it does a man good just to look at it—high and rolling, a spring branch running in every hollow, soil black, deep and mellow, while timber can be procured along the rivers on either side of the Dividing Ridge. Nor has this exuberance of nature’s gifts been entirely overlooked, for a large colony of Dutch-Hollanders—have settled in and about a town called Pella, situated 6 miles northwest of last night’s camp. These people appear to be enterprizing—at any rate we had cause to believe that they were—go-aheadative from the fact that while in their limits are found all the sloughs and small creeks bridged—something remarkable in this part of the country, where the people seem to think the roads in good condition if the mud be not more than hub-deep. The houses of these colonists are of different styles—some being small frames, others sod with thatched roofs, while the king or ruler of the colony, resides in a fine mansion, and is laying off extensive and beautiful grounds. Pella contains mechanics of all kinds, but the shoemakers bear about the proportion of three to one of any other trade. Some of the inhabitants speak English—some attempt to write it. One of the latter class has placed a sign on the road side which reads thus—“Clothes to resale, Kleeren to Koop, Zweat milk, butter.”—This is certainly very satisfactory to travellers, and, we hope, brings the owner of the sign much custom. But I must haul in or many readers will begin to think the Dutch have taken me by storm. We are now encamped near the house of Mr. Toole, who formerly resided at Black Hawk in Louisa County. He intends laying off a town here next week, which, I have been told, will be named Toolesboro. It is again raining tonight but our tent keeps us dry and warm. We have found prairie chickens plenty along the road, so far, and the boys have “slain” a few.
- Tuesday, April 9
- We have been travelling all day across the plains. Roads good, except one crossing, our horses came over well, but a team crossing just after us stalled. Saw an ox that had given out and been left to get his own living as well as he could, but have not yet seen any used up horses. Prairies more rolling and broken than yesterday. Travelled 25 miles, and camped in a beautiful hickory grove, where we obtained the first vegetables of the season—wild onions. Haven’t seen a house today.
- Wednesday, April 10
- Crossed the Nishnabotna River, a tributary of the Missouri, at noon. We lowered the loaded wagons with ropes and forded the river without any accident. Here we made the first use of our portable horse ferries—by sending over the extra horses several times to bring over the footmen. Soon after we came to the location of an old Indian town, where the Sacs & Foxes had quite a village a few years ago. For miles before reaching this place, our course was pointed out by an Indian trail running near the road; trails, indeed, abound over the prairie, in all directions, in the vicinity of the town and several, which evince much travel in times gone by lead off to the Missouri River. I walked along a trail this afternoon, in order to gain distance on the teams, and noticed in many places three parallel paths; wherever they crossed a hillside the oldest was worn away by the rains to the depth of 2 feet, another about a foot, while the one or more recent formation was but little worn. Travelled 30 miles. Roads since leaving Indian town have been splendid. Weather cold-freezing. We are in a region where horse thieves are numerous—(we met one today, though we were not aware of it at the time)—but Applegate is on guard tonight, and woe be to the scoundrel who dares invade our camp.
- Thursday, April 11
- The road followed the course of the old Mormon Trail almost all day: this trail was worn by the Mormon Emigrants several years ago, and has all the appearance of an old travelled road—and well it may, for during the winter when the “Saints” left Nauvoo, more than a thousand teams passed over it.—Weather pleasant, and roads as good as we could wish. This afternoon, we travelled for several hours along the ridge of the Missouri bluffs, enjoying the luxury of a fine view of the Missouri bottoms—the river, visible at intervals in silvery strips—Traders Point—and the prominent ridges of Council Bluffs in Nebraska Territory. Passed through Carterville just at night, and camped a mile and a half from Kanesville. Carterville is a little hole of a town, composed of a number of little long huts filled with old women, fyst dogs, pretty girls and ragged children—the houses stuck in the ridge of a hollow, and the girls’ faces at the windows and doors. I have just returned from a visit to town, where I saw the Mitchell boys, Dehague, and Disney. Dr. Thompson, Miller, and the other boys are here. Rockwell teams are camped several miles from town.
- Friday, April 12
- Moved into town this morning, and took up our abode for a season—to remain so long as the weather clerk shall keep up this awful weather. Kelping, the merchant with whom our contract for corn at 35 cts. was made, has flunked out of half the grain, and the consequence is that we are “put to our trumps” to get enough to keep our teams till warm weather.
- Saturday, April 13
- Took a ride to Traders’ Point, eight miles below here, on the river, and crossed the river to Council Bluffs. This is Nebraska, and in the country of the Omahoe Indians; several Indians were seen on the river bank and in ledges along the river shore, but their village is situated about seven miles in the interior; judging from those I saw, this tribe will not compare favorably, in personal appearance, with the Sac & Foxes. I visited the agency, and the Missionary school—where a number of Indian children are in attendance. At the latter place I met Chancey Noteware and several other Galesburg boys just going out to the village, accompanied by Logan Fontanelle, Esq., the accommodating interpreter.
- Sunday, April 14
- Took a ride twenty miles northward, to the Bonga River, for the purpose of buying up corn. Start not in holy horror, righteous friends, for as a Mormon who rode in the wagon with us very truly remarked—“It is right to perform works of necessity and mercy on the Sabbath”; and when our purses are running low and the price of corn going up, up, up, it is necessary to secure what we want without delay. We passed over a country thickly settled, but could get no corn. All the inhabitants are devoted to Mormonism, and preparing to emigrate to the Salt Lake. Many of them came here several years ago—without a cent—and are getting to be comfortably situated, yet in a year or two they will “pull up stakes” and commence anew in the “Valley.”—Corn is now worth $1, and is hard to get at even that price. The Mormons are reaping a harvest, sure. Camped tonight in a vacant log cabin, and slept under a roof, the first since I left home. A snow that covered the ground fell this morning.
- Monday, April 15
- The weather is still cold. Rode homewards, grain hunting without success, and crossed a ridge of knobs; met a great many Emigrant teams corn hunting. Kanesville has a population of about 600; contains a number of stores, shops, mechanics, & etc. Goods are reasonably low, but grain—as Webster says—“get out.” The inhabitants are nearly all Mormons and are merely sojourners here—the “manifest destiny” of all being to reach the “Valley,” the ultimatum of their hopes; they appear to be an honest and industrious set of people and certainly manage to make business ring in this little town. Corn—I hate to retreat to this theme so often—is now worth $1.25 only; Pike says that his purse has the sweeny, and I presume there are very few in the company but what might say the same with truth.
- Tuesday, April 16
- Woke up this morning to hear old “Boreas howling from the North.” The boys are all well—and good feeling reigns in camp, save a little growling about the weather. I am sorry we did not come in a week sooner, for then we might have secured grain at fifty cents. Frank Davis’ team arrived last night. I met our old correspondent, R. W. Miles, in town today, looking as hearty as a buck. He is, like myself, bound for the Gold Region. It has been stormy all day, but we, with a stove in our tent, are as happy and comfortable as lords. I hope the weather will soon turn warm, so that we can shove out. We have no mail facilities here—only a weekly mail to St. Jo.; and occasional mail to Ft. Des Moines. William Fletcher, Miles’ partner, reports about 3000 teams at St. Jo.; and a few hundred at Weston. Emigrants are camped everywhere about here, but it is impossible to ascertain the exact number. Prugh has been here, but has returned to the Des Moines, to turn his company to St. Jo.
The following extracts we take from a letter written by Mr. William Hanna, to his father, John Hanna, Esq., of Warren County, dated “Hanna’s Store, Bear River, Cal.”
Feb. 10, 1850—On our arrival here we built a house 18 by 26 feet, put our wagon beds into it, and placed every man’s goods in his own wagon bed. We left two men to guard the house. The days rest we had taken, and the sight of a little of the yellow dust, with some advice from James M. Coon of Oregon, Lewis Coon and Newton Smith, all my old neighbors, in regard to finding it, made us anxious to be digging it out. On the 16th of August I packed up and started on a prospecting expedition in company with D. B. Findley and J. A. McClannahan. Spent four days in search of gold, but found none. We returned to camp tired and hungry, (Having had nothing to eat the last day), and no wiser in regard to mining than when we started—but considering what others had done we could do, we made a second expedition to Uber, and found a company there mining. I watched them one day, found out how the gold was situated, then went to prospecting with better success. We found a place where we made $4 per day—not being satisfied with this we ascended the river about 15 miles, where we struck a place in which we made $340 to the hand in 9 days. We dug 17 oz. in one day, (3 of us),—this is the best days work I have done in the mines. We worked here one month averaging $25 per day to the hand when the lead run out.
On the 10th of October we returned to our house to look out for winter quarters. I found that our company, generally, had done well. $1500 for the first two months, was the most made by any one of our company.
I met David Findley, formerly of Henderson County, who gave me a very flattering account of Oregon. He had made about $5,000 with the aid of his two boys, since he came to the mines. James Imbrie, our old neighbor, has made about $15000 here in 15 months; Wm. McCoy has made about $2000; George McCullough had made several thousand dollars, and lost it gambling, but when I saw him last, he was in a fair way to make it up. I know of his making $400 in four days.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
During the winter we have been getting out frame timber, making shingles, riving and shaving boards, killing deer and hunting bear, &c. One word about California timber. I am well aware it will tax your credulity pretty heavy to believe it, still it is nevertheless, true. The fact is, you suckers know nothing about timber. But to begin. The house in which I am writing is 18 by 16 feet, 9 feet high, and covered with round logs completely over.—These are so straight that there are but one or two places in the roof that you could slip your open hand into, and there was no log that was brought over four rods. We have got out a frame for a two story house 28 by 36, at the door, and there is timber to build two or three barns. It is nothing uncommon to see trees 200 feet high, and I have not the least doubt that there are many 300 feet high. There is a tree within ten miles of this place 26 feet in circumference, and about 200 feet high.
The climate here is just right, if you keep in the right place—but if you get a little too high on the mountains in winter, you are liable to freeze—and if you go into the vallies in summer it is so intolerably hot that you can’t live—but right here it is pleasant the year round. Although we have had three feet of snow, a coat has been a superfluous garment. The snow has aided us very much in killing deer.—We have killed 100 deer, and had quit hunting, but there is a party of Indians here now wanting to buy ten, and we will have to go out tomorrow and kill them.—They pay from one to three ounces a piece, and pack them themselves, and we generally kill from one to nine per day, to each hand, so you see there is no danger of starving in this country. I expect to mine next summer, and come home next winter if I have ordinary luck. I have made $1,500.
One word to those who think of coming here. If you are living comfortably, and clear of debt, stay at home. If in debt, and have a constitution like a bear, and the perseverance of an ant, come to California, this is the place to make a raise. If you have a family, stay at home and take care of them. — William Hanna
- Wednesday, April 17
- Weather today has moderated a little, and I think that after another snow we may hope for Spring. Emigrants continue to arrive. Pence’s train is camped 16 miles east. Ferriage across the Missouri will cost us $1.25; across the Elk Horn $2; and the Loupe $3.50.
Cowan and Swezy have just arrived by way of St. Jo; they left Snook in St. Louis. N. O. Ferris and J. H. Noteware of Galesburg have reached here. The cholera is said to be very bad at St. Jo, among the Emigrants, and will, undoubtedly, follow the trains out. I would rather take the Northern route and escape disease, even if grain should cost a little more here—health is everything on this trip. The Galesburg Company will leave the river next Monday, and we shall, in all probability start the next day. We will thus get to grass before we feed out our grain, whereas, if we should remain here we would not be able to start with any horse feed at all. The Anderson boys [probably from Anderson County] are in town, and will start out on Monday. The weather tonight is mild and balmy, hope revives, and we begin to look for grass shortly.
- Thursday, April 18th
- Jas. Harris and Jesse Bigelow arrived this morning, safe and sound. Met Mr. Denman of Monmouth; he goes out with the Galesburg company. Weather more pleasant.—Hay is selling at $20 per ton, and scarce at that. If any of my friends should determine to come this road next spring, let them send an agent on in the winter to buy up what grain they may need, and not trust to contracts—Californians can’t spare time to await the operation of legal measures to enforce them. There are teams here from all parts of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin; probably something over a thousand will start from about this point this spring—this estimate, however, may fall short of the number, for Emigrants continue to “roll in” daily.
- Friday, April 19th
- A “gentleman of color” from Wisconsin came here last night to join two teams which he had fitted out, well—he found his teams and was very summarily dismissed by his hired white men, one of whom drew a pistol and ordered him to vamose; this he did and set about devising some plan by which to recover his teams; in the meantime taking advantage of the night the gentlemen who were “bound for California at the nigger’s expense” eloped, and are now in Nebraska, where I wish them no harm—but hope the Indians may strip them; their rascality deserves no better fate.
- Saturday, April 20th
- The streets present the appearance of a crowded mart; the unloading of wagons with goods from the river, the auctioneer’s cry, the horse market, the clatter of numerous tongues, an occasional quarrel, oaths, wrestling matches, jumping on wagers, and other sights and sounds go to make up “life in Kanesville.” Some Companies are breaking up; others forming; messes are swapping places; and I have heard of a company of pack mules from Indiana who have concluded to “Crawfish”; good luck to them, and may many others come to the same determination—it will leave a wider field for us who are going ahead.
- Sunday, April 21st
- Raining a little—weather considerably moderated—some business going on in town—not much “noise and confusion.”
- Monday, April 22d
- It has been decided by the vote of the company to leave camp on Tuesday, the 23d, and to proceed on the North Route. I believe this route will give us a decided advantage over the St. Jo. emigration, both as regards health and convenience, wood and water. We start on with a little more than seven bushels of grain to each horse. Our loads at first will be heavy, but will be constantly diminishing. After our grain gives out, the plan most likely to be adopted to secure expedition will be for two messes to unite both teams on one wagon, and change teams in harness at noon—this will give us fresh teams every day. I append a list of those who now compose our Company: Henderson Company—D. D. Franciso, Perry Eames, O. Pike, Jno. Fletcher, E. Wykoff, Wm. Trannum, C. S. Cowan, A. McFarland, Dan. McFarland, Jno. McGaw, Jas. Rice, A. Watson, W. M. Graham, E. H. N. Patterson, Theo. McFarland, Chas. Chapin, Wm. Applegate, A. Eames, Geo. Slone, H. Tinker, Wm. Atkinson, J. Bowman, D. Blackhart, David McFarland, H. Knowles, J. Perkins, A. Knowles, A. Henderson, Jno. McFarland, Dan. Chapin, Eb. Chapin, W. F. Davis, W. Birdsall, J. A. Swezy, Jas. Harris, Jesse Bigelow, Dr. J. H. McDill, Stephen Mitchell, Hiram Mitchell-39; Mercer County—Steb. Chapin-1; Warren County—E. Brown-1; Knox County—Silas Roe, Jas. Martin-2; Fulton County—Laertes S. Smith-1; Jo Davies County—Campbell, Canda, Fullon, Simmons, Gardner, Townsend, Rosencrans, Foster, Williams-9. Felix Harris, Jack & Roberts were in yesterday—report Darnell & Muck’s teams a day or two behind. Rockwell’s teams may join us—some of the boys are for holding on two or three weeks—but this we cannot do. Some of the Keithsburg and Hoppers’ Mills boys may also join us, but they have not yet done so.
From California—We take the following extract from a letter from Mr. Joseph Darnell to Mr. H. N. Ives, dated Rough and Ready Diggins, March 23, 1850.
The general health of the country is good—particularly so in the Mines. Our Diggings hold out very well, yet we intend to go and prospect for more soon. My Partner and me took out a little over one pound of gold yesterday, and the day before eleven and an half ounces. This you would call pretty good work, but it does not begin to compare with some of our neighbors in this region. There have been a number of pieces of gold found in our Diggings weighing from twenty and an half ounces to seven ounces. About twenty five miles from here there was a chunk found weighing sixteen pounds nine ounces and five drachms.
We came back to the Mines on the 25th January and have remained here ever since. Capt. Findley, Blackburns, N. Woods, Wm. Vanpelt, H. Seymour, M. Ritchey, the Hannas and Robert Glass are the only ones I know in the Mines belonging to our company. I expected to be gone two years, and perhaps will because I can do much better here than there?