Disaster at the Colorado: Beale's Wagon Road and the First Emigrant Party

Disaster at the Colorado: Beale's Wagon Road and the First Emigrant Party

Disaster at the Colorado: Beale's Wagon Road and the First Emigrant Party

Disaster at the Colorado: Beale's Wagon Road and the First Emigrant Party

Excerpt

Volume after volume has been written about the OregonCalifornia Trail and other overland routes to California, but comparatively little has been written about Beale’s Wagon Road. The reason is simple:The disaster suffered by the first emigrant parties who attempted this route discouraged its use. In later years as Route 66, and more recently as Interstate 40, it would become a major east-west highway but it took the development of the automobile to bring this about. The first wagon train to attempt Beale’s Wagon Road was the Rose-Baley wagon train in 1858. The hardships and suffering endured by these hardy and courageous pioneers have seldom been equaled in the annals of our nation’s westward frontier movement; yet their story remains largely untold. The purpose of this narrative is to tell their story.

My great grandparents, William Right Baley and Nancy Baley their children, and my great-great uncle, Gillum Baley, his wife Permelia, and their children, were members of this unfortunate wagon train. As a child I heard a few tales about their overland trip from my father and his relatives, but over time, many of the details of their ill-fated adventure had been forgotten. While researching my genealogy, I came upon bits of information about their harrowing journey across the western plains. This piqued my interest and motivated me to learn more.

An undertaking of this nature could not have been accomplished without the aid of many generous and cooperative individuals to whom I am deeply indebted. Many went out of their way to lend a helping hand. Some, who had no knowledge of their own to contribute, nevertheless made a valuable contribution by providing me with the names of persons who were knowledgeable. Much valuable information was gained in this manner. And, as with any project, there were those who promised much but delivered little.

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