Journals of Forty-Niners: Salt Lake to Los Angeles: with Diaries and Contemporary Records of Sheldon Young, James S. Brown, Jacob Y. Stover, Charles C. Rich, Addison Pratt, Howard Egan, Henry W. Bigler, and Others

Journals of Forty-Niners: Salt Lake to Los Angeles: with Diaries and Contemporary Records of Sheldon Young, James S. Brown, Jacob Y. Stover, Charles C. Rich, Addison Pratt, Howard Egan, Henry W. Bigler, and Others

Journals of Forty-Niners: Salt Lake to Los Angeles: with Diaries and Contemporary Records of Sheldon Young, James S. Brown, Jacob Y. Stover, Charles C. Rich, Addison Pratt, Howard Egan, Henry W. Bigler, and Others

Journals of Forty-Niners: Salt Lake to Los Angeles: with Diaries and Contemporary Records of Sheldon Young, James S. Brown, Jacob Y. Stover, Charles C. Rich, Addison Pratt, Howard Egan, Henry W. Bigler, and Others

Synopsis

Western history is all the richer thanks to LeRoy and Ann Hafen, who have assembled a fascinating array of diaries and memoirs of forty-niners who set out from Salt Lake City toward California's gold fields over the Old Spanish Trail. For many would-be gold miners, this dry, dangerous route was preferable to crossing the Sierra Nevada. The Donner party disaster was only three years prior and fresh in the minds of many.

In reality, the choice of the southern route did not ease travelers' efforts. The unremitting heat and lack of water killed more people and animals than did the snows of the mountains. Jacob Stover's narrative provides fine descriptions of these challenges, especially the difficulty in transporting supplies. Of added interest is the journal of Henry Bigler, a former member of the Mormon Battalion, who was the first person to record Marshall's discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill.

Excerpt

The wagon ahead.' We ranged along the road like so many hungry wolves, and soon, to our great joy, we saw an ox that had been left, being too poor to stand alone. We cut his throat and soon had him on a sage brush fire, and before it was heated through, we began to eat, and I never partook of anything in my life that tasted so sweet. We soon devoured it and went ahead to look for another ox and thus we continued till we came to the Muddy, where we found some of Mr. Dallas's company. Somebody had gone ahead with a horse to tell them that we were coming, and they prepared supper for us. We sat down and I ate the best supper I ever had in my life. There was another wagon company ahead of us and they sent word that they had supper prepared for us. We hurried on and ate just as hearty again and it tasted just as good; but all did not seem to abate my craving appetite, and I could not account for it." (This is a part of the tale of woe told me by this young man, and I pitied him, for he had lost all he had on the road and needed help. Brother Rich had assisted men in such circumstances till our company had increased to sixty or seventy men and his means were all exhausted. of the company of fifty wagons which left Utah valley, under convoy of the Spaniard, only two were ahead of us when we arrived at the Cajon pass.

C: james S. brown's account

[A member of the Mormon Battalion, James S. Brown had gone to northern California after his discharge from the army. He was one of that little band that was working at Sutter's mill when gold was discovered in January, 1848. After rejoining his people in Utah later that year, he remained in Salt Lake Valley for one year, when he was called along with Addison Pratt and Hiram Blackwell to go on a Mormon mission to the Society Islands of the Pacific. They were to
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