Jonathan Chase papers 1775-1797
The Fremont Trading and Mining Company was one of many corporations formed during the gold rush mania of 1949. The company consisted of 76 men from New York and Connecticut, all hopeful prospectors, who pooled their resources to co-finance the expensive voyage to California. They commissioned a ship to sail around Cape Horn, via Rio de Janeiro and Valparaiso, to San Francisco. The ship was the barque Selma , built in 1839 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and mastered by Orin Selen, taking fourteen crew and ninety-three passengers. The back of the diary lists the members, their ages, residences, and occupations. Though two of the members were physicians, the majority were tradesmen and craftsmen, whose average age was twenty-six. The journal's author had some carpentry skills, but failed to identify himself. He started his entries on March 27, 1849, at the outset of their six-month sailing trip to San Francisco, described the company's successful search for gold in the Feather River north of Sacramento, and reported on his return as far as Panama in March 1851.