Gold Rush travel journal  1849-1850
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Gold Rush travel journal (44 pages) spans the period from April 28, 1850, to October 31, 1850, and details an overland journey from the Missouri River to California, during the time of the California Gold Rush. Of the diary's 44 pages, the last 9 contain lists of food purchased from stores and traders (buying tobacco and food and selling gold), and the final page concerns buying food in St. Louis (May 29, 1849).

The author made entries every few days and provided descriptions his location, total distance traveled, and, occasionally, of weather and temperature. While the party traveled mostly by horse and wagon, they also used rafts and ferries to cross rivers. Entries are short and generally provide only details of the scenery and the party's routes on their way west. The author began his journey on the Missouri River at Elizabeth Landing, and ended it at Georgetown, California. Several entries specify his location with names of rivers and landmarks, including the Little Blue River, "Grand Island" (north of Fort Kearney), the Platte River, Chimney Rock, Fort Laramie, the Sweetwater River, the Soda Springs, the Bear Creek River, Goose Creek, Mary River, "Hudspeth’s Cutoff," and the Humboldt River. The traveler also mentioned the killing of a buffalo by a William Hubbard, trading with the Sioux Indians on the North Platte River, signing Chimney Rock, and passing by a spring hot enough to boil coffee. He provided financial details such as the cost of particular ferry crossings and supplies. At one point, the author recorded being ill with mountain fever, but quickly recovered without further incident. On June 2nd, he noted that "the dust [was] very bad and the ground was covered with Alkali and the dust [on the] mountains looked like they had burned for a thousand years."

On October 1, 1850, the author left his company and traveled to Georgetown, California, and began working on a claim at Pools Bar on October 5, 1850. His last entry is from Georgetown, California, on the edge of what is now the Eldorado National Forest, north of Sacramento.

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