Gold Rush Diary

Gold Rush Diary: Being the Journal of Elisha Douglas Perkins on the Overland Trail in the Spring and Summer of 1849

Copyright Date: 1967
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Gold Rush Diary
    Book Description:

    Among the hundreds captivated by the vision of quick riches in the gold fields of California was Elisha Douglass Perkins, a tall handsome youth from Marietta, Ohio, who has here left a remarkable first-hand account of the great trek westward in 1849. Perkins' diary is an unusually full and intimate record of crossing the plains and mountains of the Great West.

    Extensive notes supplement the text, associating it with numerous other published and unpublished accounts, while an appendix of reports and letters from the Marietta newspaper reveals the involvement of those at home with the Gold Rush. An annotated map shows Perkins' progress along the Overland Trail.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6527-1
    Subjects: History, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Preface
    (pp. v-viii)
    Thomas D. Clark
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xxvi)

    The Middle of the nineteenth century provided opportunities aplenty for adventuresome youth but sometimes they were hard to discover. Elisha Douglass Perkins of Marietta, Ohio, had not quite found his niche. He had traveled into the Lower South in search of a spot to locate a drugstore, and had even contemplated a visit into the Southwest. Perkins in 1848 was ripe for the excitement which news of discovery of gold in California brought to the Ohio Valley The year before he had married the daughter of a prominent, relatively well-to-do family, and like his neighbors in the oldest settled Ohio...

  5. May 9–June 14, 1849
    (pp. 1-30)

    Having Decided upon undertaking a journey across the Plains by way of the South Pass of the Rocky Mtns. to the far famed valley of the Sacramento, I left my pleasant home & dear friends in Marietta, Ohio—on steamboat DeWitt Clinton—Wed. May 9, 1849, in company with fite good fellows. S. E. Cross, Z. L. Chesebro, Jos. L. Stephens J. L. Huntington & J. Q. A. Cunningham.¹ Our trip down the Ohio & up to St. Louis was without incident worthy of record. The scenery of these rivers has been over & over again described every one has...

  6. June 15–July 1, 1849
    (pp. 31-50)

    Friday June 15. Morning clear, cool, wind East. Start at 5 oclock. Met some returning Emigrants who confirmed the reports we have previously heard that a large body of Chians were on our route, & also told us that some 4 or 5 men had been killed by them, stragglers from camps whom they caught alone.¹ We met the Postrider from Ft. Laramie today also & he repeated the same story. All the effect upon us will be to prevent much leaving the camp alone & will keep the wagons in close company through the days travel. It will not...

  7. July 2–July 22, 1849
    (pp. 51-72)

    Monday July 2. Morn clear, night cool. Wind W. We called ourselves together pretty early this morning to transact business & have accomplished a good deal for one day. all being agreed, we proceeded to divide our mules. Three fell to the share of each pair, Stephens & Chesebro travel together, Cross & Cunningham & I take Johnny Huntington under my care. Our mules disposed of we proceeded to weight out our provisions &c equally & other things were then portioned out as each could agree with the other

    The wagon we are offered $5 for! Stephens swears before he...

  8. July 23–August 8, 1849
    (pp. 73-121)

    MONDAYJULY 23. Morn clear and cool–night quite chilly, wind W. Start 1/2 past 6. I find my packs and saddles require some changing R. attention every morning which prevents my starting as early as I would wish, but hope in a few days more to get everything so systematized as to be able to get off at 1/2 past 6.

    Road left Sweetwater & went over the sandy bluffs–rather heavy– At 10 made the South Pass of the Rocky Mts.,¹ a place of great anticipation to all emigrants but of any little, if remarkable in its appearance &...

  9. August 9–August 19, 1849
    (pp. 93-102)

    Thursday Aug. 9. Morn clear, W. E., night cool & clear with a brilliant display of the heavenly bodies. Saw as I lay on my bed before falling asleep several fine meteors, course of most was south. Start at 8, & after half an hour travel came to the fork in the road the left hand being the cut-off of which we had been told. Found that it had been considerably travelled by wagons &. so our Missouri Company decided to risk it too & we all started on together. At the “Forks” we found notes & cards for the...

  10. August 20–September 14, 1849
    (pp. 103-128)

    Monday Aug 20. Morn clear cool. Wind North, Night cold. Could see nothing of our mules this morning on awaking. Having neglected picketing them as usual depending on their staying with the animals of our Harmar friends. I surveyed the country round with my telescope but without success & we were of course considerably alarmed. It being quite possible that the Shoshones might have taken a fancy to them. The Harmar Co. left about 7 & we scattered in all directions in search of our lost animals &. about 8 found them at the foot of the hills some 4...

  11. September 15–September 27, 1849
    (pp. 129-142)

    Saturday Sept. 15. Morn very cold, night do, ice made 2 in. thick. Thermometer I should suppose would have stood about 15. The ground our bed packs &c were perfectly white with frost K: our ears & faces looked not exactly white but considerably blue with cold. We were camped in a valley near a Miss. train. Going over to warm myself by their fire I found a soldier who belonged to Gen. Kearneys detachment some years since entered Cal. from Taos. He was on his way home & brought us news from Cal. new & interesting. The prices of...

  12. September 28, 1849–February 28, 1850
    (pp. 143-156)

    Saturday October 6. Here I am still in Sacramento City—feeling quite well & enjoying myself finely. The day after we arrived went down town to try & pawn my watch & not be obliged to force my mule in to market. In course of my travels I stepped into a store & saw a young man behind the counter whom I recognized as an acquaintance I made in New Orleans, a fine clean fellow, a nephew of Col. Bailie Peyton & named Peyton himself.¹ He also recognized me & after mutual greetings &. congratulations on finding each other in...

  13. Appendix
    (pp. 157-196)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 197-201)
  15. Index
    (pp. 202-207)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 208-208)