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Title Journal March 13, 1852 [manuscript]: 1852 Mar. 13-1854 Aug. 5
Author Van Schaick, Holmes D.
Document Type Diary
Description From the Newberry Library Catalogue: Diary containing entries dated Mar. 22, 1852-Aug. 5, 1854, documenting Van Schaick’s experiences travelling overland with the Oneida California Company and working as a gold miner, agricultural laborer, and logger in California. Entries en route to California discuss Van Schaick’s encounter with cholera and include daily tallies of graves passed. He describes the weather, terrain, and scenery, often commenting on the beauty of the western landscape and noting interesting and spectacular sites along the way. Van Schaick’s religious devotion is evident in his record of his Sabbath activities which frequently included the company captain’s sermons. Once in California, Van Schaick comments on his daily work, which he frequently found monotonous, his Sunday observances, and his thoughts of home. There are also by-laws and a membership list of Oneida California Company (p. [3]-[5], tipped in), maxims (p. [2] and [9]), poetry (p. [13], and accounts (p. [239]-[242], tipped in). Van Schaick’s name and address appear on the front fly-leaf.
Places California, Erie, Pennsylvania, Ohio River, Mississippi River, Missouri River, St. Joseph, Missouri, Platte River, Sierra Nevada, Yankee Pines, Devil's Canyon, Cleveland Hill, Auburn, San Jose, Gilroy, United States
Keywords overland trail, personal account, gold, mining, farming, cholera, observation, religion, law, account, memoir, frontier, pioneer, travel, travelogue, prospecting
Theme Observation, Representation and Cultural Encounters
Tribe / Nation
Culture Area California
Additional Information Overland traveller and California pioneer. On April 5, 1852, Holmes D. Van Schaick, a native of North Manlius, Onondaga County, N.Y., began his journey to California with the Oneida California Company. Van Schaick travelled by rail to Erie, Pa., south by canal boat to the Ohio River, and then by steamboats on the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers to St. Joseph, Mo. On May 11, the company started over the plains, traversing the Platte River road and arriving at South Pass, July 2. On Aug. 23, the group reached their destination, having travelled the Humboldt-Carson route across the desert and Sierra Nevada, and disbanded four days later. Van Schaick prospected for gold in Yankee Pines, Devil’s Canyon, Cleveland Hill, and near Auburn. In December he abandoned mining and commenced work as a farm laborer near San Jose, continuing until October, 1853, when he began logging in the redwoods approximately thirty miles from San Jose and seven miles from Gilroy.
Library The Newberry Library
Copyright The Newberry Library
Collection The Edward E. Ayer Collection
Reference VAULT Ayer MS 945
Catalogue Link The Newberry Library Catalogue