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Title Diary [manuscript]: Moravia, N.Y., to Calif., Mar. 19 - [Dec.?], 1849, 1871
Author Jennings, Samuel C.
Document Type Travel Journal
Description From the Newberry Library Catalogue: 1849 overland and California gold rush diary of Samuel C. Jennings, compiled by him in 1871, probably from his original diaries. From Ithaca, N.Y., to Independence, Mo., the diary describes travel by raft, canal boat, and river steamer, and the cities of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and St. Louis. En route overland, Jennings discusses mule problems; diseases (particularly cholera) and medical practice; vegetation, topography, and game (buffalo, etc.); trail conditions and availability of wood, water, and grass; encounters with other emigrant parties (Auburn Company, Capt. Bass’ Company) and with bands of Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Utes, etc.; rumors of Indian troubles; the members, organization, and decision-making processes of the Ithaca Company; and provision shortages and prices at various places. Also included are descriptions of Bent’s Fort and Mormon Salt Lake City. The California segment discusses boom-town Sacramento, disappointing mining results, food prices, constant rains, miserable living conditions, and the California Indians.
Places Ithaca, New York, Independence, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Utah, Sacramento, California, United States
Keywords overland trail, gold, gold rush, travel, travelogue, paddle steamer, canal, river, overland trail, disease, cholera, medicine, indigenous peoples, fort, Mormon
Theme Observation, Representation and Cultural Encounters
Tribe / Nation
Culture Area Great Plains, Great Basin
Additional Information Physician, overland traveler, and California gold miner. In 1849, Samuel C. Jennings, a married resident of Moravia, N.Y., joined the Ithaca Company, a company of overlanders formed in Ithaca, N.Y. Departing Ithaca on Mar. 21, 1849, the company traveled via Wilkes Barre, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and St. Louis to Independence, Mo., where they set out equipped with pack mules, horses and two wagons for the Santa Fe Trail. From Bent’s Fort, the party, guided by a Mr. Kinney (Charles Kinney?), journeyed over the mountains to Salt Lake City. Led by a Mr. Craig (William Craig?), fifteen members continued across the desert and over the Sierra Nevada via the Truckee River route to Sacramento. Unlucky in his mining efforts, Jennings practiced medicine for provisions, and eventually must have returned to New York.
Library The Newberry Library
Copyright The Newberry Library
Collection The Edward E. Ayer Collection
Reference VAULT Ayer MS 3110
Catalogue Link The Newberry Library Catalogue