Gold Rush Letters-May 10, 1849

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May 10, 1849

From letters published in the Missouri Whig , Palmyra ca May, 1849


ST. JOSEPH, May 10, 1849.

MR. SOSEY -- Dear Sir: We reached here to-day, all well, after a trip of three weeks. We travelled leisurely, finding the grass not sufficient to sustain our cattle without grain.

St. Joseph is the busiest place I have witnessed, crowded with emigrants, eager and anxious to complete their preparations, and cross the river. Several ferries here are employed, by day and night, in crossing the Californians, yet cannot keep pace with the arrivals. Much detention has occurred on the account, and many have gone above and below to seek other crossings. We have met with most of the Marion county people; some of them have crossed, others are here, and some yet a short distance behind. We expect to get across to-morrow at a ferry six miles above here.

We have, excepting the mud holes, had a very pleasant trip. The weather good; our cattle performed well, and improved in condition; our company cheerful, healthy, and harmoniously acting together, without any other travelling organization than a sub-division into messes, four of which consist of six men each, and one of seven. We have elected no Captain, and will not do so unless it is absolutely necessary. We expect to travel without adding to the size of our company, I would be glad to have it in my power to give you a statement approaching a correct estimate of the number of wagons bound for California, but cannot. I estimate the number at not less than 15,000 wagons, 40,000 persons, and 140,000 animals. Where or how the teams are to be sustained at many places on the road, is a problem yet to be worked out; but as a certain acquaintance of yours and mine near Palmyra is in the habit of saying, we will go it boys peradventure.

T. J.


Transcribed courtesy of Kathleen Wilham