To request editing rights on the Wiki, click here.

Difference between revisions of "California Trail"

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
(fix div style)
(/Books Online/updated link)
 
(135 intermediate revisions by 14 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
''[[United States|United States]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[United States Migration Internal|Migration]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[US Migration Trails and Roads|Trails and Roads]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[California_Trail|California Trail]]''  
+
{{breadcrumb
 +
| link1=[[United States Genealogy|United States]]
 +
| link2=[[United States Migration Internal|Migration]]
 +
| link3=[[US_Migration_Trails_and_Roads|U.S. Migration Trails and Roads]]  
 +
| link4=
 +
| link5=[[{{PAGENAME}}]]
 +
}}
 +
{| style="float:right;
 +
|-
 +
|{{MormonLDSRemoval}}
 +
|}
 +
The '''[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Trail California Trail]''' went from western [[Missouri, United States Genealogy|Missouri]] across the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Plains Great Plains] into the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Mountains Rocky Mountains] to the gold fields of northern [[California, United States Genealogy|California]]. It was most heavily used in the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s. The length of the wagon trail from the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_River Missouri River] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento, California] was about 1,950 miles (3,138 km). It normally took four to six months to traverse the length of the California Trail with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covered_wagon covered wagons] pulled by [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ox oxen]. About 250,000 pioneers, the most of any American [[US Migration Trails and Roads|emigration trail]], used it to reach California before the [[First Transcontinental Railroad|transcontinental railroad]] in 1869.<ref name="OrTr">Wikipedia contributors, "Oregon Trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Trail (accessed 12 July 2012).</ref>
  
The '''California Trail''' went from western [[Missouri]] across the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Plains Great Plains] into the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Mountains Rocky Mountains] to the gold fields of northern [[California]]. It was most heavily used in the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s. The length of the wagon trail from the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_River Missouri River] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento, California] was about 1,950 miles (3,138 km). It normally took four to six months to traverse the length of the California Trail with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covered_wagon covered wagons] pulled by [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ox oxen]. About 250,000 pioneers, the most of any American [[US Migration Trails and Roads|emigration trail]], used it to reach California before the [[First Transcontinental Railroad|transcontinental railroad]] in 1869.<ref name="OrTr">Wikipedia contributors, "Oregon Trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Trail (accessed 12 July 2012).</ref>  
+
The main California Trail overlapped the [[Oregon Trail]] from western [[Missouri, United States Genealogy|Missouri]] to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raft_River Raft River] crossing in [[Idaho Genealogy|Idaho]]. This route passed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Rocks_National_Reserve City of Rocks, Idaho] and followed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_River Humboldt River] in [[Nevada, United States Genealogy|Nevada]] toward California. An alternate California Trail route overlapped the [[Mormon Trail]] all the way [[Image:{{HumRivCam}}]] to [[Salt Lake City, Utah]] and then to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Rocks_National_Reserve City of Rocks] in Idaho. The trail ended at several destination places mostly in the gold fields in the mountains of northern California.<ref name="CaTr">Wikipedia contributors, "California Trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Trail (accessed 24 July 2011).</ref><br><br>
 +
* Gregory MacGregor. '' The California Emigrant Trail of 1841-1870.'' Albuquerque:University of New Mexico Press, 1996.
 +
* Malcolm J. Rohrbough.'' Days of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the American Nation.'' Berkeley: University of  California Press, 1997.
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/88428?availability=Family%20History%20Library Edward White Stewart. '' The Forty-Niners: a chronicle of the California Trail and El Dorado.''  New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1920. FHL 973 H2ch v. 25]
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/306247?availability=Family%20History%20Library John Walton Caughey. ''The California gold rush.''Berkeley, California : University of California Press, 1948. FHL 979.4 H2cjw]
 +
 +
== Records and Lists of Settlers  ==
  
The main California Trail overlapped the [[Oregon Trail]] from western [[Missouri]] to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raft_River Raft River] crossing in [[Idaho]]. This route passed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Rocks_National_Reserve City of Rocks, Idaho] and followed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_River Humboldt River] in [[Nevada]] toward California. An alternate California Trail route overlapped the [[Mormon Trail]] all the way[[Image:{{HumRivCam}}]] to [[Salt Lake City, Utah]] and then to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Rocks_National_Reserve City of Rocks] in Idaho. The trail ended at several destination places mostly in the gold fields in the mountains of northern California.<ref name="CaTr">Wikipedia contributors, "California Trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Trail (accessed 24 July 2011).</ref><br><br>
+
Pioneers who used the California Trail were mostly Americans from the Midwest or Mid-South. Most settled in [[California, United States Genealogy|California]]. A few moved on to [[Oregon, United States Genealogy|Oregon]]. A few may have settled along the trail before reaching California.  
  
=== Background History  ===
+
No complete list of pioneer settlers who traveled the California Trail is known to exist. However, a variety of sources exist which can be used to identify most of them. Some of these sources may reveal their place of origin.
 +
 
 +
=== Pioneer lists ===
 +
 
 +
==== Online Databases ====
 +
*[https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2161 California, Pioneer and Immigrant Files, 1790-1950] - ($)
 +
*[https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1040 California, Pioneer Index, 1769-1848] - ($)
 +
*[http://www.cagenweb.com/cpl/cpl_list.htm CAGenWeb USGenWeb Project]
 +
*[http://www.ndgw.org/PRosterIndex/rostermain.html Roster of California Pioneers] - Native Daughters of the Golden West; Index only; 35,000 pioneers entries who lived in California before 1870 have been submitted by descendants. The index shows each pioneer's name, volume and page number. Original entries in San Francisco may contain the full name of pioneer, place and date of birth, marriage and death, date of arrival in California, method of travel, name of rail or vessel; states lived in prior to California, place and year of California residence; where educated, profession or occupation, public offices held; names of children; parents' names; name, address, relationship of informant (if any); date of registration and other comments. For a small fee NDGW will copy original biographies.
 +
*[http://www.cagenweb.com/cpl/ndgwmaster.htm Native Daughters of the Golden West California Pioneer Project Master Surname Index - CaGenWeb] - Index of California Pioneers who resided or were born in California before December 31, 1869.
 +
*[http://www.over-land.com/emigrants.html Over-land Trail] - Website listing multiple trail lists for various states
 +
*California Pioneer Index (California), 1906-1935 - digital images on FamilySearch Catalog: {{FHL|486936|item|disp=FHL films 1712022-1712041}}
 +
*[http://www.paper-trail.org/search.asp Paper Trail Database] - By Oregon California Trails Association; [https://www.octa-trails.org/geneaology-paper-trail/ A Guide to Overland Pioneer Document]
  
'''Footpaths, wagons, and stagecoaches.''' The overland route over [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Pass South Pass] was discovered by [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_men fur trappers] in 1811. By the 1830s that pass was used as part of the [[Oregon Trail]]. Between 1829 and 1840 other mountain men explored possible additional routes extending through northern [[Utah]] and [[Nevada]] toward [[California]]. At first these were footpaths or pack train trails. The earliest wagon road was pioneered through South Pass to a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Mountain_Rendezvous mountain man rendezvous] on the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_River_%28Utah%29 Green River] in [[Wyoming|Wyoming]] in 1830. By 1836 a wagon road reached as far as [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hall Fort Hall], Idaho.<ref name="OrTr" /> In 1841 and 1843 wagon trains started for [[California|California]] but abandoned their wagons in [[Nevada|Nevada]] and went on by foot. The first overland wagon train to reach [[California|California]] arrived in 1844 by leaving the [[Oregon Trail|Oregon Trail]] after crossing the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raft_River Raft River] in [[Idaho|Idaho]]. From there they followed Nevada's [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_River Humboldt River] west to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Nevada_%28U.S.%29 Sierra Nevada] mountains, up the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truckee_River Truckee River] and over [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truckee_River Donner Pass] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento, California|Sacramento]. This became the most popular route, but other pioneers also came via [[Salt Lake City, Utah|Salt Lake City, Utah]] to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Rocks_National_Reserve City of Rocks]. From 1857 to 1861 the [[Butterfield Overland Mail|Butterfield Overland Mail]] stagecoach route near the Mexican border opened to Calfornia. That mail route was closed in favor of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pony_Express Pony Express] (Central Overland) route through central Nevada farther south than the Humboldt River. In time these various paths to California were followed by wagon roads, railroads, and modern highways.<ref name="CaTr" />
+
==== Books Online ====
  
'''Reasons for migrating.''' [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_men Mountain men fur trappers] were the earliest to use the California Trail. Larger groups of American settlers began arriving in 1846. The outbreak of the [http://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Mexican_War,_1846_to_1848 Mexican-American War 1846-1848] resulted in American soldiers invading California to help secure it for the United States. Once California was officially United States territory it immediately began to attract more immigrants. Several western gold and silver strikes, productive farm land, lumber, and ranching all increased traffic on the California Trail.<ref name="OrTr" /> The '''[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Gold_Rush California gold rush]''' attracted adventurers and gold seekers from around the world after gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill. An estimated 90,000 arrived in 1849, about half of them Americans. Americans usually took the California Trail to reach the gold fields. Some came by ship. Other used the [[Oregon Trail|Oregon Trail]] and then came south to California on the [[Siskiyou Trail|Siskiyou Trail]], or [[Applegate Trail]]-Lassen Cutoff.<ref name="CaGoRu">Wikipedia contributors, "California Gold Rush" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Gold_Rush (accessed 24 July 2011).</ref>  
+
*[https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?from=fhd&dps_pid=IE215626 Charles Warren Haskins, ''The Argonauts of California: Being the Reminiscences of Scenes and Incidents That Occurred in California in Early Mining Days'' (New York: Fords, Howard, and Hulbert, 1890)] Google books [http://books.google.com/books?id=TH1L60nlSw4C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false digital copy]. Internet Archive [http://www.archive.org/details/argonautscalifor00hask digital copy]. Includes about 27,000 names. '''Index to above book''' - [https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/458453-the-argonauts-of-california-being-the-reminiscences-of-scenes-and-incidents-that-occurred-in-california-in-early-mining-days-by-a-pioneer?offset=1 FamilySearch Digital Library] - Libera Martina Spinazze,''Index to the Argonauts of California'' (New Orleans, La.: Polyanthus, 1975) FamilySearch Catalog] {{WorldCat|38651122|disp=At various libraries (WorldCat)}}. Includes the pioneer's name, page in Haskins, and a note listing the pioneer's mining company (or other group); if by ship, its port of departure, and either the date of sailing or arrival.<br>
  
'''Preparations.''' Many emigrants were farmers who already had their own wagons and most of their own supplies. Other travelers usually purchased supplies at "jumping off points" in [[Missouri]], [[Iowa]], or [[Kansas]]. Supplies cost as much as $200 per person including a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covered_wagon covered wagon], teams of oxen, 150 pounds of food per person, tobacco, cooking gear, extra shoes, two sets of clothes, 25 pounds of soap, washboard and wash tub, tent, a canvas or rubber groundcloth with blankets for sleeping, tools, guns and ammunition. Some also bought a trail guide book.<ref name="OrTr" />
+
==== Books ====
  
'''Trail life.''' Non-essentials were often abandoned on the trail to lighten the load. Forts and trading posts ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Kearny Ft. Kearny], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Laramie_National_Historic_Site Ft. Laramie], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Fetterman Ft. Fetterman], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Bridger Ft. Bridger], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hall Ft. Hall], and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutter%27s_Fort Sutter's Fort] along the way usually provided supplies, fresh animal teams, repairs, spare parts, and news of trail conditions. Hunting (including bison), fishing, and trading were also common along the route. Emigrants usually formed into [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagon_train wagon trains] for security. Almost everyone preferred to walk rather than ride in dusty, bumpy wagons. They had to average 11 miles (18 km) to 17 miles (27 km) per day to reach California in four to six months. To leave too early risked muddy trails and too little grass for livestock. To arrive late risked traveling in winter weather. Thunderstorms and fierce winds were common. In good weather they often slept under the stars. On the prairie [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cow_dung buffalo chips] were gathered for use as cooking fuel. Wash day was about every two weeks. Many travelers enjoyed side trips climbing over trail landmarks like [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimney_Rock_National_Historic_Site Chimney Rock], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotts_Bluff_National_Monument Scott's Bluff], and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Rock_%28Wyoming%29 Independence Rock]. Some entrepreneurs drove herds of cattle over the trail to sell and help pay for the trip.<ref name="OrTr" />
+
*''Index to Roster of California Pioneers.'' Native Daughters of the Golden West. San Francisco, California: Native Daughters of the Golden West, 2001. {{FHL|1131106|item|disp=FHL book 979.4 H22i 2002}}; {{WorldCat|866176724|disp=At various libraries (WorldCat)}}
<div style="width: 147%; float: left;">'''Deaths.''' About five percent of pioneers died on the Oregon-California-Mormon trails. The most common killer was [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cholera cholera] along the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platte_River Platte River] in [[Nebraska|Nebraska]]. This disease killed as much as three percent between 1849 and 1855 (6,000 to 12,500 individuals). About 3,000 to 4,500 deaths happened because of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Indian_Wars#Pacific_Northwest Indian attacks] especially in [[Idaho|Idaho]] and [[Nevada|Nevada]] after U.S. Army troops were withdrawn in 1860 in the run up to the Civil War. Other causes of death included freezing, [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scurvy scurvy], being run over, drownings (especially in the 1850s before many ferries), and accidental shootings.<ref name="OrTr" /> <div style="padding-left: 25px; width: 15%; float: right;">
+
*''Unpublished Records of the Families of California Pioneers: Collections of the State Committee of Genealogical Research'' by Daughters of the American Revolution (California) {{FHL|234615|item|disp=FHL films 844435-844446}}; {{WorldCat|866661158|disp=At various libraries (WorldCat)}}; Index to "Records of the families of the California pioneers" {{FHL|435510|item|disp=FHL book 979.452 D22i}}; {{WorldCat|866338676|disp=At various libraries (WorldCat)}}
{| width="126" align="right" class="wikitable FCK__ShowTableBorders" style="text-align: right;"
+
* David H. Johnson.''Sonora Pass Pioneers.'' California Bound Emigrants and Explorers, 1841-1864.'' Sonora, California: Tuolumne County Historical Society, 2006. {{FHL|1246010|item|disp=FHL 979.4 W2j}}; {{WorldCat|73841357|disp=At various libraries (WorldCat)}}
 +
*''The 49ers as reported by the Missouri Republication, St. Louis, Missouri.'' 10 volumes.Arlington, Texas : K.E. Weant, c2004-2010 {{FHL|1219714|item|disp=FHL 977.8 D2wk}}; {{WorldCat|62246193|disp=At various libraries (WorldCat)}}
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/1111993?availability=Family%20History%20Library Edward Leo Lyman. '' The Overland Journey from Utah to  California: wagon travel from the city of saints to the city of angels.'' Reno, Nevada: University of Nevada Press, 2004. FHL 979 H2L]
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/630981?availability=Family%20History%20Library Doyce B. Nunis, ed.''The Bidwell-Bartleson Party, 1841 California emigrant adventure : the documents and memoirs of the overland pioneers.'' Santa Cruz,California: Western Tanager Press, 1991. FHL 979.4 W2n]
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/116498?availability=Family%20History%20Library Hubert Howe Bancroft. ''California pioneer register and index, 1542-1848 : including inhabitants of California, 1769-1800, and list of pioneers.'' Baltimore, Maryland, Regional Pub., Co, 1964. FHL 979.4 D3bh]
 +
 
 +
==== Additional Resources and History ====
 +
*[http://www.oregonpioneers.com/trail.htm Oregon-California Trail Sources]
 +
*[https://www.californiapioneers.org/library/accessthelibrary/ Society of California Pioneers]
 +
*''California Gold Camps: A Geographical and Historical Dictionary of Camps, Towns, and Localities Where Gold was Found and Mined; Wayside Stations and Trading Centers.'' Edwin G. Gudde. Berkeley,California: University of California Press, 1975. {{FHL|19740|item|disp=FHL book979.4 E24g}}; {{WorldCat|19740|disp=At various libraries (WorldCat)}}
 +
 
 +
=== California Land Records ===
 +
Deeds, mining claims, and other land records from '''''any&nbsp;''''' time period are clues to when a pioneer arrived. See [[California Land and Property]]. After 1862 some California land was eligible for [[Homestead Records|homesteading]].  
 +
 
 +
=== Censuses ===
 +
These can be used to identify pioneers who traveled the California Trail:
 +
 
 +
:*[https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1438024 1870 federal census of California]  
 +
:*[https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1473181 1860 federal census of California]  
 +
:*[https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1401638 1850 federal census of California]
 +
 
 +
Also, California took a [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1771089 state census in 1852] which lists each person's state of birth and last residence.<ref name="Lain">Ann S. Lainhart, ''State Census Records'' (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992), 21-26. [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/26517040 Worldcat entry]. {{Lainha}}.</ref>
 +
 
 +
=== Great Registers (voter lists) ===
 +
Began in some California counties as early as 1866. The [[California Voting Registers|Great Registers]] prior to 1870 showed males over age 21 who arrived before the transcontinental railroad. Great Registers often showed places of origin. Counties with early Great Registers on microfilm included:
 +
 
 +
:{{FHL|206978|item|disp=Alameda 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|663187|item|disp=Alpine 1866}}{{·}} {{FHL|207200|item|disp=Amador 1867, 1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|207301|item|disp=Butte 1866}}{{·}} {{FHL|207211|item|disp=Calaveras 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|571690|item|disp=Colusa 1866}}{{·}} {{FHL|207312|item|disp=Contra Costa 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|207324|item|disp=El Dorado 1867, 1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|207042|item|disp=Fresno 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|827235|item|disp=Humboldt 1866-1875}}{{·}} {{FHL|207005|item|disp=Kern 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|206697|item|disp=Klamath (Del Norte and Siskiyou) 1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|493007|item|disp=Lake 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|628981|item|disp=Lassen 1866, 1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|207944|item|disp=Marin 1867-1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|523306|item|disp=Mendocino 1866-1873}}{{·}} {{FHL|207936|item|disp=Merced 1867, 1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|207637|item|disp=Monterey 1867, 1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|207611|item|disp=Napa 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|207571|item|disp=Nevada 1867-1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|208067|item|disp=Placer 1867-1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|208086|item|disp=Plumas 1857-1898}}{{·}} Sacramento {{FHL|210199|item|disp=1866}}, {{FHL|486373|item|disp=1867}}, {{FHL|208109|item|disp=1867-1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|208148|item|disp=San Diego 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|313680|item|disp=San Francisco 1866}}{{·}} {{FHL|208177|item|disp=San Joaquin 1867-1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|208204|item|disp=San Luis Obispo 1867-1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|208196|item|disp=San Mateo 1867-1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|609766|item|disp=Santa Barbara 1866-1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|208253|item|disp=Santa Clara 1867-1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|210163|item|disp=Santa Cruz}}{{·}} {{FHL|210151|item|disp=Shasta 1867-1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|210065|item|disp=Siskiyou 1867-1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|210056|item|disp=Solano 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|209628|item|disp=Sonoma 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|209621|item|disp=Stanislaus 1867, 1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|209619|item|disp=Sutter 1867, 1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|208482|item|disp=Trinity 1867-1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|208459|item|disp=Tulare 1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|208347|item|disp=Tuolumne 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|208287|item|disp=Yolo 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|208261|item|disp=Yuba 1867-1869}}<br><br>
 +
 
 +
=== Local and county histories and biographies ===
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/2337862?availability=Las%20Vegas%20Nevada%20FamilySearch%20Library J. Carlyle Parker. ''An Index to the biographes in 19th Century California county histories.'' Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research,1979. FHL 979.4 A4pjc v. 7] 
 +
These may help identify additional pioneers. For example:
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/1354033?availability=Family%20History%20Library Edna Bryan Buckbee. ''Calaveras County gold rush stories.''San Andreas, California : Calaveras County Historical Society, c2005 FHL 979.444 H2b] 
 +
*W. B. Lardner, and M. J. Brock, ''History of Placer and Nevada counties, California&nbsp;: with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the counties who have been identified with their growth and development from the early days to the present'' (1991 Reprint; Los Angeles, Calif.: Historic Record Co., 1924). [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/11510628 WorldCat entry]. {{FHL|572031|item|disp=FHL Book 979.43 H2L}}.
 +
*Betty Yohalem, ''"I remember..."&nbsp;: stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families'' ([Placerville, Calif.]&nbsp;: El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, 1977). [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/3657533 WorldCat entry]. {{FHL|75462|item|disp=FHL Book 979.441 H2y}}.<br><br>
 +
 
 +
=== [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_California_Pioneers Society of California Pioneers] ===
 +
*[https://archive.org/details/constitutionbyla02soci Constitution,By-Laws and List of members of the Society of California Pioneers... (San Francisco, 1869) ]
 +
*[https://archive.org/details/constitutionbyla03soci Constitution,By-Laws and List of members of the Society of California Pioneers...  (San Francisco, 1888)]
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/290694?availability=Family%20History%20Library ''Constitution and by-laws of the Society of California Pioneers, as revised December 1912 : and list of members since its organization.''San Francisco, California : Society of California Pioneers, 1912 FHL 979.4 C4p]
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/816699?availability=Family%20History%20LibraryThe ''Society of California Pioneer sesquicentennial roster, 1850-2000 : commemorative edition.''San Francisco, California:Society of California Pioneers, 2000 FHL 979.4 C4p 2000]
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/1138196?availability=Family%20History%20Library ''Quarterly of the Society of California Pioneers, v. 1 1924 - FHL 979.4 B2q v. 1]
 +
*[https://www.californiapioneers.org/collections/libraryspecialcollections/ Society of California Pioneers Library & Special Collections]
 +
 
 +
''' Related Publications'''
 +
*[https://archive.org/details/constitutionbyla02sacr  Constitution, By-Laws of the Sacramento Society of California Pioneers and Lists of Officers and Members.''  (1877)]
 +
*[https://archive.org/stream/constitutionbyla00sons#page/n0 Sons and Daughters of the Sacramento Society of California Pioneers ( 1891)]
 +
*[https://archive.org/details/constitutionbyla00sacr  Constitution, By-Laws of the Sacramento Society of California Pioneers and Lists of Officers and Members.'' (1910)] 
 +
*[https://archive.org/details/annualpublicatio19021904hist ''Historical Society of Southern California and the Pioneers of Los Angeles County, 1902.'']
 +
Some California Trail pioneers also settled in [[Oregon, United States Genealogy|Oregon]], [[Nevada, United States Genealogy|Nevada]], or [[Idaho, United States Genealogy|Idaho]]. Local histories and biographies from those places may also include some pioneers who traveled the California Trail.
 +
 
 +
== Background History  ==
 +
 
 +
=== Footpaths, wagons, and stagecoaches ===
 +
The overland route over [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Pass South Pass] was discovered by [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_men fur trappers] in 1811. By the 1830s that pass was used as part of the [[Oregon Trail]]. Between 1829 and 1840 other mountain men explored possible additional routes extending through northern [[Utah, United States Genealogy|Utah]] and [[Nevada, United States Genealogy|Nevada]] toward [[California, United States Genealogy|California]]. At first these were footpaths or pack train trails. The earliest wagon road was pioneered through South Pass to a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Mountain_Rendezvous mountain man rendezvous] on the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_River_%28Utah%29 Green River] in [[Wyoming, United States Genealogy|Wyoming]] in 1830. By 1836 a wagon road reached as far as [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hall Fort Hall], Idaho.<ref name="OrTr" /> In 1841 and 1843 wagon trains started for [[California, United States Genealogy|California]] but abandoned their wagons in [[Nevada, United States Genealogy|Nevada]] and went on by foot. The first overland wagon train to reach [[California, United States Genealogy|California]] arrived in 1844 by leaving the [[Oregon Trail|Oregon Trail]] after crossing the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raft_River Raft River] in [[Idaho, United States Genealogy|Idaho]]. From there they followed Nevada's [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_River Humboldt River] west to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Nevada_%28U.S.%29 Sierra Nevada] mountains, up the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truckee_River Truckee River] and over [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Pass Donner Pass] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento, California]. This became the most popular route, but other pioneers also came via [[Salt Lake City, Utah|Salt Lake City, Utah]] to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Rocks_National_Reserve City of Rocks]. From 1857 to 1861 the [[Butterfield Overland Mail|Butterfield Overland Mail]] stagecoach route near the Mexican border opened to Calfornia. That mail route was closed in favor of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pony_Express Pony Express] (Central Overland) route through central Nevada farther south than the Humboldt River. In time these various paths to California were followed by wagon roads, railroads, and modern highways.<ref name="CaTr" />
 +
 
 +
=== Reasons for migrating ===
 +
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_men Mountain men fur trappers] were the earliest to use the California Trail. Larger groups of American settlers began arriving in 1846. The outbreak of the [[Mexican War, 1846 to 1848|Mexican-American War 1846-1848]] resulted in American soldiers invading California to help secure it for the United States. Once California was officially United States territory it immediately began to attract more immigrants. Several western gold and silver strikes, productive farm land, lumber, and ranching all increased traffic on the California Trail.<ref name="OrTr" /> The '''[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Gold_Rush California gold rush]''' attracted adventurers and gold seekers from around the world after gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill. An estimated 90,000 arrived in 1849, about half of them Americans. Americans usually took the California Trail to reach the gold fields. Some came by ship. Others used the [[Oregon Trail|Oregon Trail]] and then came south to California on the [[Siskiyou Trail|Siskiyou Trail]], or [[Applegate Trail]]-Lassen Cutoff.<ref name="CaGoRu">Wikipedia contributors, "California Gold Rush" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Gold_Rush (accessed 24 July 2011).</ref>
 +
 
 +
=== Preparations ===
 +
Many emigrants were farmers who already had their own wagons and most of their own supplies. Other travelers usually purchased supplies at "jumping off points" in [[Missouri, United States Genealogy|Missouri]], [[Iowa, United States Genealogy|Iowa]], or [[Kansas, United States Genealogy|Kansas]]. Supplies cost as much as $200 per person including a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covered_wagon covered wagon], teams of oxen, 150 pounds of food per person, tobacco, cooking gear, extra shoes, two sets of clothes, 25 pounds of soap, washboard and wash tub, tent, a canvas or rubber groundcloth with blankets for sleeping, tools, guns and ammunition. Some also bought a trail guide book.<ref name="OrTr" />
 +
 
 +
=== Trail life ===
 +
Non-essentials were often abandoned on the trail to lighten the load. Forts and trading posts ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Kearny Ft. Kearny], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Laramie_National_Historic_Site Ft. Laramie], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Fetterman Ft. Fetterman], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Bridger Ft. Bridger], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hall Ft. Hall], and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutter%27s_Fort Sutter's Fort] along the way usually provided supplies, fresh animal teams, repairs, spare parts, and news of trail conditions. Hunting (including bison), fishing, and trading were also common along the route. Emigrants usually formed into [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagon_train wagon trains] for security. Almost everyone preferred to walk rather than ride in dusty, bumpy wagons. They had to average 11 miles (18 km) to 17 miles (27 km) per day to reach California in four to six months. To leave too early risked muddy trails and too little grass for livestock. To arrive late risked traveling in winter weather. Thunderstorms and fierce winds were common. In good weather they often slept under the stars. On the prairie [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cow_dung buffalo chips] were gathered for use as cooking fuel. Wash day was about every two weeks. Many travelers enjoyed side trips climbing over trail landmarks like [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimney_Rock_National_Historic_Site Chimney Rock], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotts_Bluff_National_Monument Scott's Bluff], and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Rock_%28Wyoming%29 Independence Rock]. Some entrepreneurs drove herds of cattle over the trail to sell and help pay for the trip.<ref name="OrTr" />
 +
 
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/2257487?availability=Fresno%20California%20Family%20History%20Center Sutter's Fort, State Historical Monument. FHL Digital images]
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/90980?availability=Family%20History%20Library Julian Dana. ''Sutter of California: a biography.'' new York,New York: Macmillan, 1936. FHL 921.73 Su86d]
 +
*[http://donnersummithistoricalsociety.org/pages/bookreviews/CaliforniaTrailMap1849andAdvice.html California Trail Map & Advice  for Emigrants - Donner Summit Historical Society]
 +
 
 +
=== Deaths ===
 +
About five percent of pioneers died on the Oregon-California-Mormon trails. The most common killer was [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cholera cholera] along the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platte_River Platte River] in [[Nebraska Genealogy|Nebraska]]. This disease killed as much as three percent between 1849 and 1855 (6,000 to 12,500 individuals). About 3,000 to 4,500 deaths happened because of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Indian_Wars#Pacific_Northwest Indian attacks] especially in [[Idaho, United States Genealogy|Idaho]] and [[Nevada, United States Genealogy|Nevada]] after U.S. Army troops were withdrawn in 1860 in the run up to the Civil War. Other causes of death included freezing, [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scurvy scurvy], being run over, drownings (especially in the 1850s before many ferries), and accidental shootings.<ref name="OrTr" /> <div style="width: 15%; padding-left: 25px; float: right;">
 +
{| width="126" align="right" style="text-align: right;" class="wikitable FCK__ShowTableBorders"
 
|+ '''California Trail Immigrants'''<ref>John D. Unruh, ''The Plains Across: the Overland Immigrants and Trans-Mississippi West 1840–1860'' (University of Illinois Press, 1979), 119–20.</ref>  
 
|+ '''California Trail Immigrants'''<ref>John D. Unruh, ''The Plains Across: the Overland Immigrants and Trans-Mississippi West 1840–1860'' (University of Illinois Press, 1979), 119–20.</ref>  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 108: Line 207:
 
| '''250,000'''
 
| '''250,000'''
 
|}
 
|}
</div> <br><br>  
+
</div><br><br>  
'''Decline of trail use.''' In 1855 the California Trail (and Oregon Trail) traffic declined dramatically. First, the bloom was off the California gold rush. Second, the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panama_Railroad Panama Railroad] was completed with steamship links that made transportation from the east coast to the west coast of America more practical than using an overland wagon trail.<ref name="OrTr" /> From 1857 to 1861 the [[Butterfield Overland Mail]] stagecoach route took some traffic from the California Trail. In 1869 the [[First Transcontinental Railroad|transcontinental]] [[Union Pacific Railroad|Union Pacific]] and [[Central Pacific Railroad|Central Pacific]] railroads completed to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento, California] made that route faster, safer, and less expensive than traveling the California Trail.<ref name="CaTr" />  
+
 +
=== Decline of trail use ===
 +
In 1855 the California Trail (and Oregon Trail) traffic declined dramatically. First, the bloom was off the California gold rush. Second, the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panama_Railroad Panama Railroad] was completed with steamship links that made transportation from the east coast to the west coast of America more practical than using an overland wagon trail.<ref name="OrTr" /> From 1857 to 1861 the [[Butterfield Overland Mail]] stagecoach route took some traffic from the California Trail. In 1869 the [[First Transcontinental Railroad|transcontinental]] [[Union Pacific Railroad|Union Pacific]] and [[Central Pacific Railroad|Central Pacific]] railroads completed to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento, California] made that route faster, safer, and less expensive than traveling the California Trail.<ref name="CaTr" />
 +
 
 +
== Main Route  ==
 +
 
 +
The California Trail was miles wide with many variations. Emigrants started on their journey from many sundry "jumping off points" in three states. Some took a variety of shortcuts, and others traveled on different sides of the rivers from other emigrants. Travelers often completed their journey in [[Idaho, United States Genealogy|Idaho]], [[Nevada, United States Genealogy|Nevada]] or places other than northern California. The California Trail was a branch of the Oregon trunk trail.<ref name="OrTr" />
 +
 
 +
Two of the most popular early outfitting or "jumping off points" were [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence,_Missouri Independence] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Joseph,_Missouri St. Joseph] in western [[Missouri, United States Genealogy|Missouri]]. Once the river was dredged and steamboats could reach it in the early 1850s, [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_Bluffs,_Iowa Council Bluffs, Iowa] became the most popular California Trail starting place.<ref name="EmigTr">Wikipedia contributors, "Emigrant trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigrant_trail (accessed 15 July 2012).</ref> [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_City,_Missouri Kansas City], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence,_Kansas Lawrence], and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topeka,_Kansas Topeka] in [[Kansas, United States Genealogy|Kansas]] were also used. From their starting point emigrants often followed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_River Missouri River] up to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platte_River Platte River]. Another option was to follow the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_River Kansas River] and then the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Blue_River_%28Kansas/Nebraska%29 Little Blue River] toward the Platte River.<ref name="OrTr" />
 +
 
 +
Livestock needed watering so the California Trail followed rivers across the dry [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Plains prairies]. The California Trail usually followed the south side of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Platte_River North Platte River] west through [[Nebraska, United States Genealogy|Nebraska]] into [[Wyoming, United States Genealogy|Wyoming]]. Near Casper, Wyoming California Trail emigrants followed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweetwater_River_%28Wyoming%29 Sweetwater River] farther west. An important goal was to reach [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Rock_%28Wyoming%29 Independence Rock] on the Sweetwater River by [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day_%28United_States%29 Independence Day]. The trail went over [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Pass South Pass] then worked its way through the mountains. One [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublette_Cutoff#Sublette-Greenwood_Cutoff shortcut] went from South Pass due west toward [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hall Fort Hall]. The main trail from South Pass headed southwest to cross the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_River_%28Utah%29 Green River] at [http://wyoshpo.state.wy.us/trailsdemo/lombard_ferry.htm Lombard Ferry], headed for [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Bridger Fort Bridger]. At Fort Bridger the [[Mormon Trail]] branched southwest toward [[Salt Lake City, Utah|Salt Lake City]].<ref name="MorTr">Wikipedia contributors, "Mormon Trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_Trail (accessed 15 July 2012).</ref> The main California Trail went northwest from Bridger to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hall Fort Hall, Idaho]. From the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raft_River Raft River] southwest of Fort Hall most '''''California Trail emigrants''''' forked southwest past the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Rocks_National_Reserve City of Rocks, Idaho] toward [[Nevada, United States Genealogy|Nevada]],<ref name="CaTr" /> while '''''Oregon Trail followers''''' continued along the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_River Snake River] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Boise Fort Boise] and the [[Oregon, United States Genealogy|Oregon]] border. The California Trail followers who opted to go through Salt Lake City often rejoined the main trail at the City of Rocks. In [[Nevada, United States Genealogy|Nevada]] the trail followed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_River Humboldt River] westward to its end. The next stage of the journey was usually considered the worst--southwest across the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty_Mile_Desert#Forty_Mile_Desert Forty Mile Desert] to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truckee_River Truckee River] or [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carson_River Carson River] in the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Nevada_%28U.S.%29 Sierra Nevada].<ref name="CaTr" />
 +
 
 +
*[https://archive.org/details/GR_4538 Joseph E. Ware. '' The Emigrants' Guide to California.'' St. Louis, Mo.: J.H. Halsall,1849]
 +
*[https://archive.org/stream/GR_1952#page/n3  Hosea B. Horn and J.H. Colton. '' Horn's Overland Guide, from the U.S. Indian sub-agency,Council Bluffs, on the Missouri River, to the city of Sacramento, in California.'' New York: J.H. Colton, 1852]
 +
 
 +
== Trails over the mountains to the gold fields <ref name="CaTr" /> ==
  
=== Main Route  ===
+
=== Truckee (River) Trail 1844 ===
 +
Crossed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty_Mile_Desert#Forty_Mile_Desert Forty Mile Desert] to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truckee_River Truckee River] to follow it west past [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reno,_Nevada Reno, Nevada] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Pass Donner Pass] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigrant_Gap Emigrant Gap] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutter%27s_Fort Sutter's Fort] ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento, California]). The exact route varied over the years, the most used being the Nevada City Road and Auburn Emigrant Road combination.
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/719062?availability=Family%20History%20Library Olive Newell. ''Tail of the elephant : the emigrant experience on the Truckee route of the California Trail 1844-1852.'' Cedar Ridge, California: Nevada County Historical Society, 1997. FHL 979.4 H2n]
  
The California Trail was miles wide with many variations. Emigrants started on their journey from many sundry "jumping off points" in three states. Some took a variety of shortcuts, and others traveled on different sides of the rivers from other emigrants. Travelers often completed their journey in [[Idaho|Idaho]], [[Nevada]] or places other than northern California. The California Trail was a branch of the Oregon trunk trail.<ref name="OrTr" />
+
=== Roller Pass 1846 ===
 +
Alternate to the Truckee Trail two miles south of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Pass Donner Pass] through [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigrant_Gap Emigrant Gap] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placerville,_California Placerville, California]
  
Two of the most popular early outfitting or "jumping off points" were [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence,_Missouri Independence] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Joseph,_Missouri St. Joseph] in western [[Missouri|Missouri]]. Once the river was dredged and steamboats could reach it in the early 1850s, [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_Bluffs,_Iowa Council Bluffs, Iowa] became the most popular California Trail starting place.<ref name="EmigTr">Wikipedia contributors, "Emigrant trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigrant_trail (accessed 15 July 2012).</ref> [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_City,_Missouri Kansas City], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence,_Kansas Lawrence], and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topeka,_Kansas Topeka] in [[Kansas|Kansas]] were also used. From their starting point emigrants often followed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_River Missouri River] up to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platte_River Platte River]. Another option was to follow the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_River Kansas River] and then the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Blue_River_%28Kansas/Nebraska%29 Little Blue River] toward the Platte River.<ref name="OrTr" />
+
=== Nevada City Road 1850 ===
 +
Branched off the Truckee Trail through [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigrant_Gap Emigrant Gap] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nevada_City,_California Nevada City, California] the most important mining area 1850-1851
  
Livestock needed watering so the California Trail followed rivers across the dry [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Plains prairies]. The California Trail usually followed the south side of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Platte_River North Platte River] west through [[Nebraska|Nebraska]] into [[Wyoming]]. Near Caspar, Wyoming California Trail emigrants followed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweetwater_River_%28Wyoming%29 Sweetwater River] farther west. An important goal was to reach [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Rock_%28Wyoming%29 Independence Rock] on the Sweetwater River by [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day_%28United_States%29 Independence Day]. The trail went over [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Pass South Pass] then worked its way through the mountains. One [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublette_Cutoff#Sublette-Greenwood_Cutoff shortcut] went from South Pass due west toward [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hall Fort Hall]. The main trail from South Pass headed southwest to cross the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_River_%28Utah%29 Green River] at [http://wyoshpo.state.wy.us/trailsdemo/lombard_ferry.htm Lombard Ferry], headed for [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Bridger Fort Bridger]. At Fort Bridger the [[Mormon Trail]] branched southwest toward [[Salt Lake City, Utah|Salt Lake City]].<ref name="MorTr">Wikipedia contributors, "Mormon Trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_Trail (accessed 15 July 2012).</ref> The main California Trail went northwest from Bridger to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hall Fort Hall, Idaho]. From the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raft_River Raft River] southwest of Fort Hall most [[California_Trail|California Trail]] emigrants forked southwest past the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Rocks_National_Reserve City of Rocks, Idaho] toward [[Nevada|Nevada]]<ref name="CaTr" />Wikipedia contributors, "California Trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Trail (accessed 15 July 2012).&lt;/ref&gt;, while Oregon Trail followers continued along the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_River Snake River] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Boise Fort Boise] and the [[Oregon|Oregon]] border. The California Trail followers who opted to go through Salt Lake City often rejoined the main trail at the City of Rocks. In [[Nevada|Nevada]] the trail followed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_River Humboldt River] westward to its end. The next stage of the journey was usually considered the worst--southwest across the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty_Mile_Desert#Forty_Mile_Desert Forty Mile Desert] to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truckee_River Truckee River] or [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carson_River Carson River] in the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Nevada_%28U.S.%29 Sierra Nevada].<ref name="CaTr" />
+
=== [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auburn-Emigrant_Gap_State_Highway Auburn Emigrant Road] 1850 ===
 +
Believed to be from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nevada_City,_California Nevada City] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auburn,_California Auburn] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento, California]
 +
 +
=== [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henness_Pass Henness Pass Road 1850] ===
 +
Branched off the Truckee Trail at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verdi,_Nevada Verdi, Nevada] headed for [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camptonville,_California Camptonville] and steamboat service at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marysville,_California Marysville, California]. In 1860 it became a major route to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comstock_Lode Comstock Lode silver mines] in [[Nevada Genealogy|Nevada]].
  
'''Trails over the mountains to the gold fields:'''<ref name="CaTr" />
+
=== [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beckwourth_Pass Beckwourth Trail 1850] ===
 +
Left the Truckee Trail near present-day [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparks,_Nevada Sparks, Nevada] going to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marysville,_California Marysville, California]
  
<u>'''Truckee (River) Trail'''</u> 1844 followed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truckee_River Truckee River] west past [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reno,_Nevada Reno, Nevada] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Pass Donner Pass] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigrant_Gap Emigrant Gap] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutter%27s_Fort Sutter's Fort] ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento, California]). The exact route varied over the years, the most used being the Nevada City Road and Auburn Emigrant Road combination.  
+
=== [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applegate_Trail Applegate Trail] 1846 ===
 +
Avoided the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty_Mile_Desert#Forty_Mile_Desert Forty Mile Desert]) by leaving the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_River Humboldt River] in [[Nevada, United States Genealogy|Nevada]] early at present-day [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rye_Patch_State_Recreation_Area Rye Reservoir], Nevada and passing through the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Rock_Desert Black Rock Desert] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fandango_Pass Fandango Pass] past [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goose_Lake_%28Oregon-California%29 Goose Lake] on to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_River_%28California%29 Lost River] and eventually the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willamette_Valley Willamette Valley] in [[Oregon, United States Genealogy|Oregon]].
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/2555941?availability=Family%20History%20Library Walter E. Meacham. ''Applegate Trail.'' S.l.:s.n., 1947 FHL 979.5 W2a]
  
:*'''''Roller Pass''''' 1846 alternate to the Truckee Trail two miles south of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Pass Donner Pass] through [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigrant_Gap Emigrant Gap] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placerville,_California Placerville, California]  
+
=== The Lassen Cutoff 1848 ===
:*'''''Nevada City Road''''' 1850 branched off the Truckee Trail through [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigrant_Gap Emigrant Gap] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nevada_City,_California Nevada City, California] the most important mining area 1850-1851
+
Was established by [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Gold_Rush gold rushers] from [[Oregon, United States Genealogy|Oregon]] going to [[California, United States Genealogy|California]]. It branched off the [[Applegate Trail]] at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davis_Creek,_California Davis Creek], went through [https://www.fs.fed.us/wild-horse-burro/territories/DevilsGardenPlateau.shtml Devil's Garden] to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pit_River Pit River] passing east of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mt._Lassen Mt. Lassen], and turning west to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rancho_Bosquejo Lassen Rancho, California], and from there to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento]. In some years as much as 1/3 of emigrants mistakenly took the Applegate Trail-Lassen Cutoff, a much longer and more difficult trail than the Truckee or Carson routes.
:*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auburn-Emigrant_Gap_State_Highway '''''Auburn Emigrant Road'''''] 1850 believed to be from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nevada_City,_California Nevada City] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auburn,_California Auburn] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento, California]
 
:*'''''Henness Pass Road''''' 1850 branched off the Truckee Trail at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verdi,_Nevada Verdi, Nevada] headed for [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camptonville,_California Camptonville] and steamboat service at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marysville,_California Marysville, California]. In 1860 it became a major route to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comstock_Lode Comstock Lode silver mines] in [[Nevada|Nevada]].
 
:*'''''Beckwourth Trail''''' 1850 left the Truckee Trail near present-day [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparks,_Nevada Sparks, Nevada] going to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marysville,_California Marysville, California]
 
  
<u>'''[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applegate_Trail Applegate Trail]'''</u> 1846 (avoided the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty_Mile_Desert#Forty_Mile_Desert Forty Mile Desert]) by leaving the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_River Humboldt River] in [[Nevada|Nevada]] early at present-day [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rye_Patch_State_Recreation_Area Rye Reservoir], Nevada and passing through the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Rock_Desert Black Rock Desert] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fandango_Pass Fandango Pass] past [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goose_Lake_%28Oregon-California%29 Goose Lake] on to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_River_%28California%29 Lost River] and eventually the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willamette_Valley Willamette Valley] in [[Oregon|Oregon]].
+
=== Yreka Trail 1851 ===
 +
From the [[Applegate Trail]] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yreka,_California Yreka, California]  
  
:*The '''''Lassen Cutoff''''' 1848 was established by [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Gold_Rush gold rushers] from [[Oregon|Oregon]] going to [[California|California]]. It branched off the [[Applegate Trail]] at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davis_Creek,_California Davis Creek], went through [http://www.fs.fed.us/rangelands/ecology/wildhorseburro/territories/DevilsGardenPlateau.shtml Devil's Garden] to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pit_River Pit River] passing east of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mt._Lassen Mt. Lassen], and turning west to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rancho_Bosquejo Lassen Rancho, California], and from there to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento]. In some years as much as 1/3 of emigrants mistakenly took the Applegate Trail-Lassen Cutoff, a much longer and more difficult trail than the Truckee or Carson routes.
+
=== Nobles Road 1851 ===
:*'''''Nobles Road''''' 1851 from the [[Applegate Trail]] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Shasta,_California Shasta City, California]
+
From the [[Applegate Trail]] at Rabbithole Springs in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Shasta,_California Shasta City, California]
  
<u>'''Carson (River) Trail'''</u> 1848 (aka '''''Mormon Emigrant Trail''''') crossed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty_Mile_Desert#Forty_Mile_Desert Forty Mile Desert] past the west side of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carson_Sink Carson Sink] to pick up the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carson_River Carson River] near [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallon,_Nevada Fallon, Nevada] up to Hope Valley and Red Lake. The Devil's Ladder then climbed 700 feet (210 m) in half a mile so ropes, chains, and pulleys were required to lift the wagons. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carson_Pass Carson Pass] was followed by the relatively easy West Pass ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkwood,_California Kirkwood, California]) and then on to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollock_Pines,_California Pollock Pines], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placerville,_California Placerville], and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutter%27s_Fort Sutter's Fort, California]  
+
=== Carson (River) Trail 1848 ===
 +
aka '''''Mormon Emigrant Trail''''' crossed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty_Mile_Desert#Forty_Mile_Desert Forty Mile Desert] past the west side of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carson_Sink Carson Sink] to pick up the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carson_River Carson River] near [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallon,_Nevada Fallon, Nevada] up to Hope Valley and Red Lake. The Devil's Ladder then climbed 700 feet (210 m) in half a mile so ropes, chains, and pulleys were required to lift the wagons. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carson_Pass Carson Pass] was followed by the relatively easy West Pass ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkwood,_California Kirkwood, California]) and then on to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollock_Pines,_California Pollock Pines], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placerville,_California Placerville], and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutter%27s_Fort Sutter's Fort, California]  
  
:*'''''Johnson's Cutoff''''' 1850-1851 (aka '''''Placerville Route''''', '''''Lake Tahoe Route''''' and '''''Day's Route''''') from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparks,_Nevada Carson City, Nevada] past the south end of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Tahoe Lake Tahoe] going south and then west to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placerville,_California Placerville, California] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento]
+
=== Johnson's Cutoff 1850-1851 ===
:*'''''Daggett Pass''''' 1850 (aka '''''Georgetown Pack Trail''''') Carson Valley, Nevada to Johnson's Cutoff near South [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Tahoe Lake Tahoe], California
+
aka '''''Placerville Route''''', '''''Lake Tahoe Route''''' and '''''Day's Route''''' from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparks,_Nevada Carson City, Nevada] past the south end of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Tahoe Lake Tahoe] going south and then west to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placerville,_California Placerville, California] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento]  
:*'''''Big Tree Road (Ebbetts Pass)''''' 1851 from western [[Nevada|Nevada]] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markleeville,_California Markleeville], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphys,_California Murphys], and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockton,_California Stockton], California
 
:*'''''Grizzly Flat Road''''' 1852 an extension of Carson Trail down the middle fork of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosumnes_River Consumnes River] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grizzly_Flat Grizzly Flat] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placerville,_California Placerville, California]
 
:*'''''Volcano Road''''' 1852 from Coral Flat ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer,_California Pioneer]) on the Carson Trail to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcano,_California Volcano, California]
 
:*'''''Sonora Road''''' 1852 from the Carson Trail to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonora,_California Sonora, California]
 
:*'''''Luther Pass Trail''''' 1854 connected the Carson Trail and Johnson's Cutoff and allowed travelers to avoid [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Tahoe Lake Tahoe]. It became one of the routes to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comstock_Lode Comstock Lode] in [[Nevada|Nevada]]
 
  
[[Image:California Trail Map3.png|thumb|right|500px]]  
+
=== Daggett Pass 1850 ===
 +
aka '''''Georgetown Pack Trail''''', Carson Valley, Nevada to Johnson's Cutoff near South [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Tahoe Lake Tahoe], California
 +
 +
=== Big Tree Road (Ebbetts Pass) 1851 ===
 +
From western [[Nevada, United States Genealogy|Nevada]] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markleeville,_California Markleeville], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphys,_California Murphys], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonora,_California Sonora], and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockton,_California Stockton], California
 +
 +
=== Grizzly Flat Road 1852 ===
 +
An extension of Carson Trail down the middle fork of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosumnes_River Consumnes River] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grizzly_Flat Grizzly Flat] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placerville,_California Placerville, California]
 +
 +
=== Volcano Road 1852 ===
 +
From Coral Flat ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer,_California Pioneer]) on the Carson Trail to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcano,_California Volcano, California]
 +
 +
=== Sonora Road 1852-1854 ===
 +
From the Carson Trail south to the Walker River along the base of the Sierra Nevada until it ascends to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonora_Pass Sonora Pass] and then down to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawberry,_Tuolumne_County,_California Strawberry] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonora,_California Sonora, California]
  
The exact route of the '''California Trail''' varied from group to group over the years. Most often it passed through:<ref name="OrTr" />
+
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/1246010?availability=Family%20History%20Library Dvid H. Johnson. ''Sonora Pass pioneers : California bound emigrants and explorers, 1841-1864.'' Sonora, California : Tuolumne County Historical Society, c2006. FHL 979.4 W2j]
  
:*sometimes [[Missouri]]
+
=== [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Pass Luther Pass Trail 1854] ===
:*sometimes [[Kansas]]
+
Connected the Carson Trail and Johnson's Cutoff and allowed travelers to avoid [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Tahoe Lake Tahoe]. It became one of the routes to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comstock_Lode Comstock Lode] in [[Nevada Genealogy|Nevada]]
:*sometimes [[Iowa]]  
 
:*[[Nebraska]]
 
:*[[Wyoming]]
 
:*[[Idaho]]
 
:*sometimes [[Utah]]  
 
:*[[Nevada]]
 
:*[[California]]
 
  
The Oregon-California Trails Association provides a [http://octatrails.micromaps.com/ Virtual Trail] map with images, and brief histories of points along the trail.
+
[[Image:California Trail Map3.png|thumb|right|500px|California Trail Map3.png]]  
  
'''Connecting migration routes.''' The California Trail linked to other migration routes at each end, and at junctions in the middle. The migration pathways connected near the '''''east end''''' included:  
+
'''The exact route of the '''''California Trail''''' varied from group to group over the years. Most often it passed through:<ref name="OrTr" />
 +
 
 +
:*sometimes [[Missouri, United States Genealogy|Missouri]]
 +
:*sometimes [[Kansas, United States Genealogy|Kansas]]
 +
:*sometimes [[Iowa, United States Genealogy|Iowa]]
 +
:*[[Nebraska, United States Genealogy|Nebraska]]
 +
:*[[Wyoming, United States Genealogy|Wyoming]]
 +
:*[[Idaho, United States Genealogy|Idaho]]
 +
:*sometimes [[Utah, United States Genealogy|Utah]]
 +
:*[[Nevada, United States Genealogy|Nevada]]
 +
:*[[California, United States Genealogy|California]]
 +
 
 +
The Oregon-California Trails Association provides a [http://www.octa-trails.org/ Virtual Trail] map with images, and brief histories of points along the trail.
 +
 
 +
=== Connecting migration routes ===
 +
The California Trail linked to other migration routes at each end, and at junctions in the middle. The migration pathways connected near the '''''east end''''' included:  
  
 
:*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_River Mississippi River]  
 
:*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_River Mississippi River]  
 
:*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_River Missouri River]  
 
:*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_River Missouri River]  
:*[[Santa Fe Trail]] 1821-1880 from western [[Missouri|Missouri]] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Fe,_New_Mexico Santa Fe, New Mexico]  
+
:*[[Santa Fe Trail]] 1821-1880 from western [[Missouri, United States Genealogy|Missouri]] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Fe,_New_Mexico Santa Fe, New Mexico]  
:*[[Oregon Trail]] 1820s from western [[Missouri|Missouri]] to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willamette_Valley Willamette Valley] of [[Oregon|Oregon]]  
+
:*[[Oregon Trail]] 1820s from western [[Missouri, United States Genealogy|Missouri]] to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willamette_Valley Willamette Valley] of [[Oregon, United States Genealogy|Oregon]]  
:*[[California_Trail|California Trail]] 1841 from western [[Missouri|Missouri]] to northern [[California|California]] overlapped the [[Oregon Trail]] most of the way to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raft_River Raft River] in [[Idaho]]<ref name="CaTr" />  
+
:*[[California_Trail|California Trail]] 1841 from western [[Missouri, United States Genealogy|Missouri]] to northern [[California, United States Genealogy|California]] overlapped the [[Oregon Trail]] most of the way to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raft_River Raft River] in [[Idaho, United States Genealogy|Idaho]]<ref name="CaTr" />  
 
:*[[Mormon Trail]] 1846-1847 from [[Nauvoo, Illinois|Nauvoo, Illinois]] to [[Salt Lake City, Utah|Salt Lake City, Utah]] overlapped the California Trail from the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Platte_River North Platte River], Nebraska to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Bridger Ft. Bridger], Wyoming<ref name="MorTr" />  
 
:*[[Mormon Trail]] 1846-1847 from [[Nauvoo, Illinois|Nauvoo, Illinois]] to [[Salt Lake City, Utah|Salt Lake City, Utah]] overlapped the California Trail from the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Platte_River North Platte River], Nebraska to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Bridger Ft. Bridger], Wyoming<ref name="MorTr" />  
 
:*[[Union Pacific Railroad]] 1865 from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omaha,_Nebraska Omaha, Nebraska] and extending its way slowly west to [[Ogden, Utah|Ogden, Utah]] in 1869  
 
:*[[Union Pacific Railroad]] 1865 from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omaha,_Nebraska Omaha, Nebraska] and extending its way slowly west to [[Ogden, Utah|Ogden, Utah]] in 1869  
Line 173: Line 313:
 
The migration pathways connected near the '''''west end''''' of the California Trail included:  
 
The migration pathways connected near the '''''west end''''' of the California Trail included:  
  
:*[[Camino Real de California]] 1683 from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misi%C3%B3n_Estero_de_las_Palmas_de_San_Jos%C3%A9_del_Cabo_A%C3%B1uit%C3%AD San José del Cabo], [[Mexico]] to [[Sonoma County, California|Sonoma, California]]  
+
:*[[Camino Real de California]] 1683 from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misi%C3%B3n_Estero_de_las_Palmas_de_San_Jos%C3%A9_del_Cabo_A%C3%B1uit%C3%AD San José del Cabo], [[Mexico Genealogy|Mexico]] to [[Sonoma County, California Genealogy|Sonoma, California]]  
 
:*[[Siskiyou Trail]] 1829 from [[Portland, Oregon]] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco,_California San Francisco, California]  
 
:*[[Siskiyou Trail]] 1829 from [[Portland, Oregon]] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco,_California San Francisco, California]  
:*[[California_Trail|California Trail]] 1841 from western [[Missouri|Missouri]] to northern [[California|California]]<ref name="CaTr" />  
+
:*[[California_Trail|California Trail]] 1841 from western [[Missouri, United States Genealogy|Missouri]] to northern [[California, United States Genealogy|California]]<ref name="CaTr" />  
 
:*[[Applegate Trail]] 1846 from the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willamette_Valley Willamette Valley] in Oregon to the [[California_Trail]] at the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_River Humboldt River] in Nevada  
 
:*[[Applegate Trail]] 1846 from the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willamette_Valley Willamette Valley] in Oregon to the [[California_Trail]] at the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_River Humboldt River] in Nevada  
:*[[Butterfield Overland Mail]] 1857-1861 from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Louis,_Missouri St. Louis, Missouri] or [[Memphis, Tennessee]] across [[Texas]], southern [[New Mexico]] and [[Arizona]] to southern [[California]] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco,_California San Francisco]  
+
:*[[Butterfield Overland Mail]] 1857-1861 from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Louis,_Missouri St. Louis, Missouri] or [[Memphis, Tennessee]] across [[Texas, United States Genealogy|Texas]], southern [[New Mexico, United States Genealogy|New Mexico]] and [[Arizona Genealogy|Arizona]] to southern [[California, United States Genealogy|California]] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco,_California San Francisco]  
:*[[Central Overland Trail]] from [[Salt Lake City, Utah]] to [[Carson City, Nevada]] with connections to [[California]]  
+
:*[[Central Overland Trail]] from [[Salt Lake City, Utah]] to [[Carson City, Nevada]] with connections to [[California, United States Genealogy|California]]  
 
:*[[Central Pacific Railroad]] 1869 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento, California] to [[Ogden, Utah]] and [[Union Pacific Railroad]] 1869 [[Ogden, Utah]] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omaha,_Nebraska Omaha, Nebraska]  
 
:*[[Central Pacific Railroad]] 1869 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento, California] to [[Ogden, Utah]] and [[Union Pacific Railroad]] 1869 [[Ogden, Utah]] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omaha,_Nebraska Omaha, Nebraska]  
 
:*[[Southern Pacific Railroad]] 1883 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles,_California Los Angeles] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Orleans,_Louisiana New Orleans], including the [[Central Pacific Railroad|Central Pacific Railroad]] tracks during many years<br>
 
:*[[Southern Pacific Railroad]] 1883 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles,_California Los Angeles] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Orleans,_Louisiana New Orleans], including the [[Central Pacific Railroad|Central Pacific Railroad]] tracks during many years<br>
Line 184: Line 324:
 
Several migration pathways had junctions at various places '''''along the middle''''' of the California Trail:  
 
Several migration pathways had junctions at various places '''''along the middle''''' of the California Trail:  
  
:*[[Oregon Trail]] 1830s (and California Trail 1841) from western [[Missouri]] were the main trunk trails. The California Trail usually split off from the [[Oregon Trail]] after the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raft_River Raft River] crossing near the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_River Snake River] in [[Idaho]]. The California Trail headed toward northern [[California]] via [[Nevada]]. The [[Oregon Trail]] continued to follow the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_River Snake River] to [[Oregon]] and beyond.<ref name="CaTr" />  
+
:*[[Oregon Trail]] 1830s (and California Trail 1841) from western [[Missouri, United States Genealogy|Missouri]] were the main trunk trails. The California Trail usually split off from the [[Oregon Trail]] after the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raft_River Raft River] crossing near the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_River Snake River] in [[Idaho, United States Genealogy|Idaho]]. The California Trail headed toward northern [[California, United States Genealogy|California]] via [[Nevada, United States Genealogy|Nevada]]. The [[Oregon Trail]] continued to follow the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_River Snake River] to [[Oregon, United States Genealogy|Oregon]] and beyond.<ref name="CaTr" />  
 
:*[[Mormon Trail]] 1847 from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omaha,_Nebraska Omaha, Nebraska] branched off the California Trail at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Bridger Ft. Bridger], Wyoming going to [[Salt Lake City, Utah]].  
 
:*[[Mormon Trail]] 1847 from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omaha,_Nebraska Omaha, Nebraska] branched off the California Trail at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Bridger Ft. Bridger], Wyoming going to [[Salt Lake City, Utah]].  
:*'''''Salt Lake Cutoff&nbsp;''''' 1848, an alternate route from [[Salt Lake City, Utah]] that rejoined the main California Trail at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Rocks_National_Reserve City of Rocks] in [[Idaho]].<ref name="MorTr" />  
+
:*'''''Salt Lake Cutoff&nbsp;''''' 1848, an alternate route from [[Salt Lake City, Utah]] that rejoined the main California Trail at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Rocks_National_Reserve City of Rocks] in [[Idaho Genealogy|Idaho]].<ref name="MorTr" />  
:*[[Cherokee Trail]] (aka Trapper's Trail) 1849 to early 1890s from Salina, [[Oklahoma]] merged with the California Trail near [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Bridger Ft. Bridger], Wyoming<ref>Wikipedia contributors, "Cherokee Trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherokee_Trail (accessed 15 July 2012).</ref>  
+
:*[[Cherokee Trail]] (aka Trapper's Trail) 1849 to early 1890s from Salina, [[Oklahoma, United States Genealogy|Oklahoma]] merged with the California Trail near [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Bridger Ft. Bridger], Wyoming<ref>Wikipedia contributors, "Cherokee Trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherokee_Trail (accessed 15 July 2012).</ref>  
:*[[Central Overland Trail]] 1859 from [[Salt Lake City, Utah]] through central [[Nevada]] rejoined the California Trail at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparks,_Nevada Carson City, Nevada].  
+
:*[[Central Overland Trail]] 1859 from [[Salt Lake City, Utah]] through central [[Nevada, United States Genealogy|Nevada]] rejoined the California Trail at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparks,_Nevada Carson City, Nevada].  
 
:*[[Bozeman Trail]] 1863 branched from the California Trail at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Fetterman Ft. Fetterman], near Douglas, Wyoming heading to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bozeman,_Montana Bozeman, Montana]<ref name="BozTr">Wikipedia contributors, "Bozeman Trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bozeman_Trail (accessed 15 July 2012).</ref>
 
:*[[Bozeman Trail]] 1863 branched from the California Trail at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Fetterman Ft. Fetterman], near Douglas, Wyoming heading to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bozeman,_Montana Bozeman, Montana]<ref name="BozTr">Wikipedia contributors, "Bozeman Trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bozeman_Trail (accessed 15 July 2012).</ref>
  
'''Modern parallels.''' The modern roads that roughly match the California Trail from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence,_Missouri Independence, Missouri] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento] among other places in northern [[California]] are listed in an online edition of a National Park Service publication about the California Trail:  
+
=== Modern parallels ===
 +
The modern roads that roughly match the California Trail from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence,_Missouri Independence, Missouri] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California Sacramento] among other places in northern [[California, United States Genealogy|California]] are listed in an online edition of a National Park Service publication about the California Trail:
 +
 
 +
:*[https://www.nps.gov/cali/planyourvisit/publications.htm National Park Service - Trail Map, Brochure and Auto Tours Interpretive Guides]
  
 
:*[http://www.nps.gov/oreg/planyourvisit/auto_mo.htm Auto Tour Route - '''Missouri''']  
 
:*[http://www.nps.gov/oreg/planyourvisit/auto_mo.htm Auto Tour Route - '''Missouri''']  
Line 202: Line 345:
 
:*[http://www.nps.gov/cali/planyourvisit/auto_ca.htm Auto Tour Route - '''California''']
 
:*[http://www.nps.gov/cali/planyourvisit/auto_ca.htm Auto Tour Route - '''California''']
  
=== Settlers and Records ===
+
== Other Wiki Pages ==
  
Pioneers who used the California Trail were mostly Americans from the Midwest or Mid-South. Most settled in [[California]]. A few moved on the [[Oregon]]. A few may have settled along the trail before reaching California.
+
*Many of the [[:Category:US Migration Trails and Roads|US Migration Trails and Roads]]
 +
*[[United States Overland Travel 1840 to 1865, Oregon Trail, California Trail (National Institute)]]
 +
*[[Oregon Trail]]
 +
*[[Mormon Trail]]
 +
*[[Pioneer Journals ]]
 +
*[[Society of California Pioneers Library]]
  
No complete list of pioneer settlers who traveled the California Trail is known to exist. However, a variety of sources exist which can be used to identify most of them. Some of these sources may reveal their place of origin.
+
== External Links  ==
 
 
'''Pioneer lists.''' Two partial lists of pre-1870 pioneers include:
 
 
 
*Native Daughters of the Golden West, ''[http://www.ndgw.org/PRosterIndex/rostermain.html Roster of California Pioneers (Internet site)]''. So far 35,000 pioneers (14 percent) who lived in California before 1870 have been submitted by descendants. The index shows each pioneer's name, volume and page number. Original entries in San Francisco may contain the full name of pioneer, place and date of birth, marriage and death, date of arrival in California, method of travel, name of rail or vessel; states lived in prior to California, place and year of California residence; where educated, profession or occupation, public offices held; names of children; parents' names; name, address, relationship of informant (if any); date of registration and other comments. For a small fee NDGW will copy original biographies.
 
*Charles Warren Haskins, ''The Argonauts of California: Being the Reminiscences of Scenes and Incidents That Occurred in California in Early Mining Days'' (New York: Fords, Howard, and Hulbert, 1890) Google books [http://books.google.com/books?id=TH1L60nlSw4C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false digital copy]. Internet Archive [http://www.archive.org/details/argonautscalifor00hask digital copy]. Includes about 27,000 names.
 
 
 
::For an index see Libera Martina Spinazze,''Index to the Argonauts of California'' (New Orleans, La.: Polyanthus, 1975) [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/38651122 WorldCat entry]. Includes the pioneer's name, page in Haskins, and a note listing the pioneer's mining company (or other group); if by ship, its port of departure, and either the date of sailing or arrival.<br><br>
 
 
 
'''California Land Records.''' Deeds, mining claims, and other land records from '''''any&nbsp;''''' time period are clues to when a pioneer arrived. See [[California Land and Property]]. After 1862 some California land was eligible for [[Homestead Records|homesteading]].
 
 
 
'''Censuses''' also can be used to identify pioneers who traveled the California Trail:
 
 
 
:*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/show#uri=http://hr-search-api:8080/searchapi/search/collection/1438024 1870 federal census of California]
 
:*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/show#uri=http://hr-search-api:8080/searchapi/search/collection/1473181 1860 federal census of California]
 
:*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/show#uri=http://hr-search-api:8080/searchapi/search/collection/1401638 1850 federal census of California]
 
 
 
Also, California took a state census in 1852 which lists each person's state of birth and last residence.<ref name="Lain">Ann S. Lainhart, ''State Census Records'' (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992), 21-26. [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/26517040 Worldcat entry]. {{Lainha}}.</ref> For an online index see:
 
 
 
:*[http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1767 California State Census, 1852 Ancestry.com] ($) Index and images.
 
 
 
'''Great Registers''' (voter lists) began in some California counties as early as 1866. The [[California Voting Registers|Great Registers]] prior to 1870 showed males over age 21 who arrived before the transcontinental railroad. Great Registers often showed places of origin. Counties with early Great Registers on microfilm included:
 
 
 
:{{FHL|206978|item|disp=Alameda 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|663187|item|disp=Alpine 1866}}{{·}} {{FHL|207200|item|disp=Amador 1867, 1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|207301|item|disp=Butte 1866}}{{·}} {{FHL|207211|item|disp=Calaveras 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|571690|item|disp=Colusa 1866}}{{·}} {{FHL|207312|item|disp=Contra Costa 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|207324|item|disp=El Dorado 1867, 1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|207042|item|disp=Fresno 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|827235|item|disp=Humboldt 1866-1875}}{{·}} {{FHL|207005|item|disp=Kern 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|206697|item|disp=Klamath (Del Norte and Siskiyou) 1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|493007|item|disp=Lake 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|628981|item|disp=Lassen 1866, 1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|207944|item|disp=Marin 1867-1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|523306|item|disp=Mendocino 1866-1873}}{{·}} {{FHL|207936|item|disp=Merced 1867, 1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|207637|item|disp=Monterey 1867, 1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|207611|item|disp=Napa 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|207571|item|disp=Nevada 1867-1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|208067|item|disp=Placer 1867-1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|208086|item|disp=Plumas 1857-1898}}{{·}} Sacramento {{FHL|210199|item|disp=1866}}, {{FHL|486373|item|disp=1867}}, {{FHL|208109|item|disp=1867-1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|208148|item|disp=San Diego 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|313680|item|disp=San Francisco 1866}}{{·}} {{FHL|208177|item|disp=San Joaquin 1867-1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|208204|item|disp=San Luis Obispo 1867-1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|208196|item|disp=San Mateo 1867-1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|609766|item|disp=Santa Barbara 1866-1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|208253|item|disp=Santa Clara 1867-1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|210163|item|disp=Santa Cruz}}{{·}} {{FHL|210151|item|disp=Shasta 1867-1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|210065|item|disp=Siskiyou 1867-1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|210056|item|disp=Solano 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|209628|item|disp=Sonoma 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|209621|item|disp=Stanislaus 1867, 1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|209619|item|disp=Sutter 1867, 1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|208482|item|disp=Trinity 1867-1868}}{{·}} {{FHL|208459|item|disp=Tulare 1869}}{{·}} {{FHL|208347|item|disp=Tuolumne 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|208287|item|disp=Yolo 1867}}{{·}} {{FHL|208261|item|disp=Yuba 1867-1869}}<br><br>
 
 
 
'''Local and county histories and biographies''' in California also may help identify additional pioneers. For example:
 
 
 
*W. B. Lardner, and M. J. Brock, ''History of Placer and Nevada counties, California&nbsp;: with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the counties who have been identified with their growth and development from the early days to the present'' (1991 Reprint; Los Angeles, Calif.: Historic Record Co., 1924). [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/11510628 WorldCat entry]. {{FHL|572031|item|disp=FHL Book 979.43 H2L}}.
 
*Betty Yohalem, ''"I remember..."&nbsp;: stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families'' ([Placerville, Calif.]&nbsp;: El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, 1977). [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/3657533 WorldCat entry]. {{FHL|75462|item|disp=FHL Book 979.441 H2y}}.
 
 
 
Some California Trail pioneers also settled in [[Oregon]], [[Nevada]], or [[Idaho|Idaho]]. Local histories and biographies from those places may also include some pioneers who traveled the California Trail.
 
 
 
=== External Links  ===
 
  
 
*"California Trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Trail (accessed 1 August 2011). History and relatively detailed list of sites along the trail with some images.  
 
*"California Trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Trail (accessed 1 August 2011). History and relatively detailed list of sites along the trail with some images.  
 
*National Park Service, ''California National Historic Trail'' at http://www.nps.gov/cali/index.htm (accessed 1 August 2011). History, culture, photos, map.  
 
*National Park Service, ''California National Historic Trail'' at http://www.nps.gov/cali/index.htm (accessed 1 August 2011). History, culture, photos, map.  
 +
*National Park Service, "California Trail" (map) in ''California National Historic Trail'' at http://www.nps.gov/cali/planyourvisit/upload/CALImap1-web.pdf (accessed 2 August 2011). Detailed .pdf map of all the various branches of the California Trail.
 
*"Oregon - California Trails Association" in ''Calcite Rocky Mountain College (Internet site)'' at http://www.octa-trails.org/ (accessed 1 August 2011). Includes California Trail maps, photos, site descriptions, and diary quotations. For an index of overland trail documents see [http://www.paper-trail.org/search.asp www.paper-trail.org/search.asp].  
 
*"Oregon - California Trails Association" in ''Calcite Rocky Mountain College (Internet site)'' at http://www.octa-trails.org/ (accessed 1 August 2011). Includes California Trail maps, photos, site descriptions, and diary quotations. For an index of overland trail documents see [http://www.paper-trail.org/search.asp www.paper-trail.org/search.asp].  
 
*Trails West, ''Marking the Emigrant Trails to California'' at http://emigranttrailswest.org/virtual-tour/california-trail/ (accessed 1 August 2011). Lots of images of various routes over the Sierra Nevada.  
 
*Trails West, ''Marking the Emigrant Trails to California'' at http://emigranttrailswest.org/virtual-tour/california-trail/ (accessed 1 August 2011). Lots of images of various routes over the Sierra Nevada.  
*"California Trail Historic Interpretive Center" in ''U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management'' at http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/elko_field_office/blm_programs/blm_special_areas/california_trail_historic.html (accessed 1 August 2011). Contact information for center near Elko, Nevada and activities calendar.  
+
*"California Trail Historic Interpretive Center" in ''U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management'' at https://www.blm.gov/visit/california-trail-interpretive-center (accessed 1 August 2011). Contact information for center near Elko, Nevada and activities calendar.  
 
*"Emigrant trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigrant_trail (accessed 15 July 2011). Includes description of trails in general, and partial map.
 
*"Emigrant trail" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigrant_trail (accessed 15 July 2011). Includes description of trails in general, and partial map.
<div style="padding-left: 10px;"></div>  
+
<div style="padding-left: 10px;"></div>
=== References  ===
+
 
 +
== References  ==
 +
{{reflist}}</div>{{California|California}} {{Idaho|Idaho}} {{Iowa|Iowa}} {{Kansas|Kansas}} {{Missouri|Missouri}} {{Nebraska|Nebraska}} {{Nevada|Nevada}} {{Oregon|Oregon}} {{Utah|Utah}} {{Wyoming|Wyoming}}
 +
  
{{reflist}} {{California|California}} {{Idaho|Idaho}} {{Iowa|Iowa}} {{Kansas|Kansas}} {{Missouri|Missouri}} {{Nebraska|Nebraska}} {{Nevada|Nevada}} {{Oregon|Oregon}} {{Utah|Utah}} {{Wyoming|Wyoming}}
+
[[Category:US_Migration_Trails_and_Roads]] [[Category:California Migration Routes]] [[Category:Idaho Migration Routes]] [[Category:Iowa Migration Routes]] [[Category:Kansas Migration Routes]] [[Category:Missouri Migration Routes]] [[Category:Nebraska Migration Routes]] [[Category:Nevada Migration Routes]] [[Category:Oregon Migration Routes]] [[Category:Utah Migration Routes]] [[Category:Wyoming Migration Routes]]
[[Category:US_Migration_Trails_and_Roads]] [[Category:California]] [[Category:Idaho]] [[Category:Iowa]] [[Category:Kansas]] [[Category:Missouri]] [[Category:Nebraska]] [[Category:Nevada]] [[Category:Oregon]] [[Category:Utah]] [[Category:Wyoming]] </div>
 

Latest revision as of 11:47, 30 November 2019

Green check.png
The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.


The California Trail went from western Missouri across the Great Plains into the Rocky Mountains to the gold fields of northern California. It was most heavily used in the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s. The length of the wagon trail from the Missouri River to Sacramento, California was about 1,950 miles (3,138 km). It normally took four to six months to traverse the length of the California Trail with covered wagons pulled by oxen. About 250,000 pioneers, the most of any American emigration trail, used it to reach California before the transcontinental railroad in 1869.[1]

The main California Trail overlapped the Oregon Trail from western Missouri to the Raft River crossing in Idaho. This route passed the City of Rocks, Idaho and followed the Humboldt River in Nevada toward California. An alternate California Trail route overlapped the Mormon Trail all the way

California Trail camp on the Humboldt River in Nevada, 1859 drawing.

to Salt Lake City, Utah and then to the City of Rocks in Idaho. The trail ended at several destination places mostly in the gold fields in the mountains of northern California.[2]

Records and Lists of Settlers[edit | edit source]

Pioneers who used the California Trail were mostly Americans from the Midwest or Mid-South. Most settled in California. A few moved on to Oregon. A few may have settled along the trail before reaching California.

No complete list of pioneer settlers who traveled the California Trail is known to exist. However, a variety of sources exist which can be used to identify most of them. Some of these sources may reveal their place of origin.

Pioneer lists[edit | edit source]

Online Databases[edit | edit source]

Books Online[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

Additional Resources and History[edit | edit source]

California Land Records[edit | edit source]

Deeds, mining claims, and other land records from any  time period are clues to when a pioneer arrived. See California Land and Property. After 1862 some California land was eligible for homesteading.

Censuses[edit | edit source]

These can be used to identify pioneers who traveled the California Trail:

Also, California took a state census in 1852 which lists each person's state of birth and last residence.[3]

Great Registers (voter lists)[edit | edit source]

Began in some California counties as early as 1866. The Great Registers prior to 1870 showed males over age 21 who arrived before the transcontinental railroad. Great Registers often showed places of origin. Counties with early Great Registers on microfilm included:

Alameda 1867 · Alpine 1866 · Amador 1867, 1868 · Butte 1866 · Calaveras 1867 · Colusa 1866 · Contra Costa 1867 · El Dorado 1867, 1868 · Fresno 1867 · Humboldt 1866-1875 · Kern 1867 · Klamath (Del Norte and Siskiyou) 1869 · Lake 1867 · Lassen 1866, 1868 · Marin 1867-1868 · Mendocino 1866-1873 · Merced 1867, 1869 · Monterey 1867, 1869 · Napa 1867 · Nevada 1867-1868 · Placer 1867-1868 · Plumas 1857-1898 · Sacramento 1866, 1867, 1867-1868 · San Diego 1867 · San Francisco 1866 · San Joaquin 1867-1869 · San Luis Obispo 1867-1868 · San Mateo 1867-1869 · Santa Barbara 1866-1869 · Santa Clara 1867-1869 · Santa Cruz · Shasta 1867-1869 · Siskiyou 1867-1868 · Solano 1867 · Sonoma 1867 · Stanislaus 1867, 1869 · Sutter 1867, 1869 · Trinity 1867-1868 · Tulare 1869 · Tuolumne 1867 · Yolo 1867 · Yuba 1867-1869

Local and county histories and biographies[edit | edit source]

These may help identify additional pioneers. For example:

Society of California Pioneers[edit | edit source]

Related Publications

Some California Trail pioneers also settled in Oregon, Nevada, or Idaho. Local histories and biographies from those places may also include some pioneers who traveled the California Trail.

Background History[edit | edit source]

Footpaths, wagons, and stagecoaches[edit | edit source]

The overland route over South Pass was discovered by fur trappers in 1811. By the 1830s that pass was used as part of the Oregon Trail. Between 1829 and 1840 other mountain men explored possible additional routes extending through northern Utah and Nevada toward California. At first these were footpaths or pack train trails. The earliest wagon road was pioneered through South Pass to a mountain man rendezvous on the Green River in Wyoming in 1830. By 1836 a wagon road reached as far as Fort Hall, Idaho.[1] In 1841 and 1843 wagon trains started for California but abandoned their wagons in Nevada and went on by foot. The first overland wagon train to reach California arrived in 1844 by leaving the Oregon Trail after crossing the Raft River in Idaho. From there they followed Nevada's Humboldt River west to the Sierra Nevada mountains, up the Truckee River and over Donner Pass to Sacramento, California. This became the most popular route, but other pioneers also came via Salt Lake City, Utah to the City of Rocks. From 1857 to 1861 the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach route near the Mexican border opened to Calfornia. That mail route was closed in favor of the Pony Express (Central Overland) route through central Nevada farther south than the Humboldt River. In time these various paths to California were followed by wagon roads, railroads, and modern highways.[2]

Reasons for migrating[edit | edit source]

Mountain men fur trappers were the earliest to use the California Trail. Larger groups of American settlers began arriving in 1846. The outbreak of the Mexican-American War 1846-1848 resulted in American soldiers invading California to help secure it for the United States. Once California was officially United States territory it immediately began to attract more immigrants. Several western gold and silver strikes, productive farm land, lumber, and ranching all increased traffic on the California Trail.[1] The California gold rush attracted adventurers and gold seekers from around the world after gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill. An estimated 90,000 arrived in 1849, about half of them Americans. Americans usually took the California Trail to reach the gold fields. Some came by ship. Others used the Oregon Trail and then came south to California on the Siskiyou Trail, or Applegate Trail-Lassen Cutoff.[4]

Preparations[edit | edit source]

Many emigrants were farmers who already had their own wagons and most of their own supplies. Other travelers usually purchased supplies at "jumping off points" in Missouri, Iowa, or Kansas. Supplies cost as much as $200 per person including a covered wagon, teams of oxen, 150 pounds of food per person, tobacco, cooking gear, extra shoes, two sets of clothes, 25 pounds of soap, washboard and wash tub, tent, a canvas or rubber groundcloth with blankets for sleeping, tools, guns and ammunition. Some also bought a trail guide book.[1]

Trail life[edit | edit source]

Non-essentials were often abandoned on the trail to lighten the load. Forts and trading posts (Ft. Kearny, Ft. Laramie, Ft. Fetterman, Ft. Bridger, Ft. Hall, and Sutter's Fort along the way usually provided supplies, fresh animal teams, repairs, spare parts, and news of trail conditions. Hunting (including bison), fishing, and trading were also common along the route. Emigrants usually formed into wagon trains for security. Almost everyone preferred to walk rather than ride in dusty, bumpy wagons. They had to average 11 miles (18 km) to 17 miles (27 km) per day to reach California in four to six months. To leave too early risked muddy trails and too little grass for livestock. To arrive late risked traveling in winter weather. Thunderstorms and fierce winds were common. In good weather they often slept under the stars. On the prairie buffalo chips were gathered for use as cooking fuel. Wash day was about every two weeks. Many travelers enjoyed side trips climbing over trail landmarks like Chimney Rock, Scott's Bluff, and Independence Rock. Some entrepreneurs drove herds of cattle over the trail to sell and help pay for the trip.[1]

Deaths[edit | edit source]

About five percent of pioneers died on the Oregon-California-Mormon trails. The most common killer was cholera along the Platte River in Nebraska. This disease killed as much as three percent between 1849 and 1855 (6,000 to 12,500 individuals). About 3,000 to 4,500 deaths happened because of Indian attacks especially in Idaho and Nevada after U.S. Army troops were withdrawn in 1860 in the run up to the Civil War. Other causes of death included freezing, scurvy, being run over, drownings (especially in the 1850s before many ferries), and accidental shootings.[1]

California Trail Immigrants[5]
Year Settlers
1841 34
1842 none
1843 38
1844 53
1845 260
1846 1,500
1847 450
1848 400
1849 25,000
1850 44,000
1851 1,100
1852 50,000
1853 20,000
1854 12,000
1855 1,500
1856 8,000
1857 4,000
1858 6,000
1859 17,000
1860 9,000
1861 5,000?
1862 5,000?
1863 5,000?
1864 5,000?
1865 7,200?
1866 7,500?
1867 7,500?
1868 7,500?
Total 250,000



Decline of trail use[edit | edit source]

In 1855 the California Trail (and Oregon Trail) traffic declined dramatically. First, the bloom was off the California gold rush. Second, the Panama Railroad was completed with steamship links that made transportation from the east coast to the west coast of America more practical than using an overland wagon trail.[1] From 1857 to 1861 the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach route took some traffic from the California Trail. In 1869 the transcontinental Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads completed to Sacramento, California made that route faster, safer, and less expensive than traveling the California Trail.[2]

Main Route[edit | edit source]

The California Trail was miles wide with many variations. Emigrants started on their journey from many sundry "jumping off points" in three states. Some took a variety of shortcuts, and others traveled on different sides of the rivers from other emigrants. Travelers often completed their journey in Idaho, Nevada or places other than northern California. The California Trail was a branch of the Oregon trunk trail.[1]

Two of the most popular early outfitting or "jumping off points" were Independence and St. Joseph in western Missouri. Once the river was dredged and steamboats could reach it in the early 1850s, Council Bluffs, Iowa became the most popular California Trail starting place.[6] Kansas City, Lawrence, and Topeka in Kansas were also used. From their starting point emigrants often followed the Missouri River up to the Platte River. Another option was to follow the Kansas River and then the Little Blue River toward the Platte River.[1]

Livestock needed watering so the California Trail followed rivers across the dry prairies. The California Trail usually followed the south side of the North Platte River west through Nebraska into Wyoming. Near Casper, Wyoming California Trail emigrants followed the Sweetwater River farther west. An important goal was to reach Independence Rock on the Sweetwater River by Independence Day. The trail went over South Pass then worked its way through the mountains. One shortcut went from South Pass due west toward Fort Hall. The main trail from South Pass headed southwest to cross the Green River at Lombard Ferry, headed for Fort Bridger. At Fort Bridger the Mormon Trail branched southwest toward Salt Lake City.[7] The main California Trail went northwest from Bridger to Fort Hall, Idaho. From the Raft River southwest of Fort Hall most California Trail emigrants forked southwest past the City of Rocks, Idaho toward Nevada,[2] while Oregon Trail followers continued along the Snake River to Fort Boise and the Oregon border. The California Trail followers who opted to go through Salt Lake City often rejoined the main trail at the City of Rocks. In Nevada the trail followed the Humboldt River westward to its end. The next stage of the journey was usually considered the worst--southwest across the Forty Mile Desert to the Truckee River or Carson River in the Sierra Nevada.[2]

Trails over the mountains to the gold fields [2][edit | edit source]

Truckee (River) Trail 1844[edit | edit source]

Crossed the Forty Mile Desert to the Truckee River to follow it west past Reno, Nevada to Donner Pass to Emigrant Gap to Sutter's Fort (Sacramento, California). The exact route varied over the years, the most used being the Nevada City Road and Auburn Emigrant Road combination.

Roller Pass 1846[edit | edit source]

Alternate to the Truckee Trail two miles south of Donner Pass through Emigrant Gap to Placerville, California

Nevada City Road 1850[edit | edit source]

Branched off the Truckee Trail through Emigrant Gap to Nevada City, California the most important mining area 1850-1851

Auburn Emigrant Road 1850[edit | edit source]

Believed to be from Nevada City to Auburn to Sacramento, California

Henness Pass Road 1850[edit | edit source]

Branched off the Truckee Trail at Verdi, Nevada headed for Camptonville and steamboat service at Marysville, California. In 1860 it became a major route to the Comstock Lode silver mines in Nevada.

Beckwourth Trail 1850[edit | edit source]

Left the Truckee Trail near present-day Sparks, Nevada going to Marysville, California

Applegate Trail 1846[edit | edit source]

Avoided the Forty Mile Desert) by leaving the Humboldt River in Nevada early at present-day Rye Reservoir, Nevada and passing through the Black Rock Desert to Fandango Pass past Goose Lake on to the Lost River and eventually the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

The Lassen Cutoff 1848[edit | edit source]

Was established by gold rushers from Oregon going to California. It branched off the Applegate Trail at Davis Creek, went through Devil's Garden to the Pit River passing east of Mt. Lassen, and turning west to Lassen Rancho, California, and from there to Sacramento. In some years as much as 1/3 of emigrants mistakenly took the Applegate Trail-Lassen Cutoff, a much longer and more difficult trail than the Truckee or Carson routes.

Yreka Trail 1851[edit | edit source]

From the Applegate Trail to Yreka, California

Nobles Road 1851[edit | edit source]

From the Applegate Trail at Rabbithole Springs in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada to Shasta City, California

Carson (River) Trail 1848[edit | edit source]

aka Mormon Emigrant Trail crossed the Forty Mile Desert past the west side of the Carson Sink to pick up the Carson River near Fallon, Nevada up to Hope Valley and Red Lake. The Devil's Ladder then climbed 700 feet (210 m) in half a mile so ropes, chains, and pulleys were required to lift the wagons. Carson Pass was followed by the relatively easy West Pass (Kirkwood, California) and then on to Pollock Pines, Placerville, and Sutter's Fort, California

Johnson's Cutoff 1850-1851[edit | edit source]

aka Placerville Route, Lake Tahoe Route and Day's Route from Carson City, Nevada past the south end of Lake Tahoe going south and then west to Placerville, California and Sacramento

Daggett Pass 1850[edit | edit source]

aka Georgetown Pack Trail, Carson Valley, Nevada to Johnson's Cutoff near South Lake Tahoe, California

Big Tree Road (Ebbetts Pass) 1851[edit | edit source]

From western Nevada to Markleeville, Murphys, Sonora, and Stockton, California

Grizzly Flat Road 1852[edit | edit source]

An extension of Carson Trail down the middle fork of the Consumnes River to Grizzly Flat and Placerville, California

Volcano Road 1852[edit | edit source]

From Coral Flat (Pioneer) on the Carson Trail to Volcano, California

Sonora Road 1852-1854[edit | edit source]

From the Carson Trail south to the Walker River along the base of the Sierra Nevada until it ascends to Sonora Pass and then down to Strawberry and Sonora, California

Luther Pass Trail 1854[edit | edit source]

Connected the Carson Trail and Johnson's Cutoff and allowed travelers to avoid Lake Tahoe. It became one of the routes to the Comstock Lode in Nevada

California Trail Map3.png

The exact route of the California Trail varied from group to group over the years. Most often it passed through:[1]

The Oregon-California Trails Association provides a Virtual Trail map with images, and brief histories of points along the trail.

Connecting migration routes[edit | edit source]

The California Trail linked to other migration routes at each end, and at junctions in the middle. The migration pathways connected near the east end included:

The migration pathways connected near the west end of the California Trail included:

Several migration pathways had junctions at various places along the middle of the California Trail:

Modern parallels[edit | edit source]

The modern roads that roughly match the California Trail from Independence, Missouri to Sacramento among other places in northern California are listed in an online edition of a National Park Service publication about the California Trail:

Other Wiki Pages[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Wikipedia contributors, "Oregon Trail" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Trail (accessed 12 July 2012).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Wikipedia contributors, "California Trail" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Trail (accessed 24 July 2011).
  3. Ann S. Lainhart, State Census Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992), 21-26. Worldcat entry. FHL book 973 X2Lai.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "California Gold Rush" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Gold_Rush (accessed 24 July 2011).
  5. John D. Unruh, The Plains Across: the Overland Immigrants and Trans-Mississippi West 1840–1860 (University of Illinois Press, 1979), 119–20.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Emigrant trail" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigrant_trail (accessed 15 July 2012).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Wikipedia contributors, "Mormon Trail" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_Trail (accessed 15 July 2012).
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Cherokee Trail" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherokee_Trail (accessed 15 July 2012).
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Bozeman Trail" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bozeman_Trail (accessed 15 July 2012).