Another way was by the Isthmus of Panama, and then up the coast in such a ship as one could find. It was the least toilsome journey and the shortest, but still attended with hardships. Many fell a prey to wasting fevers which burn out one’s life, and so never reached the destined port of San Francisco, through which they would pass to the gold fields.
The longest way was around Cape Horn. Still there were those who took it, even if months, five or six, it might be, were consumed in the journey. The gold they sought would compensate them at last. These too had to encounter storms, face probable shipwreck or contend with grim death. Many who sold all to equip themselves, who turned away from home and kindred, for a time they thought, to enrich themselves, who would surely return to their loved ones with untold treasure, never fulfilled their desire. Some perished in the voyage, others died in San Francisco, and were laid to rest till the final day in her cemeteries by the heaving ocean. Such as reached the mines did not always gain the gold they coveted. There were those who were fortunate, who made a success of life, who realised their day dreams; and some of these returned to the old home, to the waiting parents, to the longing wife and children. Some with their gold settled in San Francisco and sent for their kindred. And what happy meetings were those in the years of gold mining, when ships coming from many lands, from American and foreign ports, brought to the city through the Golden Gate the beloved ones whose dear faces had ever been an inspiration to the toilers in darkest hours! Methinks the meetings of loved ones parted here, on the shores of the crystal sea, will compensate for all life’s labours and trials. Yes, if we only have the true treasures, the true gold of the Golden City.
In those days of 1848 and 1849 and during 1850 and 1851, San Francisco—on which we are now looking, the stately, comely city of to-day, was a city of tents in a large measure. Ships were pouring out their passengers at the Long Wharf. They would tent for a time on the shore, then hurry off to the mines. In those days you could meet in the streets men of various nationalities. Here were gold seekers from New England and old England, from our own Southland and the sunny land of France and Italy, from Germany and Sweden and Norway, from Canada and other British possessions, from China and Japan. And it was gold which brought them all here, the statesman and the soldier, the labouring man and the child of fortune, sons of adversity and sons of prosperity, rich and poor, lawyers, doctors, merchants, sailors, scholars, unlettered,—all are here for gold. Such is the San Francisco of those early days. It is a romance of reality, of the Golden West!
THE STORY OF GOLDEN GATE PARK AND THE CEMETERIES