Author: L.H. Woolley
Release Date: November, 2003 [Etext #4638] [This file was first posted on February 20, 2002] [Most recently updated: December 17, 2005]
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California 1849-1913 or The Rambling Sketches and Experiences of Sixty-four Years’ Residence in that State
L. H. Woolley
Member of the Society of California Pioneers and of the Vigilance
Committee of 1856
Trip Across the Plains.
The year 1849 has a peculiarly thrilling sensation to the California Pioneer, not realized by those who came at a later date. My purpose in recording some of my recollections of early days is not for publication nor aggrandizement, but that it may be deposited in the archives of my descendants, that I was one of those adventurers who left the Green Mountains of Vermont to cross the plains to California, the El Dorado — the Land of Gold.
In starting out I went to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Independence, Missouri. Here I joined the first mule train of Turner, Allen & Co.’s Pioneer Line. It consisted of forty wagons, one hundred and fifty mules, and about one hundred and fifty passengers. We left the frontier on the fourteenth of May 1849, and here is where our hardships commenced. Many of us had never known what it was to “camp out” and do our own cooking. Some of the mules were wild and unbroken, sometimes inside the traces, sometimes outside; sometimes down, sometimes up; sometimes one end forward and sometimes the other; but after a week or two they got sobered down so as to do very well.