Tragedy in Death Valley

In October 1849, more than 100 wagons left the Salt Lake City region opting to take the Old Spanish Trail to the pueblo of Los Angeles, and from there north to the gold fields. For some of them, their journey became a saga of adversity, loss, extreme hardship, and sheer grit. Twenty-seven wagons unwisely took a Continue reading Tragedy in Death Valley

October Deadline

During the great overland migration to California in the late 1840s and 1850s, neither excited gold-seekers, nor families simply wanting to settle, could depart  for the Pacific Coast at just any time they wanted.  Theirs was a limited window of travel time, framed by potential hazards at both ends of the route.  Since their Continue reading October Deadline

Meals on the Trail West

Most people in the 19th century called their mid-day meal “dinner,” and their lighter evening meal “supper.”  While it was not unusual for any given repast to take hours of preparation time at home, the members of westering wagon trains had no such luxury. They couldn’t afford to waste travel time waiting for bread Continue reading Meals on the Trail West