This is a continuation of the diary kept by Daniel Stark on his journey from Auburn, Illinois to the gold fields of California. This starts with his ninth day out, May 13, 1850. 

This western territory was purchased 46 years prior to the gold rush of 1850. Lewis & Clark had blazed the trail but there were very few settlers brave enough to migrate into that area.

The rumors that you could walk around and pick up enough gold to become rich was so irresistible that 80,000 prospectors left their homes and families to travel the emigrant trail to the gold fields in and around Sacramento, California. The prospectors must have suspected that it couldn’t possibly be that easy, but the lure of gold had everyone in a frenzy to get there.

Grandfather Daniel Stark was much better prepared than most. He had oxen which were more durable than horses and he had the security of his friends and family group. He records his travels with very little editorial comment.

In this segment he has been on the trail just eight days.


May 13, 1850
Marched today 3-mile an encampt on Crop Creek. I went back to the river (Kansas) to see if I could see Asahel and McCoun but I could not see them. Just as I got there they told me that there was a man drowned and if you can believe me, his company never looked for him a minute, even though he had a son along with him.

May 14…Did not roll a wheel today. We took a general wash and if you would have been here and saw us you would have laughed until your sides would have been sore. There has been a tremendous site of wagons past today, about 300 hundred.

May 15…We still lay on Crop Creek and E. Giltner and father has gone back to meet A. Stark and McCoun. But they went back 12-mile and saw nothing or heard nothing of them. I can’t think what the mater is, but we are losing no time in the outcome for the grass is short. Elum leaves is all of the leaves that is as big as a squirrels ear and you can guess how the grass is and we are past all of the corn and we are abliged to take it easy.

May 16…Marched today 16-mile and encampt on a small stream and there is good grass here and water and wood which is very acceptable for it has been very hot and windy. Today the dust was like a cloud and we had no water all day. There was two Caw Indians at our camp tonight. They wear there hair short, all except a small spot on the top or crown of their head and they braid that and let it hang down behind and paint the rest of their head as red as scarlet.

The Waynedale News Staff
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