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The Trail to California

  • John Bidwell, who was a 21-year-old schoolteacher when he led the first group of pioneers on the overland trail from Missouri to California in 1841.
    Read his account
  • Nancy Kelsey, who was an 18-years-old mother when she traveled the overland trail to California in 1841.
    Read her account
  • Jesse A. Applegate was just seven when he crossed the overland trail in 1843.
    Read her account
  • Moses Schallenberg was seventeen when he was left at Truckee Lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1844.
    Read his account
  • Sarah Ide was seventeen in 1845 when her family departed from Springfield, Illinois, for California.
    Read her account
  • Benjamin Franklin Bonney was seven when he, his parents, and four sisters and two brothers left Illinois in 1845 headed for Oregon. Later, they changed directions and went to California.
    Read his account
  • Virginia Reed recalls the plight of the Donner Party, which got caught by early snows in the Sierra Mountains in 1847. Fifteen of 41 children in the party died during the journey westward.
    Read her account
  • William Murphy, another member of the Donner Party, was eleven when he saw his 15-year-old brother starve to death.
    Read his account
  • Henry Ferguson, who was eleven in 1849 when his family traveled to California, recalled an incident that took place along the way.
    Read his account

Copyright Digital History 2016