Death Valley in '49: Important Chapter of California Pioneer History. The Autobiography of a Pioneer, Detailing His Life from a Humble Home in the Green Mountains to the Gold Mines of California; and Particularly Reciting the Sufferings of the Band of Men, Women and Children, who Gave "Death Valley" Its Name
Pacific tree and vine Company, 1894 - 498 pages
William Lewis Manly (1820-1903) and his family left Vermont in 1828, and he grew to manhood in Michigan and Wisconsin. On hearing the news of gold in California, Manly set off on horseback, joining an emigrant party in Missouri. Death Valley in '49 (1894) contains Manly's account of that overland journey. Setting out too late in the year to risk a northern passage thorugh the Sierras, the group takes the southern route to California, unluckily choosing an untried short cut through the mountains. This fateful decision brings the party through Death Valley, and Manly describes their trek through the desert, as well as the experiences of the Illinois "Jayhawkers" and others who took the Death Valley route. Manly's memoirs continue with his trip north to prospecting near the Mariposa mines, a brief trip back east via the Isthmus, and his return to California and another try at prospecting on the North Fork of the Yuba at Downieville in 1851. He provides lively ancedotes of life in mining camps and of his visits to Stockton, Sacramento, and San Francisco.
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Page 200 - Bennett and Arcane caught us in their arms and embraced us with all their strength, and Mrs. Bennett when she came fell down on her knees and clung to me like a maniac in the great emotion that came to her, and not a word was spoken.
Page 173 - I live that landscape will be impressed upon the canvas of my memory as the most cheering in the world. There before us was a beautiful meadow of a thousand acres, green as a thick carpet of grass could make it, and shaded with oaks, wide branching and symmetrical, equal to those of an old English park; while all over the low mountains that bordered it on the south and over the broad acres of luxuriant grass was a herd of cattle numbering many hundreds if not thousands. They were of all colors shades...
Page 216 - Valley!" then faced away and made our steps toward camp. Even after this in speaking of this long and narrow valley over which we had crossed into its nearly central part, and on the edge of which the lone camp was made, for so many days, it was called Death Valley.
Page 200 - ... to us. And now both closely watching the wagons I fired the shot. Still as death and not a move for a moment, and then as if by magic a man came out from under a wagon and stood up looking all around, for he did not see us. Then he threw up his arms high over his head and shouted — "The boys have come!
Page 217 - Many accounts have been given to the world as to the origin of the name and by whom it was thus designated, but ours were the first visible footsteps, and we the party which named it the saddest and most dreadful name that came to us first from its memories.
Page 159 - Roger's gun and went in his direction. He had found a little ice that had frozen under the clear sky. It was not thicker than window glass. After putting a piece in our mouths we gathered all we could and put it into the little quart camp kettle to melt. We gathered just a kettle full, besides what we ate as we were gathering, and kindled a little fire and melted it. I can but think how providential it was that we started in the night for...
Page 157 - We were so nearly worn out that we tried to eat a little meat, but after chewing a long time, the mouth would not moisten it enough so we could swallow, and we had to reject it. It seemed as if we were going to die with plenty of food in our hand, because we could not eat it. "We tried to sleep but could not, but after a little rest we noticed a bright star two hours above the horizon and from the course of the moon we saw the star must be pretty truly west of us. We talked a little, and the burden...
Page 198 - This looked indeed as if some of our saddest forbodings were coming true. How many more bodies should we find? Or should we find the camp deserted, and never find a trace of the former occupants. We marched toward camp like two Indians, silent and alert, looking out for dead bodies and live Indians, for really we more expected to find the camp devastated by those rascals than to find that it still contained our friends.
Page 112 - ... come in, all reporting no way to go farther with the wagons. Some said the trail on the west side of the canon could be ascended on foot by both men and mules, but that it would take years to make it fit for wheels. The enthusiasm about the Smith cut-off had begun to die and now the talk began of going back to follow Hunt. On the third morning a lone traveler, with a small wagon and one yoke of oxen, died. He seemed to be on this journey to seek to regain his health. He was from Kentucky, but...
Page 93 - I became much interested in my new found friend, and had him continue his map down the river. He showed two streams coming in on the east side and then he began piling up stones on each side of the river and then got longer ones and piled them higher and higher yet. Then he stood with one foot on each side of his river and put his hands on the stones and then raised them as high as he could, making a continued "eeeeee...