At least two parties left the Des Moines County-Henry County area of Iowa in the spring of 1849, bound for the gold fields of California. One group, who called themselves "the Mt. Pleasant Mining Company", is described in two Trail documents:

-D. B. Nunis, Jr. (1964), The Letters of a Young Gold Miner, Covering the Adventures of Jasper S. Hill during the California Gold Rush, 1849-1852 (San Francisco, CA).

-P. C. Tiffany (1849-1851), Journal of P. C. Tiffany Detailing His Trip Across the Plains from Mt. Pleasant, Iowa to the Gold Diggings of California. (Manuscript at Beinecke Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT).

  I haven't found a journal or diary of the second trip, yet, but I have found a number of references to it. Usually called "the Ikenberry party," it was actually captained by Samuel Eikenbary (apparently a preferred spelling of this particular family line, although several variations are regularly seen, most often Eikenberry or Eikenbury), a farmer from near Danville, Des Moines County, Iowa. As I find out more about this trip, I will add to the record below. For now, I have short bios of those I know were on this trip; the beginnings of a trip itinerary; a list of possible party members; and some abstracts of published accounts of the party. If you can add anything to the account, please contact me.





  Determining the "beginning" and the "ending" of Overland Trail trips is sometimes difficult, because of travelers joining and leaving the wagon train at different times, and because some writers have an "official" beginning date [i.e., when the train was really all together, and ready to move West] that may be quite different from when they actually left their home. Most (all?) of the people on the "Ikenberry Train" (at least until they were over the Rocky Mountains) were from Des Moines and Henry counties in Iowa. The groups from the two counties began separately, the Henry County group leaving New London on 27 March 1849, according to Amasa Smead. I have no specific record of what route the parties took to St. Joseph, Missouri, but they likely followed closely that route subsequenntly taken by the McCully wagon train in 1852: across southern Iowa past present-day Lowell, Hillsboro, Keosaqua, and Seymour; south to Unionville, Missouri; then diagonally southwest across Missouri via present-day Princeton, New Hampton, Gentry, Union Star, Rochester, and Savannah; and into St. Joseph. The New London group reached St. Joseph 21 April, according to Asa McCully, and crossed the Missouri River on 22 April 1849. [These dates are from a letter written by Asa McCully less than a month later: Account Number 1, below. A biography of John M. Waters gives 13 April as the "beginning" of the trip, but that account was written 50 years later.]

   After crossing the Missouri River, the Henry County group proceeded some 25 miles into Kansas, to a location identified as "Wolf River," where Samuel Eikenbary was already camped with nine wagons. On 25 April 1849, Eikenbary was selected as captain of the party, and the wagon train was officially established.

  After organizing, the wagon train proceeded northwest through Kansas and Nebraska on the usual route along the Little Blue River. They reached the Platte River on 8 May, and passed "New" Fort Kearny on 9 May. They crossed from the South Platte to the North Platte about 16 May, passed by Ash Springs, and were near Chimney Rock 22 May (when they had a major hail storm). On 26 May they were camped at Horse Creek, near Scott's Bluff, Nebraska. There, a gunfight occurred among some of the wagon train members, and two were shot (neither fatally). They reached Fort Laramie, Wyoming, the next day, and left the most gravely wounded man there, to return to Iowa when he was able.

  From Fort Laramie, they proceeded over South Pass; may have taken the Sublette Cut-off; passed Fort Hall, Idaho Territory; reportedly went south into Utah [Account Number 16, although many parties went via the Snake River and Raft River] to the Humboldt River in Nevada, and down the Humboldt to the Sink; on to the Carson River; and over the Sierra Nevada to Hangtown (Placerville) and Coloma, California.
  We don't yet have a time table beyond Fort Laramie, until 17 July 1849 when Joseph W. Berrien reports joining "the company under Captain Eikenbury" just east of the Humboldt Sink [Berrien's journal in "Indiana Magazine of History" (1960) 56:273-352, Account Number 12, below]. The date of 7 Aug 1849 is used for both "arriving" [presumably at Placerville: John M. Waters], and for actually finding gold [David McCully]. We know that the "Ikenberry Train" split partway across the plains, so one group reached the goldfields before the other, but the Charles Washburne remembrance of reaching Coloma in October seems impossibly late.


  Of the 65-70 people thought to have been with the "Ikenberry Train," we've only positively identified the following [NOTE: the Cox-McCully-Waters biographical material is found in much more detail elsewhere on my website, and is not repeated here.]:

ANGELL, Thomas - He was born 7 May 1810 in South Corinth, Saratoga County, New York. His parents were Ezekiel Day Angell (born 1771, Rhode Island; died 1847, New York) and Sarah (Sprague) Angell (born Rhode Island; died 1847, New York). Thomas spent his early years in Saratoga County, New York, but reportedly left home for Illinois when still quite young. By 1842 he was in Henry County, Iowa, where he married Tirzah Ann Yeomans on 1 January 1842. Tirzah died 11 April 1845, and Thomas married her sister Susan Pinney Yeomans on 6 August 1846.

  Thomas had been a school teacher, but was running a grist mill and a mercantile store in Lowell, Iowa, when he married Susan Yeomans. In 1849, he went overland to California with the "Ikenberry party," at least in part because he thought the trip might help his asthma. He apparently didn't like gold mining, and didn't do well at it, so spent part of his California time building cabins in Sacramento. In 1850, he returned to Iowa, the first leg of the trip by ship around Cape Horn. In 1852, he took his family West to Oregon, with Asa and David McCully.

  On arrival in Oregon, the Angells settled on a donation land claim outside Lebanon, Linn County, where Thomas farmed. Later, they moved into Lebanon, where he had a mercantile store. In 1861 they sold their property in Linn County, bought a herd of cattle, and moved across the Cascade Mountains to Dufur, Wasco County. All the cattle died the first winter. Thomas then mortgaged his farm and bought sheep, but lost both the farm and the sheep when the business failed.

  In addition to ranching, Angell hauled freight by wagon from The Dalles to Prineville and Canyon City. With the completion of the Oregon Short Line Railroad in 1884, there was no longer demand for hauling by wagon to Canyon City, but he continued his Prineville route until his death from asthma complications 26 November 1888, at the home of his son-in-law Joseph Robertson. He is buried in the Eight Mile Pioneer Cemetery, south of The Dalles, Oregon. Susan Angell lived until 27 December 1928, died in Portland, Oregon, and is buried at The Dalles. They had eight children, who are described in our book, "The McCully Train" (Symbios Books 2000).

BARTON, Timothy - So far, we know him only from Amasa Smead's reminiscences (Account Number 11, below).

BERRIEN, Joseph Waring - Berrien joined the "Ikenberry" wagon train in western Nevada on 17 July 1849, and traveled with them over the Sierra Nevada (Account Number 12). Berrien was described by the editors of his journal as "a young, unmarried New Yorker who had come to Belleville, Illinois, not too long before the gold rush fever had spread across the Unied States." I haven't learned any more about him, except that he was traveling with a man named "Mercure."

COX, William - He was born 17 February 1831 near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He lived in Canada until 1837, moving then with his family to Liverpool, Columbiana County, Ohio. In 1844, the Coxes moved to Warrick County, Indiana, then on to Henry County, Iowa in 1846 or 1847. In 1849, William traveled overland to the California Gold Rush, almost certainly with the "Ikenberry" wagon train with his Waters and McCully cousins, and his brother-in-law Edward Ford. William remained in California until at least late 1851. He may have briefly returned to Iowa with Edward Ford, then started back to California in March 1852 with Edward, Edward's family, and William's brother Jordan Cox and his family. 

  Wherever he was from late 1851 through 1852, he was in El Dorado County, California, in March 1853, gold mining "about 20 miles from" Mud Springs. In April or May 1853 he left El Dorado County, headed for Oregon, but only got as far as San Francisco. He worked for awhile in the Napa Valley north of San Francisco, but returned to Mud Springs in June 1853, almost penniless. There he began mining again, and working with his brother Jordan Cox on his ranch, and stayed in the area until some time after January 1854. By October 1854 he was at Bucksport (now part of Eureka), Humboldt County, where he was building a house. By February 1856, he had moved north to Oregon, being at Kerbyville, Josephine County, Oregon in March 1858, and buying land in Josephine County in January 1859. He sold land in Josephine County in November 1860 and January 1861; however, he may not have been there in person at that time, as the 3 July 1860 Federal census recorded him farther north in Oregon at Siuslaw, Lane County.

  I haven't been able to place William Cox at any specific locality between 1860 and 1870. Presumably he spent time in Josephine County, Lane County, or Douglas County, Oregon, perhaps all three. By 1870 he was at Gardiner City, Douglas County, Oregon, with a wife and three children. It appears he married ca 1863 to Mary _____, who was born ca 1846 in Illinois. Mary died between 1870 and 1873, presumably at Gardiner City, and William's sister Rebecca Cox came to live with him, presumably to take care of his children. William was working locally through 1873, but then I lose track of him until 1880, when he was living alone in Camas Valley, Douglas County, Oregon. He spent some time in the fall of 1888 in Lassen County, California, with his sister Catherine (Cox) (Ford) Gordon, but was back at Riddle, Douglas County, Oregon in January 1889. I have no further information on him until his death in Douglas County 8 August 1912. He died at Roseburg, Oregon, and is buried in the Soldiers Home Cemetery there.

DEARDORFF, William H. B. - Born 28 Mar 1828 Union Co., Indiana, the son of John Deardorff and Catherine Harshbarger. He returned to Iowa after the 1849 overland trip, and married Georgia A. Harl/Harty 20 March 1853 Des Moines Co., Iowa. They crossed the plains to Oregon in 1853 with a number of William's brothers and sisters, and settled in Douglas Co., Oregon. He died there 1901.

EIKENBARY, Samuel - Born 1803 Little Creek, Virginia, the son of Peter Eikenberry Jr. and Elizabeth Landis. He moved with his family to Preble Co., Ohio ca 1806, and married there 8 Dec 1825, Martha Crawford. They moved to Des Moines Co., Iowa about 1837. Samuel and his cousin Samuel Miller [see below] drove a herd of cattle to Oregon about 1845, and this knowledge of the overland trail helped get Eikenbary selected as Captain of the 1849 wagon train.
  Samuel stayed in California until about 1851, then returned to Iowa via Panama. About 1857, the Eikenbary family moved to Plattsmouth, Cass Co., Nebraska, where Samuel died in 1867.

FORD, Edward - He was born ca 1815 in Scotland; moved to Ontario, Canada with his family; then to eastern Ohio. He married Catherine Cox in Ohio 8 Dec 1842, then they moved with her family to Warrick County, Indiana, and then to Henry County, Iowa in 1846 or 1847. After reaching California with the "Ikenberry" group, Ford stayed there until late 1851, returned to Iowa briefly, then came west again with his family and some of Catherine's siblings in 1852.
  On arrival in California in the fall of 1852, Catherine and Edward settled in Mud Springs (now El Dorado), El Dorado County, where Edward had stayed on his previous trip to California. By January 1853, Catherine and the children had left Edward, and were living nearby with Catherine's brother Jordan Cox, while Edward moved into a Mud Springs hotel. Catherine had been working in a tavern before her break-up with Edward; afterward, she made some money washing, ironing and cooking for boarders. Catherine kept her youngest child Lucinda with her at Jordan's; her two older children Elizabeth ("Libby") and William were enrolled in a boarding school near Sacramento. Edward and Catherine did not reunite. As far as I can tell, they never divorced. Edward stayed in Mud Springs for some period of time, but by July 1860 was living in Natomas, Sacramento County, California, with James and Ann Thomas. In June 1870, he was in Gold Run, Placer County, living with a wife Emma (b. ca 1833 England) and a daughter Louisa (b. ca 1848 Iowa; I suspect this was Edward and Catherine's daughter, Lucinda Ford, who was born in Iowa in 1848). Edward was employed as a house carpenter. I can find no record of him after 1870.

HARDIN, Henry - He is mentioned in Asa McCully's letter (Account Number 1, below)

HOWARD - Mentioned in Asa McCully's letter (Account Number 1, below).

KELLEY/KELLY, J. - The only information we have on him is from the two accounts of David McCully (Accounts 7 and 8, below). McCully said that Kelley got tired of mining, and went to Sacramento to work as a blacksmith.

KESSLER, Peter - Born in Pennsylvania ca 1815, he came to Iowa about 1838. He married Barbara ___. Peter Kessler did not reach California; he and his partners John L. Starkey and William Patton had an altercation near Fort Laramie that ended with Kessler and Starkey being shot. They both survived, but Kessler was too seriously wounded to continue to California, and returned to Iowa. He was living in Des Moines Co., Iowa, in 1856.

McCULLY, Asa Alfred - Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, 31 Jan 1818, the son of John McCully and Mary Copp. The family moved to eastern Ohio in 1822, and to Henry Co., Iowa in 1844. He was married three times, the first two wives [Delilah Jones and Eliza Barnett] dying soon after their marriages. He married third Hannah Keziah Waters 5 Sept 1848 Henry Co., Iowa. She was the daughter of William Waters and Rachel Cox, and the sister of "Ikenberry Party" members John Morrison Waters and William Waters Jr.
  The 1849 trip was the first overland experience for Asa and his brother David. They both returned to Iowa from California in 1850, then in 1852 moved their families overland to Oregon. Asa returned once again to Iowa in 1853, and brought a second wagon train west to Oregon. He died in Yamhill Co., Oregon, 12 Aug 1886.

McCULLY, David - Asa McCully's older brother, born Sussexvale, New Brunswick, 15 Sep 1814. He married Mary Ann Scott 7 May 1840 at Hendrysburg, Belmont Co., Ohio. They moved with Asa and others of their family to Henry Co., Iowa in 1844. David McCully lived in Oregon from August 1852 until his death 6 Dec 1906 Salem, Marion Co., Oregon.

McDONNALL - Mentioned in Asa McCully's letter (Account Number 1, below)

MERCURE - He was the partner of Joseph Berrien, and with Berrien joined the "Ikenberry" wagon train in western Nevada on 17 July 1849, and traveled with them over the Sierra Nevada (Account Number 12). In Sacramento, California in November 1850, there was a Frances D. Mercure, age 40, from Canada, who might be this person.

MILLER, Samuel - He was a cousin of Samuel Eikenbary, and had gone with him to Oregon in 1845. In California, he and his brother William Miller quickly tired of mining, and opened a butcher shop in Sacramento. They remained permanently in California, and Samuel later owned a large ranch near Stockton.

MILLER, William - In addition to being in the meat market business in Sacramento, William Miller was a member of the newly-formed California State Senate.

MORROW - I know only that he was Charles Washburne's mining partner in California.

PATTON, William - I know only that he was a partner of Peter Kessler and John Starkey, and was involved in the gun-play near Scott's Bluff, Nebraska, that left Kessler and Starkey wounded. The report that he and Starkey were ejected from the wagon train (Account Number 9, below) is incorrect.

READ, H. M. - Mentioned by both Asa McCully (Account Number 1) and Amasa Smead (Account Number 11).

REDDING, David - Mentioned by Amasa Smead (Account Number 11)

SATER, Thomas - Mentioned by Asa McCully (Account Number 1)

SCOTT, William - Born in Jefferson Co., Ohio 13 Nov 1825, he was a brother-in-law of David McCully. Family tradition is that he was murdered either in California, or during the return trip to Iowa.

SMEAD, Amasa Daniel - "Pony" Smead was born in New York State ca 1827 of parents born in Vermont (Daniel and Naomi?). He was living in New London, Henry County, Iowa, in 1849. By his own account (Account Number 11), he mined in El Dorado County, California, through the winter of 1850-1851, then went to San Francisco where he worked on construction of a plank road. Over the next several years, he traveled to Trinidad and the Klamath River, Humboldt County, California; then to Yreka, Siskiyou County, California; Sterlingville and Jacksonville, Jackson County, Oregon; and on to Albany, Linn County, Oregon. In Augusts 1860 he was working on the farm of Hiram N. Smead at Albany. In 1861 he left Oregon for Orofino, Idaho Territory, and spent time there and in Florence, Idaho Territory (probably mining, as gold was discovered in the area about 1862). He settled in Warren, Idaho County, about 1867, and lived the rest of his life there. On 12 July 1876 he married a Native American, Molly, born in Idaho ca 1858. "Pony" died at Warren 18 January 1899.

SMEAD, Ithiel - "Pony" Smead's older brother was born in Vermont ca 1820, and was living in Henry County, Iowa, when the "Ikenberry" group left for California in 1849. He mined with his brother through the winter of 1850-1851. Perhaps he was with Amasa Smead in northern California and southern Oregon between 1851 and 1859. In any event, he was at Albany, Linn County, Oregon by 5 February 1859 when he married Sarah Ann Johnson. Sarah was born in Indiana ca 1844. They farmed in Linn County at least until 1880. I haven't been able to locate the family after that year.

STARKEY, Amos - Born 5 Jan 1828 Ohio, son of Benjamin Starkey and Sarah Milhoan. He was the brother of John L. Starkey [below]. He apparently did not return to Iowa after the "Ikenberry Train" reached California, but instead made his way to Oregon. He married in Oregon 3 July 1856 Mary Jane Durbin. He died in Salem, Marion Co., Oregon 19 Jan 1870.

STARKEY, John Lewis - A brother of Amos Starkey, born in Ohio about 1819. About 1842, he married Jane Elizabeth Scott, the sister of David McCully's wife, and they moved to Henry Co., Iowa in the mid-1840s. He reportedly had gone overland to Oregon with Samuel Eikenbary in 1845, but I haven't been able to confirm that. At Scott's Bluff, Nebraska, in 1849, he shot his partner Peter Kessler, and was himself shot by Kessler. Starkey went on to California, returned to Iowa with the McCully brothers in early 1850, then in 1851 went overland once again to Oregon. His wife and family followed in 1852 on "The McCully Train." John Starkey died in Salem, Marion Co., OR 3 March 1872.

STARKEY, Samuel - I assume Samuel was a relative of John and Amos Starkey, but he is not named in the will of Benjamin Starkey, the father of Amos and John. Perhaps he was a cousin. In the 1850 census, he was living with Ithiel Smead, Amasa Smead, and Guy Hanes on the Cosumnes River, El Dorado County, California. I have found no record of him before 1849 or after 1850.

STUMP - A man named Stump was identified by David McCully as a member of the company (Account Number 7). A possible identification is James Stump, born ca 1838 in Pennsylvania, and mining in Oregon Canyon, El Dorado County, California, at the time of the December 1850 census. Joseph Berrien (Account Number 12), on 12 July 1849 (a few days before he joined the "Ikenberry" group), met "an old Tenness River pilot by the name of Stump," possibly the right man.

WASHBURNE, Charles Wesley - Born 13 Sept 1824 Gallia Co., Ohio, son of Robert Washburn and Eva Roy. Details of his life are given in Accounts 2 and 3, below). Charles moved with his family to Illinois and then to Iowa. He returned from California to Iowa in the winter of 1850-51, and married Catherine Stansbury 23 Nov 1851. In 1853 they went overland to Oregon, settling near Junction City, Lane Co., Oregon. He died 12 January 1919 at Junction City.

WATERS, John Morrison - Born 21 Jan 1833 Geneva, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, son of William Waters and Rachel Cox, and a brother-in-law of Asa McCully. He moved with his family to Warrick Co., Indiana, about 1838, and then to Henry Co., Iowa about 1847. He did not return to Iowa from California, but spent several years mining and driving a wagon in the Sacramento Valley. In 1853 he went to Oregon, where he married Nancy Ellen Moore 19 Jan 1854 Linn Co., Oregon. He died 24 Dec 1903 in Brownsville, Linn Co., Oregon.

WATERS, William - Older brother of John Waters, born 22 May 1826 in Geneva, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. He died 5 Dec 1849 at Mud Springs, El Dorado Co., California, where he was mining with his brother and others of the "Ikenberry" party. I haven't been able to determine the cause of death.

WRIGHT, Joseph - Mentioned by Asa McCully (Account Number 1).



Following are names of people thought to have gone to California from the Des Moines-Henry counties area about the time of the "Ikenberry Train." We don't know for sure that any of them were part of this particular wagon train. If you know anything about any of them, drop me a note.

L B. AUSTIN, Lucius AUSTIN, F. O. BECKET, Harvey BLAIR, Milton BLAIR, __ BOND, J. C. BRANT, James CAUDEL, William CHICHESTER, James COCHRAN, C. DENMARK, Presley DUNLAP, Jacob ELLIOTT, ___ FAIR, Hiram FAIRBANKS, A. W. GORDON, William HENDRIN, Joshua HOLLAND, Charleston HUGHES, Thomas HUTCHINSON, N. M. IVES, D. M. KELSEY, Z. KINSELL, C. F. MATTHEWS, M. McCASLIN, Luther MEAD, George MICKELWAIT, James MICKELWAIT, John MICKELWAIT, Richard MICKELWAIT, Willoughby MICKELWAIT [NOTE: the MICKELWAITS were reportedly with "The Burlington Company," but I haven't been able to find out any more], Charles MILLER, J. MINER, Joseph MOFFETT, Levi MOFFETT, Ephraim MOORE, George PEARSON, ___ RANKIN, L. P. REED, David RUSSELL, Alonzo SARGENT, Nahum SARGENT, S. F. SEGVENS/SGEVENS [STEVENS?], ___ SIDELL and wife, Arthur SULLIVAN, Campbell SUTTLE, Josiah SUTTLE, William VALENTINE, Albert G. WALONG, David WHEATLEY, H. WILE Jr., N. W. WILE.


(1) Letter from Asa A. McCully, on his way to California, to his brother Samuel McCully in New London, Iowa. On 27 June 1849, it was entrusted to a party who had been to California and were headed east. It looks like the letter was written on three sides of two sheets of paper, then folded over (and probably sealed some way) so the address was on the back of the second sheet. The letter was addressed to Mr. Samuel McCully, New London, Henry County, Iowa. The place of origin is somewhat obscure but looks like it could be Ham's Fork in western Wyoming. It was sent off 27 June 1849, which was about the time the party would have been at Ham's Fork.
  On one side of the folded over "envelope," there is a brief note in Asa's handwriting: "the men that take this to the states have some of the California dust & some of it coined it looks nice we will reach there by the 20th of augus if nothing happens us."

  I have kept the original spelling and punctuation (or lack, thereof!), and have only added a few explanatory notes for clarification.

South fork platt May 16th 1849
Dear Brother
Haveing a little spare time which does not often occur I have undertakeing the ardous task of writing a few lines to you to inform you how we are prospering, on the long & tedious journey, which I have undertaken. It is not only tedious but it is laborish dirty, disagreeable traveling in consequence of dust there is many times that we are not able to see the formost wagons in our train and the drivers get in a short time perfectly black but not withstanding All this and a great many more things I might mention we have our health well and are in good spirits we have had no sickness worth naming since we left you
  I will now give you a slight description of the roads, but will pass over with out saying any thing about them to St. Joseph for if I was to try I could not begin to tell how bad they were but This I know it was a hard trip that far
 On Saturday the 21st of April we arrived at St Jo got all fixed out and was ready for a start in to the Indian country
  On the 22nd we crossed the Mo [Missouri River] & camped on the bank & waited till Tuesday morning for Sater & McDonnall's teams, and on that morning we left the river in all ten teams the first six mile was through timber level & sandy then we struck the bluff and it was a dull old show for feed & continued so all day, and that days travel was over a broken poor miserable country
About sundown we arrived on wolf river where Ikenbury was camped with nine wagons. Distance traveled 25 miles
  On the 25th we united together & formed a company Ikenbury was chosen captain and about twelve o clock all was ready for a start (Indians plenty wickeups in sight) we started crossed wolf and for 2 or three miles it continued rough after that the roads were level and good & still continue to keep so with the exceptions of a few sandy places which make the wagons run heavy; we arrived on platt [Platte River] on the evening of the 8th of may
  On the 9th we passed fort Kearney a new fort established at the head of grand island but I would call it sod burg for the buildings are all mad[e] of sod the country that we have passed so far has little or no timber it looks singular to see a stream pass through a prairie and not a tree nor a bush to be seen this is the way of platt in most of places & it is from a mile to 12 wide Some of the teams have failed considerable Joseph [Wright?] & Read had to leave their wagon on the side of the road & put their load in to Smeads wagon Since they joined teams they are getting along fine
Henry [Hardin's] team failed considerable but are now on the recruit Starkeys team is pretty (wigly?) it will be a tight rub for either of these teams to get through Kellys team Howards & ours are doing the best there has none of them give out yet so they had to be unyoked and will average as good as when we started but we are bound to stick together & help each other through if the rain that is now a coming stops we will cross platt this evening or to morrow & by the last of next week will be at fort Laramie which will be about half the distance from New London
  The indians have not yet troubled us any and we have passed the sack & pawnees the latter are considered the worst nation we have to pass we are now among the Sues and are verry cautious to gard against a surprise we have a gard of sixteen men standing every night
  Since we crossed the Mo river it has snowed twice on the nigh(t) of the tenth of May we had a very hard storm accompanied with hail at ten o clock next day there was buckets full of it gathered for water
  I must now close give my respects to all tell Keziah that I am getting to be a great cook if I could only know how the _____ were getting along I would be perfectly satisfied I was in hopes that I would hear that ham [his brother, William Hamilton McCully] was there before i left St Joseph
A McCully


Horse Creek May 26th/49

Not having an opertunity of sending this to you till now I thought I would rit a few lines more we are still well and getting along well but have been detained some on account of rain & hail for the past ten days there has been rain many days On the 22nd we had a hail storm and there was hail fell that I saw as large as a goose egg but it was soft and did no trouble us much  on the 24th the sun shined beautifully & warm at 12 o clk in less than one hour in fact it came up so quick that some were not able to get there cattle loosed from the wagens & could not manage them so their wagens were broken the hail covered the ground in half an hour one inch deep & the next day the blankets were covered with snow
  Today about one o clock there was a sad affair in our camp Peter Kesler had stoped with some traders in the evening & got some liquer as soon as he came up to his wagen he jumped of his horse with a revolver in his hand went in to this waggen & got his rifle came out with it cocked run up to the cattle & drove them out of the road ordered his partners to leave  his partners were John Starkey and William patton There were five shots before you could say Jack Robison patton was not hurt Starkey was shot in the thigh by Keslers rifle but not dangerous Kesler was shot in the breast & in the back thought to be mortal I think he cant live 24 hours if he don't die tonight we will start with him in the morning and leave him at ft Laramie the company thinks that Starkey & patton was justifiable
Give my respects to all in particular to J. H Davis read the latter part of this to Davis. /s/ A McCully

[NOTE: I first received this 1849 Asa A. McCully letter from William C. Howard, who had prepared a typed "translation" from a photocopy of the original letter. The owner of the letter, Doug Paris of Ames, Iowa, then provided me with a photocopy of the original. He explained that the letter had been found inserted in a copy of an 1832 "Biblical and Theological Dictionary" that had been in the possession of his grandmother, Belva Hamilton Hayes. None of the family names mentioned by Doug Paris appear in the lineages of either Asa McCully or the intended recipient of the letter, Asa's brother Samuel McCully. It is possible that the letter was never delivered to Samuel McCully, but got stuck in the bible dictionary and was forgotten.]

(2) FROM: J. Gaston (1912), The Centennial History of Oregon, 1811-1912 (Chicago, IL: J. S. Clarke, Publisher). Vol. 2, pp.400-405 Charles Wesley WASHBURNE

  " 1849 when twenty-five years of age, [Charles Wesley WASHBURNE] joined a large company en route for the gold fields of California. They selected for captain one Ikenberry, who had crossed the plains to Oregon in 1847. They passed over the Missouri river at St. Joseph and on reaching Blue river thought they saw buffaloes, but on nearer approach these proved to be Indians who ambushed the company. The white men scattered, agreeing to protect themselves as best as they could and capture as many Indians as possible. As the red men approached they talked to them and told them they were a large company. The Indians seemed peaceful yet camped that night a short distance away with the intention of killing the party, but fearing that there was too big a company they did not risk an attack. While hunting near Chimney Rock Mr. Washburne killed an antelope and, cutting out the hams, threw them over his shoulder and started back to camp. The morning being warm he left behind his coat but ere he reached camp a terrific hailstorm came on, pelting him unmercifully. At length he laid aside his gun and meat and started on a run for camp. Arriving there he found that the storm had caused the teams to stampede and that the axle of Captain Ikenberry's wagon had been broken, which caused the party to lay by until a man passed carrying an extra axle which was purchased. The oxen were recovered two or three miles away and some of the party also went back for the antelope meat on which they all feasted.
  "On one occasion the Ikenberry party was passed by a company with horses and fine equipments and big wagon beds, being supplied with stoves. Their supplies had been shipped thus far by boat. The company called 'good-by' and laughed as they passed the Ikenberry party who, however, said that they would see them again. In a couple of weeks they overtook the company who had cut their wagon beds down and lightened their loads. It was now the turn of the Ikenberry party to call out 'good-by' and ride on. For the second time they were passed by the other company and then once more it was their turn to ride on in advance of them. By that time they had abandoned their wagons, previously cut down to two wheels, and packed their horses. On this occasion some of the company joined the Ikenberry party, who found them whole-souled, honorable men and to one of them Mr. Washburne sold a horse on time, receiving the pay after they arrived in California. The party proceeded over the trail of the Mormons and on reaching the Sierra Nevada mountains a number of the young fellows thought they would climb to the highest peak and look over into the Sacramento valley, but when they had scaled the heights they saw mountain stretching on mountain as far as the eye could reach. After building a fire they made tea, ate their luncheon and ran all the way down hill to camp. They then proceeded over the long mountain range, the way being at once so difficult and steep that they had to lighten their loads. At length they reached Hangtown and afterwards Sutter's mill, whence Mr. Washburne and his partner, Mr. Morrow proceeded to Sacramento where they sold their oxen and wagons. From Coloma they proceeded to the middle fork of the American river and in the middle of the stream began digging until their heads were almost under water and they had to give up.
  "Mr. Washburne next joined some old acquaintances and began mining in Humboldt canyon in the north fork of the American river where they found a pot hole, but after spending thousands of dollars did not meet with success. The Indians killed their pack horses while wintering on Canyon creek and prices were so high that sugar, flour, coffee and hay were sold for one dollar per pound. They next went to Grizzly canyon and in the fall of 1850 took a steamer from Sacramento to San Francisco from which point they proceeded by a sailing vessel toward Panama. One of the interesting incidents on that trip was that a whale followed them staying close to the vessel. Their progress was so slow that they changed their plans, continuing by the Nicaraguan route making the overland trip in a stage, which was a two-wheeled affair the wheels being cut from logs with holes bored in the axles...Washburne became ill with a fever...the sea voyage, however, restoring his health." They started by steamboat up the Mississippi, but the ice jams were too bad, so they bought a team and wagon, and went overland back to Mount Pleasant, IA.

(3) FROM: H. K. Hines (1893), Illustrated History of the State of Oregon (Chicago, IL: Lewis Publishing Company). Pp.535-536, Charles W. WASHBURNE
  Charles W. WASHBURNE went to CA 1849 with a party of 70 people, arriving in Coloma, CA, in Oct 1849; stayed in CA about 15 months (around Coloma and Georgetown), then sailed out of San Francisco, crossed Panama, and returned home to IA.

(4) FROM: W. H. Byars (1906), Reminiscences of a pioneer: early incidents in life of David McCully in the old Iowa home recalled (a letter to the editor in a so-far undetermined Oregon newspaper, 7 Dec 1906, occasioned by the death of David McCully).
  "In early days, Mr. [David] McCully and his brother lived at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, some fifteen miles west of Burlington, near where I was born.
  "The McCullys crossed the plains to California in '49 in Capt. Ikenberry's company. I had an uncle, William Deardorff, who was also of the party and I know that he always held the McCully boys, as he called them, in the highest respect. I only know of one other of that pioneer company yet alive - or was a short time ago - I refer to Mr. Washburn, the original proprietor of Junction City, Oregon."

(5) FROM: Anonymous (1903), Portrait and Biographical Record of Willamette Valley, Oregon. (Chicago, IL: Chapman Publishing Company). P. 1232, biographical sketch of John M. WATERS
  In 1849 John WATERS, William Waters, and Edward Ford joined a 22-wagon party to CA. They had a wagon and ox-team. John broke his leg early in the trip. They were in on the discovery of "the big bar on the Consmers [Cosumnes] River". He drove a team between Sacramento and Hangtown for two months while his leg was healing; built the first cabin at Mud Springs in the fall of 1849. His brother William died at Mud Springs. John bought a team of horses, and made a living hauling in the Redding mining area. He went to San Francisco, then made his way to Portland by steamer in the winter of 1853.

(6)FROM: N. L. Williamson, compiler (1981), E. E. Stanard scrap books (Albany, OR: State Savings and Loan Association).Volume 1, p. 18 - John M. WATERS
  In 1849, John WATERS went with Mr. IKENBERRY's company to CA, leaving 13 Apr 1849. Their route took them up the Platte, past Forts Laramie and Hall, then via Humboldt Sink and the Carson River to "Hangtown" [Placerville,CA], arriving 7 Aug 1849. He went from there to Mud Springs [El Dorado], built the first house/cabin in that vicinity, and lived there through the winter of 1849-50.
While at Mud Springs, Indians ran off about 35 head of horses belonging to the miners, including those of John Waters and his partners. About 20 miners went after the horses, traded gunfire with them killing at least 3 Indians, and burning their village. They got all the horses back.
After he had built his cabin at Mud Springs in 1849, he took a wagon into Sacramento and purchased a load of flour, pickled pork, beans, dried fruit, etc. "One day two men came into his cabin to buy some flour offering him a dollar a pound for same. He did not wish to sell at any price fearing he might run out himself. As the mud was simply awful and the roads impassable for teams between there and Sacramento. These men said he had more supplies than any one man should have, so they just took possession of one bbl of flour, paying him 200 dollars, and he got along all right without the flour. He says he handled many a thousand bbls of flour since then and made less money on them."
  In the spring of 1850, he took two horses and went to the Carson River to meet his brother Captain A. W. Waters, who was coming from IA. They returned safely to Mud Springs. In the fall of 1850, he went to the site of present-day Colusa, CA, and built one of the first houses in the vicinity (maybe the first). In 1852 he took the steamer OREGON north, arriving in Portland, OR, 1 Jan 1853. He went up the Willamette Valley on foot to Harrisburg, where his brother-in-law A.A.McCully was living. It was a major flood period, and the Willamette River above and below the falls at Oregon City was almost level. He saw a hotel floating down the river.

(7) FROM: Anonymous (1906), Some reminiscences of David McCully. (Oregonian [Portland, Oregon], 16 December 1906). Details of 1849 California trip
-Left from New London, IA, with about 65 men and 23 ox teams.
-Crossed the Missouri River at St. Joseph 20 Apr 1849.
-At Fort Laramie, a man lost all his money ($800), and was so frustrated that he tried to take his wagon to return home. The ensuing fracas with his two partners left him with a bullet in his chest. He recovered.
-The party split about two-thirds of the way across the plains, the New London group wanting to move faster. They reached San Francisco with no problems except loss of one head of cattle to Indians. Those that came later lost a lot of stock to Indians and had other troubles.
-A man called "Stump" wouldn't stand watch, so they wouldn't let him camp with the main train. He had all but two of his oxen stolen by Indians, but he converted his wagon to a cart and got to CA just fine with the 2 oxen.
-They discovered a rich gold strike on the Cosumnes River 7 Aug 1849. David and Asa also tried Fremont's old diggings at Mariposa, but Cosumnes was much richer.
-David and Asa had come well prepared from Iowa, and had surpluses to sell to the miners. When they ran out, they went to Sacramento and bought two wagonloads of flour at $8/100 lbs, sold it at $10/50 lbs; went back and bought two more loads at $20/100 lbs, sold it at $25/50 lb. Socks bought in IA for 25 cents sold for $2 pair, and a used cookstove bought in IA for $20 brought $50 in CA. They sold their oxen for $150/pr and their wagons for $150 each.
-Their partner [J.?] Kelley got tired of the mines, went to Sacramento to pursue blacksmithing.
-First Cosumnes claim each person made $8/day for the first three days, then $16/day for the next week.
-Two people who had been mining with David and Asa [John and William Waters?] for half-interests made another strike that turned out to be very rich [Big Bar?] - invited the McCullys to come in with them. They made $1 out of the very first pan of dirt, 10 1/2 oz. in 3 hrs work - later sold in New Orleans for $17.25/oz., or $180 for 3 hrs work. They averaged about $50/day while they were there. The original two parties sold out to them and moved on, but the really rich strike had played out.
-In 3 months, David and Asa each made $5000.
-About 1 Nov 1849, 7 people started back for New London via Panama - 51 days from San Francisco to Panama on a sailing ship (cost $125), then steamer to New Orleans; sold their gold dust; up the Mississippi to St. Louis, then by stage to Burlington, IA arriving Feb 1850; took 3 1/2 months to get home, cost $220.
-People mentioned as being on the trip: David McCully, Asa McCully, J. L. Starkey, Amos Starkey, William Deardorff (living in Umpqua Valley in 1906), Mr. Kelley, "Stump", and Mr. Ikenberg (captain of the train).

(8) FROM: D. McCully (1895), Biographical Sketch of the Lives of David and Mary Ann McCully (Salem, OR: manuscript). Details of 1849 trip to California
-Left New London, IA, in March
-Arrived CA 7 Aug 1849
-Mined mainly on the Cosumnes River; they were the first party to mine Big Bar on the San Andreas River.
-"each person" (not clear who was included in this statement) made $5000 in gold.
-remained in CA until 20 Nov 1849
-took sailing ship EDWARD EVERETT to Panama, arriving in January 1850 at Chagres; took steamer ALABAMA to New Orleans, arriving Feb 1850.
-reached New London, IA, late Feb 1850 (David McCully, Asa McCully, and J. L. Starkey)
People noted as being on the trip were David McCully, Asa McCully, John Starkey, William Waters, J. Kelly, Amos Starkey, and Sam Starkey.

(9) FROM: L. J. Rasmussen (1994), California Wagon Train Lists, April 5, 1849 to October 20, 1852. Volume 1 (Colma, CA: San Francisco Historic Records). Includes the following two citations related to this party.
--New York Daily Tribune, 1 May 1849, a list of people recently departed from Burlington, IA, for California includes D. REDDING, WILLIAM W. SCOTT, and SAMUEL EIKENBURY.
--New York Daily Tribune, 30 Jul 1849: "Peter Kessler returns from a projected trip to California. Kessler had been shot through the lungs by a John Starkey who with a William Patton tried to deprive him of his property. Kessler succeeded in wounding Starkey and the two culprits were expelled from the overland company. Kessler returned to civilization in a Mormon wagon. He was going to California as member of Eickenberry's Company which left Fort Laramie on May 26, 1849."

(10) FROM: Burlington Hawk-eye (Burlington, Iowa), Volume 11, Number 9, 19 July 1849:
LATE FROM THE PLAINS. Mr. Peter Kessler, of Augusta, in this county, who left with the other emigrants in the spring for California, returned home during last week.... Mr. K. left Fort Laramie on the 7th June. The emigrants were getting along very smoothly, with little or no sickness... The entire emigration he estimates at 32,000. Eikenberry's company (of which K. was a member.) left Fort Laramie on the 26th of May... Returning, Mr. K. met several companies of dragoons, destined for the different military stations along the route; also a company of Mormons for Salt Lake, with twenty-two wagons....
  Mr. Kessler was hauled down in a wagon from Fort Laramie by a Mormon, and for riding twenty-two days had to pay $75. He brought a number of letters with him to citizens of this place, all of which he deposited in the Post Office. [Story originally in Iowa State Gazette]

(11) FROM: Morning Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 20 May 1889 - Letter to the Editor:
Warrens, Idaho County, I. T., May 14.
The Editor of the Oregonian.
I understand you wish to hear from all the forty-niners who do not belong to any of the pioneer associations, and as I am one, I will try and let you know how and when I came to California. I left the town of New London, Iowa, on the 27th of March, 1849, in company with an older brother, now living in Oregon, David and Asa McCulley, Wm. and John Waters, H. M. Read, David [Rea?]ding, Timothy Barton, old man Starkey, Amos and Sam Starkey, Kessler, Paton, Eikenbery, Angel and several others whom I have forgotten.
We all had ox teams. We crossed the Missouri river at St. Joe, went up the South Platte opposite Ash hollow; then crossed to the North Platte and went past Scott's Bluffs, where old man Starkey, Kessler and Paton had a shooting scrape. Starkey was shot in the groin and Kessley through the [___]. They both recovered. We passed Fort Laramie, where we left Kessler; thence to Fort Hall, and down Humboldt to the sink; across the desert to Carson; then over the Sierra Nevadas to Old Weavertown -- the first gold mines we saw -- then down to the Shingle springs, where we left the road, and went to the Moccasin river, where we did our first mining with rockers hollowed out of round logs.
When the rainy season set in seven of us went to the Shingle springs and built the first house there, where we wintered, and had considerable sickness. William Waters died. His was the first grave at that place. In the spring we scattered out, and I have seen none of them since. In the fall of '50 I went to San Francisco and worked on the [pl?]ank road from there in the Mission in March 1851. I started for Gold beach on the steamer Eudora, and was out six days. The passengers mutinied, and ran her back to Frisco. I then went to Trinidad on a small schooner; and then to Klamath river; then to Yreka, Sterlingville, Jacksonville, and on to Linn county, Oregon. In 1861 I left Oregon for Oro Fino, Idaho.
A. D. Smead

[NOTE: Denys Reinertsen, a descendant of Amasa Daniel "Pony" SMEAD, sent me this article in February 2008. In subsequent correspondence, Denys noted that Amasa Smead and his brother Ithiel Smead were at Cosumnes River, El Dorado Co., California, for the 1850 census, enumerated with Samuel Starkey and Guy Hanes.]

(12) Hinckley, T., and C. Hinckley. 1960. Overland from St. Louis to the California gold field in 1849: the diary of Joseph Waring Berrien. Indiana Magazine of History 56(4):273-352.
  NOTE: Joseph W. Berrien had come from St. Joseph, Missouri, with the wagon train captained by "Colonel Jarrot." He stayed with them until 1 July 1849, then joined another (unnamed in the journal) group to the Humboldt Sink. There, he joined with the "Ikenberry" group, and stayed with them over the Sierra Nevada to California.

  "Tuesday 17 July - According to my previous intentions I started before day to overtake the train with which I had been journeying but on arriving at their camp I found they had been gone an hour and as my mule continued ill I determined to remain where I was until the remainder of the company under Captain Eikenbury came up. I spent the day in rearranging my load and throwing out all I could possibly do without. The remainder of the oxtrain arrived this day and I determined to accompany them in the morning. Weathe[r] very warm and grass very scarce withering and drying up every day. The times are rather gloomy for the emigrants and I felt accordingly anxious and sorrowfull.

  Wednesday 18 July - Started before the train and drove 14 miles. My sick mule gave out before I reach camp, which as usual was destitute of grass, and was strewn with the remains of waggons and their loading. I shifted my camp to Captain Eikenbury's in the afternoon for better grass. Negotiated for the purchase of a horse to strangthen my team and think I shall probably get him. Weather excessively hot"

(13) Letts, J. M. (1852). California Illustrated, including a description of the Panama and Nicaragua routes. New York, New York: William Holdredge, Publisher.
 On the return trip to Iowa from California in 1850, David and Asa McCully and John L. Starkey were on a ship from San Francisco to Panama on which conditions were deemed by some of the passengers to be intolerable.

"6th. Calm, heat insupportable, and we are short of provisions. I have a warm conversation with the captain, and draw up a protest, have it signed by the passengers, designing to lay it before the consul at Panama.

"PROTEST. We the undersigned, passengers on board the ship Edward Everett, Capt. Henry Smith, do hereby most solemnly aver that we were induced to take passage on said ship by representations made by Capt. Smith and his agents, which representations were, that he had on board an extra supply of ship-stores, and that extra provisions had been made for the comfort of passengers. For this extra provision an extra charge of $100 in the first, and $25 in the second cabin, had been made, above that of any vessel sailing from the same port for the same destination, during the present season.

  "The above-named Capt. Smith, through public advertisements and otherwise, called the attention of invalids particularly, to the superior arrangements made for their comfort, than a physician would be in attendance, &c.

  "Immediately upon getting under weigh we learned, to our sorrow, that we had been grossly deceived; that the above representations were false; provisions, many of them, were damaged, and we were credibly informed were purchased as such in San Francisco. Of some of the articles that are indispensable at sea, we were short, and immediately put upon allowance.

  "Some of the passengers had made arrangements to work their passage but upon first putting to sea were unable to do duty. The Captain called for them in person, ordering them from their berths and on duty, threatening in case of non-compliance, to put them ashore on the first island. Mr. Wm. B. Lewis, of Elmira, N.Y., who was working his passage as under-s[?] was compelled to do duty when unable, and finally compelled to take to his berth, from which he never arose. Just previous to his death he made a wish to see the Captain, and said, 'If I die my blood is upon the Captain's head.'

  "The invalids, being compelled to live on the coarse fare of the {?] suffered for want of nourishing food, of which the ship was entirely devoid, there not being a particle of dried fruit, preserved meat, wines, or any of the articles thought indispensably necessary on ship-board.

  "The physician, (whose father and Captain Smith were the owners of the ship) paid no attention to the sick than dealing out medicines, which they did only at the most exorbitant charges. In some instances, passengers having been sick for days without nourishment, were obliged to buy from the Captain at exorbitant prices, and cook with their own hands to sustain life.

  "There have been five deaths on board, during the voyage. Wm. F. Capton of Palmyra, N.Y., we do most solemnly believe died for want of nourishment; and in the case of Wm. B. Lewis, we believe he was led to a premature death, by treatment received at the hands of the Captain together with the want of proper nourishment after his prostration.

  "Aside from the above unheard-of conduct, Capt. Smith went to sea without a single life or quarter-boat, consequently entirely unprepared to ___ in case of accident, showing a recklessness of human life in the highest degree reprehensible, which should not be passed over in silence.

  "We regret exceedingly that we are obliged to make the above claims against an American Captain, a class of men so justly celebrated for their philanthropy and kindness; but the circumstances under which we are living leave no alternative; and we hereby most respectfully request the Consul at Panama will immediately enforce the law in this case, believing that a few public examples will put an end to the abuse.

  "At SEA, January 6th, 1850, lat. 6N, lon 92W, having sailed from San Francisco, 28 November 1849." (Signed)

Robt. N. TATE, First Mate of Ship Edward Everett; J. M. LETTS, N.Y.; N. N. RAPELYE, N.Y.; J. R. THORNE, N.Y.; J.H.R. FAIRCHILD, N.Y; W. COOK, Missouri; Wm. TANNER, Missouri; J. SCORBOUGH, Missouri; J. H. HESS, Missouri; J. J. STARKY [J. L. STARKEY], Iowa; R. H. CALDWELL ___; J. K. TURK ___; D. McCULLY, Iowa.

(14) Anonymous (1849). Wagon trains to California 1849. California emigrants from Burlington. "Hawk-eye" (Burlington, Iowa) 5 April 1849.
  "Our city and county will have a pretty fair representation in the crowd that is now on its way to California. The wagons that have already started during the past few days seem to have contained everything necessary for such a journey. Almost all classes are represented. Mechanics take their tools along, prepared to work at their business if they should need it--as they probably will -- more profitable than digging. The four wagons of Mssrs Peasley & Brooks, which started on Monday last, make quite a show. No expense has been spared in giving this company a complete out-fit. Other wagons, well appointed have been starting ever since. They average about three men to a wagon. We have been at some pains to obtain the names of those who have gone or will go from this vicinity. More than half have already started. There will probably be about one hundred from this county. the following are all the names we could obtain:--

In Peasley & Brooks wagon:


The following are to start on Monday next with mule teams: J.S. DAVID, Oliver COTTLE, Shannon KNOX, John BUTTLES, Wm. RITCHEY, F. DANIELS, Andrew STURGIS and Jacob LEFFLER.

(15) Anonymous (1889). Portrait and biographical album of Otoe and Cass counties, Nebraska. Chicago, Illinois: Chapman Brothers.
  Pp.817-819, William Eikenbary, son of Samuel Eikenbary: Samuel Eikenbary was born in Virginia, moved with his parents to Indiana, and married Martha Crawford in Union Co., Indiana [her parents were early settlers of Union Co., and she was born there]. The first five of Samuel and Martha's children were born in Union Co., Indiana, then in 1837 they moved to Des Moines Co., Iowa, where they lived on a farm eleven miles west of Burlington, and where their remaining four children were born. They moved to Plattsmouth, Nebraska, in the fall of 1856. Samuel died there in 1869, age 66; Martha died there in 1871, age 65. Religiously, they were Dunkards until moving to Nebraska, where they affiliated with the Christian Church.
[NOTE: these dates differ considerably from those given in other accounts, but the move to Plattsmouth fits with the 1856 Iowa census, when they were still in Des Moines Co.]

(16) Henton, G. E. (1960). My Henton Lineage. Portland, OR, Metropolitan Press.
  Samuel Eikenbary and Martha Crawford Eikenbary resided on their farm near Danville, Iowa, from about 1825 to about 1852; all their children were born on this farm. Migration over the Oregon Trail became very heavy in 1845 and that spring Samuel, in company with his cousins Samuel and William Miller, gathered a large herd of cattle and drove them to Portland, Oregon, over the trail, selling the stock and returning to his farm northwest of Burlington, Iowa. [NOTE: elsewhere, it says this trip took place in 1848 not 1845, but 1845 seems correct since he went to CA in 1849.]

Gold was discovered in California in late 1848 and the Gold Rush began early in 1849. Having previously visited the Pacific Coast, Samuel Eikenbary, William and Samuel Miller (cousins) went to Independence, Missouri, and joined a large wagon train then being organized. Samuel Eikenbary was certainly a man of exceptional ability and was well known for his integrity and excellent character. Having previously been over the Oregon Trail, he was elected captain of this wagon train and safely conducted it to California. They went via the Oregon Trail to Fort Hall (then located near what is now Pocatello) then turned southwest through (now Ogden) Utah and into Nevada, following the Humboldt River west to its termination and through that which is now Carson City, over the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Donner Pass to Placerville, California (then called Hangtown) and to Sacramento. Samuel placer mined and prospected in California about two years, covering most of northern California in the Sierra and Coast Range Mountains; also through the Siskiyou Mountains in Southern Oregon in the vicinity of Jacksonville.

  The Miller boys tired of prospecting and opened a butcher shop in Sacramento. Samuel and William Miller remained permanently in California. William was elected a state senator when California was admitted to the Union and Samuel owned and resided on a large ranch near Stockton. The writer, Dr. George E. Henton, was a medical student in the San Joaquin County Hospital at Stockton, during the years 1896-1898 under Dr. Samuel E. Latta (also a descendant of Samuel and Martha Crawford Eikenbary) and Samuel Miller frequently came to the hospital to consult Dr. Latta. He was then aged about 76 or 77 years; he often spoke of grandfather Samuel Eikenbary, their experiences on the Overland Trail and gold prospecting in California during 1849 and 1850.

  When the Miller boys gave up prospecting for the meat business, Samuel Eikenbary teamed up with a German; his given name was Pete but there is no record of his sir name; he was also a member of the Dunkard religious faith. After two or three years of gold prospecting, Samuel decided to return home to his family in Iowa. Travel east from the gold fields was very uncertain, there being no wagon trains eastward bound. The only means of transportation was via horse, wagon, walking alone or in company with one or more strangers. Also Indians might be hostile. Samuel Eikenbary had accumulated about $20,000 in gold dust and decided to ship on one of the many sailing vessels returning to New Orleans, New York, or Boston around Cape Horn. However, Samuel landed on the Pacific Coast of Panama and walked across the Isthmus to the Atlantic Coast. Just where Samuel landed is not known but the narrowest point of the Isthmus of Panama is about fifty miles, airline and probably, at that period at least one hundred miles of pedestrian travel. Much of the route was necessarily through swamps and jungles but still less time consuming and hazardous than via the Overland Route from San Francisco to Burlington, Iowa -- over 2500 miles of mountains, deserts, prairies, and Indians, requiring an average of from four to five months. On the Atlantic Coast of Panama he boarded a ship for New Orleans and from there he went on a Mississippi River passenger boat to Burlington, Iowa, and home.

  Soon after Samuel's return, he and Martha sold their farm at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and migrated to Plattsmouth, Nebraska, probably about the year 1852... Samuel promptly became highly esteemed by his fellow citizens and he was elected the Delegate from southeastern Nebraska to the First Territorial Assembly of Nebraska held in Omaha in 1854; this assembly completed the Organic Act and Nebraska became a Territory at once and was admitted to the Union as a state in 1867."

  [NOTE: Some of these dates do not mesh with other accounts. For example, Samuel and his family were in Des Moines Co., Iowa, for the 1856 census, so how could he be a Nebraska delegate in 1854?]

(17) Lockley, F. (1993). Conversations with pioneer women. Eugene, Oregon: Rainy Day Press.
  Pp.126-130, 1926 interviews with Susan Yeomans Angell. She was born Susan Piney [Pinny] Yeomans 12 May 1832 at Rome, NY, dau of Prentiss Yeomans (born CT) and Margaret McKinney (b. CT). She was the youngest of 10 children. Her father was a carpenter. When she was 6 years old [ca.1816] the family moved by covered wagon from New York to near Lowell, IA, where her father took up farming.

  Susan married Thomas ANGELL of Lowell, IA, when she was 15 years old [ca. 1847]. Thomas had been born in New York, had been a school teacher, but was running a grist mill and a store in Lowell when they got married.

  "When word came of the discovery of gold in California he [Thomas Angell] said he thought a trip across the plains to the gold fields might help his asthma, so he bought a wagon and an ox team and started across the plains in the spring of 1849. He didn't find mining exactly to his liking, nor particularly profitable, so he took contracts to build cabins at Sacramento. In 1850 he came from San Francisco around the Horn to New York by sailing vessel and then home to Iowa. After coming home he seemed restless and discontented. He thought Iowa was too quiet, and there was too little doing, so, during the winter of 1851, he made preparations to cross the plains again to the Pacific coast."

  Pp.131-134, 1923 interview with Estelle McCully Gilbert: Participants in the 1849 trip to California: David McCully, Asa McCully, John Starkey, and William Scott. William Scott reputedly was murdered for his money while cross the Isthmus of Panama on his way home.


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