Sources of information on overland travelers include journals written during the trip, letters written back home describing the trip, and later life reminiscences of the trip. Some of these have been published; many more are in manuscript form at various libraries and museums. Sometimes, you may be lucky enough to find something actually written by one of your ancestors; sometimes, you'll find them mentioned in someone else's writing.
Trail writings are found in many collections. "Platte River Road Narratives" by Merrill J. Mattes [University of Illinois Press, 1988] includes brief descriptions of journals and reminiscences found around the country, including 239 items for 1852. Mattes' abstracts often include the place a wagon train originated and the dates of travel. Below, I have abstracted some of the information from an especially valuable publication for trail info seekers:
K. White and M-C. Cuthill (1993), Overland Passages: A Guide to the Overland Documents in the Oregon Historical Society. Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press. 125 pages.
What is especially useful about this publication is that there is an every-name index of people mentioned in the manuscripts reviewed. Not every name included is of an Oregon Trail traveler - the compilers made no effort to separately categorize names of fellow travelers, people met on the way, people back home, etc. - and, of course, seldom is everyone on a given wagon train mentioned by name, Nevertheless, here are more clues to who came when and with who.
Below, I've given a brief summary of each of the Oregon Historical Society manuscripts that cover the year 1852. Included are: the author of the manuscript; the OHS manuscript number [note that several contributions may be included under the same manuscript number]; a title and/or a brief description of what the manuscript includes; departure and arrival dates and places, if given; and a list of the people mentioned in the manuscript. I have included an alphabetical index to all the surnames on this page, and also my webpage on arrival dates from donation land claims.
1. ADAMS, Cecelia Emily McMillen, and Parthenia BLANK - Oregon
Historical Society Mss #1508 - 49 page handwritten diary.
Departed from Missouri River near Council Bluffs 18 May 1852; arrived Portland, OR, 24 Oct 1852.
ADAMS, Cecelia Emily McMillen. HEWELL. HERER, D. HYLAND. McMILLEN. MILLER. MORRIS, Mary; M. C. OLNEY. RAYMOND. STOEL. STOWELL. TORANCE. VERDANT, Henry.
2. AKIN, James Jr. - OHS mss. #1508 - 47 page handwritten diary.
Departed Salem, IA, 15 Apr 1852; arrived Cascades of the Columbia River, OR, 15 Oct 1852.
AKIN, Caroline; Elizabeth; Fannie; Franklin; James; John; Mary Ann; Nancy. BEACH, C. C. BUSH, Mary. COLTER, W. A. GILLIAM, Abe. HANSON, Nancy. HOGES, Caroline. INGRAM, Eliza; Elizabeth; Elva; Henry; James; Lean; Mitchell; Paulina; Rachael; Rettes Ann; Sarah. LOWELL, Mary. MACE, Joseph. NEWINGHAM, Absalom. NICHOLSON, James. RHODES, Moses. RICHEY, Alice; Angeline; Edgar; Eliza Ann; Gustaves; James; John; Josie; Louisa; Miranda Jane; Rosey; Stuart. ROWE, Frances. STEWART, John.
3. BOND, Jesse W. - OHS mss. #1508 - 4 page letter
Departed Council Bluff, MO, 22 May 1852; arrived Salt Lake City, UT, 4 July 1852.
BOND, Elm; Geore, Jesse W.; Sam; Sarah. JARRED, Joseph. JONES, Johnson. PERKINS, John. SIMMONS, Dave; Jane.
4. BOZARTH, Mrs. L. A. - OHS mss. #1508 - 18 pages of reminiscences
Departed Council Bluff, IA (no date given); arrived at The Dalles, OR, in October 1852.
BOZARTH, Mrs. L. A. GILES, Peter. MARTIN, Hutson.
5. BROWN, John - OHS mss #1050 - 3 page typescript.
Departed Ray County, MO, 27 April 1852.
BROWN, John; Ross. HOSKINS. MABERY. ROSE. WATSON. WILLIAMS.
6. CAPLES, Margaret Kuhn Staley - OHS mss. #1508 - 11 page
Departed Sidney, IA, 15 May 1852; arrived St. Helens, OR, October 1852.
BYALL, Sam. CAPLES, Charles; Frank; Hal; Henry Laffer; Hezahiah; Johannah; Joseph; Margaret Kuhl Staley; Robert Francis. DORSE, George. EATON, Isaac. HOLLIDAY, Ben. LAFFER, Philip; Polly. McCURDY. McLAUGHLIN. NEER, Galeb; Henry; Katie; Philip. RANCK, William. SMITH, Hiram. STALEY, Margaret Kuhn. STEWART, Dave. TUBBS, Ike. WILLIAMS, Isaac.
7. CONYERS, Enoch - OHS mss #1508 - 6 pages of diary excerpts
Departed Quincy, IL 20 Apr 1852; arrived Oregon City, OR, October 1852.
BURNS, W. P. CONYERS, Enoch W. DOYLE, R. L. YANTIS, Rev. J.
8. COOPER, J. C. - OHS mss. #1508 - 34 page diary (typescript)
Departed St. Joseph, MO, April 1852; arrived Placerville, CA, 13 Aug 1852.
BRIDGER, Jim. CLAY, Henry. COOPER, J. C. DIER. EMFREE. GREEN, Mary. HALL, Calvin. HAVEN, Cox; Ezra. HENDERSON, Daniel B. HOLMES. HOWELL, Jackson. JAMIESON, May. MACY, C. P. MARKHAM. NEWTON, John; Allen. PURL. SMITH, Rhoda. THURN, Alpheus. WARNER. WATSON. YOUNG, Brigham.
9. CORNELL, William - OHS mss #290 - 54 pages journal (handwritten
Departed from Ohio for St. Joseph, MO, 4 May 1852; arrived Umatilla, OR, 29 Sept 1852.
BRUNTON. CASTON. CORNELL, William. DAVIS, Drury. DENNIS. NICHOLS. ORCHARD.
10. DAVIS, Alvah I. - OHS mss. #1509 - Handwritten diary.
Departed Lockport, IL, 18 April 1852; arrived Portland, OR, 10 Oct 1852.
BENNETT. CARTER, Alfred. CRUZEN. DENBY. HYLAND, Benjamin. MILLER. NORDIKE. PULLINS. STEAN.
11. DUDLEY, Sarah Frances - OHS mss. #1508 - 166 page handwritten
Departed Louisiana, MO, 13 April 1852; arrived Oregon City, OR, 26 Oct 1852.
CROSBY, Benny; Eliza; Gustavus. DRYER. DUDLEY, Sarah Frances. KINGSLEY, Rev. C. S. MARSH. MARTIN. McALISTER, Nehemiah Sandusky. MINER. SHIPLEY. WATTER.
12. GLENN, John G. - OHS mss #284 - 89 page handwritten journal
(also, 16 pages typed).
Departed Wellsville, OH, 1852; to St. Joseph, MO 2 May 1852; arrived Portland, OR, 10 Nov 1852.
BOYCE, Dr. Joseph; Mrs.; John. CORNWALL, Frank. DAVIS. GLENN, George; John G. GOULD, John. KESSLEY. McCONNELL, Oliver. McLANE. POWELL, William S. SHIPLEY. SMITH, Joseph. SPENCER, Rev. John. STEWART, David. STOUGHT. SWANK. VANCE, Joseph.
13. HANNA, Esther Belle - OHS mss #1508 - 38 page typewritten
Departed Cononsburg, PA, 11 March 1852; to St. Joseph, MO; arrived Oregon City, OR, 17 Sept 1852.
ABBOTT, Rev. J. C. BARR. BRIGGS, James. DAWSON. DePUI, Rev. M. DOANE, Rev. M. FOSTER, M. HAFT. HAMMOND, Samuel. HANNA, Esther Belle. McCULLOUGH. MILLER. RUDERSON. SPALDING, Henry H. TATE. WHITMAN. WORTH. YANTIS, Rev. J.
14. HANNA, Joseph A. - OHS mss #2227 - 2 page handwritten reminiscence.
Departed St. Joseph, MO, 5 May 1852; arrived Oregon City, OR 30 September 1852.
BUCHANNAN. DAVIS. HANNA, Joseph.
15. KAHLER, William - OHS mss #1508 - 52 pages typed diary.
Departed McConnelsville, OH, 31 March 1852; arrived at City of Rocks, ID, 18 July 1852; traveled on to Jackson Co., OR (no arrival date given).
ANDREWS, Rachel. BENNETT. BRADLAW, A. DELAND, Sarah Powers. DUVAL, M. FOUTS, W. HADAWAY. HALL, Bird. HASELTINE, Freeman. KAHLER, W. PORTER, John. RUSH, A. SCOTT, A. SPRINGER, Isaac. WHITE, Dennis; Lewis
16. KELLOGG, Jane Davies - OHS mss #1079 - 10 pages typed reminiscences.
Departed Elkhart, IN, 17 March 1852; arrived Portland, OR, 22 Oct 1852.
BARBER. Ben; DAVIS, Frank; Henry; Mary A.; Melissa; Rachel. HALL, George. HATBAUGH, Fred. HAYWARD, Ben. IRWIN, W. KEELER, Ed; Matt. KELLOGG, Jane Davis; John B. MICHASON, Allen. WALKER, John.
17. KELLY (daughter of William Kelly) - OHS mss #1508 - 10
pages handwritten reminiscences.
Departed New York 3 July 1852; by boat to Oregon, arriving 19 September 1852.
BONNEVILLE. GRANT. KELLY, William. PARKER.
18. LANGSDORF, Morritz - OHS mss #184 - 11 pages of handwritten
Departed Missouri River 24 April 1852; arrived Portland, OR (no date); traveled on to California.
19. LONG, Mary Jane - OHS mss #1508 - 17 page printed pamphlet
Departed Council Bluffs, IA, 1 April 1852; arrived Portland, OR (no date given).
DAVIS, Harmon; Silas. HATFIELD. LONG, David P; Judath; Mary Jane. WARNER, Sam.
20. MALEY, W. B. - OHS mss #1508 - 2 page letter, written from
Linn Co., OR, 1 September 1852.
JUNKINS. MALEY, W. B. MARTIN, James. SMITH.
21. MILLER, Silas V., and M. J. MILLER - OHS mss #103 - 8 page
Departed Pleasant Grove, IN, 24 March 1852; arrived Salem, OR, fall 1852.
LACKEY, William. McLAUGHLIN, Taylor. MILLER, Jane; M. J. SINGLETON. WATERS, Edward.
22. MORELAND, Jesse - OHS mss #1508 - 30 page handwritten diary.
Departed Carlinville, IL 30 April 1852; arrived Willamette Valley, OR, 5 October 1852.
BIDDLE, Robert. GILHAM. LACK, Frank. McMURY. MORELAND, Rev. Jesse. NELSON, Levi. OWEN, Mitchell; Nancy. PERKINS. REAME.
23. PALMER, Harriett Scott - OHS mss #1508 - 9 pages printed
Departed Illinois 1 April 1852; arrived Oregon City, OR (no date).
CAFFEY, Ellen; Levi. PALMER, Harriett Scott. SCOTT, Ellen; Fanny; Mary; John Tucker; Levi; Margaret; Willie.
24. PARSONS, Mary Collins - OHS mss #1508 - 5 pages of typed
Departed Peoria, IL, 13 April 1852; arrived Portland, OR, 17 October 1852.
COLLINS, Henry; Mary; William H. DAVIS, Daniel. HUFFMAN, Johnson; Sarah. PARSONS, Mary Collins. WHITE, Jim.
25. REASONER, Henry A. - OHS mss #1508 - 5 page typed diary.
Departed Kainsville, IA, 9 May 1852; arrived Portland, OR (no date).
DERBY, J. R. DONEHUE. PURSE. REASONER, Frank; Henry.
26. RICHEY, James, Caleb and Stuart - OHS mss #1508 - letter
and news clippings.
Departed Salem, IA, 16 April 1852; arrived Portland, OR 8 October 1852.
AKIN, Eliza, James, Mary Ann. HOWE, Jackson. INGRAM, Elva; James. NEWELL, John. RICHEY, Alice; Caleb; Eliza Ann; James; Louisa; Mary Jane; Miranda Jane; Stuart.
27. SCOTT, Abigail Jane - OHS mss #432 - 106 page typed journal.
Departed from Illinois to St. Joseph, MO, on 2 April 1852; arrived Oregon City, OR, 28 Sept 1852.
BUOY, John. CAFFEY, Charles; Edward; Levi. CHAMBERLAIN, George. KING. McDONALD, John. MITCHELL. REED, William. SMITH, Peter. STEVENSON, George. VANDERPOOL, Jefferson. WAFER, J. L.
28. SLATER, John Lyman - OHS mss #1508 - 7 page journal
Departed Arkansas; arrived La Grande, OR (no dates given).
GRAY, Edna; Nellie. McCLURE, Charles. SLATER, James H; John Lyman. TAYLOR. UNGER.
29. SMITH, Delazon - OHS mss #225 - 45 handwritten pages.
Departed Missouri River April 1852; arrived Willamette Valley, OR, September 1852.
30. SPENCER, John - OHS mss #1508 - 43 page journal.
Departed Wellsville, OH, 8 April 1852; arrived Portland, OR, 9 October 1852.
BOYCE. BRADFORD. CORNWALL, Frank; James. DILLON. DONLY. DRUMMOND. GLENN, G. G. GORDON, David. JOHNSON. MATHEWS. McCLANE, William. McCONNELL. NESSEY. ROBINS. SHIPLEY, A. R. SPENCER, John. STEWART, David. STILLWELL, William. STOUT. SWANK, Philip. TIBBETTS. VALENTINE. VANCE, Joseph. WILBUR.
31. STOUT, Lewis - OHS mss #1509 - 30 page diary.
Departed Van Buren Co., Iowa 13 April 1852; arrived Oregon City, OR, 3 October 1852.
FISHER. HENNIS, Thomas. SPARLING, Alex. STOUT, Ephraim; Lewis; Rebecca; Sarah; Susannah Fisher.
32. THOMSON, Origen - OHS mss #1508 - 122 page handwritten
Departed Madison, WI; left St. Joseph, MO, 27 March 1852; arrived Portland, OR, 17 September 1852.
CRAIG, Daniel. CRAWFORD, Robert. DONNELL, Zelik M. DOWNEY. GRAY, Josephine. HANNA. LEWIS. MAHAN. McCOY, Sutherland. MONFORT, Rev. Joseph G. MOODY, Zenas F. PALMER. PATTEN, Scott. SMITH, I.N; Andrew. SPALDING, Rev. H. STEVENSON, Mary. THOMSON, Origen.
33. TODD, Mary Ellen - OHS mss #1508 - 47 pages of printed
Departed Independence, MO; arrived Howell's Prairie, OR (no dates given).
CLARK. DONNER. GRANT. HUNTLEY, Joseph. McCORKLE. McREYNOLDS. POWELL, Joab. RAGSDALE, John. TATE, Angelina. TEDROSE. TODD, Abbott; Cynthia; Louvina; Mary Ellen. WHITMAN.
34. VANBUSKIRK, Andrew - OHS mss #881 - 9 page typed diary.
Departed Elizabethtown, MO 29 April 1852; arrived Oregon City, OR, 31 October 1852.
HARDY, Joshua. HENDERSON, T. B.; Urbanus. HOPPINS. NOBLE, Mose. PERRIN. SNYDER. VANBUSKIRK, Andrew; Araminda; Daniel; Elizabeth Henderson; John; Joseph T; Mary; Sarah; William. WEEKS. WHISLER, E. F.; Sarah; William.
35. WIGLE, Andrew Jackson - OHS mss #587 - 28 pages typed recollections.
Departed Liberty, IL, 11 April 1852; arrived Portland, OR, 21 September 1852.
ALFORD, Al, BARNARD, Guilford. BELTS, Paul. BENFIELD, Eli. CAMPBELL, John; Mary. CRONIN, Patrick. CROUCH, Ebenezer. HUNSAKER, Bradford; Jacob; Joseph. MANSFIELD, Mose. McBRIDE, Andrew. McDANIEL, Jack. McHARGUE, James. McKINLEY. MOSIER, Nickolas. NATIONS, James. PADGET, Lish. PUTMAN, Daniel. TOONE, Dennis. TUNGATE, Riley. VAUGHN, Billy. WHITLEY, Elisha. WIGLE, Andrew Jackson; J.D.; J. F.; Jacob; John. WILSON, John. WINGFIELD, John.
36. YORK, Sarah Elizabeth Stagle - OHS mss #879 - 8 page reminiscence.
Departed Dade Co., MO, 22 April 1852; arrived Oregon City, OR, 22 October 1852.
BARNES, Steve. CHRISTMAN, Zilpha. EVERSOLE. HUNTER. NEELEY, Jane; John. SANDERS, Sam. SLAGER, Conrad; Jake. YORK, Sarah Elizabeth Stagle.