Posts Tagged ‘T.B. Sturges’

Forty-Niner Profile: Thaddeus B. Sturges

March 23, 2010

Thaddeus B. Sturges was one of the many men from Ohio who headed to California during the Gold Rush. He was the son of Lewis Burr Sturges, who was first married to Kezia Taylor Stiles, daughter of Ezra Stiles. Lewis later married Charlotte Belden/Belding, who I believe was the mother of Thaddeus.

Evidently, when Thaddeus Sturges left for the gold country, his wife, Eudosia Beach,  must have gone to live with  their daughter, Mrs. James Sidney Wilcox, in Utica, New York, where in 1859, she died. It appears they had 5 children: sons, Mahlon, Lewis and Thaddeus, and daughters, Eudosia and Marcia.

Thaddeus Burr Sturges was NOT one of the lucky ones. He did not make his fortune in gold. He died  penniless in California, like so many others.

View of Norwalk, Ohio - 1840's

From Historical Collections of Ohio, By Henry Howe – Vol. II – ©1888:

Norwalk in 1846. – Norwalk, the county-seat, named for Norwalk, Conn., is 110 miles north of Columbus and 16 from Sandusky City.  It lies principally on a single street, extending nearly two miles and beautifully shaded by maple trees.  Much taste is evinced in the private dwellings and churches, and in adorning the grounds around them with shrubbery.  As a whole, the town is one of the most neat and pleasant in Ohio.  The view given represents a small portion of the principal street; on the right is shown the courthouse and jail, with a part of the public square, and in the distance is seen the tower of the Norwalk institute.  Norwalk contains 1 Presbyterian, 1 Baptist, 1 Episcopal, 1 Methodist and 1 Catholic church, 9 dry goods, 1 book and 4 grocery stores, 1 bank, 2 newspaper printing offices, 1 flouring mill, 2 foundries, and about 1,800 inhabitants.  The Norwalk institute is an incorporated academy, under the patronage of the Baptists: a large and substantial brick building, three stories in height, is devoted to its purposes; the institution is flourishing, and numbers over 100 pupils, including both sexes.  A female seminary has recently been commenced under auspicious circumstances, and a handsome building erected in the form of a Grecian temple.  About a mile west of the village are some ancient fortifications.

Thaddeus Burr Sturges, Prior to the California Gold Rush

Thaddeus Sturges appears to have taken an active role in helping to build the town of Norwalk:

Huron Reflector, May 4, 1830

Commemorating George Washington’s Birthday: An Oration given by Thaddeus B. Sturges. (LINK)

Thaddeus Sturges reads the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July:

4th of July.

The fifty sixth anniversary of our National Independence was celebrated at Monroeville on Wednesday last. A large concourse of people assembled at an early hour at the Hotel of H. GRIFFIN — at eleven o’clock, a procession of ladies and gentlemen was formed by Capt. W.B. MATHEWSON, Marshal of the day — among whom were several of  the old Patriots of the Revolution — preceded by a band of music, and moved to a grove, where the necessary platform was erected in good style by the committee of arrangements. The Throne of Grace was addressed by the Rev. F.H. JOHNSON — the Declaration of Independence was audibly read by T.B. STURGES, Esq. — after which C.L. BOALT, Esq. pronounced an Oration in his usual manner of eloquence. The procession then formed, and repaired to H. GRIFFIN’s Hotel, where an excellent dinner was prepared in a booth erected, and where a large company “fared sumptuously.” After the cloth was removed, thirteen select toasts were drank with cheers, music, and the discharge of cannon — then a host of spirited and pointed volunteers — all of which we omit for want of room. The company then parted under good feelings, and there was nothing to mar the harmony of the day.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jul 10, 1832

Huron Reflector – Jun 7, 1836

To the Citizens of Norwalk

YOU are respectfully invited to give your attendance at a meeting to be holden at the Academy, on the evening of Saturday the 12th instant, for the purpose of adopting measures for opening a High School at the Academy for the ensuing year.

It is thought that the amount now paid to the different teachers of our School is amply sufficient to support a Literary Institution, not excelled by any other in the State.
Every citizen, who feels an interest in the education of our youth, is earnestly solicited to attend.

?. Buckingham, P.P. Fusselman,
?. Buckingham, P. Latimer,
Asabel Morse, John Bedford,
Moses Kimball, T.B. Sturges,
?. Sheffield, S. Preston,
?. Jenney, Cyrus Butler,
?. Forsyth, H. Gallup,
?. Morton, W.B. Mathewson,
?.G. Raitt, I. Marshall,
Enos Gilbert, D. Higgins,
?. Benedict, L. Bradley.

Norwalk, Jan. 5, 1833.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jan 8,  1833

NORWALK SEMINARY

The ornamental branches usual for the young Ladies, will be taught in the Female Department if desired, at proportionate prices.

Two quarters will compose a term as usual of 23 weeks. The annual vacation will be in the month of August. Good board can be procured in respectable families, for $1.25 to $1.50 per week. It will be expected that the tuition fees be paid quarterly or half yearly in advance, and that Young Students from abroad have a guardian appointed in the village for the time being.

The Committee would further observe, that the Institution is opened under the patronage of the Ohio Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, upon liberal principles. The objects are to provide an Institution where all classes of persons can receive such an education as will prepare them to enter College, or upon the duties of active life; and so combine manual labor, (for those students who may desire it,) as will both promote health of body and vigor of mind, and at the same time diminish or defray entirely the expense of education, and also cultivate a taste for agricultural and mechanical pursuits. For the above purposes, the use of the building known as the “Norwalk Academy,” has been granted, where a large number of students can be accommodated. It is contemplated, as soon as practical, to procure philosophical apparatus, enlarge the buildings, erect Boarding Houses, rooms, &c. for the accommodation of the students, cultivate a garden, provide in which the students can recreate and employ themselves in inclement weather.

Norwalk is beautifully situated, and is a thriving and remarkably healthy village. It has a moral and an intelligent population. The Protestant Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist Episcopal Churches, have stated preaching, besides occasionally other denominations. — These advantages, combined with the talent and experience of the Principal, the low price of tuition, the assurance that first rate assistants will be employed, and no pains spared to render the institution worthy, it is hoped, will secure that support, which an intelligent and liberal public are able to bestow.

TIMOTHY BAKER,
T.B. STURGES,} Committee.
H.O. SHELDON,

Norwalk, Oct. 19, 1833.  38tf

The Trustees at present, are Henry O. Sheldon, James Crabbs, Samuel Pennywell, Gershom Pierce, Ellzey Hedges, Sylvenus B. Day, Samuel Treat, Benjamin Cogswell, Benjamin Summers, Durin H. Tuttle, Julius House, Stanton Sholes, Edward S. Hamlin, Lemuel Powers, Platt Benedict, Thaddeus B. Sturges, Timothy Baker, Obadiah Jenney, Henry Buckingham, and William Gallup.

Editors in the north part of the State and in Michigan, friendly to the above Institution, will confer a favor by giving the above an insertion or two.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Nov 5,  1833

History of north central Ohio : embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne, Medina, Lorain, Huron and Knox Counties Volume 1
By William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company, Topeka-Indianapolis 1931

**Thaddeus B. Sturges was listed as a trustee of the Academy. pg 125

Norwalk Academy was another early established institution which contributed materially to the educational progress of our state. Among its students were Rutherford B. Hayes, who became president of the United States; General James B. McPherson, Civil War commander, who was killed in the fighting before Atlanta; and Charles Foster, who became governor of Ohio and secretary of the treasury in President Benjamin Harrison’s cabinet. A catalogue of the academy March 17, 1829, gives the names of eighty-three young men and sixty young women, total of 143 who had been under instruction there.

Huron Reflector – Sep 2, 1834

NORWALK SEMINARY.

The following Resolutions were passed, at the meeting of the Trustees of Norwalk Seminary:

RESOLVED, That while we lament the loss of the Norwalk Seminary, with the Library, Apparatus, and Cabinet, we deem it our duty, instead of brooding over the calamity, to make vigorous and speedy efforts to repair it, by erecting an edifice upon an enlarged plan, in view of applying for a College Charter….

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Mar 15,  1836

LAND

1837: Thaddeus Sturges purchases several pieces of land. This is only one of the land purchase records. I think there were four or five of them, all purchased at the same time.

POLITICS

While Thaddeus Sturges‘ father, Lewis B. Sturges began his political career as a Federalist, Thaddeus appears to have started out as a Republican, later switching  to Democrat, specifically, a Loco Foco.

For the Huron Reflector.
NOMINATION OF SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVE.
United we stand — divided we fall,

A sentiment containing a most important truth, and peculiarly applicable to us all, who are opposed to the misrule of General Jackson and his administration.
…..
A Convention was held at Norwalk last Saturday, composed of 52 Delegates from different townships in the county — after due notice having been given to all — a number greater than probably can be convened on any future occasion. — There was little or no division as to Senator. Doctor Tilden had nearly all the votes. There was more difference of opinion as to Representative; but our deliberations, after a harmonious and friendly consultation resulted in a decided majority in favor of Moors Farwell of Portland. Several of the Delegates, among whom, was the writer of this communication, would have been more gratified in their personal feelings, had some other favorite of theirs been put in nomination. Yet for one, I fully acquiesce in the decision of the majority, and my best judgment is to support Mr. Farwell; for I cannot possibly find a substantial objection to this Gentleman, either as a capable man, or as a man of the most perfect integrity — As to talents, he is highly respectable.
…..
Let us my friends, on this occasion, give up minor objections — prove, that as brethren, we are cordial in a righteous cause — divest ourselves of every personal, selfish motive; let our enemies know that Clay men can be united, and let us have for our motto — our Pole Star and directory, “united we stand — divided we fall” — and then we may be assured that victory is ours. If we shall not be so united, it is in vain to disguise the fact that defeat will be our deserved reward.

A Member of the Convention.

Norwalk, Sept. 17, 1832.

Huron Reflector – Sep 18, 1832

*     *     *

Republican Convention – Clip 2

For the Huron Reflector.
Messrs. Preston & Co.

You will please withdraw my name as a candidate for Representative for the ensuing election. Permit me to take this opportunity of returning my thanks to those who have generously proffered me their aid; of saying to those who have felt it their duty to oppose my nominations, that I fully appreciate the laudable motives by which they were governed; and of expressing to all my cheerful acquiescence in the decision that has been made, and trust that the coming canvass will only be distinguished by mutual concession, good will, and unanimity. Having a common interest to promote, it is to be hoped that we shall go to the polls with harmony and concord, determined to sacrifice all personal considerations and sectional feelings, and unite in one common effort to promote the general good of the county,

Yours Respectfully,

THADDEUS B. STURGES.

Norwalk, September 17th 1832.

The Editor of the Clarion will please note the above withdrawal. — EDITORS.

Huron Reflector (Noralk, Ohio) Sep 18, 1832

Huron Reflector Oct 1832

We omitted to notice last week, the result of the criminal trials which were decided at the term of the Court of Common Pleas of this county, which terminated on the 20th ult. after a laborious session of two weeks — present, Hon. David Higgins President, and his associates.

State of Ohio, vs. William H. Harrison. Horse stealing — T.B. Sturges Esq. prosecuting Attorney for State, L.S. Beecher and John Bedford, Esqrs. for defence. Verdict, guilty — Prisoner sentenced to Penitentiary for 10 years.

Same, vs. Nehemiah Higby. Horse stealing — T.B. Sturges Esq. pros. Att’y for State, C.L. Boalt and John Bedfore, Esqrs for defence. Verdict, guilty — Prisoner sentenced to Penitentiary for four years.

Same, vs. Abraham Inman. Horse stealing — T.B. Sturges Esq. pros. Att’y. Prisoner plead guilty, and was sentenced to penitentiary for three years.

Same, vs. John Smith. Assault with intent to commit a rape — T.B. Sturges Esq. pros. Att’y for State, M’Laughlin and Bedford, for defense. Verdict, guilty — Prisoner sentenced to Penitentiary for seven years.

Same, vs. Wm. R. Roberts. Burglary and larceny — T.B. Sturges Esq. for State, O. Parish and C.L. Boalt, Esq. for defence. Verdict, guilty of larceny, and not guilty of burglary — Prisoner sentenced to be confined to Jail for 6 days.

Same, vs. John Crusen jr. Assault and battery — T.B. Sturges Esq. for State, Francis D. Parish for defense. Verdict, guilty — Prisoner sentenced to pay a fine of five dollars and costs of prosecution.

Same, vs. Rachael Morris. Murder — T.B. Sturges and A. Coffinbury, Esqrs. for State, O. Parish, P.R. Hopkins and J. Bedford Esqrs. for defence. This case occupied the Court for three days in the investigation, but the Jury returned not guilty — quite a nuber of other Indictments are yet pending, and were not tried for want of time.

THADDEUS B. STURGES, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, intending a journey to the State of New York, and will probably be absent about four weeks, informs his old employers and others, that his father, LEWIS B. STURGES, Attorney at Law, will attend to their business, and will advise and direct them in his absence.

Norwalk, Jan 16, 1833.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jan 22,  1833

Huron Reflector – Oct 1833

*     *     *

Huron Reflector – July 1833

Milan, Sept. 14th, 1833.

Messrs EDITORS,

An unusual excitement exists in this section of the county, respecting the election of Prosecuting Attorney; and it is believed that those who have been most active in producing this excitement are actuated by the most envious feelings towards Mr. Sturges, the present incumbent; and a base desire to destroy his well earned and fast increasing popularity. There are those, undoubtedly, who have been busily engaged, of late, in different parts of the county, in circulating reports calculated to cast a shade over the character of Mr. Sturges; but happily for him and his friends, they have nothing to fear from an examination of his conduct, if fairly made, and he is certainly too well known to sustain any injury from the many shafts of envy, which are and have been hurled at his character and reputation. He stands as high as any member of the bar for talents, and his character, for integrity and correct moral deportment, has never been questioned. He is no upstart nor adventurer; but bears a name which has always entitled him to a rank among the first, as a public man in this county; and which will remain unsullied, until degraded by some other person than himself.
M.

For the Huron Reflector.

We trust that Mr. Sturges or his friends will not think it necessary, at present, to notice particularly a dishonorable attack, lately, implicating his fair character in a neighboring paper. Although we presume who is its author, yet we care not who he is. The intention of that publication is apparent to any man of sense — it is to create a personal altercation, and to divert the public mind from the merits of the contest between him and Mr. Root. The unbiased public opinion must be well known, as respects the claims of these two gentlemen. The decision is submitted to the candid electors of the County of Huron. This is communicated without the knowledge of Mr. Sturges.

JUSTICE.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Sep 17,  1833

Thaddeus and Lewis Sturges 1835 Candidates

In 1835, both Thaddeus and his father Lewis, campaigned for elective offices. This campaign was particularly contentious, in part, I think,  because these two men were from the same family. The campaign commentary in the The Huron Reflector was quite brutal. Of course, that brutality held true for the later campaigns as well, being Thaddeus was a Democrat / Locofoco, and the Huron Reflector was a Whig/Republican paper. However, that is not to say that the mudslinging was one-sided; it was just as bad coming from the other side. In fact, during one election cycle, there was almost literally a “cat and mouse”  fight between the papers (Huron Reflector and The Experiment) regarding their respective candidates, one of which was Thaddeus Sturges.  The political flames were signed “cat” on one side, and “mouse” on the other.

Huron Reflector Aug 4, 1840

*     *     *

Huron Reflector – Sep 8, 1840

***

There was a Locofoco meeting at the Court House on Tuesday evening last. E.M. Stone and T.B. Sturges were the principal speakers. The former too ground against a national Bank, the distribution of the Land money and also against the present Tariff law. He said he was opposed to the distribution of the Land money, and to a Tariff, because these measures were calculated to REDUCE THE TAXES OF THE PEOPLE. He would not give his support to any measure of this kind, because he had no taxes to pay, — and if any measure was adopted, which would have the effect of reducing the present high rates of taxes it would be of no benefit to him. The tax payers of Huron county can make their own comments.

Mr. Sturges‘s remarks were principally confined to the subject of the Tariff. He made a statement, which we have every reason to believe he knew to be false at the time, to wit — that the manufacturers of Lowell, Mass., had realized a clear profit of 33 1/3 per cent, on the amount of capital invested in manufacturing the last year.

It is perhaps unnecessary for us to say that their profits have not averaged seven per cent.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Mar 5,  1844

Locofoco Mass Meeting.

The Locofoco mass meeting for Huron county, that has been advertised in the Experiment for several weeks past, came off at this place on Saturday last. It was a very meagre affair. —

From the exertions made to get up a large meeting, we certainly expected to see a large crowd, but were disappointed. We are informed by those who counted the Locos as they marched to the Court-House, that the number was 165. Probably there were in the Court-House, including Whigs, 250 persons — not more.

After the Convention was organized, the following individuals were nominated as candidates for county officers, viz: — for Auditor, Lorenzo D. Conger; for Commissioner, Daniel Sowers; for Surveyor, Ert Mesnard; and for Coroner, a Dr. Gibson.

The Convention was then addressed by T.B. Sturges and E.M. Stone.

The remarks of Mr. Sturges were uncommonly rich, rare and edifying to the hosts of the “unterrified” there assembled. The burden of his song was in unfolding to the admiring eyes of the democracy, the peculiar beauties and unparalleled advantages of that El Dorado of a Locofoco’s hopes — the magnificent Republic of Texas — the fertility of which, he told them was so great, that one acre there was worth ten of the best land in Ohio! The little “neophyte” worked himself into such raptures upon this subject, that one would have thought he had received a regular sergeant’s commission, and was beating for volunteers among his Locofoco friends to follow those of them who have gone before to the ‘Republic of the Lone Star.’

And then as to the debt of $15,000,000 that was nothing. He had made a computation, and found that it would only amount to about 7 cents per acre. Who would not consider it a cheap bargain to buy five new States, — independent States — for seven cents an acre! Ah! then you go into it as a mere matter of speculation. Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are already in the Union, and it would be a horrible violation of the Constitution to assume their debts, and let the National Government reimburse itself out of the proceeds of the public lands which the Government now holds in trust for these very States, — but to assume the debt of a foreign State — a State at war with a Government with which we are at peace, — that is perfectly right and constitutional, we would get the country for seven cents an acre!

About this point the orator was seized with a peculiar regard for the Tariff, and reasoned in this wise: If Texas is not annexed, the whole army of the nation cannot prevent smuggling along the whole line of our southwestern border! We are somewhat surprised at this tack of the gentleman’s argument; but in his new born admiration of the Tariff, he forgot to tell how much the case would be improved, either in this or in a military point of view, by changing the present boundary for the undefined and undefinable limits of the “vast Republic of Texas.” —

This matter requires a little explanation. Will he furnish it on some future occasion? He expatiated at some length upon the depredations, (present or prospective?) upon our revenue from this source, and then appealing to those special friends of the Tariff, the Locofocos, exclaimed — “reject Texas, and you reject me (unreadable).

“Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing [unreadable 3 words] all Venice. His reasons are as two grains of wheat in two bushels of chaff: you shall seek all day ere you find them; and when you have them they are not worth the search.”

The next attempt was to excite some sympathy in behalf of “the statesman, the hero, the patriot Dorr.” The effort appeared ill-timed, and but little interest for the hero of Chepachet was excited. The orator depicted the sufferings of this apostle of liberty, — said Rhode Island had always been a colony of Great Britain, and her star ought not to be placed with the old thirteen. This nice pink of Federalism closed with the following traitorous sentiment. “LAW OR NO LAW, ORDER OR NO ORDER, THE PRISON DOORS OF DORR MUST AND SHALL BE BATTERED DOWN.”

We supposed the Quixotic gentleman had caught a fresh ‘inspiration’ from the progressive school in the east, in advance of his brethren. —

We did not expect to see this base and unholy sentiment of mobocracy responded to by even a Locofoco assembly — but so it was. It needs no comment.

Through the disgusting details of the rest of his speech, we have no desire to follow him. If he can derive comfort from such honor, let him enjoy it.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Aug 27,  1844

The Tariff — High Prices of Goods.

We understand that Thaddeus B. Sturges and Ezra M. Stone, are in the habit of stating in their speeches in different parts of the country, that all kinds of goods are higher now in consequence of the Tariff, than they were before the present Tariff Law was enacted. When T.B. Sturges, or any other Locofoco stump speaker makes a statement of this kind, he knows he is uttering a barefaced falsehood. In order to nail this lie to the counter we publish the following certificate, signed by several of the leading merchants of our village. We will only add — that if any merchant alleges that his goods are higher, now than formerly, in consequence of the enactment of the present Tariff, we would caution every person against purchasing of him, unless he is anxious to be cheated.

CERTIFICATE.

We the undersigned, Merchants of Norwalk, Huron county, Ohio, do hereby certify that since the Tariff of 1842 went into effect, goods have been cheaper than in any two years since we have been in business.

We also further certify, that foreign goods are as cheap this fall as we have ever known them.

SHEPHERD PATRICK,
GOODNOW & WILLIAMS,
D. & J. STOUTENBURGH.

Norwalk, September 26, 1844.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Oct 1, 1844

Huron Reflector – Sep 12, 1848

BUSINESS

In the 1840’s, Thaddeus B. Sturges seems to have tried his hand at being a businessman:

The Experiment – Apr 6, 1842

***

The Experiment – Mar 2, 1842

*     *     *

The Experiment – Jul 31, 1844

*     *     *

Thaddeus B. Sturges was also involved in the Temperance Movement:


Temperance Crusaders (Image from http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org)

Sons of Temperance Celebration.

Agreeably to the notices which have been published in the Huron and Erie papers, the Order of the Sons of Temperance, in the two counties, celebrated the day by a Mass Convention at this place. Unfortunately, the weather proved extremely rainy and disagreeable. Notwithstanding, the Sons (who love cold water) assembled in large numbers, and with them, also, an equal concourse of the cold water ladies.

About 11 o’clock, A.M., the Procession, which had formed on the public square, proceeded to the Grove selected at the west end of the place, conducted by the Bellevue Band, and attended also by the Milan Brass Band. The Procession presented a splendid appearance and afforded to all a vivid illustration of the moral force which the Temperance cause has acquired among us.

The arrangements reflected honor upon the Marshal, S. PENNEWILL, Esq., and his Assistants. Over five hundred ladies, from a single point, formed into the Procession, and it is supposed that an equal number of ladies proceeded from other directions. The total number of persons present, at the Grove, is estimated at about three thousand, of whom, two thirds were Sons, Rechabites, Cadets and Ladies.

The exercises at the Grove were announced by the President of the day, S.F. TAYLOR, Esq., of Milan. Prayer was offered by Rev. WM. L. HARRIS*, of this place. The Declaration of Independence was read by T.B. STURGES, Esq., also of this place, who prefaced it with some appropriate and eloquent remarks. The meeting was then addressed by the Orator of hte day, I.J. ALLEN, Esq., of Mansfield, in a speech of much interest.

NOTE: Rev. Harris was educated at the Norwalk Seminary, mentioned  previously in this post.

The violence of the rain caused an interruption of his address, and at the close of the exercises, the meeting was adjourned to the Court House. Owing to the inclemency of the weather, most of those from abroad were obliged to return; but the Court House was thronged with those who remained. M. ALLEN resumed his remarks, and in a brilliant and powerful address, reviewed the history of National Intemperance. He traced its destroying agency in the fall of successive Empires, from Nineveh to Rome, and showed the appalling influence which it has exerted on the destiny of former nations. He exhibited the intimate connection which exists between national liberty and national intelligence and virtue; and he proved that moral and educational associations were the best conservators of the Republic.

His address embraced a variety of important and deeply interesting views, and has left a profound impression on all who heard it. At the close, some Resolutions were presented by T.B. Sturges, Esq., which were adopted, and the meeting adjourned.

Notwithstanding the adverse weather, this demonstration cannot fail to produce a favorable effect on the prosperity of the Order in this section. There are now about twenty Divisions in the two counties, most of which have not yet seen their first anniversary, and we believe one only has witnessed its second. In this State, about 16,000 have joined the Order during the past year, and nearly 100,000, throughout the Union. It now includes over 250,000 members.

Huron Reflector (Huron, Ohio) Jul 11, 1848

Based on his son, Mahlon Sturges’ biographical sketch, Thaddeus B. Sturges’ financial problems coincided with rush for California Gold. In 1849, Thaddeus would have been about 48 years old,  which was older than the average gold seeker; but probably with nothing left to lose, he headed for the gold country.

Buckeyes Catch the Gold Fever: A Letter From the Plains

T.B. Sturges arrives in Gold Country: A Letter Received

Mahlon B. Sturges was one of Thaddeus’ sons. He also was a miner, seemingly out of financial necessity, and his story is almost as sad as his fathers. The following biography can be found at this link:  Alameda County California Biographies – 1883

MAHLON BEACH STURGES.—Was born in Norwalk, Huron County, Ohio, February 26, 1830, and is the son of Thaddeus B. Sturges—at one time District Attorney of that county for a number of years, a graduate of Yale College, and a pioneer of 1849 to California—who died in Placerville, in 1851. The subject of our sketch having received his early education in the common school of his native place, and finishing at a private school at Marcellus, Onondaga County, New York, at the age of eighteen prepared to go to college, but owing to the financial embarrassment of his father this course was abandoned, and he took to commercial pursuits. Obtaining the position of book-keeper in the Franklin House, Cleveland, Ohio, he there remained two years, when he changed to the Durham House, and held a like position there until the intelligence of his father’s death caused him to resign and proceed to California, to do which he was obliged to raise money by an insurance on his life, which has long ego been refunded. Coming by way of Panama, our subject arrived in San Francisco in March, 1852, and immediately on arrival secured a ticket for Sacramento, which left him penniless. On gaining that town he found it submerged. Mr. Sturges proceeded to the mines, in company with the late William B. Mastick of Oakland and Judge Carey of San Francisco. On arriving at Michigan Bar, where he found his brother, he engaged in mining as an occupation (Mr. Mastick and Mr. Carey continued on to the mountains) until the fall of that year, when he embarked in the mercantile business. Having proceeded to Sacramento to purchase goods, as ill-fate would have it, his newly-bought stock was entirely consumed in the great fire of that season. Broke in purse, he was by no means so in spirit, therefore he once more faced the mocking world, and proceeded to the mountains, by way of Marysville. Arriving at Rabbit Creek—a place now called La Porte, in Plumas County—he cooked for a company of miners that winter. He next worked for *ages for about one year, when he took up claims in company with J. M. Perry and George Stowe, both of Illinois. After three years’ toil he then sold his interest to his partners, who afterwards took out $64,000 worth of dust in three weeks, and in four years they took out over $300,000. Mr. Sturges now took up a claim for himself adjoining, and “struck it rich,” but owing to a change of the adjoining claim it swung him off, and he lost all. Once more his pocket was at ” bed-rock.” Undeterred, he proceeded to Jamison City, Plumas County, and conducted a hotel for James Kitts, where he remained until the fall of 1856; then moving to Mariposa County, he re-embarked in mining operations for one winter, but, the season being dry, and not meeting with much success, he footed it to Stockton, whence he found his way to San Francisco. He now accepted a position as steerage steward on board the steamer Sonora, then commanded by Captain Bobbie, in which he made several trips to Panama: He now returned to the Bay City, married, and went to the mines at La Porte, but soon moved to Richmond Hill, working for wages at anything that offered; Mrs. Sturges, in the first year, making on her own account $1,800. Our subject now changed his habitation to Sawpit Flat, where, purchasing a claim, he commenced working it, while his wife carried on the laundry business, at four dollars a dozen, clearing thereby from thirty to forty dollars per week. At the end of four years he gave up mining, and sold out his claims. At this period he served two terms as a Justice of the Peace and Notary Public under Governor • Low’s administration. Mr. Sturges next purchased the water rights of Onion Valley Creek, consisting of eight miles of ditches, which supplied the mines of Sawpit Flat and Richmond Hill with water. Two weeks after purchasing, the miners of Sawpit Flat struck rich pay, which made his purchase very valuable. In one year he made enough to pay for his purchase and leave a handsome balance. He continued in this undertaking until 1867, when he sold out on account of ill-health. He removed to San Francisco; and there he was engaged for a year in keeping a lodging-house, when, disposing of it in 1869,.he paid a visit to his former home in the Eastern States for the purpose. of securing a patent on an improved gas-burner he had invented. His intention was to settle in the Eastern States, but, owing to the great climatic changes between heat and cold, he returned to California in July, 1870, and purchased his present farm of fifty acres, situated one and a half miles from Washington Corners, on the main road to Centreville, on which he has made many improvements, being engaged in general farming and stock-raising, devoting much of his time to the rearing of thoroughbred short-horn cattle, a number of his raising having taken premiums at the different fairs throughout the State. Married in San Francisco, April 22, 186o, Miss Elizabeth Kane, a native of Philadelphia, of Irish parents; no issue.

A few snippets for Thaddeus Sturges’ father, Lewis Burr Sturges:

Lewis B. Sturges – 1832

***

Lewis Sturges Dies 1844

Although it states there will be an obituary notice next week, I checked the paper and couldn’t find one.

BURR Surname Trivia: Lewis BURR Sturges, and therefore, Thaddues BURR Sturges, are distantly related to Aaron BURR, by way of a common ancestor named Jehue BURR.

A General History of the Burr Family by Charles Burr Todd – 1902 – Google Book LINK In this book, Lewis B. Sturges is listed as an executor of a will for Thaddeus Burr. His father, I believe, also Thaddeus Burr, was married to Abigail Sturges.  There are other Sturges’ mentioned as well. These families seemed to  marry quite a bit. There was also a Sturges Lewis mentioned, although I don’t know exactly how he is connected.

1832: Commemorating George Washington’s Birthday

February 19, 2010

Washington's Farewell Address

Image from the Social Studies and History Teacher’s Blog

CELEBRATION.

The Centennial Anniversary of the birth day of WASHINGTON, was celebrated in this village, on the 22d inst.

The morning was ushered in by a National salute. A numerous concourse of citizens were escorted to the Court House by the Infantry and Militia companies, under the command of Captains GAUFF, and CARKHUFF, directed by WILLIAM B. MATHEWSON, Marshal.

The Throne of Grace was addressed in a feeling, pathetic, and patriotic prayer, by the Rev. Mr. JOHNSON, — Washington’s Farewell Address was read by C.L. BOALT, Esq. — after which, we then listened to one of Mr. STURGES’ best pieces of eloquence which indelibly impressed upon our minds, the days of our fathers & enkindled in our bosoms the fire of ;76.

The procession was then escorted to Maj. O. JENNEY’s Hotel where a rich and elegant dinner was provided for the occasion. The Hon. TIMOTHY BAKER, presiding as President of the Day — assisted by P. BENEDICT, Esq. as Vice President. The cloth being removed, the following Toasts were drank, accompanied with a discharge of cannon.

1. The Patriot, whose birth day we celebrate — The Hero, whose virture was only equalled by his valor, and whose name is too firmly fixed in the Temple of Fame to be shaken or sullied by pious bigotry, or clerical slander.

2. The departed Heroes, who fought and bled in the cause of Liberty — peace to their manes — we revere their valor, courage, and patriotism.

3. The President of the United States.

4. The State of Ohio — Though young in years, she is rich in population and resources — great in intellectual acquirements, and as the Psalmist David says, “We go from strength to strength.”

5. The Governor of the State of Ohio.

6. Our Country — Her fetters are broke, her tyrants are fled, and the hands of the North and the South shall unite to raise on the tomb of the glorious dead a temple of honor and crown it with light.

7. The Venerable Charles Carroll — the remaining signer of the Declaration of Independence — like Job’s servants, he can say, “I only am escaped to tell thee.

8. Internal Improvements — The rugged path it makes smooth — the crooked way it makes straight — triumphs over time and space, and sheds new lustre upon all who promote it.

9. The United States — The pillars of [political and religious] freedom — the glory and delight of our country as they are, but our destruction when united.

10. The Light of Liberty — Unlike the sun, it rose in the West — may it soon shed its radiance over the East.

11. Farmers and Mechanics — the bone and sinew of our republic — it is not blasphemy to say, “without thee we can do nothing.

12. Agriculture, Commerce, and Manufactures — a triumvirate of sisters — palsied be the hand that severs these ligaments.

13. The Fair Sex of Ohio — So many beauties, don’t be particular — “touch and take.”

VOLUNTEERS.

By the Chaplain of the Day. — The political aspiring and unholy Clergy of the day — like Jonah in the whale’s belly, may they be compelled to eat meat without salt, and then be spewed out upon a land, unknown to American Freemen.

Timothy Baker

By the President of the Day. — The freedom of Poland. — That much injured people, may we live to see the day when their freedom shall be equal to that we now enjoy.

Platt Benedict - Founder of Norwalk, Ohio

By the Vice President. — The 22d day of February, the birth day of our beloved Washington, may it be kept in remembrance by every American, until time shall end.

By the Marshal. — The Orator of the day — May his name be remembered by all true Americans, for his able and fearless stand, this day taken against the calumniators of Maj. Gen. George Washington, the father of this Republic.

By the Orator of the day — The life and fame of Washington — The man who reviles the one, or tarnishes the other, deserves our unqualified reprobation and contempt.

By Maj. Underhill — The Legislature of N. York — May they ever be applauded for discharging their Chaplain.

By M. Kimball, Esq. — The memory of George Washington — His fame survives — bounded only by the limits of the earth, and by the extent of the human mind.

By S. Van Rensselaer, Esq. — The present and future officers and citizens of our Union — May they ever be influenced by Washington’s precepts.

By S. Preston, Esq. — The enlightened citizens of Norwalk — A strong phalanx against the wiles of bigoted Priests, and Mormon Impostors.

By Capt. Carkhuff — The Militia of Ohio — In peace, humble citizens — but in war, a thunderbolt.

By Wm. Bruester — The American Fair — The chains imposed by them, are the only ones that Freemen will ever wear.

After which, the company retired, in good season, pleased with the festivities of the social meeting.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Feb 28, 1832

AN ORATION,
Delivered at Norwalk, Ohio,
February 22d 1832,
BY THADDEUS B. STURGES, Esq.

We are permitted, fellow citizens, once more to commemorate one of the interesting epochs of American history. we are met again to mingle our sympathies, congratulations, and rejoicings over the prosperity and happiness of our much loved country, and by a bright retrospect of the past, to indulge in the most vivid anticipations of her future glory and renown. Other nations have had their festivals of mirth and their seasons of triumph. Often have they united their exertions to decorate with the regal diadem the brow of the tyrannical despot, and again and again, echoed their praises, to the Imperial conqueror just returning from scenes of carnage and slaughter. From the earliest periods of the world, men too have arisen, distinguished for their philanthropy and benevolence, who have received the loud peans of national gratitude, and dying have elicited a deep expression of national mourning..

Greece has had her Leonidas, Rome her Cato, and modern governments their distinguished heroes, whose names have been celebrated in all the sweetness of ancient song, and all the grandeur and pathos of modern eloquence. Certainly then, as Americans, we need no apology for the reason of this day’s assemblage. Indeed to call to mind the virtues of those who have preceded us in the great struggle of American freedom; to speak of their patriotism and philanthropy, and to portray the great benefits we have received from their hands, is calculated to awaken the most vivid sensibility, and the fire of liberty, which already animates the heart, only catches new inspiration from a recital of the heroic deeds of our forefathers.

What occasion, fellow citizens, is more suitable to review the interesting scenes of our country’s history, and impels us to testify by every demonstration of joy our heart felt thankfulness for our great and continued prosperity, than the centennial anniversary of the natal day of our beloved Washington. Go search the records of other nations, investigate the history of the rise and downfall of the governments of Europe, traverse by the dim flickering of the pages of romance, the mystical lore of fabulous ages; pursue in your inquiries all the traditions of oriental stories, and tell me where do you find a day whose events have proved more important to freedom and to man. Then arose into existence one whose influence upon the history of our world can only be told when tyrants shall no longer hold a subject — bigotry an advocate, or slavery a victim.

Though then in his swaddling clothes, completely the object of a mother’s care, regardless alike of the past, present, and future, through his success many a king has been made to tremble, and amid the shouts of his victories, many a despot with anguish and despair has heard the loud death knell of his future power and grandeur. Think you not, if at this eventful period, the mother of our illustrious hero could have looked down the vista of future years, that the prospect would not have swelled her heart with emotions and raptures too mighty for utterance? She then held in her arms the future glory and brightest champion of America, and when other monuments and mementoes of greatness should tumble into ruins, the name of her son would be handed down to future times encircled with a gilded halo of glory, which would mock alike the asperities of party and the ravages of time.

I will not, fellow citizens, on this occasion, trace minutely the boyhood of Washington, or attempt to describe all the scenes of his eventful life. Engraven, as they have been, upon your memories, even from your own childhood, it would but insult your good sense to attempt to portray all the transactions in which he was engaged. Appointed at the early age of 19, to an important post in the military of Virginia, and at 22 to that of Lieut. Colonel in the British army, he here fought the battles of his sovereign with the same ardent courage, disinterested philanthropy, and unyielding determination, that so distinguished his subsequent career. It is however to a late period of our history that we must refer for the brightest display of Washington’s character. It was when the clouds of war brooded over our land and threatened with one fell stroke to sweep in its desolating march every vestige of the last brightest hope of man.

A voice already arose from the ground, now crimsoned with human gore — Arise, O Man, to Freedom and Glory — It met with a welcome response in his devoted heart and thrilled thro’ every fibre of his soul. From his first election to the Continental Congress, while holding the command of the American army, during the seven year’s war, he ever exhibited a magnanimity of soul, and independence of spirit, and fortitude under sufferings and privations commensurate with the great cause he had espoused. Let Monmouth, Trenton, Yorktown and Germantown tell of his prudence in embarrassments, his modesty under praise, and his invincible courage in battle. Let the thousands who have fought by his side, during the memorable contest for our national existence, tell of his patriotic devotion to his country’s good and of his kind and generous heart. Let his parting with his compatriots at New York tell how much his soul and his whole soul was wrapped iin the future glory of America. Let his sentiments which he unfolded when he resigned his military commission, bear witness to his noble elevation of purpose, and the dignity of his soul. Let the warm attachment which holds in each of your hearts speak to-day how much we owe to this great and good man.

But it was not, fellow citizens, mere amid the clangor of war, and the shock of contending armies, that the virtues of Washington shone conspicuously. When surrounded with domestic dangers and domestic foes, subject to all the contentions of party spirit, and exposed to the intrigues of foreign emissaries, his voice was ever raised to still the tumults of passion, and stay the torrent of civil war. How infinitely contemptible do all the heroes of other times appear when viewed by the side of Washington. With no ambition but his country’s good, and no anxiety but her future welfare, he was as unwearied in promoting the former as wise in devising plans for the latter. Blessed with an affluence which placed him above the reach of sordid motives, he placed it all at the shrine of patriotism’s altar. Born with a heart which knew no guile, and governed by principles which claim affinity to higher beings, the goodness of his soul was only equalled by the splendor of his achievement. He firmly visited detested treachery, with all the unyielding severity of martial law, while the unmerited sufferings of the incorruptible patriot ever elicited the most lively expression of his sympathetic feelings. Alike conspicuous in the cabinet as in the field, he wielded the sword with the devoted enthusiasm of the Warrior, and wore the coronet with the integrity of the Philanthropist.

What a sublime spectacle does his retirement from the Executive Chair present. Tho’ elected for two successive terms, surrounded by those who delighted to do him honor, already having received the highest reward a grateful people could bestow, he forgets his illustrious life, he forgets fame, he forgets the trying scenes of other days, he forgets his companions in arms, he forgets himself, he forgets all, and catching a glimpse of the paradise of glory, he, (as his last official act) commits the interests of his dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of them to His holy keeping. O, fellow citizens, who does not this day feel proud of such a hero, and who will not lay aside all sectarian feeling, while we do homage to the memory of such a benefactor?

We have thus but barely alluded to some of the transactions of Washington’s life, and some of the bright traits in his shining character. But I may perhaps be asked, had he no faults? It has, fellow citizens, been alledged, that he was too prudent, and that by a bolder and chivalrous onset he would sooner have obtained American freedom. But when we take into consideration the circumstances under which he was placed, must we not assign to this quality the very prospects we this day enjoy. Already had the genius of liberty been driven from the Eastern Continent and gladly unfurled her bright standard upon the fertile shores of America — to the charge of Washington it was committed to guard its safety with untiring vigilance. Millions yet unborn would be freemen or slaves according to its protection. Weigh then, if you can, the full weight of responsibility under which he acted. Who would not yield the doubtful success of immediate onset to the long but sure prospect of ultimate victory?

True it is, Washington had his enemies — deep, dark, and malignant enemies; — and the same malicious bigotry, that in our youth would have prostrated the rising prospects of America, now guides the heart and wields the pen of those, who would tarnish the brightest jewel in our country — Yes, humbling as it is to us as freemen — degrading as it is to human nature — revolting as it is to our feelings — there are those, even in high places, who would tear from his character every thing his countrymen hold dear — heap upon his memory every epithet of disgrace, and consign him to the lowest depths of degradation and woe. —

Tasting the sweets — the precious sweets of the freedom, that was purchased by his exertions, they would associate his name with the Volneys, Paines, and Voltaires of other times. You undoubtedly anticipate me, in alluding to the recent attempts. at the Capital of a sister State, to spoil his hard earned laurels, and under the professed sanction of the Cross, disturbing the ashes of the illustrious dead; and this merely to gratify the malignant feelings of his heart. Is it not enough, fellow citizens, that surrounded with dangers and death, for seven long and successive years, he fought by the side and inspired the patriotism of your fathers? Is it not enough, that he ascribed all his success, and all his victories to the God of Battles? Is it not enough, that the secret grove and the midnight hour witnessed the ardency of his devotions and the fervency of his aspirations? Is it not enough, that he with his compatriots bequeathed to us the bright inheritance of our liberties?

Under the full blaze of Washington’s glory, beaming its radiant rays, shall a Minister of the Gospel, which inculcates as its highest precept “peace on earth and good will to men,” dare to insult the moral feelings of this nation, by associating his name with infidels and deists, and proclaim him as mocking at every thing sacred?

Forbid it Heaven! —

Forbid it every heart, that has one feeling that responds to the touch of sympathy. Let no official robes or sacred surplice protect the defamers of our heroes and statesmen — they are the moral wealth of this nation, and dead indeed must be the heart — malignant indeed must be the feelings, that would lessen these riches, or thus trample upon the ingenuous sympathies of the America heart.

Am I too severe on this subject?

Let any individual read the paper I hold in my hand and not feel his heart rise in sentiments of indignation at this vile attempt upon the fame of Washington. Yes — I go farther — I call upon every partizan, of every party, to unite with mine their voices this day in protecting the character of their common father. I call upon every patriot to manifest the feelings, which already burn in their breasts, at this unhallowed outrage upon the friend of freedom. Above all, I call upon every christian of every sect, by the holy character of their calling, to redeem religion from the disgrace of its professed advocate, by an united testimony of their decided disapprobation. Far be it from me, fellow citizens, on this occasion, to violate the sentiments, or injure the feelings of any individual; rather would I give a new zest to every cause of rejoicing, and add a still fresher wreath to every source of pleasure; — but where is the man, so dead to every better feeling of the heart, as not to respond to the sentiments I have here advanced? Where is the man, so devoted to sectarian feelings, who will not pronounce his loud anathemas upon him, who without cause, and without provocation, would sacrilegiously open the tombs of our departed heroes, and thus profane their memories with all the bigotry of modern fanaticism.

But to return from this digression. The death of our beloved hero was in accordance with his patriotic life. His country, his whole country, and nothing but his country, was the theme of his last days. Let those, who can recollect the day of his death in ’99, tell of a nation’s mourning.

Here, fellow citizens, we may pause and reflect upon the scenes which have passed. One hundred years from this day we beheld a few dependent colonies, without resources, without arms, subject to the caprice of a foreign king; with no glorious retrospection of the past, and no vivid anticipations of the future. We have beheld her fighting the battles of her sovereign. We have seen a small but chosen band resist the usurpations of lawless power. We have seen her for seven long and successive years coping with the most powerful kingdom of the Eastern Continent — struggling even amid the inclemencies of the seasons and even without the common necessaries of life, fighting for their fire sides and homes, with no prospect but ignominy and death. —

With the most anxious expectation, we have seen the standard of liberty for, apparently, the last time unfurl her patriotic stripes, and we have witnessed this standard gloriously forcing its way against the most deadly opposition, and finally triumph over all its foes and all its enemies. The fearful struggle that ensued may well have attracted the attention of the nations of the earth. It was a moral spectacle, which may well have enlisted the prayers and sympathies of every patriot of every clime. We have seen our beloved country assume an important stand among the nations of the earth. We have seen her powerful at home and respected abroad — her commerce whitening every sea, and her progress surprising every heart. With more than thirteen millions of inhabitants, she has advanced, during the different periods of war and of peace, and constantly pursuing her onward course of human glory. — Free from the embarrassments of a national debt, and with no object but the happiness of her citizens, she at this moment presents the proudest spectacle ever told in song or recorded history. Is there an individual that does not this day feel his heart arise in aspirations of gratitude and thankfulness at the future prospects of America; and

“Breathes there a soul so dead,
That never to himself hath said
This is my own, my native land.”

While we have beheld with astonishment, the rise and downfall of other nations, seen some of the most beautiful specimens of political power, crumbling into ruins, witnessed even the predictions of to-day refuted by the events of to-morrow, and even seen the final catastrophe of many of the governments of the East unmoved and unharmed amid the surrounding elements of discord and confusion, we have only pursued our even and constant march of greatness and grandeur.

Look around you Fellow citizens, and contemplate the numerous avenues to happiness, which the genius of our government unfolds. Survey the numerous interests which shedding their revivifying radiance upon surrounding objects, are now moving forward in constant harmony, & each calculated to ameliorate our condition and hourly adding a still brighter tinge to our political horizon. Behold for one moment, the comparative superiority of our institutions with those of the dynasties of Europe. Here no voice from the abodes of tyranny strikes terror and dismay to the rising emotions of your souls. Here, free as the air, you breathe, you are permitted to indulge in every feeling of your heart. No religious fanatic dare here raise the arm of persecution and compel you to renounce the faith of your fathers, or bow your knees to the bigoted prophets of the East. All upon equality, the rich and the poor, the resident of the palace, or the peasant of the cottage, you can to-day mingle your sympathies on the rising destinies of America.

Oh! Fellow citizens, could Washington even in imagination have beheld this interesting Anniversary, — think you not, it would have swelled his heart with higher emotions and caused it to thrill with still greater extacies of joy and delight. Think you not it would have raised still higher the exertions of his arms and the reflections of his soul. Are our departed friends ever permitted to revisit the scenes of their former labors and former loves? If so, what tongue can tell, what imagination conceive the thoughts that glow in his breast at even the present prospects of his dearest country?

But Fellow citizens, the effects of the exertions of Washington are not confined to our own country. They have carried their sure and irresistible influence into the governments of the East, ameliorating the condition and spreading light and joy over our world. They have held their place in the retirements of the Imperial Palace, and already a ray of light has sprung from the very bed of despotism, destined yet to illuminate Europe. Many a devoted martyr to his country’s good, while lifting up his fervent and animated aspirations for the welfare of man, (although surrounded with the ensigns of royalty and the trappings of power,) has raised his drooping eyes and a beam of heavenly joy has gleamed over his countenance, while catching a glimpse of the glory which encircles the fame of our beloved Washington. The Patriot of every clime has looked to our shores with the most anxious expectations and are even now watching with ardent hopes, the last experiment, whether man can be free.

Tyrants have been taught by a lesson full of emphasis, that in the heart of man, even subjugated man, there burns a fire which fanaticism cannot smother, or oppression destroy. Greece, France and Poland, have each in their turn, led by the beacon light of American freedom risen in their Native Independence, torn off the badges of kingly power and proclaimed in a voice well understood the omnipotence of those principles bestowed by their Creator. And though torn by all the strifes of internal divisions and shaken to their very centre, by all the convulsions of civil war, yet they have only tended to provoke an inquiry which will eventually regenerate our world. —

Blood undoubtedly will yet flow and many a devoted friend to civil rights will bid farewell, a long farewell, to his country’s freedom. Yet Americans, the time is coming, when some returning sun shall mingle in its radiance, that of universal emancipation. Poland, unhappy, ill fated Poland, may again rise and again fall. Kings for a time may rejoice at the success of despotic arms, and the tomb of Kosciusko may still for a time be moistened by the tear of regret, & a night even darker than the grave, may still hover over this unhappy empire. Louis may again ride in the Imperial Chariot, and the Court of St. Cloud, may again witness decrees subjugating the Citizens of France. Turkish superstition and Mahomadan frenzy may still for a season carry success to the Moslem sceptre. Modern bigotry and ecclesiastical domination may forge still stronger and still closer chains upon the spirits of English Yeomanry. Inquisitorial cruelties may yet drench in blood, the fairest portion of the Eastern Continent, and reach in their lawless crusades, the hearts of the great and the home of the brave. But all in vain. The cause of freedom, is the cause of man. It is the cause of God. It will finally triumph. It will ultimately prevail.

Such, Fellow Citizens, are some of the effects of our Independence, obtained greatly by the exertions of him whose birth, we to-day commemorate.

But while we are called upon this day to rejoice, let us not forget the surviving soldiers and officers of the Revolution. A few of those, who fought by the side of Washington, still exist. They remain, it is true, like the oaks, stript of the foliage of their younger days, liable every moment to fall by the storms and tempests with which they are surrounded. In a few more years, the last of those who were the companions, as well as the compatriots of Washington, will descend into their graves, and their names be only known in our country’s history or in the inspirations of poetic song. They now behold their descendants raised to affluence and prosperity, and with the flush of patriotism, still glowing upon their withered cheeks, they raise their supplicating arms, and ask for returning gratitude. Shall they be denied? Never let a Nation’s sad regret prove the sequel of American ingratitude. Heard you not that shout of joy, and anthem of rejoicing, when they returned to their firesides and homes? Beheld you not that tear of exhilarating joy, when our country was proclaimed delivered and free? They belong to the veterans of other times.

Silence not that shout, dry not that tear. —

Smooth the decline of their years, and then in other days, we may invoke the spirits of our departed heroes, to lead us safely to the highest pinacle of National grandeur. —

What a debt of gratitude do we owe to the soldiers of the Revolution. —

As some requital let us hand to our children, and our children’s children, the bright inheritance of our liberties, uncontaminated and unimpaired. Let us one and all, testify this day, those hallowed feelings which already swell in every heart. As followers of different political sentiments, tho’ equal inheritors of the fame of Washington — let us lay aside all differences of opinions, and during all the festivities of this occasion, let us act as becometh American and freemen.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Feb 28, 1832

Buckeyes Prevail, Brook the Trail, Send Loved Ones Gold Dust in the Mail

April 7, 2009

gold-rush-emigrant-train-1849

THE CALIFORNIA ADVENTURERS.

A letter has been received in town from a member of the xenia company, dated June 7, which was brought to the settlements by a returned emigrant. It states that they expect to reach California in 40 days — that grass is abundant, and the country most beautiful. The Sanduskians are ahead, all doing well — no cholera — Indians friendly.
Sandusky Mirror, 7th.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jul 17, 1849

squiggle1

Latest from California.

By the politeness of C.L. Latimer, Esq., of this place, we are permitted to make some interesting extracts from a letter received by him from Mr. T.B. Sturges, written since his arrival at the Gold Region. It is postmarked San Francisco, Sept. 1. Respecting his passage over the plains, Mr. Sturges says:

“My journey has been a long, tedious, and somewhat dangerous one. Often have I felt that with the exhausted team that I have had, I could go no further; and once I turned my mules waiting for some one to come along and to see if I could not get assistance through.

40 Mile Desert

40 Mile Desert

“When I approached the Desert, it looked very discouraging indeed. There was a distance of 85 miles, composed of a barren sandy plain, with the sand 18 inches deep and scarcely a particle of wood, water, or feed of any kind. So too of the mountains. It required 6 or 7 span of mules and 20 men to force up the steep mountains, sometimes three miles in length, an empty wagon. A man who starts upon this journey in charge of a team, with the expectation of finding an easy time of it, will be greatly disappointed. I have, however, borne the journey very well, and my health is now better than it has been for the last ten years. All who see me are surprised at the change in appearance. It has not, however, been so fortunate with those who are behind. I am informed by Packers, who started late, that the emigrants are dying off by hundreds, and many are returning to the States. There must necessarily be much suffering on the route.

Sacramento 1850 (image from worldmapsonline.com)

Sacramento 1850 (image from worldmapsonline.com)

I arrived here (Sacramento city,) on yesterday, 25th of August. This place is two miles above Sutter’s Fort. It has sprung up within the last six months, and contains from 4 to 6,000 inhabitants. Most of the buildings are merely posts put in the ground, with rafters and covered with drilling or other cloth, to keep out the sun. Rain is a thing unknown here in the summer season.

“As to the prospects of the Gold Region, about 15 miles from here, opinions of course, vary much. There is, however, no doubt, that with industry, any man may acquire from sixteen to twenty-five dollars per day; and sometimes he will find a spot that will give him daily, one to two hundred dollars. No man who retains his health can fail to do well. The weather is very hot and requires great prudence in new comers. Provisions are high. Flour $9 per cwt.; pork, 25 cents per pound; — Sugar 20 cents, and other things in proportion. Common labor brings $10 per day. I found here, Mr. McKnight, (formerly of Sandusky City,) who pays his help at the rate of $3,500 a year. He keeps a boarding house. The state of society is much better than I anticipated. Formerly murders and thefts were frequent; but a number of executions have struck terror to the evil doers. — Upon the whole I do not regret my journey, and think I shall do well.”

We understand that a letter has been received by Mr. Chase, of Milan, from E.B. Atherton, of the Milan Company, who had passed on a day or two in advance of his company, to make arrangements, which states that they had arrived at Sacramento City, all well.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Oct 23, 1849

Letters from the Norwalk Californians.

By the kindness of Mr. S. Patrick of this place, we are permitted to publish the following letter received the past week from his son, Delano R. Patrick, who left here last April for the Gold Region. Letters have also been received from Messrs. T.B. Sturges, John S. Vredenburgh, S.C. Wickham and George Whyler, who are well; also one from Josiah Roop, of Republic, dated as late as the 18th of October.

Specimens of the California staple, consisting of small lumps and spangles of gold, in the condition in which they were found, were enclosed in the letters.

The intelligence received has served to augment the interest here, and we learn that some of our most respectable and esteemed citizens are preparing for a visit to the Pacific.

Cold Spring Valley, Sept. 11, 1849.

Dear Father: — We arrived in the Gold Region the 23d of last month, in good health. Coming the new Mormon road, we struck what are called the “dry diggings,” situated on Weaver’s Creek, about 50 miles from Sacramento City. From these diggings we proceeded to the City for the purpose of purchasing a supply of provisions, selling our teams, and selecting a location for winter quarters. Sparks‘ and my team, which was reduced to three mules and a half worn wagon, we sold for $500 before reaching the City. Our mules were said to be in the best condition of any that had crossed the plains during the season.

Sutter's Fort (image from www.fourth-millennium.net)

Sutter's Fort (image from http://www.fourth-millennium.net)

Sacramento is a City of mushroom growth — sixty days ago containing only two or three dwellings — now a population of 3000 people. It is situated on Sacramento river, about two miles from Sutter’s Fort. There are but 15 or 20 framed houses in the city; the majority of the dwellings consisting of tents, and canvas stretched over frames of house-like form. The business of the city is immense — provisions and goods are stacked up in large heaps throughout the city, there being no place to store them. Of thieves there is little fear, as trials are short, and sentences quickly executed; ropes are plenty, and oak trees convenient.

We purchased flour at $8 per hundred, bacon 40 cts. per lb., sugar 16, rice 8, coffee 16, molasses $1 per gal., pork $10 per bbl. Our provisions not having arrived, we purchased a supply sufficient for 3 or 4 months, and arrived at our present location the first of this month. We selected this place not from its being the best mining region, but because it is a pleasant and healthy location, and first rate water convenient. It is called Big Spring Valley, is situated 5 miles east from Sutter’s Mill and 5 west from Weaverville, in the dry diggings.

But I presume you are impatient to learn what amount per day can be made in the gold region. In this vicinity the gold is found in small scales or particles very equally distributed in the bed of the stream, or in fact any where in the valley, which is at this season nearly dry. Every man who is able and willing, can by hard labor dig and wash from $8 to $16 per day. In the Weaver dry diggings some have dug two or three hundred in one day, while others have worked days without obtaining  any amount. But here, when a man commences work in the morning, he is sure of from $8 to $16 by night, ready pay — no bank rags. Gold digging here is very much like stone quarrying with you — very much like work, you may be assured. I find that the wages of the gold digger here, as compared with the wages of the mechanic, are substantially the same as at home; that is, a mechanic here can earn more per day than the gold digger can possibly average, although there are some cases where a gold digger may by what we call good luck, make much more than a mechanic could possibly earn. We expect, if we continue healthy, to average the above mentioned amounts, viz. from $8 to $16 per day.

The extensive immigration has so completely crowded the best diggings, that many are obliged to carry their dirt a considerable distance for the purpose of washing it, although this difficulty will be obviated when the rainy season commences.

We have provisions sufficient for four months, mining tools, a tent, and clothing for one year, all of which I purchased here (with the exception of clothing,) at California prices. The tools with which we started, we were obliged to throw out by the way to lighten our load.

The majority at this place are Ohioans. The Findlay, Bellevue and Milan Companies, and a company from Southern Ohio are settled here. T.B. Sturges and son are here as well. Vredenburgh and son came into the gold region about one week since. I have not seen them. We passed them on the road near Green river and arrived here sixteen days in advance. We passed the Milan boys this side of Fort Hall. Direct letters to Sacramento City until you hear again. Enclosed you will find a small portion of gold dust, which I dug and washed.
Yours,
D.R. PATRICK

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio)Dec 18, 1849

Sacramento City 1849 (image from www.geog.ucsb.edu)

Sacramento City 1849 (image from http://www.geog.ucsb.edu)

From Our California Friends.

The Sanduskian publishes a letter from J.H. Drake, dated Sacramento City, February 17, 1850. He states that T.B. Sturges, Esq., and son, and Mr. Patrick’s sons, of this place, were well, and at the springs, on Weaver’s Creek. The mines there were not as good as in other places, and it was probable they would look for better mining. He had dug there himself until January 1st. and had averaged almost $16 per day. He then removed to Sacramento City, where, in partnership with E.B. Atherton, of the Milan Co., he was keeping a public house, known as the “Buckeye House” — board $21 per week, lodging $1, single meals $1, liquor from 2’s to 4’s per drink “according to quality.”

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Apr 16, 1850

Feather River (image from http://thelanterninn.com)

Feather River (image from http://thelanterninn.com)

Sacramento and Yuba Cities — The Great Freshet.

Mr. J.H. Drake, in his letter, from which we quoted in our last, Yuba city, &c., “On the 9th of January, the water rose and overflowed the banks of the river, so you could pass through the principal streets of the city with boats, with 6 and 8 feet of water. The rise was owing to the very warm weather and the snow melting in the mountains, and so sudden was the rise that within one hour after the water broke over the banks the city was one sea of water. Luckily for me I had just completed a boat 26 feet long, in company with some others, for a trip up Feather river, and luckily it launched itself. On the night I speak of a person not present, could hardly imagine the distress and confusion it created. Every house in the city was flooded to the first floor, and hundreds to the second story, and all was cry for help. Our boat soon got to work in transferring the inhabitants to places which they considered safe. 30 or 40 ships laid in the river, and very many went on board for safety. The city was full of stock of every description, and the greater part of it was drowned — say 2,000 head. The portion that was saved, swam to the higher bank about 2 miles distant, near Sutter’s Fort. The fort is built of doby bricks, and is a very pleasant place. I am of opinion that the City of Sacramento is the richest city of its size, in the whole world, lay coin and uncoined gold and property at its current rates.

This city is situated in the valley of the Sacramento, 190 miles above San Francisco, at the junction of the Sacramento and the American Fork rivers. Uber City, situated on the Uber river, near Feather river, about 100 miles above, has a population of about 4,000. It is situated in the vicinity of very rich mines in the mountains, and all the streams afford excellent mining facilities. Here miners have made their 50 and $100 per day. — The last season some of them have returned with wealth, and others poorer than when first in the mines. I saw a lump of gold from Uber river, that sold for $6,000 another piece found at the Georgetown cannon by Dr. Davis of Virginia, that weighed 49 pounds, another piece found on the McCallama weighed something over 93 pounds, however, this last piece contained some quartz, which does not hurt its value in the least, as undoubtedly it will be kept as a speciman; and a thousand smaller pieces which are an every day occurrence.”

Overland Route (image from http://zimmer.csufresno.edu)

Overland Route (image from http://zimmer.csufresno.edu)

The Overland Route. Mr. Drake gives the following sketch of the Overland Route to California:

“From the time I left Independence, Missouri, until I arrived at this city was 100 days — a very extraordinary short trip; and without any serious accidents, save having some mules and horses stolen by emigrant foot-pads. We crossed the deserts of sands with safety, mostly in the night time. All those emigrants that undertook to cross them in the day time lost their stock and necessarily all they had. —

We crossed the Sierra Nevada mountains in July and found plenty of snow. The boys took a frolic of snow balling — they were very steep, rocky, sideling and high, and in all instances the higher peaks were destitute of trees and plants, and exhibited to the traveler a vast pile of gray granite rocks, thrown together by some convulsion of the earth. At first view it appeared almost impassable for a footman, however, we surmounted all our difficulties by industry, prudence and patience.

One word for the emigrants that arrived last fall: The government officers employed men, purchased mules, horses and provisions and returned on the route and relieved all suffering emigrants. The mountains were deep with snow; and many, very many you could see forcing their way, men women and children packing their whole stock of provisions, (as for clothing they had none,) on an old broken down mule, horse, ox, or even a cow, and still a great many were found without any stock, and some got through on foot — doing pretty well at that.

I am of the opinion that not more than one quarter of the wagons that left the frontier last spring arrived in the gold district. Some were left from necessity by falling, by breaking, shrinking, and some abandoned for the want of teams, and thousands would abandon their wagons, goods and every thing except a small stock of provisions and their fire arms, and thus force their way through, worn out and miserable, and not having made better time than those who clung to their wagons, &c.; enough of that, it’s gone by.

The whole distance from Independence by Sublet’s Cutoff, and the southern route, i.e. “Carson’s river route,” to Sacramento City, by measurement, (roadometer,) is 2,188 3/4 miles.”

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Apr 16, 1850

**Click on the “Gold Rush” category for more California Gold Rush posts.

The first part of T.B. Sturges’ journal is HERE.

Buckeyes Catch the Gold Fever

April 5, 2009
Image from www.legendsofamerica.com

Independence MO (Image from http://www.legendsofamerica.com)

From Independence.

The Tiffin Standard publishes a letter from Mr. J. Roop of Republic Seneca county, dated May 2d, 12 miles West of Independence, Mo., containing a few interesting items, in addition to what we have published. The number of emigrants who had left, or were encamped in that vicinity, he states, were variously estimated at from 10 to 12,000 persons. Many were going out with their families, among whom, was Dr. Bascom of Kentucky, brother to the celebrated divine of that name. Independence is the seat of justice of Jackson county, and contains about 2,000 inhabitants. All its citizens, Mr. Roop says, are now coining money, merchants, mechanics and laborers. There are Masonic and Odd Fellows’ Lodges in the place and a flourishing Division of the Sons of Temperance. Cholera, he says, “has made its appearance among the topers and rummies of Independence.” The country is “well improved and well fenced by stakes and riders, Pennsylvania fashion, to about 10 miles west of Independence; but the farms are large, containing from 300 to 800 acres, and the fields are from 30 to 100 acres each. Almost everything needed for the emigrant, is cheaper there than in Seneca county. He gives a statement of the cost, at Independence, of the outfit of his company, (provisions calculated for 6 months,) consisting of 6 persons, (among whom are T.B. Sturges, and Son, of this place,) which presents a total of $825.50, or $137.58 each. He thinks $200 each will cover all expenses, except clothing. Their stock weighs about 4,000 lbs., making one ton to a wagon, which is a light load as the roads are excellent for the first 800 miles, at which distance the loads would be partially consumed. Encamped about 2 miles from town was a company of 12, including the two Sons of Mr. Patrick, of this place, John H. M’Ardle, &c., who would probably unite with the Seneca company, which would then number 45 men, 14 wagons, 4 tents, 32 yokes of oxen, 16 mules and 6 ponies. They expected to start from that place on the 4th of May. Mules are worth from $50 to $75 each; oxen about $50 a yoke. Money is abundant there. A few days previous he saw several buffalo robes full of Mexican dollars, landed at some of the stores at Independence, direct from Santa Fe. There had been no sickness in the camp at that time, and all were in “perfect health and fine spirits.”

The St. Louis Republican publishes letters from Independence to the 13th.
The emigrants who had congregated there had nearly all gone on, being hastily driven off by the fear of the cholera, which had appeared among them. A letter of the 13th says:

During the week I have heard of 54 deaths, the larger portion of which occurred in camp, and some as far as 80 miles out. Information from the camps beyond that distance report them in good health; such as were affected with cholera, when nearer the settlements, have recovered entirely.

The roads in every direction are lined with teams of emigrants. Up to this period, at least 14,000 persons have arrived at their various places of rendezvous, and are ready or have moved to the plains.

The first train of the pioneer line, comprising 20 passenger carriages, 18 wagons for baggage and supplies, with 125 passengers, left Independence for Upper California, on the 9th inst.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jun 5, 1849

Letters From the Plains.

By the courtesy of Mrs. T.B. STURGES, of this place, we have been favored with a letter which she has just received from her husband, dated 21st ult. 260 miles west from Independence, comprising a journal of his tour, to that time. We have culled from it such items as we think will be of interest to our readers. It was sent to St. Joseph’s by a gentleman who left the camp of the emigrants on the 22d ult.

Mr. STURGES and his company left Independence on the 29th of April, but camped a few miles beyond, and did not commence their journey over the Plains until the 4th ult. The following are the notes selected from that time:

May 4. — We stopped to-day at the last house in the States, (about 20 miles from Independence,) where was a small grocery. We passed Mr. Drake, Parks and Mr. Patrick’s boys this evening, who had started ahead of us. They were well.

May 5. — We to-day passed two monuments erected by the first emigrants to Oregon, who reared them in commemoration of their starting. They consist simply of flat stones placed one above another in mason shape but with no mortar. The country through which we have passed is undulating Prairie, with as beautiful prospect as ever was seen. It is nothing like the flat prairies of Ohio, but consists of hills and dales, and in such a variety as cannot but be admired by every lover of scenery. Companies are constantly passing us, while others are camped with their cattle feeding. To-night we camped upon what is called Indian Creek. Came to-day about 15 miles. To-night for the first time, we stand guard for fear of the Shawneese Indians stealing our cattle. Four are selected who watch until 1 o’clock, and then 4 until daylight. No one can conceive how grand, and still how desolate, these Prairies look. As far as the eye can reach, not a tree or even a shrub can be seen. Where we are camped to-night, there is a single Elm tree of great size, which has always been spared by the passing emigrant. It stands alone, without even a twig to bear it company. It has always been called “The Solitary Elm.” You will find it described in Bryant’s work on California.

Incident. — While Lewis, (son of Mr. Sturges,) and some others were in search of the cattle, as they were walking, a rattlesnake 6 feet long and 8 years old was discovered coiled up within 6 inches of Lewis’s leg, prepared to spring at him; a well directed blow from one of his associates, killed the snake on the spot. He had 8 rattles. To-day news came that the captain of the Zanesville, Ohio, Co. died this morning of cholera this side of Independence.

Monday, May 7. — To-day we have not seen wood or water. Yesterday and to-day we have passed the skeletons of 21 oxen. Last winter the Santa Fe traders lost a number of hundred yoke of oxen by cold; they froze to death. The Indian tribes also suffered severely, losing their horses and cattle. Snow was 6 to 10 feet deep here, and they could not hunt. At 1 o’clock to-day we reached the turning-off trail to Oregon, and took the California road. A few rods distant was lately a large Indian encampment. An emigrant was taken sick of cholera and was taken to an Indian house. With the exception of two or three, the Indians became alarmed and fled in the utmost consternation. Every instance of cholera that I have heard of, can be traced to imprudence and exposure. Heaven has favored us; we have had no sickness and all are well. We made 18 miles to-day. Our eyes were gladdened by the sight of 500 acres of timbered land on a stream called “Bull Creek.” Within 30 rods of us is an Indian house with enclosed fielded, good feners and good garden; but the Indians are absent.

May 11. — We are now 110 miles from Independence. To-day we crossed the Kansas River. The ferry is kept by a Frenchman who has intermarried with the Indians. They gave him a mile square on the River, and he is making money. He charges $1 on each wagon, and takes over in one day from 50 to 60, employing 6 hands to push over the boats. A short distance from the Ferry is an Indian and French camp. The Indian houses are mostly built of bark. Poles are bent so as to form an arch and circle; barks are then placed on the outside so as to lap like shingles — some of these barks are 4 feet wide and 6 feet long. These houses are some of them 24 feet across; the fire is made in the center and there is no floor.

May 12. — To-day passed numerous Indian houses of the Pottawottamies; most of the inmates were packing up to move. They had heard of the existence of cholera among the whites and were frightened. One of our men went up to one of their cabins, when an Indian chief came out with a pistol in his hand, and said in broken English — “White man sick. Go away — no want to see you.”

8 o’clock, P.M. — Five or six companies are in sight, and numerous camp fires give the appearance of a village. There is an Indian Trading Post 4 miles from here, where there are 6 stores and quite a village.

May 13. — To-day passed over beautiful prairie, well timbered, every now and then covered with beautiful flowers. Nothing can surpass the beauty of the scenery, formed of gentle hills and lovely vallies. It seems as if nature had exerted her power to make his the most beautiful landscape in the world. Language cannot describe it. The Indians here are many of them wealthy, and it is no uncommon thing to see them riding along dressed in the richest style with silk-velvet leggins, splendid blankets, and the harness to their ponies decorated in the highest manner.

Yesterday at the Trading Post, I saw a young squaw purchase a red Canton crape shawl at $10, with as much unconcern as any of our Yankees.

May 14. — We passed abundance of wild peas to-day, which are not sufficiently advanced to use. We also saw plenty of wild onions, which taste very much like our garden onion. They are now small, but grow during the season to a considerable size. We made 20 miles before camping.

May 15. — I walked to-day 18 miles, and we made 24 before camping. We have as usual passed over beautiful prairies interspersed with timber. Sometimes we can look in any direction and discover nothing but prairie; now ascending hill and then descending; at other times in every direction, we see handsome groves; and what is peculiar, we never find timber, without at the same time finding abundance of water.

We have encamped within 3 miles of the Vermillion River, and are in the vicinity of the Pawnee Indians, who are hostile. We are informed by scouts, who have been sent as spies ahead, that the Pawnees have had a council, and have determined to make war upon the emigrants and attack every small company. We have no fears unless we are careless.

May 16. — Passed the Vermillion and Blue rivers to-day, and had to let down our wagons by ropes on both. We saw the grave of A. Fuller, (supposed to be from Sandusky City,) who was killed last month by the accidental discharge of a rifle while unloading a wagon — Saw plenty of wild peas in blossom.

May 17. — Passed the spot where the St. Joseph road intersects with ours. I is 110 miles from St. Joseph to the junction. We found the St. Joseph road filled with wagons as far as we could see. It is said 1,500 wagons have passed the junction from St. Joseph, and 450 from Independence. There are more behind us than before. No Indians have appeared the last two days.

May 18.Drake and the Patrick boys have at length come up. As we supposed, one of their number has been sick. Delano Patrick has had the cholera in its worst form, as he says from drinking bad water. They supposed he would die for 12 hours. He is now well. They also broke down and were compelled to exchange wagons. They will now remain in our company. They give doleful accounts of the cholera at Independence and on the Missouri River. Where we now are we feel there is but little danger. A company of U.S. soldiers passed us to-day. They are under the command of Major Sanderson and are of Noah Newton’s Regiment. — He is at Fort Laramie, 400 miles west of this. I shall see him.

May 19. — We passed the last two days on the same description of country as before described. There are now 19 wagons in our company. We have seen no deer or other wild animals. The emigration drives them from the road. We are now encamped at Sandy Creek, 45 miles east of Platte River.

Fort Laramie 1868

Fort Laramie 1868

Monday, May 21. — This morning we came across a place where the Columbus company had camped and had proved very unfortunate. In the night the Indians stampeded their cattle, which is done thus: Two or three Indians dress themselves in bear or goat skins, and creep up to the horses, mules or oxen, and remove their fastenings in the night; 50 to 100 Indians then on horseback, rush by the camp, hallowing, yelling, and making the greatest noise possible. The cattle become frightened and run in every direction; another company of Indians are then ready to drive them off. The Columbus company lost in this manner 70 head; they have recovered about 30 head, and were searching for the balance. The Indians will sometimes return the cattle, on paying a large reward. You will see how this company is situated; 250 miles away from the settlements and with only a part of their teams to draw their loads. The camp where they staid the night when they lost their cattle, was covered with boxes, pork, flour, utensils and everything else, which they had been compelled to throw away to lighten their loads. I saw 200 lbs. of bacon and lots of flour, thus cast upon the ground. This company came with us in the same boat from Cincinnati, and are fine men. We passed to-day U.S. Soldiers in pursuit of a deserter. I have omitted to mention that a short time since, Newton Leonard from Norwalk, deserted from Fort Laramie; $30 is offered for his apprehension. He attempted to desert from the Fort, and was put in the guard-house, awaiting his trial; the guard got to playing cards, when he secretly clothed himself in their clothes, obtained their arms and silently left the guard-house and passed the sentinels without suspicion. He had for misconduct been degraded from Sergeant to private, and this was the cause of his desertion. It taken, he will be publicly whipped.

Nebraska (image from www.xphomestation.com)

Nebraska (image from http://www.xphomestation.com)

We came to-night to a creek called Little Blue, where we camped, having made 20 miles. We now number 21 wagons, and are in perfect health and spirits. Should we succeed in the balance of our journey as well as we have thus far, we shall have no reason to regret or complain. Everything has gone well and we have no disposition to return without accomplishing the object of our journey.

LATEST FROM THE PLAINS — Letters have been received during the past week, from several of the California emigrants who left this vicinity, written at different points on the Plains. Mr. S.C. Wickham of the Milan company, writes under date of 17th ult. on this side of the river Platte, and Mr. J.V. Vredenburgh who is with the same company, writes four days later, on the 21st ult. at the Platte. They report the company in excellent health and spirits.

** James Patrick was the cousin of the Patrick boys mentioned in these articles. His father, Spicer Patrick, was the brother of Sheppard Patrick, who lived in Norwalk, Ohio.

Death of Dr. James B. Patrick.

The melancholy intelligence of the sudden death of Dr. Jas. B. Patrick, son of Dr. Spicer Patrick of Charlestown, Va., reached here on Tuesday of last week. He died of Cholera, after a few hours of illness, at Independence, Mo., on the 18th ult. This unexpected, but certain intelligence, so peculiarly afflicting to the family, numerous relatives and friends, as it spread among our citizens, cast a gloom over the whole village.

The deceased was truly a young gentleman of no ordinary promise; no pains had been spared in his educations. In 1845, he graduated with great credit, at Centre College, Danville, Ky., and in the Spring of ’48 received the degree of Doctor of Medicine at the University of Louisville.

After visiting a large portion of the Western country he selected the flourishing city of Chicago, as the place to enter upon the practice of the profession of his choice. He had but just opened his office there last Fall, when the mania for emigration to California seized so many of the enterprising, bold and adventurous young men of our country; and, he with a few chosen companions determined to try his fortune in that newly acquired territory. He had been a short time at Independence, the place of rendezvous for the emigrants on that route, and when on the point of moving forward, was suddenly arrested by the fell destroyer. He has descended, in the morning of life, to the grave, among strangers, far from his family & friends. On the 2d inst., he would have been 26 years old. He was of a vigorous constitution, and of commanding form, possessed of an active and discriminating mind, generous and honorable in his bearing, all who knew him had predicted for him a career honorable and useful distinction in his profession and in society. This sad event should teach us all the uncertainty of life, and, “what shadows we are and what shadows we pursue.” — Charlestown (Va.) Republican.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jun 19, 1849

Fort Kearny (image from http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu)

Fort Kearny (image from http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu)

From the Plains.

We published the journal of T.B. Sturges, Esq. up to May 21st. During the past week his lady has received a continuation of it to May 26th which she has kindly furnished us, but too late for insertion this week.

He writes from Fort Kearney, May 26th — “All well, and none discouraged.” May 23d, he says that he found in the road a card signed John V. Vredenburgh, (with the Milan company,) which stated that they passed that place on the 18th of May, and “all well.” We will continue the journal in our next.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jul 2, 1849

gold-rush-first-night-on-plains

From the Plains.

The St. Louis Republican publishes a letter dated June 6th, from Fort Kearney, which states that up to the previous night, 4, 804 wagons had passed that place. — Several hundred wagons were still behind, but the number of those passing was daily diminishing. The buffaloes have been driven off by the emigrants so that not one was to be seen in the whole valley of the Platte.

We continue below, the journal of T.B. Sturges, Esq., noticed in our last.

gold-rush-st-joseph-18501

May 23, 1849. This morning we came across another company whose oxen had been stampeded. The Indians got into their camp, notwithstanding they had a guard set, and frightened their cattle, which, in spite of all their efforts, broke from their fastenings and fled in every direction. Some of the company will be compelled to return. When we passed, the company had recovered thirty head only our of one hundred. Some of our oxen to-day exhibit symptoms of giving out, and we shall be compelled, for a few days, to go slower, until we come to better feed. We have lately travelled from 6 to 12 o’clock, making about twelve miles, — then halt an hour, and go on till five P.M., making about 8 miles further, each day. We were passed to-day by a company of U.S. Dragoons, who had one man very sick with Small Pox, which he undoubtedly took at St. Joseph. — This is a disease which has hitherto proved very fatal among the Indians, sometimes carrying off more than half of a large tribe in a single season, they knowing nothing about vaccination. The weather this morning was very cold indeed, with a high and cutting wind, rendering it almost impossible to build a fire. To-day found in the road a card signed by John V. Vredenburgh, stating that they passed this place on the 18th inst., — all well. They are, therefore, five days ahead of us, but when we take into consideration that they started from St. Joseph three days before we left Independence, and had 60 miles less to travel, and that they are with mules, while we have oxen, we have no reason to complain of our speed. We are camped to-night upon a small stream, with plenty of wood and water, although as a precaution, we carried water in buckets a mile and a half.

May 24. — This morning did not turn out till 6 o’clock, as we had determined not to start so early in order to let our oxen recruit. Although last night was very comfortable, yet this morning we found the weather so cold as to require all our extra clothing. Indeed, it is seldom these prairies are without high wind. It is like the ocean in this respect. We camped to-night, as informed, within three miles of the Platte river. About sundown the wind commenced blowing a perfect hurricane, with a storm gathering, and thundering loudly. We pitched our tent, and I dug a ditch quite round it, and banked up the sides with dirt. I had just finished when the rain descended in torrents, and continued till midnight. By this precaution we kept dry and comfortable, whilst many of those who neglected it were forced to take refuge in their wagons. Had to send a mile and a half for wood and such water as would answer to drink. Feed to-day very poor. One ox of Mr. Holmes sick and will probably die, which will be a great loss in this stage of our journey. Made 18 miles to-day.

Crossing Platte River, NE (image from http://cehs.unl.edu)

Crossing Platte River, NE (image from http://cehs.unl.edu)

May 25. — We were awakened this morning by our Captain, stating that some of the company were preparing to go to the Platte river before breakfast, or feeding our cattle. Accordingly we got under way about five o’clock, and after travelling four miles, came up with Mr. Hodgpett‘s train of one hundred wagons, from whom we ascertained that it was still six miles to the river. The roads are horrible, (being the river bottoms.) We turned out our oxen, and by sending two miles, obtained water for breakfast. Broke up one of our boxes for wood. After remaining an hour and a half we again started, and about 11 o’clock came to the river. We found the water very high, and should it not go down before we reach the crossing place (about 60 miles,) we shall be compelled to wait. The Platte river is a very wide and rapid stream, but as it is much swollen, it is difficult to tell what would be its appearance when the water is low. —

The roads, to-day, have been horrible, beyond description. We got stalled once, and it was as much as six yoke of oxen could do to draw us out. We had heard previously of this bad piece of road, and it has always been discouraging to emigrants. We passed up the river about six miles and concluded to camp. The government teams came up while we were consulting. The man sick with the small pox is dead, and three more of the soldiers have taken the same disease. It is to be feared that it will spread among the soldiers rapidly. — We are now in sight of Fort Kearney (formerly called Fort Childs,) about a mile distant. I shall visit it in the morning. It is said that a number of emigrants have here sold their wagons and taken pack mules. They also sold most of their provisions, which have rendered them very cheap. Flour can be bought for one cent per pound, and bacon for one and a half! The last twenty miles of the road has discouraged them. We shall endeavor to buy another yoke of oxen at the fort. We have passed, to-day, places covered with the bones of the buffalo, but do not expect to meet any alive for three or four hundred miles yet. It is said we shall find very bad feed for the next forty miles. We made sixteen miles to-day. We have not seen an Indian since we left Kansas, at the trading post. We don’t know but we shall yet be compelled to leave a part of our loading behind. However, we shall first throw away all our boxes and pack our provisions in bags. We have now on hand about 700 lbs. of Bacon and Hams, 600 lbs. crackers, 400 lbs. meal and flour, 50 lbs. dried meat, besides butter, sausages, dried fruit, &c. Thus I have continued my journal up to 10 o’clock, P.M., of May 25th. We have now made 325 miles, yet see nothing to discourage.

May 26, 8 o’clock. — I this morning visited the fort, and was somewhat astonished at its appearance. The fort and houses are built of turf. The turf is cut about 6 inches thick and 14 inches long 12 wide, and placed one above another, and then filled with mud. Although it presents, on the outside, a very dirty appearance, yet the inside is comfortable. There is a store here with a small stock of goods, which are not unreasonably high. The garrison have fenced in a number of fields, with mud walls, which the soldiers cultivate. All the lumber used is sawed by the soldiers, with a circular saw. It is a very unpleasant place, cold and dreary. There are three or four companies of soldiers in the fort. It is three hundred and forty miles from here to Fort Laramie.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jul 3, 1849

**For other California Gold Rush posts, click on the “Gold Rush” category to the right.

I accidently hit “publish” when I was only adding tags, so I had to do several updates to finish the post.