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Jefferson County's '49ers
The Iowa Sentinel, Apr. 20, 1849

Following the discovery of Gold in California in 1848 and the confirmation of its truth, a group of residents of Jefferson County, Iowa, began organizing and undertook a journey across land to distant California. This adventure was recorded in a dozen or so newspaper accounts during and following the journey. Listed below are some of those articles. We are grateful to Judy Neu for transcribing these articles from Jefferson County Records, Vol. 3 compiled by Mary Prill and published by the Log Cabin Chapter of the DAR.

"The Iowa Sentinel, Fri., Apr. 20, 1849, Page 2, col. 1.


The company for California from this place started on yesterday, and are now on their "winding way" for that far off country. We believe all who are going from this place the present season, have started with the exception of the teams which leave next month. The company embraces some of our best and most estimable citizens, and they go with the sincere wishes of all whom they have left behind, for their success in the enterprise they have undertaken. Some of them have gone with an outfit furnished by home partners, and others have all within themselves. They are well furnished with everything necessary to make them comfortable on the journey, and render their passage as agreeable as it can be made. We sincerely wish they may succeed and return with "a pocket full of rocks."

The following is a list of the names as near as we could obtain them, and we believe is correct: James T. Hardin, Evan T. Hardit, Thomas Dickey, James Crane and John Hrattain, two teams: Isaac Boyle, John Boyle, Randall Rice, John McWhorter, _________ Thompson (passenger), two teams: Alexander Mahood, and James N. Bell, one team: Wm. Baker, John Kenedy, and H.A.B. Jenkins, one team: John Fee, H.F. Shuffleton, W. Goodrich, W. P. Shedd, Wm. Uttz, and Robít Hill, two teams: Willard Markham, wife and three children, C. Gillham, one team: Mr. Barnwell, A. Daniels, and __________ McCutchen, one team: James Kenyon, John Irvin, and J. Q. A. Thompson, one team.

There are also, in addition to the above, several teams going from this county, which will make, to all, between 50 and 60 persons and between 15 and 20 teams.


I saw these dreamers of dreams go by,
I trod in their footsteps a space;
Each marched with his eyes on the sky,
Each passed with a light on his face...

They go to a toil that is sure,
To despair and hunger and cold;
Their sickness no warning can cure,
They are mad with a longing for gold.

The light will fade from each eye,
The smile from each face;
They will curse the impassable sky,
And the earth when the snow torrents race.

Some will sink by the way and be laid
In the frost of the desolate earth;
And some will return to a maid,
Empty of hand as at birth.

But this out of all will remain,
They have lived and have tossed;
So much in the game will be gain,
Though the gold of the dice has been lost.

(From the "Gold-Seekers" by Hamlin Garland.)

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