Anyone who has followed our blog for any length of time will know that we are fascinated with the stories of the 19th Century emigrant trails. The Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, the California Trail all hold a fascination for us. Sometimes it’s prominent historical figures like the Whitmans, the first wagon on the Oregon Trail or the Donner Party tragedy that grab our attention. Then sometimes it’s our own distant relatives. Over the last few years we’ve thought about a woman named Charity that chose to leave her husband and travel the Mormon Trail as a single mother. More recently we’ve focused on her stepson, William. We recently learned that he had discovered gold in the Comstock Lode area years before the discovery of the immense silver deposits there. Surmising that he must have traveled the California Trail, we visited the California National Historic Trail Interpretive Center  in Elko, Nevada today with a thought to perhaps learning a little more about Uncle William. Even without a family connection, this is an amazing place. They have life sized dioramas illustrating the experience of traveling the trail from outfitting a wagon, to cooking along the trail, caring for the animals, and ultimately mining for gold at the end of the trail. They use historical accounts to follow the Bidwell-Bartle and the Donner-Reed parties  along the way. And they have access to a data base of names of people documented to have traveled the trail. Uncle William is listed as having traveled from Salt Lake City to Placerville in 1850!




  1. Debi Ford

    Reminds me of the computer games Anne played as a child, “Oregon Trail” and “Yukon Trail”.

  2. Brian

    Placerville now on your list to visit some time?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Cobh on Our Own

Cobh on Our Own

For our first adventure together on the Emerald Isle, we walked the streets of Cobh, County Cork, explored St Colman’s Cathedral, and visited the Cobh Heritage Center.