November 25, 1841

On November 25th John Bidwell was traveling between Marsh’s ranch and Sutter’s establishment on the Sacramento River. He had probably gotten about as far as someplace just west of Elk Grove. Marsh had told Bidwell that the trip would only take two days, but it would end up taking eight, on account of the rain and mud and swollen streams. He was traveling with two companions, Mike Nye and Harrison Pierce, and they didn’t pack enough food for such a long journey.

“We got out of provisions and were about three days without food. Game was plentiful, but hard to shoot in the rain. Besides, it was impossible to keep our old flintlock guns dry, and especially the powder dry in the pans.”

In another account he says, “Game plentiful. Elk, antelope, deer, grizzly bear, and yet after crossing the San Joaquin owing to the floods and rain it was impossible to kill any for three days.”

Sutter somehow heard that the three men were on their way, and sent out someone with two mules loaded with provisions for them–tea. coffee, flour, and sugar. But the men and the mules don’t seem to have met up until they got to Sutter’s. There was plenty of room in the Central Valley for two parties to miss each other.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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