Gathering: May 1841

Camped by the Kansas River, John Bidwell and his companions waited to see who else would show up.

“Every day for a week or more wagons arrived with the same object in view (going to California.) At last we took steps to see how many had arrived and found our numbers to be sixty-nine. Among these were about fifteen women and children. All were anxious for a start.” (California 1841-8, p. 5)

There were five women in the group, and at least seven children, maybe more. No one seems to have recorded the names of all the children.

“No one of the party knew anything abut mountaineering and scarcely any one had ever been into the Indian Territory, yet a large majority felt that we were fully competent to go anywhere no matter what the difficulties might be or how numerous and warlike the Indians.” (California 1841-8, p. 6)

Such was the confidence of the American pioneers! especially young men eager to be on their way. Luckily they fell in with a missionary party who had hired an experienced guide. If they had taken off on their own, Bidwell surmised,¬† “probably not one of us would ever have reached California, because of our inexperience.” (Echoes of the Past, p. 113)

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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