November 3, 1841

“Wednesday, 3d. We waited till Capt. B. came up, and all started for Marsh’s about noon; arrived at the St. Joaquin and crossed it — distance 13 miles — found an abundance of grass here. The timber was white oak, several kinds of evergreen oaks, and willow — the river about 100 yds. in width.”

With the news from Jones and Kelsey on the 2nd that they had found Dr. Marsh, the Company at last knew that they were definitely in California. All that was left to do now was to cross the San Joaquin River and the Central Valley. “It was an occasion of great joy and gladness. We were not only near our journey’s end, but the men knew just where to go, instead of uncertainty.”  (1877 Dictation)

It is stunning to consider how long they had traveled in uncertainty and doubt. For three months, since they had split off from the party that went to Oregon, they had been blazing a trail through unknown territory. Who today would undertake such a journey?

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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