Wagons West

westwagons600450bThe Chico Enterprise-Record today published a full-page color feature marking the 175th anniversary of the “first organized wagon train that left Missouri for California.” I can’t find it on the E-R webpage, but you can find it at the Orange County Register site.

John Bidwell, one of the leaders of the Bidwell-Bartleson Party, helped blaze the California Trail, the overland route that would bring hundreds of thousands of migrants to the Golden State. The migration that started with one small group in 1841, would become a flood in 1849 and the early 1850s.

Although the feature states that the Bidwell-Bartleson Party left Independence, Missouri on May 9th, 1841, they did not actually get going quite that soon. John Bidwell showed up at the rendezvous at Sapling Grove, a campground near Westport (now part of Kansas City) on May 9th.  When he arrived he found only one other wagon there. Other emigrants trickled in over the next several days. On May 18th they formally organized their party, electing a president, secretary, and captain, and on May 19th they started out on the trail.

I will be posting more about the adventures of John Bidwell on the California Trail in the coming days, so stay tuned.

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.
This entry was posted in Bidwell-Bartleson Party, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Wagons West

  1. Sue Cejner-Moyers says:

    Hi Nancy, we are doing our history fair in May up in Marysville. I am putting together a 6 person telling of the Three Sisters and Three Brothers ( story of the 3 Murphy sisters surviving the Donner Party) am looking for information on Michael Charles Nye who married Harriet Murphy Pike at Sutters fort. Do you have any suggestions where I can find info on his journey with the Bidwell party? thanks, Sue

    • nancyleek says:

      Hi Sue– The best source for information is The Bidwell-Bartleson Party, by Doyce B. Nunis. It contains all the journals and letters of people who were in the group. According to WorldCat, the Yuba County Library has it in their California Reference collection. If you search my blog for Nye, you will find several entries that mention him. He was the last surviving member of the Bidwell-Bartleson Party.

  2. Sue says:

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS…still looking for information about Michael Nye and his two brothers for history talk in Marysville…Sue

    • nancyleek says:

      I assume you have searched newspapers for items on Michael Nye. An obituary appeared in the Marysville Daily Appeal on July 19, 1906. What were the names of the brothers?

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