Monthly Archives: February 2017

“Cheyenne” Dawson, Part 5

At Soda Springs the company of emigrants split in two. The more cautious of them took the advice of their trail guide and remained on the Oregon Trail, but 32 men, plus Mrs. Kelsey and her baby, stuck to their … Continue reading

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“Cheyenne” Dawson, Part 4

“Cheyenne” Dawson’s account of his journey to California was written down many years after the event, but he had a clear and lively recollection of the expedition. Here he is, telling how the company fared after they abandoned their wagons … Continue reading

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“Cheyenne” Gets His Nickname (Nicholas Dawson Part 3)

There were two men in the Bidwell-Bartleson Party named Dawson: Nicholas and V.W. Almost nothing is known about V.W., including what the initials stood for, but he went by the nickname “Bear.” The two men were not related. It was … Continue reading

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The Adventures of Nicholas “Cheyenne” Dawson, Part 2

Nicholas Dawson was born in Beaver County, Pennsylvania on January 22, 1819, making him just 6 months older than John Bidwell. He received a good education for the day, good enough to be employed from time to time, like Bidwell, … Continue reading

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The Adventures of Nicholas “Cheyenne” Dawson

A stand-out member of the Bidwell-Bartleson emigrant company, and almost the last surviving member of that band, was Nicholas Dawson. During his adventures on the trail he earned the nickname “Cheyenne” from an incident that typifies Indian encounters in the … Continue reading

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A Kinder Man I Have Never Known

In the 1880s Hubert Howe Bancroft asked John Bidwell if he could supply any information about several early California pioneers, Dr. John Townsend among them. On May 23, 1884 Bidwell wrote back with short recollections of the men he had … Continue reading

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Bidwell to Townsend

Here is a letter from John Bidwell to Dr. John Townsend, written on April 5, 1849. He congratulates Townsend and his wife on the birth of their son, John Henry Moses Townsend, born November 26, 1848. An indication of Bidwell’s … Continue reading

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More from Dr. Townsend

Another letter from Dr. John Townsend to his wife: Peyeys Ranch  August 16th 1848 Dearest I embrace the opportunity of writing by Mr. Norris. Yesterday Moses arrived at our camp, He is in partnership with Larkin and Green. He has … Continue reading

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Dr. Townsend in California

Dr. John Townsend came to California in 1844 with the Murphy-Townsend-Stevens wagon train, the first to bring wagons all the way over the Sierras. He was the first qualified physician in California and the first non-Mexican alcalde of San Francisco. … Continue reading

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Dickey’s Ranch Becomes Bidwell’s Ranch

John Bidwell was not the only American (or other foreigner) in California seeking land. William Dickey and Edward Farwell were after grants, as were several other men. In October 1844 Bidwell and Sutter went to Monterey to discuss the matter … Continue reading

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