Nicholas “Cheyenne” Dawson Heads for Home

In the spring I began to think of home, sweet home. I put my Stockton lots in the hands of an agent, sold part of my teams, and left the rest in charge of John Crow. I had now about $1600 in gold dust. I had earned my money by the most slavish labor and rigid economy, footing it always except when the wagons were empty, wearing my clothes long without washing–for no washing was to be hired–never spending a cent except for absolute necessities.

“Cheyenne” Dawson started for home in April 1851, traveling by the Panama route to New Orleans. There he exchanged his gold dust for coin and traveled by steamboat up the river until he arrived home in Arkansas.


Nicholas “Cheyenne” Dawson in his later years, in Texas.

He sought a healthier climate for himself and his family in Texas. He bought a farm near Austin, cleared the land, built a house, broke the soil, and worked hard at farming and stock-raising. He settled down to raise a family and never went wandering again.

In 1894 he sat down to write his memories of his adventures on the trail and in California. After the deaths of Nancy Kelsey (1896) and John Bidwell (1900) he believed himself to be the last surviving member of the Bidwell-Bartleson emigrant company, but actually Michael Nye outlived him by three years.

Nicholas Dawson died on November 24, 1903.


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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2 Responses to Nicholas “Cheyenne” Dawson Heads for Home

  1. Mary Stinson says:

    I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed what you have written about NicholasCheyenne Dawson. He is my great great grandfather and I live on the last little piece of the farm in Austin. I am a retired elementary school teacher and principal. When I was a little girl my grandmother used to tell me to remember that I was a Dawson and I should sit with my feet on the floor and my hands folded on my lap. I would tell her that I didn[t want to be a Dawson. Today, 65 years later I tell my granddaughters that they are from a very fine family and to be proud they have the Dawson Heritage.

    • nancyleek says:

      Wow! What a pleasure to hear from a descendant of Nicholas Dawson. I figured that there must be descendants somewhere, so I am so happy to know that you found my blog. I wonder— Did anyone call him “Cheyenne” after he left California?

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