Monthly Archives: April 2018

Prices in the Gold Rush

It’s no wonder that Luzena was amazed when a miner offered her a $5 gold piece, “ma’am, for them biscuit.” According to Measuring Worth, $5 in 1849 was worth at least $157 dollars. A man might work a week for … Continue reading

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Luzena in California (at last!)

Luzena Wilson finally made it to the crowded tent city around Sacramento. There she encountered men who were lonesome for the comforts of home. It was almost dusk of the last day of September, 1849, that we reached the end … Continue reading

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Luzena’s “languishing spark of womanly vanity.”

Luzena and her husband and their two little boys are close to the end of the trail— The first man we met was about fifty miles above Sacramento. He had ridden on ahead, bought a fresh horse and some new … Continue reading

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The Hard March over the 40-Mile Desert

We rejoin Luzena Stanley Wilson on her overland journey to California– It was a hard march over the desert. The men were tired out, goading on the poor oxen which seemed ready to drop at every step. They were covered … Continue reading

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Dealing with the Desert

Remember the Independence Company? That was the company of young men who set out, with flags flying and a brass band playing, at the same time as Luzena and Mason Wilson’s wagon train left Missouri. Luzena, afraid of the Indians, … Continue reading

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Lightening the Load

Wagon train pioneers inevitably had to lighten their loads. First to go were heavy items like the rocking chair and the cast iron stove. Some emigrants took equipment that they thought would pay off in their new home, like pickaxes … Continue reading

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Monotony and Peril

Nothing but actual experience will give one an idea of the plodding, unvarying monotony, the vexations, the exhaustive energy, the throbs of hope, the depths of despair, through which we lived. Day after day, week after week, we went through … Continue reading

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