At almost the last moment, everyone abandoned the idea of crossing the plains. I cast about, however, and found in Platte County a man by the name of [George] Henshaw who was willing to go. He was old, quite an invalid, and nearly helpless. He had a fine black horse that he allowed me to dispose of. I sold him for a yoke of young cattle and a one-eyed mule for Henshaw to ride.
With that much of an outfit we drove into Weston. To complete the outfit, we here purchased what we could and then joined R. H. Thomes, who was about ready to start. A merchant by the name of Nye, seeing our determination to go to California, said if we would wait a week he would let his son Mike go with us.
It’s hard to know what would induce George Henshaw to undertake such a journey. He probably hoped to improve his health, and had no idea of the dangers and difficulties he would endure. Searching records, I have found a George Henshaw born in 1790 — a man 51 years old would have seemed quite old to young John Bidwell.
I wonder, as he rode his sorry one-eyed mule, if he ever regretted giving up that fine black horse.
Michael Nye was probably 20 years of age at the time. In California he lived for many years in Marysville, and later moved to Crook County, Oregon, where he died in 1906. He was the last surviving member of the Bidwell-Bartleson Party.
So did George Henshaw make it all the way?
Yes, he did, although it wasn’t easy on him. And then in 1842 he turned around and went back. Nothing more is known of him.