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Lot 129

California Ho! Via the Southern Route
3 men, 8 or 10 Vermonters, 3 Frenchmen & a lot of broken merchants from New York

129. SMITH, W[illiam] C. S. A Journey to California in 1849 By W. C. S. Smith. [Napa, ca. 1925]. 36 pp. 8vo, original blue printed wrappers with vignette of ship on upper cover, original staples. Just the slightest marginal browning to wraps, else very fine.

     First edition. Cowan II, p. 893. Cf. Etter, To California on the Southern Route 166. Hill II:1588. Matthews, p. 322. Norris 3647 (suggesting only 100 copies were printed).

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 589a:

On January 15, 1849, Smith sailed from New York on the barque Eugenia and landed at Vera Cruz, Mexico. His party consisted of twenty-one men, including eight or ten Vermonters, three Frenchmen and a "lot of broken merchants from New York." From Vera Cruz, they followed the Mexican National Road to Mexico City, and then to Guadalajara. At San Blas, Smith boarded the whaler Mary Frances and sailed north to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California. At this point, Smith left the ship and made a difficult and exhausting walk up the peninsula to San Diego, arriving on June 11, 1849. From there, he proceeded to San Francisco. The first segment of his account, dated January 24, 1851, and written in Marysville, ended at this point. The pioneer wrote a supplement in 1888, detailing his experiences in the gold country. He described San Francisco and Sacramento, and mining at Rose's Bar on the Yuba River. Becoming ill, he returned to Sacramento, where Dr. John F. Morse brought him back to health. Smith helped build a flour mill with a Mr. Fenton, visited with Sutter at the Hock Farm, and settled in Marysville.

      The Norris catalog notes: "A letter from the widow of Smith states that 100 copies were printed for private distribution." The Hill Collection of Pacific Voyages, University of California, San Diego, contains the original manuscript journal. Smith's journal was published for the first time as Appendix C in Robert Glass Cleland's A History of California (New York, 1922) pp. 483-495.



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