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David A. Shaw, California As Seen by a Pioneer

Narrative of the building of California as told through the eyes of a pioneer


Before the completion of the transcontinental railroad, two avenues lay open to the traveler to California, by wagon or by ship. This first person historical narrative was written by one of these overland pioneers. On his way to the coast, he offers anecdotes of Salt Lake City, the Mormons, trappers, mountain men, Placerville and the criminal justice system. The author offers his observations with an objective and factual tone, although his stated purpose was to write "with the hope of pleasing as well as instructing." This narrative is intended to give readers a sense of the world encountered by the pioneers who traveled overland from the east to California.

Extended Description

David Augustus Shaw left Marengo, Illinois, in 1850 for the overland trail to California, where he settled in Pasadena and was an active member of the local Society of Pioneers. Eldorado (1900) records Shaw's first stay in the West, 1850-1852, when he worked as a miner and rancher; his return to Illinois and second overland journey west, 1853, this time bringing a herd of horses; and a third round trip to the East, 1856, this time crossing at Panama. In California, Woolley works as a miner and rancher. He offers anecdotes of Salt Lake City and the Mormons, trappers and mountain men, Hangtown and Placerville, and criminal justice.
 •  Friedrich Gerstacker, A German Perspective  The perspective of a German adventurer in California
 •  Judge Benjamin Hayes, California Diary  Pioneer notes from the diaries of Judge Benjamin Hayes, 1849-1875.
 •  Lloyd Briggs, Trips to California  Narrative describing the travels through California by Lloyd Briggs
 •  Wilson County, Tennessee Census, 1920  Collection of federal census records for residents of Wilson County, Tennessee in 1920
 •  Walter Colton, Three Years in California, 1846-49  The 1846-1849 journal of Walter Colton, member of California's high society
 •  Felix Wierzbicki, California Guidebook, 1849  A straightforward guide book to California's 1849 gold fields
 •  William H. Davis, Seventy-Five Years in California  Seventy-five years in California as recounted and observed by one prominent citizen
 •  Conquerors of the West: Stalwart Mormon Pioneers, Vols. 1-2  
 •  Leonard Kip, Gold Mine Sketches  Observations of a young New York lawyer turned prospector in 1849
 •  Frank Marryat, California Mountains and Molehills, 1855  Observations of an English adventurer in California between 1850-1855.

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