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Herman Scharmann, Journey to California

Overland journey of the Sharmann family from New York to California


The California gold rush brought thousands of immigrants to the new territory, including a family of German immigrants. Another in a series of narratives, provided by the Library of Congress, this is the story of that German family's journey from New York to the new territory by wagon in 1849. It is a sobering counterpoint to the gold-fever enthusiasm characteristic of 1850's California. Intended to aid researchers who wish to understand the large context in which ancestors lived, this father's narrative recollects the death, deprivation, and exploitation many settlers faced after arriving on the west coast.

Extended Description

Herman Scharmann left Germany as head of a company of gold-seekers bound for California in 1849. Scharmann's overland journey to California (1918) describes his family's journey from New York to their wagon train in Independence, Missouri, and the trip across the Plains via Fort Kearny and Fort Laramie. When his wife and daughter die shortly after reaching California, Scharmann and two sons push ahead to the gold fields at Feather River and Middle Fork, and the American River and Negro Bar. He offers a brutal picture of the exploitation of emigrant parties and of the drudgery of prospecting and of towns like Marysville, Sacramento, and San Francisco, 1849-1851.
 •  George W. Bryan, Recollections of a California Pioneer  The long progress of one pioneer family
 •  Leonard Kip, Gold Mine Sketches  Observations of a young New York lawyer turned prospector in 1849
 •  Judge Benjamin Hayes, California Diary  Pioneer notes from the diaries of Judge Benjamin Hayes, 1849-1875.
 •  Friedrich Gerstacker, A German Perspective  The perspective of a German adventurer in California
 •  Lewis and Elizabeth Stickney, Records of a Calfornia Family  Collected letters and journal entries of an influential California family.
 •  Joseph Le Conte, Travels through the High Sierra  Journal of a Geology Professor as he traveled through the Sierra Nevadas in 1870
 •  David A. Shaw, California As Seen by a Pioneer  Narrative of the building of California as told through the eyes of a pioneer
 •  Edward McIlhany, Recollections of a '49er, 1908  The memories of a prospector
 •  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

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