I know this is just a little early, but I also know that there are several on this board who study trails west, and the goldrush era. I recently confirmed family lore that a 3rd great grandfather had gone to California three times. Once in '49, and twice more 52 and 54. I've searched just about everything I can think of, and am now stuck. I'm looking for suggestions on where to turn now.
My 3rd great grandfather was William Henry Rowe, born about 1819 in Baltimore, MD. Here's a rough website that I created for him, I'll apologize in advance as it's my current project so it's not necessarily a perfect read, and the footnote numbering is a bit strange from time to time, but it's a work in progress. http://www.lindasgenealogy.com/WilliamHRowe.html
I've long wished I could ask him about California, and was amazed the other day when I simply Googled his name, and up popped an 1856 Ohio election fraud trial, and he was one of the men called in to questioning -- by the way, this was no ordinary election -- it was for US Congress and the losing candidate was none other than the now infamous Clement L. Vallandigham, who the investigation proved to be the winner!
The questions he was asked included such things as:
Question. State whether you have been absent from the State of Ohio at anytime during the last year preceding the October election?
Answer. I was. I came into the State of Ohio on the 12th day of December, 1855. I was formerly a resident of the State of Ohio, and have been twice to California. The last time I returned from California was in December, as above mentioned.
Question. When did you leave the State of Ohio for California the second or last time you went there?
Answer. About the 20th of March, 1852.
Question. How long did you remain in California at that time?
Answer. As near as I can recollect, about thirty-one months, and returned here again in December, 1855.
Question. State whether you voted in California while there, if so, when, and how often?
Answer. I voted once while I was there for street commissioner. I think at the spring election in San Francisco in 1855; that is the only time I recollect voting.
Question. In what business were you engaged during your last absence in California?
Answer. Mining part of the time, contracting and planking the streets of San Francisco part of the time.
Question. Where did your family reside during your last absence, about mentioned, in California?
Answer. In Baltimore, Maryland, with my wife's parents.
This is a genealogist's dream! Not only is it my 3rd great grandfather, but this is a sworn deposition that ocurred only a year or two after he returned from California. I've not been able to actually find him in any of the San Francisco city directories, and in the 1852 special California census there is a W. H. Roe living in Yuba CA who was born 5 years earlier and supposedly born in Ohio, but as someone on the California Goldrush e-list suggested it may not have been him actually giving the info and the informant may have been off a few years on his age, and may have given where he came from rather than where he was born. Someone also said that there was no mining in SF, but that there was in Yuba, and suggested that he might have stopped in Yuba on his way to SF.
Does anyone who's done trail/goldrush research have any suggestions as to where I can go from here? I'd like to find more evidence of his existence in California during the time he says he was there. His obituary mentions that he went in '49 and was successful, but afterwards fell on hard times. His son's biography says his father went west three times (I cover the third time in my article), and my great grandmother wrote in her daughter's journal in 189? that she gave her daughter a silver spoon that g grandpa had brought back from California. And two of his sons were born in Maryland while the children preceding and afterwards were all born in Ohio. So I have absolutely NO doubt he was in CA, I'd just like to get more stuff if possible.