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Author Topic: Need advice: CA research question goldrush  (Read 2402 times)
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Linda Trent
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« on: June 14, 2012, 06:04:15 AM »

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.  Cheesy 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:
Quote
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.

Suggestions welcomed!

Linda.
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Janet Wragge
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2012, 02:51:28 PM »

Hi Linda,

On the OCTA website is a "Paper Trail" section.....  http://www.paper-trail.org/  I did a quick search, and while it didn't have a William Rowe specifically, there were several named Roe and Rowe during the years you mentioned, especially 1849.  You might be able to decipher/get clues from the names and places listed.  If you want to see the documentation, you have to sign up.  Mostly it'll tell you where the name was found, if I remember correctly. 

I also have a book called Historic Inscriptions on Western Emigrant Trails by Randy Brown.  It lists all the known trail signature that have been found.  On page 106, there is a W.H. Roe - the name was inscribed in a sandstone bluff on the North Platte River here in Wyoming.   It's on private property, so that would make it inaccessible if you don't know who they are, otherwise I'd be willing to take a field trip for you and get pictures!  Wink  The information says it appears to be in a spot that is a natural ford in the river, and that it may have been a regular crossing place.

Murial, being the trail goddess of the universe, may have more insight into where you might find more stuff, but I hope this helps a wee tad.  What a fun project!!   Cheesy
Janet
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Linda Trent
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2012, 03:40:38 PM »

On the OCTA website is a "Paper Trail" section.....  http://www.paper-trail.org/
 
Cool, I'll check that out!

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I also have a book called Historic Inscriptions on Western Emigrant Trails by Randy Brown.  It lists all the known trail signature that have been found.  On page 106, there is a W.H. Roe - the name was inscribed in a sandstone bluff on the North Platte River here in Wyoming.
Hmm... I wonder would he have swung that far north on his way to California? That's an honest question, I have no idea. Thanks again!

If I can find enough information to make my time worthwhile I'd like to take the train back out to California and investigate a bit, but I don't want to waste my Amtrak points if I'm going to come home totally empty handed. To the best of my knowledge the family has never seen the transcript from the trial before so I'm blazing totally new territory.  Smiley
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Linda Trent
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2012, 03:53:26 PM »

Hmm... I wonder would he have swung that far north on his way to California? That's an honest question, I have no idea. Thanks again!

Um, yeah, I just looked it up and sure enough the Mormon, Oregon and California trails all went through WYO!  Cool
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Muriel Carbiener
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"Hannah Perkins" at The High Desert Museum.


« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2012, 04:03:31 PM »

Well I'm not going to be any help even though I am a 4th generation Californian (1851).  I could also go into OCTA's Paper Trails data base, but I can't remember the OCTA member password.  It's at home on my desk, and I won't be back there until July 4.

Muriel
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Janet Wragge
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2012, 05:26:32 PM »

Hmm... I wonder would he have swung that far north on his way to California? That's an honest question, I have no idea. Thanks again!

Um, yeah, I just looked it up and sure enough the Mormon, Oregon and California trails all went through WYO!  Cool
 

Yep.....Wyoming is a trail mecca!!!   Cheesy  Casper, in fact, is one of the merging points - to cross the Platte, and make the jaunt over to the Sweetwater, all the trails kind of converge here.  Some people did take the southern route, but not nearly as many.  Since he's from Ohio, he would have most like have taken the regular trail as it would have been lots farther to go down through to the Santa Fe/Gila trails - lots and lots of folks from Ohio came through here. 

I would LOVE to take you on a tour, should you ever decide to wander out here in the summer (no lovely snowstorms to deal with  Wink)!!!  We have some of the most pristine trails in the country - you can easily see the ruts in a lot of spots because we're basically a desert, so nothing grew in them after all these years.  I still get giddy whenever I spot a marker.   Grin
Janet

 
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Linda Trent
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2012, 08:25:18 PM »

Well I'm not going to be any help even though I am a 4th generation Californian (1851).  I could also go into OCTA's Paper Trails data base, but I can't remember the OCTA member password.  It's at home on my desk, and I won't be back there until July 4. Muriel
If you wouldn't mind, I have no problem waiting till next month, or even two months. Heck, I've been looking for this guy for forty years, and this is my biggest lead.  I can certainly wait another few months, if you wouldn't mind looking when you get home. No hurry.  Grin
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It’s what you know that just ain’t so.”  Mark Twain.
Muriel Carbiener
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"Hannah Perkins" at The High Desert Museum.


« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2012, 08:46:49 AM »

OK Linda - will do.  The OCTA data base is a search of aboit 3000 emigrant trail diaries.  Among other events, places noted, every name in a diary is noted.  The actual diaries are not on line, but where they may be found is noted.

Muriel
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Linda Trent
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2012, 09:57:24 AM »

OK Linda - will do.
Thanks, a bunch! 

Quote
The actual diaries are not on line, but where they may be found is noted.
That's just what I need.  Wink

Linda.
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“It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble.
It’s what you know that just ain’t so.”  Mark Twain.
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