History as Literature | September 01, 1989

In May of 1849 a company of forty-niners travelers left Athens (now Albany), Missouri with seventeen ox-drawn wagons, headed for the gold mines of California. Among them were Elijah Preston Howell, a circuit clerk of Gentry County who ahd resigned his position to make the trip, and Howell’s brother, John. Together with fifty-seven men and two women they joined the thousands following the Oregon Trail to California in that year.

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Tuesday May 22nd. There is considerable sickness on the road–some in our own company.  The Mormons passed on. Palmer’s Company remained and buried Mr. George Thompson, who died with cholera. Several fresh graves here. Our company now consists of seventeen wagons, 51 men and 21 ladies. It is divided into messes for convenience…

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