Register of the Small Overland Trail Collections, 1849-1859

Processed by Don Walker; machine-readable finding aid created by Don Walker
Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
University Library, University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA 95211
Phone: (209) 946-2404
Fax: (209) 946-2810
© 1998
University of the Pacific. All rights reserved.

Register of the Small Overland Trail Collections, 1849-1859

Collection number: Mss2

Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections

University Library

University of the Pacific

Contact Information

  • Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
  • University Library, University of the Pacific
  • Stockton, CA 95211
  • Phone: (209) 946-2404
  • Fax: (209) 946-2810
  • URL:
Processed by:
Don Walker
Date Completed:
July 1998
Encoded by:
Don Walker
© 1998 University of the Pacific. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Small Overland Trail Collections,
Date (inclusive): 1849-1859
Collection number: Mss2
Extent: 0.3 linear ft.
Repository: University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
Stockton, CA 95211
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Language: English.

Administrative Information


Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Small Overland Trail Collections, Mss2, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library


Holt Atherton Special Collections holds eight overland trail narratives not associated with larger collections. They represent crossings between 1849 and 1859 and include two narratives of the New Mexico/Arizona route and one by a female emigrant. Of these trail narratives, five are copies, the originals of which are still in private collections. For those interested in overland trail narratives, Holt Atherton also holds six other examples: the Lyman Burrell correspondence (1849) [in Mss132]; the Thomas S. Wylly memoir (1849) [in Mss124]; the Calvin B. West diary (1853) [in Mss2: Small Oregon Collections]; the Alexander Horn memoir (1855) [in Mss2: Small California Collections]; the Elvira Dodge diary (1860) [in Mss271]; and, the William S. Moss correspondence (1861) [in Mss2: Small California Collections]. Also of interest is the Jess Machado Collection [Mss256], a compilation of narratives and research on the Carson Pass leg of the Overland Trail.
Prince Allen Athearn (b. 1811) [Mss2.A866] and D. Lambert Fouts [Mss2.F782] came overland to California in 1849. Athearn came from Switzerland County, Indiana via Ft. Hall to northeastern San Joaquin County. There he farmed wheat and later served as a Justice of the Peace. The original of Athearn's diary is in the Nebraska State Historical Society Library. D. Lambert Fouts came to California via New Mexico and Arizona. His diary is incomplete and it is possible that Fouts died before reaching California, since final entries record that he has fallen ill.
Robert Shellenberger recounts an event that occurred on the Trail near Ragtown, Nevada (1850) [Mss2.S544]. The story, involving some missing oxen and a woman's [Mrs. McClellan's] courage, was recounted by William McClellan, son of Duncan McClellan, who had brought his family overland from Missouri via Salt Lake City and Hastings' Cutoff. The anecdote came to Shellenberger through Hazel Rider Kuhl, who had made a typescript copy of the original in 1930.
Dr. William Wallace Wixom (1824-1888) [Mss2.W835] came overland to California in 1851. He is best known as the father of internationally-famous soprano, Emma Nevada (1859-1940). After graduation from the University of Michigan medical college, Wixom led a party across the plains to Nevada County, Calif. via Soda Springs, Hudspeth's Cutoff and Rock City. In 1864 Wixom took his family to Austin, Nev., site of a new gold strike. Here, Dr. Wixom devoted the remainder of his life to ranching and medical practice. He was well-respected by the Shoshone Indians and is usually credited with being instrumental in keeping peace between the Indians and settlers in Lander County.
Lewis Beers [Mss2.B415] and Alpheus Richardson [Mss2.R521] came overland to California in 1852. Beers traveled from Ohio via to the Jackson, Amador County, goldfields. Alpheus Richardson traveled from Caledonia, Ohio via Soda Springs, Hudspeth's Cutoff and Rock City to Marysville, Calif. with the W.W. Holister [sic] Co.
Joel Hedgpeth [Mss2.H453] came overland to California in 1858. Hegpeth, a preacher, came from Nodaway County, Mo. via New Mexico and Arizona with the family of Judge Gillum Baley. En route the party was attacked by Mohave Indians and met General Benjamin Bonneville.
Lovina Weeks [Mss2.W395] came overland from Athens, Michigan to Alameda County, California in 1859. She and her husband, Alfred, and their two daughters, traveled in company with her brother, Jared T. Walker, who had come to California in 1852. The Weeks' trip via Salt Lake City was easy and uneventful. The format of Lovina Weeks' diary is unusual in that her account is interlarded with the reminiscences (1929) of her younger daughter, Florence, who had been eight years old at the time of the crossing.

Container List




1) Prince A. Athearn overland diary (1849) [27 pp. typescript copy; 55 p. ms. copy]


2) "Stockton man's great grandsire laid keel of "Old Ironsides" Stockton Record (n.d.)


3) Donal W. Athearn, NYC to Prince A. Athearn, 12-17-40 [re genealogy of PAA]


4) Photograph of Prince Athearn School in Clements, Calif. (1936)


-Mss2.B415: BEERS (LEWIS) DIARY (1852) [46 pp. typescript copy]


-Mss2.F782: FOUTS (D. LAMBERT) DIARY (1849)


1) D. Lambert Fouts overland diary (1849) [83 pp.; also photocopy of same; incl. later business records kept by Fouts' sons Hiram & C.S. Ricks (1861-63)]


2) John W. Winkley notes on Fouts (n.d.) [25 pg. typescript]


3) Patricia A. Etter to Daryl Morrison, 4-8-95 [re diary & Fouts' fate; 2 pp. typescript]




1) Joel Hedgpeth memoir [14 pp. ms.]


2) Do. [14 pp. typescript copy]


3) 4 photographs of Joel Hedgpeth [copies]


4) 1 photograph of Mrs. Hedgpeth [copy]


5) 1 photograph of Joel & Mrs. Hedgpeth [copy]


6) 1 photograph of Joel Hedgpeth's name on "El Morro"


-MS 2 M 211: MCDANNALD, JOHN M.C., MCDANNALD, DAVID. This collection is a copy of a typescript entitled "A Story of Crossing the Plains in 1865," written by John T. McDannald III, using the diary of his father, David W. McDannald.


-Mss2.R521: ALPHEUS RICHARDSON DIARY (1852) [28 pp. typescript copy; 2nd copy]




1) Shellenberger typescript (1978) [38 pp.; 2 drafts ]


2) Published version in The Far-Westerner 20:2 (April 1979)


3) Two notes from RS to James Shebl, Editor of The Far-Westerner (1978)


-Mss2.W395: WEEKS (LOVINA) DIARY (1859) [36 pp. typescript copy]


-Mss2.W835: WIXOM (DR. WILLIAM W.) DIARY (1851) [incl. 38 pp. typescript copy and photocopy of same]