Register of the Thomas Spalding Wylly Gold Rush Narrative, 1849-1853

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
URL: http://www.pacific.edu/Library/Find/Holt-Atherton-Special-Collections.html
© 1998
University of the Pacific. All rights reserved.



Register of the Thomas Spalding Wylly Gold Rush Narrative, 1849-1853

Collection number: Mss124

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: http://www.pacific.edu/Library/Find/Holt-Atherton-Special-Collections.html
Processed by:
Don Walker
Date Completed:
1994
Encoded by:
Don Walker
© 1998 University of the Pacific. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Thomas Spalding Wylly Gold Rush Narrative,
Date (inclusive): 1849-1853
Collection number: Mss124
Creator: Thomas S. Wylly III
Extent: 0.5 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

Access

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Thomas Spalding Wylly Gold Rush Narrative, Mss124, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Biography

Thomas Spalding Wylly (1831-1922) was born and raised in coastal Georgia. As an adolescent he read Fremont's accounts of his exploits in the West and resolved to go there himself. His grandfather, Thomas Spalding, was a rich and powerful man who knew Fremont's father-in-law, Thomas Hart Benton. Spalding arranged for Wylly to meet Fremont at Benton's home in Indepen-dence, Missouri. When, in the spring of 1849, Wylly arrived at Independence, he found a cholera epidemic raging and both Ben-ton and Fremont gone. Undaunted, he joined a wagon train and came to California by way of Utah and the Mojave Desert, arriving in April 1850.
For two years he mined on Weber Creek near Placerville. Wylly's account of these years is at once vivid, detailed and open-minded.
In 1853 he returned home by way of Nicaragua and resumed the life of a well-to-do cotton planter. Wylly lost his home and slaves during the Civil War and was, for a time, obliged to sell the timber on his lands to make ends meet. Slowly he recouped his fortunes and ultimately lived a long, productive life, fathering six children and celebrating his sixtieth wedding anniversary in 1914.

Scope and Content

Wylly's 205 page narrative begins with his eighteenth year and ends with his return from Central America to Georgia (1853). His grandson, Thomas Spalding Wylly III, has provided another hundred pages or so of supplementary notes based partly on family oral tradition and partly on reading and on-site research. There are two typescript copies of the narrative. An unbound copy is con-tained in five numbered folders, while a second version, together with eight photographs, a map and Mr. Wylly III's notes, is bound in navy blue cloth with the title "'Westward Ho --in '49': Memoirs of Captain Thomas S. Wylly" embossed in gold on the cover.

Container List

 

Box 1: Thomas S. Wylly Gold Rush Narrative, 1849-1853

 

Folder 1: Introduction & Biographical Sketch

 

Folder 2: NARRATIVE---pp. 1-63

 

pp.1-3------preparation for departure to Independence

 

pp.4-10-----trip to Independence

 

pp.11-26----Independence to Ft. Laramie

 

pp.26-39----Ft. Laramie to Sweetwater R. [w/ digressions back to S. Platte]

 

pp.40-46----South Pass to Salt Lake City

 

Folder 3: NARRATIVE---pp. 47-107

 

pp.47-54----Salt Lake City

 

pp.55-99----Salt Lake City to Mojave R.

 

pp.100-107--Crossing of Mojave Desert

 

Folder 4: NARRATIVE---pp. 108-167

 

pp.108-128--Southern California

 

pp.129-139--Los Angeles to Sacramento via the coast

 

pp.140-167--Mining at Weber Creek near Placerville

 

Folder 5: NARRATIVE---pp. 168-end

 

pp.168-174--By ship from San Francisco to Nicaragua, 1853

 

pp.174-194--Across Nicaragua to San Juan del Monte

 

pp.195------By ship from San Juan to Chagres, Panama

 

pp.196-199--Panama

 

pp.200-201--By ship to New Orleans

 

pp.202-205--From New Orleans to Georgia

 

Volume: NARRATIVE [bound copy]