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Jayhawker Party Collection of Materials
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This collection contains letters, narratives, and eight large volumes of clippings related to the members of the Jayhawkers, their overland trip to the California gold fields through Death Valley in 1849 to 1850, and their annual reunions held between 1872 to 1918. It also contains diaries by Asa Haines and Sheldon Young and a map of Death Valley by William Lewis Manly. The collection was assembled by John B. Colton, a member of the Jayhawker party.
The Jayhawker party (originally composed of 36 single young men) left Illinois in April 1849 to cross the plains in search of gold in California. After joining several other wagon trains and hiring Captain Jefferson Hunt, a Mormon guide, to lead them over the Spanish Trail to Los Angeles, the Jayhawkers and some of the other wagon owners separated themselves to try a shortcut by way of Walker Pass and got lost in what is now known as Death Valley. After a struggle with hunger and thirst, in addition to the loss of three lives, the party safely arrived at the San Francsiquito Ranch north of Los Angeles, California, on February 4, 1850. Beginning in 1872, John B. Colton, a member of the Jayhawker Party, organized reunions held annually on February 4th until 1918. At the time of the reunions, the Jayhawkers recalled details about their journey in 1849 and shared news about surviving members.
13 Linear Feet (11 boxes, 6 volumes, and 4 oversize folders )
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