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 1849-1850, and their annual reunions held between
1872-1918. It also contains diaries by
Asa Haines and Sheldon Young and a map of Death Valley by William Lewis Manly (c. 1889). The collection was assembled by John
B. Colton (1831-1919), 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 Capt. 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 3 lives, the party safely arrived at the San Francsiquito
Ranch north of Los Angeles, California, on February 4, 1850.
1,105 pieces in 10 boxes, 8 volumes, and 4 oversize folders
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