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[Detail] Emigrants Crossing the Plains. 1869.

2) Journal Writing

The journals in the collection offer poignant accounts of human emotions and strengths in the face of adversity. These journal entries document the difficulties of travel to California, and the further struggles of raising a family and making a living in the new frontier.

Search on journal, voyage, journey, and family for texts such as:

Sabbath Morning, April 21 st ...At seven o'clock I reached camp so exhausted, that I was compelled to go immediately to bed, when a feeling of sadness came over me. I thought of home, my mother, sister, and friends. Oh! how gloomy my thoughts ran. I could no more control them than I could hold the wild horse Mazeppa.

James Abbey, California. A Trip Across the Plains, 10 miles from St. Joseph, April 24, 1850, p. 10


March 29 . Lat. 29.42, long. 42. For the past four days we have not gone over 50 miles a day, and today we have not gone at all. That is, we have gone back just as fast as we have gone forward. I dislike these calms, for the ship rolls about and It makes me dizzy. I have had two seasick times, one pretty bad one, since I last wrote. A gale commenced on Tuesday at noon and lasted till Friday, and we tossed about in fine order. We could neither stand nor sit and of course must lie down. ...I went to the table once, and my tumbler turned over, and rolled down and upset the salt, and cavorted against a plate, and was at last caught by the steward. You can't keep hold of your things-they will move off. And you can no more walk, if you are on your feet and there comes a sudden lurch, than you can fly. Down, down you slide till you land against the wall, and there you are fast at last and must try it over again.

Records of a California Family; Journals and Letters of Lewis C. Gunn and Elizabeth Le Breton Gunn, The Voyage Around Cape Horn, p. 104