Trail Diaries

In the mid-1800s over a half-a-million people moved west. It was an experience of a life-time. Fortunately for us today, many of these pioneers wrote of their experiences in diaries.  Often these diaries were passed down in families and were later published or were donated to libraries.

In 1988, OCTA held their annual convention in St. Joseph. Up until that time very little primary research had been done on the trail out of St. Joseph and the role the City played as the major jumping-off point for the California gold rush.  The staff of the St. Joseph Museum undertook this task. They visited libraries along the trail or contacted them to see if they had any trail diaries by those who departed from St. Joseph.  Staff also visited libraries to the east to gather more information. The result was a collection of first-hand information of what St. Joseph was like in the mid-1800s through the eyes of the emigrants. This information is housed in the Nancy Hampton Archival Center of the St. Joseph Museums.

During the summer of 2018, the St. Joseph Museums agreed to share this information online allowing parts of the diaries describing St. Joseph to be digitized for use on the Gateway website.To learn more about the exhibits, collections and research areas of the St. Joseph Museum visit stjosephmuseum.org.

For further research see papertrail.org and octa-journals.org.


 
 
 

Berrien, Waring

Accord, William Henry

 

Best, Elijah and Susan-Obituary

 

Campbell, hezekiah-descendants

 

Caples, R. M. and Family

 

carriger, Nicholas

 

Case, william m.-reminiscences

 

Chambers, andrew jackson

 

Clark, c.m.-a trip to pike’s peak & notes by the way

 
 

Clark, John hawkins-overland to the gold fields of ca in 1852

 
 

clark, sterling b. f.

 

coffey, alvin aaron-a black pioneer’s trip to california, 1849

 
 

Cone, anson sterling-reminiscences

 

crowley, george

cady, Samuel

 

campbell, James and david-1850 diary

 

carr, dabney

 

Carstarphen, James

 

chalmers, robert-1850 journal

 

chapman, a. h.-1850 diary

 

clark, john-The California Guide 1852-1856

 

Clyman, james-diaries and reminiscences

 

Collins, martha e. gilliam- reminiscences

 

cordonier, henry a.-family tree

 

cosgrove, hugh-reminiscences

 

cornell, william-1852 journal