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Westward! Ho! -In 1848, gold was found in the California hills of America and the rest, as they say, is history.

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WESTWARD, HO! By Anna Karyl In 1848, gold was found in the California hills of America and the rest, as they say, is history. The journey between the Missouri River and Sutter's Fort in California was on the order of 2,000 of the hardest miles one would ever want to travel. One fourth of that was through the Nevada wilderness. So it was only natural that eventually somebody would find something of value there. They did. In 1849, a pioneer happened to pan in a ravine about forty miles east of California's border where he discovered a few flecks of gold. Though the amount of the gold was not worth stopping the westward-bound wagon train, it was enough to interest a fair number of California miners to revisit the Nevada territory. ...read more.


Of the men, women and children that blazed trails in the Wild West in the mid-1800s, not all of them did so out of avarice. Some pioneers looked westward in the hope of more freely practicing their religions. Some men simply needed to make a living. And some women just needed to be with their men. For instance, in the Bidwell-Bartleson party that journeyed into the wilderness in search of a new life, 18-year-old Nancy Kelsey would not be convinced that she was better off staying back home while her husband blazed trails. She reportedly said, "Where my husband goes, I go. I can better endure the hardships of a journey, than the anxieties for an absent husband." ...read more.


Thus misled, we traveled all day without water, and at midnight found ourselves in a plain, as level as the floor, encrusted with salt, and as white as snow." But some travelers discovered a depth of soul they may not otherwise have known by witnessing the horror of humankind's battle against the elements. The following journal entry is a reminder of how treacherous was the journey. The author wrote: "But the sight of the dead is not so fearful as the living dying. God of heaven! Could human suffering appease thy wrath, the world would soon be forgiven." The pioneers were mapmakers to a new world, charting a course for future generations just like humans have done since the beginning of time. Say what you will about the right- or wrongness of the pioneers' trek westward. But no one can ever say it was easy. *** ...read more.

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