Wednesday, June 15, 2016

West Texas in 1853

     Gold! Indians! Wagon Trains! Grizzly Bears!  The old west comes alive again through the words in a diary written by a participant in a wagon train from central Texas seeking gold and silver in the Guadalupe Mountains.  The year was 1853 and the Texas frontier was rapidly expanding northward and westward.  Two roads had been blazed through the previously unknown territory between El Paso and the settled eastern part of Texas only four years earlier, just in time to provide hoards of gold-seekers a shorter, safer route to travel to California after the discovery at Sutter’s Mill in 1848.   The Guadalupe Mountains in far west Texas and southern New Mexico, then still the stronghold of the Mescalero Apaches, had for years been rumored to hold rich gold and silver mines dating back to Spanish times.  Travel was difficult and dangerous.  Apaches frequented the area west of the Pecos River.  East of the Pecos the dreaded Comanches raided nearly at will.  Although they did not find the fortunes they sought, the participants in this expedition saw the untamed wilderness first-hand, and this diary allows us to share their experience. 
Click on the following link to read the diary of this wagon train, complete with a historical background and several maps.

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