Gold Rush!

Emigrants from Monroe County

California Emigrants

No doubt the desire for gold has been the mainspring of all progress and enterprise in the county from the beginning till the present time, and will so continue to remote ages. Generally, however, this desire has been manifested in the usual avenues of thrift and industry.
On one occasion it passed the bounds of reason and assumed the character of a mania. The gold fever first broke out in the fall of 1848 when stories began to spread about of the wonderful richness of the placer mines in California. The excitement grew daily, feeding on the marvelous reports that came from the Pacific slope, and nothing was talked of but the achievements of gold diggers. The papers were replete with the most extravagant stories, and yet the excitement was so great that the gravest and most incredulous men were smitten with the contagion and hurriedly left their homes and all that was dear to them on earth to try the dangers, difficulties and uncertainties of hunting gold. Day after day and month after month were the papers filled with glowing accounts of California. Instead of dying out, the fever rose higher and higher. It was too late in the fall of 1848 to cross the plains, but thousands of people in Missouri began their preparations for starting in the following spring. The one great subject of discussion around the firesides that winter (1848) was the gold of California. It is said at one time the majority of the able-bodied men of the county were unsettled in mind, and were contemplating the trip to California. Even the most thoughtful and sober-minded found it most difficult to resist the infection. Wonderful sights were seen when the emigrants passed through sights that may never be seen again in Monroe county. Some of the emigrant wagons were drawn by cows; other gold hunters went on foot and hauled their worldly goods in hand-carts. Early in the spring the rush began. It must have been a scene to beggar description. There was one continuous line of wagons from the Orient to the Occident, as far as the eye could reach, moving steadily westward and, like a cyclone, drawing in its course on the right and left many of those along its path. The gold hunters of Monroe crowded eagerly into the gaps in the wagon trains, bidding farewell to their nearest and dearest friends, many of them never to be seen again on earth. Sadder farewells were never spoken. Many who went, left quiet and peaceful homes only to find in the " Far West" utter disappointment and death.
Just how many persons went to California in 1849-50 from Monroe county cannot at this date be ascertained. It is supposed that the parties named below composed the majority of the emigrants from this county:

John Sears

Alexander Mackey

Hugh Glenn

Frank Buckner

William Buckner

Daniel Boon

Jefferson Wilcoxon

D. A. McKamey

James Bridgford

Jefferson Bridgford

George Waller

James Waller

Thomas McKamey

Dr. G. M. Bower

Waller Withers

William Withers

William Withers

James Glenn

James Hill

Wesley Hill

Stephen Hill

James H. Smith

Boon Helm

David Helm

Fleming Helm

Samuel Sproule

Samuel Gaines

George Kipper

Joseph Donaldson

Alexander Thompson

Joseph Thompson

John Thompson

John Poage

William Poage

Thomas Cleaver

Thompson Holliday

William Holliday

Marion Biggs

Thomas Farley

Green Featherstone

Charles Featherstone

William Armstrong

Thomas Reavis

David Reavis

William Williams

Curren Foreman

Edline Chapman

David Heninger

Joseph Heninger

Thomas Dry

Benjamin Davis

Hiram Collins

John M. Bates

Saul Threlkeld

Jesse Allen

Harrison Williamson

Will Sparks

John Goe

George Goe

Isaac Stalcup

George Bondurant

Vincent Worland

James Worland

Zimmerman Zigler

Malk Ashcraft

Adam Heckart

James Gough

James Lasley

William Gibson

David Craig

David Major

William Gilbert

Frank Williamson

Gose McBroom

Thomas Maupin

Taylor Barton

William Fitzpatrick

William Greenwell

Dr. M. Gough