Thursday, March 3, 2016

Trails west

In 2014, we did some research related to the origins of Gardner, OR. An article in The Essex Genealogist (TEG, v 35, no 2) and The Gardner Annals (TGA, Vol II, No 1) provided details about the ship (barque Bostonian) that wrecked at that site, its owner (Henry D. Gardiner), and some genealogical information. Henry was a descendant of George of Rhode Island, but his wives were descendants of Thomas of Salem.

Prior to the time that the ship left Boston, it had run up and down the east coast and points further. In the same year of the shipwreck, the Bostonian had been New Zealand.

Last year, Philbrick's book about the whaling ship, Essex, that was out of Nantucket, was made into a movie. Recently, I read the book (only saw the preview of the movie). I don't know if the movie went into the cannibalistic events, however they are described in Philbrick's book. This gives one pause or ought to. But, we'll not go further into the subject. The book is exemplary due to its attention to detail plus to its copious notes.

However, there are some humorous notes. Philbrick talked about the loading process that preceded the voyage. Too, the crew had to be put together. Of course, Nantucket'ers were preferred but scarce. So, they had to cast a wide net to get the manpower. As you would expect, many on the crew would be newbies (tenderfoot out west - see below). Philbrick writes about the Captain having to be out on deck during departure so as to direct the crew. And, it sounded like it could be like Keystone Kops. So, embarrassing to the old salt.

You see, everyone on Nantucket would know when a ship was leaving. And, they would all be down to watch the spectacle. Now, a ship in full sail and under control is a sight to behold. Yet, that would not be the case. And, Philbrick wrote about the Captain being aware that those with long-glasses could watch the going-ons for a long while until the ship was out of sight.

The book is a good read.

Now, on another subject, the Bostonian went from Boston to San Francisco in 1849. It left in July and arrived in January 1850. That was the long way to S.F. by sea (if it were the only one open to the flower children, 1967 would not have happened). Another sea method was to go down by ship to Central American, cross over, and then back up the left coast by ship. That required two ships, at least. The journey across Central America was arduous. Also, there were things of concern, such as diseases, thieves, and other perils. Many lost their fortune on the way back after having found success in California's gold mines. Some disappeared.        

Henry D. Gardiner (and, Gardiner, OR)


But, there was another way to the west coast: moving oneself over land. Last year, we looked at Gardner, KS. Some say that it got its name from the Governor of Massachusetts (Henry Joseph Gardner - descendant of Richard of Woburn) at the time that a group of New Englanders came to the area. They founded Lawrence, home of KU.

Gardner is not far out of Independence which was the starting point for the trails. They were together until west of Gardner. Then, the Oregon (California) bound wagons went by Lawrence on their way west. The Santa Fe trail headed southwest.

One thing to note is that from Independence, MO to Fort Larned, KS, nowadays, can be done by car in the matter of hours. It is a little less than 300 miles. A lot of it can be done by Interstate Highway. Back in the days, the wagons took three weeks (as in, 21 days) to do that trip. And, it was constant work every day.

On the trails west were Thomas Gardner descendants. Many people stayed at locations that they passed. That was how some cities grew. All along the trails, we find little cities where people decided to stop and grow roots. The advent of the transcontinental railroad (1869 - last spike) saw the same sort of phenomenon.

There was another trail, though. That one was related the western movement of the Mormons from the area of Nauvoo, IL to Utah. Again, many of these travelers were from New England.


Why the interest? I have run across several diaries (published) from the time that we can look at in more detail. Many of the diary writers have ties back to New England and its roots. We have had an interest for some time to map out movements west. Some families have described movement to the south, first (Carolinas), before the western thrust.

Too, though, there are always reminders. New Mexico, as a State, was 100 years old just four years ago. It is one of the late comers in terms of statehood. But, it is a very old culture.

Coronado was there and in area of present-day Kansas, in 1541. That was long before there was New England activity. As we get toward the 400th, we will see lots of interest in regard to all of the different places and cultures that make up the current populace's history.  

Remarks: Modified: 06/24/2022

04/02/2016 -- Map showing Gardner Junction and the split of the trails west of Gardner, KS.

06/17/2016 -- More on trails.

07/16/2016 --Gardner's Beacon, Vol. VI, No. 1

08/13/2017 -- Posts on Lawrence (and surrounds): Trails WestWestward HoBlogging and suchFinal MigrationThomas Wentworth HigginsonKansas and Lawrence.

08/07/2020 -- In this post, we are looking at two disparate spots that share a name, however there are many points in-between. Like Eudora, KS. Where "The Wakarusa meets the Kaw" is on their history site and is an example of local lore getting some attention. See "Along the Western Trails."

06/24/2022 -- Updated links to Eudora's website as topic continues to be of interest: A Ride to Kansas

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