Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Go West, wrote Horace

TL;DR -- Supposedly, the phrase associated with "Go west" is attributed to Horace Greeley. While researching, we found that Horace had gone west, prior to the Civil War. He did it cross country and wrote of the journey in detail. This information pertains to our current time and issues; as such, it is worthy of our attention. 


In an earlier post, we looked at two cousins, one of which was Adolphus Greeley and the other was USN Captain George William Coffin. They met in the Artic as the latter rescued the former who had been stranded with the crew of his Lady Franklin Bay Expedition. 

A generation earlier, we have another name, Horace Greeley who shares ancestors with Adolphus. Too, Horace journeyed west prior to the Civil War. We ran into his correspondence while researching the historic weather of Donner Pass with respect to the California Trail as this topic is part of our interest in the western expansion and the related trails that crossed the vast interior of the country.  

As an aside, this winter's total snowfall will set a new record. 

Before getting into the gist, we provide profiles for Horace (WikiTree, Wikipedia) and Adolphus (WikiTreeWikipedia) Greeley. Also, we provide more information on George William Coffin who was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy. 


Along with information about trails and passes, we ran into an on-line copy of Horace's book on his trip: An Overland Journey from New York to San Francisco (1860). His journey started in New York by rail and boat until he reached St. Joseph, MO. Until others who headed off west on the trails, Horace went down to Kansas for a Republican Convention at Osawatomie, KS. He mentions going through Lawrence which whose settlement was supported by The New England Emigrant Aid Company. The Convention was on the 18th of May in 1859 (Miami County). This chapter of the book was submitted from Atchison, KS on May 15th. 

His book has thirty-four Chapters of which more than ten are on Kansas, the Plains, the Desert, and gold. These will be of interest as we pursue the history of the U.S. and its interior. He heads west out of Denver by jaunting up to Fort Laramie (Chapter 16) and then west to Utah. Several Chapters deal with Salt Lake City and the area. And, he provides several views of California (Chapters 27 to 33). His final Chapter looks at traffic into and out of San Francisco and discusses the need for a railroad. 

In our post, St. Louis MO to San Francisco CA, we describe the route from St. Louis down into Texas and across the southern border to Los Angeles, CA and then up the coast to San Francisco. The 1860 portion (top) of this graphic shows the transportation status when Horace went west. 

Horace Greeley returned by boat. For this book, his last Chapter was posted on the 9th of September of 1859. 


Of note, this was no virtual trip. We have to match this effort up with that of the comedic guy (Samuel Clemens), later. As said, we had several posts on this theme (starting with the mountain men). 


This story has several points of interest related to our work. This applies even to our current interest in technology and its historical impact, especially as activities of our times may portend to the future. 

Remarks: Modified: 06/14/2023

06/16/2023 -- Added "Horace" to the title. He went himself.  

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