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Diary of a Forty-Niner
September 14, 2006 9:24 AM   Subscribe

Alex Ramsey's journal gives an account of his journey westward to join the 1849 Gold Rush, a laborious trek of no more than twenty-five miles a day which ended in illness and disappointment. "I am now convinced that I done very wrong in coming here with the hope of bettering my pecuniary condition alone and I now declare and humbly ask God to enable me to perform my promise that if I am again permitted to return to a land of peace and quietude, that I will strive to be content." From the Wyoming State Archives' Document Photo Gallery.
posted by Miko (16 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
For anyone else wondering how he was able to lug a 20th century tyewriter back to the 1849 gold rush, the site also contains scanned images of the original long-hand journal entries.

Great post! I love these sorts of first-person accounts of the Gold Rush and westward migration across the old west.
posted by mosk at 9:41 AM on September 14, 2006


[This is RAD]
posted by freebird at 9:45 AM on September 14, 2006


Oh, and watch out for those river crossings.


posted by mosk at 10:06 AM on September 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


(Is that from Oregon Trail? I remember playing that in 6th grade, all text)
posted by Miko at 10:18 AM on September 14, 2006


This is really interesting. I found myself wondering why, when he reached one of the many nice places with lots of timber, he didn't just stop and make a life for himself. But I'm sure I underestimate the allure of gold in the hills.

Oh, and mosk, that animation is hypnotic.

you have died of dysentery
posted by Shecky at 10:24 AM on September 14, 2006


(Is that from Oregon Trail? I remember playing that in 6th grade, all text)

Yeah :-) It played fine as text, but there's somehting about watching that damn wagon fall into the river again and again and again that's just, well, funny. But I hope the updated version didn't animate the "you have died from dysentary" sequence.
posted by mosk at 10:36 AM on September 14, 2006


On preview: you read my mind, Shecky
posted by mosk at 10:37 AM on September 14, 2006


Gold Dust by Donald Dale Jackson is a great book about the forty-niners. It's well written, throughly researched and documented. If you have an interest in reading factual accounts of these pioneers it's the book for you. It does away with a lot of the mythology about the people and the experience of crossing the U. S. on foot in 1849-1950.

Sadly, Donald Dale Jackson died last February. (scroll down for obit.)
posted by X4ster at 11:22 AM on September 14, 2006


This is cool as hell, thanks for posting it.

Uh, everybody knows, the internet was invented so we could share things like this, right?
posted by marxchivist at 11:32 AM on September 14, 2006


Terrific post! Thanks, Miko.
posted by maryh at 11:34 AM on September 14, 2006


This post is meat, and potatoes...thanks!
posted by vito90 at 12:56 PM on September 14, 2006


I'm heartbroken that I couldn't find out anything more about Alex Ramsay on the site: what happened to him after that last letter in November, if he ever made it home, the rest of his story.
posted by jokeefe at 1:08 PM on September 14, 2006


This is awesome. I wish I weren't at work so I could take the time to read it all the way through right now, but from reading just the first few pages, this, to me, is Best of the Web.
posted by Bageena at 1:35 PM on September 14, 2006


Great post!

For anyone else wondering how he was able to lug a 20th century tyewriter back to the 1849 gold rush, the site also contains scanned images of the original long-hand journal entries.

Er, that appears to be somebody else's journal from a year later.

posted by languagehat at 2:04 PM on September 14, 2006


Great post Miko. I wish the site were a bit better designed, but anyone who puts primary sources like this online is my very bestest friend.
posted by LarryC at 2:13 PM on September 14, 2006


Awesome post! Thank you.

Uh, everybody knows, the internet was invented so we could share things like this, right?

Exactly. I never knew how narrow my horizons really were until I went online. Nor did I know how happy a little Oregon Trail animated .gif could make me.
posted by LeeJay at 2:25 PM on September 14, 2006


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