BLM's National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretative Center outside Baker City, Oregon. A view of the historic wagon tracks are still visible, the outstanding exhibits give you a sense of the isolated travel, dangers amid the route, and life on the trail during the six month dangerous journey. I also enjoyed listening to a group of children working together on a display project deciding what to pack in their wagon.
While at the Oregon Trail Center, I recalled that three Shackford brothers had traveled from New Hampshire to California around 1850 and wondered if they came across this trail. I couldn't recall which Shackfords made this difficult journey to California or by what method so added this to my research projects upon my return.
In 1849, three of the nine children of Samuel Shackford (1767-1842) and Hannah Currier who were born in Chester, New Hampshire boarded the Steamer Corsair from Boston to Chagres, Panama[i]. They most likely crossed Panama and then caught a ship north to California. The three brothers were:
John Shackford (1808-1868), age 40, left his family (wife Mary, children Georgianna, Samuel, and George Franklin) in Walpole, Chester, New Hampshire[ii] in 1850 and they joined him in California sometime before 1860.
Samuel Quimby Shackford (1822-1850), age 26, was single in 1849 and died in California in late 1850.
Luther Calvin Shackford (1825-????), age 24 left his wife and one or more children in New Hampshire. before leaving for California. He became a farmer in California and his family settled in Vermont.
TRAVEL TO CALIFORNIA:
The Steamer Corsair left Boston on Jan 31, 1849 with 112 passengers including John, Samuel, and Luther. It arrived in New York and left there on Feb 15, 1849 heading for Chagres, Panama[iii]. It is unclear when it arrived in Chagres or what ship the Shackford's traveled on to get to California once they crossed the Panama Isthmus.
The newspaper article which lists them as passengers in the Corsair includes an article called "Life on the Isthmus, Experience of Travel on the Way to California, with Practical Hints for those who Follow."[iv]. This article was written to help the many gold hunters who were heading to California and describes the rain, living situations (bad hammocks or hard boards), costs ($1 for meals, $1 for a bed), recommendations for ensuring someone official is present when you agree on a price for travel, and dangers while crossing the Isthmus (alligators and descriptions of the terrifying quick onset of cholera which created more fear than the alligators).
The Shackford brother's were probably hoping to find gold in California. A Jno Shackford (probably this John) who lists his age as 40 (John was 44) is found in the census of Calveras, California with an occupation of miner. I don't know if John found gold but he did establish a farm in O'Neil, California. He died in 1868 before seeing that he had been granted 160 acres under the Homestead Entry Original Act.[v] The land was given to his wife and it was valued at $8,000 in the 1880 census.[vi] His daughter became a teacher, his son Samuel was a farmer who served in the military and his son George became a farmer.
Someday we'll learn more about this trip to California and how John's wife and children made their trip from New Hampshire to California in the 1850s.
[i] "California Immigrants," New York Daily Tribune, 2 February 1849, John, Luther, SQ Shackford
aboard Cosair from Boston to California via Chagres; digital images, Fulton History (http://fultonhistory.com : accessed )
[ii] 1850 United States Federal Census, Chester County, New Hampshire, population schedule, Walpole, Page 699 (penned), 349 (stamped), Family 782, Mary Shackford; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 July 2013); National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, 1009
[iii] (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~npmelton/argosea1.htm: accessed 7 July 2013),
[iv] "California Immigrants," New York Daily Tribune, 2 February 1849, John, Luther, SQ Shackford aboard Cosair from Boston to California via Chagres; digital images, Fulton History (http://fultonhistory.com : accessed)
[v] Document No 34, CACAAA 04490, BLM Serial NR: CACAA044790. Aliquot Parts SW, Sec. Bloc 14, township 1N Range 7E, Meridian Mount Diablo, CA, San Joaquin (BLM Land Patent Details)
[vi] 1880 United States Federal Census, San Joaquin, California, agricultural census, O'Neal Township, enumeration district (ED) Enumeration Dist. No 101, Supervisor's Dist No 2, Page No 4, ; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed ); Archive Collection Number: 97:2; Roll: 2; Page: 5; Line: 09; Schedule Type: Agriculture
DRAWING: The way they go to California / lith. & pub. by N. Currier, Spruce, N.Y. : Published by N. Currier, c1849; Library of Congress, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/91481165/
Copyright 2013 Joanne Shackford Parkes