In Journal Across the Plains, 1852: The Brothers Verdenal, Missouri to California, pre-teen brothers John and Dominique Verdenal document the day-to-day events of the El Dorado wagon train traveling between St. Louis, Missouri and Placerville, California in 1852.
The brothers endure hardships including being trapped under a wagon by a fierce hail storm that sends cattle and horses scrambling for cover and leaves birds, rabbits and fish dead in its wake. After finding the wolf-chewed remains of a murderer, they uncover his story.
Disappointment and disillusion divide their party, reducing the number of wagons in their train by more than half. The trip was not just bland food, adversarial weather and near impassable rivers and mountains. Natural wonders including the colossal Independence Rock and the stone cleft of Devil’s Gate broke the monotony of the plains.
Rest days allowed for horse races, swimming, and practical jokes, while holidays inspired bonfires, speeches, and violins. Detailed footnotes as well as numerous illustrations and maps deepen the reader’s cross-country experience. An index of fellow travelers and those met on the trail supports genealogical research.
Bringing the past to the present, the book follows the brothers and their descendants as they build new lives in California and into the twenty-first century.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Since 1935, the Marin History Museum has acquired and preserved a unique collection documenting life in Marin County, California, from the time of the Coast Miwok Indians to the present. The Museum presents exhibitions and programs linking the county’s past with contemporary issues both locally and globally. Through its collection of over 1,000 books, 20,000 objects, and 200,000 photographs, the museum offers an excellent resource for researching the rich local history. The museum is delighted to share the Verdenal Journal, one of the gems of its collection, with lovers of Western history.