The Last' Expedition of Josiah Gregg
THE LAST EXPEDITION OF JOSIAH GREGG
OWEN C. COY
While engaged in historical research relating to the northwest-
ern section of California, the writer fortunately came into pos-
session of the facts dealing with the closing events in the life of
Dr. Josiah Gregg, a man recognized by the student of the his-
tory of the Southwest as one of the most important explorers
and writers for that part of the United States; the author of
Commerce of the Prairies, or the Journal of a Santa Fe Trader.
Believing that a short account of the experiences of Dr. Gregg
and his party during this expedition, which proved the last for
its noted leader, might prove of interest to the students of West-
ern history, the following article has been prepared.
Several attempts have hitherto been made to ascertain the
identity of Josiah Gregg: to find out if possible the earlier events
in his life as well as to learn what became of him after he had
published his extremely popular work. Previous attempts, how-
ever, have met with only partial success. Dr. Reuben G.
Thwaites, Secretary of the Wisconsin Historical Society and
editor of that most valuable collection of historical sources en-
titled Early Western Travels, reprints in full the work of Josiah
Gregg but fails to give many facts regarding the author himself,
although in a subsequent letter he claims to have spent a great
deal of time in looking up data regarding him.' Later Mr. W.
E. Connelley became interested in the matter and fortunately was
able to locate members of the Gregg family from whom infor-
mation was obtained regarding his early life. These facts are
published in a long footnote in Connelley's Doniphan's Expedi-
tion, but although of value for the earlier period of his life the
facts here given fail to offer any clear account of his experiences
after coming to California, except to say that he probably met
his death while mining upon the Trinity River.2 A study of the
original sources relating to the history of the northwestern part
Connelley, Doniphan's Expedition, 168.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101070/. Accessed April 19, 2014.