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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991

Book Reviews

Clarke, with traveling companions, left Camargo on March 6. Their
trek took them across northern Mexico, via Monterey, La Zarca, Chi-
huahua, San Bernardino, Tucson, and to the Gila River. They followed
that watercourse to the Colorado River, which they crossed to enter
California. They continued on to Los Angeles and northward to the
Tuolumne River, arriving there in early August.
Well educated by the standards of that day, Clarke kept a lively record
of events on the trail. He vividly described people (fellow-argonauts,
Mexicans and Indians, and American settlers in California), bleak na-
tive villages and their impoverished residents, and the hardships of
travel, including dangerous crossings of waterless stretches of desert
that made up a good part of their route. Clarke noted interesting as-
pects of life in California as he and his companion, Dr. Joseph E. Field,
traveled from Los Angeles to the gold regions.
First published in 1852, Clarke's diary is one of the few extant of the
trail across Mexico. It is also one of the more informative firsthand ac-
counts of travel by a participant in the gold rush. Anne Perry's intro-
duction and notes greatly enhance the value of this new edition of a
unique record of travel in 1849.
University of Colorado, Boulder LEE SCAMEHORN
Through Indian Country to California: John P. Sherburne's Diary of the
Whipple Expedition, 1853-1854. Edited by Mary McDougall Gor-
don. (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1988. Pp. xiv+
285. Preface, introduction, maps, illustrations, notes, afterword,
biographical appendix, bibliography, index. $24.50.)
John Pitts Sherburne had been asked to resign from the U.S. Military
Academy at West Point in January 1853. After 3'/ years of study, a de-
ficiency in chemistry would keep him from graduating from this pres-
tigious institution. Thus, when his brother-in-law Lieut. Amiel Whip-
ple asked him to join the Pacific Railroad survey along the thirty-fifth
parallel, he enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity.
The eight-month expedition took the survey team through the In-
dian Territory of Oklahoma, the Panhandle region of Texas, and the
Territory of New Mexico into southern California. Whipple accom-
plished his primary objective of thoroughly exploring and mapping the
country between Zuni and the Colorado River, an area for which little
detailed information was available.
This volume records John Sherburne's experiences from July 15,
1853, when Whipple set out from Fort Scott, Arkansas, to March 21,
1854, two days after the expedition arrived in Los Angeles. An eager
and steadfast chronicler, Sherburne accurately and vividly details the


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 6, 2016.

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