The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 24
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The Southwestermr Historical Quarterly
Immigration 1840-1.-More important, however, for the Ameri-
can cause than any of the results that came from the arrest of
Graham and his companions, was the beginning of organized
emigration to California during the years 1840-1841. The reports
spread by trappers, adventurers, travellers, and Americans residing
in California, had by this time begun to bear definite fruit. The
west, especially, had become interested in the Pacific Coast and
looked to Oregon and California as fields for future settlement.
So great was the enthusiasm in Platte County, Missouri, for ex-
ample, that public meetings were held, committees appointed, and
a. pledge drawn up, to which five hundred names were appended,
binding its signers to convert their property into emigrant out-
fits and start in the following May27 from the rendezvous at
Sapling Grove, Kansas, for California. Though a number of cir-
cumstances served to cool this ardor,28 and only forty-eight persons
left for California at the time agreed upon,29 the departure of
these is significant as foreshadowing a movement that, with occa-
sional interruption, was to continue with increasing energy during
the next five years.
John Bidwell, a member of this early party, has left us a typical
story of how he and his neighbors and many another family of
the west became interested in California between 1840 and the
outbreak of the Mexican War. At the time of which we are
speaking, Bidwell's neighborhood had become considerably excited
over the stories of one whom he described as a "calm, considerate
man" by the name of Rubidoux. This story-stelling traveller,
"7Bidwell, California; Josiah Belden, Historical statement (MS., Ban-
croft Collection); Bancroft, XXI, 264-75.
The immediate causes of this enthusiasm for a migration to California
were letters received from Dr. John Marsh, an American resident of Cali-
fornia, and the stories of Rubidoux.
'One cause given both by Bidwell and Bancroft was the efforts of Mis-
souri merchants to discourage the movement, through misrepresentations
"Only one of these, Bidwell, had signed the original pledge. The party
left May 19, under the command of John Bartleson, in company with a
second band of seventeen persons bound for Oregon under the direction
of a noted trapper, Fitzpatrick. They followed the usual route of hunt-
ers and traders to the Rocky Mountains-"up the north fork of the
Platte, by the Sweetwater through the South Pass, and down and up
branches of Green River, to Bear River Valley near Great Salt Lake"
Bancroft, XXI, 268-269. Here they separated, some of the California
party joining the Oregonians, and the remainder, pressing on, eventually
reached Marsh's rancho in November, after considerable hardship.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915, periodical, 1915; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101064/m1/30/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.