The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 294
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294 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ing the first half of 1849 two roads, the "upper" and the "lower,"
from the frontier of Texas to El Paso. But the California gold
seekers had not waited for these roads to be opened, they had
pushed ahead, trying to find roads to El Paso for themselves.
During January and the early part of February, small parties
had gone from San Antonio,25 Houston,26 Galveston,7 and per-
haps other places,28 too impatient to wait for the larger parties
organizing in those communities. It is probable that most28 of
these formed a big party at Fredericksburg, under the leadership
of Captain Mays of St. Louis.30 This was the first large emi-
grant party to try to reach El Paso by the upper route; it pre-
ceded the exploring party of Ford and Neighbors, leaving Fred-
ericksburg March seventeenth or eighteenth. Their guide, a man
who had been with Hays, expected to lead them up the Pecos
fifty miles, and then turn west to the Rio Grande Valley.31 Let-
ters which came back from El Paso indicate that they reached
the Valley twenty-five miles above that place, on the sixteenth
day of travel from Fredericksburg, with so little difficulty that
"carriages and ladies could have gone over the road."32 Just
what route they traveled beyond the Pecos is not clear.33
Of the large parties organized in various communities, the
Austin party was the first to leave over the upper route. It had
been advertised during January that this party would leave on
the first day of February,34 and all persons wishing to join had
been requested to send in their names at an early date. At a
preliminary meeting held on February first, the company decided
to travel as a pack train, and asked that "all persons intending
to make the trip should meet at the company encampment, four
2"Texas Democrat, January 28, 1849.
'"Telegraph, February 1, 1849.
"'Texas Democrat, February 17, 1849.
T28bid., February 10, 1849; Telegraph, February 1, 1849.
"2Unsigned letter from an emigrant on the Concho River, dated March
12, 1849, shows that some had gone ahead. Telegraph, April 26, 1849.
80Ibid., February 15, 1849.
81Ibid., April 12, 1849.
"Telegraph, June 28, 1849. The party of Ford and Neighbors had re-
turned from El Paso to San Antonio June 2, and probably carried this
"See accompanying map by Robert Creuzbaur.
"See Texas Democrat, January, 1849, passim.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925, periodical, 1925; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101087/m1/299/: accessed August 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.