The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 301
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California Emigrant Roads Through Texas
mals for the balance of the journey, and consequently there was
a congestion at El Paso,64 Santa F6,5 and every little village"
between the two places. All had to have new supplies, many new
outfits for their animals had given out, and still others, disgusted
with the slow ox teams wanted to sell wagons and buy mules to go
the rest of the way as "pack train." The prices of mules and pro-
visions, such as the emigrants wanted,-flour, coffee, sugar, beans,
etc., began to soar, while wagons could hardly be disposed of at
any price. The native Mexican population, not prepared to feed
this influx, became alarmed at the prospect of a famine, and began
to horde their provisions. Some of the vagabond emigrants forced
themselves upon the natives for maintenance, some stole mules and
horses from the army, and generally caused disorder. The Mexican
city of El Paso was located on the west side of the river; the
migrants camped on the east bank of the river, and then were
none too welcome to come across. A few of the emigrants settled
and opened stores there, supplied by old Santa F6 traders, who
quickly began hauling goods over the lower road, and thus began
the American El Paso.
"4One of the members of Ford and Neighbors's party who had turned
back to guide an emigrant party to El Paso, returned from that place to
Austin, with the information that El Paso had undergone a great change
"since the breaking out of the gold fever." He stated that "upward of
four thousand emigrants, with twelve or fifteen hundred wagons were
encamped in the neighborhood. Provisions were very scarce and dear-in
fact not to be had in the neighborhood, in sufficient quantities to supply
the demand, and the Mexicans were beginning to be alarmed at the prospect
of being eaten out." New Orleans Delta, August 20, 1849. Other ac-
counts in Texas Democrat, August 4, and Telegraph, August 16, 1849.
"Wm. S. Messery, a merchant of Santa F6, to The St. Louis Republican
(sic.) "Hundreds of emigrants have passed through this place on their
way to California. Our city is filled with them; hundreds are daily
arriving and departing, and nearly all destitute of the means to take
them through." Memphis Morning Enquirer, September 2, 1849.
"An emigrant's letter from one of the villages, dated June 12, 1849,
describes the encampment at that place as having three hundred wagons,
four thousand cattle, and eight hundred men, besides one hundred Mexicans
with three hundred pack mules. The Arkansas Banner, September 4, 1849.
There are many other such letters written from the Rio Grande Valley.
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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/m1/307/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.