The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 13
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The Lost Journals of a Southwestern Frontiersman 13
the coast and turn Eastward into the Sacramento Valley. They
had no meat to eat. And, in the words of a man who was along,
Gregg "one day fell from his horse and died in a few hours
without speaking-died of starvation."
A little later, when a ship's company landed in the bay he
had discovered, they found a giant redwood tree with the lati-
tude and longitude of the place carved in its ancient bark.
It was a legacy; but there was another.
From his dead body, some little bound notebooks were taken,
whose pages were full and whose order was perfect. It was a
book, in manuscript, ready for the printer. There also must
have been some miscellaneous records and observations of the
hunt for the Bay. There were the last things he kept by him.
They were sent to his brother, John Gregg, in Shreveport,
in 1850. This brother mentioned them in letters to his sister
when he received them. He called the finished MS. Rovings
Abroad. This is the book by Josiah Gregg mentioned by later
historians, and always referred to as lost.
But along with tonight's diaries, it is safe. Because I am
enacting the role of prologue, so to speak, I need have no
modesty in describing the salvage of what will certainly be
regarded as a major find in the materials of Western history.
In 1931, there appeared in the Proceedings of the American
Antiquarian Society a series of letters by Josiah Gregg, edited
by John T. Lee, who had discovered references to Gregg in the
writings of John Bigelow. It was Bigelow who helped Gregg
with editorial preparation of his book. There was a good friend-
ship between them. These newly revealed letters kindled in
Maurice Garland Fulton, my senior collaborator in past proj-
ects, and most distinguished colleague and teacher, the idea of
doing a short biography of Josiah Gregg. And so like any hunts-
man after quarry, he was off on the chase. In Kansas City he
read volumes in local history, and came across allusions to one
Claude Hardwicke, who was said to possess diaries and per-
sonal writings of Gregg, which had been used in the writing
of Commerce of the Prairies. Who was this Hardwicke? Could
he be seen? Was he living? Did he know what he had?
And what was this book called "Rovings Abroad" by Josiah
Gregg, mentioned by W. E. Connolly in Doniphan's Expedition
and described as lost? It was on Gregg's body in 1850 and
where was it now?
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941, periodical, 1941; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/m1/17/: accessed June 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.