Henry Hancock was a Harvard trained lawyer and a land surveyor working in California in the 1850s. He was the owner of Rancho La Brea. Henry Hancock was born in Bath, New Hampshire, a son of Thomas Hancock and his wife Lucy Hancock, grandson of Henry Hancock and Abigail Hancock, he was of his grandfather having emigrated from Somerset in the 18th century. Hancock entered the Norwich Military Academy studied law at Harvard University. Graduating in 1846, he went St. Louis, where he became a surveyor. During the Mexican–American War, he was quartermaster of the 1st Regiment Missouri Mounted Volunteers under Colonel Alexander William Doniphan. At the war's end, he soon decided to go west. Hancock sailed from Chicago to San Francisco, he opened a law office. He tried his hand at gold mining on American River, but in 1850 moved to Los Angeles. Hancock engaged extensively in government surveying. In the early 1850s, the rancheros who had received their land grants during the Mexican and Spanish occupation of California were required to prove their claims to the new American government.
They filed claims with the United States Land Commission and had to have their property surveyed and mapped by government surveyors. Henry Hancock surveyed Rancho San Pedro for the Dominguez family, Rancho San Francisco for the Del Valles, Rancho San Jose owned by the Palomares and Vejar families, he served as the city surveyor for Los Angeles. In 1854, along with Benjamin Davis Wilson, bought Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas. Hancock was elected to the California State Assembly as a Democrat, representing the 1st District from 1858 to 1860; as a lawyer, Henry Hancock worked for the Rocha family to aid them with their efforts to prove their claim to Rancho La Brea. The Rochas won their claim, but like so many other rancheros, their legal expenses left them broke. In 1860 Jose Jorge Rocha, the son of Don Antonio Jose Rocha, deeded Rancho La Brea to Henry Hancock. During the American Civil War, when there was considerable Confederate sympathy in Southern California, Hancock sided with the Union, he became major of the 4th California Infantry Regiment and for a time was commanding officer of Camp Drum, established to guard against pro-Confederate activities near Los Angeles.
He was sent to Santa Catalina Island to survey it and chose the location for its Union garrison. After the war, Hancock engaged in the commercial development of the asphaltum deposits on Rancho La Brea, he promoted its use for sidewalk and paving purposes, shipped considerable quantities to San Francisco by schooner. The brown asphaltum was used as fuel by Los Angeles manufacturing establishments during the 1880s, it was at Yiorgos Caralambo's cabin on Hancock's ranch that the notorious outlaw Tiburcio Vásquez was captured in 1874. In 1863 Hancock married Ida Haraszthy, the daughter of Agoston Haraszthy, the "Father of Modern Viticulture in California", they were the parents of George Allan Hancock and Bertram Hancock. Henry Hancock died in Los Angeles at age 61 in 1883. La Brea Tar Pits Rancho La Brea J. M. Quinn "Los Angeles and Environments" "Hancock Memorial Museum" Rancho La Brea Windsor Square – Hancock Park Historical Society "Page Museum – La Brea Tar Pits"
Benjamin Davis Wilson
Benjamin Davis Wilson was an American politician. He was known to the Native Americans as Don Benito because of his benevolent manner in his treatment of Native American affairs. Wilson, a native of Tennessee, was a fur trader before coming to California. Detained in Southern California while attempting to obtain passage to China, Wilson decided to remain there, he married Ramona Yorba, daughter of Bernardo Yorba, a wealthy and prominent landowner, purchased part of Rancho Jurupa in what would become Riverside County. Wilson was made Justice of the Peace for the Inland Territory and was entrusted with the care of Native American affairs, he was commissioned to deal with the hostile Ute tribe over their cattle rustling and other crimes against the ranchers. His marriage to his second wife, Margaret Hereford produced a daughter Ruth who would be mother to General George S. Patton Jr. commander of U. S. and allied forces during World War II. Wilson became the first non-Hispanic owner of Rancho San Pascual, which encompassed today's towns of Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Marino and San Gabriel.
Wilson was the second elected Mayor of Los Angeles for one term, Los Angeles County Supervisor 3 terms and served three terms as a California State Senator. Wilson came to California with the Workman-Rowland Party in 1841 seeking passage to China. In 1842 Wilson bought a key portion of Rancho Jurupa from Juan Bandini, a section that would be named Rancho Rubidoux. Encompassing most of present-day Rubidoux, California, as well as a significant portion of downtown Riverside, Wilson became the first permanent settler in the Riverside area. In 1844 he married his first wife, Ramona Yorba, whose father Bernardo Yorba, was the prominent Spanish landholder of Rancho Cañón de Santa Ana. Wilson gained esteem and was asked to assist with Native American affairs. Wilson accepted by becoming Justice of the Peace of the Inland Territory. In 1845 he was asked to pursue a band of marauding Native Americans led by an escaped neophyte from the San Gabriel Mission, who stole horses from the local ranchers; the Indians drove numbering in the thousands, up to the high desert near Lucerne.
In his pursuit, Wilson sent 22 men through the Cajon Pass and led another 22 into the depths of the San Bernardino Mountains. According to Trafzer, the resident Serrano let Wilson pass through their territory in pursuit of the raiders. Wilson sent his 22 men in pairs on a bear hunt, gathering 11 pelts. On their return trip to Jurupa, they gathered another 11 pelts, he named the place Big Bear Lake. The lake today is known as Baldwin Lake, after Elias J. "Lucky" Baldwin, while the name Big Bear Lake was re-applied to a reservoir built nearby in 1884. In 1850, Wilson was elected to the Los Angeles Common Council, a year he became the second elected mayor of Los Angeles after California was made a state, he served as a Los Angeles County supervisor. He was elected to three terms of the California State Senate. In 1854 Wilson established Lake Vineyard, his own ranch and winery near modern-day San Gabriel, California, he came into possession of adjoining Rancho San Pascual through a series of complicated land deals, which began with his lending money to the Rancho's owner Manuel Garfias in 1859.
In 1863 Wilson and Dr. John Strother Griffin, who had lent Garfias money — and with whom Wilson undertook many business deals in early Los Angeles, including railways, oil exploration, real estate and ranching — bought the entire rancho property outright, diverted water from the Arroyo Seco up to the dry mesa via an aqueduct called the "Wilson Ditch." In 1864 Wilson took the first white man's expedition to a high peak of the San Gabriel Mountains that would be named Mount Wilson. He hoped to harvest timber there for the making of wine vats; the Wilson Trail became a popular one or two-day hike to the crest of the San Gabriel Mountains by local residents for years to come. In 1873, Wilson and Griffin subdivided their land. Griffin sold 2,500 acres of his property to the "Indiana Colony," represented by Daniel M. Berry. In 1876, after the Colony had sold most of its allotted land and established what would become the City of Pasadena, Wilson began subdividing and developing his adjacent landholdings which would become the eastern side of the new settlement.
Wilson lived out his days in present-day San Gabriel. He gave several acres of property to his son-in-law James de Barth Shorb. Other parts developed as Alhambra. Wilson's first wife died in 1849, they would have four children of which one daughter Ruth would marry George Patton, Sr. and have a son who would become the World War II General George S. Patton, Jr; the Pattons would purchase Lake Vineyard. Wilson was buried in San Gabriel Cemetery; the last of his land holdings in the downtown Pasadena area were bequeathed to Central School on South Fair Oaks Avenue. Mount Wilson, a metromedia center for the greater Los Angeles area, is the most famous monument to Benjamin Wilson. Wilson Avenue in Pasadena and Don Benito School of the Pasadena Unified School District honor his name. Kielbasa, John R.. "Flores Adobe". Historic Adobes of Los Angeles County. Pittsburg: Dorrance Publishing Co. ISBN 0-8059-4172-X.. Read, Nat B.. Don Benito Wilson: From Mountain Man to Mayor: Los Angeles 1841 - 1878. An
History of California 1900–present
This article continues the history of California in the years 1900 and later. After 1900, California continued to grow and soon became an agricultural and industrial power; the economy was based on specialty agriculture, tourism, shipping and after 1940 advanced technology such as aerospace and electronics industries – along with a significant military presence. The films and stars of Hollywood helped make the state the "center" of worldwide attention. California became an American cultural phenomenon. Silicon Valley became the world's center for computer innovation. California is now the most populous state in the United States. If it were an independent country, California would rank 34th in population in the world. California has had waves of emigration over the years; the first big wave was the California Gold Rush starting in 1848 of miners, farmers, etc. as well as their many supporters. There were fewer than 10,000 females in a total California population of about 120,000 residents in 1850.
About 3.0% of the gold rush Argonauts before 1850 were female or about 3,500 female Gold Rushers, compared to about 115,000 male California Gold Rushers. Massive immigration from other states continued throughout the nineteenth century. California did not reach a "normal" male to female ratio of about one to one until the 1950 census. California for over a century was short on females; the 1900 census showed emigrations down to "only" a 20% growth rate. The early 1900s showed a massive population increase of over 60% between 1900 and 1910; the population more than doubled again in the next 20 years by 1930. Foreign immigration ceased during the Great Depression, as immigration to the United States was held to a low of 23,068 per year by 1933, many foreign workers were deported. There were not enough jobs to go around. After World War II and the Great Depression, there was a increasing buildup of United States workers in California as wartime industries boomed. Most of these workers were from other states as they settled in California and increased the California population to 10,586,223 by 1950.
Immigration to the United States only started to increase in 1946, when immigration to all of the United States was back up to 108,721 per year The continuing prosperity and emigration from other states and immigration from other countries in the 1950s and 1970s doubled the California population again to 19,953,134 by 1970. The 1970–2010 population growth has still been substantial but has slowed to "only" about a 15% growth rate per decade. By 2010 the California population growth rate slowed to 10%. Earthquakes in California are common occurrences since the state is traversed by six major strike-slip fault systems with hundreds of related faults, many of which are "sister faults" of the infamous San Andreas Fault that runs nearly the full length of California at the juncture of the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate; the fault systems include the Hayward Fault Zone, Calaveras Fault, Clayton-Marsh Creek-Greenville Fault, the San Gregorio Fault. Significant blind thrust faults are associated with portions of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the northern reaches of the Diablo Range and Mount Diablo.
The California earthquake forecast gives a rough estimate of where the main earthquake zones in California are. Earthquake damage depends on what area is hit, how close to the surface the center of the earthquake is located, its magnitude. Earthquake damage, for a given magnitude earthquake, to human structures depends on how well the buildings are built and what the structures are located on. Buildings on soft or filled-in soil suffer the most. Buildings on bedrock suffer less damage. Sometimes the ensuing fires, floods or tsunamis caused by the earthquake are where the greatest damage occurs; the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck the city and nearby communities at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906. Devastating fires broke out in the city that lasted for several days, destroying about 28,000 buildings; as a result of the quake and fires, over 3,000 people died and over 80% of San Francisco was destroyed. The death toll from the earthquake and resulting fire is the greatest loss of life from a natural disaster in California's history.
The most accepted estimate for the magnitude of the earthquake is a moment magnitude or Richter magnitude of 7.8. Shaking was felt from Oregon to Los Angeles, inland as far as central Nevada; the San Francisco 1906 earthquake was caused by a rupture on the San Andreas Fault, a continental transform fault that forms part of the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. The fault is characterized by lateral motion where the western plate moves northward relative to the eastern plate; the 1906 rupture propagated both northward and southward from its epicenter for a total of about 300 miles. The San Andreas Fault runs the length of California from the Salton Sea in the south to Cape Mendocino to the north, a distance of about 810 miles; the earthquake ruptured the northern third of the fault for a distance of about 300 miles. The maximum observed surface displacement was about 20 feet (6.1 m
History of California
The history of California can be divided into: the Native American period. California was settled from the North by successive waves of arrivals during the last 10,000 years, it was one of the linguistically diverse areas in pre-Columbian North America. After contact with Spanish explorers, most of the Native Americans died out from European diseases. After the Portolá expedition of 1769–70, Spanish missionaries began setting up 21 California Missions on or near the coast of Alta California, beginning with the Mission San Diego de Alcala near the location of the modern day city of San Diego, California. During the same period, Spanish military forces built three small towns. Two of the pueblos would grow into the cities of Los Angeles and San Jose. After Mexican Independence was won in 1821, California fell under the jurisdiction of the First Mexican Empire. Fearing the influence of the Roman Catholic church over their newly independent nation, the Mexican government closed all of the missions and nationalized the church's property.
They left behind a small "Californio" population of several thousand families, with a few small military garrisons. After the Mexican–American War of 1846-48, Mexico was forced to relinquish any claim to California to the United States; the unexpected discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in 1848 produced a spectacular gold rush in Northern California, attracting hundreds of thousand of ambitious young men from around the world. Only a few struck it rich, many returned home disappointed. Most appreciated the other economic opportunities in California in agriculture, brought their families to join them. California played a small role in the American Civil War. Chinese immigrants came under attack from nativists; as gold petered out, California became a productive agricultural society. The coming of the railroads in 1869 linked its rich economy with the rest of the nation, attracted a steady stream of migrants. In the late 19th century, Southern California Los Angeles, started to grow rapidly. Different tribes of Native Americans lived in the area, now California for an estimated 13,000 to 15,000 years.
Over 100 tribes and bands inhabited the area. Various estimates of the Native American population in California during the pre-European period range from 100,000 to 300,000. California's population held about one-third of all Native Americans in what is now the United States; the native horticulturalists practiced various forms of forest gardening and fire-stick farming in the forests, mixed woodlands, wetlands, ensuring that desired food and medicine plants continued to be available. The natives controlled fire on a regional scale to create a low-intensity fire ecology which prevented larger, catastrophic fires and sustained a low-density agriculture in loose rotation. California was the name given to a mythical island populated only by beautiful Amazon warriors, as depicted in Greek myths, using gold tools and weapons in the popular early 16th-century romance novel Las Sergas de Esplandián by Spanish author Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo; this popular Spanish fantasy was printed in several editions with the earliest surviving edition published about 1510.
In exploring Baja California the earliest explorers thought the Baja California peninsula was an island and applied the name California to it. Mapmakers started using the name "California" to label the unexplored territory on the North American west coast. European explorers flying the flags of Spain and of England explored the Pacific Coast of California beginning in the mid-16th century. Francisco de Ulloa explored the west coast of present-day Mexico including the Gulf of California, proving that Baja California was a peninsula, but in spite of his discoveries the myth persisted in European circles that California was an island. Rumors of fabulously wealthy cities located somewhere along the California coast, as well as a possible Northwest Passage that would provide a much shorter route to the Indies, provided an incentive to explore further; the first European to explore the California coast was Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, working for Spain. He died in southern California in 1543. Cabrillo and his men found that there was nothing for the Spanish to exploit in California, located at the extreme limits of exploration and trade from Spain it would be left unexplored and unsettled for the next 234 years.
The Cabrillo expedition depicted the Indians as living at a subsistence level located in small rancherias of extended family groups of 100 to 150 people. They had no apparent agriculture as understood by Europeans, no domesticated animals except dogs, no pottery; some shelters were made of branches and mud. The Cabrillo expedition did not see the far north of California, where on the coast and somewhat inland traditional architecture consists of rectangular redwood or cedar plank semisubterranean houses. Traditional clothing was minimal in the summer, with tanned deerhide and other animal
Alpine County, California
Alpine County is a county in the U. S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,175; the county seat is the Census Designated Place of Markleeville. There are no incorporated cities in the county. Alpine County is between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park. Alpine County was created on March 16, 1864, during a silver boom in the wake of the nearby Comstock Lode discovery, it was named because of its resemblance to the Swiss Alps. The county was formed from parts of Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado and Tuolumne Counties. At its formation, there was a population of about 11,000 with its county seat at Silver Mountain City. By 1868, the local silver mines had proven unfruitful; the county seat moved to Markleeville in 1875. After the silver rush, Alpine County's economy consisted entirely of farming and logging. By the 1920s, the population had fallen to just 200 people. With the construction of the Bear Valley and Kirkwood ski resorts in the late 1960s, the population increased to the present level.
According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 743 square miles, of which 738 square miles is land and 4.8 square miles is water. The federal government owns about 96 % of the highest percentage in California. El Dorado County – northwest Douglas County, Nevada – northeast Mono County – southeast Tuolumne County – south Calaveras County – southwest Amador County – west Eldorado National Forest Stanislaus National Forest Toiyabe National Forest The 2010 United States Census reported that Alpine County had a population of 1,175; the racial makeup of Alpine County was 881 White, 0 African American, 240 Native American, 7 Asian, 0 Pacific Islander, 19 from other races, 28 from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 84 persons; as of the census of 2000, there were 1,208 people, 483 households, 295 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile. There were 1,514 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 73.7% White, 0.6% Black or African American, 18.9% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.4% from other races, 5.1% from two or more races.
7.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 12.1% were of German, 12.1% Irish, 9.3% English, 6.5% American and 5.7% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 95.0 % spoke 2.0 % Washo as their first language. There were 483 households out of which 25.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.9% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 38.9% were non-families. 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.96. In the county, the population was spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 29.3% from 45 to 64, 9.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 110.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 117.2 males. The median income for a household in the county was $41,875, the median income for a family was $50,250.
Males had a median income of $36,544 versus $25,800 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,431. About 12.0% of families and 19.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.4% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over. Throughout the 20th century, Alpine County was a Republican stronghold in presidential and congressional elections. From 1892 until 2004, the only Democrat to carry Alpine County in a presidential election was Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 and 1936. In 1964, Alpine was one of only five counties in the state to back Barry Goldwater, it was among the five most Republican counties in the entire nation in 1892, 1908, 1920, 1928. Warren Harding and Herbert Hoover gained over ninety percent of the county’s vote. However, Alpine has become more of a Democratic-leaning county in recent elections, it has stayed in the Democratic column since. In November 2008, Alpine was one of just three counties in California's interior in which voters rejected Proposition 8, the ballot initiative to amend the California Constitution to reject the legal extension of the title of marriage to same-sex couples.
Alpine voters rejected Proposition 8 by 56.4 percent to 43.6 percent. The other interior counties in which Proposition 8 failed to receive a majority of votes were neighboring Mono County and Yolo County. According to the California Secretary of State, as of January 2016, there are 696 registered voters in Alpine County. Of those, 257 are registered Democratic, 210 are registered Republican, 46 are registered with other political parties, 183 declined to state a political party. Alpine County is in California's 4th congressional district, represented by Republican Tom McClintock. In the State Assembly, the county is in the 5th Assembly District, represented by Republican Frank Bigelow. In the State Senate, the county is in the 1st Senate District, seat vacant. Due to its low population density, Alpine County votes by mail, one of two counties in California which do so. In the June 2014 primary elections, about 22% of registered voters went to the polls. In Alpine County, the number was 70%, the highest of any county in the state.
In the late 1970s, the Posse Comitatus organization attempted to
Maritime history of California
In the California coast, the use of ships and the Pacific Ocean has included water craft, shipbuilding, Gold Rush shipping, shipwrecks, naval ships and installations, lighthouses. The maritime history of California can be divided into several periods: the Native American period. In the northwest coast of California near the redwood forests several Indian tribes developed large dugout canoes they used for fishing and warfare; these canoes were constructed by taking a large tree and shaping it with hand tools and fire to a boat's configuration. A redwood log 4 metres long and 240 centimetres diameter weighs about 2,000 kilograms; this large weight meant that the logs were selected that required a minimum of movement—usually driftwood or dead fall trees, blown over by the wind. Sometimes logs were cut to length and rolled into water where they could be floated to a selected work area; the logs were cut to length by fire and stone age hand tools and the interior of the canoe was burned out with small fires.
The basic procedure was to start a small fire on the tree where it needed shaping extinguish it after a short burn. This would leave one or more centimeters of charred wood where the fire was built that would be easier to remove. By successively using small fires to char the areas that needed to be worked the logs could be shaped by the crude scrapers and rock and horn based tools available. A finished 4 metres long dugout canoe with a nominal 5 centimetres thickness still weighed over 100 kilograms. Most larger dugouts weighed too much to move and were just pulled up on a beach far enough to get them above high tide. Constructing these types of dugout canoes took considerable time and skill with stone age tools and fire. Dugout canoes lasted several years. Tule have a rounded green stems that grows to 1 to 3 metres tall, they grow well at the edges of bodies of water. The tule stem has a pithy interior filled with spongy tissue packed with air cells—this makes it float well on water as well as a good insulator.
Native Americans used tule for making and thatching huts, mats, decoys, hats and shoes. Tule was cut using deer scapula'saws' that had rough saw like edges cut into them. Tule has to be handled with care when green to avoid breaking the stem and gains strength when it is dried. To make a tule boat, green tule was cut and spread out in the sun to dry for several days. Tule canoes were constructed of cut stalks of tule plants bundled together around a willow'core' for extra strength; the bundle of tules could be pre-bent. The length of each bundle depends on the size of the boat that were typically about 10 feet to 15 feet; the bundle that formed the bottom of the canoe on which the boatman or boatmen sat, knelt or stood was much larger than the others. To make the sides of the tule canoe two to six tapered bundles were tied to the bottom bundle with grape vines or other native material with extensive lacing at the stern and prow to bend all the tule bundles into a tapered and raised bow and stern.
Tule canoes accommodated one to four people. Tule boats can be built from dried tule, by experienced canoe builders, in less than one day. Tule boats have a limited useful life before they rot and/or come apart—typically only lasting a few weeks. Several tribes in and around the San Francisco Bay area and in northern California made and used tule canoes. Bay Miwok, Coast Miwok, Pomo, Klamath and several other indigenous natives used the tule plant to make canoes. Tule canoes were used in ocean lagoons from Tomales Bay and Point Reyes National Seashore south to Monterey Bay. Tule–reed boats were used in lakes and slow-moving rivers in much of Northern California, they were used by the Pomo living in the Laguna de Santa Rosa and Clear Lake, Tule Lake and other areas. They were common in the San Francisco Bay and on the extensive Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta and its tributary rivers; these tule canoes were used for transportation to and from their favorite spots for hunting or harvesting salmon, seeds, shellfish or oysters and other fish or foods.
Extensive beds and shoals of oysters and other shellfish lay in shallow water near the shores of San Francisco Bay and Tomales Bay and were a food source used for centuries. Tule canoes were used for gathering more tule reeds and for hunting duck or geese which were often present in the wetlands, etc. in the millions. Tule canoes were used in collecting duck and goose eggs. Ducks and geese were hunted from tule canoes with arrows or nets. Tule canoes were used in fishing with nets, spears or bone fish hooks for several native fish species present in or migrating through the rivers and bays; the boatman sits, kneels or stands in the boat and either paddles it with a double bladed paddle or with his arms in a single person canoe when lying prone. If the boat was not woven enough the boatman would find himself sitting, standing or kneeling in several inches of water; the tule canoes were used for transportation to oyster mollusk and other shellfish beds that could be harvested at low tide. The Emer
The California Trail was an emigrant trail of about 3,000 mi across the western half of the North American continent from Missouri River towns to what is now the state of California. After it was established, the first half of the California Trail followed the same corridor of networked river valley trails as the Oregon Trail and the Mormon Trail, namely the valleys of the Platte, North Platte and Sweetwater rivers to Wyoming. In the present states of Wyoming and Utah, the California and Oregon trails split into several different trails or cutoffs. By 1847, two former fur trading frontier forts marked trailheads for major alternative routes through Utah and Wyoming to Northern California; the first was Jim Bridger's Fort Bridger in present-day Wyoming on the Green River, where the Mormon Trail turned southwest over the Wasatch Range to the newly established Salt Lake City, Utah. From Salt Lake the Salt Lake Cutoff went north and west of the Great Salt Lake and rejoined the California Trail in the City of Rocks in present-day Idaho.
The main Oregon and California Trails crossed the Green River on several different ferries and trails that led to or bypassed Fort Bridger and crossed over a range of hills to the Great Basin drainage of the Bear River. Just past present-day Soda Springs, both trails turned northwest, following the Portneuf River valley to the British Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Hall on the Snake River in present-day Idaho. From Fort Hall the Oregon and California trails went about 50 miles southwest along the Snake River Valley to another "parting of the ways" trail junction at the junction of the Raft and Snake rivers; the California Trail from the junction followed the Raft River to the City of Rocks in Idaho near the present Nevada-Idaho-Utah tripoint. The Salt Lake and Fort Hall routes were about the same length: about 190 miles. From the City of Rocks the trail went into the present state of Utah following the South Fork of the Junction Creek. From there the trail followed along a series of small streams, such as Thousand Springs Creek in the present state of Nevada until approaching present-day Wells, where they met the Humboldt River.
By following the crooked, meandering Humboldt River Valley west across the arid Great Basin, emigrants were able to get the water and wood they needed for themselves and their teams. The water turned alkaline as they progressed down the Humboldt, there were no trees. "Firewood" consisted of broken brush, the grass was sparse and dried out. Few travelers liked the Humboldt River Valley passage. Humboldt is not good for man nor beast... and there is not timber enough in three hundred miles of its desolate valley to make a snuff-box, or sufficient vegetation along its banks to shade a rabbit, while its waters contain the alkali to make soap for a nation. At the end of the Humboldt River, where it disappeared into the alkaline Humboldt Sink, travelers had to cross the deadly Forty Mile Desert before finding either the Truckee River or Carson River in the Carson Range and Sierra Nevada mountains that were the last major obstacles before entering Northern California. An alternative route across the present states of Utah and Nevada that bypassed both Fort Hall and the Humboldt River trails was developed in 1859.
This route, the Central Overland Route, about 280 miles shorter and more than 10 days quicker, went south of the Great Salt Lake and across the middle of present-day Utah and Nevada through a series of springs and small streams. The route went south from Salt Lake City across the Jordan River to Fairfield, Utah west-southwest past Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, Utah, Utah, to Ely, Nevada across Nevada to Carson City, Nevada. In addition to immigrants and migrants from the East, after 1859 the Pony Express, Overland stages and the First Transcontinental Telegraph all followed this route with minor deviations. Once in western Nevada and eastern California, the pioneers worked out several paths over the rugged Carson Range and Sierra Nevada mountains into the gold fields and cities of northern California; the main routes were the Truckee Trail to the Sacramento Valley and after about 1849 the Carson Trail route to the American River and the Placerville, California gold digging region.
Starting about 1859 the Johnson Cutoff and the Henness Pass Route across the Sierras were improved and developed. These main roads across the Sierras were both toll roads so there were funds to pay for maintenance and upkeep on the roads; these toll roads were used to carry cargo west to east from California to Nevada, as thousands of tons of supplies were needed by the gold and silver miners, etc. working on the Comstock Lode near the present Virginia City, Nevada. The Johnson Cutoff, from Placerville to Carson City along today's U. S. Route 50 in California, was used by the Pony Express year-round and in the summer by the stage lines, it was the only overland route from the East to California that could be kept open for at least horse traffic in the winter. The California Trail was used from 1845 until several years after the end of the American Civil War. After about 1848 the most popular route was the Carson Route which, while rugged, was still easier than most others and entered California in the middle of the gold fields.
The trail was heav