Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert
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Mojave Desert History - Pioneer of the Mojave
Riding Out the Civil War

Reports from Jane Rousseau

The settlers had good reason to fear for their lives if reports from Mrs. Jane Rousseau are correct. Dr. and Mrs. Rousseau traveled the desert in the final months of 1864 with a wagon train leaving Utah and bound for San Bernardino.

In her diary entry for December 4th she wrote that she was at a place where Indians had slain three men who had been serving as caretakers for a mine located there. The killings had occurred eight weeks earlier. According to the diary, there were four houses and a quartz mill at the site, which has since been identified as Salt Spring.

Mrs. Rousseau reported on several occasions that she was frightened by Indians, who were quite bold and came right into their camp. There must have been enough people in the party that the Indians did not attack.

Her companions, who included the Earp and Curtis families among others, ran out of provisions and became exhausted prior to reaching Bitter Springs. The animals were so fatigued that on December 6th two members of the party set out on foot to seek help from the Mojave River settlers. Three days later the rescue party returned with the much-needed supplies, but they also carried reports from the inhabitants on the river that the Indians in the area were menacing and thought to be particularly hostile.

As the group continued on towards the river, a man, identified only as "the old gentleman who keeps the ranch about 30 miles from Bitter Springs," met them with some additional grain for the horses. Finally, the Rousseau family, who had split from the others over a disagreement, managed to make it to the river, thanks to their refreshed horses.

The Rousseaus stopped at the Alcorn ranch at Forks of the Road, and while there Dr. Rousseau attended "to a young man about to die, a son of Mr. Allcorn...." Mrs. Rousseau commented that "they seem real clever folks, the old gentleman is from Kentucky, his wife from South Carolina. They are secessionists...."

She also mentions Jacoby and the Nicholson family on her trip up the river, but she does not write about the settlers' recent scare by the Indians at Camp Cady or of the outcome of their request for help from Sheriff Mathews. It seems likely that had the U. S. Army sent out a patrol as requested by the sheriff, the news would have been fresh enough to have been entered into her diary.

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Glenn Edgerton photo
Salt Springs on the Old Spanish Trail



In her diary entry for December 4th she wrote that she was at a place where Indians had slain three men ...



Her companions, who included the Earp and Curtis families among others, ran out of provisions and became exhausted prior to reaching Bitter Springs.


ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - glossary
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - comments

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