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Historical Eras:

Pioneers in the Mojave Desert

photo of a covered wagon

There were those wishing to settle in the new lands of California, they came in wagons with their families. After Edward F. Beale rode to the east with news of the discovery of gold, hundreds and then thousands came across the Mojave, at first along the Old Spanish Trail. Mormons made significant use of the trail and variations became known as the Mormon Trail.

Wagon parties of note during this period were the Bennett-Arcane party and Rose-Bailey. Bennett-Arcane had decided to try an ambiguous short-cut which ended in stranding them in Death Valley without food or ample water. The Rose-Bailey party was attacked by Mohave Indians while attempting to cross the the Colorado River. Lives were lost and the Rose-Bailey party made the long trek back to Sante Fe. The 'Lost 49ers,' as the Bennett-Arcane party became known, were rescued by the heroic efforts of two of its young members, William Manly and John Rogers. Although the massacre of the Oatman family occured far to the south, Olive and Maryann Oatman were held as slaves by the Mohave Indians for several years. Maryann died of malnutrition during a famine, and Olive Oatman was eventually rescued.

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Wagon Roads

Rose-Bailey Wagon Train

Too impatient to wait for the new road to be completed, two wagon trains of emigrants left Santa Fe in 1858 to try it out, one headed by L. R. Rose, and following it another led by Gillum Bailey. ...

The Life and Times of Aaron G. Lane

He had barely settled in before his ranch was raided by Indians. Other attacks followed throughout the years, and once he was even forced to ...

Pratt Party


Captain Jefferson Hunt
Hunt guided several parties of gold prospectors from Utah to California. Many of the pioneers he led in the 1849 ...

William Lewis Manly
The trail the "Lost 49er's" attempted to blaze led them into the fiery gates of Hell, ...

Aaron G. Lane
Captain A. G. Lane, the first permanent settler on the High Desert. In 1858 Lane located at a spot about one-half mile below ...

Olive Oatman
Also see:
Old Spanish Trail

Isaac Slover

Seeing the Elephant

Map of Old Spanish Trail
Old Spanish Trail

Map of Mojave Road
Mojave Road

Map of Mojave River Trail
Mojave River Trail

Mormon Pioneers

The history of the Mormon Trail cannot be understood without an awareness of the Mormon religion itself. The great Mormon migration of 1846-1847 was but one step in the Mormons' quest for religious freedom and growth. ...

The Lost 49'ers

The first two weeks of travel on the Old Spanish Trail were easy, but the going was slower than most of the travelers wanted. The leader of the group, Captain Jefferson Hunt, would only ...

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