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Profiles in Mojave Desert History
Sheldon StoddardMonument Builder, Mail Carrier, Trail Blazer
Sheldon Stoddard, of San Bernardino, was born near Toronto, Canada, February 8. 1830, the son of Nathaniel and Jane MacManigal Stoddard. His
father was a carpenter by trade and a native of Massachusetts; the mother was born in Glasgow, Scotland. The father died at Toronto and the
mother came to the United States about 1838 with her four sons and after a year in Ohio located at Warsaw, Illinois. She crossed the
plains to Salt Lake and then to San Bernardino with the colonists of 1851, returning to Utah about 1875. Of the sons, Arvin and Albert
came to California in 1849. Rufus died in Utah in 1904. Sheldon Stoddard started for California in 1848, coming by way of Council Bluffs
and the North Platte route to Salt Lake. Here a party of about thirty men, under the guidance of Captain Flake, started for the placer
diggings in 1849. Among the members of this party were Charles C. Rich, George Q. Cannon, William Lay, and Sheldon Stoddard. They rode
pack animals and followed a trail as far as
Mountain Meadows, intending
to take a northern route via Walker's Lake to the placer diggings. They traveled westward for eighteen days without guides, compass or
maps. They found no water, and were saved from perishing by a providential shower that seemed to come from heaven to restore and save
them from a terrible death, famishing for the want of water, a miraculous escape for which blessing they all returned gratitude to
their Heavenly Father.
by JOHN BROWN, Jr. & JAMES BOYD
Notes: HISTORY OF SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY
Sheldon Stoddard carried the mails during 1854 and took the last mail through in 1858. The mail was sent once a month, two men starting from each end of the route and meeting in the vicinity of the Muddy. The trip usually occupied about twenty days, although Mr. Hunt and a companion once made the journey in sixteen days—under the stress of an attack by the Indians and a flight from danger. Often pack horses and passengers accompanied the mail carriers.
In March, 1851. Mr. Stoddard married Miss Jane, the second daughter of Captain Hunt, and in April' they started for California with the San Bernardino colonists. At Bitter Springs, Lyman, Rich, Hunt, Hopkins and Rollins started on ahead of the company on horseback, and Stoddard accompanied then, with a mule team. They spent about twenty days in prospecting the country. In September Mr. Stoddard built the first log cabin within the town plat on what is now the Carter place, on First street west of 1 street. This cabin was later taken down and built into the west barricade of the fort. In 1S53 he built an adobe house on the northwest corner of D and Fourth streets, now occupied by the Lloyd Block, the present postoffice. This house stood until about 1870. In 1857 Mr. Stoddard removed to a ranch on Warm Creek. For many years he was engaged in carrying mail and freighting between San Bernardino and Salt Lake and other points. He crossed the desert twenty-four times with mail to Salt Lake and return. His last trip, in 1858, was an adventurous one. He, with Dan Taft and Louis Newell, started for Salt Lake with two wagons, four mules on each, carrying mail and freight. At Cottonwood Springs, 18 miles this side of Las Vegas, then a Mormon fort, they encountered an Indian and squaw at the point where they camped for dinner. They gave the Indians some bacon and biscuit and finally presented the buck with a cigar. They went on, leaving the Piutes in camp. The Indian, after smoking the cigar, was taken violently sick. The squaw, believing that the white men had intentionally poisoned her lord, started at once for a camp of about fifty Indians beyond Las Vegas. This party made a raid on the Mormon camp and told their story to the four men who were in the fort. The men with difficulty persuaded them to wait until the mail party arrived and they could find out whether the Indian was dead. When the San Bernardino party reached the fort they found a threatening outlook, but the Indians finally agreed to take a white man with them and go back and find the sick Indian. They met him coming in, better but still squeamish, and the Indians were still not satisfied that he had not been poisoned. It was finally arranged that the mail carriers were to give them six pairs of blankets and promise that if the Indian died they would give a horse. Then they were allowed to proceed, but they went on in much uneasiness, feeling that if the man should die it would furnish all the excuse the Indians wanted for an attack.
In 1865 Mr. Stoddard made the trip with a freight wagon to Nevada City, Montana, a distance of 1300 miles, the journey occupying six months. His last long freighting trip was to Pioche City, Nevada, in 1866. He continued to freight in Southern California- until 1882, when he entered the employ of the California Southern railway, taking charge of their teaming and quarry work. He remained with the railway company until 1899, when he retired from active life to enjoy the well-earned rest that is fitting for long and well spent years of labor. He has a comfortable old homestead, now a part of the city. His wife died December 26, 1899. Their children were: Mary, now the widow of N. Sleppy; Eve.: Mrs. Albert Rosseau, now deceased: Hattie ; Mrs. S. p. Merritt, and Bell, deceased.
Stoddard Valley Off-Highway Vehicle AreaOff-highway vehicle recreation in the Mojave Desert near Victorville and Barstow.
Stoddard Wells Road - Barstow/VictorvilleDrive between Barstow and Victorville on Stoddard Wells Road, the Mojave Desert, California.
Two New Roads Open Up - Mojave DesertHe broke a road from the Fish Ponds thru by way of what is now Stoddard's Well and ... Not long afterward, Sheldon Stoddard dug a well along the route, which ...
Barstow California AreaAncient indian rock drawings and carvings. Stoddard Wells Road to Victorville. The old 'shortcut' between Barstow and Victorville. Daggett. Renamed to Daggett ...
Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation AreasStoddard Valley. Located in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, Stoddard Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area offers a diverse landscape for .
Mojave Desert - John BrownSheldon Stoddard In May, 1852, he brought John Brown and family from San Pedro and located them as his neighbor on the west side of this fort. Mr. Brown ...
Stoddard MountainStoddard Mountain is part of a east-southeast trending ridge 10 miles long, 15 miles south of Barstow and ...
Historic Roads & HighwaysStoddard Wells Road, The Cottonwoods Between what is now known as Barstow and Helendale cottonwood trees grew along the Mojave River. Water was ...
History of the Victor Valley: Mojave Desert HistoryThe annual San Bernardino County Fair at Victorville with attendance figures over 100,000, the Annual Lucerne Valley Burro Race, Stoddard Jess Turkey and ...
Huntington's Station - Mojave DesertTHE ROAD HEADING NORTHERLY TO CALICO IS THE STODDARD WELLS ROUTE, WHICH CROSSED THE RIVER APPROXIMATELY AT TODAY'S ...
Railroads of the Mojave DesertSheldon Stoddard In 1882 he entered the employ of the California Southern Railway, and the Santa Fe Railroad Company, under their chief engineer, Fred T.
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