On May 24, 1869 a one-armed Civil War veteran, John Wesley Powell and a ragtag band of nine mountain men embarked on the last great quest in the American West. The Grand Canyon, not explored before, was as mysterious as Atlantis—and as perilous. The ten men set out from Green River Station, Wyoming Territory down the Colorado in four wooden rowboats. Ninety-nine days later, six half-starved wretches came ashore near Callville, Arizona.
Lewis and Clark opened the West in 1803, six decades later Powell and his scruffy band aimed to resolve the West’s last mystery. A brilliant narrative, a thrilling journey, a cast of memorable heroes—all these mark Down the Great Unknown, the true story of the last epic adventure on American soil.
With an expert's eye, Verne Huser tells us what it was like to mount and carry out an expedition that was "basically a river trip." From the construction of the boats in 1803 to the negotiation of the last miles home three years later, the explorers were tied inextricably to the river systems that carried them west into uncharted territory and back again. From the Ohio River to the Columbia, they rowed, paddled, pulled, poled, sailed, and portaged their way into history—mapping, collecting, and recording a country's first glimpse of its western wealth.
Himself a river man, Huser has canoed, rafted, or cruised much of the expedition's route. He brings to the famous story his knowledge of the "ways of wind and water," giving readers a rare, first-hand look at the benefits and hazards of river travel as they might have been experienced by the thirty-three explorers—some boatmen, some not—on the river with Lewis and Clark.
The beginning of the nineteenth century represents a time when America passed into a headlong rush for empire and when "the West" loomed large as a dream for some and a nightmare for others, an era that irrevocably shaped the new American nation in the two hundred years that followed. Whoever the storyteller in the aftermath of that encounter--native or newcomer--the stories all soon revolved around a common theme: the coming of the winds of change.
Ronda's masterful interpretation of the young Republic's fascination with the West is written with grace, narrative sweep, and a conviction that history should, above all else, engage and inform us.
"This is a really outstanding, important work."--Professor John L. Allen, University of Wyoming
H.W. Brands tells his epic story from multiple perspectives: of adventurers John and Jessie Fremont, entrepreneur Leland Stanford, and the wry observer Samuel Clemens—side by side with prospectors, soldiers, and scoundrels. He imparts a visceral sense of the distances they traveled, the suffering they endured, and the fortunes they made and lost. Impressive in its scholarship and overflowing with life, The Age of Gold is history in the grand traditions of Stephen Ambrose and David McCullough.
In the spring of 1848, rumors began to spread that gold had been discovered in a remote spot in the Sacramento Valley. A year later, newspaper headlines declared "Gold Fever!" as hundreds of thousands of men and women borrowed money, quit their jobs, and allowed themselves- for the first time ever-to imagine a future of ease and splendor. In THE RUSH, Edward Dolnick brilliantly recounts their treacherous westward journeys by wagon and on foot, and takes us to the frenzied gold fields and the rowdy cities that sprang from nothing to jam-packed chaos. With an enthralling cast of characters and scenes of unimaginable wealth and desperate ruin, THE RUSH is a fascinating-and rollicking-account of the greatest treasure hunt the world has ever seen.
In other countries, mines that produced precious metals were the property of kings and princes. But in California, the gold, like everything else on the frontier, belonged to those who took it. In The Gold Rush, historian Ralph K. Andrist details the culture and characters that created a pivotal moment in American history.
The town of Cinnabar, Montana, no longer exists, but when it did, it served as the immediate railroad gateway for a generation of visitors to Yellowstone National Park. Visitors passed through its streets from September 1, 1883, through June 15, 1903 This book tells the story of its place in the West, and the legend of the town and its promoters. Its story is one of aspiration and dreams in the American West and its place in the legend and lore of Yellowstone has kept the spirit of Cinnabar alive for more than a hundred years since the town itself faded away.
When gold fever struck in 1849, John S. Darcy—prominent physician, general, and president of the New Jersey Railroad—assembled a company to travel overland to California. In Jersey Gold, Margaret Casterline Bowen and Gwendolyn Joslin Hiles tell the story of that colorful company of some thirty stalwarts and adventurers.
Jersey Gold chronicles the experiences of the New Jersey argonauts from their lives before the gold rush to the widely varying fortunes each ultimately found. Animated by the trekkers’ own words and observations and illustrated with maps, photographs, and drawings by one of the company’s own men, Jersey Gold follows the Newark Overland Company’s journey by rail, stage, and riverboat to the Missouri frontier town of Independence, the group’s jumping-off point for the Oregon-California trail. There, the company splintered. Their divergent paths afford views of the westward journey from multiple perspectives as the companies faced the perils of the wilderness and the treachery of human nature. Once in gold country, many booked immediate passage home, but some remained with Darcy to work a successful mining operation before returning east with comfortable fortunes. A few, enchanted by the opportunities of the Golden Coast, took up permanent residence there—and in their stories we witness the emergence of California amid unprecedented lawlessness, the controversy of slavery, and diverse nationalities.
The story of the Newark Overland Company—in many ways a panorama of the nineteenth century—ranges from the wildness of the frontier through the chaos of the Civil War to the throes of early industrialization, and features such notables as John Sutter, Brigham Young, and Henry Clay. In chronicling this journey, Jersey Gold vividly re-creates a defining chapter in American history.
In 1869, Civil War veteran and amputee Major John Wesley Powell led an expedition down the uncharted Colorado River through the then-nameless Grand Canyon. This is the story of what started as a geological survey, but ended in danger, chaos, and blood. The men were inexperienced and ill-equipped, and they faced unimaginable peril. Along the way there was death, mutiny, and abject terror, but Powell persevered and produced a masterwork of adventure writing still held in the highest regard by the boatmen who follow his course today. With never-before-used primary sources and firsthand experience navigating Powell’s legendary route, Cecil Kuhne brings this remarkable chapter of frontier history to life.
The American Grit series brings you true tales of endurance, survival, and ingenuity from the annals of American history. These books focus on the trials of remarkable individuals with an emphasis on rich primary source material and artwork.