CASH BOOK OF ST. JOSEPH COMPANY (Receipts)
Expenditures -- $259.55
Receipts -- 335.17
Balance -- 75.62
Brother Gatian; Goose Neck near Independence Missouri, April 26, 1850
"The General Chapter (1851) condemned expedition to California, demanded information of survivors and that Sorin make it possible for Chapter to correspond with them." SORIN CHRONICLES, p. 94, 1851
"Since Notre Dame is weighed down by debt and every honest means may in justice be used to liquidate it; since, on the other hand, Holy Cross has declared several times that it is not responsible for debts of Notre Dame can't pay unless she uses different ways for doing it, she founded New Orleans and sent Brothers to California . . . " Priests Council, Sorin, Granger, Cointet, January 7, 1851
"Four Brothers went to California for gold to repair disaster of the fire. Found Misery, not gold. Brother Placidus (Allard) died November 5, 1850 in El Dorado, California.
"Urban Allard, born at Vawres, Sarthe, February 2, 1812, entered June 4, 1838, received the habit February 2, 1839; professed August 22, 1844. Manual laborer.
"Urban Monsiner, Brother Gatian, a farmer, entered 1839, left Nov. 1850."
St. Joseph California Company Cr.
By a check of $250.00 of which Mr. Woodworth WASTE BK, p.73, 1851
July 6 -- "Brother Lawrence on his arrival from California sets forth his account as follows:
May 26: Settled with Mr. Cowdrie to an amount of $88.76. Brother Lawrence sold to Captain Woodworth in California goods to amount of $261.60; Captain's personal expenses $57.40. (Total $319.00).
July 7: To one ox lost by accident in California $40.00 Amount of expense to come home $376.33
California Expedition (en route 1850)
"Since we wrote to you we have travelled 189 miles and have passed through Dresden, Morris, Marseilles, Ottawa, La Salle, Peru, Princeton, Indiantown, Providence, Osceola, Lafayette, Victoria, Galesburg, and Monmouth. The prairie roads of Illinois which last year occasioned so many delays to some of the Companies are now in excellent order and to us they have been nearly as good as the plank roads. We have crossed the Mississippi at Burlington, Iowa, for $1.50 and are now one mile west of the town.
"We may say that so far we have been very fortunate; our teams are in good condition; our men have still all their courage and their health is not impaired, though they have suffered a little from the cold west winds which annoyed us on the Illinois prairies.
"As we advance towards the gold regions, the accounts respecting the diggings become more encouraging. The number of emigrants to California is immense. People say we are very early but still there are two hundred teams ahead of us. Yesterday we saw nine teams within a mile . . . . At Princeton, Illinois, we exchanged Captain Woodworth's horses for two ponies. We have now six ponies on our large wagon and this team is deemed by all we meet as the best that has yet been seen bound for California.
"We have bought flour and some other provisions at Burlington and we do not expect to make any extraordinary expenses until we reach Independence. We have a balance of $260.27 on hand." St. Joseph Company of Notre Dame du Lac per Brother Gatian, Secretary, to Sorin, 1850
"I am sick, I am unable to work, one of my acquaintances just died" is the talk of nearly every group in town or out of it. The St. Joseph Company have not been spared. William Lacass, John Menage (Brother Lawrence) have been in danger of death; and Brother Placidus is gone, I hope to a better world. Their doctor's bill is not far from $600.00. I have also been very sick for four weeks and have run $60.00 in debt. The majority of miners are in the case of the St. Joseph Company, unable to work and in debt.
"The diggings in this vicinity scarcely pay board to the majority of new miners and a great many are merely trying to make enough money to take them home. I have worked all week and made only two days' board.
" . . . It would be a great charity in you to endeavor to keep people from coming to California. Of those who came through last spring, not more than one out of every 300 that would not wish themselves home again. One-tenth of all emigrants die in California . . . .not more than one out of 500 make anything . . . . the mines are exhausted." Brother Gatian to Fr. Sorin, White Rock Valley, California, November 29, 1850
"The death of Brother Placidus (November 6, 1850) caused me all the more grief because I had not been informed that he had been sent to California. I would not have approved such an undertaking." Father Moreau, December 8, 1851
" . . . .We have found all the streams of the Independence route low, the roads of the plains not inferior to plant roads, wood and water so far generally sufficient for kitchen purposes. The weather has been as agreeable as travellers could desire, our health excellent, and our ponies full of life and devilment. The scenery is rich though monotonous . . . .There is but little timber on the mainland but the trees of the 1000 islands of the Platte remind the distant beholder of the pleasure gardens of Europe . . . There is another part of the scenery which is calculated to impress the mind of the traveller with solemn thoughts. He passes thru a country thickly inhabited and yet sees not a native. The trail of the Pawnee is indeed there and so is his hunting ground, -- a 1000 stag, elk, or deer horns and a buffalo head every two rods, record of Indian feasts; but the wild Indians dare not show his face to the white man. We have travelled 200 miles in the Pawnee Territory and have seen a few deserted tents but not a single red man. . . . Several Californians hunt and some with success but being rather poorly fitted out, we all fell so tired after our day's work that we are not tempted to imitate their example. We start every morning between 6 and 7 o'clock, stop from one to two hours at noon to feed and then travel until 5 o'clock. Some of us have to walk half the time and the others take care of the horses and cook.
" . . . There are from 2000 to 3000 teams ahead of us . . . .
"May 5 -- Weather fine, roads good, water plenty. Distance made: 10 miles. In the morning we attended Mass, started at noon and toward night crossed the Little Vermillion . . . about 2 o'clock (P.M.) there wre 52 wagons in a line and we were the last train.
"May 7 -- Last night we had a heavy fall of cold rain followed by a storm of snow. This morning an early thaw followed by pleasant weather. Distance made: 16 miles.
"May 8 -- Captain Martin, being afraid of the Indians last night had four sentinels watching at the same hour . . . Distance made: 27 miles."
"May 9 -- Distance made: 23 miles. I saw five graves today and one of them read; 'R.F. Cannon, Clayton, Wells Co., Indiana"
"May 10 -- Distance made: 26 miles. Yesterday two teams left our train and today we leave it ourselves, as we are not much."
"Perhaps we ought to recall more often the old missionary days when after long journeys in sub-zero weather the priests had to be lifted out of the sled and his feet thawed back to life; when teaching Brothers returning from a hard year's work in the mission schools walked forthwith into the harvest field to garner wheat against the next morning's bread; when in the old Arogonaut days of the 'foolish forties' three grave and reverend Brothers set out pathetically for the gold fields of California in the desperate hope of furthering enough bullion to lift the college debt. They got no gold, the splendid heroes, but they were willing to do that terrible thing -- to leave the peace and safety and refinement of their monastic shades -- to endure not only the privations and perils of the Argonauts but (worse still, sometimes!) to endure the Argonauts themselves -- in order to save our Alma Mater from the auctioneer. No, they found no nuggets of gold, but they left after them golden memories." RELIGIOUS BULLETIN
"I am sorry that for my sake you have sent Brothers to California. Had I known it, I might have avoided you the trouble, for I always believed the expedition worse than useless and not according to God; but I did not suppose it to be my duty to give an advice which you would not have heeded." Bro. Gatian to Fr. Sorin, Shasta City, Calif. August 15, 1851
"California is as rich in gold as the imagination can represent it. There is more or less of this precious dust in every inch of ground . . . . Gold is not uniformly distributed. It is hid in the ground and must be dug out by dint of hard work and untiring perseverance. A man may in 1/2 day dig a hole which will make his fortune; another may toil for a month and be unable to pay his board. Moreover, miners cannot dig wherever they find gold, they must work in the neighborhood of water . . . . Old miners hold the best claims, the cream is gone . . . . The conclusion I draw from the chances around here is that for the future people ought to stay home. Only the smartest and luckiest of emigrants can get along and make a fortune . . . . Many South Benders who came last year are now going home with a good fortune; some of the neighboring companies who came here this year are already going home in despair. Generally, the St. Joseph Company (Or County) men of last year are doing well . . . . . . .Garrett, formerly one of my pupils at the Lake owns a Rancho and is doing good business . . . . Last Friday in the afternoon my partner and I took up $15.00, but I don't work any during the balance of the week. Thus far I spent in clothing etc. all I made except $9.75." Letter from Brother Gatian; Placerville, Hangtown, El Dorado, Calif. to Sorin, September 15, 1854