Voyage to California (13) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

These accounts of travel in 1851 must surely put present day complaints about transport problems into perspective.

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlop (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.


Spent most of the day in writing. A number of persons, bound for San Francisco, combined to-day for the purpose of trying to get a passage at a reduced price, and in the evening 22 tickets for the New Orleans were contracted for at $75, each to be taken out tomorrow morning. Tickets have been selling at auction today in the streets, for $52-$76. A number of miners returning from Cal. passed through Panama on to-day. They do not give very encouraging reports, but they generally look healthy though rather rugged.



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2 comments on “Voyage to California (13) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

  1. Judy Guion says:

    Maureen, Thank you again for the re-Blog of this fascinating story of travel over 167 years ago. I truly admire his tenacity and spirit. He seems to be embracing the adventure.


    • I feel that such personal family accounts bring everyday aspect of life – as it was lived and coped with by real people – more vividly to life so those who read can believe and understand that history is not dull as ditch-water but really exciting; the more so because it was so unpredictable.


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