Jersey Argonauts Review of Margaret Casterline Bowen and Gwendolyn Joslin Hiles's Jersey Gold: The Newark Overland Company's Trek to California, 1849.

Jersey Gold Western Books True West
Jersey Gold: The Newark Overland Company’s Trek to California, 1849 by Margaret Casterline Bowen and Gwendolyn Joslin Hiles.

The 1848 discovery of gold on the American River by New Jerseyan James W. Marshall set off an international migration. Jersey Gold—The Newark Overland Company’s Trek to California, 1849 (University of Oklahoma Press, $34.95) by Margaret Casterline Bowen and Gwendolyn Joslin Hiles concerns a group of 30 New Jerseyans who embarked upon, what promised to be, the adventure of their lives.

Jersey Gold Western Books True West
In Jersey Gold: The Newark Overland Company’s Trek to California, 1849, authors Margaret Casterline Bowen and Gwendolyn Joslin Hiles chronicle the enigmatic lives of the company’s members, including Charles B. Gillespie, whose sketches provide a first-person view of life on the forty-niner trail, and later provided Frederic Remington the basis for his circa 1890 Century Magazine engraving of Fort Laramie (above) in 1849.
— Courtesy Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming, U.S.A. (MS23.Rem.019081) —

In California, the Newarkers learned that gold mining was not easy, but other opportunities abounded. Some made fortunes providing goods and services to miners. Newarkers stayed, disappeared, emigrated to further adventures or returned to the East. The book uses little-known sources and provides rich details about politics, mores and historical contexts. Jersey Gold will be a welcome addition to many libraries.

— Terry A. Del Bene, author of the Donner Party Cookbook: A Guide to Survival on the Hastings Cutoff.

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Terry A. Del Bene

Terry A. Del Bene is a former Bureau of Land Management archaeologist and the author of Donner Party Cookbook and the novel ’Dem Bon’z.