Wagon Train Diary – 1862 Prather and Hamilton
Union City Iowa to Healdsburg, California Written by Cornelius Prather
(Note: The diary does not say where the Hamilton’s left the train, but it is believed that they stopped off early in Nevada, as Mary was going to have a baby. Last recording of Hamilton in diary was August 7th. By October 1862 the baby died most likely at birth, and is buried in Ft. Churchill, Nevada; the Hamilton’s continued on later to Stoney Point, Somoma County, California. William Hamilton’s oldest son George Washington Hamilton was living there, and this is where William eventually died at age 63. The motivation for the trip in not explained but in thinking about it; the promise of California (the Gold Rush was in 1849) the on-set of the Civil War (Iowa was on the western outer edge of the conflict), William Hamilton was 51 years old, his oldest son (George) was in California at the time and the fact that Cornelius’s Brother was already there too, since 1855, most certainly played a role in their decisions).
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