Sunday, May 15, 2011

Page 6 & 7
Visits Washington City

Dr. Hermann, that he might more fully equip himself with preliminary information for his projected journey, and provide himself with letters of introduction to reliable people on the Pacific Coast, and more particularly in Oregon now proceeded to the capital of our Nation and there met General Lane, then the delegate of the Oregon Territory, and also the United States Senator elect for the United States Senator elect for the new state when it should become admitted। The writer –then a boy of about fifteen years of age- accompanied his father, the doctor, and chiefly in Oregon, acquainting them with the doctor’s purpose in visiting the country, and requesting their good offices in his behalf. The writer having just completed the course of the Home Academy, was greatly elated in the opportunity of visiting for the first time the great city of Washington. Having from childhood a fondness for the hearing of political discussion and as a boy, having read the historic and newspaper accounts of our public men, was eager whenever possible to gaze upon their faces. They seemed to him as personages from another and more favored world. Through General Lane’s courtesy, facilities were afforded us for audiences with such as we should desire to meet, from James Buchanan, the President, to Senators and Representatives in Congress.

Page 7

The Start

Soon after the visit to Washington, there was a continuous buzz in our city home in preparation for father’s departure. To some of the family, it seemed like that of the start of Columbus from Palos in quest for the route to India, from which mystic voyage he was never expected to return. At last, the hour arrived for the word “Good-bye”. But farther was not alone, as a number of his old friends determined to accompany him all the way through.

They embarked from New York City on one of the Pacific Mail steamships and were conveyed to Aspinwal the Atlantic port at the Isthmus of Panama; and thence by rail across the intervening land to the old Spanish City of Panama, where the steamship lay at anchor for the voyage across the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco, then but a small tow within the Golden Gate. Arriving there, a short stop was made and then separating from his companions, who desired visiting all friends on the Coast for a brief time, the Doctor after promising to report to them his further and later findings, proceeded in a northward course to the Sacramento Valley, which after careful observation, he still proceeded further on by horseback, as there was then no stage coach nor other public land transportation to Oregon.

He came now into mining region and there at the mountain base and along the streams, were the remains of the fierce search for gold in ’48 and ’49, and with diminishing effort in the rears following. Places that contained cities of tent life were now without the sound of human voice and grass growing in the deserted streets. At other points in once prosperous mining towns, solid stone and brick edifices still stood, but given up and tenantless, with great iron shutters swinging idly in the breeze. The precious ore had all been extracted, the mad search had ended, and the once buoyant and hopeful population had gone hence, leaving the abandoned city to the owl and bat. At other places, camps of Chinese were passed washing over the tailings left and not considered profitable to work by the former proprietors. Occasionally by the road side, white miners were still working the placer ground with hydraulic works, and with paying results; and near-by were found small towns and villages all dependent upon the returns from the remaining placer gold yield. Then there were seen vast prairie openings with great herds of cattle, sheep and horses upon them. It was apparent from all around that these new industries were soon to take the place of the miner’s search, and that only with large capital and gigantic machinery could the rich leads be follower into the mountain depths.

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