All inquiries about these manuscripts should be directed to the H. Russell Smith Foundation Curator of Western Historical Manuscripts.
A typescript of Young's diary is included in the Huntington's Jayhawkers of '49 Collection, however there are several typographical differences between the typescript and original diary. A more accurate typescript of the diary may be found in The lost Jawhawker story: Sheldon Young with the Death Valley '49ers, edited by David R. Duerr (Indian River Publishing, 2010).
Two diaries kept by Sheldon Young as he traveled from Illinois to California in 1849. The first, brief diary covers March 19-28 and begins with Young's departure from Joliet, Illinois, with Hiram White and Pears G. Pearson. It records their travels as far as Galesburg, Illinois. The second diary picks up on May 19 (the pages for March 29-May 18, June 21-July 1, and October 14-November 8 are missing). The near daily entries record miles traveled, buffalo hunting, deaths from cholera, and the lack of food and water. The diary specifically mentions stopping at Fort Kearney, seeing Castle Rock, crossing the Platte River on a raft, following the Green River, stopping at Fort Bridger, encountering Snake and Piute Indians, traveling through Little Salt Lake City, the departure of the Bug Smashers, the abandonment of wagons after Christmas 1849, arriving in the Mojave Desert, a cattle stampede, and the arrival in San Francisquito on February 4, 1850. The final few pages of the diary recount Young's arrival in San Francisco on February 26, 1850, reaching Sacramento in early March, and departing San Francisco on board the Swift on October 13, 1850. Young recounts the shipboard deaths of several passengers, including his traveling companion Wolfgang Tauber, who had also been with Young in Death Valley. He concludes with the Swift's arrival in Panama in December 1850.
HM 75663-75664. The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.
Sheldon Young (1815 or 1816-1892) was born in Connecticut. In 1849 he left Joliet, Illinois, to join the gold rush. As part of the '49 Jayhawkers, he traveled along the Platte River and Mormon routes to Salt Lake City and through Death Valley to San Francisquito, California, where he arrived in February 1850. He died in Missouri in 1892.