Horn's Overland Guide to California
5 in HIGH x 4 in WIDE x .75 in DEEP
(12.70 cm HIGH x 10.16 cm WIDE x 1.90 cm DEEP)
Gift of Mrs. Janice MacDonald

Horn's? Overland Guide to California. items belonged to donor's great grand parents; Grandfather's name: James Simpson; came overland to California in 1853 or 1854 from Illinois. Settled in Applegate, ten miles above Auburn. From the History Information Station: Object: Guide book, "Horn's Overland Guide to California." Published circa 1850. Inscribed in pencil, " J.E. Simpson book bought April 25, 1853." History: J.E. Simpson used this book when he migrated form Illinois to Applegate, California, in 1853. At the time there were no paved roads crossing the plains, deserts and mountains to California, and there were no road maps. Instead there were rutted wagon tracks, or paths marked by piled up rocks and slashed trees. The only way travelers could learn what was up ahead was to hire a human guide, or buy a book like this one. Both kinds of guides told them how to avoid sudden cliffs, where to take short cuts, and where they could find good motels and gas stations--that is, camping spots with water and grass for the livestock. Without a reliable guide, immigrants stood a good chance of losing their possessions, their animals and even their lives. (H Tryon, 4/97) The word "motel" was not coined until the 1920s or 30s. "Gas stations" in the 1850s! A True and Reliable Guide A good guide could make the difference between a successful journey to California and a dangerous struggle. But human guides could be greedy trick- sters, and written guides could be faked. To convince people that it was indeed genuine and correct, Horn's Guide includes a long list of testimonials. One reads: "City of Sacramento, Sept. 3, 1850. The undersigned have examined Horn's Guide and find it to be the only correct one we ever saw of the overland route; and having traveled it twice ourselves, we have no hesitattion in recommending it as a true and reliable GUIDE for all who wish to cross the Plains." If you try to imagine getting in your car and driving two thousand miles, mostly through wilderness, to a place you've never been, without a map, you can get an idea of how much immigrants depended on finding a "true and reliable GUIDE."

Used: California | James Simpson | Travel | Guide

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