Cass County Illinois ancestry


California Gold Rush Wagon Train From

Cass County, IL

Research on an ancestor of mine (Chambers Charles McLean) has led me to a California Gold Rush wagon train from Cass County, Illinois.  One of the members of the wagon train, Zirkle D. Robinson, kept a diary, which was published as "The Robinson-Rosenberger Journey to the Gold Fields of Califronia.  The Diary of Zirkle D. Robinson", edited by Frances Coleman Rosenberger (Iowa City, 1966).

The journal gives the following members, when the wagons left Virginia, Illinois:  Thomas Deal, Wesley Rosenberger, Charles Brady, Joseph Robinson, Dr. Fred Schooly, Z.D. Robinson. 

The Springfield Illinois Journal, weekly of April 6, 1849, from the daily of April 3 gives the following members:  J.R. Fitch, Jno. M. Beard, John R. Dutch, Geo. Edger, Rich'd Jewksbury, John W. Evans, Moland Beard, Z.D. Robinson, John B. Thompson, Wilson Beard, R.D. Hopkins, Samuel Leeper, Lewis M. Runyon, L.M. Bunch, Dr. Wm. Clark, W. Rosenberger, Thomas Deal, John Yaples, Charles Brady, Ambrose Bettickey, Hiram Masten, Rich'd Thompson, Peter Conover, John Farrow and family, 3 young laidies and 3 boys, Henry Ingalls and son, Richard Dusenberry and son.

Louis J. Rasmussen; California Wagon Train Lists, Vol. I - April 5, 1849 to October 20, 1852, (San Francisco Historic Records) pp. 46-7, states that on May 2, 1849 a wagon train of from thirty to thirty-five wagons departed St. Joseph for California.  About one hundred and twenty men and four women were in this train.  Most of the company were from Cass County, Illinois with the remainder of the train consisting of two teams from Morgan County, Illinois, two from Hancock County, Illinois, two from Fulton County, Illinois, one from Madison County, Illinois, four from Joe Daviess County, Illinois and seven teams from other parts of the the state.  There were approximately fifty members of the train from Cass County.  Those listed were:  J.W. Overall, G.P. Allin [sic], Jesse Cross, Henry Bomber, John Brown, Charles M'Crea, Henry S. Fitch, Henry Harfaclift[sic], W. Rosenberger, George C. Fitch, James Jackson, Mr. _____ Barnet[sic][Baranet?], Frederick Krohe(?)(Krobe?), Chambers McLean {my ancestor}, Conrad File, Mr. ____ Bradford, George Edgar, Mr. ______ Croft, (all above from Beardstown, Illinois), Mr. _____ Robertson, George Edgar[sic, again], John B. Thompson, C. Beady, W. Rosenberger, Thomans Deals, (above from Virginia [Illinois]), Mr. {Zirkle D.} Robinson of Cass County, Illinois, Mr. ____ Beard of Cass County, Illinois, Thomas Smith of Cass County, Illinois.

Taking all these lists together gives the following known participants in this wagon train:

G.P. Allin, Beardstown

Unknown Barnet/Baranet, Beardstown

Jonathan M. Beard, Cass County (could be the Unknown Beard below)

Moland Beard, Cass County (could be the Unknown Beard below)

Wilson Beard, Virginia (could be the Unknown Beard below)

Unknown Beard, Cass County

Ambrose Bettickey, Cass County (called Ambers Beoucher in diary)

Henry Bomber, Beardstown

Unknown Bradford, Beardstown

C. Beady[sic] (probably Charles Brady), Virginia

John Brown, Beardstown

L. M. Bunch, Cass County

Dr. William Clark, Cass County

Peter Conover, Cass County

Unknown Croft, Beardstown

Jesse Cross, Beardstown

Thomas P. Deal, Jersey Prairie, Princeton, Cass County (wife Elizabeth remained in Cass County)

Richard Dusenberry and son, Cass County

John Richard Dutch, Virginia

George Edgar, Beardstown

George Edgar, Virginia (two George Edgars?)

Lawson and A.E. Elder and family (Met at Grand River in Missouri.  Not clear if joined wagon train.)

John W. Evans, Cass County

John Farrow and family, Cass County

Conrad File, Beardstown

George C. Fitch, Beardstown

Henry S. Fitch, Beardstown

J.R. Fitch, Cass County

Henry Harfaclift, Beardstown

R.D. Hopkins, Cass County

Henry Ingalls and son, Cass County

James Jackson, Beardstown

Richard Jewksbury, Cass County

Frederick Krohe/Krobe, Beardstown

Samuel Leeper, Cass County

Hiram Masten, Cass County

Chambers Charles McLean, Beardstown

Charles McCrea, Beardstown

J.W. Overall, Beardstown

Joseph Robinson, Virginia (wife remained in Cass County)

Zirkle D. Robinson, Virginia

W. Rosenberger, Beardstown

Wesley Rosenberger, Virginia (could be the same as W. Rosenberger)

Lewis M. Runyon, Virginia

Dr. Fred Schooly, Virginia

Thomas Smith, Cass County

John B. Thompson, Virginia

Richard Thompson, Cass County (Probably from Beardstown.  Diary says that Robinson met "Thompson from Beardstown.  He was in with Fitch."  and that he had a store in San Francisco in June 1850.)

John Yaples, Cass County


Robinson returned to Illinois in 1850 via Panama.

Chambers McLean returned to Illinois about 1855.  He was in Iowa in 1857 and in Missouri in the late 1860s.  He moved back to California before 1888, where he died in Fresno in 1903.

I am hoping to do more research on this wagon train and would be happy to compare notes with anyone else who may be interested.
Updated 6/11/06.

John Hope