Emigrant Diaries and Journals

Across the Plains, Mountains and Deserts--Trail Diary Bibliography is a listing of all known diaries and reminiscences and their depositories compiled by Will Bagley in co-operation with the National Park Service

Paper Trail is the website database created by the Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA) from thousands of trail-related documents of the 19th century. Whether people traveled west for gold, land, religious freedom or new opportunity, they wrote diaries, letters, articles, and recollections about the journey. From over 3500 original documents Paper Trail organizes information into an easy to search database, featuring over 74000 searchable names. Reports include dates, routes, travel parties, locations, and interesting features. It also lists where you can locate each document or its copy. Includes a 6+ page survey form for each document. Name searches are free. Reports require a modest subscription fee.

Fur Traders:
Fur Traders and Mountain Men:
is an excellent site. I could personally spend hours there. One of its many features is a full listing of original diaries and journals that can be read online, printed or downloaded.

Diaries, Journals, Memoirs and Letters provides an alphabetical list of known manuscripts and their location

1839:
1839 Diary of Asahel Munger
missionary to Oregon

1841:
1841 Trail Reminiscenses
by Martha (Williams) Reed

A Tour of The Oregon Country by Joseph Williams

Selkirk Settlement to Puget Sound in 1841 by John Flett

1842:
Compilation of Diary Entries for 1842
by Stephenie Flora

1843:
Alexander Blevins Interview

Jesse Looney Letter written in 1843 and sent east to family via Lt. Charles Fremont

Compilation of Diary Entries for 1843 by Stephenie Flora

1844:
1844 Reminiscenses
by Thomas C. Shaw

1845:
Oregan Overland: Three Roads of Adversity
by Ross Smith; an indepth study of the 1845 Meek Cutoff and the Riggs family who traveled it

1845 Oregon Settlements by John Minto

Eli Cooley Diary

Oliver Harris Diary This diary is not a trail diary but is significant because Oliver Harris was a pioneer to Highland County,Oh and was the father of Eliza Shepherd Harris, a pioneer of 1845.  The diary gives insight into life prior to the emigration

1846:
Oregan Overland: Three Roads of Adversity
by Ross Smith; an indepth study of the 1846 Barlow Road and the 1846 Southern Route and the Smith family who traveled them

Reminiscences of Crossing the Plains in 1846  by Mary Elizabeth Munkers Estes

1847:
1847 Diary of Coon Family

1847 Poem of Journey to Oregon by Abraham Miller Jr.

My Trip to Oregon by Calvin Geer

Elizabeth Dixon Smith Geer     

Recollections of Ralph Geer

James M. Anderson, Pioneer of 1847 contributed by Jon D. Anderson

Emma Ruth Ross Slavin Reminiscence including many family notes at the end

John Bonser Family Journey contributed by Ann Carraway

1848:
1848 William Porter Diary

William Porter Letter Home

Richard Cheadle Letter

Purvine-Walker Papers contributed by Vicki Beninga

1850:
1850 Gold Rush Diary of George Bonniwell

John A. Slavin Letter

1851:
1851 Overland Journal of the Americus Savage Family

Supplina Hamilton Letter

Memoirs of Phillip Johns contributed by Laurelen Jabbour

1852:
ABBOTT, John G.
 
reminiscences; left Osage Co, Mo 11 Apr 1852

ADAMS, Cecelia Emily McMillen and ADAMS, Parthenia Blank; 49 pp handscript diary written by twin sisters [Oregon Historical Society Mxx #1508] [Covered Wagon Women Vol. 5 p.253-312] [Transactions of The Oregon Pioneer Association 1904]

AKIN, James Jr.; compiled by Milo (Mike) Booth from the original diary with comments

ALLEN, Edward Jay  diary excerpts and history regarding the Wagons From Wapello in 1852 contributed by Dennis Larsen and Ken Keigley

ALLEN, Lydia: see RUDD, Lydia A.

BEDWELL, Elizabeth diary contributed by Don Bedwell

BLAKE, Mary Geisel reminiscences [Conversations With Pioneer Women by Fred Lockley p.33-40]

BOATMAN Diary includes other diaries from 1852 as well [Surviving the Oregon Trail, 1852, Weldon Willis Rau, 2001, 244 pp, Washington State University Press, ISBN]

BOND, Jesse W.; 4pp letter [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

BOZARTH, L. A. Mrs.; 18pp original and 7pp typescript Recollections [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

BROWN, John  diary

BURNS, John E. Capt. diary of arrival by ship [A Small World of Our Own by Robert A. Bennett p.80-86]

BUSHNELL, James Addison:; reminiscence and autobiography

BUTLER, America Rollins diary

CAPLES, Margaret Kuhn Staley recollections; 11 pp typescript [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

CARTER, Samantha Ann reminiscences [Conversations With Pioneer Women by Fred Lockley p.170-173]

CLAWSON, Lois Melissa Hardships of Pioneer Life

CONNOR, Martha H. reminiscences of Martha H. Connor Ellis [A Small World of Our Own by Robert A. Bennett p.167-173]

CONSTANT, Isaac Overland Journey of the Isaac Constant Family

CONYERS, Enoch W.; 6pp typescript diary [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

COON, Polly journal [Covered Wagon Women Vol V p.173-206]

COOPER, J. C.; 34 pp typescript diary [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

CORNELL, William; 54 pp handscript and typescript journal [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #290]

DAMRELL, Letters home, letters between the Ballard, Deering and Damrell families

DAVIS, Alvah I. 1 volume diary handscript [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

DUDLEY, Sarah Frances; 166 pp handscript, typescript diary; this is probably and copy of Nehemiah S McAlister's diary) [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

DUNIWAY, Abigail Jane: see SCOTT, Abigail Jane Duniway

DUNN, Mary reminiscences [Conversations With Pioneer Women by Fred Lockley p.72-79]

ELGIN, James Henry: Over the Plains 50 Years Ago written by James Elgin in 1902 for the Oregonian.

FINLEY, Newton G.  Overland Account of Finley Family

FISK, Nathan Willis  History of Nathan Willis Fisk and Crossing The Plains in The year 1852 contributed by Jane Harris

GIBSON, Lura Homsley reminiscences  [Conversations With Pioneer Women by Fred Lockley p.173-176]

GLENN, John G.; 89 pp handscript, 16 pp typescript journal [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #264]

GRAY, Edna reminescences of son John Lyman Slater [Conversations with Bullwhackers, Muleskinners, Pioneers..... by Fred Lockley p.246-248]

GREGG reminiscences [Conversations With Pioneer Women by Fred Lockley p.108]

HANNA, Esther Belle; 38 pp typescript journal [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

HANNA, Joseph A. 2pp handscript reminiscence [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #2227]

HILL Diary by Mary M. Hill Dunn [contributed by Jennie Hill Cobb]; Isaac Hill was a pioneer of 1849 who returned east and led a train of family out in 1852.  Mary M. Hill Dunn was his sister.

HINK reminiscences [Conversations With Pioneer Women by Fred Lockley p.251-252]

HOMSLEY, Lura: see GIBSON, Lura Homsley

HUMPHREY, Luzern  Diary of an 1852 Overland Journey to Oregon by Luzern Humphrey compiled and contributed by Thomas Lee Jacobs

HUNTER,  George W.  reminiscences

KAHLER, William; 52 pp typescript diary [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

KELLOGG, Jane Davies 10 pp typescript reminiscence [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1079] [Transactions of the Oregon Pioneers Association 1913]  

KELLY, Elizabeth d/o Major William Kelly came via the Isthmus 10 pp handscript, typescript reminiscence [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]  [Conversations With Pioneer Women by Fred Lockley p.274-280]

KEMP, Anne Eliza reminiscences of Anne Eliza Kemp  contributed by Greg Bennette.  Also check out his Genealogy Page because there is so much information you don't want to miss.

KNIFONG, Olive Elizabeth reminiscences [Conversations With Pioneer Women by Fred Lockley p.263-264]

LAFORE, Margaret reminiscences [Conversations With Pioneer Women by Fred Lockley p.250]

LANGSDORF, Morritz; 11 pp handscript and typescript letters [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #184]

LAWS, Thomas W. reminiscences [A Small World of Our Own by Robert A. Bennett p.100-104]

LONG, Mary Jane; 17 pp printed pamphlet [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

MARK, Ellen J. reminiscences of Ellen J. Mark Wallis [A Small World of Our Own by Robert A. Bennett p.138-148]

MCALISTER, Nehemiah S.: see DUDLEY, Sarah Frances

MCAULEY, Eliza Ann

MEEKER, Ezra  Overland Journey Free download also available on Google Books

MILLER, Silas V. and M.J. 8 pp letter [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #103] [Wyoming Historical Miscellanies 1919]

MORELAND, Jesse; 30 pp handscript, typescript diary [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508] [Transactions of the Oregon Pioneers Association 1900]

PALMER, Harriet Scott; 9 pp printed reminiscence [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

PARSONS, Mary Collins; 5 pp typescript reminiscence [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

READ, Martha diary and letters [Covered Wagon Women Vol V p.207-252]

REASONER, Henry A.; 5 pp typescript diary [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

RICHEY, Family (James, Caleb & Stuart); 1 letter and clippings [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508] [Iowa Weekly Observer Aug 25, 1853] [Burlington Weekly Gazette May 28, 1878]

RUDD, Lydia A.diary [Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey by Lillian Schlissel]

SCOTT, Abigail Jane (Duniway); 106 pp typescript diary [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #432] [Covered Wagon Women Vol V p.21-172]

SHEDD, Solon transcript, to CA via OR in 1852, contributed by Richard Riehl [available at Shedd Musuem, Linn Co, OR]

SHEPARD, Elizabeth reminiscences [Conversations With Pioneer Women by Fred Lockley p.154-164]

SLAGLE, Sarah Elizabeth; see YORK, Sarah Elizabeth Slagle

SLATER, John Lyman; 4 pp typescript journal [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

SMALL, Matthew reminiscences [Conversations with Bullwhackers, Muleskinners, Pioneers..... by Fred Lockley p.88]

SMITH, Delazon; 45 pp handscript Letters to Oregon Weekly Times [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #225]

SPENCER, John; 43 pp typescript journal [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]

SPENCER, Lafayette  Journal

SPENCER, Martha Jane reminiscences [Conversations With Pioneer Women by Fred Lockley p.269-273]

SPRENGER,Sarah Bird reminiscence

STABAEK, Tosten Kittelson

STOUT, Lewis 30 pp typescript diary (also booklet "Crossing the Plains" by Ray L. Stout); [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1509]

TAYLOR, D. M. reminiscences [Conversations with Bullwhackers, Muleskinners, Pioneers..... by Fred Lockley p.37-52]

TAYLOR, Iowa (Wigginton)    reminiscences contributed by Candy-Lea Chickite

THOMSON, Origen;  contributed by David Nutter; 122 pp handscript and printed diary [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508]; made available in .pdf form by Google Books

TIBBETTS, Sophia Ellen reminiscences [Conversations With Pioneer Women by Fred Lockley p.212-123]

TODD, Mary Ellen; 47 pp printed recollection [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #1508/HIXON]

VANBUSKIRK, Andrew; 9 pp typescript diary [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #881]

WALDRON, Isaphena reminiscences [Conversations With Pioneer Women by Fred Lockley p.245]

WASHBURN, Marilla R reminiscences [Conversations With Pioneer Women by Fred Lockley p.164-169]

WATTS, Thomas C. reminiscences [Conversations with Bullwhackers, Muleskinners, Pioneers..... by Fred Lockley p.96-99]

WIGLE, Andrew Jackson; 28 pp typescript recollection [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #587]

WOODLAND, Mary [transcripts of letters written by Mary Woodland and contributed by Molly McDade Hood who has the originals]

WOODRUFF, Samuel  Journal of A Trip Across the Plains To Oregon contributed by Don Dubois

YORK, Sarah Elizabeth Slagle; 8 pp reminiscence [Oregon Historical Society Mss File #879]

1853:
My Life Story
by Alice Rockefeller Meachum Foster

A "Biogofy" of Charles W. Beale by Charles W. Beale, edited by Sarah Jane Bennett Mertz. Contains information on the Beale and Hutchings families as well as mention of the emigration of 1843 and 1853.

Diary of Benjamin Franklin Owen, one of eight young ment who left the group of emigrants later known as
the Lost Wagon Train of 1853 contributed by Lee Gentemann

Emigrants to Oregon, a poem written describing the 1853 emigration of the Batchellor family

Oscar Fitzallen Wilson Letter, written to a friend in PA describing the emigration to Oregon in 1853

Reminiscences of Colonel William Thompson, note that although this reminiscence states that Thompson came in 1852 the names and events he mentions actually appear to be a reference to 1853.

The Preacher Train by Robert L. Casebeer

1854:
Philip Condit letters,
written in 1853 and 1854 to his brother-in-law, R.C. Gordon noting preparation for journey to OR, published in Forest Grove News-Times in July 1959

Philip Condit Diary - Ohio to Oregon in 1854, abstract, published in Forest Grove News-Times in July 1959

1879:
Kate and Jennie Smith Diaries of 1879: Overland Journey to Washington Territory  contributed by Tom Jacobs

Archer and Whitlock Correspondence in 1879 from Oregon City to U.K.

1896:
Reminiscences of the Joseph, Oregon 1896 Bank Robbery
by Russell Alfred McCully, contributed by his grandson, Russell Miller

1910:
1910 Diary of Ocenia Edmiston Rutledge
describing trip from Twin Falls to Lebanon, OR by wagon


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