Huff Wagon Train
Authenticating the Diary

Is the Huff diary authenitic? If so, it may be the most comprehensive diary in existence detailing the southern route, also known as the Upper Emigrant Trail, to the California Gold Rush of 1849.

This journey is the last step in an extensive review of the diary.

  1. Preliminary research
  2. Landmarks referenced in the diary.
  3. Documentation that corroborates Huff's references.


We visited nine landmarks referenced in Huff's diary. Here is a list of the landmarks with comments from the students.

Socorro Mission: Huff wrote about a Socorro Mission in his diary. We were able to visit Socorro Mission. It was in existence during Huff's time. (Savana, Taylor)

"Sierra Waco" (Hueco Tanks): We saw the cistern, which holds up to 55,000 gallons of water. We also saw the Indian drawings. (Ashley, Fredy)

"Sierra Alto" Because of the effects of erosion, we could not go through Huff's exact wagon ruts. The Butterfield Stagecoach pass that we saw was not there during Huff's time. Huff described a gorge that we did see. We experienced the rough ride Huff described. (Ali, Ronnie, Sharon)

Cottonwood Springs We saw the reamins of three Cottonwood trees as Huff described. We found Indian paintings and the place were the spring was. (Katie, Mikaela, William)

"Ojo del Cornudas" (Thorn's Well) Huff described the rock pointing down tow the well as an arrow, which we saw. He drew an excellent picutre of that exact location. It was a favorite site for some of us and was most supportive of Huff's diary because it was so accurately described. (Savanna, Mike, Jacob)

Pecos River at Horsehead Crossing We saw the marker that ws on the other side of the river. We also saw the trail that Huff took. We saw the sinking sand along the river. Huff said the river was fast when he crossed it. He also mentioned the bad-tasting water. The banks of the river are steeper than what Huff described (erosion?) and the water was low. The water has a lot of salt and tastes bad. (Sharon, Ashley, William, Fredy, Melva, Aidee)

"Quie Pah or Gap Water Mountain" (Castle Gap) We saw the fossils adn oyster shells Huff saw. We were able to see "Soda Lake" in the distance, as Huff described it. Some of us did not see the water Huff described. (Aidee, William)

San Saba Ruins Huff mistook the presidio as the mission ruins. We saw Jim Bowie's name carved in the wall and Huff said that Bowie told him that his name was there. Huff described a "moss-covered wall" but most of us could not find it. (Savanna, Jacob)

House Mountain We saw House Mountain. Close up it didn't really look like the top of a house, but from far away it did. He also had lunch about a mile from the mountain. (Ashley, Melva)


This educational project is a partnership venture of Madera Unified School District, Madera, California; the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; the Texas Historical Commission; and the many generous and gracious communities along the route.

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