Huff Wagon Train
Authenticating the Diary: Corroboration

Many references in the Huff diary are corroborated in other documents of the time. We find Huff in the California census at the time he indicates he was there for the Gold Rush. Likewise, census records indicate he was back in Texas when he said he was. The financial arrangement between Huff and Colonel James Knight in which he arranges for financial support for his trip, his family during his absence, and proceeds from any gains in the Gold Rush are in the Deeds Records in Fort Bend County, Texas.

Here are some additional pieces of evidence found by teacher and historian William Coate:

Huff Diary: Corroboration
Tuesday, June 12th, 1849: On one tree in a bold and well written hand I read the following homesick strain. "J. W. Baccus, New York, bound to California, Oh home, home sweet home, I wish I was at home." Mr. Backus and some of his unfortunate experiences were recorded in the diaries of two of his traveling companions, D. D. Demarest and R. Beeching.
Friday, June 15, 1849: About three miles further on we saw a finger board nailed to a black jack tree which informed us that "4" miles ahead was a lake but no permanent water for "55 miles." On May 27, 1849, the Cornelius Cox diary states, "The evening of the 27th we found a notice on the road stating that the next water was 55 miles."
Monday, June 18, 1849: On the West bank of this creek the mortal remains of young Fuller, a son of Col. Fuller, a worthy man and citizen of Houston, Harris County, Texas. Young Mr. Fuller lost his life by the accidental discahrge of his pistol falling on the ground as he was in the act of undressing to take a bath. R. Beeching, D. Demerest, and C. Cox all passed his grane and noted it in their diaries.
Monday, July 23rd, 1849: Just before the raid occurred, Don Ponce had sold his Ranco to Co. Coon, an American trader. On July 10th, 1849, Cornelius Cox, writing from El Paso del Norte, noted "...that the property on this side of the river was recently purchased by Mr. Coon, a trader from Missouri."
Monday, July 23rd, 1849: Corporal Norwood, of teh Dragoons was killed. Major Stein was severly wounded. On August 22, 1849, D.D. Demarest wrote the following from El Paso del Norte: "I heard that Major Stein followed up the Indians on the 14th and had a running fight with them, in which the Major was wounded and one of his men killed."

October 15th, 1849: Among those who are here you will be surprised to learn that Henry Smith formerly Goverenor of the Provisional Government of Texas....James W. Robinson and wifre are here, that same James W. Robinson who was one of the delegates from teh Municipality of Nacogdoches to the Convention in San Felipe in 1835....William Thompson (commonly called Uncle Billy) late of Austin, TExas and family are here. His son-in-law, John Wooldridge, and family are here, and his son James Thomspon and family. Also, Miss Catherine Carlos of Fort Bend County is here.

On May 4, 1850, the Texas State Gazette of Austin, Texas, publishe dthe following: A large party, nubering nearly 100 strong, lef the vicinity of El Paso for California on the 28 February, among these the following persons well known in Texas and many other also from Texas whose names are not recollected, to wit: Gov. Henry Smith, James W. Robinson, ... W.W. THompson, John R. Woolridge, and others from the vicinity of theis place, W. P. Huff of San Felipe, Z.P. Glasscock, Wm. S. Anderson, and Dr. Hoxie...


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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