In 1859 my great-great- grandfather, John McTurk
Gibson (pictured at right), traveled on the Oregon-California Trails during the Pike's Peak gold rush. His trip began
from his home in Marengo, Iowa where he left his wife and small children and set off with
several friends in search of wealth and a better life. He kept a record of his trip and called it
Journal of Western Travel.
A companion of Gibson's, John. W. Powell, also recorded his experiences
on the trip. Both accounts are provided here, in their entirety, along with maps, photos, links and other information
for the enjoyment of others with an interest in trail history. The contents of Journal of Western Travel
and this site are protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America and by applicable
international laws and treaties. The Gibson journal content was entered from a copy of the journal
made by Gibson once he arrived in California. This copy is owned by the editor and is on loan to the
Saunders County Historical Society Museum in Wahoo, Nebraska. The Powell diary content was entered from a typescript located at
Bancroft Library at the Univeristy of California-Berkeley. No portion of this site may be reproduced in any form,
or by any means, without prior written consent. To obtain reproduction consent, e-mail
Follow along on their journey by paging using the arrows at the
top and bottom of the each page, Right to go forward, Left to go backward. Also, along the left page
margin, links to clickable maps allow you to jump to entries for selected landmarks along the route.
The following page is the first entry after leaving Marengo. Gibson gives us an idea of his intentions
and thoughts as the company of men set out on their journey.