The StoryMap exhibited below is a step-by-step progression of the trail that two men, Amos Bargdoll and William Murray, took to find wealth in California. Murray's diary details his leaving out of Fort Madison, Iowa, in 1849, just after the Presidential confirmation of the discovery of gold. Bargdoll left out of Fort Kearney, Nebraska, almost exactly one year later. While these two men did not travel together, they both kept meticulous diaries that detailed their travels. The surviving portion of the diary of Amos Bargdoll and a transcription of William Murray's diary are housed in the Eastern Kentucky University Special Collections and Archives and have been used to put this map together. In some cases, the reader can recognize Bargdoll's exhibiting knowledge that he would have gained from previous Gold Rush travellers like Murray. In order to begin, click "Start Exploring" and proceed through each step. Attached to each slide is the transcription related to the day that each man arrived at the corresponding location. To view further information collected on the characters, locations, or terms detailed within, click on the links on the left side of this page!
The map used for the background of the StoryMap was utilized from the David Rumsey Collection found here and dates to 1849. Other maps were used to provide historical context in such cases that landmarks were mentioned but not found on the host map. One such map was an 1857 map of Nebraska, while another was an 1875 map of the western territory.