Gold Rush - John Gundry's Diary 1849-1852



(700 Tons Burthen,) W. S. Sadler, Commander,

WILL leave FALMOUTH about the first week in April for QUEBEC, and will take both Cabin and Steerage Passengers.

The "Roslin Castle" is a regular trader, has a comfortable poop cabin, and airy, spacious, and lofty "between decks," which will be fitted up in every way calculated to ensure the health and comfort of passengers. The fortunate passages of this favourite vessel, under her experienced commander, are well known in the county. The advantages of Falmouth as a port of departure are well known and appreciated by all connected with the county of Cornwall, as vessels sailing from thence have often, from its situation, been many days less on their passage than those which have left other ports. This is well worthy the attention of all about to emigrate. Further particulars will shortly be given, and application may be made in the meantime to Mr. W. LANGDON, Stonehouse, or T. P. DIXON, Falmouth.

P.S.-The "Sir Francis Drake" will commence the season in a short time, of which due notice will be given,

Dated January 9, 1849.




Gold Rush - John Gundry's Diary 1849-1852

    Sunday April 8th 1849
just after we left a great
many got very sick and
wishing themselves back
again monday 9 I got sick
myself could not eat anything
10th in bed all day Vessel goin
first rate from 7 to 8 nots per hour
11th getting better again wind fair
12th wind fair goin about 4 nots an
Friday 13th First thing in the morn
ing I loosd my cap saw some
Saturday 14th wind fair but
little going 3 to 4 nots an
Sunday 15th It blew a gale very
little cooking Ship rowling very
very much going from 8 to 9 nots
Monday 16th going very slow from
1 to 1½ nots per hour
Tuesday 17 Spoke the Monument
of New York bound to Liverpool
in the Afternoon Saw 11 or 12
Ships, Ship going from 5 to 7
nots per hour
Wednesday 18th saw a quantity of
porpoises Ship going about 7 or 8
nots an hour weather verry
Thursday 19th Ship going about
from 4 to 6 nots an hour
There is a great deal of talk
about getting on the banks now
Friday 20th Vessell going 8½ nots
an hour
Saturday 21st Now on the
Banks. about 4 Oclock try'd to
Sound but could not 4 nots
Sunday 22nd verry dirty & cold
in the afternoon Sounded in
45 fathoms of water just a calm
we heaved the ship to & went
a fishing. about twelve Oclock
the sailors saw an Ice berg
Monday 23rd saw some grampuses
& porpoises weather verry fine
but just a calm in the even
ing the sailors showed us some
of their tricks by getting some
passengers in to play with them
and blackening their faces and
wetting their jackets &c
Wednesday Tuesday 24th wind ahead
verry cold close weather
Wednesday 25 a calm the captain
and two mates & one of the pass
engers visited a french Brigg
and had some fish and spirit
of them several vessells in
sight now.
Thursday 26th in the Morning we
had a calm and went a fishing
had fresh fish for dinner in
the evening about 7 Oclock a
little girl to Williams Willia
ms Mason from Constantine
Friday 27th about 8 Oclock in the
morning she was committed
to the deep the funerall service
was read by captain Sadler
Weather verry cold freezing all
day wind north west
Saturday 28th wind foul
Sunday 29th fine breeze & fair
Ship going 9 knots an hour.
In the afternoon carried of the
fore stinsail Boom we had
preaching by one Thomas Polkin-
horn of Redruth
Monday. 30th wind ahead
Tuesday May 1st fair wind Ship
going from 3 to 6 nots an hour
Wednesday 2nd Saw Newfoundland
it appears a hilly country, wind
ahead all day Saw snow on the
tops of the hills we was within
8 or 10 miles of it
Thursday 3rd wind ahead and blowing
strong all day doing nothing but
tacking about all day to the mouth
of the gulph cape ray in sight
all the time
Friday 4th wind ahead in the morn
ing about one oclock in the afternoon
the wind turnd and we made for
the gulph
Saturday 5th in the morning we
saw St. Pauls wind ahead and blo
wing agale Ship laying to under
close reef sail
Sunday 6th we had a strong
gale all day helm lasht fast
all day wind right ahead and
drifting out to sea a great
many wishing themselves home
Monday 7th wind ahead and blow
ing strong
Tuesday 8th wind rather ahead
but doing a little
Wednesday 9th head wind
Thursday 10th head wind
Friday 11th in the morning we
where in sight of cape Breton
a dead calm all day in the
evening we haild the brigg falcon
from Sunderland been out forty
four days, been here twenty days
and been above St pauls twice
and driven back twice with
the Ice for It did not break
up until the 4th so he said
we are now about the entrance
of the gulph several ships
obliged to put in to Sidney
Saturday 12th a fine day, a little breeze
sprung up in the even afternoon but
right ahead in the night about
half past 10 Oclock there was
a great bustle on board our
ship, by reason of a Brigg called
the Maria of Limerick striking
against a piece of ice and knocking
in her bow port which the say was
very badly secured the was 121
when they left and three died
on the passage 106 souls perish'd
our boats pick'd up 9 and the
boat belonging to the Falcon
pick'd up Three on the next
morning the went on board and
the Falcon and brought the other
three on board our bark the
persons that was saved was the
Mate two seamen and the cook
three men three boys and two
women from the time she struck
until she went down was 1 hour or
one an half the sunk there own
boat by reason of so much jumping
into it
Sunday 13th a fine day wind ahead
in sight of St. Pauls
Monday 14th a fair wind but verry
little we are just in the same place
we where on the 2nd instant we
saw the both capes at the entrance
of the gulph and the both lights
on St. Pauls
Tuesday 15 a fine breeze and fair
going up the gulph 7 or 8 nots an
Wednesday 16th head wind in sight
of Gaspe & the Island of anticostic
or Anticosta the Pilot came on
board at half past seven Oclock
in the morning
Thursday 17th afine day saw some
Friday 18th just acalm saw a great
many wales
Saturday 19th head wind
Sunday 20th strong head wind
Monday 21st fair wind going 8 or 9
nots an hour
Tuesday 22nd head wind
Wednesday 19 afine breeze entered
the river of St Lawrence saw a
great deal of houses and fine
farms a great deal more on
the south side than on the
north in the evening about 8
Oclock we anchord about 2
miles of the Quarantine ground
Wednesday 23rd averry rugh stormy
Thursday 24th about 10 Oclock the doctor
came on board and examined us
and about half hour afterward the
took the anchor up and made for
Quebeck got in about 4 Oclock
25th we left about 5 Oclock in the
afternoon by the Quebec for Mont
real and got in the next forenoon
and heavd on to the passport
for kingston Whitsunday we
went through the lake of the
thousand Isles and got in
to kingstown about 4 Oclock in
the afternoon Whitmonday
28th we walk'd about the City
it is a fine place but I think
not so well as Montreal in
the afternoon About 4 Oclock
we left again by the new Era
for toronto and got in the
29th about 7 or 8 Oclock and
left again by the Chief justice
for queenstown then by railway
for chippewa about 9 miles
We saw the falls of Niagara
as we were riding on it is a
grand sight we did not stop
we got in to Chippewa and left
again for Buffalo by the Emera
and got in about 7 Oclock in
the evening stopt there that
night and walked about the
City the next day it is a beautiful
place in the evening we left
again by the Nile for Chicago
31st we put into Cleveland
June 1st we put into Detroit
2nd we put into Mackinaw and
got some fresh fish and saw
a great many Indians and
some wigwams we got in to
Millwakie about 4 Oclock in
the morning of the 4th

The California Trail

Trans Mississippi

2200 miles from Mineral Point to Placerville

I left Minerall Point March
28th 1850 In company with cousin
John Watters and William Uren
for California and reachd
Dubuque on the 29th and started
the next morning for Iowa City and
reachd it on April 3rd came through
cascade Animosa Iowa city maringo
and went of the road to monterum
came through newton Fort desm
-oine Crossed the mokokeda cedar
Iowa skunk desmoine coon
and three rivers and reachd
Hanesville on the 22nd we have
paid $1.75 per hundred for hay
and $100 per bushell for corn
We left Hanesville Council Bluffs on the 25
and crossed the Missourie river on
the 26th on the south side of the
platt river.
Sunday 28th we encamped on salt creek
Monday 29th we had a verry stormy night
had our tents blown down
May 1st seen the remains of several
waggons that was deserted
by persons that was carrien provisions
out to the forts we sruck the
plat bottom and kept on the south
side of it 2nd we came through a large
Indian village it was deserted
the part of the Country that we have
come through is verry thinly
timbered 6th Reachd Fort Kearney
240 miles from the Misouri river
saw severall young Buffaloes
which the had kept into a yard
12th we crossd the south fork of
the Platt river it is a wide
stream about from a ¼ to ½ a
mile wide and a sandy bottom
Several teems got stuck into
it, game appears to be more plentiful
than before and feed better
in the evening five men from our
company went out to hunt buffalo
and killed one and next morning
eleven of us went out for some
of it and killed another about
six or eight hundred weight
antelope and wolves verry plenty
15th Killed another Young Buffalo
and met with a great number of
soux sioux or siux Indians which
appears to be verry friendly and
beggin of every teem that pass
by we came through ash
hollow to day feed verry scarce
seenery rather more picturesq
than what we had previously
16th and 17th we met with a great deal
of Indiands and came through
their village the would trade
any thing for wiskey suggar or
bread but money the did not
care about 18th we passd by what
is called the courthouse rock
and got in sight of the chimney
rock 20th we got up to is said
to be 200 feet high and it is composed
of a kind of clay 21st we passed scots
bluffs and cold springs at which
last place their is a trading post
the seenery that we passd through
today was grand and picturesq
the bluffs high on each side and
thinly scattered over with cedar
wood 22nd we passd another trading
post 23rd we reached fort Laramie
the fort is situated on the laram
ie river we had to ford it to
reach the fort we stopt their and
got some bread at 14 cents per lb
then went out about 1½ miles and
encamped 24th black hills insight
had a hail and thunder storm
25th encamped on horse shoe creek
26th laid over had wind rain haile
snow, hot and cold 27th drove about
30 miles over the black hills roads
bad and feed verry scarce
29th we crossed Dear creek and struck
the Platt river again weather
verry warm see snow on the
tops of the Mountains
30th we reached the ferry had
to pay $4.00 per waggon. and 25 cts
per horse for crossing
31st We crossd the river and drove
out about 12 miles through a sandy
country thickly covered with
wild sage and encamped on
some minerall springs
June 1st we passd some alkali
springs 2nd we passd near some
alkali lakes and saw a great
quantity of saleratus and encamped
close to Independence rock which
rock is worthy the emigrants
notice 3rd we passed the devils gate
it is a narrow pass through which
the sweetwater river runs [deletion "through"]
the sides of which is 400 feet
high 6th We came by considerable snow
and went a snowballing one another
7th we reached the famous south pass
of the rocky mountains 8th we came
to the junction of california and
Oregon roads we took the right
hand road and encamped near the
big sandy 9th we left the big sandy
about 4 Oclock in the afternoon
for the desert lying between
the sandy and green river which
we consider about 45 or 50 miles
we reached the river about 10 or 11
oClock in the morning when we
had to swim our horses across the
river some were rafting and
others took off the box of their
waggons to cross the river, their
was one man washd of his
horse in fording the river and
drowned 11th there was two men
drowned,we got ferryd over in
the evening payd $10 per waggon
and had to work the boat a good deal
ourselves to get across
12th we left Green river the country
that we passd through was very
mountainous 13 just the same
reached hams fork of Bear river
here we had to see a little of the
Elephant we had to take out all our
things out of the waggon and haul
them across the stream in a
waggon box and take the waggon
abroad and put it over in the same
way 14th and 15th we had very cold weather
hail and snow 15th we crossd severall
branches of Bear river and decended
some verry steep mountains 16th we
reachd thomases fork of Bear river
where we had to take our things
out of the waggon and carry them
across the stream on horse back
verry cold snowed agreat part
of the night good grass now
18th we reached the sodom springs
and drank out of them and near
by we came through an Indian
[interlined: "snake tribe"] encampment and bought a poney
about two miles from here the
road forks out going to fort hall
and the other the cut off to
California the road through the
cut off is generally through
a mountainous country and is
said to be 108 miles through
to the fort hall road again
but it is from 125 to 135 miles
Sunday 23rd we crossd severall
streams and made about 6 or 8
miles 25th we reachd the Salt lake road
again 26th we came up by Goosecreeek
and took a desert of fifteen miles
27th we came through thousand spring
valley feed verry scarce a great part of the way.
Friday 28th I saw some hot springs
and washed my hands into it
it was so hot I could not bear
to keep my hand into it
Saturday 29th we reached the Humbolt
river and had to take our things
across the stream in the waggon
box Sunday we lay over and ferryd
severall Waggons across the stream
July 1st we went down the river and crossd
anotherstream their was good grass
some part of the way down the
river and a great part of the way
their was scarce any grass and
watter bad Sunday 7th We reachd
what we supposed was St Marys
Sink where we stopt to cut grass
to carry across the desert, their
was one man drownd crossing
the river to see about grass
8th we started in the evening about
8 oclock expecting to drive to the
sulphur springs but was sadly
dissappointed their we kept down
the river untill Sunday where
we found plenty of good grass
through the last week we have
seen a great quantity of horses
left on the road some dead and
some alive and waggons left
at almost every camping place
we left our own waggon and took
Thomas Prisks and joined teems
with Gregory Philips & the
Davys their is no grass to
be got from where we
started last Monday to where
we now are except going
into watter and mud two
or three feet deep saw a great
many nearly out of provisions
some entirely so, one company
killed a mule to dry and eat
for want of other food the
watter is bad down in this
part of the river but we had
to use that or none we have seen
dead horses floating down the
river near where we was use
ing of it and yesterday their
was a man seen floating in
the watter but the could
not take him out 14th & 15th we
lay over to rest our horses hoping
to put them across this dreaded
desert 16th we left the slough about
6 Oclock in the evening and
drove down to the sulphur springs
where we reachd in the morning
about 5 Oclock, we lay over there
untill about 6 Oclock in the
evening when we started out
over the desert drove all night
and reachd Carsons river about
1 or 2 Oclock the next afternoon
there was, a great deal of
suffering on the desert for want
of watter one or two men died
on the desert for want of watter
and a great many had to stop
untill the had watter brought
them horses and mules had to
be unharnessed and drove to
the watter before the were
able to take there loads in
and there was a great many
left there never to see the
watter again waggons & watter
barrels and just every kind of
thing was left on the desert
more horses and mules than
oxen 19th we drove up the river
about 6 or 8 miles and lay over
the rest of the day 20th we saw some
men out from the mines with pro
-visions to meet the Emigrants
flour $175 per pound 21st we
cut up the waggon to make
pack saddels to go a packing
started in the evening about
7 Oclock for the 26 miles plain
without watter or grass 22nd we
saw some more speculators out
with provisions 24 we passed some
more warm springs and went through
pass creek canyon 5 miles a most
horrid road 25 we ascendid
some verry steep mountains
and passd the summit of the sierra
nevada or California Mountains
snow very deep on the mountains
and the most horrid roads that ever
came under my notice meeting
a great many speculators everry
day going out with provisions to
meet the emigrants 27th we drove
about 1 mile south of the road and lay
over just all day 28th we came within
about 1 mile of weavertown 29th we
drove in to the town and sold one
of our horses for $55 and saw a
great many folks diggin which
all appear to be getting some
gold 29th we commenced to work
on Weber Creek two or three days and
then removed to hangtown or placer
-ville staid in the Gold mines
untill the 28th day of Septr 1851
[John's pencil note:
Changd 12 oz of Dust at $17.00
per oz in sacremento
Changed 1 oz in St Thomases
at $16.50 per oz]

On which day I left for Sacremento
City and home in Company with Christ
opher Clemence and severall others going
to Wisconsin to their familys we reachd
Sacremento City on the 29th about 11 Oclock
in the forenoon and left it again about
2 Oclock in the Afternoon for Sanfrancisco
which we reached about 10 Oclock in the
Evening we left Sanfrancisco on October 1st
for Panama on board the steam ship Oregon
on our way down we put into Monteray
and St Diego and Aucapulco and reachd
Panama on the 18th of October and walked
about 10 or 12 miles across the Ismus of

Census_Gundry_Waters (45K)

1850 Federal Census - John Gundry and his cousin, John Waters

and took lodgins for the night in a rag
house we reached Cruses the next
evening and stopped that night at
Millers Hotel and next morning
20th hired a boat to take us down
to Chagres for which we had to pay
$5.50 each (Sixty Miles) 23rd we went
on the Medway steam ship bound
for Southampton we sailed from Chagres
on the 27th and put into Carthagena
for the Mail and arrived at St
Thomases on the 31st where we
had to stop until the 5th Novr
taking in cargo and to stop for the
Mail when we again started
for Southampton and reached
it on the 26th
Letters that I have sent Joseph
Since that I left Minerall point
One from Meringo Iowa April
the 9th 1850 One from Hanesville
Iowa April 24th, One from Fort Laramie
May 23rd One from California
Hangtown Creek August 4th
One from Hangtown Octr 20th 24th
Do. Do. February 16th 1851
Sent One to England February 28th 1851 Sent One to Joseph March 27th April 6th Sent One to Mother July 20th 51
One from Weaver Creek August
31st to Joseph
I sent a letter to Joseph from Porkellis about the
1st of Jany 1852 Another on 8th April 1852

Panama before the canal

Expenses since I left Minerall point
Up to June 1st
$ 5.60
July 15th Lent to Thomas Prisk
Three Soverings
Paid Cousin John for pistol 12.00

Excerpt from email by Barbara Young to Peter Gundry, dated 26 November 2002.

"The Gundry gun is what they call a "pepper box''. It has the impressions

patented 1837

cast steel patent



My mother remembers an uncle giving it to my grandfather when his father took him back to Cornwall for a visit."

Expenses Beginning
June 24th 1851
25 Paid for Drinks 1.00   
26 Paid for Do. 1.50   
29 Paid for Do .75   
July 6th Paid for 6 Days Board
and 4 drinks
14th Paid for Licquers 3.25   
  Board 8.00   
20th Board $8.00 Drinks 1.75 9.75   
22nd Paid for Bar 1.00   
28th Board $8.00 Licquer 1.50 9.50   

socks { .60
           { .62
drink .50
vail Goggles .60

hat & shoes 3.25


Cousin John Sent a letter from
platt river ferry May 31st 1850
One from Hangtown August 25th 1850
One from     Do.            Nov 24th
Cousin John Left Hangtown I think
about the 15 of January 1851
I received a letter from him Dated
January 23rd Sacremento City
I sent Cousin Samuell a letter June


Page updated 22 April 2005