1830 - 1860 -- Pioneers & Settlers
The War with Mexico
When eastern pioneers arrived in what is now California, they
found a sparsely-settled land with a few Spanish ranchers and a Russian
settlement that farmed mammals from the sea. In 1846, following the successful
"The Bear Flag Revolt," American settlers removed these powers. Two years
after a major 1848 gold strike east of Sacramento began to draw
emigrants westward, California was made a state.
Government Survey Teams
Roads for wagons were scarce, so survey teams were sent to locate suitable
routes, find reliable water supplies and eventually to survey railroad alignments.
In 1853, Robert S. Williamson's survey team stopped here. During another railroad
survey in 1854,
Lt. Amiel Whipple
Soda Lake, from which
Soda Springs gets its name.
The Army's Great Camel Experiment
In 1857, one year before the Butterfield Overland Mail began running
between Missouri and California along the Great Southern Route,
Edward Fitzgerald Beale
a more-northerly freight and
postal route across the desert. Camels, imported from the Middle East, were used
as pack animals along the Mojave Road as part of the
U.S. Army's Great Camel Experiment.
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After walking from Texas over rock-strewn trails, Beale's camels were pronounced
capable. The Army, however, abandoned its "ships of the desert," partly
because the great shaggy, spitting beasts scared every horse
and mule they met half out of their wits!