The Jayhawkers were a group of young men from Galesburg area, their name was taken from their initiation, each candidate for the trip had to pass a Courage test (or idiocy test) by having a pinch of flesh "gyped" from his body, without flinching. They left Galesburg 5 April 1849 for the California goldfields. As they traveled west they often were accompanied by other groups. About 250 miles south of Salt Lake City, they met a group of Mormons who told them there was a shorter route. Many of the larger groups felt this was too dangerous but the Jayhawkers went on. They went through Death Valley and did lose some of their members to death. Luther Abijah Richards, called Little Deacon, did find a spring and the group finally after much hardship came through the San Francisquito Canyon into the Santa Clara Valley. A rancher there fed them even after they killed one of his cattle to eat and they went on to the Gold Fields without notable success. A number of them settled around San Jose, California, and some went back to Illinois. They had a Reunion every February 4th as long as any of them were alive, sometimes in the Midwest, sometimes in California. The last Jayhawker died in 1921. The members of the party were:
Allen, George - From Knoxville, IL, died in San Francisco 11 September 1877
Arms, "Deacon" C. - From Knoxville, IL, believed to have taken Fort Hall trail and not seen Death Valley
Bartholomew, Edward F. - From Farmington, Il, died in Pueblo, CO, 13 February 1891
Bartholomew, Edward, Jr.(?) - Traveled with his father at the start of trek, believed to have taken Fort Hall route.
Byrum, Burin - From Knoxville, IL, died US Military Hospital, 11 April 1865
Carter, ? - listed by Stephens as dying in Wisconsin in 1850
Clark, Charles - Henderson Grove, IL, died there 9 September 1865
Clay, Alonzo C. - From Galesburg, IL, Clay, a Vermont native was born 13 February 1828. He dug gold in the Sacramento River Valley until 1851 and then returned to Galesburg via Panama. He married and farmed. Died at Galesburg 13 September 1897
Cole, John - From Galesburg, IL, died at Sonora, CA, 1853
Colton, "Col" John B. - From Galesburg, IL, first to urge Jayhawker formation, born Munson, ME, 11 August 1831, died Grand Island, NE, 21 Oct 1919. Promoter of Jayhawker reunions and their recorder
Davidson, Urban P. (also called Irwin) - Apparently joined the Jayhawkers after they left Illinois, died Thermopolis, Wyo, 18 Dec 1903
Doty, "Capt" Edward - From Knoxville, IL, born in New York state 6 April 1820, remained in CA. farming first in San Jose area and then in San Jose area and later in Santa Barbara county where descendants still reside, died near Santa Barbara at Naples, 14 June 1891
Edgerton, Marshall G. - From Galesburg, IL, died in Montana 1865
Edgerton, Sidney P. - From Galesburg, IL, died at Blair, Ne, 31 January 1880
Ewing, Alexander - One of the original Jayhawkers, thought to have taken the Fort Hall trail
Ewing, John C. - Went with his father on Fort Hall trail
Fish, "Father" - Started west with another party, gravitated to the Brier and Jayhawker parties, died crossing the Argus Range, 13 January 1850, Fish sought to mine gold to pay off mortgage on an Indiana church
Frans, Harrison B. (possibly Franz) - From Henderson Grove, IL, in 1897 was living in Baker City, Oregon where he died 16 January 1902
Gould, ? - From Iowa, generally a companion of Fish, mined in the Sonora district of California, died Penn Yan, N.Y. in 1850's
Gritzinger, Frederick (or Gritzner) - From Joliet, IL, died Moverly, MO, 18 August 1892 or in Portland, MO, 1 October 1875 (both dates appear in accounts)
Groscup, John - From Henderson Grove, IL, born at or near Galesburg, 12 September 1826, lived at San Jose, moved to Longvale, Mendocino county, CA where he died 14 February 1916
Haynes, "Capt" Asa - From Knoxville, IL, born New York state, 9 February 1804, took up property in both California and Illinois, died at DeLong, IL, 29 March 1889
Isham, William - A middle aged Rochester, New York man originally with another group who gravitated to the Jayhawkers and Briers in the exodus from Death Valley. Died just north of the Inyo-San Bernardino County line at Valley Wells, 13 January 1850,or possibly the next day.
Larkin, Aaron - From Knoxville, IL, died in Humboldt county, CA 1853
McGrew, Thomas (possibly McGraw) - From Knoxville, IL, died Boise City, Idaho 1864
Mecum, Charles B. - From Galesburg, IL, born West Suffield, CT, 25 August 1822, living in Dallas County, Iowa in 1897, he died Mt. Vernon, Iowa 20 February 1905 (He married a sister of Luther Abijah Richards, Frances). See Bio and picture of his father.
Palmer, Alexander - From Knoxville, IL, mined in CA where he died at Chandlerville, Sierra county 27 March 1854
Plummer, John W. - From Knoxville, IL, he died Fallon, IL 22 June 1892
Price, Robert - From Knoxville, IL, he took the Fort Hall trail to CA
Richards, "Deacon" Luther A. - From Galesburg, IL, born Westminister, VT, 12 April 1818, was living in Beaver City, NE in 1897 where he died 15 June 1899.
Robinson, William - From Knoxville, IL, died from drinking cold water when near exhaustion 28 January 1850 in the Antelope Valley south of the present Palmdale.
Rude (Rood or Roods), William B. - From Knoxville, IL, mined in California and at La Paz, AZ where he was visited by Stephens, he drowned in the Colorado River near Bradshaw's Ferry 29 April 1871.
Shannon, Thomas - From Knoxville, IL, lived in Los Gatos, CA in his later years where a Jayhawker reunion was held and where he died 15 Nov 1903
Stephens, Lorenzo Dow - Born in New Jersey 29 December 1827, spent boyhood in Ohio and Illinois, traveled extensively, lived at San Jose, CA, died in Oakland 10 February 1921, the last survivor of the Jayhawkers.
Tauber, Wolfgang - From Joliet, IL, mined with Sheldon Young, died at sea en route home 15 November 1850, his parents lived in Germany
Taylor, Norman - From Knoxville, IL, went via Fort Hall with Deacon Arms
West, John Lewis - From Knoxville, IL, lived in Phillipsburg, Montana in 1897, died in Sacramento, CA 12 January 1898
Woolsey, Leander - From Knoxville, IL, born Ashtabula, Ohio 18 June 1828, died at Oakland, CA. 8 September 1881 or 7 October 1881. Young, Sheldon- From Joliet, IL, born CT. 23 July 1815, died in Moberly, MO. 18 October 1892

From the book, Good-Bye Death Valley by L. Burr Beldon. Jayhawker Census

See also "The Forty-Niners in Death Valley: A Tentative Census" by Carl Wheat
See also "Death Valley in '49: Chapter XV - Jayhawkers" by William Lewis Manley

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