The Oregon Trail

In researching the Oregon Trail, I used many books and online resources. I recommend the following books in particular:

  • Topographical Map of the Road from Missouri to Oregon, by Charles Preuss, John Frémont’s cartographer

  • The Oregon Trail, by Francis Parkman (1846) (the classic first-hand account of travel along the trail—if anyone doubts whether Mac would have made this journey for adventure, then read Parkman’s book)

  • The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, by Rinker Buck (2015) (a first-hand account of traveling the trail by covered wagon in the 21st century)

  • Oregon Trail, by Ingvard H. Eide (1972) (excerpts from pioneer diaries describing points along the trail, accompanied by beautiful photographs)

  • Traveling the Oregon Trail, by Julie Fanselow (2nd ed. 2001) (a guide for travelers seeking to follow the trail by road today)

I also used Google Maps extensively to plot the route that the wagon company in Lead Me Home took, and I compared today's geography with what emigrant and explorer diaries reported.

Gold Miners in California, Currier & Ives, c. 1871

There are also numerous books and online resources available on the California Gold Rush. The 19th-century accounts of the Gold Rush I relied on to research Now I'm Found included:

  • A Year of American Travel, by Jessie Benton Frémont (1878)

  • Report of the Debates in the Convention of California, on the Formation of the State Constitution, in September and October, 1849, by John Ross Browne (1850)

  • Hubert Howe Bancroft’s multi-volume History of California and History of Oregon

  • Newspapers of the period, which can be found online in the California Digital Newspaper Collection and Historic Oregon Newspapers

  • Many prospector diaries and letters

I also recommend the following recent books on the Gold Rush era:

  • The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream, by H.W. Brands (2002)

  • A Year of Mud and Gold: San Francisco in Letters and Diaries, 1849-1850, by William Benemann (Editor) (2003)

  • The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War, by Leonard L. Richards (2007)

I hope you'll check out these books and websites, and please contact me if you have questions about what I've written or would like more information.

Thank you.

Theresa Hupp