Traveling West: Diary of Mary Graddy

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August 20th, 1821 Today is a day of hope and of great anticipation. John, my husband, has told me we are to leave to California tomorrow. We are to leave our small, pitiful home here in Massachusetts and find many opportunities in the west. We have heard of many men who have traveled west and discovered gold. “Gold covers California like a blanket,” they have told John. Our farm here leaves no opportunities for our family. Our two sons and three daughters are growing older and we wish for them to be prosperous. Not like now. Now, we have no money and our only value, our farm, is falling apart. I must pack very few belongings into our wagon and we must be ready to leave with the others when the sun rises in the morning. The elder girls, Anna, who is fifteen, and Lucy, who is twelve, are to help with the cleaning and packing all day. Fannie, seven years old, is very sick, and has some sort of flu. The doctor costs money, which we don’t have, so we are relying on our prayers and faith in God to help her. John and our two sons, William who is seventeen, and Andrew who is ten, are taking care of all last minute details for the farm, and my brother from Virginia is arriving tonight with his wife and baby daughter to care for the farm while we are gone and they are to live here unless we return. August 23rd, 1821 This is our third morning traveling and we are all anxious and eager to see this great place called California. The oxen are behaving well, and I believe we will make it there in a few months. Fannie is slightly better and she has ceased crying throughout the night as she did before we left. This is a sign from God. The Lord shall guide us through this and we shall overcome all obstacles and since Fannie’s fever has gone away I feel better about each new day. September 1st, 1821 Eight days since I have written and those days have been very relaxing. My children and I walk beside the wagon throughout the day and sing many joyous melodies. The weather is starting to cool down now and the breeze feels sensational as it whips through my hair and brushes over my skin.

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