The World Rushed in by J.S. Holiday — Chapter 10 to the End — California and Back Home

Truth be told, once William Swain arrived in California, his letters became a bit dull.  The journey across the plains and over the mountains offered a wide variety of hardships, enough to fill his stories for the rest of his life, (His wife would refer to him as “My 49’er” when he died decades later)  but the mining camps featured day after day of digging, … Continue reading The World Rushed in by J.S. Holiday — Chapter 10 to the End — California and Back Home

The World Rushed In by J.S. Holiday: chapters 6 and 7

Sept. 13.  This morn while getting up the cattle, the men saw a catamount, but as they had no firearms with them they allowed the fellow to go off unmolested. So this is probably what comes from being over-educated. When I read the above entry in William Swain’s diary for Sept. 13, 1949, I thought ‘catamount?’  Isn’t that an archaic term for gay man? Were … Continue reading The World Rushed In by J.S. Holiday: chapters 6 and 7

The World Rushed In Ch. IV: Tracks of the Elephant (Ft. Kearny to Ft. Laramie)

Three things struck me from this section of William Swain’s account of his journey to the California gold fields in 1849.  The World Rushed In by J.S. Holiday compiled from the letters William Swain and his family exchanged, augmented with sections for the letters of other 49’ers to fill out the story. The firs thing that struck me this chaptert is how important it was to … Continue reading The World Rushed In Ch. IV: Tracks of the Elephant (Ft. Kearny to Ft. Laramie)

The World Rushed In by J.S. Holiday. Chapter II: Fitting for a Start and Chapter III: The Great California Caravan

Last week in one of his now infamous dissents Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that California does not count as part of the American West.  He was a little more forceful than that.  My initial response was, of course, “Drop dead.”  Not in those words exactly, but you get the picture. It’s a tired and somewhat racist view, this notion that the true America … Continue reading The World Rushed In by J.S. Holiday. Chapter II: Fitting for a Start and Chapter III: The Great California Caravan