START ON HUNT FOR GOLD IN CALIFORNIA EIGHTY YEARS AGO
Four Covered Wagons Leave From Patterson on Metal Quest
White Hall, March 25-Seventy-nine years ago Sunday, March 24, 1850, a party of four left Patterson in covered wagons
for the gold fields of California. Their going was a year following the break for California in 1849. The company
consisted of Lee Coates, C.C. Eaton, Alfred Pruitt and Lee [handwritten] Lakin (?) [smudged].
Their departure was at the noon hour, amid the well-wishes of the assembled residents of the community. They landed
at Placirville, Calif., on Aug. 31, five months and one week after starting, following the Oregon trail via Pike's
Peak. From the west bank of the Mississippi to the destination Coates walked the entire distance, carrying a single
(?) [smudged] pistol and a single-shot rifle. Pruitt drove the ox team, the oxen being named Buck and Bride.
The party had several skirmishes with Indians, bear and buffalo, but landed safely. Coates was the first to return,
he remaining two years, and came back on water the entire distance, except the 28 miles across the Isthmus of Panama.
All returned safely and remained at Patterson to the end of their lives.
Twenty five years later, March 24, 1865, a Patterson party left Idaho in a train of covered wagons and pioneered
that sate. The party was headed by W. L. [the letters J M are superimposed
in ink over these two initials] Linder, C.C. Eaton and W.D. [the letter B is superimposed in ink over this last initial]
Coates, the latter remaining four years and brought back a quantity of gold, the others having returned earlier.
Coates engaged in the mercantile business at Patterson on a credit basis and succeeded in losing his wealth in
that manner. A diary of this expedition is in possession of Coates' daughter, Mrs. Lora Fry, at Patterson.
These facts were brought out as anniversary stuff, the former by Lee Coates of Hillview, son of the Lee Coates
of the California expedition, and the latter by Mrs. Peoria Nell of White Hall, daughter of the W. D. Coates. Lee
Coates is reputed to possess a marvelous collection of records and relics of early times in this vicinity, he having
a grandfather, William Cotter in the Revolutionary War.
[Newspaper article dated March 26, 1929, Name of newspaper is not on the clipping. - Submitted by Virginia Dyson]