Tuolumne County Points of Interest
The Emigrants of 1852-1853
Originating from Ohio & Indiana the Clark Skidmore party of 1852 - 75 people & 13 mule wagons - was the 1st wagon train to gross the Sierra-Nevada via the Walker River-Sonora route. 35 days were spent to blaze a trail of 60 miles over this roughest of the Sierra crossings. They filled ravines with tons of rock, dug a trench to drain Fremont Lake to enable passing around a cliff. Twice, nearly starving, men were sent to Sonora-Columbia for food & road building supplies. Many deserted and on Sept. 10, 1852 the 15 remnants rolled into Columbia, cheered on the last mile by 300 citizens and a brass band.
The route in brief: Leavitt Meadow, Fremont Lake, Emigrant Meadow Lake, Brown Bear Pass, down Summit Creek, Relief Valley, Whitesides Meadow, Burst Rock, Bell Meadow, MiWuk Ridge, N. Twain Harte, Phoenix Lake, Sonora, Columbia.
Early summer of 1853, Geo. W. Patrick, Sonora's 2nd mayor, met a wagon train bearing his wife & daughters at the Carson River. Convincing the group to take the Sonora Rt. He was nearly lynched when the going got tough. The Rt. was described as 'strewn with wreckage of prairie schooners, oxen yoke & bleached animal bones.' One of his daughters died from the ordeal and the grave of B. S. Hubbs can still be found ¼ mile above Saucer Meadow.
That summer approx 600 wagons, 2,400 emigrants and 19,000 head of cattle used this route. Notable parties Duckwall, Trahern, Kerrick, Browder, Crow & Stubblefield
And so recorded
Matuca Chapter 1849, E Clampus Vitus
Dedicated August 24, 1985