This is an interesting tale, twice told. When the “California Fever” reached southeastern
Ohio in the spring of 1849, a group from Athens County organized a company to travel overland to
California. They called themselves the “Buckeye Rovers.”
Two of the Rovers kept diaries during the overland trek. While J. Elza Armstorng ended his journal upon reaching California, John Banks continued his writing throughout his stay in the mines. His is the more complete account, and also the more detailed.
This book combines both diaries into one volume and is a compelling read. The hardships of the trail, life in the gold mines, the high prices of provisions and tools, the sickness, hard work and loneliness experienced by the miners is well documented. Friendship, good health, and thinking about returning home were apparently the thoughts that kept many miners going through the hard times.--E. K.