Individual Record 65

Name}   Samuels, Edmond (or Edward or Edwin)* Family History} Hancock                
  Title}   Race} White Sex} Male
Birth:   Date} Fam             1823 Place}   , St. Clair, Alabama
Marr.: Date} Fam 12 Dec 1844 Place}   , Marshall, Alabama     (Link)
Death: Date} Fam    May 1872 Place} Gordon Valley, Napa, California
Burial: Date} Fam    May 1872 Place} Rockville Cemetery, Rockville, Solano, California
  Grave Marker} No
Source 1} 1139=1850 USA cen
Source 2}   63 = 1860 USA cen
Source 3}   44 = 1870 USA cen
Source 4} 137 = Biography
Source 5} 220 = Death record
Source 6} 222 = Obituary
Source 7} 598 = Photographs
Source 8} 1133=Family history
Source 9}   13 = Family history
Source 10}  85 = Family history
Source 11}585 = Interview
Source 12}589 = Family history
Source 13}1140=Family history
Parents: } Elisha Samuels & Elizabeth White
   Relationship No.} 503
1st Household No.}  
      Occupation 1} Farmer
       Occupation 2} Teamster
  Religion/Church}  
Spouses:    First} Gregory, Mary Myrtle
 Total Number of} 1
Notes:  *Given name conflict:  This person's given name was Edmond in six of the 13 Sources listed above, Edward in four of those Sources, and Edwin in three of the 13 Sources.  For example, his name was reported differently
in each of three sucessive U.S. censuses:  as Edmond, Edward, and Edwin in the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses, respectively.  Because of the consistency of his birth year, birth place, wife's name, and children in these various Sources, I am sure they are reporting on one and the same individual.

Edmond was born in St. Clair County, Alabama, in 1823.  His parents moved their family to Benton County, Alabama, in the mid-1830s.  Edmond married Mary Gregory in 1844.  Their first child was born in 1846.

Family lore states that Edmond liked to drink.  After coming home from a bar one night in Alabama, he told his young wife Mary that he had stabbed a man.  He immediately packed up his family and fled west.

Edmond moved his family in 1847 to Tishomingo County in the northeast corner of Mississippi.  Like his father, Edmond purchased farming land which had been recently ceded by the Indians.  Two daughters were born in Mississippi — in 1848 and 1850.  In the early spring of 1852, probably because of the California gold rush, Edmond and Mary sold their land, animals, and furnishings, and began their great trek to California.

Edmond and his family travelled to St. Joseph, Missouri, by river steamer.  There they purchased a covered wagon, a team of oxen, and provisions.  They joined a wagon train where leaders were elected and rules and regulations were adopted.  The train members had to endure incredible hardships, the first of which was river crossings.  Many animals and wagons were lost and some people were drowned.  At some ferries the rates were exorbinant.  In addition to the oxen, some train members had animals that had to be fed, including mules, horses, beef and dairy cattle, and sheep.  Cholera was common and the trail was lined with victims' graves.  Indians harassed many of the wagon trains.

The trail led up the Platte River to Fort Laramie, detouring to Salt Lake City to let the wagon trains obtain fresh animals and provisions.  After following the Humboldt River in Nevada, the trail went through the dreaded Humboldt Sink, a fifty mile stretch of barren desert.  There water was critical necessity.  Many animals perished and the heat was oppressive, making travel by night essential.  Next they climbed over the Sierra Nevadas by the new Carson River Pass — since the Donner Pass was regarded with dread.  Fortunately, Edmond and his family survived this ordeal and were California pioneers.

Edmond settled his family on 160 acres in the Gordon Valley — which is 10 miles east of the city of Napa and at a southeastern corner of Napa County.  In the early days of California, wheat was the primary crop.  Edmond soon became a teamster, hauling the wheat to the shipping port in Napa to be subsequently barged to San Francisco.  He had six mules, 15 horses, and several wagons for hauling wheat and for work on the farm.

Having grown up in northeastern Alabama when it teemed with game, Edmond was an experienced hunter.  In the mountains north of Gordon Valley he found deer, bear, and small game to be plentiful.  He later told his children of his many thrilling episodes of the hunt and chase.  There were also similarities of the life styles in the Gordon Valley and in Alabama.  The family was almost self-sufficient with their gardens, fruit trees, and a smokehouse.  They had up to 36 hogs and always had a good supply of bacon.  One story is that a grizzly bear came one night and carried off a pig.

Eight more children were born to Edmond and Mary in Napa County.  In the 1860 U.S. Census, Edmond and his family were listed as part of Napa County's Yount Township.  Their post office was located at Sebastopol — the name, until May 1867, of the place now known as Yountville, California.  But by the time of the 1870 Census, they were officially part of Napa County's Napa Township.  Their post office was then located in the city of Napa.

Edmond always dreamed of making a gold strike.  Thus he carried his pick and prospected whenever he hunted in the mountains.  In May of 1872 he was in the area of Wragg Canyon in the Blue Ridge Mountains exploring for gold — when he found it in a big canyon on the east side of Blue Ridge and the east side of Miller Canyon.  He left his pick and axe to mark the site, and loaded the two deer that he had killed onto his mule.  He was leading the mule down a steep trail when it stumbled on the loose footing and fell on Edmond, seriously injuring him.  Edmond managed to make his way home where he survived for only a few days; he was 48 or 49 years old when he passed on.  The ore samples that he had brought back were subsequently assayed and found to be rich in gold.  Edmond's sons and other people later searched for the site of the gold discovery, but it was never found.

Edmond was buried in the northwest corner of the nearby Rockville Cemetery.  A wooden headstone marked his grave, but it was destroyed by the fire that blanketed the cemetery around 1900.
Time of Birth}   Time of Death}   Fraternal/Social}  
Baptism Date}   Place}    
Confirm. Date}   Photo} None
Immigr'n Date} N/A Port} N/A
Education: Grade}              or Top 2 Degrees}  
Military: Service}                   for the State of}  
Health Condition}  
  Cause of Death} Mule accident
Last Updated
by} Dan Hancock
Date Updated} 28 May 2009
Date Created}    8 Oct   1994
Copyright © 2009 by Daniel W. Hancock.  All Rights Reserved.

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