Our previous post1 left us with two important, unanswered questions: Could the Bonniwells and their companions have been recorded on the 1850 federal population census in California? And if they could be counted, were they? After all, travel through the gold camps in the high mountains could be pretty difficult in the best of times:
Gold miners, El Dorado, California, ca. 1848, before 1853. Library of Congress.
Add the rain and snow of a typical fall and winter in California’s gold region and the enumerator’s task must have been very difficult. But the answer is yes, it was possible that our Mequon prospectors could have been counted in the 1850 census in California. The enumeration of the gold mining counties began well after the official enumeration date of June 1st, 1850, and the process continued in some gold region counties until the last weeks of December, many months after the arrival of the overland contingent of the Bonniwell expedition.Continue reading