UPDATED, May 28, 2023 with additional information about Panama (City) and Postal Museum hours.
I’m still organizing a final roundup of what we know about the Bonniwell gold rush expeditions and when everyone returned to Wisconsin. Until that’s ready, here are three random bits of history that might interest you. All are closely tied to the homecoming experiences of the Clark House neighbors that went prospecting in California between 1849 and the mid-1850s. And if you missed our series of Farewell to California! The Bonniwell party returns, you can catch up with these links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.
In a follow-up question to part 4 of this series, reader Laura Rexroth asked: “Reading about the robberies on land, traveling from San Francisco to New York, I’m wondering if there was any piracy at sea with all these ships carrying so much gold dust?”
That’s a good question. As I mentioned in my original reply, the U.S. Mail Steamers that served the Pacific and Atlantic sides of the California mail route were considered the latest and greatest in ocean transportation and I suspect they could probably out run most other ships of the day. That said, I did find this interesting news item, “Arming of the Chagres steamers” on page 2 of the September 10, 1851, Milwaukee Weekly Wisconsin:Continue reading