Several Who Crossed the Plains to California in the
MAD RUSH AFTER THE DISCOVERY
Of Gold, Meet in Reunion at Hotel Lucile Tuesday--Banquet Spread--Reminiscences of those Exciting Times
The reunion of the California pioneers, of which mention has been previously made in these columns was held at the Hotel Lucile, Madisonville, Tuesday.
Quite a number from this section made the trip across the plains of California during the wild excitement that followed the discovery of gold there in 1849. History tells us of the great privations and dangers endured by these hardy pioneers and of the plains being strewn with the bones of thousands of adventurous spirits who attempted to reach modern Eldorado.
Some years ago, Mr. John MONTGOMERY, of Providence, conveived the idea of having a reunion of all those from this immediate section of the State who made this trip in '49 and the early fifties. He communicated with all he knew and they with others, and as a result the first meeting was held at this place about a year ago.
They had a most enjoyable reunion and adjourned to meet again on Tuesday.
The following pioneers were present Tuesday: John W. BONE, Nebo; John W. COX, Nebo; A.E. COX, Nebo; John MONTGOMERY, Providence; John W. GIVENS, Providence; J.H. ASHBY, Hanson; J.A. JACKSON, Onton, R.B. NUNN, Owensboro; W.A. MAHON, Greenville; Chris CRUMBAKER, Madisonville; Baker PIDCOCK, Madisonville; J.A. RAMSEY, Madisonville; Mrs. Ann JENNINGS, Dalton, who crossed the plains with her husband in 1852.
The following invited guests were present and partook of the hospitality of the association: Mrs. Phoebe THOMASON, Madisonville; Mrs. J.A. JACKSON, Onton; Mrs. John MONTGOMERY, Providence; Mr and Mrs. Clarence GIVENS, Madisonville; Mr. and Mrs. Frank RAMSEY, Madisonville; Rev. J.C. HOPEWELL, Madisonville; Mr. E.G. BISHOP, of the Providence Record; Mrs. J.A. RAMSEY.
After an elegant dinner, the pioneers and guests assembled in the parlors of the Hotel Lucile with John MONTGOMERY in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved.
Mr. MONTGOMERY gave a history of his trip across the plains in 1849, when the Indians and buffalo roamed unmolested over the vast plains from Missouri to the Pacific coast. Interesting talks were also made by R.B. NUNN, of Owensboro, and by John W. GIVENS, who feelingly said, "When I look upon this body of men, now old and gray haired, I humbly thank God that he has permitted us to meet and talk over the days of 'Auld Lang Syne.'" He also spoke of the wonderful productiveness of the soil of California where he had known 1900 bushels of Irish potatoes to be raised on one acre of ground, and where oats grew six feet tall.
W.A. MAHON, in speaking of his trip to California on an ocean steamer by Cape Horn and Panamas, related some thrilling incidents witnessed on the water when cholera broke out on board the ship. He out of twenty-five was the only one who escaped death. He was stricken first and was reduced in weight from 180 pounds to forty pounds. J.A. JACKSON, W.D. GIVENS, J.H. ASHBY spoke touchingly of their experiences in the West. J.A. RAMSEY also related some of his experiences with the Sioux Indians on Yellow Stone River in 1866.
At the meeting held at this place last September, the following were presented and their respective ages: John C. GIVENS, Nebo, 68; A.E. COX, Nebo, 65; E.J. SPRATT, Princeton, 72; H.L. KESEE, Bordley, 72; Cornelius HAZEL, Sturgis, 72; John W. BONE, Nebo, 67; J.P. BOHANNON, Caseyville, 69; J.H. ASHBY, Hanson, 68; John W. GIVENS, Providence, 66; J.S. McCULLEY, Madisonville, 67; John W. COX, Nebo, 70; J.A. JACKSON, Onton, 67; John MONTGOMERY, Providence, 68; J.A. RAMSEY, Madisonville, 52.
Since the meeting John C. GIVENS and Capt. KESEE have passed to the great beyond, while a few others who were present then were unable for various reasons to be present Tuesday.
It will be but a few years until all these old pioneers have passed the great plain of the unknown into the valley of the shadow of death. But they leave behind a record of imperishable value. They helped to open the great west to settlement and to make this the greatest country on the face of the globe.
The next meeting will be held at Providence on the first Thursday in October, 1897.
(Source: Madisonville Hustler, May 21, 1897)