Free Audio Excerpts
Listen to free audio excerpts from the Jenks Journals, read by professional Voice Over Artists.
Between 1849-65 Daniel Jenks had the forethought to chronicle his gold rush trials, tribulations and triumphs across the American West. Writing to an "imaginary confidant" in his journal, Jenks shared his innermost thoughts with the reader, the dreams and fears that drove him. Until 2021 the compelling story of Jenks' first-hand account of Western American history, as it unfolded, had never been published before.
-- Michael Kussmann, Mr. Smith, Daniel Jenks and Rich Daigle - 1:50
October 7, 1849 - Like many gold seekers Daniel Jenks joined in company with other men, pooling their resources for the long journey to California. But Jenks didn’t know the ship his company had purchased to transport them there wasn’t seaworthy. Daniel wrote about the excruciating sea voyage in his journal, and told us what it was like for a 21-year-old Greenhorn from Pawtucket, Rhode Island to be dropped in the middle of Gold Rush San Francisco.
-- Daniel Jenks, Rick Hardy and Rich Daigle - 6:14
October 25, 1849 - Shortly after arriving in San Francisco Daniel Jenks visited the local graveyard. This is what he wrote in his journal about the grief-stricken young Widow he found bereaving there. She was one of many unsung Gold Rush Heroines whose stories have never made it into the history books.
-- Daniel Jenks and Angela Ohlfest - 1:54
April 1851 - 15 years before Mark Twain became famous for his humorous Western storytelling, an unknown prospector from Pawtucket, Rhode Island named Daniel Jenks had already been toying with the same idea. Jenks wrote this funny story in his gold rush journal about a Grizzly Bear hunt that went hilariously wrong. Daniel spent a lot of time crafting this tale, he was obviously hoping someone else would read it.
-- Daniel Jenks and Rich Daigle - 7:00
August 1853 - Daniel Jenks was broke, sick and starving, regularly going 30-40 hours without food. His pride was the only thing keeping him from begging for meals. Then, just in the nick-of-time, his friend Hiram Woods threw him a lifeline. Daniel wrote about Hiram in his gold rush journal, so he'd always remember friend Woods' kindness in his hour of need.
-- Daniel Jenks and Rick Hardy - 2:21
August 1853 - Not many white men could communicate with the Indians in their own language in the 1850s. When Daniel Jenks learned how to speak the Natives’ Chinook Jargon, it gave him access and insight few others had. In this excerpt from the Jenks Journals, Daniel tells us about a chance encounter he had with a Shasta Indian Medicine Woman and Native American medicinal practices.
-- Daniel Jenks and Rick Hardy - 3:08
April 1851 - The gravity of gold drew prospectors to the California Gold Rush from all corners of the globe. Villains of all-sort soon followed. In his gold rush journal Daniel Jenks wrote about a specific group of murderous desperados. After being run out of Texas by the Regulators, this band of killers went to California and began terrorizing the inhabitants there.
-- Daniel Jenks and Rich Daigle - 2:04
August 5, 1858 - In his gold rush journal, Daniel Jenks expressed dismay at the inaccurate newspaper accounts he was reading of the Indian conflicts in Northern California and Southern Oregon. To correct the historical record, Daniel described the events he personally witnessed preceding the outbreak of hostilities with the Natives in 1855.
-- Daniel Jenks and Rick Hardy - 8:00
July 1851 - Amidst the assortment of prospectors, gamblers and outlaws in Gold Rush San Francisco, one of those characters stood out to Daniel Jenks. His name was Charlie; a disfigured Faro dealer, dualist and debauchee. In the Jenks Journals, Daniel tells us about Charlie’s intriguing backstory. Even Sinister Charlie would agree, there’s no hope left for him.
-- Daniel Jenks, Rich Daigle and Rick Hardy - 6:54
August 1853 - In The Beginning of Hostilities, Daniel Jenks wrote about the many Indian depredations that had taken place. But shameful acts were committed by Whites in the Gold Rush era as well. One man’s outrageous conduct infuriated Daniel so much - he said the villain should be immortalized. So mote it be! We should never allow the memory of what William Hathaway did that day to be forgotten.
-- Daniel Jenks and Rick Hardy - 4:36
December 4, 1863 - When a group of Indians took advantage of a lapse in security and stole their work cattle, Jenks & Company fought back. Daniel's compelling narrative of the harrowing trek they made to reclaim their livestock - and the firefight that ensued - is a scene right out of a Hollywood movie.
-- Daniel Jenks and Rich Daigle - 5:12
February 13, 1859 - Despite the many hardships Daniel Jenks endured while trying to survive out in the American Wilderness, he kept on writing in his journal. In this excerpt Jenks explains why he diligently continued to make journal entries between 1849-65, regardless of his circumstances. It was clear Daniel hoped his journals would be read by someone…someday.
-- Daniel Jenks and Rick Hardy - 1:18