Jenks Journals - Research

The Jenks Journals discuss many interesting topics that could benefit from additional research.

THE BRAVERY OF GOLD RUSH WOMEN - Unsung Heroines influenced many events that unfolded during America's expansion westward. The Jenks Journals include numerous examples of female bravery in the gold rush era. Daniel Jenks obviously wanted us to remember their stories. Are the heroic actions of Mrs. Harris recorded in the history books? Did her daughter write about their experiences? Is that courageous Shasta Indian Woman's name known?  

1). Her Great Bereavement - The Mourning Wife - [Listen to Audio] 

2). Shasta Indian Medicine - The Medicine Woman & Sick Squaw - [Listen to Audio] 

3). The Beginning of Hostilities - Mrs. Harris - [Listen to Audio]

4). The White Wolves - The Shasta Indian Woman - [Listen to Audio]  


SPEAKING THE JARGON - In the 1850s few white men could communicate with the Indians in Northern California and Southern Oregon. In the Jenks Journals Daniel tells us he learned how to speak Chinook, and even included examples of conversations he had with Native Americans in that tongue. Was the Chinook Jargon Daniel transcribed accurate? 


JUDSON JENKS - A resident of Southern Colorado long before the Pikes Peak gold rush, Judson Jenks was the stereotypical Mountain Man. In the Jenks Journals, Jud's intriguing backstory is revealed for the first time. On his way to Fort Laramie in 1852 16 year-old Jud Jenks was left for dead in a storm by his traveling companions. Unable to walk, Judson survived for 9 days by crawling around in the snow on his hands-and-knees, digging the frozen ground for roots. One-by-one frostbite claimed all of Jud's toes and most of his fingers.

Before Judson and his brother Loren traveled to Colorado in 1859 with Daniel Jenks, Jud was already a well-known figure there, often seen at Bent's Fort. Daniel wrote that Jud and Loren's plan was to stay in Colorado, and that's exactly what they did. Judson Jenks, Loren Jenks and his wife Elizabeth were some of the first residents of Pueblo and El Paso Counties. Who knows more about Judson Jenks and his time at Bent's Fort and Pueblo in the 1850s? [Read More] 


NELSON KING - In 1859 John Brown, the famous abolitionist preacher, decided to take over the US Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, arm the Slaves and start an uprising in the Southern States. When he chose that suicidal course, some of his most ardent supporters left him. Nelson King -- self-described as one of John Brown's most trusted Lieutenants -- headed west. In July 1859 Nelson King and his wife Susannah had a chance encounter with Daniel Jenks on the road to California.

Old Nelse told Daniel he'd been shot 3 times by the Missouri Border Ruffians during the Bleeding Kansas Wars. An arrest warrant was issued for John Brown & Nelson King for horse thievery, which proves they did know each other and shared troubles. But Jenks's Journal entries about Nelson King's abolitionist past are the only source of information I've been able to find. Who knows more about the 'other' fire-brand, anti-slavery, Kansas preacher Nelson King, and his abolitionist activities in 1850s Kansas?  


SO MANY CHIEFS - Daniel Jenks wrote about meeting at least 6 Indian Chiefs on his journey. Famous Wild West characters, like Jeremiah Johnson, Dick Wootton & Kit Carson, met a number of Indian Chiefs. But an unknown prospector from Pawtucket? Are there any other gold rush era prospectors known to have met more Indian Chiefs than Daniel Jenks did? Who would know the answer to that question? 


CHIEF LOU TERIOR - On July 7, 1850 Daniel wrote about deploying with a group of local volunteers in response to a reported skirmish, and finding Indian Chief Lou Terior dead. A white man named Rose stabbed the Chief with his Bowie knife after a disagreement. Rose was killed by the Chief's braves, mortally ventilating him with 5 of their arrows. Who was Chief Lou Terior? 


CHIEF CYPRIANNA - On July 11, 1850 Jenks wrote about Indian Chief Cyprianna leading his tribe into Garrote to negotiate peace terms with the local Captain. Did Chief Cyprianna replace Chief Lou Terior? Is Chief Cyprianna's story recorded in the history books? 


CHIEF LALAKES - In February 1857 Daniel met Chief Lalakes of the Lalakes Indians and was very impressed with him. Who was Chief Lalakes?   


CHIEF LITTLE MOUNTAIN (Kiowa Chief Dohasan) - On April 19, 1859 Daniel Jenks crossed paths with Kiowa Chief Dohasan, Daniel called him Little Mountain. Principal Chief of the Kiowa Nation from 1833-66, Dohasan was an important figure in Native American and Southwestern U.S. history. In 1862, as they’d done each year since the Treaty of Fort Laramie was signed in 1851, members of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa and Kiowa Apache Nations gathered along the Arkansas River to receive their share of the annual $50,000 payment stipulated in the treaty. During that meeting, a Government Agent threatened the Indians for molesting emigrants. Chief Dohasan delivered the Natives’ reply: 

“The white chief is a fool. He is a coward. His heart is small, not larger than a pebble stone. His men are not strong, too few to contend against my warriors. They are women. There are three chiefs, the white chief, the Spanish chief and myself. The Spanish chief and myself are men. We do bad toward each other sometimes, stealing horses and taking scalps, but we do not get mad and act the fool. The white chief is a child, and like a child, gets mad quick. When my young men, to keep their women and children from starving, take from the white man passing through our country, killing and driving away our buffalo, a cup of sugar or coffee, the white chief is angry and threatens to send his soldiers. I have looked for them a long time, but they have not come. He is a coward. His heart is a woman’s. I have spoken. Tell the great chief what I have said.” [Source: Access Genealogy] 


CHIEF TEN BEARS (Comanche Chief Pawʉʉrasʉmʉnurʉ) - On May 3, 1859 Daniel Jenks was on his way to the Colorado Gold Rush when he met Comanche Chief Ten Bears. One year later, Ten Bears was elected Principal Chief of the  Yamparika or “root eater” division of Comanche. In 1867 Ten Bears signed the Medicine Lodge Treaty with the U.S. Government, and made the following speech:

"My heart is filled with joy when I see you here, as the brooks fill with water when the snow melts in the spring; and I feel glad, as the ponies do when the fresh grass starts in the beginning of the year. I heard of your coming when I was many sleeps away, and I made but a few camps when I met you. I know that you had come to do good to me and my people. I looked for benefits which would last forever, and so my face shines with joy as I look upon you. My people have never first drawn a bow or fired a gun against the whites. There has been trouble on the line between us and my young men have danced the war dance. But it was not begun by us. It was you to send the first soldier and we who sent out the second. 

Two years ago I came upon this road, following the buffalo, that my wives and children might have their cheeks plump and their bodies warm. But the soldiers fired on us, and since that time there has been a noise like that of a thunderstorm and we have not known which way to go. So it was upon the Canadian. Nor have we been made to cry alone. The blue dressed soldiers and the Utes came from out of the night when it was dark and still, and for camp fires they lit our lodges. Instead of hunting game they killed my braves, and the warriors of the tribe cut short their hair for the dead. So it was in Texas. They made sorrow come in our camps, and we went out like the buffalo bulls when the cows are attacked. When we found them, we killed them, and their scalps hang in our lodges. The Comanches are not weak and blind, like the pups of a dog when seven sleeps old. They are strong and farsighted, like grown horses. We took their road and we went on it. The white women cried and our women laughed.

But there are things which you have said which I do not like. They were not sweet like sugar but bitter like gourds. You said that you wanted to put us upon reservation, to build our houses and make us medicine lodges. I do not want them. I was born on the prairie where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no inclosures [sic] and where everything drew a free breath. I want to die there and not within walls. I know every stream and every wood between the Rio Grande and the Arkansas. I have hunted and lived over the country. I lived like my fathers before me, and like them, I lived happily. When I was at Washington the Great Father told me that all the Comanche land was ours and that no one should hinder us in living upon it. So, why do you ask us to leave the rivers and the sun and the wind and live in houses? Do not ask us to give up the buffalo for the sheep. The young men have heard talk of this, and it has made them sad and angry. Do not speak of it more. I love to carry out the talk I got from the Great Father. When I get goods and presents I and my people feel glad, since it shows that he holds us in his eye.

If the Texans had kept out of my country there might have been peace. But that which you now say we must live on is too small. The Texans have taken away the places where the grass grew the thickest and the timber was the best. Had we kept that we might have done the things you ask. But it is too late. The white man has the country which we loved, and we only wish to wander on the prairie until we die. Any good thing you say to me shall not be forgotten. I shall carry it as near to my heart as my children, and it shall be as often on my tongue as the name of the Great Father. I want no blood upon my land to stain the grass. I want it all clear and pure and I wish it so that all who go through among my people may find peace when they come in and leave it when they go out." [Source: Wikipedia


CHIEF JACKS - In October 1863 Daniel Jenks met an Indian Chief he called Chief Jacks of the Klamath Lake Indians. Bob Whittle and his wife Matildy were traveling in Jenks' company, Matildy was Chief Jacks' sister. Daniel wrote about Chief Jacks coming into their camp to escort Matildy home. Was the man Daniel called Chief Jacks of the Klamath Lake Indians actually Modoc Chief Captain Jack? 


THE BEGINNING OF HOSTILITIES - Daniel Jenks wrote a detailed account of the events preceding the outbreak of hostilities in the northern California and southern Oregon Indian Wars. How does Daniel's first-hand account compare with what's been written in the history books?


GOLD RUSH BOOMTOWNS AND MINING CAMPS - Daniel Jenks spent many of his gold rush days panning for gold at historic California boomtowns and gold mining camps. He wrote about Big Oak Flat, Chilean Camp, Chinese Camp, Dry Diggings, Garrote, Humbug Creek, Jacksonville, Long Gulch, Marysville, Pioneer City (aka Hog em), Savage’s Camp, Wood’s Camp and Yreka. 

Are Daniel's journal entries about the history of these gold mines accurate? 


VIGILANCE COMMITTEE BACKSTORY - The Jenks Journals contain a detailed account of California's political corruption, resulting in citizens dispensing justice by their own hands, via Vigilance Committees. How well does Daniel's information compare with the documented history of these events in California?   


SONORA CALIFORNIA'S MARSHAL - Daniel tells us how Sonora's Marshal fearlessly pursued some of the most notorious criminals in California, getting shot multiple times in the process. Who was Sonora's Marshal on June 18, 1851?


SNIKTAW'S PLAY AT THE YREKA THEATER - A person named Sniktaw wrote a play that was performed at the Yreka Theatre in February 1857. The performance was attended by 800 Miners who cheered loudly as the skit excoriated some of the founders of Yreka, whom the Miners thought were corrupt. Who was Sniktaw? Has a script of this play survived? What does the historical record say about Yreka's founders that were personated in Sniktaw's play?


'STABBY' JUDGE TERRY -  This California Judge had a bad habit of stabbing people with his Bowie knife and getting away with it. Jenks wrote about Judge Terry stabbing a Marshal that was trying to arrest one of Terry's criminal friends. Daniel thought the Vigilance Committee would banish Terry from California, but they didn't. In fact, it looks like Judge Terry went on to become the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court...and kept on stabbing people. At a time when California's most notorious rogues were being hunted down and deported by the Vigilance Committees, exactly how did 'Stabby Terry' evade justice so many times? And then prosper? 


THE LOST JENKS DRAWINGS - In addition to the 2 volumes of the Jenks Journals the US Library of Congress acquired for $80,000 at a Christie's auction in 2012, the Library also has 20 Gold Rush era drawings attributed to Daniel Jenks. In his gold rush journal, Daniel wrote about making 9 additional drawings that have not been accounted for. Where are the lost Jenks drawings? 


THE LOST JENKS NOTEBOOKS - On 11 different occasions Daniel Jenks wrote about transcribing notes from a "notebook" into his journals. These original notebooks have never been found. Where are the lost Jenks notebooks? 


THE LOST JENKS GIFTS - On April 16, 1859 Daniel and Judson Jenks visited the wagon train from Bent's Fort, encamped near Great Bend Kansas. Judson had been a well-known character at Bent's Fort for many years, so the Jenks Boys received a warm welcome from Bent's Train. During their visit to Bent's campsite, John the Wagon Master (Bent's Domo) gifted Daniel Jenks a buffalo robe and a pair of moccasins. Daniel wrote that he intended to keep those gifts to remember the Giver, but they've never been found. Where are the lost gifts Daniel received from Bent's Train? 


INDEPENDENCE CAMP - In 1858 a company of gold prospectors from Lawrence Kansas, known as The Lawrence Party, traveled to Colorado and made history. Julia Holmes - the first American woman to climb Pikes Peak - was in their company. As I was researching the history of the territory between Fountain and Pueblo Colorado, I discovered something very interesting about Julia Holmes & The Lawrence Party in an old history book... [Read More] 


DANIEL JENKS' 1849 SEA VOYAGE TO THE CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH - Starting in Volume 1, with Latitude & Longitude readings of his arduous sea voyage from Boston to San Francisco, Daniel Jenks left us a detailed log of his location. Click the link below to see what the first leg of Daniel's Odyssey looked like on Google Earth. It'd be nice to see a comprehensive map created someday that documented all of Jenks' travels. 


View the route Daniel Jenks' ship took during their 8-month,
23,000 mile ocean voyage to the San Francisco Gold Rush in 1849.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS - Here's a tip-o'-the-hat to some of those who've helped along the way. [View]



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