Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Jonathan & Elizabeth Hurd - Bound for California in Prairie Schooner


In the Spring of 1905 Mr. and Mrs Jonathan Hurd who live southeast of Columbia City in Columbia Township are making plans to leave about the middle of May on a trip to California in a covered wagon. Going with them on this trip will be their nieces Miss Bertha Miller and Miss Clara Cole of the city and Mr Luther Shoemaker. Mr. Hurd plans to purchase a light wagon and have it covered, like a regular movers wagon, and start out through Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas and drive the entire distance. They have no idea how long they will be gone but say they have allowed a year to get there and a year to get back. They intend to stop for several days whenever they want to visit. They plan to do their own cooking and sleep in the wagon or under it as the forty-niners did. Mr. Hurd said it will be a great pleasure trip and is the only real way to fully enjoy the magnificent scenery.

The day to begin the trip was set for May 17, 1905. On the Monday night before that Mr. and Mrs. Hurd were the victims of surprise when the members of Spring Run Grange and neighbors numbering fifty-two took possession of their home. The occasion was in the nature of a farewell and as a token of the high esteem in which they are held in the community. The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

In June, 1906, Jonathan Hurd and his wife Mary Elizabeth (Roberts) Hurd and Miss Clara Cole, the remainder of the Hurd Prairie Schooner party who started May 15, 1905 for an overland trip to California arrived home. They traveled over 3,000 miles and reaching a point in Colorado as the terminus of their trip. Miss Bertha Miller started with the group but returned home in July, 1905, and Mr. Luther Shoemaker returned back home in September, 1905. The party passed through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas, and finally stopped in Colorado Springs, Colorado where they stopped for a few days and then returned to Kansas where they spent the winter with a brother of Mr. Hurd. They started back for home on May 7 but did not send word to their relatives here and their arrival was a big surprise. The trip was quite expensive, although they count it worth the cost.

The information for this posting came from articles that were printed in the Columbia City Post in April 1905, May 1905 and June 1906. Jonathan Hurd is my great great uncle. He was born in Whitley County, IN, on April 14, 1850, the son of Samuel and Bernice (Wilcox) Hurd. He married Mary Elizabeth Roberts on October 28, 1876. She died on April 15, 1925, and he died on January 25, 1933. They are buried at the Oak Grove/Compton Cemetery in Whitley County.

Related Post: Rain and Floods Galore (1905)

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