Work continues at the University of Oklahoma Press

When gold fever struck in 1849, John S. Darcy—prominent physician, general, and president of the New Jersey Railroad—assembled a company to travel overland to California. In Jersey Gold, Margaret Casterline Bowen and Gwendolyn Joslin Hiles tell the story of that colorful company of some thirty stalwarts and adventurers.

Jersey Gold chronicles the experiences of the New Jersey argonauts from their lives before the gold rush to the widely varying fortunes each ultimately found. Animated by the trekkers’ own words and observations and illustrated with maps, photographs, and drawings by one of the company’s own men, Jersey Gold follows the Newark Overland Company’s journey by rail, stage, and riverboat to the Missouri frontier town of Independence, the group’s jumping-off point for the Oregon-California trail. There, the company splintered. Their divergent paths afford views of the westward journey from multiple perspectives as the companies faced the perils of the wilderness and the treachery of human nature. Once in gold country, many booked immediate passage home, but some remained with Darcy to work a successful mining operation before returning east with comfortable fortunes. A few, enchanted by the opportunities of the Golden Coast, took up permanent residence there—and in their stories we witness the emergence of California amid unprecedented lawlessness, the controversy of slavery, and diverse nationalities.

The story of the Newark Overland Company—in many ways a panorama of the nineteenth century—ranges from the wildness of the frontier through the chaos of the Civil War to the throes of early industrialization, and features such notables as John Sutter, Brigham Young, and Henry Clay. In chronicling this journey, Jersey Gold vividly re-creates a defining chapter in American history.

About The Author
Margaret Casterline Bowen, a former IT manager and consultant for the U.S. House of Representatives and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, resides in Jefferson, Maryland.
Gwendolyn Joslin Hiles earned a degree in American Studies from Bowling Green State University. Following some time as a teacher, she has pursued a career in publishing, working as an editorial manager in trade publishing.

Reviews & Praise
“Good historians are good detectives. Trail buffs have long relied on excellent diarists—Charles Glass Gray, Alexander Cartwright, Robert Bond, Cyrus Currier—and a scholar, Thomas D. Clark, to understand the 1849 adventures of the Newark Overland Company. Ace detectives Margaret Casterline Bowen and Gwendolyn Joslin Hiles have utilized new voices of men and women to tell firsthand how they found their lives transformed on the trails. Jersey Gold is a new trail classic.”Will Bagley, author of South Pass: Gateway to a Continent

Book Information
36 b&w illus., 4 maps
384 Pages
Hardcover 978-0-8061-5714-6
Kindle 978-0-8061-5796-2
e-pub 978-0-8061-5797-9
Published April 2017