This simple narrative journal was written at Cañon Creek in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, in the middle of December, 1852, by Mrs. Lodisa Frizzell, who, with her husband, Lloyd Frizzell, and their four sons, set out on April 14th, of that year, from their unnamed home, not far from Ewington, Effingham County, Illinois, on the upper reaches of the Little Wabash River, on an overland journey to California. The journal records her observations and experiences from the Little Wabash, across Illinois and Missouri, to St. Louis and St. Joseph, and over the St. Joseph and Oregon Trails to the Pacific Springs, in Fremont County, Wyoming. Here, at the continental divide and at the halfway point of her journey, the journal ends, on June 26th, or the seventy-fourth day out.
, & hilly, many of the towns are small & uninteresting, but there are some, though not large which do a great deal of business. The scenery is quite monotonous.
[April 27--14th day] Passed the wreck of the steamer Luda, which was blown up a short time since, it was a sad sight; for nearly 200 hundred lives were lost by that fatal accident, & the most of them I was told were for California. Men were at work digging from the hulk (which was nearly all that was left, so great was the explosion) such articles as were of value, or to ascertain if there were any dead bodies, to give them burial. I suppose they had found many for they had a line on which was hung promiscuously men, women, & children's clothes, it made ones heart ache to look uppon such a sight, but what must be the feelings of those who should recognize amidst those wet & muddy articles, some well known garment, of relative or friend, whose body in death lies sleeping beneath the turbulent waters & sands, of the Mi
Mrs. Frizzell wrote a fairly interesting journal of her experiences while crossing the wilderness to reach California in 1852. She paints a colorful landscape, but to some degree history is a victim of her art.
Of particular note is her account of the sinking of the steamer Luda by the steamer De Soto, when held up in light of the descriptions given this event in the proceedings of the Circuit Court for East Lousiana in 1847. The actual circumstances and loss sustained in the sinking pales in comparison to images of the carnage and loss of human life she paints for us. And, her presence to witness the eye witness account of the aftermath is, to say the least, puzzling, since the sinking on the Mississippi occurred Nov 2, 1843, about nine years before the Frizzell\'s were on the scene. The loss of life in the actual event was two deck workers on the boat. The only loss amongst the passengers was the substantial portion of their baggage, which apparently was left hanging on the boats rigging to dry for nine years or so.