Kit Carson in Amador County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Mormon-Carson Pass Emigrant Trail
Five hundred Mormon volunteers, recruited in Iowa, served one year in the Army of the West under command of Col. P. St. George Cooke during the war with Mexico. After their discharge in Los Angeles in July 1847, about 100 men worked in the Sacramento area for John Sutter over the winter to obtain needed supplies. When work was completed, 45 men and one woman (wife of Sgt. William Coray) turned their backs on newly-discovered gold fields and headed east for Great Salt Lake Valley. With 17 wagons, 2 cannons, 150 horses and mules, and 150 cattle, this organized party left Pleasant Valley July 3, 1848, following the drainage divide between the American River and streams to the south.
On July 19 they found the common grave of three murdered comrades at a place they named Tragedy Spring (half-mile west of here). Following the ridge south of Silver Lake (viewed on your right) and obscured Squaw Ridge to the east, they crossed lofty West Pass at the foot of Melissa Coray Peak (9763 feet) on July 24. This pass and peak are seen ahead on the distant skyline. From West Pass (9550 feet), the 1848 route drops abruptly northward to Caples
In 40 days, this party blazed 170 miles of wagon road across trackless terrain, before joining the established California emigrant trail and heading east along the Humboldt River. Beginning in August of 1848, thousands of west-bound followed these Battalion track on their westward crossing of the Sierra Nevada. The location of today’s Hwy. 88 north of Silver Lake and north of Carson Spur was opened with explosives.
Melissa Coray, then a bride of 18, walked beside her husband to California. The naming of Melissa Coray Peak honors not only the heroic pioneering efforts of Melissa and her party, but thousands of emigrant women who endured similar hardships in settling the West.
Site No. 52 Oregon-California Trail Association Dedicated July 30, 1994
Erected 1994 by Oregon-California Trail Association.
Marker series. This marker is included in the California Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 38.5′ N, 120° 8.179′ W. Marker is in Kit Carson, California, in Amador County. Marker is on Carson Pass Highway (State Highway 88), on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is on the right side of the road when driving east, just as Silver Lake comes into view. Marker is in this post office area: Kit Carson CA 95644, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Tragedy Spring (approx. 0.6 miles away); Plasse’s Trading Post (approx. 0.6 miles away); Plasse Resort (approx. 0.6 miles away); Maiden's Grave (approx. 2 miles away); Kirkwood's (approx. 5.5 miles away); Caples Lake (approx. 6.1 miles away); Summer Retreat (approx. 6.7 miles away); Old Emigrant Road (approx. 6.9 miles away but has been reported missing). Click for a list of all markers in Kit Carson.
Also see . . .
1. Traveling the Mormon Emigrant Trail. Written by Anthony M. Belli, this is the El Dorado County's website history of the trail. (Although the marker is in Amador County, most of the trail is in El Dorado County).
2. The Oregon-California Trail Association Home Page. This is the home page of the association that put up the marker. They have a history section on the pioneer trails in the western part of the US.
Categories. • Roads & Vehicles •
Credits. This page originally submitted on August 29, 2008, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 6,624 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 29, 2008, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. 3. submitted on July 31, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.