Note: REFN: 11 See Eliz. Coonc story in 1917 issue of Washington Historical Society Quarterly. Also news stories in file. To get a broader perspective of Grandma Coonc's trip across the plains in 1847 one must also read the H.S. Lyman account as told in "Reminiscences of James Jory" published in the Oregon Historical Society, Vol. 3 published shortly after the turn of the century. In this account Lyman reports the wagon train leader was a Joseph Magone, from New York State, single and popular. He was elected by the members of the wagon train and agreed to serve as "Captain". After reading Grandma Coonc's version and comparing it with James Jory's account by Lyman it seems John Fenn decided to settle around what is now Albany, Oregon (the area Grandma Coonc describes as the Clatsop) while the Jory's went 30 or 40 miles further to settle in the Salem, Oregon area.
Grandma Coonc describes the occasion when her father joined the gold rush to California. In the "Reminiscences of James Jory" by H.S. Lymas this incident isn't included but in a newspaper article in the Portland, Oregonian of December 31, 1952 written by Mrs. Louis Kurth, it is recounted from the Jory perspective. Quote from this article: "When the news of the California gold strike reached Oregon, becoming indued with the spirit of adventure, young William begged his father to allow him to woo Dame Fortune and after a time getting permission, he borrowed passage money from his brother, and on March 12, 1849 with a small pig on his shoulder, a few clothes under his arm, with snow a foot deep, he started for Salem, the first lap of the journey on foot.
At Milwaukee a small brig was being built and he secured passage, finally reaching Golden Gate--then San Francisco, a city of tents--and crossed the bay and traveled up the Sacramento River to American River where a party of Salem friends was encountered." (JERRY NOTE: This was probably the party Jonn Fenn was in. Grandma Coonc says John Fenn left with "one of my cousins" so it is possible they traveled together from Oregon to the gold fields though the N.P. article doesn't state that). "They were finding gold so the party was persuaded to stop. Some others were moving out and the party moved in and in that vicinity they spent the summer mining and doing what they considered very well." "Scarcity of fruit and vegetables caused scurvy to appear in the camp towards fall, so William Jory and his friends decided to return to Oregon for a time. Taking passage on a sailing boat they started north. At the Columbia River bar, a calm was encountered, and they drifted out near the Sandwich Islands (?). Many were sick and a landing was considered but on taking a straw vote it was decided to try again to cross the Columbia Bar and this time succeeded and they reached Astoria. The trip from San Francisco to Astoria took 41 days!"
JERRY NOTE: William arrived home with enough gold to settle his debts and pay his expenses and have $1,500 remaining. Grandma Coonc says only that her father was fairly successful in his mining operation and returned from California in 1850 by a sailing boat which was compelled to lie off the Columbia River Bar three weeks before it was safe to come acros and enter the Columbia. It seems probable that William Jory and John Fenn were together from the time they left Oregon until their return in 1850. John Fenn would have been 39 when he set out for the gold fields and William Jory was 21.
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