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JiminTexas

40 Cal.
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Jim Comeaux - Summer 1820- XXXX
I am Jim Comeaux There are some that call me Jimmy two-guns, some call me Cajun Jim, some call me Russian Jim and some call me Texas Jim, but those are all long stories in themselves, so call me what you will, we’ll work it out after the calling is done. Don’t let the Cajun spelling of my name fool you, There isn’t a Cajun bone in my body, but don’t even ask about the why or the how come. It’s family personal business and not for public speculation. My family was/is my Father, from Birmingham Alabama, my mother Svetlana is from Russia, and I have three Brothers, Stephen, George, and Michael and one Sister, Roxan. My two older siblings, Roxan and Stephen, were the product of my Mothers first marriage to a Scandinavian sailor, the captain of a whaling ship, according to Mama, and he probably was. Who else on a whaling ship could bring home a wife? Their Family name is Johnson. How they came to settle here is unknown, Mama never talked about him too much, but in any event, he was the reason that Mother was in the New World. But, he lost his life and ship at sea. He set sail one day and neither he nor the ship was heard from again, but that’s not all that uncommon in that line of work.

My Papa, also named Jim, may God rest his soul, died of a cancer when I was six years old just a year after coming to Tejas in 1824. Papa was a soldier and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army In 1802, as a Sergeant. He was a good soldier, but not such a good farmer and he had a thin existence in Louisiana on farm that grew more mosquitoes than it did food.

I was mostly raised by Mama and my older Brother and Sister. Brother Stephen was killed in an accident at the mill where he worked back in 1835, but I’m proud to say that the rest of us are all still here on God’s good earth. My Sister married well, as we always knew that she would because she is a truly beautiful woman. My Brother George wandered of to the North Country and we only hear from him from time to time. Brother Michael tends the family farm with his three boys and a passel of dogs that he loves and hunts with often. He and his wife tend to Mama and may God bless them for that.

And that leaves only me to explain. We were living in Galveston in 1832 when the ruckus over the Mexican Government not honoring the constitution of 1824 started.
After that Santa Anna, sent his troops into Texas to impose his Centralist Government that he had forced on the Mexican capitol. That was in 1835. But, when I heard of the doings at San Antonio de Bexar in 1836, and the way that those 143 men died to defend that place against hopeless odds, I just had to go to help out General Sam Houston. I was nearly eighteen years old and it was time I took charge of my life, and it was a different battle now. We had declared Independence from Mexico and we were willing to fight to get it, and fight we did. We fought in many battles for another nine years against invading Indians, Mexican soldiers and bandits in general until we were finally annexed by the United States in 1845. I was engaged in several of those battles. I grew in both rank, reputation. Mostly because of luck and although wounded twice, I was too stubborn to die.

I finally left Tejas in 1847 when I mustered out with a fine letter of commendation from Governor J. Pinkney Henderson. He was a soldier and a veteran of the War for Texas Independence and was fresh back after leading a detachment into Mexico during the Mexican American War. I believe that he understood why I didn’t want to go to Mexico to fight another war against the Mexicans. The bad memories of what went on were just too much for me and besides, I’d done more than my share of the fighting. I worked my way westward in the hopes of finding greener pastures. I got to California and it was a beautiful place, but, it was just what I had left, it was Mexico on the verge of transition to America, so I started back east. It was either that or go to sea and I remember what happened to my Mama’s first husband, and besides, I can’t swim!

I only made it as far as St Joseph Missouri. I met up with a pilgrim there that asked me just one question, “Do you know the route to California?” I told him that I did and that I’d just come from there. It seems that there was some sort of gold discovery in California that people just couldn’t resist, and he offered me more money than I had imagined possible to lead him and his band of fourteen wagons to “The Promised Land”. I don’t know about gold in the ground or how to get it out, but I do know about $600 in real US money to take fourteen wagons over the southern pass. It got even more lucrative as time passed. I would work for five moths or so, take some time in California to rest up through the hard part of the winter and Early Spring I’d head back to St. Joseph to pick up another passel of Pilgrims. There were always plenty of them and those Pilgrims just couldn’t spend enough to get to all that gold that was out there. It was pretty easy money for me though. A blind man could have followed the Oregon Trail and the South pass was easy enough that even these Easterner Pilgrims could take their wagons over the divide. I recon that it’s fifty miles wide, and I don’t know what they needed a guide for except for the Indians and the brush fires and the dust storms and finding the river fords and, well maybe they did need a guide. The only tricky part for me was heading back South after you got over the divide. There were several routes and it depended on the weather and the availability of grass and water to decide which one to take. I got lucky the first few times I made the trip down to Sacramento. That’s as far as they needed me for. After that they were on their own. I learned some hard lessons on a few other trips, but I caught on pretty well and soon enough I was in big demand for even larger fees. I guess that I made sort of a name for myself there.

I didn’t see too many of those Pilgrims coming back with their wagons full of gold, mind you, but for myself, I did manage to put enough aside to establish this little general store that I have here. And here is where I’ll stay in St. Louis, Not too close to the river and high enough to be away from the flood dangers and the mosquitoes and the smell of the river boats. I’m doing a reasonable business in general merchandise and dry goods. I sleep in a real feather bed and I eat indoors. I eat real food, potatoes, carrots, beef steak and onions. Yep! I’ve put down roots and life is good!
 

JiminTexas

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Family played a much bigger role in the daily lives of nineteenth century Americans, especially those that lived on the edges of civilization. I wish that it still did.
 

Slamfire

54 Cal.
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You takin' them argonauts to Sacramento? I ain't revealin' the source of my nuggets, but its far to the south of them cold rivers. :rotf:
 

JiminTexas

40 Cal.
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Sacramento was the nearest jump off point to the gold fields. As a General rule those pilgrims didn't bring mining equipment with them across the Divide. They acquired it there, in California. Sacramentto was the largest and best supplied settlement where a pilgrim could outfit themselves. And while we are at it, the easiest passage to the goldfields was from South to North. It may have ben shorter to travel from North to South, but it was one to two weeks faster to travel from South to North. Now get up off of the floor. People will think that you're haveing a siezure.
 
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