The first ever wagon train taking people from the Missouri to California left Sapling Grove on 9th May, 1841. John Bidwell, the leader of the expedition, later admitted that: "Our ignorance of the route was complete. We knew that California lay west, and that was the extent of our knowledge." In fact, before Bidwell's trip, no one had travelled overland from the east to the Pacific coast.
Of the 69 people in Bidwell's party who set out from Sapling Grove, only 33 people reached Marsh's Fort on 4th November. They were clearly playing for high stakes. Four of the party, John Bidwell, Josiah Belden, Charles Weber and Robert Thomas, all became multi-millionaires. It was indeed the land of opportunity.
John Bidwell, Josiah Belden, Charles Weber and Robert Thomas
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