Ancestors of several Crittenden Countains went west for the Gold Rush in 1849. Not much history about it is known in our area.
One early morning in August 1849, 100 wagons drawn by oxen and driven by brave and adventurous men, having formed a wagon train, near Joy, Ky in Livingston County, crossed the Ohio River at Golconda, Ill, on their journey to California. They were in search of their fortune in gold, traveling to St. Louis then to Independence. Mo.
There were two routes leading out of Independence, they chose the upper route, on the Mormon Trail to Salt Lake City, then traveling on to California on the Salt Lake travel. The rate of travel was from two to three and one-half miles an hour, and the distance varied according to the nearness of water holes.
There was many problems and hardships the men had to encounter. One man suffered from blindness due to the sun reflecting on the sand. He was confined to his tent for three days. Another less fortunate soul, one of the Barnes men, was stricken with a disease. He was buried in a grave somewhere out on the prairie.
Some of the men that traveled to the west were: Tom Robinson, George Boaz, George Adams, William Barnes, Jim Barnes and William H. Franklin. We do not know if all the men that returned to Crittenden and Livingston counties struck it rich in the gold fields or not, but they were considered to be men of influence in the business world at their deaths.
William H. Franklin, upon returning to his home in the county, invested his earnings in wise enterprises of the following: a saw mill, a grist mill, cattle and land. He lived in Levias, Ky., (a little community about 5 miles West of Marion). At one time he was considered a wealthy man.