Biographical sketch of Joseph W. Bates, undated by Harriet May Bates Francom.
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In January 1848, I with 3 others [Members of the Mormon Battalion], namely S[hadric]. Holdaway, Walter Barney, and A[lbert]. Knapp, went to Monterey, California, and worked until July of the same year when gold was discovered at Sutter’s Fort on the south fork of the American River by a company of Mormons who were digging a mill race for Mr. Sutter. Right then I started with twenty-five others for the “Eldorado”. I stayed for four weeks panning and digging in the mines. I had $1800 that I had washed out. I then left for Salt Lake City in Ebenezer Browne’s [Brown’s] Co. We traveled over the high California mountains. There were forty-one of us. After we were safely over them we made up a little company of ten; namely B[enjamin]. Stewart, [John] R[ufus]. Stoddard, M[iles]. Weaver, C[alvin]. W[hite]. Moore, J[ohn]. [Haines] Reed, A. Breedingburgh, [Joseph] L[evi]. Fifield, O[rlando]. F[ish]. Mead, W[illia]m. [H.] Beers, J[oseph]. W[illiam]. Bates, and Orrice Murdock, and came on ahead of E. Browne’s Co. We had crossed the mountains on the Mormon Trail. We camped three days to rest where Carson City now stands. We left the main camp and started for the Humbolt River. We were three days in reaching the “sinks”, the fourth day we traveled to what is called the “slough”. That night we had a fight with the Indians. Three days travel frrom the sloughs we met a company of emigrants on their way to California. They informed us that the Indians were very bad on the road and advised us to go back with them. But we traveled on and reached Salt Lake City in thirty-two days from the time we left the wagons.
We arrived at the old Fort in Salt Lake City on October 7, 1848 where I found my Mother and stepfather.