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September 17, 2012


by William Langston

bublished 1832

    William Langston published the booklet (a booklet being similar to a pamphlet) titled "A Discussion of California" in 1832; this was before the 1836 battle at the Alamo. America was still trying to get folks to move into "Mexico Territory" at this time as part of the manhifest destiny doctrine.

    Published in the booklet were facts about "California," e.g., it lies between the 35th and 40th parallels, is roughly eight miles wide and is divided into two sections by the "California Mountains which separates "Upper California" from "Lower California."

    Upper California is over four thousand square miles and contains the the Cierra Nella Mountains which are a lower extension of the Rocky Mountains, and, is separated from the Rocky Mountains by a high savanah (Neveda) similar to Nebraska and Kansas, and, the Cierra Nella Mountain passes rarely have more than a couple of inches of snow. Also, the Cierra Nella Mountains have usable timber and for transporting felled timber there exist many usable roads and the Holy Sacrament River which begins in Oregon and dumps into the Bay of California near the town of Saint Francis; this river is good for 100 miles and 200 tons. Also, there is the Los Plumas River, called that because of the number of feathered birds on the water; so many in fact that a person with a good fouling piece could do hundreds of birds in a day; however, this river went over many water falls 400 feet high and so even a canoe would have to be forded.

    Langston also stated that a mineralogist said that the ground was not good for farming and there was no elements in the ground to be mined, but, there was granite and marble which could be quarried.

    Langston described Indians in the valley, the ones in the southern most part being docile, however, the further north you went the more hostile they were, and so, each person in that area should have four pieces on his person: two pistols 50 caliber or larger, a fouling piece, and a rifle sufficient to take an elk, such pieces also being necessary for holding off hostiles. Coming up from the southern part of Upper California was the San Walking and California rivers which joined and had an island that has a height sufficient enough to not flood.

    As for Lower California, the Kalmet Mountains on the Pacific Coast are barren mountains with scrub oak, cedar, juniper and no wood for commercial use.

    Many people left the east bound for California with nothing but this pamphlet to get them there, and yet, William Langston was never west of Pennsylvania - never saw Nebraska or Kansas, etc.

    Other pamphlets, e.g., the Hastings pamphlet, were more accurate, but still had inaccurate passes, were distributed by the Mexican government to get folks to populate the area.

Reported by,

Brother Don "Peanut Butter" Breeland, well known Historian Extraordinaire