John App gathers his supplies and provisions

Beginning in early February, 1850 (at age 29) John App started accumulating the supplies and provisions he knew were necessary for him to successfully complete the journey to California. All pioneers destined for California or Oregon who travelled along the California-Oregon trail had, of course, the same expectations of a successful journey. Travel light, make good time, and be well provisioned were the goals John had set for himself as he made his preparations. The following items were listed in his diary, but are probably not an exhaustive list. There are times when an item was purchased at several points in time in order to have enough, and the prices listed are representative of the time. Even though 465 pounds of dried hams, and 412 pounds of crackers may seem like a lot to take along, John knew that’s what he needed to avoid the shortages that some other pioneers would suffer later on the trail. Notes on the list: the spelling is his, uninterpreted words have underlines where they should be, and explanations are in [ ] brackets.

Qty Description Price
x lbs [Epsom] E. salts 10¢
1/4 lbs Rubarb 25¢
  Alum 10¢
1 oz Calomel 20¢
4 oz Jallop  
1 doz Boxes pills  
1 qt Castor oil  
1/4 lbs Cyan pepper 25¢
1 doz Boxes mustard 10¢
1/2 lb Campher 10¢
8 oz Laudnum  
4 oz Extract of gum cyno  
2 oz Powdered opium  
4 oz Oil of peppermint  
2 gall 4th proof brandy  
6 grains Blue moss  
1 lbs Saltpeter  
  Quicksilver ointment  
  Stationery  
1/4 ream Letter paper  
1 __ Steelpens  
1 doz Bottles ink  
1 Paper sand  
1/4 lbs Wafers  
3 doz of envelops (large & small)  
  Small buttons  
  Thread & needles  
  Scissors  
1 hank Yarn  
4 pr Socks  
  [handkerchiefs] Hdkfs  
1 pr Shoes  
  Dried apples 25¢
  Parched corn 50¢
15 gall keg Pickles & onions  
  Molasses  
  Lard  
  Horseradish  
3 lbs Gunpowder  
  Salt & pepper  
  1/2 inch auger  
  3/4 inch auger  
  1 inch auger  
  1 1/2 inch auger  
1 Hand saw  
  1/2 inch chisel  
  1 inch chisel  
1 Hatchet & axe  
4 lbs 3 penney nails  
4 lbs 4 penney nails  
4 lbs 20 penney nails  
1 King bolt – extra  
1 Coupling bolt – extra  
  Tar  
1/2 keg Powder (blasting)  
1 Drill needle  
  Powder shot & [percussion] P. caps – lead  
2 Shovels  
3 Pick axes  
3 ___ fine ___ [sieve] sive  
1 Gum elastic bag for water (1 gall)  
1 Tea kettle $1.30
1 Frying pan 75¢
4 doz Tin plates 50¢
3 doz Tin cups 30¢
1 Small coffee mill 35¢
1 Tin pan [large] larg  
1/4 doz Knives & forks 35¢
1/2 doz ___ spoons ___ 15¢
1 Tin bucket 40¢
  Blacksmith 40¢
  [rope] Roap 65¢
2 Mules $160.00
  Oats $2.75
  Lumber $1.00
2 lbs ___ Nails 25¢
  Butts & screws 13¢
  Clasp & staples 10¢
1 Paint brush 25¢
  Paint & litherage 20¢
  Shoe thread 10¢
  Hempcord 30¢
  Mule expence $45.00
  Tacks 10¢
  Cord 25¢
  ___ Chains $1.00
  Hoop iron 30¢
  Horse rasp 50¢
  ___ Spillinan hoop keg 40¢
1 1/2 gal Oil $1.75
1 lbs Litherage 25¢
2 lbs Nails 25¢
1 gall Oil $1.25
  Iron 70¢
  Litherage 20¢
1 Hatchet 75¢
  Oats $8.10
1 Keg 65¢
2 gall Brandy $4.00
1 bunch Card 25¢
  Tin pan [large] larg 35¢
1 lbs Powder 50¢
12 lbs Tallow $1.20
5 lbs Black lead 25¢
10 lbs Soap 70¢
  Lamp & wick 30¢
2 1/2 lbs Salatarus 25¢
1/2 bush Salt 25¢
1/2 gall Oil 60¢
100 ft Rope $1.55
2 Hats $1.00
  Hay $5.00
  Harness $36.00
  Mules $100.55
1 Wood bucket 25¢
  Wagon $40.00
2 lbs Tea $1.80
125 lbs Sugar $7.50
50 lbs Coffee $7.50
465 lbs Meat – hams & venison ham  
412 lbs Crackers  
50 lbs Flour  
30 lbs Beans $1.50
15 lbs Rice $1.00
75 lbs Pickells  
60 lbs Vinegar  

Here is a sample page from his diary of some of his supplies:

Sample of a supplies page from the 1850 diary

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About storiesretoldblogger

I am an Elkhart, Indiana native and became interested in applying video to history when consumer video cameras were first introduced on the market in the late 1970’s. My production company, Stories Retold, specializes in preserving oral history, traditions, and values with video. Primarily interviewing individuals, I sometimes document families, and on occasion document an entire community. My niche is developing a personal relationship with clients which helps me to tell their story just the way they would like to have it told. Everyone has a story worth preserving, and I enjoy discovering interesting stories from people with whom I come into contact on a daily basis. In years to come, these videos will be priceless as they portray original stories complete with visual images and actual voices filled with all the primary material and emotion that was intended to be. I gain a strong sense of personal satisfaction with each completed project whether it involves an individual or an entire community.
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One Response to John App gathers his supplies and provisions

  1. Suzanne Spencer Uvelli says:

    John App as will be mentioned married Leanna Charity Donner survivor of the Donner Tragedy at Sutter’s Fort 1852. My husband is a direct descendent of John and Leanna’s only surviving son John Quincy App. The farmhouse that the Apps built in Jamestown is still standing. And John App kept the same meticulous records of supplies needed, gold recovered of the App mine. These records are in the de Ferrari Archives, Sonora of the App Mine

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