“Barnes” Wagon Train


“William was brought to El Monte in 1859, in a covered wagon train comprising some one hundred and ten wagons.  This train, drawn almost exclusively by ox-teams was stopped twice on the way by Indians but fortunately no casualties resulted.  The first time they were stopped near Dead Man Springs Hole (Bufferfield Trail East, item 7), and the second time near Apache Pass (Bufferfield Trail West, item 8), (now Camp Buoy).  During the trip through the Indian country, the women would do the driving while the men went ahead and followed up the rear of the train to guard against sudden attacks.  On each of the two occasions mentioned, the Indians appeared, circled the train three times on horseback and then, evidently deciding that they were outnumbered and outmatched for a successful attack, they rode away.  At Yuma, (Bufferfield Trail West, item 11), the train divided, some going to San Diego, and the remainder continued to El Monte, the Mecca of a large majority of the California-bound immigrants of that day.”

Description of the Wagon Journey

An interesting description of the “Barnes” wagon train voyage can be found in the biography of Larken Barne’s son William Penn Barnes:

Who Made the Trip?

Here is a growing list of people that were probably on the “Barnes” wagon train.

Route of the Wagon Train

The route taken by the “Barnes” wagon train was the so-called southern wagon route which is identical to the route of the Butterfield Trail used  by the Butterfield Overland Express to carry the mail from St. Louis to San Francisco.

Diaries of the Texas to California Wagon Journey

Here is a growing list of diaries of wagon train journeys similar to the trip made by the “Barnes” wagon train across the southern route from Texas to California.


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The so-called “Barnes” wagon train made the journey from the Tarrant county area of Texas to El Monte in Los Angeles Co, California in 1859.  Larken Barnes is presumed to be the leader of the Barnes clan and probably one of the organizers of the wagon train if not the leader.  He may be Amanda Barnes’ uncle (unproven). 

John J. Poill
Elusive Ancestor Website

“Barnes” wagon train




©Thornton Gale 2007

My Trip Across the Plains”

Here is a chronicle of Rachel Eads who migrated across the plains in a wagon train in 1857.  The voyage originated in Denton, TX (in the county adjacent to Tarrant Co, TX).  This voyage followed the identical route of the “Barnes” wagon train.

Southern Migration Route

Here is an interesting and comprehensive article describing the southern migration route (aka the desert route) from Texas to California.  This is a description of the route taken by the “Barnes” wagon train.