|Shasta California, Main Street - 1850's|
|SS Central America from a lithograph in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated|
Newspaper, October 3, 1857 . The Captain,Wm Herndon,
went down with the ship and Herndon, Virginia, is named after him.
|The loss of this gold help plunge the US into economic depression|
(The Panic of 1857) The SS Central America
shipwreck was salvaged in 1987 and the gold recovered.
But how should he return home?
I found out from Cousin George that another child had been born in Shasta, California, 21 Dec 1856, just two months before his wife died there. He must have been desperate to return to New York. How could he take an infant on the horrible journey, and which route should he take? He decided to "give away" his infant daughter, Mary/Maud Stevens to another family, and take the older children with him. I imagine he feared the worst, but probably booked a passage to Panama and traversed the isthmas by train, to continue up to New York on the same route as the ill-fated SS Central America. (It wasn’t until 1869 that the first transcontinental railroad would be completed, so despite the dangers, he may have still felt that going by ship was safer than overland.) Was overland cheaper or safer? I don’t know, but by sea the trip was faster.