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Smith pushed on down Mary's River, and being of an adventurous nature, when he found his road closed by high mountains, determined to see what kind of country there was on the other side. It is not known exactly where he crossed the Sierra Nevada, but it is supposed that it must have been not far from where the old emigrant road crossed near the head of the Truckee. He made his way southerly after entering the Valley of Sacramento, passed through San Jose and down as low as San Diego. After recruiting his party and purchasing a large number of horses, he crossed the mountains near what is known as Walker's Pass, skirted the eastern slope of the mountains till near what is now known as Mono Lake, when he steered an east-by-north course for Salt Lake. On this portion of his route he found placer gold in quantities, and brought much of it with him to the encampment on Green River.
The gold that he brought with him, together with his description of the country he had passed through, and the large amount of furs, pleased the agent of the American Fur Company so well, that he directed Smith again to make the same trip, with special instructions to take the gold fields on his return and thoroughly prospect them. It was on this trip that he wrote the letter to Father Duran. The trip was successful until they arrived in the vicinity of the gold mines, east of the mountains, when in a battle with the Indians, Smith and nearly all of his men were killed. A few of the party escaped and reached the encampment on Green River. This defeat damped the ardor of the company so much that they never looked any more for the gold mines.
There are one or more men now living who can testify to the truth of the above statement, and who can give a fuller statement of the detail of his two journeys than I can.
The man Smith was a man of far more than average ability and had a better education than falls to the lot of mountain
Few or none of them were his equals in any respect.
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