The William P. Huff Project 1986-87
“The Gold Rush Diary of William P. Huff” was researched in the 1986-87 school year by students from the following schools: Berenda Elementary, Bill Coate’s 8th-grade history class (Madera, California); Greenfield Country Day School, John Hosmer’s sophomore history class (Tucson, Arizona); O. Henry Junior High School, Pat Henley’s 8th-grade history class (Austin, Texas); and Socorro High School, Blanche Corwin’s senior history class (El Paso, Texas).
William P. Huff was born in Mississippi in 1811. He moved with his family to Texas as one of Stephen F. Austin’s “Old Three Hundred” in 1825. He grew up there and was working as a newspaper editor when he got the news in 1849 that gold had been discovered in California.
Dropping everything, Huff joined a group traveling the southern route across Texas, Old Mexico, Arizona, and finally to the mines of the Southern Mother Lode near Mariposa, California.
When Huff returned to Texas in 1852, he took with him his journal account of the overland trek he made three years earlier. Huff kept a detailed account of the trip. By the time he reached California, he had written over 300,000 words.
Huff’s account includes Indian attacks, fandangos, and dangerous desert crossings. Students who were living in cities located along the route that Huff worked collaboratively on this project.