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Newark's California Gold Rush Collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MG NWK Gold Rush (Main)

Scope and Contents

The diary covers most of 1849, from March 1 until October 2. It is the handwritten account of Charles Hicks, a Newarker who traveled to California as part of the California Gold Rush. At the end of the diary is a list of the 22 men who traveled in this party, including Hicks. The names on the list include several with long-standing Newark and New Jersey family names, including Pennington, Kinney, Meeker, Joralemon, and Canfield.

Also included in the collection are several items: a newspaper clipping featuring a photo of Newark businessman Frank A. Wilkinson, a receipt from the general store owned by Charles Hicks in the 1870s, some California Gold Rush postage stamps issued in the 21st century, an itinerary of the trip to California compiled from the diary by the donr's mother, and a map of the United States with the route taken by the party outlined by the donor's mother.


  • 1849 - 2000

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Hicks was born in New Jersey in February 1824. He was 25 years old at the time he kept his diary. Not much is known about his life until then.

After his trip to California, he returned to New Jersey. Records indicate that Charles married Catherine Wilson (born 1832) after his return. They had three children: Albert (1856-1909), Alice Petit (1857-1922), and Charles (1860-1934). Catherine died on 23 February 1890.

By the 1870s, Charles was operating a grocery store at 210 Clinton Avenue in Newark. This collection includes a receipt from his store during that period. The receipt was found between pages of the diary.

Charles maintained his grocery store in Newark until at least 1899. In the 1900 Census, however, he was identified as a merchant living in a boarding house in Burlington Township.

Charles died in Burlington on 5 May 1908. Charles, Catherine, and all three of their children are buried at Clinton Cemetery in Irvington.


.209 Linear Feet (1 half Hollinger box)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Christine Napolitano in June 2021.

Processing Information

Minimal processing of this collection was necessary. The main part of the collection is a bound, handwritten diary. The only other items were found inside the diary, or were compiled by using information in the volume. Those items are kept in a separate folder.

Thomas Ankner
July 2021
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center, Newark Public Library Repository

3rd Floor
Newark Public Library
5 Washington St.
Newark NJ 07102 United States