The End of McKinstry's Journey

The wagon train continued up the Carson Valley, passing within about 6 miles of Lake Tahoe. They entered Carson Canyon on September 8 and worked their way across the mountains, following ridgelines as much as possible, until reaching Placerville (about 40 miles east of Sacramento) on September 17, 1850. Byron spent nearly two years mining gold in California. On June 26, 1852 he boarded a ship from San Francisco to Panama, crossed the Isthmus by rail and boarded another ship to New York, arriving there on July 23. His wife, Harriett Ann had moved back to Vermont during Byron's absence and he was reunited with her in Lowell, MA (north of Boston). They returned to Illinois and bought 640 acres of land south of Chicago where they raised a family and farmed until 1883. In that year, Byron felt the restless tug of adventure again and decided to set up a homestead and farm in the Dakota Territory. Harriett was not interested in going with him, so they maintained separate lives and homes, with Byron making periodic trips back to Illinois. In 1892 he finally decided that the Dakota venture was not working out and he returned to Illinois for good. He died peacefully in his sleep on June 6, 1894.