Francis Marion Nighswander was born in 1844. He left Urbana, Ohio in March 1862 for California by way of Panama. He worked in Suisun City on the dairy ranch of J.M. Jones and on the stock ranch of A. Jackson near Suisun. In 1863 he worked as a sheepherder. In 1864 he left California in company with John McMullen, driving a band of 4,000 sheep to Oregon. In Oregon, he settled in the Siuslaw precinct in southern Lane County.
The journal of Francis Nighswander is a composite volume of 104 numbered pages. Parts of it were written at the time of the events described and parts were composed as much as five years after the events. The journal begins with the departure from Ohio, describes the journey to California, adventures while there, the trip to Oregon, and ends with a description of a leisure trip to Yaquina Bay, Oregon in 1867, written in 1870. The journal is punctuated by a series of crude pencil sketches, some colored, of a few California scenes, Oregon scenes, and copies of popular illustrations. Part of the journal consists of copies of thirteen letters form James Nighswander, a brother. The letters date from May 1862 to June 1865 and are written from Florence City and Pioneer Gulch, Idaho, Salt Lake City and Brigham City, Utah, Varina and Nevada City, Montana, and Wild Horse Creek, British Columbia. James Nighswander was a miner. His letters describe his surroundings and experiences. The loose papers consist of two addresses by F. M. Nighswander on the currency question in 1885.
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[Identification of item], Francis Nighswander Papers, A 091, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
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