• Colorado River Historical Society Museum •

"Preserving the history of the Tri-state area"

Historical Accounts of the Tri-state Area

The Pioneers of the Desert Southwest

Rose Baley


Too impatient to wait for the “new” Beale’s Wagon Road to be completed, two wagon trains of emigrants left Santa Fe in 1858 to try it out, one headed by L. R. Rose, and following it another led by Gillum Baley. One member of the Baley train, John Udell, who had had previous experience traveling in the west, opposed the choice of route, but was overruled. (see more)

Mojave Expedition


In October of 1858, Californians were shocked by the news that Mojave Indians had attacked a wagon train traveling the recently opened Beale Road in western New Mexico. An outraged public demanded that the government chastise the Indians and ensure the safety of emigrants. In response to these demands military authorities in California dispatched a column of 600 men under Lieutenant Colonel William Hoffman from Fort Yuma to reduce the Mojave threat. After a short decisive campaign, the Indians capitulated, and a military post - Fort Mohave wasestablished on the Colorado River to protect the overland route (see more)

Oatman Massace


A wagon train led by John Brewster, a Mormon who rejected the leadership of the church in Utah, along with approximately 90 followers, known as Brewsterites, left Independence Missouri on August 5, 1850 in search of the “intended place of gathering” for the Mormons in California. Royce and Mary Ann Oatman and their seven children were amongst the followers. (see more)

Fort Mohave


Lt. Edward F. Beale, after a surveying trip from Fort Defiance to the Colorado River, recommended establishment of a military post “on the Colorado River as an indispensable necessity for the emigrants over this road; for, although the Indians living in the rich meadow lands are agricultural, they are very numerous, so much so that we counted 800 men around our camp on the second day after our arrival on the banks of the river.”  (see more)