A Long Way to Frisco : A folk adventure novel of California and Oregon in 1852 by Alfred Powers ; Drawings by James Daugherty
Boston : Little, Brown and Co., 1951. First Edition. Stated. Hardcover. 186 pages ; illustrated ; 21 cm. $2.50 dust jacket with minimal wear. Musty odor to pages. Pages are unmarked. A touch of foxing to side page edges. Binding sound.
You'd think it was A LONG WAY TO FRISCO
too, if you had fourteen hundred prime live bogs up in Oregon's Willamette Valley for delivery in San Francisco, six to seven hundred miles away, with no means of transportation except hoof and foot. And those hogs sure to make your fortune if you could get through to the meat-hungry miners milling around the Golden City, where bacon at a dollar a pound was practically extinct!
How young Cornelius Rogers and his partner Levi Hunt corralled the hogs after Levi decided to quit mining gold dust, and what happened to them and their hogs, is told by Alfred Powers in this two-fisted tale of Gold Rush days. Highwaymen, extortionists, Indians, grizzlies, and the awful scarcity of hogs south of the Siskiyous were responsible for the first few rounds of adventure. Hair-raising as they were, these were only samples of the goings-on after Cornelius and Levi crossed the Siskiyous and dropped down through the valleys to Oregon City.
That was good hog country, and that was where they met Joe Meek, Rocky Mountain trapper and first marshal of the Oregon Territory. Joe in turn introduced them to J. Q. Adams, Henry Clay, Captain Kidd, Patrick Henry — all hogs of strong personality — and other assorted pigs to weigh at least 140 pounds alive, 100 pounds dressed. As the hogs accumulated, so did the difficulties, dangers, and deals of Cornelius and Levi.
This is a tall tale, anybody will grant that, but it's based on recorded fact (see back of jacket), and it also is about as American, particularly American Northwestern, as Mount Shasta. Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill wouldn't have scored the job of the "hog buyers from Frisco."
is a famed writer, editor, folldorist and historian of the Northwest. His books previous to A LONG WAY TO FRISCO include Prisoners of the Redwoods, Marooned on Crater Lake and Redwood Country (in the American Folkways Series). His aim, he says, in writing A LONG WAY TO FRISCO was to fill in a scant but intriguing historical reference with a vivid and realistic story of adventure in pioneer life, set against the striking geography of the Far West's frontier. He thinks this is the first time that hogs have furnished the main theme for a dramatic novel!
Mr. Powers is Professor of Creative Writing in the Oregon State System of Higher Education, has written eight books, edited two more. His short stories have appeared in many magazines. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
tells where he got the idea for
A LONQ WAY TO FRISCO
"This folk tale is built on a hog drive that really occurred.
"John J. Golden was the founder of Goldendale, Washington, county seat of Klickitat County lying back from the north bank of the Columbia River, a hundred-odd miles up that great watercourse from Portland.
"Two pages are given to Golden s biography in the History of Central Washington. It is one of those big volumes wherein biographies were paid for — and if John Golden hadn't been willing to purchase space, his pig adventure would have been without record, for it is found nowhere else.
"The following is quoted from this subsidized sketch of John Golden's life:
"Arriving in California September 1852, young Golden commenced mining on American River. The next year he went to Shasta City and conducted a general supply store. Fire completely destroyed his business, and he was left with only a little ready money and a pack train of thirty-two mules. With J. A. Johnson he opened another store. The partners disposed of their store in 1856 and took a contract to furnish beef for eleven shops. A year later they took a contract to deliver one thousand four hundred hogs in California, attempting to fulfill it by driving overland from Oregon"
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