“I suppose,“ said Meek, “that it comes from circus talk, like when you went to the circus folks’ll ask: ‘Well did you see the Elephant?’-Meaning in general, did you go where you set out for? Did you see what you went to see? Did you see the thing you started on through to the end?” As applied to our case it means undergoing the hardships and privations of the California trip, and getting there. The Forty-Niners: A Chronicle of the California Trail and El Dorado by Steward Edward White

Elephant Sightings

“I think that I may without vanity affirm that I have seen the elephant”  Louisa Clapp

“Oh, surely we are seeing the elephant, from the tip of his trunk to the end of his tail!”  Lucy Cooke

“The desert is truly the great Elephant of the route and God knows I never want to see it again.”  Lucius Fairchild

“Some of our company did not lay by and have gone on they are anxious to see the elephant I suppose.” Amelia Hadley

“All  hands early up anxious to see the path that leads to the Elephant.”  John Clark

“Oh the pleasure of going to see the Elephant!!”  Lucy Rutledge Cooke

“This is a trying time to the men and horses. I have just been to get grass, and got up to my ‘tother end’ in mud..First glimpse of the Elephant.”  George Bonniwel

“We didn’t suppose it to be more than one or two miles from the road we went on foot but as we found it be at least four miles our trip was not so easy as we supposed…but like all the rest we must see the Elephant & some of the party did see his back before they got to camp as some them was out till 9 o’clock.”  John Lewis


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