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Our John Robert Lewallen and his oldest son 'Bill' (William) have been reported to have left for the Gold Rush and have died either by being attacked by a band of Indians or by drowning in a river while taking a swim and not fully recovered from a case of cholera.
We will attempt to present the question of was it possible for them to have made more than one trip west to the Gold Rush, considering the purchases of land in Taney County, Missouri by one Robert Lewelling in 1850 !
As for the spelling of his surname, it matters who wrote the deeds/land patents and how they spelled it.  Just like the numerous spellings we find for this surname in many records throughout the history of the USA!
There are many unanswered questions related to their disappearance and the timeline of that disappearance.
The youngest child is listed as born 1849 in Taney County, Missouri.
History of the California Gold Rush, obtained online:

                    1848-1850: A timeline

                                    Compiled by Melissa O'Meara
                                         Bee graphic assistant
                                        Published Jan. 18, 1998

Gold Rush Timeline

This site link gives the following:
  • The Gold Rush begins in 1848 and ends around 1856.
  • More than 90,000 people make their way to California in the two years following the discovery of gold, and more than 300,000 by 1854.
  • When gold is discovered in 1848, there were only seven Chinese in California. By 1852 there are at least 20,000 Chinese and still arriving.
  • John Sutter Jr. was convinced by Samuel Brannan to lay out a new town on the banks of the Sacramento River.
  • Between 1848 and 1856 about $465 million worth of gold is taken out. The first year $10 million worth of gold is found. The remaining years $40 million to $60 million is found.
  • In 1848 California has fewer than 300,000 head of cattle. By 1860 cattle increase to 3 million head.
  • Merchants and saloon keepers provide the first banking service.
  • African Americans were among the first miners.

Read more: http://www.calgoldrush.com/resources/gr_timeline.html#ixzz0zoflsisE

We can postulate that our John Robert Lewallen and son Bill, left for the Gold Rush after 1849.  They could have left after 1850. 
Could they have first left shortly after or about the time Elizabeth, the youngest daughter was born?
Could they have returned in 1850 and purchased the land noted on our
'Lewallen - Taney County, Missouri Land Patents 1850 & More' page.
Who was Levi Luallin?
Carol found a blogspot and we have permission to include Levi's letter here on our website.  Of interest and a very good posssible connection to our Lewallans of Taney Co., Mo., we feel you will agree this is a great find!

California Gold Rush circa 1849-1850

The following letters were written by Levi Luallin to his family in Fulton County Arkansas after he left home around 1849 to seek his fortune in the California Gold Rush. An attached note explained the following: Dear "Alex Doris" typed these letters from the original handwritten documents. Doris has the originals under glass. They are still legible but would crumble if hand held. Levi was trying to help his mother. He left for the Great California Gold Rush in 1849 and was never heard from after these letters. Grandpa said they thought he was killed by claim jumpers. His spelling is poor but hand writing very good. Written in ink. He evidently was a good boy. His brothers were Henry, Jesse, George, Andrew, John, Alexander, and sister Lucinda (Aunt Cindy). Andrew and Jesse were in the Civil War. On side of the North. Both killed. Henry fought on South side. Grandpa ran off and joined the Confederate Army when 17. Levi joined a wagon train to go to California."

First letter written by Levi Luallin to his mother and brother, copied from original.

Indian Nation May 8, 1850

Deare and mutch respected mother and brothers. I now enjoy the pleasureful oppertunity of ritieing you A letter by wich you will find that I am well at present and have bin ever sense I left home for wich blessing I hold truly thankful to the grate giver of all good hoping the same like blessing. I have nothing of any grate importance at the present. We have traveled on torlable sense we got started from the little north forke the day I left home. I got to the big North. I rode threw the rain all the afternoon then I was waterbound one day on Sunday morning. I swam by beast by a swift and went on to the little North forke and thare I overtook the wagon. It couldn't get over ________ staid thare few days and then we all went on the little river and there one of Mr. serton oxen got poison and died. He sold the other one and boate two cows and they appear walk very well. I swapt off Old Lion and got a good maite for trge. Mr. Dukes the young man that started Salem with Mr. Serton backt out and went home. I swapt off doll to het another mare and give two dollars to boot and than gave it for Dukes oxen and he rold out for Iowa. We are getting along very agreabul. Your must excuse me for not riteing no sooner. I have a very bad chance to without stoping and let the wagon go on or got down the on the ground like I am doing now and write on my knee. We have past the state line six miles and we are now at Ft. Scot in the indian. We have not got in with a very large company yeat. There is twelve wagons in company at this time. The travel in small gangs as far as tha think tha are saft on the accouint there stock being less trouble to them. I have not seen nor heard of onkel Robert Luallin sense I left his house. I expect he went to Springfield and waited til he give me out and went on. I maide some inquirey for him but ther was so many other wagons joining I could not heare of him. I think we will overtake him on the way. there is abundance of pepol going to California. More than ever have went put them all together. As to the game I have not saw any of accouint. I will rite again the first chance. I suppose there is 3 or 4 chances to mail letters yeat on the way. I wante to rite me a letter and direct it to Stockton in California. Rite about August and rite all about particulars. Give respect to all inquiring. So nothing more at present but remain yours till death.

Levi Luallin

On envelope and copied from original:
Fort Scott, Missouri May 17, 1850
To: Mrs Lucy Luallin
Pilot Hill P.O.
Fulton Co. Arkansas


Tanery Co., Mo. Land Patents Link

We believe this to be feasible.  And now must look into this in more detail.  Our John Robert Lewallen, nor his son 'Bill', are not found on either the 1850 or the 1860 Federal Census for Taney County, Missouri.
Thus we are left to believe they both died sometime between 1849 and 1860.  They could have made more than one or two trips west to the Gold Rush.  There are no further family stories stating they did  or did not make more than one trip west.
His wife, Hannah, is said to have died abt 1860/61 due to an accident with her horse and wagon.  We can say that she was around 44 to 46 years of age at the time of her death; given that she was likely born abt 1814 to 1816.  This is of course, all conjecture, as we have no definitive dates to offer as to her birthdate or place of birth, other than what we find on the 1850 & 1860 Census Lists!
She was either born in TN or KY.  It must be noted here that the state lines changed, so either or both of these could be true, depending on dates and places.  One child is listed as born in North Carolina; this could have once been TN or KY, again depending on the dates and places.
We are now left to prove or disprove that there was land that had to be taken into consideration after hnnah's death. 
Exactly where was she and her family living at the time of her death?
Are there any court records to give us clues?
If they did have land, what happenned to it?  Who obtained it after her death?

by Elmo Ingenthron

Long before the Mexican War, (The Mexican War - A war (1846-1848) between the United States and Mexico, resulting in the cession by Mexico of lands now constituting all or most of the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado)   pioneers had established homes in the vicinity of the mouth of Bull Creek. When the land was surveyed by the government, many of them claimed their homestead rights on their farmsteads. Among those who obtained government patents to their land near the mouth of Bull Creek were: Lysander H. Jennings, Joseph Weaver, John Hancock, John Weatherman, Robert Lewallen, Nathaniel Haggard, John Hembra, Garrett Cornelison, Jno Forrestar, and Joseph Price.

In Greene County,Missouri we find the following;
Index to Greene County Stray Records 1833 - 1913
LEWALEN, John  1842-1847  Book 2 Page 113
LEWALLEN, Robert     1842-1847  Book 2  Pages 101, 113, 146

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