When he was twenty-two years old, he married Mary Bassett at Manchester, New York. A year later they had a son Neamiah, eight months later his mother died and one month later little Neamiah died. James married to Margriet Jane Fuller at Granthim, Canada, September 1, 1831. James was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mar 9, 1844 in Nauvoo three months before the Prophet Joseph Smith was murdered. 1844, April 27, On this day a branch of the church consisting of nine members was organized in Lewiston, Niagrar Co., New York by Elder Walter N. Nurd; Elder John Small chosen President of the Branch and James C. Sly, Clerk. (Times & Seasons 5568)
In the beginning of 1846, James C. Sly emigrated to Nauvoo, Illinois and moved west with the Church, that year in the General Exodus of the Saints from Illinois.
Having reached the Missouri River he enlisted in the Mormon Battalion and marched as a private in Company B to California. (Bio. Ency. Vol 3, page 514) Marched in Battalion over 2000 miles. A number of brethren who had served in the Mormon Battalion were still working in California, but they were anxious to proceed to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake as soon as sprint should open. According to a previous arrangement a Company of 8 persons started 1st of May 1848, Sgt. David Brewett being elected Captain, to pioneer, if possible, a wagon road of the Sierra, Nevada Mountains eastward. The Truckee route being impractical at that season of the year. This company consisted of David Brewett, Captain Ira J. Willis, James C. Sly, Isreal Evens, Jacob G. Truman, Esra Allen, J. R. Allred, Henderson Cox and Robert Pixton. May 1, 1848 A number of Battalion brethren and others in Sacramento Valley, California subscribed $512.00 and bought two brass cannons off Captain John A. Sutter to be taken to Great Salt Lake for the benefit of the Church of Latter-day Saints. (Names and amounts listed.) James C. Sly subscribed $10.00. (J of H 1 May 1848). 1848, July, Brother Addison Pratt returning from a mission in Soc Islands joins the group in Pleasant Valley. He writes, having brought with us 2 brass cannons, 6 pounders, which we bought off Captain Sutter. We saluted the day which made the mountains ring. Went into Camp and remained 10 days. (J of H July 3, 1848). 1848, June 26, Making preparations to start for Great Salt Lake. Broke temporary encampment on American River, California and commenced eastward. Some went to the mines to get tires set. (J of H June 1848). 1848, July 3, Arariah Smith, journalizes, we packed up and traveled 25 miles; came upon wagons start a couple of days ago. Two more miles - we came to a valley, found by bother J. C. Sly. We found good feed for our animals. We built a corral. This place came to be known as Sly's Park. (J of H July 3, 1848).
[G2:2237]Adventures during Gold Rush in California
James C Sly Journal Entries
James Calvin Sly agreed to act as a guide for a wagon train from Salt Lake City to Sacramento California. Three months to the day after their marriage, he left his pregnant wife Susannah on June 25, 1848, and with James Stuart as Captain, they started out. In the company was James Calvin’s new father-in-law Thomas Gustin. James kept a journal of the trip and recorded the following:
During this Journey I suffered greatly with canker in the mouth. I eat scarcely any thing during the journey. On the 1st of August a Company of nine men prevailed upon me to go and prospect for gold and agreed to board me. I led them to a ban on the Cossumnis River to a mine that had never been opened before, where we were getting considerable gold. But a friend of theirs having told them that on the Macalimna River about 100 miles distance was a place were it could be picked up in large chunks but that
the Indians had men that went there and no body dare go there. Every one of them was up in arms to go to the place where they could make their fortune. I told them it was nothing but a gold tale and they had better stay where they were. But father [Gustin] was a most angry and said I must be foolish if I wouldn’t go. I at last consented to go and on the 9th of August we took up our Journey for the great prize. And on the 10th we arrived at the Big Bear 50 miles below
the great prize, and I told them as we could get no further with the wagon that if two men would go with me we would go and see the place. Accordingly two of them volunteered and on the 12th we started. We followed up the river Climb rocks and mountains until we came to the spot. But to our great astonishment we found no dead men, and worse than all no gold. And my two friends turned about very humble and said I wish we had taken your advice.
We might have had two or three hundred dollars in our [packs]. We then started back and arrived in camp on the 18th after a tedious journey of six days. On the 20th we started back to the Cossumnis. We arrived there on the 23rd and the company broke up. And father Gustin and Willmer Brunson and my self in company with two other men went to work. On Friday the 8th of September father Gustin was taken sick with a fever. On Tuesday the 12th he seemed much better and talked
of going to work. But on Wednesday 13th he got so much worse that I called a Doctor and on Sunday 17th he died at 15 minutes before 8 o’clock in the morning. On the 8th of October we left that place and moved 12 miles up the river. Willmer and my self was taken sick and I began to think that all sorts of bad luck attended us. About the 12th of November the rainy season commenced and we were with out a tent or any thing to cover us. We moved down the river 15 miles and I left Willmer with some friends
and went to the city for a tent and our winter provisions. It was a very rainy time and all the creeks were high. And after fording some six streams some of them to my waist, there and back again, I arrived on the Cossumnes again on the 23rd of November. The rain continued to the first of December and all the mines is idle on account of the high water.
15th Feb We had our gold stole from us which reduced us to poverty 1st March I was taken with Scurvy very sick On the 12 father Bun was taken sick and died on the 17th 1850
Prepared for the descendants of James C. Sly by:
Jeffrey M. Sly
373 West 800 South
Salem, Utah 84653