Bruff’s “Winter Camp”

 

Bruff’s Camp

The Beinecke

Bruff’s Camp

Why did Bruff spend the winter in the Sierra Nevada?

Bruff spent 169 days (two weeks shy of half a year) in the Sierra Nevada over the winter of 1849-1850.

The reasons for Bruff’s stay in his “winter camp” are complex. Basically, on October 21st, 1849 (the day before the start of the stay) he decided to remain with the company’s wagons and supplies, while the members of his company packed out of the mountains into “the settlements.” (They were very low on supplies, the wagons and mules were nearly worn out, and they were late in the season, with winter approaching.)

Winter in the Sierra Nevada

The Huntington (used by permission)

Winter in the Sierra Nevada

Members of Bruff’s company promised to bring him supplies from the settlements, but, with one exception, they failed to do that. Even so, Bruff remained at the winter camp; he even passed up a chance to accompany a government rescue party leading other people out of the mountains. The reasons he stayed even beyond that point require delving into his personality, something beyond the scope of The Bruff Project’s activities.

Bruff was actually at two different locations while at his long “Winter Camp.” The first location became known as “Bruff’s Camp” because emigrants called it that when they passed through on their way into the settlments. The second location, about three miles distant, was at a log cabin built by a man named Robert R. Roberts, to provide shelter for his son’s wife, who was about to give birth.