Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references.

PrintPlain TextPermalink

News Release
Media Contact:
TPWD News,, 512-389-8030

Jan. 3, 2005

Follow the progress of the wagon train.

Webcast To Follow School Wagon Train History Project

AUSTIN, Texas — Students and history buffs of all ages can follow along Jan. 4-27 via the Internet as dozens of school students from California and Texas board horse-drawn wagons to retrace the route of gold rush adventurer William P. Huff.

Huff's 300,000-word diary shares a detailed account of his mid-1800s trip from near Houston to near Fresno, California. The students' journey this month will retrace Huff's route in reverse, starting near El Paso tomorrow and heading back across Texas. They will stop for a ceremony at the capitol building in Austin on Jan. 25 and end on Jan. 27 at the Houston area grave of William Huff, where they will return the borrowed diary to his descendants.

Fourteen California schoolchildren will make the entire journey. Dozens of Texas schoolchildren from the Dallas/Fort Worth, Waco, Houston, El Paso and West Texas regions will join the wagon train temporarily at various points.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will post the progress of the student adventure on its Web site, including student comments and video diaries of their journey. Other schoolchildren may email questions of the traveling students, which TPWD employees will relay on to the children during their trip.

History has paid little attention to the trials and experiences of the "southern Argonauts" as they trekked across difficult terrain to seek their fortunes in the Gold Rush of 1849. Huff did not strike it rich in the Gold Rush, but he left a rich trove for historians in the details of his diary.

California teacher Bill Coate created the school wagon train adventure to bring the historic journey of pioneers such as William Huff to life for today’s young people. His students and Texas students will learn to harness mules, sleep in tents, cook over fires and otherwise experience life during the pioneer era. Along the way, they will read Huff’s diary along the way and keep their own journals. The students will share their experiences at the end of the trail by publishing a book.

The educational project is a partnership venture of Madera Unified School District, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Texas Historical Commission.

TH 2005-01-03

More Information:

Publication — Permission is granted to publish, in whole or in part, any news releases on this page.

Print — A print-friendly version of the news release shows only the release with font sizes set to the browser default.

Plain Text — Plain text versions of TPWD news releases are provided for copying and pasting into editing software.

To copy text into an editing software:

  • Click a Plain Text link to display the plain text page in your browser.
  • Select all.
  • Copy.
  • Paste in a document in your editing program.

Permalink — This is a direct link to the news release, omitting the navigation context from the URI.

English/Spanish — News releases posted in both English and Spanish have one of these links.

If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send an e-mail to and mention Plain Text Pages.

(5.1.6 i)