Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

This was the ship that carried Tom Briggs and Eph. Horn to Panama where Briggs unfortunately caught Yellow fever and soon died before ever performing in California.

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Comment by Al Smitley on May 19, 2012 at 1:05pm

That's interesting.   I have to assume he in the midst of the trek across the isthmus(?) 

Do you have any more details?

Comment by Carl Anderton on May 19, 2012 at 2:30pm

I can't find the Google Books link now I had earlier.  It mentioned Eph. Horn going to California on the steamship Prometheus.  Tom Briggs was with him on that trip, according to the famous account in the Briggs Banjo Instructor.  As far as I can tell, the Prometheus sailed on the Atlantic side.  I guess you would cross over in Nicaragua (not Panama) and then take another steamship up to California.  As far as I can tell, Briggs caught Yellow fever during the Isthmus crossing and died shortly after they arrived in San Franscisco.  There is much we, or I, do not know about this episode.  I'll keep looking around.

Comment by Carl Anderton on May 19, 2012 at 2:35pm

Here is a description of how two ships would take you from the East coast to the West coast.


Comment by Al Smitley on May 19, 2012 at 6:28pm

I haven't read the link yet but will.  I've always heard that once arriving on the Pacific side, you might wait for months for another ship to pick you up for the rest of the trip.

Comment by Carl Anderton on May 19, 2012 at 6:55pm

The Horn commentary in the BBI says that Briggs would "hit some of his strongest notes" while sailing up the California coast, and say "Ah! Eph, what'll they say, when they hear the old Cremona speak like that!" So yellow fever must take awhile to incapcitate you, if he caught it on the Isthmus.

Comment by Al Smitley on May 19, 2012 at 7:18pm

Not knowing anything but what info you have offered, I would bet that he got it during the isthmus trek as it was notorious for infecting prospective gold-seekers with malaria which is closely related to yellow fever.  Both, from what I understand, are spread by mosquitoes.


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