In February of 1849, the Greens had decided to go to the California gold fields. Young Torkel Erickson was drawn by the idea of adventure and wanted to join the westward rush. The problem was how to afford the trip and how to travel with others for protection.
This was solved when the Greens offered to include him in their party, providing he would work his way. The result was an agreement signed by both parties wherein the Greens agreed to furnish provisions and ammunition to get to the Sacramento valley of California, furnish provision, tools, and ammunition for one year after commencing work at gathering gold, and pay all necessary expenses on the trip.
In return Torkel Erickson, in the document above, agrees to assist in driving the teams going to California, and to give the Greens one half of the proceeds of his earnings or labor for one year after they commence work, at gathering gold or any other business in California.
He additionally agrees to compensate the Greens if he is unable to work for any considerable length of time due to sickness or any other cause; the compensation to be based on the price for labor in the immediate area. The agreement was written up and signed in the presence of two witnesses.
The Greens proceeded with their arrangements for the trip and were ready to set out for California leaving Ottawa on April 2 on the Timoleon which they chartered to take them through to St. Joseph, on the Missouri river. No other men had yet offered to work for their passage, but three men must have decided at the last minute to go along. The agreements with Jackson Beem, Erick Erickson, and Alanson Pope were written and signed on April 3, presumably on the boat.