They refused to be left behind to fend for themselves or miss an exciting life changing opportunity.
A few of these travelers became widows as their husbands died of disease or were killed.
Usually as soon as the prospective bride got off the ship they were rushed to a preacher to get married.
As time went on the ever-increasing immigration of more women and families started changing the composition of the female population and the entertainers soon became outnumbered.
There were many unusual opportunities for women in the cities and gold fields as men, starved for female company, paid extravagant fees to associate with women or buy products that were made by women.
Competition by 1852 had decreased the steam ship fare via Panama to about $200 and the Panama Railroad (completed 1855) was already working its way across the Isthmus making it ever easier to get to California. By 1870 the population had increased to 560,000 with 349,000 males and 211,000 females or a ratio of 100 males to 38 females.
Equilibrium female-male number parity would take till the 1950 census with a total population of 10,586,000; 5,296,000 males compared to 5,291,000 females.
About 3.0% of the gold rush Argonauts before 1850 were female or about 3,500 female Gold Rushers compared of about 115,000 male California Gold Rushers.
By California’s 1852 State Census the population has already increased to about 200,000 of which about 10% or 20,000 are female. Federal Census California had a population of 330,000 with 223,000 males and 107,000 females—still a male to female ratio greater than 2 males to 1 female.Others went back east to wind up their business there and escort their women and families to California.Many single men started communicating with female acquaintances they knew and many proposals were accepted with this long distance dating.On the California Trail, about 4% of the people on the trail died from accidents, cholera, fever, and myriad other causes, and many women became widows before even setting eyes on California.On the sea voyage via Panama there were the usual hazards of traveling across the Isthmus of Panama by canoe and mule, waiting in disease prevalent Chagres and Panama City, where cholera and yellow fever often took a dreadful toll—up to 30% of some groups of travelers.Some communities back east were severely -60 days for a letter to go from California via Panama to a city in the east and another 40-60 days for a reply so this was ’slow’ courting.