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Title: Journal of a Trip to California by the Overland Route Across the Plains in 1850-51
Author: Ingalls, E. S. (Eleazer Stillman), 1820-1879 [Adapter]
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Tobey & Co., Printers


In offering this Journal to the public, the publishers believe that a
benefit will be conferred on many who are desirous of visiting the
Eldorado of the nineteenth century. This is one object we have in
publishing it; but our principal object is to gratify the numerous
friends of Judge Ingalls by furnishing them with his journal in a form
easily transmitted through the mails to the different parts of the
country. Without claiming any merit as a literary production, the
author has simply given us a plain statement of incidents as he saw
them. Without further remark, we present his work to the public.



In offering this journal to the public, the writer makes no pretensions
to authorship, but believes that, although it be written in plain,
off-hand style, nevertheless, some portions of it may be interesting to
the public, and that if any who may chance to read it are about to
start for "Eldorado," they may derive some benefit from it, whether
they go over the Plains, or by water. The writer will only attempt to
describe objects and incidents as he saw them.

We commenced our journey from Lake county, Ill., on the 27th day of
March, (or rather I did, the team not being ready, and I having some
business to transact at Rock River.)

_March_, 28--I left Hainesville, and traveled to Franklinville, McHenry
Co., at night a distance of 30 miles.

29th. Reached Belvidere about noon, and spent the remainder of the day
with John S. Curtis, Esq. Belvidere is a thriving village in Boon co.,
situated in the midst of a fertile and beautiful country.

18 miles.

30th.--Left Belvidere about noon, after having made a very agreeable
visit with Mr. Curtis, and traveled as far as Rockford, on Rock river,
where I found E. Ford, one of our company, and several others from Lake
county. I found Ford taking care of a California emigrant from
Wisconsin, by the name of Maynard, who was very sick at the Rockford

12 miles.

31st. I remained at Rockford, it being Sunday. Rockford is one of the
most active and prosperous villages on the Rock River, and when the
contemplated railroad from Chicago to Galena shall be completed, it
will double its size and population. The water power furnished by
damming the Rock River is unequaled. It is used now to some extent, but
is capable of driving six times the machinery which it now does.

_April_ 1st. Remained at Rockford. Maynard died this night about 11
o'clock. He had the satisfaction of seeing his wife before he died, she
having been sent for by the landlord of the Rockford House. How many
will be cut down by disease on this crusade to California. How many
will die where they can have no friendly hand to alleviate their
sufferings, time only will tell.

2d. Started down the Rock River--travelled thirty miles through a very
good country, and stopped over night at the house of an old townsman
and friend, L. Scott, Esq.

30 miles.

3d. Stormy and cold; went over to Mr. J. R. Merrill's, another old
townsman, and spend the day.

4th. Remained at Merrill's--visited Grand de Tour, a thriving village
on the Rock River, about four miles from the house of my friend.

5th. Remaining still with Merrill. Disagreeable, stormy weather.--This
evening J. and I. B. Ingalls came up with team which left Hainesville,
April 2d.

6th. Bought a horse of Merrill to-day. Bade Mr. M.'s family adieu, and
felt like leaving home again, so agreeably had the time passed in the
society of my friend and his accomplished family. Found one of our
horses lame with a sprained ankle; got the materials and made some
liniment (by directions of Mr. Merrill,) and I must say it proved the
most effectual remedy for sprains, galls, and other injuries to horses,
that I ever saw used, and we had good reason to be thankful to Mr.
Merrill for imparting the knowledge of making it to us, before we got
through with our trip. We traveled this day 24 miles down Rock
river--weather pleasant, and roads good.

24 miles.

7th. Sunday--traveled about 25 miles, pleasant weather, but some bad

25 miles.

8th. Traveled about 25 miles to Rock Island. Pleasant weather;
beginning to get into the track of California teams. Took in some hard
bread, visited Rock Island Lodge, of I.O.O.F., where I found a cordial
welcome as befitted brothers.

25 miles.

_April_ 9th. Crossed the Mississippi to Davenport, Iowa; took in 25
bushels of corn--paid for shelled corn 38 cts. per bushel, in the ear
30 cts. Purchased also most of our other necessaries, excepting meat
and flour. I was surprised to find Davenport and Rock Island such large
places.--They lie opposite each other on the Mississippi, and about
three miles above the mouth of Rock river. They are surrounded by a
country of fertile soil on each side of the river, and bid fair in a
few more years to become very important cities. We left Davenport at
noon, and traveled to Hickory Grove, Scott co.--roads very bad, with a
snow storm towards night.

14 miles.

10th. Left Hickory Grove in the morning and made 25 miles to Tipton,
the county seat of Cedar county. Roads very bad, mud deep, mostly
prairie, but good land. We got sloughed once to-day, and had to carry
our loads on our backs. We found Tipton full of California teams, and
had to let our horses stand out for the first time, although it was a
cold disagreeable night.

25 miles.

11th. Left Tipton in the morning and reached Cedar River about
noon--found the road bad enough, but better than it had been for a
couple of days past. We ferried across the Cedar river and drove a few
miles, and put up with a crowd of California emigrants at the log house
of an Irishman by the name of Nolan, a clever man, who did the best his
slender means permitted to make us comfortable. During the night it
rained and snowed, and our horses had an uncomfortable time of it, and
we did not fare much better, as there were eleven of us camped on the
floor of a log shanty, with the chinking pretty well knocked out, so
that the wind, rain and snow had a free sweep amongst us.

15 miles.

12th. Very windy and cold--started on account of our horses, and drove
twelve miles, to Iowa City, where we arrived about noon, after one of
the most disagreeable day's drive I ever experienced. We laid over the
rest of the day on account of the wind. We here found quite a number of
our Lake co. friends, who had got here in advance of us.

12 miles.

13th. Remained in Iowa City; the wind still high and the weather very
cold. Iowa City is quite a place, with a population, as I am told, of
about 2500. It is the seat of government for the State of Iowa, which
is its only recommendation. It is situated on the Iowa river, which is
navigable at high water for steamboats of a small class. The State
House will be a very handsome building when finished; it is built of
hewed stone, on the bank of the Iowa river, and when the work is
properly finished will do honor to the State. This is a gathering point
for California teams, and the town is now full of them lying bye on
account of bad weather. It is supposed there are 100 wagons here now,
and they keep coming; besides, there are numbers wind bound at the
Cedar river.

We are stopping at Swan's Hotel, the best house in the city, the
register of which shows the names of great numbers of our town and
county people who started before us--and more are coming after. This
afternoon, another team, or the advance guard of it, from our town came
up. We now begin to find every thing higher as we get farther advanced
towards the frontiers. Corn is worth here fifty cents a bushel, and
report says that towards Council Bluffs there is no feed for horses and
cattle of any kind or at any price.

14th. Sunday. We still lie over; the weather has become more moderate,
though it is still cold; the wind has gone down, so that it is more
comfortable travelling, consequently most of the teams have left town
on their route. They stretch off across the prairie this morning as far
as the eye can reach, quite an army of themselves; what we shall find
when we get to the Missouri river, it is impossible to tell; judging
from present appearances there will be one of the largest armies
congregated that were ever got together at one time on this continent.
Most of the teams that go to-day head for St. Joseph, the prospect
being better on the road that way, and after they get there, for feed
for teams than on the Council Bluffs route. We are all in too much of a
hurry, for there is no probability of our being able to leave the
frontiers before the 10th of May, for want of feed, consequently we
shall have to tarry two weeks at some point, and we think it best lie
bye at several different points, than all at once.

_April_ 15th. Monday. Left Iowa City this morning, for Washington,
county seat of Washington co. Country mostly rolling prairie for the
first 15 miles; soil very good, and good road, being the military road
built by Government. Streams all bridged with the best bridges that I
have seen in Iowa. The balance of the road to Washington--having left
the military road--is very bad; no bridges; got sloughed in a creek,
occasioned by our hindmost evener breaking; after unloading we got our
wagon out with one span of horses. This creek was within about a mile
and a half of Washington. I think there is no better evidence of the
want of enterprise in the inhabitants, than to find such places
unbridged on main roads near villages. We went on with one span of
horses, but it being very dark we got sloughed again, and had to leave
our wagon and go on to the village, where we arrived cross and hungry
about eight o'clock, having made 28 miles, and had the hardest day's
work since we left home. However, we found an obliging landlord, which
made up somewhat for our trouble. The country for the last part is flat
prairie and very wet. I should think it worthless.

28 miles.

16. Unloaded our wagon and got it out of the mud again this morning &
started for Brighton, Washington co. 11 miles. Country rolling, the
best land on the east side of the Skunk river, that I had seen in Iowa,
being rolling openings. Crossed the Skunk river on a ferry. Arrived at
Brighton about 2 o'clock, P.M.; commenced snowing soon after, and we
had one of the hardest snow storms of the season. Continued snowing
until midnight. The town is full of California teams, some going to
Council Bluffs, and some to St. Joseph.

11 miles.

17th. Laid over at Brighton. Snow this morning about two inches deep;
the day pleasant but cool; the wind in the North West. Brighton is
quite a small village, has three or four stores, one steam saw mill,
besides a fair share of mechanics and other business men. We found good
accommodations, with the worthy landlord, Mr. Yates, and spent a
pleasant day. The snow went off by noon, but left the roads muddy.

18th. Left Brighton this morning for Fairfield, Jefferson co., where we
arrived without accident, but found the roads muddy; weather warm and
showery, most like spring of any day this month.

15 miles.

19th. Stopped last night at the Eagle Hotel, and I must say it was the
nastiest hole I ever got into, and everything else was in perfect
keeping, and to make matters even worse, the landlord charged the
highest bill that we had paid on the road.

Started this morning for Iowaville, sixteen miles, where we arrived
about four o'clock, P.M., and put up for the night. (By the way, I
found an old townsman and school mate in Fairfield, that I had not seen
for thirteen years,--Ezra Brown, Esq., District Attorney for that
judicial district, and editor of a paper there. Of course I stopped to
visited him an hour or two, and then passed on on this journey of time.
Shall we ever meet again?)

20th. Crossed the Desmoines river this morning. This, as the Hosiers
say, is a right smart chance of a river, between two and three hundred
yards wide, and would be navigable for steamboats one hundred miles
above here, if it were not for the dams below, of which I understand
there are nine. Iowaville is situated on the bank, and is only a hamlet
of log huts, with a grocery or two, but has a steam mill building, and
one in operation on the other bank. We crossed on a ferry--charge 75
cts. Most of our route to-day lay through the timber, and the best
timber too, I have seen in Iowa, but we have had dreadful roads, the
worst, in fact, on the journey.

We arrived at Drakesville about four o'clock and put up for the night,
although we could get no "roughness" for our team, (as they call hay
here;) in fact we are getting where we find but little hay or grain.
Matters look squally ahead, no hay, and grass not an ell high, and
growing downwards at that. Grain we care nothing about as we have
twenty days feed on bread, which will be more than we can consume
before we reach St. Joseph.

20th. Drakesville is a small village of log houses, with a store,
blacksmith shop, &c. It is situated in Davis county. The inhabitants I
understand are mostly Campbelites, or Disciples. They had a meeting
to-day, and are having one this evening. There is a lodge of the Sons
of Temperance here, too, who are having their meeting over my head. I
did not expect to find anything of the kind in this back country. Good
speed to them. I understand they have twenty members, and have two or
three to initiate to-night.

20 miles.

21st. Laid over at Drakeville, it being Sunday, remained all day.--Two
women and a man were baptized in a mud-hole to-day by a Disciple
preacher. Got no roughness, as the people here call hay; our horses had
to live on corn, in consequence of which we foundered one.

22d. Left Drakeville this morning, had one of the most muddy roads on
the route. Camped at night for the first time, on a small brook; could
get no hay--had to cut dry prairie grass with our knives. Made twenty
miles, passed one small village of log houses, (Unionville) and camped
within four miles of Centreville, county seat of Appanose co.

20 miles.

23d. Passed Centreville this day, and made 18 miles over some of the
worst roads I ever saw in the western states.

Though the country generally is the best I have seen in Iowa, being
well timbered, and excellent prairie, I do not like the water, it is
too milky. No hay--camped by a run.

18 miles.

24th. Heard a wild turkey gobbler near our camp, for the first time.
Jonathan started after him but did not get a shot at him. We are now at
noon within 30 rods of the Missouri state line, and right glad are we
to get out of Iowa. Have been in company the last two days with 3 teams
from Mineral Point, Wis. The weather to-day is very pleasant & warm;
the warmest day we have had this spring. We find some green grass
to-day. We have a good road with the exception of one bad creek. One of
our comrades got his horses down in the mud and went back to roll him
out; the rest of us passed without much trouble. We traveled ten miles
into Missouri, and camped by a small stream. We here saw wild turkeys
for the first time. The country is mostly prairie, and very good.

20 miles.

25th. Very warm and pleasant; made about twenty miles over a pleasant
country, rather uneven, diversified with woods and prairie, thinly
settled. Saw several wild turkeys; there appears to be plenty of such
game here.

20 miles.

26th. Passed through heavy timber to-day for most of the way.--Crossed
the north and middle fork of Grand river, and passed the village of
Princeton, which is a small hamlet of log houses about one half of
which are groceries. Tried to buy some flour--found but an 100 weight
in the village, and they asked $4 for that. I concluded I would not
take it for two reasons: First, if they had but one cwt. in the
village, they needed it themselves; and next, I did not like to be
shaved well enough to pay that price. They asked $1.50 per bushel for

Uncle Jo, one of our comrades from Mineral Point, and myself, went
turkey hunting last night (by moonlight.) We rambled some eight or ten
miles, and got back about 2 o'clock in the morning, minus turkeys, not
having seen one.

The day has been excessively warm, and we are in hopes of having grass
soon, which would be welcome as our horses have had nothing of hay kind
but dry prairie grass, which we cut ourselves (and some nights we could
not get that) for the last hundred miles, and we do not expect to find
any more. We cannot camp now without doing it in a jam. There are some
30 or 40 wagons camped around us now, oxen, horses, &c. We are camped
to-night on the Middle Fork of Grand river.

20 miles.

27th. We had a heavy shower with thunder last night: in the morning the
wind was in the north-west, and cold. We left our camping ground early,
and made 26 miles. We passed one small village to-day--Bethany, similar
to the last, i.e. groceries. Have passed through a beautiful country
to-day, alternately timber and prairie, some of it has been settled
eleven years, but we cannot buy a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs, or any
hay or straw, or in fact anything to eat for man or beast, with the
exception of bacon, and that raised itself. We were lucky enough to lay
in supplies for both man and beast before we got into this region. It
is a great pity that Missouri is a slave state; were it a free state,
so that free northern men would settle in it, all this great region of
valuable land would be settled and improved, and there is no part of
the western country that can excel the northern part of Missouri in
beauty and fertility. It is better timbered, and watered than Illinois,
and is rather more uneven, but no more so than is necessary to make
good farming land.

26 miles.

28th. Sunday. We started again this morning and travelled ten miles to
the main branch of the Grand river, which we crossed and camped. This
is the last timber before crossing a prairie of 25 miles in width. Some
go on intending to camp on the prairie, but the wind being cold, (from
the north-west) we concluded to lay over until to-morrow. Our camping
ground looks like the camp of an army. Horses, picketed tents, with the
star spangled banners flying, wagons standing around, while lying by
the side of logs and trees are brawny, sun-burnt men, sunning
themselves, and taking their ease. Within thirty minutes after we
camped there were 21 wagons camped. Since then they have been coming in
and camping continually. How many there are at this time, would be
difficult to say, and still they come. But this is but a foretaste of
what we shall see at St. Joseph, which we expect to reach by Tuesday
night, it being 44 miles from this place, we are told. On the opposite
side of the river, and half a mile from here, is Gentryville, the
county seat of Gentry county. It is a right smart place, as they say
out this way. It has a saw and grist mill, two taverns, with a fair
sprinkling of stores and workshops. I should think the water power very
good for this country, and capable of supplying power for much more
machinery than now in use.

10 miles.

29th. Left Grand river and crossed the Great Prairie, passed some teams
camped that had lost 22 horses, (but found 20 of them and were hunting
for the other two.) Got in with a large train which hindered us so much
that we ran by, and made 34 miles for the purpose of keeping ahead of
them. Country good, but too much prairie. Passed Platte river, and the
village of Rochester. Good mills on the Little Platte river at this

34 miles.

30th. Left our camping ground and traveled 14 miles to St. Joseph.
Weather very cold and windy--no grass nor hay. We have traveled 200
miles without grass or hay, but have cut dry prairie grass where we
could find it. Camped in a ravine half a mile north of St. Joseph. St.
Joseph is quite a village, and doing a great deal of business at this
time. But the way they fleece California emigrants is worth noticing. I
should advise all going the overland route to take every thing along
with them that they can of small weight, as every little thing costs
three or four times as much here as at home. The markets are filled
with broken down horses jockeyed up for the occasion, and unbroken
mules, which they assure you are handy as sheep. It is the greatest
place for gambling, and all other rascality that I was ever in. We have
to stand guard over our horses as much as if we were in the Indian
country. It is said that one or two men have been shot by the emigrants
while in the act of stealing horses. Here let me before leaving the
State of Missouri say one word in relation to the country. We traveled
about one hundred and eighty miles through the north-west part of the
State which is mostly unsettled. We found the country the best I had
ever seen in the great Mississippi Valley, and I had seen a great share
of it. It is a perfect paradise for the agriculturist, the manufacturer
and the hunter. The soil is warm and fertile, the wild prairie grass
growing as high as a man's waist on the uplands. An abundance of good
timber skirts the streams. The land is rolling, approaching the hilly,
and well watered by rivers, brooks, and springs of pure clear water,
running over gravelly or rocky beds in clear banks, free from sloughs
or marshes. The streams furnish an abundance of the best water power
suitable for driving all kinds of machinery. The prairies and woods are
filled with abundance of deer, wild turkeys and other game, and of wild
honey. The river bottoms are covered with endless quantities of plums,
sweet grapes, and various other wild fruits in the greatest abundance.
Nature has seemed to lavish her best gifts on this country in the
greatest profusion; yet with all it remains a wilderness, only
inhabited by a few straggling squatters whose whole aim is to raise
what corn and bacon they can consume, and kill a sufficiency of game to
supply their daily wants. Why is it so? Is it because it is one or 200
miles back from the Mississippi? This cannot be the reason, for
thousands are now emigrating farther back into the wilds of Minesota.
Is it not owing to, and one of the fruits of, the blighting curse of
slavery?--the driving of free men of the northern states to emigrate to
more uncongenial soil and climate, rather than settle in a slave state.
This is a question which all Missourians who love their State should
investigate. The west, and north-west part of Missouri is capable of
supporting a population larger than the whole present population of the
State. It is a country superior in soil, climate, water, timber and
other natural advantages, to any portion of the great Mississippi
Valley, yet it is unsettled, and apparently will be for a long time,
the current of emigration being turned into Iowa, Minesota and
Wisconsin, simply because men raised in free states do not like the
idea of settling in slave states. Would it not be better for Missouri
to abolish slavery, and thereby cause her millions of acres of rich
lands to be settled by intelligent farmers, with villages springing up
on every water course, than to retain her few thousands of slaves, the
profit of which to the owner is really questionable? But I do not
intend to write a lecture on slavery, but these thoughts would intrude
themselves upon me as I was traveling through this beautiful wilderness
country; for I can say with the greatest sincerity that I know of no
part of the world that it is so desirable to locate in as this, but
with this objection the country never will be settled densely, for the
simple reason that emigrants from the South prefer going to a more
southern climate, where their negroes can be made more profitable
raising cotton and sugar, to going into the west part of Missouri, and
emigrants from the North object to settling in a slave state.

May 1st. Remained encamped as before. Weather more moderate but too
cold for grass to grow.

2d. Remain camped as before. Sent down the river five miles and got 30
bushels of corn in the ear at 90 cents per bushel; bought 11 bushels of
shelled corn at the camp for one dollar per bushel, which we got ground
into meal. Commenced raining in the afternoon, and rained all night; we
had a very disagreeable time of it.

3d. Got our stores mostly on board and crossed the Missouri, and drove
six miles to the Bluffs, and camped. We found the whole six miles a
camping ground, and a good sized city of tents at the Bluffs, probably
six thousand men. Weather still cold.

6 miles.

4th. Remain camped at the same place. Went back to the town and got the
remainder of our supplies; had a very warm day, but a cold night before
it--ice made 3/4ths of an inch thick.

5th. Sunday. Remained camped at the same place; had a pleasant day.
There was a funeral down at the lower end of the camp to-day; it was
about a mile from our camp, I did not learn the particulars. Met at
night to try and organize a company; chose a committee and adjourned
until the next night at five o'clock.

6th. Remained at the same place. Went to town to try the Post Office
again before we started, but found nothing. By the way, I forgot to say
that we are in the Nebraska Territory now, and on the Indian lands. The
Indians do not like it very well that the whites camp on their ground
on account of cutting timber. (There are about 500 of them camped near
us.) The men met again to organize; I was not present, but they made
out nothing. We concluded to go with the same company that we had been
in: Trimble, Sublett, Ainsly, Welch and Trammel & Co. from Mineral
Point, Wisconsin.

7th. Had a bad night last night; it rained and snowed nearly all night.
Had about two inches of snow on the ground this morning. It cleared off
about 10 A.M., when we struck our tent and started on the long journey.
Weather came off fine and warm; find some grass but none to amount to
anything; still have to cut dry grass. We made 20 miles to-day, and
camped on a small creek. We have nine teams in company that expect to
go through together, although we are not organized, viz: (besides
myself) Thomas Trimble, and William Sublett & Co., Stephen Ainsly and
party, Litwiler and company, and Daughterty and company. We have
mechanics of every trade, and various musicians, and while I am
writing, one of the company is enlivening the solitude with a fine
toned key bugle; one ought to be here in the wilderness to know the
value of music. We have 37 men in our party, and if the other teams
come up and join us we shall have 41. This I think is a large enough
party, as we cannot camp any where after this without being near other
companies, several of whom are now camped above and below us. We expect
to go as far as the Indian Mission to-morrow.

12 miles.

8th. Made 14 miles over a rather hilly country, and passed the Indian
Mission, and camped two miles from it on a creek. We found some fine
farms at this mission; it was a pleasing sight to us to see the wheat
fields; they appeared to compare well with the wheat fields of
Illinois. Passed some dead horses on the road to-day; also some graves
of those buried last year. Several teams came up and joined us this

14 miles.

9th. Traveled about 25 miles to-day over a prairie country, passed
several more graves made last year. We have not seen any fresh ones
yet, but found more dead horses. This is the result of feeding too much
corn with no hay or grass. The grass seems to be getting a little
better as we get on. Have had a very hot day, and dry, and good roads
with the exception of two or three mud holes. Some more teams came up
and camped with us--we turned off from the road and camped on a small

25 miles.

10th. Had 21 wagons in our train this morning. We call all hands at 4
o'clock A.M. now, and start about 1/2 past 6. Had some rain last night,
when the wind shifted to the north-west, very cold, and we have had one
of the best roads to-day that I ever saw; plank roads are no comparison
to it, and have passed over the most beautiful prairie country in the
world, with little timber, and that dwarf burr oak, but the soil is
equal to the best in Illinois. We turned off from the road about one
mile and camped on a branch, about 3 o'clock, P.M. The grass is still
improving. We have about 75 men in our company, which is too many, so
many cannot agree. While I am writing, two of them are very near
fighting, and the captain, Wm. Soublett stands between them, as this is
the only means of keeping them apart. We cannot go on long with so
many, I think. Passed some more graves, and dead horses to-day; in fact
we expect to every day. It looks bad to see so many at this end of the

25 miles.

11th. Drove 22 miles to-day. Passed a Chicago wagon broken down at a
creek; Hugunin, of Waukegan, belonged to the party. The country is
prairie, without timber, excepting a few scattering trees on the
creeks. We were delayed some time by a train of ox teams at a creek;
while we were watering I fell asleep, and came very near being left
behind the team. Ford came back and roused me. I stood guard last
night, which was the cause of my being so sleepy; passed several dead
horses, and the graves of many buried last year.

22 miles.

12th. Sunday. Not having a good camping spot we concluded to travel,
and made 30 miles, and reached Blue river. Here we found a large city
of tents, and preaching. There were probably 2000 men camped within two
miles of the crossing; and here we found wagons broken down last year,
with irons of those burnt. Voted two teams out of the train this
morning for disobedience of orders. The night was cold, but the day was
warm. We found some last year's graves, besides the usual amount of
dead horses. This point is called 120 miles from St. Joseph, but I
think it is more. Roads good.

Blue River, or as it is commonly called, the Big Blue, is a beautiful
clear stream, about eight rods wide, and at this time about three feet
deep. It is a favorite camping ground for California emigrants. It has
a skirt of timber, mostly cotton wood, from 8 to 100 rods wide along
its west bank, and generally plenty of grass may be found. Sometimes
however the emigrant is detained here for two or three weeks by the
high water, when his only consolation is in hunting antelope and wild
turkies, of which game there is an abundant supply on this river, and
in fishing. We caught a few small cat-fish after we had camped, but did
not have time to try the qualities of the stream for fish to any great
extent. This stream is in the Pawnee country, and consequently I would
advise all emigrants who hunt remote from the road and their trains, to
be on their guard, for the Pawnees are a very treacherous, hostile
race, and would not be likely to omit of an opportunity offered to
strip a solitary hunter and send him in minus his gun, clothes, and
perfectly naked, for they seem to be a people much given to such
practical jokes, as some who have traveled this road can testify.

30 miles.

13th. Made about 25 miles to-day, but found but little grass. Have had
a good road, and a very hot day. Litwiler and myself scouted to-day for
a good camping ground, and found one where there was good grass and
water, but no wood except a few dry willows, which we made answer our
wants for the night. We had the misfortune to burst one of our inside
hub bands whilst wedging up the boxes this evening, which, although a
small matter in the States, yet may prove a very serious one out here
on the plains, two hundred miles from a blacksmith's shop, as it may be
the means of losing our wagon.

25 miles.

14th. Made an early start and traveled 28 miles; passed a new made
grave, (made this morning) of a young man who accidentally shot himself
through the head, whilst in the act of taking a rifle out of the wagon,
with the muzzle towards him. He was from Illinois. We have had a dry,
hot day, and the dust has been very annoying to us. Litwiler and myself
scoured the creek bottoms to-day again in search of irons of wagons
that had been burnt, and succeeded in finding some hub bands, with
which I repaired our wagon so that it answered as well as before it was
broken. We turned off from the road this evening about a mile, and
camped by a branch of the Little Blue river, where we found a plentiful
supply of grass, wood and water. Litwiler killed a wild turkey this
evening, which was very fat. We have a beautiful camping ground as the
heart could desire; our wagons are circled, with the tents on the
outside like a Tartar village, on the side of a gentle sloping knoll,
at the base of which stretches off to the river, a beautiful grove of
timber through which runs a clear sparkling brook made by a copious
spring which arises from the ground only a few rods from our
encampment. Our horses are feeding about in sight on the side hills,
cropping the rich grass, an abundance of which they have not had before
since we started on this long journey. Indeed we look, if we except the
wagons, more like a wandering band of Tartars than a company of
christians bound on a business excursion; and the appearance of our men
does not tend to destroy the illusion, as sunburnt and bearded with
their belts stuck full of bowie knives and revolvers, they lounge about
in groups on the ground around the camp fires, or busy themselves
amongst the horses, or in the various sports which are got up by the
travelers on the plains to while away the time. But it requires a more
able pen than mine to describe, vividly, a scene like this. To see it
and feel it in all its beauty, one must be hundreds of miles from
civilization, out on those great ocean like prairies, where the sight
of a tree is welcome to the traveler as the sight of a sail to the
mariner when he has been for a long time traversing an unknown sea. He
must be there on a balmy sunset eve, after a long and wearisome march
over arid plains, destitute of water, and suffocated with the dust.
Then when he can find a camping ground combining all the blessings of
grass, good water and beautiful groves, all that the traveler on the
plains holds essential to human comfort, he will truly appreciate a
scene of this kind, but to the dwellers in cities, who know nothing of
the beauties of nature in Nature's temple, the vast wilderness, no
description would give a life-like picture of such a scene.

28 miles.

15th. Remained at the same camp to-day to recruit our horses, and make
some repairs on the wagons, shoe horses, &c. A part of the men have
been hunting--some of them have just returned, it being noon, and
report having seen a great many antelopes, wild turkies, wolves, &c.;
but have brought in nothing, with the exception of Fuller, who has just
come in with a back load of clams or muscles tied up in his shirt, he
not having any other means of bringing his prize, having stripped
himself of that very necessary garment and constructed it into a bag
for that purpose. Perhaps by night they may succeed in getting some
kind of game for a change. I have been busy repairing the hub of my
wagon, while others are equally busy, shoeing horses, washing clothes,
and attending to other necessary evils of a camp life. This evening I
went out and took tea, (as the old ladies would have it at home, in the
settlements,) that is, I went to the tent of friends Litwiler, Porter,
and Drake, and helped eat the turkey which Litwiler shot last night,
and we had quite a sociable time of it, none the less so from the
novelty of taking tea out in this great wilderness, where perhaps the
foot of civilized man never trod before--and one thing I can say with
candor, that unlike many tea parties in more civilized regions, we had
no scandal to talk over to give zest to the enjoyment of our tea
drinking, although we did dwell somewhat on our homes, wives, children,
fathers, brothers, sisters and friends. One wagon left us this morning,
being anxious to get on.

16th. Traveled 25 miles this day over a barren, volcanic country. The
face of the country is prairie diversified with sandy and rocky knobs,
with no water fit for man to drink, although there is some in muddy
pools that the horses may drink as a last resort. The country is
destitute of timber, and has every appearance of having been acted upon
by volcanoes, and taking it altogether, it has been the most dreary
day's drive that we have had yet. We have had an exceedingly hot day,
and the dust has been suffocating. The ground is so dry that grass
cannot grow.

We camped this night on a dry branch of the Little Blue river, where we
could get some water of very poor quality. Found less grass here than
at any place back, which is very discouraging, for there has not been
enough yet at any place but one, to give our horses what they required.
We found a company camped here who intend to stop here three days, and
if no rain falls in that time to turn back to the States, but that is
what we will never do, for we will go on until we get through, or
perish in the attempt; let what will come, our company are determined
to go through.

25 miles.

17th. Our company held a council and elected me Captain of the train
this morning, which is by no means a desirable post, as it is attended
with greater responsibility and much more care and labor than a less
noted position. However there was no help for it, the company
unanimously insisting on my acquiescence, so I was forced to yield to
the "public voice," and accordingly entered upon the discharge of my

We struck our tents at half past six A.M., and crossed the branch where
we became the involuntary witnesses of a terrible accident which
happened to a train that started from above us about the time we left.
As we approached the main road we were alongside of them, and some of
our company finding old friends in the other train, both trains were
stopped to have a little friendly conversation. A few moments
afterwards a dog belonging to the other train, frightened the mules
belonging to one of their wagons, ahead of which there were a span of
high spirited horses, causing them to break out of the train and run,
when instantly the dog jumped upon one of the mules and bit him
severely, and adding much more to their fright. The wagon was loaded to
the top of the bows, on the top of which sat the driver who reined the
horses and mules for some time until a line broke, when they turned
down a steep gully, turning the wagon completely over, and burying the
driver under the load, the leaders (horses) broke clear from the mules,
and the latter turned over and came upon their feet, the reverse from
their original position, the nigh one being on the off side, and the
off one on the nigh side. The horses ran in one direction, whilst the
mules ran in another, with the forward wheels attached to them, and the
dog with another belonging to the train chasing them. The horses were
soon caught by Litwiler, who sprang upon one of our horses and gave
chase, but the mules were not caught until the dogs were shot, although
frequently surrounded by the men, they being so frightened that they
would have ran directly over them. We got the driver out from under the
goods as soon as possible, found him badly bruised and cut up, and
bleeding freely, but sensible, which was more than we expected, as we
thought we should find him killed outright. The wagon was completely
broken to pieces, and they were compelled to encamp the train to repair
the damage and to take care of the injured man. I never saw him
afterwards, and have never heard whether he recovered; it is possible
that he did, yet as they had two doctors in the train it is uncertain.
The train belonged to Hennepin, Ill., and the same unlucky dog I was
told had killed a mule for the train once before since they started.

We reached the Little Blue river about noon. The Little Blue is about
30 feet wide, and about 3 deep, good banks and sandy bottom; the water
is good, and flows in a quick current. It is skirted with cotton wood
trees, with some oak and ash the whole length of it. The timber
generally lies on the west bank of the river, and averages from 20 to
100 rods in width. It furnishes good camping grounds all along its

One of the men killed an antelope this evening which was divided up
amongst the different messes in the train.

25 miles.

18th. Saturday. We saw some Pawnees to-day, for the first time--four
came to the road to trade--about 20 more were hid in a gully a short
distance from us, who were seen by some of our men, although they tried
hard enough to secrete themselves. They are a treacherous, ill-looking
set, and I did not like the looks of them much. They have too much of
the cat look in their eyes, and when I see that in an Indian, I always
look out for treachery. We saw some buffalo to-day--one was killed last
night a short distance above our camp. We camped this night on the
Little Blue, where we found plenty of grass. Litwiler and Ranahan
killed two antelope this evening, which furnished our camp with fresh
meat again. We found plenty of signs of beaver this night, our sentries
hearing them splashing their tails in the water nearly all night; on
the banks of the river were trees one foot in diameter cut down by

22 miles.

19. Sunday. We concluded to travel to-day. Left the Blue for the last
time about noon. A man had three horses and $500 stolen last night by
his own guard, who left him with his wife and two other women without a
team. We took in water at the last place that we struck the Blue river,
having 21 miles to travel without good water. Met a train coming from
Robadeau's trading post, with five wagon loads of buffalo skins and
other peltries. We stopped and wrote letters and sent back to the
States by them, for which we paid them 25 cents for each letter.
Robadeau himself was along, riding in a nice covered carriage, smoking
his pipe, enjoying all the comfort imaginable.

25 miles.

20th. We camped last night on the prairie without wood or water, only
some rotten slough water, bad enough to poison a horse. We had a wind
storm, with heavy thunder, just at night, but no rain. It came upon us
instantly without warning, and before we could secure our tents they
were all blown down but two, which were protected by, and secured to
the wagons. It was terrific, raising loaded wagons on the side next to
the wind, two feet from the ground; we expected they would be blown
over, and nothing saved them from being overturned but their loads, for
if they had not been loaded they would have been swept away before the
wind like feathers. Some of the time it was impossible for a man to
keep his feet. I never saw such a storm of wind in the States, and hope
I may not see another on this journey. We drove 26 miles and camped on
an island in the Platte, or Nebraska river, about two miles below Fort
Kearney, where we found plenty of grass and fuel. Saw some antelope,
deer and buffalo to-day, but did not try to kill any.

26 miles.

21st. Remained over to repair damages, and to cut our wagon boxes off
and make them shorter. Had some rain in the morning. A report is
current here this morning that a train was cut off by the Indians on
Sunday night, (where we baited Sunday noon.) A company of dragoons have
left the Fort to-day to investigate the matter. Fort Kearney is
considerable of a fort, built of adobies or unburnt brick. It is built
in the form of a paralelogram, the centre forming a square which is
defended by a park of artillery. The garrison consists of about 250
soldiers, who seem to be under excellent discipline. The commander's
name I did not learn. The whole affair seems to be well calculated to
keep the Indians in check, but I think would be of very little account
in repelling an attack made by scientific troops, supported with good

22d. Started again this morning, traveled 22 miles up the Platte river.
Our road lay along the Platte bottom, and was very good, but somewhat
slippery from the rain that fell day before yesterday. The Platte
bottom on this side of the river, is from 10 to 15 miles wide, being
terminated on the side opposite from the river by high sand hills or
bluffs. The river itself is about two miles wide, with a swift current,
but filled up with innumerable islands and sand bars.

22 miles.

23d. Our road still leads up the Platte bottoms. The land is very good,
and we find some grass, best where there is no wood, except some
willows and cotton wood on the islands in the river. We saw some
antelope and buffalo to-day, but they were back on the bluffs, and our
men thought too much of their spare horses to follow them.

25 miles.

24th. Continue still up the Platte bottom. We found some excellent
springs of cool water, which were a treat to us, as we have had a very
hot day, and our water has all along been muddy river water. We were
compelled to use buffalo chips to-day for fuel, there being no wood. I
suppose many of my lady readers would rather turn up their noses at a
hoe cake baked on buffalo chips, but I assure them I saw ladies, who
were genteel, that seemed to eat cakes baked with this fuel with great
apparent relish. The buffalo chips used are droppings of buffalo the
year previous. They become entirely dry, and make very good fuel, and
are the main dependance for cooking for the next 300 miles, and until
we get into the sage country. One of our men waded the Platte river
to-day while we were baiting. The water was about three feet deep,
except on the sand bars, where it was often not over six inches deep.
The width of the river is about one mile. We began to find alkali on
the surface of the ground to-day. In some places it was half an inch in
depth, and tastes like air slacked salæratus. We found but little grass
on this day's travel, but a very good, level road, and saw some

25 miles.

25th. Weather still hot, with cold nights. The wind changes about
midnight, and blows cold from the west until noon of the next day, in
the afternoon it dies away, leaving the atmosphere hot and sultry. The
wind suddenly changed this evening, and blew a perfect tornado. It
would have made a parson split his sides with laughter if he could have
refrained from holding the hair on his own head long enough to
laugh--to have seen the perfect confusion and turmoil which our camp
was thrown into when it struck us. Tents were flying in the air, men
chasing their hats, with the most persevering energy; some were holding
down their tents to keep them from tumbling down, while others were
tumbling them down to keep them from being torn into ribbons, and
others in the greatest excitement were securing the covers of their
wagons to prevent their being blown away; in truth it was one of the
most delightful scenes of confusion, turmoil and dismay that could be
imagined. For our part, we had noticed the coming change a few moments
before it came about, and had secured our tent to our wagon, so that it
weathered the gale; ours and one other were the only ones in the camp
that remained standing when the blow passed over. The tornado lasted
about thirty minutes, but during that time it leveled every tent in
every encampment in sight of us, (but the two in our camp.) This is the
second time we have had such a blow out, but we expect to find more of
them before we get through. The grass is poor to-day, and no wood
except willows on the islands and buffalo chips, of the latter of which
there are a great plenty.

28 miles.

26th. Sunday. A part of our train concluded to lie over to-day, but the
majority being against it, produced a split in the train, owing to
which 10 wagons left us and drove on, leaving seven wagons behind. This
we consider no detriment, although the men belonging to those wagons
that left us are all of them whole-hearted, noble-souled companions.
Small trains travel faster than larger ones, and the difficulty of
finding good camping grounds for a small train is not so great as for a
large one. We were sorry to part with them, but we parted in friendship
and peace, as all ought to do on this journey. Some of them wish to
travel to Fort Laramie, which is 330 miles from Fort Kearney, before
stopping, but we wish to rest our horses one day in every seven, and
are determined whenever we can find grass to make that day the Sabbath.
We are all very busy keeping the Sabbath, which is done here after this
fashion: Exercises of the morning, shaving and cleaning with a plunge
bath in the Platte river. Forenoon, setting wagon tire, repairing
wagons. Afternoon, shoeing horses, washing clothes &c. &c. Evening,
rest--which is all the time we get to rest. Our stopping days are no
resting days to us, but our horses need it--they look well now, and we
mean to keep them looking well if we can. We have three blacksmiths in
our train, and one wagon maker. We set the tire on Ainsly's wagon this
morning in a manner that would be new to blacksmiths in the States. Not
having any means of welding tire, we took them off from the wheels,
took all the felloes off, and then put leather cottrells or rings on
the spokes, thereby raising the shoulder of the spoke and enlarging the
circle of the wheel, then put the felloes on again, and then heated the
tire, and set it as tight as the best blacksmith could do, with a forge
and bellows to cut and weld the ties at. This valley is lined with
buffalo bones and carcasses, their skulls lie about in every direction.
One of our men found 18 yesterday in one spot at the foot of a high
bluff. They were probably driven over the bluff by the Indians. We saw
no buffalo to-day, although there were plenty of signs, they appear to
come down to the river at night to get water, and go back to the plains
in the morning. The bottom is about two miles wide here, and on the
bluffs may be found some few scattering cedars. Litwiler killed a noble
buck to-day. Its horns were in the velvet, and the meat good. It made
us plenty of meat for the whole company, and some to spare. Saw a
beaver dam at this place.

27th. We struck our tents again this morning and started. We have had a
very cold day, so much so that we needed great coats and mittens, and I
have suffered more with cold than on any day since I started. We had a
smart shower in the morning, which was welcome. The country on this
day's drive looks like a huge buffalo pasture, the ground being covered
with buffalo chips like a farm-yard. The emigrants before us have been
slaughtering them without mercy. We counted eight fresh slaughtered
ones within one mile distance. We were informed to-day that McPike &
Strother's train lost 25 mules and horses in a stampede last night. We
crossed the south fork of the Platte this afternoon. It is about three
fourths of a mile wide here, which is the south or lower ford, but we
had to travel in the river at least a mile and a half, the wind and
current sweeping us down the river, so that our course lay in the form
of a half circle. The water was about up to our wagon boxes, one of
them taking water a little. This crossing is one of the exciting scenes
of this journey. When we crossed, the river was filled with wagons,
men, mules and horses, extending quite across the river. One of our
wagons got stuck in the quick-sand which frightened the horses, but
frightened the driver more. Being on horse back myself, I rode back to
assist the driver, but in our endeavors to start the wagon we had our
doubletree broken, owing to which accident I had to go ashore and send
back a spare team to help them out, but before the team reached the
wagon, and within a few minutes after I had reached the shore, the
driver came ashore, bearing in hand a tin lantern, that being (in his
fright) the only thing which he could find of value, to save out of the
drowned wagon, which, as he supposed, would be soon buried in the
quick-sand. However, after awhile, the wagon came safely ashore, when
the driver had the satisfaction of depositing his tin lantern in a
place of safety again in one of the boxes in the wagon. He did not
relish much being said after that about crossing the Platte, it was a
disagreeable subject, decidedly. Some of the teams were towed through
the river with long ropes, with 20 or 30 men dragging at them ahead of
the mules and horses, up to their middles in the water. One man was
riding horse back when his horse stumbled off from a sand bar into deep
water, and horse and rider both went out of sight; a dozen of us
started immediately for him, but before we had got to him, horse and
rider both came up, the horse making for the shore, and the man for the
nearest sand bar.--The man lost his rifle and hat, which grieved him a
great deal; the horse lost his rider, which he did not seem to take to
heart at all. We drove about two miles after crossing and camped on the
bottom, with no fuel but buffalo chips. A stampede took place about
sunset, of 150 head of horses, mules and oxen, which was the largest
stampede that we have seen or heard of. We were just cooking our
supper. Our horses were quietly grazing around the camp; the men
gathering buffalo chips for the night, or idly lounging about the
fires, talking and smoking, and taking as much comfort as possible
after our hard day's work, when down the river came a sound, as of
distant thunder, yet more terrible to the ears of the practiced
emigrant on the plains; instantly every man was on his feet listening
to the approaching sounds; faintly above the noise could be heard the
cry of stampede! stampede! and a dark mass enveloped in the dust could
be seen moving down upon us with the speed of the wind. Instantly every
man sprang for the horses, knowing too well that if they were not got
inside of the correll of wagons, before that moving mass of terror and
phrenzy came up to them they were lost. The cooks threw down their
frying pans, the men their pipes, and bags of buffalo chips, and the
whole plain looked more like bedlam broke loose than a quiet camping
ground; some shouted and belabored the poor beasts, who already began
to feel the infection, others lugged away at the long lariets of their
mules who dogged and sullen, threw themselves on their reserved rights,
and braced back on all fours with their long ears turned back and their
eyes half closed, seemed to say to the unhappy knights who were so
energetically tugging them along, no you don't--you can't come it, if
you do, just let us know, but in they had to go, in spite of their
resolution and firmness. During this time, which occupied less space
than I have been in recording it, the infuriated mass kept rushing down
towards us, sweeping everything of stock kind along with them that came
in their way. The matter began to look serious for us, although we had
succeeded in getting all of our stock within the circle of our wagons,
when suddenly, when within a quarter of a mile of us they look a turn
and went dashing over the hills like a torrent, and a few minutes after
them went 30 or 40 men on horses which they had secured, riding madly
on to keep in sight of the terrified animals; on went the mass, and on
went the riders, over hill and gully through the darkness of night in
their "break-neck" career, until they came to the North Fork of the
Platte, when fortune favored the riders, for the stampede took down the
river towards the forks of the two rivers. Excitement reigned through
every camp that night. Many had lost all their stock, their sole
dependence for the prosecution of their journey, or even their safe
return to the States. Families, men, women and children thrown out in
the wilderness hundreds of miles from civilized beings, and their main
hope gone. Would those in pursuit recover the horses? or would they
dash on over these boundless plains in the frenzy of fear, growing more
frantic as they proceeded, as many had before them, until nature could
stand no more, and then drop dead in their tracks? These questions were
often asked, and many were the tearful eyes that night that sought
without avail rest and sleep. All night long the darkness was rendered
hideous by the blowing of horns, firing of guns, and the shouting of
men to warn, if perchance any straggler from the pursuing party should
be on his return, of the whereabouts of the camp, and few were the eyes
in those camps through which the stampede had taken its course that
closed in sleep that night. The stampede continued down the river until
it was stopped by the two rivers coming together, which once having
checked their mad career, they were soon surrounded by the pursuers and
safely secured, with the exception of one horse, which had broken his
neck. Reader, if you wish to realize all the anxiety and horror of a
stampede, go out in the plains hundreds of miles from help, where your
horses are as necessary to your safety as the ship is to the sailor at
sea. See a moving body of stock coming down towards your horses,
snorting, neighing, bellowing and braying, enveloped in a perfect cloud
of dust, making the earth tremble under their feet: witness the
distended nostril, the glistening eye, and the fierce snort and neigh
of your own horse as you cling to him for dear life, and as he kicks
and plunges as the stampede approaches, and the madness grows upon him
to break from you and join them in their mad career--go out and see and
feel all these things, when perhaps your life hangs upon the result,
and then you may have some idea of a stampede; but otherwise you

20 miles.

28th. We traveled up the south Fork about eight miles, when we left the
river and crossed the dividing ridge between the two forks to the north
branch of the Platte. The country is barren and sandy, with no grass.
We saw several antelope, and had one or two good chases for them, but
did not get any.

22 miles.

29th. We were compelled to ascend the bluffs to-day and travel 15 miles
without water. Three buffalo came running towards our train to-day, and
threatened to run through the train, but turned their course when
within about 20 rods of us. Col. Sublet shot two bullets through one of
them from his double shooter but did not bring him down. Litwiler
afterwards killed a bull. We stopped four hours after we got to the
river to get in the meat. It was excellent, with the exception of
having a strong flavor of musk. It will supply our whole train for a
week, besides leaving enough for 40 men. We have found great quantities
of wagons, irons, chains and other property thrown away, on the road
to-day. Abundance of buffalo, antelope and wolves are seen now.

24 miles.

30th. We got an early start this morning, and reached Ash Hollow about
noon, where we found some trees growing, which were welcome to our
sight. The road from the upper ford on the South Fork, comes in at Ash
Hollow. Camped early and found plenty of grass, with thousands of
horses cattle and mules feeding upon it. An old Frenchman with a party
of Yanktaw Indians, is camped near us, trading with the emigrants. We
have passed several good springs of water to-day. The Bluffs here are
mostly limestone, with a few cedar trees growing upon them; back of
this they have been mostly sand bluffs. We find alkali every day now.

22 miles.

31st. We had a heavy shower last night, a perfect deluge, but it was
needed, for the country was very dry. We have passed several Indian
villages to-day, belonging to the Yanktaw Sioux. One village had about
forty lodges in it. The Sioux are a noble race and very friendly, and
appear to be as much civilized as their neighbors near the settlement,
that is they know how to beg to perfection. They lately had a fight
with the Pawnees, in which they were victorious, and took a great many
ponies, which are now feeding around the wigwams. One of them came in
with a pony loaded with buffalo meat while I was in their wigwam. I saw
some Indian burials, to-day. They bury on a platform raised from the
ground, on poles about eight feet high. The poles are set up in the
form of a pyramid, and are fastened together at the top, where also is
hung the medicine bag of the chief. The body is wrapped in buffalo
robes, and a cloth made of bark, enclosing also a quantity of buffalo
meat, and other provisions to last him on his journey to the spirit
land, and his arrows to shoot with on the way. When all the preparation
is complete, the body is laid upon the platform, to moulder or dry up
as may be, in the sun, until the robes get off when the ravens may
finish it. This one that I went to see to-day, smelt so bad that I
could not approach very near to it without holding my nose, and then it
was very offensive. It was a chief who had been killed in the recent
fight with the Pawnees.

_June 1st._ We had more rain last night. Passed several springs to-day,
and saw some scattering trees on the bluffs. We now find great
quantities of lizards; they are small, being about three inches long,
and very sprightly and active little things, and the boys have much fun
in chasing them. We passed some more Sioux and Chienes wigwams to-day;
or as the Indians themselves pronounce it, Siuk. We had a heavy
wind-squall in the afternoon, with some rain. Country still barren,
with but little grass. We camped at night in sight of the famous
Chimney Rock; this rock is quite a curiosity. It is composed of soft
sand stone. It is about one hundred and twenty paces around it at the
base, and about as high as Bunker's Hill monument, and looks very much
like it at a distance. It can be seen at a distance of thirty or forty
miles. We travelled one day and a half after we came in sight of it,
before we came opposite to it. It is said by the French traders to have
been much higher than at present, but is wearing away every year by the
action of the elements. The Court House and county buildings are also
in sight from our camping ground to-night. They are a group of
sandstone bluffs, resembling the objects which they are named from, and
are curiosities worth seeing. They are about twenty miles from us,
perhaps more, but they look as if they were not three miles distant.
All distances here are deceptive, the eye readily taking in objects at
a distance of twenty or thirty miles, the atmosphere being so clear.

25 miles.

2d. Sunday. Laid over to-day, to air our loads and rest our teams.--All
the wagons but Litwiler's and mess left us to-day, being anxious to get
along. We shall probably overtake them at St. Laring, which is about
ninety miles from this place. The weather is pleasant and warm with a
fair chance for grass. Fuller and J. Ingalls undertook to go to Court
House Rock this afternoon, which looks to be but a few miles from us,
but after traveling about twelve miles they thought it looked quite as
far as when they started, and they turned back; they got into the camp
about eleven o'clock at night.

3d. Drove twenty-five miles, and passed the Chimney Rock. We camped
about two miles back from the river on the bottom, and about four miles
from a large bluff resembling the fortification which we named Fort
Whitey, from its white appearance. Several of the boys went out on a
wild goose chase to the bluffs for wood, there being a few straggling
cedars in sight which appeared to be not over two miles distant; they
started about four P.M. and got back at ten o'clock at night pretty
well fatigued, with no fuel, being unable to reach the cedars.

25 miles.

4th. Had a heavy rain last night, and got a late start, but drove
thirty miles and caught up with the rest of our company who left us on
Sunday. We passed Robadove's trading post, at Scott's bluffs and camped
about two miles from it at a spring of clear cold water gushing out of
a rock.--This ought to be called the Rock of Horeb, situated as it is
in a desert land. Our road to-day led back from the river and we have
had a scarcity of water for our horses.

We have had a dry, hot day, with great scarcity of grass. The country
is getting more barren. Found an indifferent camping ground.

25 miles.

6th. Passed another French trading post to-day with its usual
accompaniment of Indian wigwams. Litwiler swapped horses with an old
Indian who took a fancy to his horse because it was white, and his
squaw wanted it, he said. We reached Fort Laramie about four o'clock,
P.M., forded the Laramie river, and camped about two miles from the
fort on the bluff, the authorities at the Fort prohibiting emigrants
from camping in the valley.

26 miles.

7th. Remained this day at the camping ground to write home, there being
a post office at the Fort. There are a great many wagons left at this
point by many taking to packing. Thousands of dollars worth of property
being thrown away, but anything we wish to buy, we have to pay double
price for. Fort Laramie is situated at the junction of the Laramie and
Platte rivers, and surrounded by high bluffs, being at the base of the
Black Hills. It is 630 miles from St. Joseph, and 500 from Council
Bluffs. The fort is built mostly of adobies, or unburnt brick, and
resembles Fort Kearney. The garrison consists of about 300 men at this
time.--The Council Bluffs road comes in at this place, and the soldiers
have a ferry across the Platte by which they make considerable money
out of the emigrants, which I understand goes into a fund to buy a
library for the garrison. The officers have built a hand saw-mill near
the fort, although there is no timber nearer than the Black Hills, some
10 miles distant from the fort.

8th. Struck our tents this morning and started on the Black Hills road.
The majority of the teams have gone up the Platte bottoms. We have
found good grass to-day, abundance of good buffalo grass, the best we
have had. Passed the Warm Spring, 14 miles from the fort; saw a flock
of mountain sheep, but they were so wild that we could not get a shot
at them. Saw an antelope--had a grand chase for him, but he eluded us
and got away. We camped at night at a beautiful stream of water in a
romantic valley, with plenty of wood and water. One of Loyd's men shot
a sage hen, which is a species of grouse somewhat larger than a prairie
hen. The flesh of the sage hen is excellent savory eating. We are now
in the sage country; it resembles our cultivated sage, but is more
bitter, and grows about two feet high; also great abundance of prickly
pear, the ground being sometimes covered for acres in one bed. The
prickly pear covers the ground here to that extent that we are
frequently compelled to clear away with our spades space to erect our
tents, it not being particularly agreeable to the seat of honor to sit
down on the long sharp thorns. This must be a healthy country, although
a barren cold one, being constantly in sight of snow, which can be seen
at all times in the year.

26 miles.

9th. The road this morning led up the valley of the creek about six
miles, then struck across to another creek eight miles; after leaving
the creek we found a spring of good water; five miles from this spring
we came to Horse Creek. Here were great numbers camped, being just
seventeen miles to the next water, with but little grass on the route.
The latter part of the day's drive has been rough and sandy. We passed
two men on the creek making pack saddles. They had given away their
wagons and thrown away their other property. Wagons, harness, stoves,
and all kinds of property we find strewn along the road now. We had a
tremendous hail storm this afternoon. The hail fell two inches deep,
some of the pieces of which were an inch in diameter. Many who were
exposed had their lips and cheeks cut through by the hail. The storm
beat our tents down, and we had to crawl under the wagons for shelter
from its fury. We got up our tents again after the storm passed over,
but had to sleep in three inches depth of mud through the night.

20 miles.

10th. We were camped last night opposite Laramie's Peak, distant about
10 miles. We first saw the Peak at a distance of 70 miles. It is always
covered with snow, which makes it a prominent object. We reached La
Pointe Creek about noon. Have had a hilly road to-day and poor grass.

26 miles.

11th. Camped last night at the Red Stone Quarries. Here we found the
most beautiful, pure specimens of white free stone. It was soft and
could be cut readily with a knife. The real free stone is equally soft
when it first comes out of the quarry. We have had muddy roads to-day,
and a very barren country to travel through, with but little grass.
Passed Pearl Creek, where we had another severe hail storm. Saw a fine
horse that had been left behind to-day. His feet had become injured for
want of shoes.

22 miles.

12th. We saw a good vein of coal to-day, about ten inches thick. It was
on the bank of the Platte river, where the water had washed the bank
away. I examined it, and found it of good quality. A camp near us lost
twenty-six horses and one mule last night, by a stampede. We have heard
to-day that they have found sixteen of the horses, and mule. Country
barren, and grass poor. Passed the Deer Creek to-day, which is a
beautiful stream, with cotton wood trees growing on its banks. Fuller
and Ingalls caught a mess of small fish out of it.

22 miles.

13th. Reached the Upper Platte ferry about noon. We found four boats,
two belonging to the Mormons, and two to a St. Louis company. The
charge for crossing is four dollars per wagon, and 50 cents for a horse
or mule. The celebrated Kit Carson is here with a drove of horses and
mules for sale. I did not see him, he being out on the hills with
stock.--The country is very barren here, the Black Hills reaching down
within a few miles of the river, and covered with snow. Crossed the
river and camped on a barren hill-side without grass, which was the
best spot that we could find.

15 miles.

14th. To-day's drive has been over a desert bearing nothing but wild
sage, and crickets which cover the ground, and seem to get as fat as if
they had something to eat. They were so numerous that we could not step
without crushing some of them. Passed an alkali spring and pond 12
miles from the ferry; also the Willow Springs, 28 miles from the river.
Found good water at the Willow Springs, but no grass. Camped on
Prospect Hill in full view of the lofty snow capped Peaks of the Rocky
Mountains, and have had a very cold, windy day's drive, with sandy

30 miles.

15th. Very cold day; have to wear our overcoats and mittens. Rained all
night and forenoon, with a right smart chance of a snow storm. After
the snow storm had blown out we had one of the most splendid views of
the Rocky Mountains that the mind could conceive. They were clothed
with pure white snow from base to summit, gigantic specimens of
Nature's monuments. Passed some small creeks to-day furnishing some
good water; also several alkali lakes and swamps. Thousands of wagon
loads of pure saleratus and pearlash could be got here. The crusting
over some of the swamps readily supported a man walking upon it. We
gathered some for use and found it much stronger than the manufactured
article, but think it contains some poisonous property, as the bread
made of it affected us disagreeably. I should advise all to observe
caution in using it. Passed the Independence Rock, which is a huge mass
of granite covered with the names of thousands who have gone before us.
Crossed the Sweet Water river, which is about 10 rods wide, and three
feet deep at the ford, and camped one mile from the crossing.

24 miles.

Sunday. 16th. Moved our camp up to the foot of the mountain where we
found a good spring of water and some grass. We are now fairly in the
Rocky Mountains, and a ragged looking country it is. Huge piles of
granite reared upon each other, covered with snow renders the prospect
picturesque, but cheerless. Weather cold and windy.

17th. Passed the Devil's gate, a narrow chasm in the rock, said to be
about four hundred feet deep, through which the Sweet Water runs. It
resembles the dells on the Wisconsin river. Have had a sandy road and
poor grass. Bought a light wagon and harness this evening for 10
dollars. Saw several heavy wagons that had been left on the road, owing
to the sand.

25 miles.

18th. Crossed the Sweet Water three times to-day. Got in with a train
of ox wagons which hindered us so much that we turned out and camped at
3 o'clock, P.M. Found good grass at camp, but have had sandy roads and
no grass on the drive. Left our heavy wagon, for the good of other
comers, who will probably burn it. Ice made last night half an inch in

19th. Started at half past three o'clock this morning, and passed all
the ox trains in their camp ground, the Sweet Water, four miles from
camp, from which crossing we will have 16 miles to travel without water
or grass. Saw several dead oxen along the 16 miles, which were killed
by alkali.--Crossed the Sweet Water again--passed one tent on the river
of a man and his wife, the man down with the mountain fever. Roads
sandy and grass poor. We overtook the balance of our company, who left
us last Sunday, again to-day. This is the second time they have left
us, and we have overtaken them within three days afterwards, which
shows pretty conclusively, I think, that nothing is gained by driving

28 miles.

20th. Got up into the region of snow to-day, and have passed several
snow banks alongside of the road in the ravines. Road better, but no
grass to speak of. We passed the 10 wagons to-day which left us on the
Platte because we would not drive on Sunday. They had had four days
start of us at Ft. Laramie. When we passed them they had 14 men down
with the mountain fever. Crossed a branch of the Sweet Water and the
Willow Creek, and camped about a mile from the latter. We passed to-day
a grave made yesterday of a man found with his throat cut. He had in
his hand when found, a jack knife, and near him was found a scanty
supply of provisions. He had committed suicide. It was evident that he
was a foot packer, and had probably become depressed by his journey and
the gloomy prospect of his not being able to get through his long
journey with his slender supply of provisions. Poor fellow; he had
become discouraged in prosecuting one long journey, and had entered
upon another longer journey, with, perhaps, less preparation than upon
the first. His name was not known.

20 miles.

21st. We lost our horses this morning, which hindered us some time, but
we succeeded in finding them again. We crossed the Sweet Water for the
last time; 10 miles from the crossing is the summit of the Rocky
mountains at the South Pass, which we reached at noon. It is known by
two conical shaped mounds or hills, about 60 feet high. No one would
ever suspect this to be the summit, the country is so level, and the
ascent of the whole distance is so gradual. Three miles from the summit
we reached the Pacific Springs, one of the heads of the Colorado river
of the Gulf of California. Camped at the springs over night, found
plenty of grass, but the swamps are very miry. At this place the
California Express mail stops to take letters back to the States for
the emigrants.--The price of sending back a letter is 50 cents. The
other 10 wagons came up to-night and camped with us. They have two more
men down with the fever, making 16 in all. They intend going the Salt
Lake route from here, but we shall go the Sublett cut-off.

17 miles.

22d. Left early this morning and reached the Big Sandy river at night.
We had no water the first 25 miles excepting from one small brackish
creek. Passed the forks of the Salt Lake and Sublett cut-off, roads 14
miles from the Springs. The right hand road, the Sublett cut-off, the
left, Fort Bridges and Salt Lake. The road along this day's drive has
shown plenty of the evil effects of want of grass, water, &c., in the
numerous skeletons of stock left last year along the road. The country
is barren deserts, destitute of grass, and covered with wild sage. We
found plenty of grass towards the mountains about three miles from the
river.--We have had a hot day, although the mountains, as far as we can
see are covered with snow.

31 miles.

23d. Sunday. Remained on the Big Sandy to-day. Great numbers are camped
here intending to cross the Big Sandy and Green River desert to-night.
One of our company Thos. Trimble, was taken sick yesterday with
mountain fever; by my advice he was brought along by his partner, Col.
Sublett, who had intended to remain back with him. He is very much
better to-day, which inclines me to think that it would be better in
most cases to travel with the patient in that fever than to lie bye.
The Big Sandy is about 10 rods wide, and 18 inches deep at this time,
and is a branch of the Colorado of the West.

24th. Started last night at five o'clock, P.M., to cross the desert,
which is not so much a desert as a great deal of the country over which
we have already traveled. It is destitute of water, but we found
considerable grass. Arrived at the Green River about noon, having
traveled all night, only stopping occasionally to rest our teams. The
distance, as measured by a roadometer belonging to Dr. Reed's
Pennsylvania train, was 41 miles, but I was told that a road turned off
25 miles from the Sandy which shortened the distance to Green River, to
30 miles. It was but little traveled, owing to which we missed it,
being in the night when we passed it. Five miles from the river we had
a bluff to descend which was 300 feet high, and almost perpendicular,
but we got down without accident by locking both hind wheels and
sliding. Last year the emigrants were obliged to take their wagons to
pieces and let them down with ropes. We had a beautiful moonlight last
night for traveling. Our road led in sight of the snow mantled peaks of
the Rocky Mountains, which looked with the moon beaming upon them, like
mountains of molten silver. It was one of the most magnificent views
that I have ever witnessed, and richly repaid me for the loss of rest
in crossing the desert in the night to attain it. We brought a packer
across the desert in our wagon who was unable to travel on horse back,
from sickness; he was so much better when we reached Green River that
he concluded to try his horse again. Our company is peculiarly
fortunate, for we not only escape sickness ourselves, but are often
able to relieve others who are suffering. We crossed Green River in a
ferry boat and drove seven miles, passing a creek six miles from the
river, and camped for the night. Found the grass poor, but good water.
We paid $5 a wagon for crossing, and swam our stock. Green River is
about 15 rods wide at the ferry, with a very swift current, and
generally deep. Some few ford above the ferry, but it is attended with
great danger. One wagon went rolling down the stream, while we were
there. One horse belonging to it was drowned, but the men were saved by
the ferry boat. One went down yesterday in the same manner. I
understand that 14 men have been drowned here this season in crossing.
Flour is worth here $50 per hundred lbs. Green River presents the most
romantic scenery in the world; it is deep set in the midst of bluffs
that take the shapes of towers, castles, cities, and of every
imaginable work of art. The bottom is smooth at intervals, looking like
a lawn with the stream, as viewed from the summit of the bluffs
meandering through it, looking like a silver thread winding through a
green landscape, while at a distance on one side may be seen the peaks
of the Rocky Mountains covered with snow, from their bases to their
summits, rearing their heads far into the sky, with the sun shining
upon them causing them to glisten like burnished silver. On the other
side are Green River mountains, which, though less lofty, are quite as
picturesque, having their valleys relieved by groves of pine, the green
contrasting agreeably with the naked brown rocks composing the
mountains. It is out of my power to do the subject justice.--It would
be a paradise for a landscape painter. When the railroad shall be built
from the States to California or Oregon, it will undoubtedly become a
fashionable resort in summer, and then its beauty will be known to the
world. Green River rises in the Wind River mountains and empties into
the Colorado.

48 miles.

25th. Drove five miles to a considerable branch of Green River, and
camped for the day. We here found the best grass that we have had since
leaving St. Joseph. Drove our horses about one mile below the road and
crossed to an island containing about 40 acres, covered with excellent
grass. We have had a very hot day, as we have had every day since we
left the Pacific Springs, but cold nights.

5 miles.

26th. Remain in camp to-day to recruit our horses. A man died about a
mile above us to-day. He had the measles, when the mountain fever set
in and carried him off. Some of the company went to the mouth of the
creek this evening and caught a fine mess of salmon, one of which
weighed seven lbs. They are an excellent kind of fish, and very well
flavored, the cold ice water of the mountain rivers keeping them always
hard. They are very abundant in Green River.

27th. Started again this morning early, traveled up the creek about
three miles, then crossed the stream and struck across the ridges.
Had a bad day for traveling on account of the dust which was
suffocating.--Stopped to bait at some springs and thin groves at the
foot of the Two Mile bluffs. We here found a few spruce trees. It is a
great pleasure in these deserts to find trees, even if they are but
dwarfs. We camped at night near a little brook at the foot of some high
mountain. We have had high hills to ascend and descend to-day, with
plenty of water but no grass until night, when we found good grass.

26 miles.

28th. We traveled above the snow region again to-day and had abundance
of it all about. I climbed one snow bank 20 feet high, notwithstanding
the heat in the middle of the day is so intense. We have had steep
hills to ascend again to-day, but the worst of it is in descending
them.--We crossed one considerable stream, name unknown. Fuller and
Jonathan caught about 35 trout while we were lying about it. We have
had plenty of Indians about us. They are Shoshonees or Snakes. Camped
this night on Grove Hill, at the Bear Head encampment, in the summit
between Green River and Bear River. We are above snow yet, and have
found a plenty of grass and water.

18 miles.

29th. We had some very bad hills to descend to-day. I understand that
the emigrants of last year had to let their wagons down some of them
with ropes. We got down with out accident, by locking our hind wheels.
Reached Bear River about 3 P.M., and drove down the Four Branches or
Smith's River, and camped. At this point the Four Branches enter the
Bear River between two high points or curves of the mountains, and
within one hundred rods from the first to the last. One of them is very
deep and bad to cross; the water coming nearly to the top of the wagon
bed. Bear River is a large stream about 150 yards across, with a deep
swift current, and runs almost directly towards the north at this
place. Its bottoms furnish an abundance of luxuriant nutritious grass,
enough to supply all the stock on the plains, and they resemble the
bottoms on the rivers of Illinois. We find plenty of Indians on this
river, it being the head quarters of the Shoshonees whose lodges may be
seen on the opposite side of the river. They have an abundance of Rocky
Mountain horses, and are learning to talk English very fast; have
learned to beg right smart, as our Missouri friends say, but dog on
'em, if they can't beg, they will steal. They are a little better
looking Indians than the Crows, but I think much more indolent and

18 miles.

30th. Sunday. We remain in camp to-day, having good grass and water.
Some of the boys are fishing trout and have caught several. This is a
beautiful, romantic spot, surrounded by high steep mountains, forming a
basin three or four miles in extent, well supplied with grass. We have
had some Indian visitors here to-day; one of them swam Bear River and
came up to the camp, as naked as father Adam before he eat the
forbidden fruit. He was an old fellow, and as full of his jokes as if
he could talk English. His nakedness however did not seem to trouble
him, as I suppose that according to his notions of propriety, "That
nature unadorned, the most adorned;" and it is no unusual thing to see
the Indian women in the same state of nature's ornament as father
Adam's helpmeet was at the time before mentioned.

A train passed to-day, who called upon us for assistance in crossing
the Four Forks, for reason that every man in the train was sick but
one. We helped them to cross, when they went their way. Dr. Reed's
Pennsylvania train camped here last night. They moved on this morning
with the intention of getting up a celebration of our National
Anniversary on the Fourth of July. We have traveled occasionally with
them since striking the Little Blue, often camping with them, so much
so that we seem to feel like old friends.

July 1st. Struck our tents this morning and crossed the Four
Forks.--Had bad crossing the second Fork, the water being over the top
of the wagon box. After crossing, we had to go over one of the worst
roads around the mountain I ever saw, sometimes raising our wheels up
perpendicular rocks three feet high, sometimes jumping off similar
ledges.--We broke the bolster to our wagon--others experienced other
injury.--Some in advance of us had been still more unfortunate, as the
wrecks of wagons along the road plainly proved. We drove about 12 miles
and baited by another fine stream, where we found plenty of grass, and
caught a fine mess of trout.

This afternoon we had some tremendous hills to climb and descend, with
a very rough road, over combs of rock, but at night we found ourselves
past them, and on Bear River again, where we camped. We have found an
abundance of grass and water to-day, and have had rather a pleasant
time, although climbing some of the hills was sufficiently tiresome,
though not as tiresome as the descent.

25 miles.

2d. Had a good road with plenty of water and grass. The road left the
river to-day, following up a wide valley, in which we camped for the
night. We passed an Indian village this afternoon, with a grocery and a
black smith's shop. The forge was an army forge, belonging to the
Government. Porter swapped one of his horses that had got beaten out,
with an Indian, and got the wickedest little witch of a pony that I
ever saw. It had never been rode with anything but a lariet. The boys
had great sport this evening in trying to harness her, which they
succeeded in doing after a long fight with her.

22 miles.

3d. We had an excellent road with an abundance of water and grass. I
say nothing about wood for the last thousand miles, for the reason that
we have had to do the best we could for fuel by using buffalo chips,
(Boise baches) and sage bush. We passed the Soda Springs this afternoon
and camped on the Bear River for the last time, and where the Fort Hall
road leaves the river, and about four miles from the Springs. The
Springs are situated at the point where the Bear River commences to
turn towards the south. They will undoubtedly, when the great railroad
shall have been constructed to the Pacific, become a great watering
place for the world.--It is a beautiful location. The majestic Bear
River flowing along--the snowy peaks of the Utah mountains stretching
away to the south as far as the eye can reach, while to the north can
be seen the lower ranges of the Rocky Mountains, green to their tops
with vegetation. The Springs arise on the bank of the river on a small
plain covered with cedars through which runs a clear branch of the Bear
River. To the west may be seen the bed of the old volcanoes, now a
barren plain, covered with wild sage, and dangerous to travel, on
account of the numerous chasms of unknown depths, opening their yawning
mouths on its surface. Probably there are no greater curiosities in the
world than the Soda Springs. The water from several of these springs is
equal to the best soda. We tried it with acid and produced a most
pleasant beverage. One of them called the Steamboat Spring, is a great
curiosity of itself. It has a cone shaped shaft or spout, the cavity of
which may be six or eight inches in diameter. The water rises and
recedes in this shaft every few minutes, with a noise like letting off
steam on a steamboat, hence its name. There are also Sulphur Springs,
and springs containing other minerals, and five miles back in the hills
is a Sulphur Lake. We have had a pleasant summer day to-day, although
the mountain-tops are covered with snow. We have had a light shower
this afternoon, for the first time since we crossed the Rocky
Mountains. We found an Indian village at the Soda Springs, with one or
two Frenchmen. They were Shoshonees or Snakes, and very intelligent
looking Indians.

25 miles.

4th. Not having overtaken Reed's train, to celebrate with them, we
concluded to travel to-day. The Fort Hall road here bears to the right,
which is also the Oregon route; the Soda Springs cut-off route keeps
directly across the old crater. We concluded to go the latter route.
About 10 miles travel took us over the crater, and six miles more over
the hills to a branch of the Lewis or Snake River, a branch of the
Columbia River, where we found another Indian village, with some
Mexicans, and about three hundred of the most beautiful Rocky Mountain
horses. We passed the village and stopped to bait on the side of the
hill, where we found good spring of water. We here had a pail full of
punch made, cooled with a lump of snow from a deep snow bank a few rods
from our camp, to celebrate our National Anniversary. Having drank our
punch, and given three cheers for our glorious Union, we resumed our
march. Soon after starting we came to where we had to descend a very
bad hill, where we found one company with their wagon broken down, who
were about to take to packing. Soon afterwards we came to another
considerable stream which we traveled down a few miles and camped. We
found plenty of grass on the stream and caught some fine trout.

25 miles.

5th. Passed several streams to-day, and some good springs. Roads good
but somewhat hilly; plenty of grass; passed a brook about night, camped
on a hill side by a spring of water. This is the most beautiful country
that I ever traveled in; stupendous mountains, the bald peaks covered
with snow, rearing their lofty heads far into the skies. The lesser
hills green to their tops, and the valleys rich with vegetation, wild
wheat, clover and oats, whilst the clear, pure, invigorating atmosphere
renders it the paradise of the mountaineer in summer. It is well worth
a trip to California for the slothful, ease-loving denizen of lower
countries, to see the country, and recover their manhood.

23 miles.

6th. Drove about 11 miles and stopped to bait at a pretty little brook.
We should have taken in water at this place, as we had to drive 18
miles to get water again. After baiting we entered a canon which we
followed about eight miles to the top of a mountain. It furnished us
with an excellent road, although so narrow that but one wagon could
pass for most of the way, the walls rising on either side hundreds of
feet. The ascent is gradual, so much so that the traveler hardly
perceives any. We called this the Emigrant's Pass. It seems as if
nature constructed this inclined plain expressly for the benefit of us
poor mortals, but if dame Nature was moved by any such kindly feelings
towards us when she was engaged on this excellent natural road, she
must have got sadly miffed when she got it completed to the top of the
mountain, for we had one of the most tremendous descents to make on the
other side, that we have had on the journey. The descent was probably
one thousand feet within the first mile, steeper than the roof of a
house. It is said of an ancient Spartan, that he commenced by lifting a
kid, and by continuing to add weight, soon got so that he could lift an
ox. This is somewhat the case with us; when we commenced the journey,
trifling hills were considered great obstacles, but now we lock our
hind wheels and slide down a thousand feet, over rocks, and through
gullies, with as much sang froid as a school boy would slide down a
snow bank. After descending, we traveled down a valley a few miles and
turned up to the foot of the mountains, and just after dark found

29 miles.

7th. Sunday. We concluded to lie over to-day, although we have not so
good a camping ground as we could desire. One of our company, Loyd, of
Mineral Point, Wis., had a horse stolen, or strayed last night. Another
company, camped about eight miles from us, had three stolen by the

8th. Got an early start this morning. Passed another spring eight miles
from where we camped last night. Met six men going back after the three
horses that were stolen. They had recovered one, which the Indians had
sold to an ox train. Passed some men digging a grave, to deposit the
last remains of one who had traveled a long road to obtain a narrow

This afternoon, we entered another canon, similar to the Emigrant's
Pass, only that instead of having a steep hill to descend, it reached
quite through the mountain. The distance through, is about fifteen
miles, and has several fine springs of water in it. Saw some goodly
sized trees, either spruce or fir; camped at night in the canon on a
spring branch which makes out on the west side of the mountain. Found
good grass all day; passed over a valley covered with wild wheat, as
high as my shoulders. It was headed out, and looked like a cultivated
wheat field.

25 miles.

9th. Traveled down the Spring branch about six miles, when we crossed
it, and traveled fourteen miles over a barren, burning sage plain,
without water--to Raft river, which is the nastiest stream that we have
had to cross, since leaving the Missouri. Deep, narrow and muddy, we
had to pack all of our load across it, on our backs. One wagon that
crossed whilst we were there, tipped end-wise over the forward wheels,
as it entered the stream, throwing the two men who were in it, into the
water, frightening them awfully. They caught hold of their mules'
tails, and were drawn out; the king bolt of the wagon preventing its
coming down upon them. We had four more, smaller streams to cross,
within two miles of the Raft river, equally muddy; at one of which, we
broke our hindmost evener, leaving our wagon in the water, and getting
our load wet. After getting out of the scrape, we drove four miles, and
crossing another branch of the Raft river, camped for the night, at the
junction of the Cut-Off and Ft. Hall roads.

We are now at the end of the Soda Springs cut-off. I like this route
much, with the exception of descending two bad hills; it is a good
route, along which may be found abundance of grass and water, the two
great desideratums on this long journey. It is somewhat infested with
Indians, excepting the first 45 miles; they are the Shemook or Root
Digger Indians, a thievish, rascally race. It is well for the emigrant
to keep good guard over his stock on this cut-off, for they are always
on the watch for an opportunity to steal. We have good grass and water
to-night, and an abundance of it.

25 miles.

10th. Left our camping ground early and travelled up the creek about
five miles, then crossed and passed over another dividing ridge to
another small creek--came in sight of the Great Salt Lake road. Had
plenty of grass and water--camped at night on a small brook in a basin
in the mountains, surrounded by high granite peaks standing about in
the greatest confusion, called the Steeple Rocks. They are quite a
curiosity at a distance, looking like steeples rising up from the
plains, some of them many hundred feet high, and covering more than an
acre or two at the base.--The road has been good.

25 miles.

11th. Got an early start this morning. We had a very cold night, quite
cold enough for December, but have had a very warm day.--Passed the
Junction of the Salt Lake and Ft. Hall roads this morning;--saw some
wagons coming that road, the men said they had been seven days coming
from Salt Lake; that it was about 170 miles, and that they had some bad
streams to cross, one of them (the Webber) 19 times.--Passed a new
grave at noon. We saw the team to which the person belonged who died,
go along while we were baiting; he was then alive;--when we came up two
hours afterwards, he was buried. He was from Missouri, and had been
left sick on the road by his comrades. The team that had him in charge
had picked him up and brought him along over 1000 miles and attended
him until he died. Humanity sickens at such selfishness as that
manifested by his comrades. They were three in number--he owned one
fourth of the craft in common with them, but becoming sick, the brutes
left him to the mercy of Indians, wolves, or such strangers as chance
might throw in his way. The scoundrels should serve 10 years in the
penitentiary if they ever get back to Missouri. We find many sick on
the road now, and some deaths, but three-fourths of all that are sick
are from Missouri. I do not know why it is, but such appears to be the

This afternoon we had a long bad hill to descend, when we reached Goose
Creek, and traveled up a few miles and camped for the night.--We have
had an abundance of grass and water to-day. A singular looking gigantic
bluff of rocks lies directly opposite from us, which we call the
castle, and it looks like an ancient castle, with its mossy battlements
and sturdy towers. I saw some of the most beautiful specimens of white
marble to-day that it hast been my fortune to examine. There was a
quarry of it filling a mountain. It was as pure as alabaster, and
probably has not a rival in the world. Horse shoe nails sold to-day for
25 cents a piece.

25 miles.

12th. Followed up the Goose creek 13 miles, then up a spring branch
thro' a gorge in the mountains and across some barren ridges without
water, about 12 miles, when we entered the Thousand Spring Valley. The
ridge that we crossed is composed almost entirely of lava, or melted
stone, and is very rough and sharp to travel over. We did not camp
until after dark, there being no grass at the first springs, and then
we camped in the wild sage without grass, but we could go no farther
that night. Fourteen horses ran away whilst we were getting our
supplies. Some of them were found during the night, and the rest in the
morning; they had found good grass up in the hills. Most of our men
were out all night, so that this night seems but a continuation for the

30 miles.

13th. Crossed the ridge from the Thousand Spring Valley to the Cold
Creek Valley about 12 miles, no grass or water. Cold Creek is a dry
creek where we struck it, but furnishes some water for stock. Our
course lay up the creek, which we followed up to near its head, where
we camped at some good springs impregnated with sulphur. We found
plenty of grass at night, and have seen considerable quantities of
alkali through the day. We passed the grave of a man drowned July 1st.,
[1850] but cannot imagine where it happened, as there is not water
enough in the creek to drown a man, if he should lie down expressly for
that purpose. The dust has been very oppressive to-day.

23 miles.

14th. Sunday. Laid over to-day. Weather very warm, but cold last night.
Jonathan killed a sage hen to-day; we found it good, delicate flavored
meat, much better than prairie hen. A packer had a horse shot last
night with an arrow about 10 miles below us; another man lost two
horses and four oxen which were stolen by the Indians.

15th. Got an early start this morning, traveled about four miles and
came to the hot springs. They are curiosities worth visiting. They boil
up like water in a kettle, and are hot enough to cook eggs. I attempted
to put my hand into one of them to the wrist, but could not get it in
to the knuckles without scalding. An amusing story is told of some
Dutchmen who came to it, and stopped their teams by its side, when one
of them went to the spring, and seeing it boiling up clear and limpid,
threw himself down on the ground and thrust his face into the water,
but instantly sprang to his feet with his eyes staring, and brushing
the hot water from his face with both hands, he screamed out, "Trive
on, Honce, trive on; hell ish no more dan five milsh from here!" The
springs smell strong of sulphur, and discharge a large quantity of
water. Near them are some good cold springs. Four miles from these
springs we left the Mormon trace which leads over to Kanyon Creek, and
passed through a valley to a branch of the Humboldt River. Road good
but dusty, not much grass. At the point where we left the Mormon trace,
we found an excellent spring of pure cold water, as cold as ice water.
We passed a natural well near the place where we struck a branch of the
Humboldt, and camped two miles below at some sulphur springs, strongly
impregnated with alkali. This well has no soundings that have ever been
reached, there are also some of the same in Thousand Spring Valley. The
whole country hereabouts has been at some day past a great volcanic
crater, and its distinctive features at this day will remind one of
that place spoken of above by the honest Dutchman, rather than
pertaining to earth. We have passed springs gushing out of the rocks
to-day so poisonous that a wine glass full would kill a man as soon as
so much arsenic. They can be told by the smell for 40 rods before
reaching them. We found good grass to-night, although there was
considerable alkali mixed with it.

33 miles.

16. About 10 miles drive brought us to the Humboldt, which is about 20
yards wide and three feet deep. We crossed it and followed down it on
its west bank. The valley here is wide and filled with abundance of
excellent grass, clover, wild oats, wheat and red top. The day has been
very hot and dusty, yet on both sides of us, but a few miles distant,
the tops of the mountains are covered with snow. We passed two new
graves to-day; one of them was of a man who was shot by an Indian
whilst on guard on the night of the 2d of July, and died on the fifth.
His name was Oliver; he was from Waukesha, Wis. The Indians are rather
troublesome of late, as the Diggers always are when they dare to be. We
find a great many dead horses now, and some that are left alive, the
effects of hard driving and alkali. The most of the dead stock
heretofore has been oxen, but it seems now that oxen stand this part of
the trip the best.

25 miles.

17th. Course still down the river--crossed a considerable branch of the
Humboldt, probably the Kanyon creek. The Humboldt here is very swampy.
Had some of our horses mired--general complaint of like nature. The
road last year followed down the bottoms, but this year the water is so
high, that the bottoms are one complete swamp, and as a consequence we
have to keep on the sage plains and cross ridges, making the road
longer and worse to travel, and also to wade in the mud and cut grass
for our stock. Passed another grave this evening of a man killed by an
Indian; also some men digging a grave for one of their comrades who had
died. There is an abundance of red clover along this drive in the low

32 miles.

18th. Continued down the river--stopped and set the tire for our wagon.
This afternoon we entered a canon leading across a spur of the
mountain, distance about 12 miles, and without water. Camped on a small
creek, with but little grass. A horse was shot a short distance from us
by the Indians.

23 miles.

19th. About five miles from our last night's camp we crossed a mountain
brook of excellent water, then entered a canon which we followed for 26
miles, the first 14 without water. After turning the summit, and
descending about two miles we came to a spring of pure cold water by
the road side. We camped this night on the Humboldt and swam our stock
across the river. Our camp presents the appearance of a populous
village. There are probably not far from five hundred men in it,
besides many women and children. Found good grass on the opposite side
of the river.

33 miles.

20th. Our road to-day led mostly away from the river, crossing some
ridges in the forenoon; in the afternoon left the river and crossed a
level sage plain to the base of the mountains, where we found some poor
water and some grass. We followed along at the base of the hills until
we reached within a few miles of the river again and camped on a bottom
covered with heavy grass, and slough water. This is the best point to
stop at to recruit on the Humboldt, as there are miles of good grass
equal to the less cultivated meadows, and but little alkali, and by
taking some pains, water may be had. It will be known by the emigrant
by this description: The road leaves the river and runs directly to the
hills, the river bearing to the left. The hills which you approach also
bear to the left, until they approach the river, which takes a short
turn around its base. The road when it reaches the hills turns to the
left and follows the base of them until it strikes the river, then
passes around the rocky rugged point of the mountain next to the river.
After you pass this point you come into extensive salt and alkali
plains. You will find good looking grass in some places, but it is so
much impregnated with salt and alkali that your stock will run down on
it all the time. The best place to stop here is a few miles before you
reach the point of the mountain. Turn off to the left towards the

The day has been hot and the dust oppressive. No person in the States
can have an idea of the dust in this country until he has been here. A
man will settle to the ankles at every step, and his eyes and nostrils
are filled with it throughout the day; and when the wind blows it is
suffocating. The country is volcanic, the mountains being composed
entirely of lava and cinders. We found a new variety of currants here,
yellow variety, which are very good. Fuller picked a large quantity of
them to-day.

30 miles.

21st. Sunday. We drove about eight miles to-day, passing the point of
the mountain and camped near the river in a clover patch. There are a
number of warm springs near the road by the point of the mountain.

8 miles.

22d. Left the river this morning and traveled down the second bank of
the river, a nearly level plain covered with alkali and wild sage, but
no grass. We went to the river once, although out of the way. The right
hand road is 18 miles without grass or water, very dusty and
disagreeable. Water very bad, even that in the river; camped on the
river bank, no grass on our side. The boys swam the river about fifteen
rods wide here, and rigged a sort of ferry with our piquet ropes, and
ferried grass across on them for the night, no small job for 17 horses.

23 miles.

23d. Started this morning at four o'clock, A.M. From camp it is 14
miles to water or grass. Two miles from camp the roads branched in
every direction, and the course of the river is hidden entirely by the
mountain which seems to circle the whole country like the rim of a
great basin, with the exception of a gap far to the right. The plain
spreads out to the mountains level and desolate, a desert. This
labyrinth of roads gave rise to one of the most ludicrous scenes that I
ever saw. For myself, I had been lost from my wagons since daylight,
without being aware of the fact, and like the rest had taken a wrong
road. About noon I found some good clover and stopped to bait my horse.
When I started again, on rising a gentle aclivity I found the plain
alive with teams and men, who looked as though they had been struck
with the confusion of Babylon. Some were driving in one direction, some
in another, oxen, horses, mules, wagons, horse packers and foot
packers, were hurrying across the plains, without seeming object, in
every direction as far as the eye could reach, and in the most
delightful confusion imaginable. Two hundred wagons and numbers of
packers had lost their way, and knew not which way to turn, and as
usual in such cases were going every wrong way. I rode up to a man and
asked him what the deuce was to pay; if all the people were mad? He was
as much in the fog as I was. Presently some packers came along who said
they had been to the end of the road, and that they were lost. This
explained the confusion, although not very satisfactory of itself, for
we began to fear that we had inadvertantly been following some old
cut-off which would take time to retrace. By good fortune I succeeded
in finding one wagon belonging to our train, where I got some dinner.
Our train had become broken up as well as the rest in the confusion,
each one going on his own hook. After dinner I struck out in the
direction where I thought to find the river, and found I was right, and
about night was so fortunate as to find the ballance of the train, who
had succeeded in reaching the river ahead of me. Emigrants, that is the
Fools Meadow. When you get down below the point of the mountain which I
spoke of before this, and come to a great basin, surrounded on all
sides, but a gap far to the right, don't you pay any attention to that
gap, nor come to the conclusion that the river takes a turn and runs
through it, for it don't do it, but you keep the extreme left hand
road, and you will find that the river runs right through the mountains
as high as they look. The right hand roads are all camping roads, and
extend some of them 12 miles to some clover patches, and the old Lawson
cut-off leads through that gap on the right, where an Oregon party went
two or three years ago and nearly all perished. Many stopped and made
hay at these clover patches, thinking they were at the desert, but
don't trouble yourself here, for you have got a long dreary march of a
week's duration before you get to the Great Desert. We traveled hard
all day to get 14 miles on our journey, but I think the emigrant who
reads this will remember the Fools Meadow, and avoid the same mistake.
The emigrants now begin to experience a want of provisions. Flour, pork
and sugar are one dollar per lb.; coffee 50 cts., fresh beef 25, and
not much to be got at those prices.

14 miles.

24th. About four miles from last night's camp ground we came to a
watering place near where the river passes through the mountains. The
road leaves the river here and crosses the mountains eight miles, rough
road and dusty, no water. Swam the river for grass to bait our horses
at noon. Passed the grave of a man who was drowned whilst getting grass
across the river. Camped at night on the river; had to wade three
sloughs to find grass.

20 miles.

25th. A few miles from where we camped had a bad deep creek to cross,
where we found plenty of dead stock. Immediately after crossing passed
over a rough stony ridge for about two miles, between two cone shaped
hills or mammelles. This point is about 110 miles from the meadows at
the sink of the Humboldt, and there is but little grass on the route.
Litwiler cut his wagon in two and made a cart of it, we then drove
about eight miles and camped. Roads sandy, weather hot. This river
beginning to lose itself and grow smaller. I killed three sage hens
this morning, which were very desirable as we are getting short of

18 miles.

26th. Traveled over 18 miles of very bad road to-day. It was over a
table of the mountain. The sand was six inches deep, for most of the
way, and the day hot; our stock suffered severely. Passed much dead
stock and piles of wagon irons. Killed two sage hens--mosquitoes quite
troublesome; camped on the river bottom which is narrow; but little

18 miles.

27th. Started at four o'clock, A.M., traveled down the river two miles,
then left the river, struck across a desert plain 12 miles to the
river; many think this the Great Desert; it is desert enough, but not
the Great Desert. This point will be known by a high mountain dividing
two valleys. The river runs to the right of this mountain. At noon we
had to feed our horses on willows, there being no grass. We got some
rushes by swimming the river. We have now got far enough along to begin
to have a sight of the Elephant. The river here runs through narrow
clay banks like a canal. Passed the grave of a man found in the river;
camped at night on a sand bank, put our horses across the river; grass

17 miles.

28th. Sunday. Crossed a sand ridge about two miles, and travelled down
the bottom about four miles, where we found some grass and camped. Our
horses are failing fast. Kit Carson says truly that the Humboldt is the
burying ground for horses and oxen. We pass daily great numbers of dead
stock at the camping grounds, in the sloughs, and in the river. The
river is nothing but horse broth, seasoned with alkali & salt. The
appearance of emigrants has sadly changed since we started. Then they
were full of life and animation, and the road was enlivened with the
song of "I am going to California with my tin pan on my knee." "Oh,
California, that's the land for me," but now they crawl along hungry,
and spiritless, and if a song is raised at all, it is, "Oh carry me
back to Old Virginia, to Old Virginia's shore." Well, they say misery
loves company, so we can have some enjoyment after all, for there is
plenty of that kind of company. No one seems to know where we are, even
those who traveled the route last year, several of whom are along. Last
year the road led immediately on the bottom, but this year it is on the
sage plains or second level of the river, the bottoms being so swampy
that they cannot be crossed. The Mormon guide for this end of the
route, is good for nothing. Yesterday was the worst day for dust that
we have had. Every body was literally covered with it so that the
drivers could not be recognised.

6 miles.

29th. Litwiler and Ranahan killed three antelope yesterday. They packed
in two of them about eight miles from the mountains. They arrived in
camp about 11 o'clock at night. Passed the clay banks, some
perpendicular banks on the opposite side of the river about 50 feet
high. From this place is a desert, the river running through narrow
clay banks, void of vegetation except the Artemesia or wild sage. The
road generally follows the plains back from the river, only approaching
occasionally for water. We camped about three P.M., and managed to get
a little grass for our horses.

15 miles.

30th. Started at four A.M.; route similar that of yesterday. We are now
in sight of the Pyramid, a lone peak nearly opposite the upper slough
of the sink commonly called the meadow. Road touched the river once or
twice to-day for water, but no grass, nothing for feed but willows.

16 miles.

31st. Started at one o'clock, A.M., struck the river again 10 miles
from camp; no grass, only an arid sage desert. From this it is 25 miles
to the slough or meadows, and 13 to water, which will be found at some
springs in the gully directly opposite the pyramid. We reached the
springs about 10 o'clock, A.M., although one of our horses gave out,
which delayed us somewhat, and reached the upper end of the slough
about noon, where we obtained some rushes and flags for our horses
which they devoured greedily after their long fast on willows. The
pyramid at a distance resembles an ancient Mexican pyramid, rising by
steps. It may be seen for 40 miles up the river, and serves as a
beacon, for the slough or meadows. After baiting we continued down the
slough about six miles to some passable springs, and to where there is
better grass. We found two cities of tents at the slough quite
populous. They would do honor to more civilized countries. The road for
a few days past has been strewed with dead stock. I counted to-day 120
head of horses, mules and oxen, and got tired of it before night at
that. I suppose I passed 50 head more that I did not count. If there is
any worse desert ahead than we have found for 70 miles back, I don't
know what it may be. I have noticed several dead horses, mules and
oxen, by the roadside, that had their hams cut out to eat by the
starving wretches along the road; for my own part I will eat the
lizzards which infest the sage bushes, before I will eat the stock that
died from the alkali. The destitution has reached its height now.
Hundreds are entirely out of provisions, and there are none who have
any to spare, and but very few who have enough to carry them into the
mines. Often, almost daily, will some poor starved fellow come up to
the wagon and pray us in God's name to give or sell him a crust of
bread; some of them asserting that they have eaten no food for two, or
even three days. Money is no consideration for food here; no one will
sell it for money, but we always give enough to prevent starvation,
when thus importuned, although we have not over five days' provision on
hand, putting our trust in Providence for the issue to ourselves--for
so long as there is game in the mountains we will never starve.

To-day is the first, since the third day of June, that we have been out
of sight of snow for a whole day; it has been excessively hot, the dust
rising in clouds; roads bad, owing to the deep sand.

32 miles.

August 1st. Remained camped to-day, preparing hay for crossing the
Desert, which commences 20 miles from the slough or meadow. There is an
abundance of grass at this point for all the stock that can ever reach
here. We have to wade to get it, then cart it to the channel, and boat
it across that in a wagon box. A man with his wife came into the camp
last night on foot, packing what little property they had left on a
single ox, the sole remaining animal of their team; but I was informed
of a worse case than this by some packers, who said they passed a man
and his wife about 11 miles back who were on foot, toiling through the
hot sand, the man carrying the blankets and other necessaries, and his
wife carrying their only child in her arms, having lost all their team.

2d. We still remain at the meadows. A team came in yesterday evening
from Sacramento, loaded with provisions. They ask for rice $2.50 per
lb.; for flour $2.00; bacon $2.00; whiskey $2.00 per pint, and brandy
$3.00 per pint. We killed a cow this evening which we had picked up a
few days ago at a camping ground, where she had been left on account of
lameness. She was not exactly beef, but she was better eating than dead
mules and horses by the road side; we divided her up in the train and
among the starving people who are about us, only saving a small amount
for ourselves, which we jerked and dried.

3d. We are still lying by. About two miles below our camp are some
falls in the river, at which point the meadows terminate. There is no
more grass from here until we reach Carson River, about 66 miles.--Some
of the teams that left us above Fort Kearney came in to-day, entirely
destitute of provisions, and had been so for some days, although they
had contrived to starve along somehow. We heard of them before they got
here, and saved a little beef for them.

4th. Sunday. Broke up camp and started again. We had stopped three days
to recruit our horses before taking the desert, and although we have
taken the utmost pains with them, they are weaker now than when we
stopped. My advice to all is not to make any stop at this point, but
push on to Carson River, for there is so much alkali in the water and
grass here that your stock will not recruit. There is no water for the
next 20 miles fit for stock to drink. We lost one horse to-day from
watering beside the road, four miles before we got to the sink. He died
in thirty minutes after drinking, in the greatest agony. Two others
were much injured, so much so, that we could only get them to the sink
with the greatest difficulty. Trimble and Sublet also lost one. Beware
of shallow water along here.

20 miles.

5th. Reached the Sink last night about sunset. This is a basin about 80
rods wide and half a mile long. It is usually the last water found on
the Humboldt, or where it loses itself in the sand, hence its name, but
this year the water is so high that it runs down several miles further
before it entirely sinks. There is no grass here whatever, nothing but
desert. We broke up our wagon to-day and made pack saddles, being
convinced of the impossibility of getting our wagon across the desert,
since the loss of the horse yesterday and the injury to the others.
Last night while we were making our supper on coffee and boiled corn,
soon after dark, a man came to us and asked for a drink of water. I
gave it to him; after drinking he stood looking wistfully at our corn,
then asked me if I would take half a dollar for a pint cup full of it.
I told him I would not take half a dollar for it, for money was no
consideration for food here. He said no more, but turned sorrowfully
away, when I stopped him and asked him if he was in distress. He said
that he had eaten nothing for two days but a small piece of dried meat
which a man gave him. I then told him that I would not take a half
dollar for the corn, but that he was welcome to sit down and eat his
fill; for although we were nearly out of provisions, we would divide
with a man in distress to the last morsel. He stopped the night with
us, and took breakfast, and although urged to stop and cross the desert
with us to-day, or take some corn with him, he would not do it, but
said that he had taxed our hospitality too much already, and left us
this morning. His name was Bayell, he belonged in one of the central
counties of Illinois, and was a man of standing and influence at home,
and a brother of the I.O.O.F. He said he hailed when he came up to our
camp, but it was so dark that I did not see his hail, or I should not
have put him to the test, to see whether he was really needy or not.
Sublet and company, and Williams & Co. left us this morning to cross
the desert; we got our pack saddles completed, and took the desert at 2
o'clock, P.M., and traveled all night. Two of our horses gave out, the
same that were alkalied, and we left them. About midnight we reached
the first wagon road where we found about four acres of wagons left to
decay on the desert; this is the first sand ridge; we passed two other
wagon yards before morning at similar ridges, besides great numbers
along the road, many of them burning. Who will accurately describe this
desert at this time? Imagine to yourself a vast plain of sand and clay;
the moon riding over you in silent grandeur, just renders visible by
her light the distant mountains; the stinted sage, the salt lakes,
cheating the thirsty traveler into the belief that water is near; yes,
water it is, but poison to the living thing that stops to drink. Train
after train drag their tiresome course along, man and beast suffering
all the pangs of thirst toil on, feeling, knowing that the burning sun
finds them on the desert in the coming day, their sufferings will be
enhanced ten-fold, if worn out with fatigue and thirst they do not
faint by the wayside and give up altogether. Burning wagons render
still more hideous the solemn march; dead horses line the road, and
living ones may be constantly seen, lapping and rolling the empty water
casks (which have been cast away) for a drop of water to quench their
burning thirst, or standing with drooping heads, waiting for death to
relieve them of their tortures, or lying on the sand half buried,
unable to rise, yet still trying. The sand hills are reached; then
comes a scene of confusion and dismay. Animal after animal drops down.
Wagon after wagon is stopped, the strongest animals are taken out of
the harness, the most important effects are taken out of the wagon and
placed on their backs and all hurry away, leaving behind wagons,
property and animals that, too weak to travel lie and broil in the sun
in an agony of thirst until death relieves them of their tortures. The
owners hurry on with but one object in view, that of reaching the
Carson River before the broiling sun shall reduce them to the same
condition. Morning comes, and the light of day presents a scene more
horrid than the rout of a defeated army; dead stock line the roads,
wagons, rifles, tents, clothes, everything but food may be found
scattered along the road; here an ox, who standing famished against a
wagon bed until nature could do no more, settles back into it and dies;
and there a horse kicking out his last gasp in the burning sand, men
scattered along the plain and stretched out among the dead stock like
corpses, fill out the picture. The desert! you must see it and feel it
in an August day, when legions have crossed it before you, to realize
it in all its horrors. But heaven save you from the experience.

An incident occurred this evening which shows well of the selfishness
of some people on this route. It was soon after dark; we had taken off
the packs to rest our horses, and were sitting and lying in the sage
bushes beside the road; one of our companions had a few miles back been
compelled to leave a horse, which from mistaken feelings of sympathy
for the poor animal, he had neglected to kill. While sitting there, a
company of packers came along the road, when, although it was so dark
that I could not distinguish one animal from another, our friend caught
up his rifle, cocked and presented it towards one of them, exclaiming
in an angry tone, "Get off that horse, you g----d d--n--d scoundrel, or
I'll shoot him down under you." The fellow slid off the horse
instantly, when our friend gave him one of the "dog-onit-est" blowings
up, as the Missourians say, that one fellow ever got for riding the
poor animal after he had given out. It was our friend's horse, who,
dark as it was, recognized his faithful animal. The fellow sloped
without saying a word in his defence.

6th. Morning still finds us dragging our weary steps along on the
desert, with nothing near but endless sand hills and beds of clay.
Passed Sublett's and Trimbles and Williams's wagons, which they were
compelled from loss of stock to leave. Reached the last sand 13 miles
from Carson's River, about 10 o'clock, A.M., where we found a water
station, and bought some water for our horses at 75 cts. a gallon. We
left the pack of one horse here for the station keeper to bring in at
night, and the boys went on with the horses, leaving Fuller, who was
pretty much done over, and myself, behind. They reached the river about
four o'clock, P.M. We were fortunate enough to find some old friends,
I. Welch, and T. Ranahan, who had got up a shelter for themselves and
oxen, of tents, cloths, and wagon covers, to protect them from the sun.
We stayed with them through the heat of the day, and about night
started again, but turned off about a mile from the road to visit a
small salt lake, where we found a very good spring of fresh water and a
sulphur spring. This lake is about three miles from Carson River; its
waters are more salt than the most salt brine, and its shores are
encrusted with pure salt. Its bed was evidently once the crater of a
volcano. We reached the river about 10 o'clock, P.M., but could not
find our camp it was so dark, although we found the next day that we
had passed directly through it, but the loss of tents, wagons, &c.,
rendered it impossible to distinguish our comrades who were snoring
away, wrapped in their blankets. However, after straggling around until
towards midnight, we found the tent of some old esteemed friends, Esq.
Hoffman & son, who gave us a hearty welcome and a spare blanket, which,
(having already filled ourselves with God's beverage from the Carson
River,) was to us a perfect elysian.

46 miles.

7th. There are several stations here, at which they sell flour at $1.50
per lb.; meals at $2.00 a head, and liquor at $1.00 a drink, and
measure it themselves. There are great complaints of stock stealing
here, some of the station keepers having a hand in it. About 20 men
went down the river to-day to take some stock away from the Indians,
which they had stolen. Among them, I saw Mountaineer Jack. He was
riding a pony upon the full gallop, his hair, which would reach over
his shoulders, streaming in the wind; he was dressed in buckskin from
head to foot, sunburnt and bearded, his head guiltless of any other
covering but that of nature's; he presented the most perfect specimen
of a wild man, conveying to the beholder a feeling not unmixed with
dread as he approached, rifle in hand, and his belt stuck full of
revolvers and bowie knives. But Jack is always the poor man's friend,
and shabby as he looks, his pockets are always lined with the yellow
boys. He is now here at the station, ever ready to take part in
whatever comes up, whether it be a game of French monte, a frolic, or
to make a foray upon the Indian villages in the mountains, or recover
the emigrants horses. A good story is told of him, of an incident which
transpired a few days ago. He was then over the desert on the Humboldt.
A couple of starved foot packers came across him, and taking Jim from
his wild appearance to be some destitute emigrant as bad off as
themselves, and as misery loves company, hailed him with, "Halloo,
friend, we had better travel in company; you look as if you had seen as
hard times as ourselves." Jack stopped and looked at them until they
came up, when he asked them what they meant. They told him that they
were starving, and had neither provision nor money--"What!" said Jack,
"are you going to starve in this fine country? You are a couple of
d----d fools if you do." They replied that they had no money, and if
they had it would not buy food here. Jack put his hand in his pocket
and pulled out a 10 dollar piece and gave them, telling them to go and
buy some flour. They then started for the river to where there were
some trains in sight, and Jack along with them. They found on the river
a large train, the men of which were feeding flour to their mules.--One
of them walked up to the captain of the train, and stating their
condition and circumstances asked him to _sell_ them some flour. He
refused to do it, telling them he wanted it for his mules. They told
him they were starving, but he replied that he must look out for
himself before he did for other folks, and that they might as well be
off. Jack stood a silent listener to the conversation, but when he
found that the captain would not let them have any flour, he walked up
to him and asked him if he would let the men starve. In reply the
captain made an insulting response, when Jack raised his fist and gave
the captain a blow in the teeth, sprawling him on the ground, and
telling him that he was worse than a d----d digger to refuse starving
men flour, when he could feed it to mules; he left him and went with
the packers to where they succeeded in buying some flour.

Moved our camp up the river six miles to better grass. Saw Bagwell
again; he said that he never came so near perishing as he did in
crossing the desert; that having nothing to eat but the piece of dried
meat, which being somewhat salt, made him thirsty, and having no water,
his tortures became almost insupportable, and that when he reached the
first water camp, his tongue was swollen so that he could not keep it
in his mouth, and had turned black; that he expended his half dollar,
(which was all the money that he had) for water, which enabled him to
reach the river, where he got a meal of victuals on credit, and went to
work cutting grass and getting it across the river at sixpence a
bundle, and was making five dollars a day at the business. He left the
road where we struck the river for us to come up to where he was, and
he would have all the grass ready for us that we should want gratis,
but finding grass, we were not compelled to tax him.

We had a California court in camp to-day. A couple of Irishmen got a
man drunk, and after getting him to lie down, laid themselves down one
on each side of him. Presently a man from Pike co. Ill., came along,
and said that they were picking his pockets. Seeing that nobody else
would interfere, I went to him, tumbled him over and took the money
away from him, when the bystanders, a crowd of whom had gathered
around, picked him up and kicked him out of the camp. When this was
settled some men came forward and stated that the other one had picked
another man's pocket who was then drunk in a gully near bye, then
tumbled him over, and found as drunk as he pretended to be, he got over
it very easily when his turn came. He jumped upon his feet and denied
the charge so vehemently, and with such brazen impudence, that many
thought I was mistaken and wrong in holding him to it. I insisted on
taking him to the man who was robbed, which was done, when he admitted
that he picked his pocket, but said the man was his brother, which we
found to be true; this so enraged those who had spoken in his favor,
that they whirled him around and commenced kicking him out of the camp.
In the affray he drew a revolver, which was instantly knocked out of
his hand. A man on the bank of the river seeing the revolver ran for
it, which led to another scuffle, those who were kicking him supposing
him to be a friend to Barney, but the man succeeded in getting the
pistol, which he instantly threw into the river.

A man was found dead in a wagon on the desert this morning; he probably
died of hunger and thirst. The Carson River is about 12 yards wide at
this place, and three feet deep. Its banks are composed of ridges with
narrow bottoms covered with willows and scattering cottonwood trees,
with some grass.

6 miles.

8th. Litwiler and company sold their horses this morning and started on
foot. Ford, one of our men, went with them, leaving but four of us; we
being nearly out of provisions. A man came to our camp this morning who
had lost everything on the desert, his team, wagon, provisions, and
father; he had been without sleep or food for two nights and a day, and
was pretty much worn out. I made him a cup of coffee, and gave him some
boiled corn, which having devoured, he laid himself down in the shade
and slept until evening, then went in pursuit of his father again.--He
was from Missouri.

A man came near being drowned near us this morning, but was saved by a
person standing on the bank, who plunged in and brought him out. He
tumbled off his horse while crossing the river, which frightened him so
much that he could not help himself in the least. The traders here buy
horses of the emigrants for from two lbs. of flour to 10, per
head.--Such is the destitution. I saw one horse, saddle and bridle, a
very good one too, sold on the desert for three gallons of water.

9th. Started again this morning, taking along the Missourian who lost
his father. We consumed the last of our rice this morning, leaving us
reduced to six quarts of corn, and three lbs. of dried meat for four of
us. The road soon leaves the river and strikes across the desert,
making the river again about two miles from the Carson River meadows.
The Missourian and myself followed up the river and found a very good
packing trail; we killed two turtle doves which sustained us through
the day. Saw snow again to-day on the tops of the Sierra Nevadas. 22

10th. Camped on the meadows late last night where we remain to-day to
recruit our horses. Jonathan and myself went into the mountains
hunting, found a few deer, but they were so wild that we could not get
a shot; killed a large yellow rattlesnake, a sage hare, and found an
old Indian and boy fishing, traded my pocket knife to the boy for a
line with 10 bone hooks I attached to it, caught about 40 small fish,
and got back to camp about dark.

11th. Sunday. Still remain in camp. Fuller left us this morning, having
concluded to pack through on foot with Dr. Cody, of our county. A man
died near us last night. He was picked up on the desert and brought
thus far by some gentlemen from Davenport, Iowa. He was left there by
his messmates sick, without food or water, and when found, his hands
and face were so blistered by the scorching sun that the skin all
peeled from them, leaving them as raw as a piece of beef. Poor
fellow!--When found he was crying in the most excruciating agony for a
drop of water to quench his burning thirst. Burning at the stake would
be too merciful to the hardened wretches who left him sick and helpless
on those burning sands. The gentlemen who picked him up had been lying
bye two or three days at this place expressly on his account. One of
them was a physician; although the poor fellow was a stranger to them,
they tended him with all the assiduity of brothers.

12th. Started again this morning, but our road led across a sand plain
12 miles wide, when we struck the river again, following a packing
trail, thus avoiding the desert back from the river.

22 miles.

13th. Our road followed the river until noon, when we had another
stretch of desert for 13 miles. The valley begins to narrow somewhat.

23 miles.

14th. Passed through a canon seven miles, continually crossing brooks
of cold clear water from the mountains--beautiful meadows and rich land
on the bottoms. Desert plains back, and still back lofty Sierra
Nevadas, their sides covered with the evergreen pine, their summits
with snow.--Passed some hot springs, and trading stations. The latter
have little to sell but whiskey; some few of them beef.

27 miles.

15. Passed the Mormon station, saw a party of Californians and Mexicans
prospecting. There is gold this side of the mountains. Entered the
seven mile Kanyon, which begins the real pass of the Sierra Nevada. A
branch of the Carson River runs through it, which stream we follow to
its head. The Kanyon is a wild, picturesque place, with perpendicular
wall of gray granite hundreds of feet high, with lofty pines in the
bottoms, and a perfect chaos of granite blocks rent from the walls
above. We were compelled to camp in it with nothing for our horses to
eat, which somewhat destroyed the romance of the thing; as for eating
ourselves, it is so long since we have had anything to eat that we
don't trouble ourselves about it.

23 miles.

16th. Got out of the Kanyan into the valley, and stopped to bait. Drove
about six miles and camped for the night; grass abundant in this
valley. J. Ingalls killed a California partridge to-day. It is larger
than a partridge In the States, and finely flavored.

8 miles.

17. This morning we had the Nevadas to climb; this is the point which
will stop the Pacific Railroad on this route, if anything will do it.
This rise is said to be 9000 feet in 13 miles. After climbing the first
mountain we descended to a lake, which is the head of one of the
branches of the Sacramento. It is the crater of an extinguished
volcano. The next mountain, the Snowy Peak, is still worse than the
last, although both for most part of the way are as steep as the roof
of a house; in climbing it our road lay over the snow, which was 20
feet deep for 80 rods up its side. Having reached the top of the snowy
peaks, we took a cut-off, descended about two miles and camped at a
small brook where we found good grass. We had the good fortune to shoot
three woodchucks [groundhogs,] this evening which, in addition to three
lbs. of flour we coaxed out of a Californian, made us feel as rich as
the Rothschilds. We have not eaten for the last two weeks (all of us)
as much as one man would have eaten if he could have had all that he
required, consequently we are living in the greatest luxury and
abundance to-night, having all we can eat. It does not take much to
make man happy after all; here we have been starving along for the last
month, crossing deserts, drinking rotten, alkali or salt water, or
deprived entirely, and now we've got to the top of the Nevadas, around
our camp fire amid snow drifts, with plenty of good water and three
woodchucks for three of us, and we are the happiest mortals alive; we
seem to have forgotten that we ever suffered privation.

16 miles.

18th. Killed another woodchuck this morning; begin to feel as if we are
getting into a land of plenty again. Passed a small lake at the foot of
the snowy peak, which was well filled with spotted trout. We made a
mistake and took a wrong trail this morning, after passing the lake
which took us over some tremendous granite ridges to ascend and descend
which we had great difficulty, often climbing and descending bare
smooth rocks for rods at a place, the horses frequently sliding down
such places on their haunches. We found good grass in the ravines,
which was some compensation for the badness of the route. We got out to
the road about dark, and reached Leek, Springs where we found some
grass, and camped.

18 miles.

19th. Our road lay along the summit of a ridge covered with heavy pine
and cedar forests, but no grass, and but little water. Had nothing for
our horses to eat but brush this evening. A man was shot just back of
us. A trader had left the road to look for grass and water, when coming
to a fallen tree by a thicket, several men rose up from behind it and
snapped a gun at him, which did not go off, but the trader's revolver
did, tumbling one of them into the bushes, and the trader went off too,
before they could make another attempt.

28 miles.

20th. We Passed the forks of the Weaver Creek and Hangtown road, but
got on a wrong trail which we followed nearly to the Weaver Creek.
Found plenty of grass and cut enough to supply our horses for the
night, which would have cost us in Hangtown about five dollars. Met
some miners who, not knowing the country much better than we did,
directed us to go back by the way of Johnson's Ranch, which was about
12 miles, when we were by the right route, only seven miles from
Hangtown. We reached the diggings at the head of the emigrant ravine,
three miles from Hangtown, about nine o'clock, P.M., and camped.

20 miles.

21st. Leaving packs and horses in camp we entered the town this
morning, where we found great numbers of our friends and county people,
as also my brother, who had reached the mines 25 days ahead of us,
having started on the Council Bluffs route at the same date that I did.

3 miles.


Having reached the mines, I shall close with some remarks in relation
to the country, &c. California is a country of contrarieties in every
respect. Probably there is no country so much belied, for, generally,
those who admire the country and speak in its praise, tell the truth in
such a way that it amounts to a falsehood, when judged by the lights
which his audiences in the States will have, to enable them to
understand him, while the man who has been unfortunate gives it the
same false coloring when detracting from its merits, and what is worse,
both parties speak literally the truth, but unless his auditors have
been here they cannot obtain a correct idea of the country. It is the
best country in the world, and at the same time the worst, as every man
will find that comes here, according to the circumstances in which he
may chance to be placed. It is thought that the diggings are exhausted,
but from observation I am satisfied that so far from this being the
case, their riches have only began to be discovered, and although the
gulch and ravine diggings are pretty much worked out, yet all those
mountains and hills composed of gravel and earth, will be found to
contain riches of great value, on the surface of rock upon which they
rest. Mining hereafter will be attended with greater expense, on
account of the depth which the miner will have to dig to reach the
gold, but there will be rich gold diggings in California for a hundred
years to come, in my opinion. Great sickness has prevailed thro' the
fall in the mines, there being buried from Hangtown alone about 13 a
day. At the least calculation, one fourth of the emigration of 1850
have, or will die, by the first of January 1851. Miners at this time
are getting but small pay, very many not more than paying board. Almost
all who came here thought that they should make from 12 to 20 dollars a
day, but instead of those prices, they are glad to get from four to
eight per day, and very many do not make but half that sum. Yet
nevertheless California is a good country, and if people would move to
it with their families, and make their homes here, in a few years they
would be richly paid.

The old adage, "a rolingstone gathers no moss," is exemplified every
day here. The same restless spirit that prompted men to come, keeps
them constantly on the move while here. Many who are making from three
to six dollars a day, work until they obtain two or three hundred
dollars, then hearing of richer diggings otherwheres, pull up and leave
sure work and travel until they have spent what they have got and a
month or two in prospecting, when they become strapped, to use a
favorite expression here, and are compelled to work for less pay, until
they make a raise, when the same spirit puts them in motion again. I
have known men who have been here two years, and have sometimes had a
thousand dollars on hand, that, when I saw them, had not a dollar, and
were compelled to obtain credit to enable them to live for a time until
they could make a raise again, and all the result of this restless
spirit. In my opinion one half of the aggregate time of the miners of
California is spent in traveling from one section of the mines to
another. California may be properly divided into four ranges, or
divisions. The first, the alluvial bottoms of the rivers or bays, and
the plains, which comprise all of the agricultural country in the
State, the area of which would probably amount to one half of the area
of the State of Illinois. This range is exceedingly fertile, probably
equal to any soil on the earth. The climate is excellent, the air pure
and healthy, neither too cool nor too hot, and well calculated for the
products of a temperate climate, as well as many of tropical. Grass
grows on the bottoms all the year, and farming may be carried on in all
months of the winter, if not prevented by the rain. No frosts ever nip
the crops, and the seasons present a perpetual spring. The plains are
somewhat elevated from the bottoms, gently rolling, and resemble our
prairies. The soil is fertile, but cannot be cultivated without
irrigation in the summer, although crops are raised by sowing in
November and December, which enables them to get so far advanced by the
commencement of the dry season as to avoid the drouth. In the spring
they are covered with a great variety of flowers, wild oats, and
clover. The timber on this range consists of live oak, and various oaks
resembling white burr and black oak, besides various shrubs. The second
range is the lower hill or mountain range, which is also the gold
range. The soil would admit of cultivation if it could be irrigated,
but this would be impossible, from the nature of the country. It will
be only available for its gold, which is inexhaustible in my opinion,
although the business of gathering it will not be as profitable
hereafter as it has been. The timber in the range consists of the
various kinds of oak and pine, with some cedar and spruce; it is not
valuable, but will answer the wants of this range for the present. The
third range is the timber range, which in time will be the most
valuable part of California. Probably no part of the world will furnish
such pine and cedar timber. The valleys are filled with trees from two
to three hundred feet high, clear from limbs nearly to their tops, and
of the best quality for lumber; many of the trees from five to ten feet
in diameter at the foot. I saw a pine tree said to be 11, and a cedar
15 feet thro', and have no doubt but such was the fact. They can only
be got out of the mountains by railways or the rivers at flood time,
consequently it will be some years before the attention of the
Californian will be turned to this branch of trade. But little gold has
been found in this range, or probably ever will be, as the quartz
veins, the original deposit of gold, if they exist at all in it, lie
deep under the granite ridges.

The next range and the last lies upon the bald peaks of the Sierra
Nevadas, and is too much elevated even for timber to grow to any
extent. Their summits are covered eternally with snow, and their sides,
where uncovered, present a barren shingle, or ragged walls of lava. But
little gold is found in this range, and I know of no use of it in the
economy of nature except to hold the world together. The valleys fit
for cultivation, are so cold that vegetation cannot grow, except grass,
which is of better quality where it can grow, than in the two next
lower ranges. This range was also the district of volcanoes, the
extinct craters of which indent the mountains in every direction, and
are now generally lakes and ponds forming the heads of the various
streams. The water in them is very pure and clear; they are well
stocked with trout. By their sides in many places, the ragged
perpendicular walls of lava rise thousands of feet high, black and
gloomy, as it cooled off, when thrown from the bowels of the earth. The
east side of the mountains on the descent to the Carson Valley is well
timbered, and furnishes some good gold diggings, although not very much
prospected. The Carson Valley is perhaps one of the most desirable
farming districts in California. The bottom is very fertile, and
covered with a heavy growth of wild clover, wheat, oats, &c. The plains
by the side of the bottoms are barren deserts covered with wild sage,
and utterly worthless. The climate is very favorable to the growth of
the cereal grains, but the nights are too cold for corn. It is best
calculated for stock growing, and is capable of supporting a population
of many thousands.--The air is very pure, and the water power and water
very abundant, and of excellent quality, the valley being well supplied
with numerous small clear streams of ice cold water, running from the
mountains across the valley, and emptying into the Carson River. The
California railroad, if built by way of the South Pass of the Rocky
Mountains, will follow up the valley of this river, in which case this
fertile valley will soon teem with populous villages of civilized men,
instead of the few squalid, thieving diggers who are now its sole

The gold digging of California is much less profitable than it was in
1849, the shallow ravine diggings having been pretty much worked out,
but there is no doubt but that the hills still contain inexhaustible
supplies, which though attended with greater expense in obtaining, will
nevertheless pay well for working, when the same shall be worked by a
permanent settled population, aided by mechanical science. It is folly
in my opinion for a man to leave home and family, with all his home
interests, to go to California for a mere temporary sojourn for one or
two years. A man should take his family and household goods with him,
and make a permanent settlement, which would aid him very materially in
his business prospects. He would then remain in one location, and would
consequently save both time and money. And there is another gain in
locating more permanently, that is in acquiring a better knowledge of
his location. Every section of the mines has its distinct
characteristic, and a person having learnt the location and features of
gold deposits in one section, in removing to another will have to learn
this anew. When this fact is taken into consideration it will be quite
evident that a man will always succeed best when permanently located.
Any man of sober, industrious habits, who may make his home in
California, will in 10 years, with ordinary luck and health, and the
vicissitudes of life, acquire a fortune sufficiently ample to maintain
himself for the balance of his life in the old states, but many who
have resided for that length of time in California will be unwilling to
leave its beautiful climate to go back to the old states to live in
their variable climates.

Many conjectures have been put forth as to the cause of the deposits of
native gold on the surface, and many have asserted that it came there
by being thrown out of the craters of volcanoes. This idea is now
pretty much exploded amongst intelligent miners. It is evident that the
gold originally lay in the quartz mines, and has been loosened by the
action of fire decomposing the quartz, and by abrasion of the
atmosphere and water. In evidence of this it will be observed that in
those sections richest in melted or deposit gold, there are but few
gold bearing quartz veins, and those bearing evidence of great heat,
while in those locations rich in quartz veins, there is but little
surface gold, and that very fine, and generally found on the bars of
the rivers, and along their banks. The whole country has at some day
been in a state of fusion, as the quantity of cinders found in the
gulches bear ample testimony, and in those sections where the heat was
greatest, the quartz became intirely decomposed, allowing the gold to
drop like molten lead upon the slate and granite substratum, where when
undisturbed by the action of water, it now remains imbedded in the
rock. This is not mere opinion, but a statement made from personal
observation in working in deep diggings, where it was evident that the
gold had not been disturbed since it was melted from the quartz veins,
I having frequently taken pieces from the slate that fitted the
interstices as closely as it would have done if I had melted it myself
and turned it in to cool.

The best mining country appears to be a strip of land about 30 or 40
miles wide, running north and south, or nearly so, and extending the
whole length of California, and as I have been informed on reliable
authority as far north as Puget's Sound, where gold has been found in
small quantities. This information I had from a gentleman of
intelligence and observation, from Missouri, Mr. Sherwin, who spent the
summer of 1850 at that place. The quartz veins also lie in this general
course, one of which may be traced hundreds of miles. No great amount
of gold has been found out of this district, although it is possible
that in time it may be; but in my opinion, if the original stratum of
quartz veins extended back into the mountains, that it there ceases to
be the surface, and becomes the substratum; if this proves to be the
case, there is no estimating the mineral wealth of California. It will
take ages to exhaust the supply. The supposition that this stratum does
reach back of the now known district, under the mountains, is a
reasonable one, as the rock in view, generally, on the first range or
plains, is slate; in the second range, quartz veins resting in and on
slate, in the third range granite ridges, with occasional spur quartz
veins in view, and on the fourth or summit range, either granite, or
molten rock, or lava cooled off, as it was cast out of the numerous
extinguished craters, California furnishes a great field for study to
the geologist, and much may be learned which is not now known, and
which will be useful in developing her vast resources.

Many suppose that gold was not known here until discovered by the
Americans. This I am disposed to doubt, but whether known to civilized
man, or only the native digger, I would not hazard an opinion. A
discovery which occurred immediately under my own observation,
satisfies me that the gold had been sought for many years before that
time. A miner in sinking a hole at the head of the Spanish Ravine,
which had been one of the richest in California, found a plain gold
ring of rude workmanship, soldered together with silver, or some white
metal, about four feet from the surface of the ground. On the inside of
it was a cross stamped very legibly, indicating that it was made by a
christian. This was in new diggings, where the earth had never been
disturbed so far as appearances would indicate, and moreover he found
but one small piece of gold besides that in the claim. How long it
would take to form four feet of solid earth, or how it came there, no
one can say, but certainly it must take a great number of years for
that depth of soil to form, and the ring itself shows workmanship of an
early and rude age.

The limited space of this work necessarily precludes me from going into
a lengthened detail of incidents and description of California, but in
closing I must remark that California, from its variety of climate,
which is so great that a man may walk in a day from the region of snow
through a temperate climate to another of perpetual summer, where the
flowers cover the earth, and render the air fragrant with their
perfume. From its great resources in gold and other mineral treasures,
and its boundless forests of pine and cedar, from its great amount of
water power, and its great agricultural and commercial advantages, is
yet destined to be the first State in the Union, as it now is the most
pleasant to reside in, and it behooves our government to so cement the
bonds of union in commercial interests--while now cemented by the
feelings of "Padre pais"--with a belt of iron from ocean to ocean, with
the iron horse with the sinew of steel and breath of fire for a
messenger, that the time may not come, when the diverse interests of
the Pacific states may induce their inhabitants to form a government of
their own.

It is a well known fact in history, that a country divided by a great
natural barrier, cannot remain long under one government, but that
their several interests call for separate governments. The great
natural barrier between the Atlantic and Pacific States is, the Rocky
mountains and the deserts, which can only be overcome by railroads,
which will bring the two sides of the continent within a few days of
each other, and render much now useless territory available, either in
an agricultural, manufacturing or commercial point of view. Although
the country, from the Missouri river to the Pacific, is quite as well
adapted to the building of railroads--if we except the Nevada
Mountains, and this exception would not apply to the Oregon route--as
any of the eastern States, yet no private company can, or should be
allowed to build such road, but it should be a national work, and
subject to the regulation of the government, for the good of the
people, when completed. If it should be built by a private company, it
would become one of the greatest and worst monopolies in the country,
rivaling the British East India company monopoly. This may not be so
evident to a person who has not traveled the route, but I believe that
every thinking man who has traveled it will agree with me. This is a
matter which it were well for our legislators to consider well and act
upon before it is too late, for it will soon be found that those routes
now opening through Central America and the Isthmus, will not answer
the wants of the growing commerce with the Pacific, and every year is
cementing the bonds of interest between California and Oregon, and the
Spanish countries on the Pacific.

But I must bring my work to a close, and bid farewell to California,
its lofty snow capped peaks, its beautiful valleys, its flowery plains,
its rapids, rivers and broad bays. Farewell! It was with a feeling of
sadness, that I turned, on the last range of hills to look back towards
those busy valleys teeming with life and energy, and when on the planks
of the vessel crossing the bar into the broad ocean, I turned to look
for the last time on the Queen City of the Pacific, embosomed in hills,
by the sparkling waters of the Bay. But home, family and friends, call
me away.

Farewell Reader!

Improved Farms for Sale.


The undersigned, Real Estate Agent, has constantly at his disposal,
Improved Farms of various size and quality of improvement, which he
offers for sale to Emigrants and others as cheap, if not cheaper than
can be bought in the Western country. These farms are located in and
about Antioch, Lake county, Illinois; also in McHenry county, Ill., and
Kenosha county, Wisconsin.

They are situated in one of the most desirable sections of the western
country, are mostly opening timber and small prairie, combining the
advantages of excellent land, easy of cultivation, with abundance of
timber and fuel, and good water on the same farm. The country is well
watered by the Fox and O'Plain rivers and their branches, and by
numerous small clear lakes of excellent water, well stocked with fish.

The country around is one of the best stock and grain countries in the
world, and from its proximity to Lake Michigan, and to the valuable
markets, which its numerous part towns afford, and the cheapness of
improved farms, the emigrant cannot find a more desirable country to
locate in.--All who are desirous of purchasing a farm will find it for
their interest to give the undersigned a call at Antioch, Lake county,
Illinois, before buying elsewhere.

Antioch is a flourishing village, situated in the north-west corner of
the county, four miles east of Fox River, and one mile south from the
Wisconsin State line. It has two dry goods stores, one shoe store, one
hotel, a saw-mill, and various mechanics, and more are wanted. Chicago
is distant 48 miles south and east; Waukegan 17 miles south and east;
Kenosha 18 miles north and east; Racine 25 miles north and east,
Milwaukee 42 miles north and east, consequently Antioch has _five lake
cities_ within a day's drive of it. There are five flouring mills, and
five saw-mills within 12 miles of the village, two of which and three
saw-mills are within six miles of it. Besides these, a company has been
formed and a part of the stock subscribed for a steam flouring mill to
be built in the village, and a Plank Road is in contemplation of being
built directly from Waukegan to Antioch. The country around being
removed from the raw winds near Lake Michigan, and at the same time
near enough to it for all practical wants, is one of the most desirable
to locate in that the emigrant, seeking a new home in the far west,
will be able to find, combining all the advantages of proximity to good
markets, and good lands, good society, and everything that the heart of
man can desire. Remember to call on the undersigned, who will give you
the best bargains in farms that can be got in this country.

The following is the route from different cities on the Lake to
Antioch: From Chicago to Dutchman's Point, 12 miles; to Indian Creek 26
miles; to Libertyville 32 miles; to Antioch 48 miles.

From Waukegan to the O'Plain bridge, four miles; to Milburn 11 miles;
to Antioch 17 miles. From Kenosha to Jackson's Tavern at the O'Plain
river, 12 miles; to Brass Balls 16 miles; to Antioch 22 miles (via.
Bristol nearer, but not so good a road.)

From Racine to Martin Stand, (Ingall's Hotel) on Pleasant Prairie, nine
miles; to Jackson's Tavern 18 miles; to Brass Balls 22 miles; to
Antioch 28 miles.

From Milwaukee to Ive's Grove in Yorkville, 20 miles (through the
Milwaukee woods); To Paris 29 miles; to Brass Balls 37 miles; to Antioch
43 miles.

(Another route quite as good, but distance greater, is by way of
Racine, and another by Rochester on the Fox river. Antioch is 25 miles
from Rochester, Wis.)

Antioch, June 1852.            E. S. INGALLS.

                     *      *      *      *      *


Attorney and Counsellor at Law, County Justice of the Peace, Notary
Public, Commissioner of Deeds, &c., for Wisconsin, and General Land
Agent. Will give prompt attention to all business entrusted to his
care, in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.

Farms constantly on hand to suit purchasers, of all descriptions, sizes
and improvements. Conveyancing done to order. Prompt attention will be
given to the execution of deeds, &c., and the taking of depositions to
be used in any part of Wisconsin, his seal of office as Commissioner of
Deeds being legal authentication of his official acts throughout said

Collecting attended to with promptness. Office corner of Main and Clay
streets, Antioch, Lake county, Illinois.

                     *      *      *      *      *


Wholesale and retail dealer in Dry Goods, Groceries, and
Crockery.--Keeps constantly on hand an extensive assortment of every
variety of Silk, woollen, Worsted and cotton goods, Groceries, Crockery
and Hardware, ever called for in the western country. Will purchase, or
receive in exchange for goods; horses, cattle, wool, grain, or any
other product for transhipment at as good prices as may be obtained at
the Lake ports. Store under the Antioch Hall, Main street.

Antioch, Lake Co., Ill.

                     *      *      *      *      *


County Surveyor for Lake county, Illinois; and Draftsman. Will give
particular attention to drafting in its various branches. Office Main

Antioch, Lake co., Illinois.

                     *      *      *      *      *


Justice of the Peace, Insurance and collecting Agent. Will give prompt
attention to all business entrusted to his care. Office corner of Main
and Clay streets.

Antioch, Lake co. Illinois.

                     *      *      *      *      *


Dealer in Dry Goods, Groceries, Crockery, Hardware, and all goods used
in the western country. Keeps constantly on hand every variety of goods
and wares that can be called for. Prompt attention always given to
customers. All kinds of produce taken in exchange for goods. Store on
Main Street. Antioch, Lake co. Illinois.

                     *      *      *      *      *


Physicians & Surgeons. Particular attention given to optical diseases

LEROY D. GAGE.                 DANIEL LEWIS.

Office corner of Main and Clay streets.
Antioch, Lake co. Illinois.

                     *      *      *      *      *


Attorney and Counsellor at Law. Will attend promptly to all business
entrusted to his care in Lake and McHenry counties, Illinois, and
Racine and Kenosha counties, Wisconsin. Office corner of Main & Clay

Antioch, Lake co. Illinois.

                     *      *      *      *      *


Architect. Will give prompt attention to all applications for drafts
and plans for buildings of every kind. Office on Main street.

Antioch, Lake co. Illinois.

                     *      *      *      *      *


Attornies and Counsellors at Law, and Solicitors in Chancery.

Waukegan, Illinois.

Will practice in the Courts of Lake, Cook, and McHenry
counties.--Prompt attention will be given to the collecting and
securing of demands in Illinois and Wisconsin. Also to the sale and
purchase of real estate, investigation of titles, payment of taxes, &c.
The best of reference will be given.



W. H. H. TOBET & CO.,






The proprietors of the above establishment respectfully announce to the
public that they are constantly making additions to their already
extensive assortment of

Job Type, Bordering &c.,

and are prepared to execute every variety of Book, Card and Job
Printing in as good style as any other office in the West, and on
reasonable terms. All kinds of Fancy Printing,


executed with neatness and at corresponding prices. Printing done in
eight different colors, if desired.

Having a greater variety of materials, and a better knowledge of the
business than any other establishment in the city, we feel confident of
giving perfect satisfaction to all who may favor us with their

--> BLANKS of every description kept constantly on hand and for sale

--> All orders from the country either for Blanks or Job work will
receive prompt attention.

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