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Title: The Busy Life of Eighty-Five Years of Ezra Meeker - Ventures and adventures; sixty-three years of pioneer life - in the old Oregon country; an account of the author's trip - across the plains with an ox team
Author: Meeker, Ezra
Language: English
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[Illustration: EZRA MEEKER

WASHINGTON, D. C., JAN. 23, 1916. BORN DEC. 29, 1830]







  Sixty-three years of Pioneer Life in the Old Oregon Country; An
  Account of the Author's Trip Across the Plains with an Ox Team, 1852;
  Return Trip, 1906-7; His Cruise on Puget Sound, 1853; Trip Through
  the Natchess Pass, 1854; Over the Chilcoot Pass; Flat-boating on the
  Yukon, 1898.




  $1.50 Postpaid









  Birth and Parentage—Boyhood Days—Aversion to School—Early
  Ambitions—Farm Training—Life in a Printing Office—At Tippecanoe
  as a Songster                                                       7


  Time of My Youth.

  Our Ohio Home—A Period of Invention—The Printing Press—Our
  Removal to Indiana—Habits Acquired on the Trip                     15


  Early Days in Indiana.

  I'm Going to Be a Farmer—Off for Iowa—An Iowa Winter               18


  Off for Oregon.

  Preparation—Getting a Partner—First Day Out                        23


  The Ferry Across the Missouri                                      26


  Out on the Plains.

  Indian Country—The Cholera—Extent of Emigration—The Casualties     29


  Buffalo Chase and Stampede.

  Buffalo Trails—Chase on the Missouri—Stampede on the Platte        37


  Out on the Plains.

  The Law of Self-Preservation—Crossing the Snake River—Wagon Beds
  as Boats—Down Snake River in Wagon Boxes—On to Portland            39


  Floating Down the River                                            51


  The Arrival.

  At Work—Moving to St. Helens—Building a Home                       57


  The First Cabin.

  Home Life—A Trip to Puget Sound                                    63


  Cruise on Puget Sound.

  Building a Boat—Afloat on Puget Sound—A Visit to the Indians       69


  Cruise on Puget Sound.

  At Steilacoom                                                      77


  Cruise on Puget Sound.

  At Tacoma—On Puyallup Bay                                          84


  Cruise on Puget Sound.

  At Alki Point—A Fish Story                                         91


  Cruise on Puget Sound.

  Port Townsend—Building the City—Colonel Ebey                       96


  From Columbia River to Puget Sound.

  Arrival Home—Preparations to Move—The Trip                        101


  The Second Cabin.

  The New Home—Brother Oliver Returns to the States                 115


  Trip Through Natchess Pass.

  Cross the Streams                                                 122


  Trip Through Natchess Pass—Cont.

  Many Obstacles—Killing of Steers to Make Rope—A Brave Boy         128


  Trip Through Natchess Pass—Cont.

  Fun with the Pony—Immigrants                                      136


  Trip Through Natchess Pass—Cont.

  Desert Lands—Lost—Crossing the River—Reunion                      142


  Trip Through Natchess Pass—Cont.

  Nearly Home—Trouble Over Titles—Parting                           148


  Trip Through Natchess Pass—Cont.

  Home Again—Visitors—Jay Cooke and My Pamphlet                     154


  First Immigrants Through Natchess Pass.

  Hard Trip—Letter from Geo. H. Himes                               161


  Building of the Natchess Pass Road.

  Many Obstacles—Lines from Winthrop—Receipts                       169


  Building of the Natchess Pass Road—Cont.

  Letter from A. J. Burge—Lawlessness—A Great Pioneer, George
  Bush—The Fanning Mill—The First Cougar                            178


  About Indians.

  Massacre—Flight of Settlers                                       183


  Fraser River Stampede.

  Excitement High—Off for Whatcom—The Arrival—Where's De Lacy?      186


  An Old Settlers' Meeting.

  Review of the Past—Lady Sheriff—Personal Anecdotes                195


  A Chapter on Names.

  Seattle—Puyallup and Amusing Incidents                            201


  Pioneer Religious Experiences and Incidents.

  Aunt Ann—Mr. and Mrs. Wickser—John McLeod                         206


  Wild Animals.

  Carrie Sees a Cougar—An Unfriendly Meeting                        210


  The Morning School.

  The First Log School House—Going to Market—Fifty Years Ago        216


  An Early Survey.

  The Surveying Party—The Camp—Location—Value                       221


  The Hop Business.

  My Hop Venture—The Curse on Hops                                  223


  The Beet Sugar Venture                                            230


  The History of a History                                          231



  Bank President—The Run on the Bank                                235


  The Klondike Venture.

  Through White Horse Rapids—On the Yukon                           238



  The Ox.

  Ready for the Trip—Getting Notoriety                              243


  The Start.

  Making Camps—Out on the Trail—Centralia, Wash.—Chehalis,
  Wash.—Jackson's—Toledo, Wash.—Portland, Oregon                    246


  The Dalles, Oregon.

  Quotations from Journal—Shoeing the Oxen—Out from The
  Dalles—Pendleton, Oregon—The Blue Mountains—Meacham,
  Oregon—La Grande, Oregon—Ladd's Canyon—Camp No. 34—Baker City,
  Oregon—Old Mt. Pleasant, Oregon—Durkee, Oregon—Huntington—Vale,
  Oregon                                                            255


  Old Fort Boise—Parma, Idaho—Boise, Idaho—Twin Falls,
  Idaho—American Falls, Idaho—Pocatello, Idaho—Soda Springs,
  Idaho—Montpelier, Idaho—The Mad Bull—The Wounded
  Buffalo—Cokeville, Wyoming                                        266


  Independence Rock.

  The Rocky Mountains.

  Pacific Springs—Sweetwater—Split Rock—The Devil's Gate            271


  Fish Creek—North Platte—Casper, Wyoming—Glen Rock—Douglas,
  Wyoming—Puyallup, Tacoma, Seattle—New Changes                     280


  Fort Laramie, Wyoming.

  Scott's Bluff—The Dead of the Plains—The Lone Grave—Chimney
  Rock—North Platte                                                 289


  Death of Twist.

  Gothenberg, Nebraska—Lexington                                    298


  Kearney, Nebraska.

  Grand Island                                                      303


  From Indianapolis to Washington—Events on the Way                 306


  Return Trip.

  Leaving Washington—Out West Again—From Portland to Seattle        320


  The End                                                           328


  The Interim and Second Trip.

  Good Road Movement—The Overland Outfit in the Interim—Yukon
  Exposition—The Trip of 1910-'11—Hunting for the Trail—Dedication
  of the Wagon and Team to Washington—A Bill for Surveying
  "Pioneer Way"—The Author's Plea Before the House Committee on
  Military Affairs                                                  331


  Conquest of the Oregon Country.

  (1) Exploration, by Robert Gray, Lewis and Clark and Jonathan
  Carver—Naming Oregon. (2) Exploitation, by John Jacob Astor, the
  Hunt Party, Hudson Bay Co.—Ashley, Bonneyville and Wythe—(3)
  Missionary; "White Man's Book of Heaven," Lee, Parker, Whitman
  and Spaulding as Missionaries—Tribute to Pioneers. (4) Home
  builders; American Settlers Outnumber English—English give up
  Joint Occupancy, Withdrawal and Ashburton's Treaty—Establishment
  of the Oregon Trail 1843—Emigration of 1852—Conclusions           343


  Pioneer Life in Puyallup.

  The Cabin—Stilly a Typical Pioneer—Stilly's Cabin Becomes The
  Author's Home—The Ivy Vine—Dedication of the Cabin as "Pioneer
  Park"—The Author's Phonographic Address                           352


  Pioneer Life in Puyallup Valley.

  The Carson Family—The Walker Family—"Good Templars
  Lodge"—Holiday Celebrations—First Postoffice—Mount Rainier
  Glacier—Colony of 1853—Indian Massacre and Flight of the
  Settlers—Discovery of Coal—Acquiring Title of Land—Publication
  of "Washington Territory West of the Cascades"—Pioneer
  Socialism—Religion and Schools—Allen's Letter—Early Settlers
  Meet in Puyallup's Park—Great Public Dinner—Strong Program
  Speech by Ezra Meeker                                             360


  Sketches of Western Life.

  "Occidental Transcontinental Oriental McDonald"—His Personal
  Appearance—His Sloop—His Prophecies                               375


  Sketches of Western Life.

  "The Prairie Schooner"—Why Wagon Body was Boat Shape—Crossing
  Snake River—Moving Pictures of Crossing Loop Fork of the Platte
  River—How the Teams Crossed the River                             377


  High Cost of Living.

  Cincinnati Market a Hundred Years Ago; No Middlemen—All Markets
  Now, All Middlemen—Transportation, a Factor in the Cost of
  Living—Causes, "High Living," Abandonment of Simple Life, Change
  in Environments and Extravagant Wants                             381


  Cost of High Living.

  Fortieth Anniversary Celebration of the Completion of N. P. R.
  R.—Extravagance and Waste at the Celebration—Supply and Demand
  Regulates Prices—Consumer Too Far Removed from Producer, Demand
  Too Much Service, Buys in Too Small Quantities—Too Much
  Money—Remedy, Stop Extravagance and Waste, and Buy With Judgment  386



  Witness of Five Wars—Results, Advancement of Civilization—Wars
  Cannot be Averted—Preparedness Gives Advantage—It Does Not Cause
  War—The Monroe Doctrine and the "Open Door To China"—No Other
  Nation Will Assert Our Rights—Preparedness Does Not Prevent
  Wars, But Lessens the Danger                                      395


  How to Live to be a Hundred                                       399


  The Old Ancestral Homestead, 1676                                   1
  Mt. Tacoma                                                         86
  We Struck Rapid but Awkward Strokes                               118
  Mt. Rainier                                                       139
  Type of Blockhouse                                                185
  Old Settlers Meeting                                              195
  Group of Hop Houses                                               223
  The Klondike Team                                                 239
  Ezra Meeker's Homestead                                           245
  The Ivy-covered Cabin                                             246
  Camp in Seattle                                                   250
  Dedicating Monument at Tenino, Washington                         253
  The First Boulder Marked                                          257
  Baker City Monument                                               264
  The Old Oregon Trail                                              270
  Summit Monument                                                   273
  Devil's Gate                                                      277
  An Old Scout                                                      284
  Snap Shot on the Trail                                            290
  The Lone Grave                                                    294
  Chimney Rock                                                      295
  Twist                                                             298
  Broad Street, New York                                            313
  Jim                                                               317
  President Roosevelt on the Way to View the Team                   317
  President Viewing the Team                                        320
  Addressing Colored School                                         323
  At the Yukon Exposition                                           333
  Pioneer Park, Puyallup                                            355
  The Prairie Schooner on the White House Grounds                   377
  Dave and Dandy at the Panama Exposition                           379


Just why I should write a preface I know not, except that it is
fashionable to do so, and yet in the present case there would seem a
little explanation due the reader, who may cast his eye on the first
chapter of this work.

Indeed, the chapter, "Early Days in Indiana," may properly be termed an
introduction, though quite intimately connected with the narrative that
follows, yet not necessary to make a completed story of the trip to
Oregon in the early fifties.

The enlarged scope of this work, narrating incidents not connected
with the Oregon Trail or the Ox Team expedition, may call for this
explanation, that the author's thought has been to portray frontier
life in the Old Oregon Country, as well as pioneer life on the plains;
to live his experiences of eighty-five years over again, and tell them
in plain, homely language, to the end the later generation may know how
the "fathers" lived, what they did, and what they thought in the long

An attempt has been made to teach the young lessons of industry,
frugality, upright and altruistic living as exemplified in the lives of
the pioneers.

While acknowledging the imperfections of the work, yet to parents I can
sincerely say they may safely place this volume in the home without
fear that the adventures recited will arouse a morbid craving in the
minds of their children. The adventures are of real life, and incident
to a serious purpose in life, and not stories of fancy to make exciting
reading, although some of them may seem as such.

"Truth is stranger than fiction," and the pioneers have no need to
borrow from their imagination.



  Cloth $1.50 Postpaid

  Address: Ezra Meeker, 1120 38th Ave. N.
  Seattle, Wash.


Upon this, my 85th birthday with good health remaining with me and
strength to prompt the will to do, small wonder that I should arise
with thankfulness in my heart for the many, many blessings vouchsafed
to me.

To my friends (and enemies, if I have any) I dedicate this volume,
to be known as "Eighty-five Years of a Busy Life," in the hope of
cementing closer companionship and mutual good will to the end, that
by looking back into earlier life, we may be guided to better ways in
the vista of years to come, to a more forgiving spirit, to a less stern
condemnation of the foibles of others and a more joyful contemplation
of life's duties.

Having lived the simple life for so many years I could not now
change to the more modern ways of "High Living" and would not if I
could; nevertheless, the wonderful advance of art and science, the
great opportunity afforded for betterment of life in so many ways
to challenge our admiration, I would not record myself as against
innovation, as saying that all old ways were the best ways, but I will
say some of them were. The patient reader will notice this thought
developed in the pages to follow and while they may not be in full
accord of the teachings, yet, it is the hope of the author the lessons
may not fall upon deaf ears.

Being profoundly grateful for so many expressions of good will that
have reached me from so many friends, I will reciprocate by wishing
that each and every one of you may live to be over a hundred years old,
coupled with the admonition to accomplish this you must be possessed
with patience, and that "you must keep working to keep young."

Now, please read that grand inspired poem on next page, "Work", before
you read the book, to see if you have not there found the true elixir
of life and with it the author's hope to reach the goal beyond the
century mark.

Greetings to all.

_The Outlook_, December 2, 1914




    Thank God for the might of it,
    The ardor, the urge, the delight of it—
    Work that springs from the heart's desire,
    Setting the soul and the brain on fire.
    Oh, what is so good as the heat of it,
    And what is so glad as the beat of it,
    And what is so kind as the stern command
    Challenging brain and heart and hand?

    Thank God for the pride of it,
    For the beautiful, conquering tide of it,
    Sweeping the life in its furious flood,
    Thrilling the arteries, cleansing the blood,
    Mastering stupor and dull despair,
    Moving the dreamer to do and dare.
    Oh; what is so good as the urge of it,
    And what is so glad as the surge of it,
    And what is so strong as the summons deep
    Rousing the torpid soul from sleep?

    Thank God for the pace of it,
    For the terrible, keen, swift race of it;
    Fiery steeds in full control,
    Nostrils aquiver to greet the goal.
    Work, the power that drives behind,
    Guiding the purposes, taming the mind,
    Holding the runaway wishes back,
    Reining the will to one steady track,
    Speeding the energies faster, faster,
    Triumphing over disaster.
    Oh! what is so good as the pain of it,
    And what is so great as the gain of it,
    And what is so kind as the cruel goad,
    Forcing us on through the rugged road?

    Thank God for the swing of it,
    For the clamoring, hammering ring of it,
    Passion of labor daily hurled
    On the mighty anvils of the world
    Oh, what is so fierce as the flame of it,
    And what is so huge as the aim of it,
    Thundering on through dearth and doubt,
    Calling the plan of the Maker out;
    Work, the Titan, Work, the friend,
    Shaping the earth to a glorious end;
    Draining the swamps and blasting the hills,
    Doing whatever the spirit wills,
    Rending a continent apart
    To answer the dream of the Master heart.
    Thank God for a world where none may shirk,
    Thank God for the splendor of work.



I was born near Huntsville, Butler County, Ohio, about ten miles east
of Hamilton, Ohio. This, to me, important event occurred on December
29, A. D. 1830, hence I am many years past the usual limit of three
score years and ten.

My father's ancestors came from England in 1637 and in 1665 settled
near Elizabeth City, New Jersey, built a very substantial house which
is still preserved, furnished more than a score of hardy soldiers in
the War of Independence, and were noted for their stalwart strength,
steady habits, and patriotic ardor. My father had lost nothing of the
original sturdy instincts of the stock nor of the stalwart strength,
incident to his ancestral breeding. I remember that for three years, at
Carlyle's flouring mill in the then western suburbs of Indianapolis,
Ind., he worked 18 hours a day, as miller. He had to be on duty by 7
o'clock a. m., and remained on duty until 1 o'clock the next morning,
and could not leave the mill for dinner;—all this for $20 per month,
and bran for the cow, and yet his health was good and strength seemed
the same as when he began the ordeal. My mother's maiden name was
Phoeba Baker. A strong English and Welch strain of blood ran in her
veins, but I know nothing farther back than my grandfather Baker, who
settled in Butler County, Ohio, in the year 1804, or thereabouts. My
mother, like my father, could and did endure continuous long hours of
severe labor without much discomfort, in her household duties. I have
known her frequently to patch and mend our clothing until 11 o'clock at
night and yet would invariably be up in the morning by 4:00 and resume
her labors.

[Illustration: The Ancestral Old Homestead, Built 1676.]

Both my parents were sincere, though not austere Christian people, my
mother in particular inclining to a liberal faith, but both were
in early days members of the "Disciples," or as sometimes known as
"Newlites," afterwards, I believe, merged with the "Christian" church,
popularly known as the "Campbellites" and were ardent admirers of
Love Jameson, who presided so long over the Christian organization at
Indianapolis, and whom I particularly remember as one of the sweetest
singers that I ever heard.

Small wonder that with such parents and with such surroundings I
am able to say that for fifty-eight years of married life I have
never been sick in bed a single day, and that I can and have endured
long hours of labor during my whole life, and what is particularly
gratifying that I can truthfully say that I have always loved my work
and that I never watched for the sun to go down to relieve me from the
burden of labor.

"Burden of labor?" Why should any man call labor a burden? It's the
sweetest pleasure of life, if we will but look aright. Give me nothing
of the "man with the hoe" sentiment, as depicted by Markham, but let me
see the man with a light heart; that labors; that fulfills a destiny
the good God has given him; that fills an honored place in life even
if in an humble station; that looks upon the bright side of life while
striving as best he may to do his duty. I am led into these thoughts
by what I see around about me, so changed from that of my boyhood days
where labor was held to be honorable, even though in humble stations.

But, to return to my story. My earliest recollection, curiously enough,
is of my schoolboy days, of which I had so few. I was certainly not
five years old when a drunken, brutal school teacher undertook to
spank me while holding me on his knees because I did not speak a word
plainly. That is the first fight I have any recollection of, and would
hardly remember that but for the witnesses, one of them my oldest
brother, who saw the struggle, where my teeth did such excellent
work as to draw blood quite freely. What a spectacle that, of a
half-drunken teacher maltreating his scholars! But then that was a time
before a free school system, and when the parson would not hesitate to
take a "wee bit," and when, if the decanter was not on the sideboard,
the jug and gourd served well in the field or house. To harvest without
whisky in the field was not to be thought of; nobody ever heard of a
log-rolling or barn-raising without whisky. And so I will say to the
zealous temperance reformers, be of good cheer, for the world has moved
in these eighty-five years. Be it said, though, to the everlasting
honor of my father, that he set his head firmly against the practice,
and said his grain should rot in the field before he would supply
whisky to his harvest hands, and I have no recollections of ever but
once tasting any alcoholic liquors in my boyhood days.

I did, however, learn to smoke when very young. It came about in this
way: My mother always smoked, as long as I can remember. Women those
days smoked as well as men, and nothing was thought of it.

Well, that was before the time of matches, or leastwise, it was a time
when it was thought necessary to economize in their use, and mother,
who was a corpulent woman, would send me to put a coal in her pipe,
and so I would take a whiff or two, just to get it started, you know,
which, however, soon developed into the habit of lingering to keep it
going. But let me be just to myself,—for more than thirty years ago I
threw away my pipe and have never smoked since, and never will, and
now to those smokers who say they "can't quit" I want to call their
attention to one case of a man who did.

My next recollection of school-days was after father had moved to
Lockland, Ohio, then ten miles north of Cincinnati, now, I presume,
a suburb of that great city. I played "hookey" instead of going to
school, but one day while under the canal bridge the noise of passing
teams so frightened me that I ran home and betrayed himself. Did my
mother whip me? Why, God bless her dear old soul, no. Whipping of
children, though, both at home and in the school-room, was then about
as common as eating one's breakfast; but my parents did not think it
was necessary to rule by the rod, though then their family government
was exceptional. And so we see now a different rule prevailing, and see
that the world does move and is getting better.

After my father's removal to Indiana times were "hard," as the common
expression goes, and all members of the household for a season were
called upon to contribute their mite. I drove four yoke of oxen for
twenty-five cents a day, and a part of that time boarded at home at
that. This was on the Wabash where oak grubs grew, as father often
said, "as thick as hair on a dog's back," but not so thick as that.
But we used to force the big plow through and cut grubs with the plow
shear, as big as my wrist; and when we saw a patch of them ahead,
then was when I learned how to halloo and rave at the poor oxen and
inconsiderately whip them, but father wouldn't let me swear at them.
Let me say parenthetically that I have long since discontinued such a
foolish practice, and that I now talk to my oxen in a conversational
tone of voice and use the whip sparingly. When father moved to
Indianapolis, I think in 1842, "times" seemed harder than ever, and I
was put to work wherever an opportunity for employment offered, and
encouraged by my mother to seek odd jobs and keep the money myself,
she, however, becoming my banker; and in three years I had actually
accumulated $37.00. My! but what a treasure that was to me, and what a
bond of confidence between my mother and myself, for no one else, as I
thought, knew about my treasure. I found out afterwards, though, that
father knew about it all the time.

My ambition was to get some land. I had heard there was a forty-acre
tract in Hendricks County (Indiana) yet to be entered at $1.25 per
acre, and as soon as I could get $50.00 together I meant to hunt up
that land and secure it. I used to dream about that land day times
as well as at night. I sawed wood and cut each stick twice for
twenty-five cents a cord, and enjoyed the experience, for at night I
could add to my treasure. It was because my mind did not run on school
work and because of my restless disposition that my mother allowed me
to do this instead of compelling me to attend school, and which cut
down my real schoolboy days to less than six months. It was, to say the
least, a dangerous experiment and one which only a mother (who knows
her child better than all others) dare take, and I will not by any
means advise other mothers to adopt such a course.

Then when did you get your education? the casual reader may ask. I will
tell you a story. When in 1870 I wrote my first book (long since out
of print), "Washington Territory West of the Cascade Mountains," and
submitted the work to the Eastern public, a copy fell into the hands
of Jay Cooke, who then had six power presses running advertising the
Northern Pacific railroad, and he at once took up my whole edition. Mr.
Cooke, whom I met, closely questioned me as to where I was educated.
After having answered his many queries about my life on the frontier
he would not listen to my disclaimer that I was not an educated man,
referring to the work in his hand. The fact then dawned on me that it
was the reading of the then current literature of the day that had
taught me. I answered that the New York Tribune had educated me, as I
had then been a close reader of that paper for eighteen years, and it
was there I got my pure English diction, if I possessed it. We received
mails only twice a month for a long time, and sometimes only once a
month, and it is needless to say that all the matter in the paper was
read and much of it re-read and studied in the cabin and practiced
in the field. However, I do not set my face against school training,
but can better express my meaning by the quaint saying that "too much
of a good thing is more than enough," a phrase in a way senseless,
which yet conveys a deeper meaning than the literal words express. The
context will show the lack of a common school education, after all,
was not entirely for want of an opportunity, but from my aversion to
confinement and preference for work to study.

In those days apprenticeship was quite common, and it was not thought
to be a disgrace for a child to be "bound out" until he was twenty-one,
the more especially if this involved learning a trade. Father took
a notion he would "bind me out" to a Mr. Arthens, the mill owner at
Lockland, who was childless, and took me with him one day to talk it
over. Finally, when asked how I would like the change, I promptly
replied that it would be all right if Mrs. Arthens would "do up my sore
toes", whereupon there was such an outburst of merriment that I always
remembered it. We must remember that boys in those days did not wear
shoes in summer and quite often not in winter either. But mother put a
quietus on the whole business and said the family must not be divided,
and it was not, and in that she was right. Give me the humble home for
a child, that is a home in fact, rather than the grandest palace where
home life is but a sham.

I come now to an important event of my life, when father moved from
Lockland, Ohio, to near Covington, Indiana. I was not yet seven years
old, but walked all the way behind the wagon and began building
"castles in the air," which is the first (but by no means the last)
that I remember. We were going out to Indiana to be farmers, and it was
here, near the banks of the Wabash, that I learned the art of driving
four yoke of oxen to a breaking plow, without swearing.

That reminds me of an after-experience, the summer I was nineteen.
Uncle John Kinworthy (good old soul he was), an ardent Quaker, who
lived a mile or so out from Bridgeport, Indiana, asked me one day while
I was passing his place with three yoke of oxen to haul a heavy cider
press beam in place. This led the oxen through the front dooryard and
in full sight and hearing of three buxom Quaker girls, who either stood
in the door or poked their heads out of the window, in company with
their good mother. Go through the front yard past those girls the
cattle would not, and kept doubling back, first on one side and then on
the other. Uncle Johnny, noticing I did not swear at the cattle, and
attributing the absence of oaths to the presence of ladies, or maybe,
like a good many others, he thought oxen could not be driven without
swearing at them, sought an opportunity, when the mistress of the house
could not hear him, and said in a low tone, "If thee can do any better,
thee had better let out the word." Poor, good old soul, he doubtless
justified himself in his own mind that it was no more sin to swear all
the time than part of the time; and why is it? I leave the answer to
that person, if he can be found, that never swears.

Yes, I say again, give me the humble home for a child, that is a home
in fact, rather than the grandest palace where home life is but a
sham. And right here is where this generation has a grave problem to
solve, if it's not the gravest of the age, the severance of child life
from the real home and the real home influences, by the factory child
labor, the boarding schools, the rush for city life, and so many others
of like influences at work, that one can only take time to mention

And now the reader will ask, What do you mean by the home life? and to
answer that I will relate some features of my early home life, though
by no means would say that I would want to return to all the ways of
"ye olden times."

My mother always expected each child to have a duty to perform, as
well as time to play. Light labor, to be sure, but labor; something
of service. Our diet was so simple, the mere mention of it may create
a smile with the casual reader. The mush pot was a great factor in
our home life; a great heavy iron pot that hung on the crane in the
chimney corner where the mush would slowly bubble and splutter over or
near a bed of oak coals for half the afternoon. And such mush, always
made from yellow corn meal and cooked three hours or more. This, eaten
with plenty of fresh, rich milk comprised the supper for the children.
Tea? Not to be thought of. Sugar? It was too expensive—cost fifteen
to eighteen cents a pound, and at a time it took a week's labor to
earn as much as a day's labor now. Cheap molasses, sometimes, but
not often. Meat, not more than once a day, but eggs in abundance.
Everything father had to sell was low-priced, while everything mother
must buy at the store was high. Only to think of it, you who complain
of the hard lot of the workers of this generation: wheat twenty-five
cents a bushel, corn fifteen cents, pork two and two and a half cents
a pound, with bacon sometimes used as fuel by the reckless, racing
steamboat captains of the Ohio and Mississippi. But when we got onto
the farm with abundance of fruit and vegetables, with plenty of pumpkin
pies and apple dumplings, our cup of joy was full, and we were the
happiest mortals on earth. As I have said, 4:00 o'clock scarcely ever
found mother in bed, and until within very recent years I can say that
5:00 o'clock almost invariably finds me up. Habit, do you say? No, not
wholly, though that may have something to do with it, but I get up
early because I want to, and because I have something to do.

When I was born, thirty miles of railroad comprised the whole mileage
of the United States, and this only a tramway. Now, how many hundred
thousand miles I know not, but many miles over the two hundred thousand
mark. When I crossed the great states of Illinois and Iowa on my way
to Oregon in 1852 not a mile of railroad was seen in either state.
Only four years before, the first line was built in Indiana, really
a tramway, from Madison, on the Ohio River, to Indianapolis. What a
furore the building of that railroad created! Earnest, honest men
opposed the building just as sincerely as men now advocate public
ownership; both propositions are fallacious, the one long since
exploded, the other in due time, as sure to die out as the first.
My father was a strong advocate of the railroads, but I caught the
arguments on the other side advocated with such vehemence as to have
the sound of anger. What will our farmers do with their hay if all
the teams that are hauling freight to the Ohio River are thrown out
of employment? What will the tavern keepers do? What will become of
the wagoners? A hundred such queries would be asked by the opponents
of the railroad and, to themselves, triumphantly answered that the
country would be ruined if railroads were built. Nevertheless,
Indianapolis has grown from ten thousand to much over two hundred
thousand, notwithstanding the city enjoyed the unusual distinction of
being the first terminal city in the state of Indiana. I remember it
was the boast of the railroad magnates of that day that they would soon
increase the speed of their trains to fourteen miles an hour,—this when
they were running twelve.

In the year 1845 a letter came from Grandfather Baker to my mother that
he would give her a thousand dollars with which to buy a farm. The
burning question with my father and mother was how to get that money
out from Ohio to Indiana. They actually went in a covered wagon to
Ohio for it and hauled it home, all silver, in a box. This silver was
nearly all foreign coin. Prior to that time, but a few million dollars
had been coined by the United States Government. Grandfather Baker
had accumulated this money by marketing small things in Cincinnati,
twenty-five miles distant. I have heard my mother tell of going to
market on horseback with grandfather many times, carrying eggs, butter
and even live chickens on the horse she rode. Grandfather would not go
in debt, and so he lived on his farm a long time without a wagon, but
finally became wealthy, and was reputed to have a "barrel of money"
(silver, of course), out of which store the thousand dollars mentioned
came. It took nearly a whole day to count this thousand dollars, as
there seemed to be nearly every nation's coin on earth represented,
and the "tables" (of value) had to be consulted, the particular coins
counted, and their aggregate value computed.

It was this money that bought the farm five miles southwest of
Indianapolis, where I received my first real farm training. Father
had advanced ideas about farming, though a miller by trade, and
early taught me some valuable lessons I never forgot. We (I say "we"
advisedly, as father continued to work in the mill and left me in
charge of the farm) soon brought up the run-down farm to produce
twenty-three bushels of wheat per acre instead of ten, by the rotation
of corn, and clover and then wheat. But there was no money in farming
at the then prevailing prices, and the land, for which father paid ten
dollars an acre, would not yield a rental equal to the interest on the
money. Now that same land has recently sold for six hundred dollars an

For a time I worked in the Journal printing office for S. V. B. Noel,
who, I think, was the publisher of the Journal, and also printed a
free-soil paper. A part of my duty was to deliver those papers to
subscribers, who treated me civilly, but when I was caught on the
streets of Indianapolis with the papers in my hand I was sure of
abuse from some one, and a number of times narrowly escaped personal
violence. In the office I worked as roller boy, but known as "the
devil," a term that annoyed me not a little. The pressman was a man by
the name of Wood. In the same room was a power press, the power being
a stalwart negro who turned a crank. We used to race with the power
press, when I would fly the sheets, that is, take them off when printed
with one hand and roll the type with the other. This so pleased Noel
that he advanced my wages to $1.50 a week.

The present generation can have no conception of the brutal virulence
of the advocates of slavery against the "nigger" and "nigger lovers,"
as all were known who did not join in the crusade against the negroes.

One day we heard a commotion on the streets, and upon inquiry were
told that "they had just killed a nigger up the street, that's all,"
and went back to work shocked, but could do nothing. But when a little
later word came that it was Wood's brother that had led the mob
and that it was "old Jimmy Blake's man" (who was known as a sober,
inoffensive colored man) consternation seized Wood as with an iron
grip. His grief was inconsolable. The negro had been set upon by the
mob just because he was a negro and for no other reason, and brutally
murdered. That murder, coupled with the abuse I had received at the
hands of this same element, set me to thinking, and I then and there
embraced the anti-slavery doctrines and ever after adhered to them
until the question was settled.

One of the subscribers to whom I delivered that anti-slavery paper was
Henry Ward Beecher, who had then not attained the fame that came to him
later in life, but to whom I became attached by his kind treatment and
gentle words he always found time to utter. He was then, I think the
pastor of the Congregational Church that faced the "Governor's Circle."
The church has long since been torn down.

One episode of my life I remember because I thought my parents were in
the wrong. Vocal music was taught in singing school, almost, I might
say, as regular as day schools. I was passionately fond of music, and
before the change came had a splendid alto voice, and became a leader
in my part of the class. This coming to the notice of the trustees of
Beecher's church, an effort was made to have me join the choir. Mother
first objected because my clothes were not good enough, whereupon an
offer was made to suitably clothe me and pay something besides; but
father objected because he did not want me to listen to preaching
other than the sect (Campbellite) to which he belonged. The incident
set me to thinking, and finally drove me, young as I was, into the
liberal faith, though I dared not openly espouse it. In those days many
ministers openly preached of endless punishment in a lake of fire, but
I never could believe that doctrine, and yet their words would carry
terror into my heart. The ways of the world are better now in this, as
in many other respects.

Another episode of my life while working in the printing office I have
remembered vividly all these years. During the campaign of 1844 the
Whigs held a second gathering on the Tippecanoe battle-ground. It could
hardly be called a convention. A better name for the gathering would
be a political camp-meeting. The people came in wagons, on horseback,
afoot—any way to get there—and camped just like people used to do in
their religious camp-meetings. The journeymen printers of the Journal
office planned to go in a covered dead-ax wagon, and signified they
would make a place for the "devil," if his parents would let him go
along. This was speedily arranged with mother, who always took charge
of such matters. The proposition coming to Noel's ears he said for the
men to print me some campaign songs, which they did with a will, Wood
running them off the press after night while I rolled the type for him.
My! wasn't I the proudest boy that ever walked the earth? Visions of a
pocket full of money haunted me almost day and night until we arrived
on the battlefield. But lo and behold, nobody would pay any attention
to me. Bands of music were playing here and there; glee clubs would
sing and march first on one side of the ground and then the other;
processions were marching and the crowds surging, making it necessary
for one to look out and not get run over. Coupled with this, the rain
would pour down in torrents, but the marching and countermarching went
on all the same and continued for a week. An elderly journeyman printer
named May, who in a way stood sponsor for our party, told me if I would
get up on the fence and sing my songs the people would buy them, and
sure enough the crowds came and I sold every copy I had, and went home
with eleven dollars in my pocket, the richest boy on earth.

It was about this time the start was made of printing the Indianapolis
News, a paper that has thriven all these after years. These same
rollicking printers that comprised the party to the battle-ground put
their heads together to have some fun, and began printing out of hours
a small 9x11 sheet filled with short paragraphs of sharp sayings of men
and things about town, some more expressive than elegant, and some,
in fact, not fit for polite ears; but the pith of the matter was they
treated only of things that were true and of men moving in the highest
circles. I cannot recall the given names of any of these men. May, the
elderly man before referred to, a man named Finly, and another, Elder,
were the leading spirits in the enterprise. Wood did the presswork and
my share was to ink the type and in part stealthily distribute the
papers, for it was a great secret where they came from at the start—all
this "just for the fun of the thing," but the sheet caused so much
comment and became sought after so much that the mask was thrown off
and the little paper launched as a "semi-occasional" publication and
"sold by carrier only," all this after hours, when the regular day's
work was finished. I picked up quite a good many fip-i-na-bits (a coin
representing the value of 6¼ cents) myself from the sale of these.
After a while the paper was published regularly, a rate established,
and the little paper took its place among the regular publications of
the day. This writing is altogether from memory of occurrences seventy
years ago, and may be faulty in detail, but the main facts are true,
which probably will be borne out by the files of the great newspaper
that has grown from the seed sown by those restless journeymen printers.

It seems though that I was not "cut out" for a printer. My inclination
ran more to the open air life, and so father placed me on the farm
as soon as the purchase was made and left me in full charge of the
work, while he turned his attention to milling. Be it said that I
early turned my attention to the girls as well as to the farm, married
young—before I had reached the age of twenty-one, and can truly say
this was a happy venture, for we lived happily together for fifty-eight
years before the call came and now there are thirty-six descendants to
revere the name of the sainted mother.

And now for a little insight into these times of precious memories that
never fade, and always lend gladness to the heart.



My mother said I was "always the busiest young'en she ever saw," which
meant I was restless from the beginning—born so.

According to the best information obtainable, I was born in a log
cabin, where the fireplace was nearly as wide as the cabin. The two
doors on opposite sides admitted the horse, dragging the backlog, to
enter in one, and go out at the other, and of course the solid puncheon
floor defied injury from rough treatment.

The crane swung to and fro to regulate the bubbling mush in the pot.
The skillet and dutch oven occupied places of favor, instead of the
cook stove, to bake the pone or johnny cake, or to parch the corn, or
to fry the venison, which was then obtainable in the wilds of Ohio.

A curtain at the farther end of the cabin marked the confines of a bed
chamber for the "old folk", while the elder children climbed the ladder
nailed to the wall to the loft of loose clapboard that rattled when
trod upon and where the pallets were so near the roof that the patter
of the rain made music to the ear, and the spray of the falling water,
not infrequently, would baptize the "tow-heads" left uncovered.

Mother used to give us boys mush and milk for supper, and only that,
and then turned us out to romp or play or do up chores as the case
might be, and sometimes as I now think of it, we must almost have made
a burden of life for her, but she always seemed to think that anything
we did in the way of antics was funny and about right.

It is mete to recall to mind that this date (of my birth) 1830, was
just after the first railroad was built (1826) in the United States,
just after friction matches were discovered (1827), just when the
first locomotive was run (1829), and "daguerreotype" was invented.
Following these came the McCormick reaper, immortalizing a name; the
introduction of photography (1839), and finally the telegraph (1844)
to hand down the name of Morse to all future generations as long as
history is recorded. Then came the sewing machine (1846) to lighten the
housewife's labor and make possible the vast advance in adornment in

The few pioneers left will remember how the teeth were "yanked"
out, and he must "grin and bear it" until chloroform came into use
(1847), the beginning of easing the pain in surgical work and the near
cessation of blood-letting for all sorts of ills to which the race was

The world had never heard of artesian wells until after I was eleven
years old (1841). Then came the Atlantic cable (1858), and the
discovery of coal oil (1859). Time and events combined to revolutionize
the affairs of the world. I well remember the "power" printing press
(the power being a sturdy negro turning a crank), in a room where I
worked a while as "the devil" in Noel's office in Indianapolis (1844)
that would print 500 impressions an hour, and I have recently seen
the monster living things that would seem to do almost everything but
think, run off its 96,000 of completed newspapers in the same period of
time, folded and counted.

The removal to "Lockland", alongside the "raging canal", seemed only a
way station to the longer drive to Indiana, the longest walk of my life
in my younger days, which I vividly remember to this day, taken from
Lockland, ten miles out from Cincinnati, to Attica, Indiana a distance
approximately of two hundred miles, when but nine years old, during the
autumn of 1839. With the one wagon piled high with the household goods
and mother with two babies, one yet in arms. There was no room in the
wagon for the two boys, my brother Oliver Meeker, eleven years old, and
myself, as already stated but nine. The horses walked a good brisk gait
and kept us quite busy to keep up, but not so busy as to prevent us at
times from throwing stones at squirrels or to kill a garter snake or
gather flowers for mother and baby, or perhaps watch the bees gathering
honey or the red-headed woodpeckers pecking the trees. Barefooted and
bareheaded with tow pants and checkered "linsy woolsy" shirt and a
strip of cloth for "galluses", as suspenders were then called, we did
present an appearance that might be called primitive. Little did we
think or care for appearance, bent as we were upon having a good time,
and which we did for the whole trip. One dreary stretch of swamp that
kept us on the corduroy road behind the jolting wagon was remembered
which Uncle Usual Meeker, who was driving the wagon, called the "Big
Swamp", which I afterwards learned was near Crawfordsville, Indiana.
I discovered on my recent trip with the ox-team that the water of the
swamp is gone, the corduroy gone, the timber as well, and instead
great barns and pretentious homes have taken their places and dot the
landscape as far as the eye can reach.

One habit we boys acquired on that trip stuck to us for life; until the
brother was lost in the disaster of the steamer Northerner, January 5,
1861, 23 years after the barefoot trip. We followed behind the wagon
part of the time and each took the name of the horse on his side of
the road. I was "Tip" and on the off side, while the brother was "Top"
and on the near side. "Tip" and "Top", a great big fat span of grey
horses that as Uncle Usual said "would run away at the drop of a hat"
was something to be proud of and each would champion his favorite ahead
of him. We built castles in the air at times as we trudged along, of
raising chickens, of getting honey bees, such as we saw at times on the
road; at other times it would be horses and then lambs, if we happened
to see a flock of sheep as we passed by—anything and everything that
our imagination would conjure and which by the way made us happy and
contented with our surroundings and the world at large. This habit of
my brother's walking on the near side and I on the off side continued,
as I have said, to the end of his life, and we were much together in
after life in Indiana, on the plains, and finally here in Washington.
We soon, as boys, entered into partnership, raising a garden, chickens,
ducks, anything to be busy, all of which our parents enjoyed, and
continued our partnership till manhood and until his death parted us.
It is wonderful how those early recollections of trivial matters will
still be remembered until old age overtakes us, while questions of
greater importance encountered later on in life escape our memory and
are lost.



In the early '50's, out four and a half and seven miles, respectively,
from Indianapolis, Indiana, there lived two young people with their
parents, who were old-time farmers of the old style, keeping no "hired
man" nor buying many "store goods." The girl could spin and weave, make
delicious butter, knit soft, good shapen socks, and cook as good a meal
as any other country girl around about, and was, withal, as buxom a
lass as had ever been "born and raised there (Indiana) all her life."

These were times when sugar sold for eighteen cents per pound, calico
fifteen cents per yard, salt three dollars a barrel, and all other
goods at correspondingly high prices; while butter would bring but
ten cents a pound, eggs five cents a dozen, and wheat but two bits
(twenty-five cents) a bushel. And so, when these farmers went to the
market town (Indianapolis) care was taken to carry along something to
sell, either eggs, or butter, or perhaps a half dozen pairs of socks,
or maybe a few yards of home-made cloth, as well as some grain, or hay,
or a bit of pork, or possibly a load of wood, to make ends meet at the

The young man was a little uncouth in appearance, round-faced, rather
stout in build—almost fat—a little boisterous, always restless, and
without a very good address, yet with at least one redeeming trait of
character—he loved his work and was known to be as industrious a lad as
any in the neighborhood.

These young people would sometimes meet at the "Brimstone
meeting-house," a Methodist church known (far and wide) by that name;
so named by the unregenerate because of the open preaching of endless
torment to follow non-church members and sinners after death—a literal
lake of fire—taught with vehemence and accompanied by boisterous scenes
of shouting by those who were "saved." Amid these scenes and these
surroundings these two young people grew up to the age of manhood
and womanhood, knowing but little of the world outside of their home
sphere,—and who knows but as happy as if they had seen the whole world?
Had they not experienced the joys of the sugar camp while "stirring
off" the lively creeping maple sugar? Both had been thumped upon the
bare head by the falling hickory nuts in windy weather; had hunted the
black walnuts half hidden in the leaves; had scraped the ground for the
elusive beech nuts; had even ventured to apple parings together, though
not yet out of their "teens."

The lad hunted the 'possum and the coon in the White River bottom, now
the suburb of the city of Indianapolis, and had cut even the stately
walnut trees, now so valuable, that the cunning coon might be driven
from his hiding place.


"I'm going to be a farmer when I get married," the young man quite
abruptly said one day to the lass, without any previous conversation to
lead up to such an assertion, to the confusion of his companion, who
could not mistake the thoughts that prompted the words. A few months
later the lass said, "Yes, I want to be a farmer, too, but I want to
be a farmer on our own land," and two bargains were confirmed then and
there when the lad said, "We will go West and not live on pap's farm."
"Nor in the old cabin, nor any cabin unless it's our own," came the
response, and so the resolution was made that they would go to Iowa,
get some land and "grow up with the country."


About the first week of October, 1851, a covered wagon drew up
in front of Thomas Sumner's habitation, then but four miles out
from Indianapolis on the National road, ready to be loaded for the
start. Eliza Jane, the second daughter of that noble man, the "lass"
described, then the wife of the young man mentioned, the author,
was ready, with cake and apple butter and pumpkin pies, jellies and
the like, enough to last the whole trip, and plenty of substantials
besides. Not much of a load to be sure, but it was all we had; plenty
of blankets, a good sized Dutch oven, and each an extra pair of shoes,
cloth for two new dresses for the wife, and for an extra pair of
trousers for the husband.

Tears could be restrained no longer as the loading progressed and the
stern realization faced the parents of both that the young couple were
about to leave them.

"Why, mother, we are only going out to Iowa, you know, where we can
get a home that shall be our own; it's not so very far—only about 500

"Yes, I know, but suppose you get sick in that uninhabited country—who
will care for you?"

Notwithstanding this motherly solicitude, the young people could not
fail to know that there was a secret feeling of approval in the good
woman's breast, and when, after a few miles' travel, the reluctant
final parting came, could not then know that this loved parent would
lay down her life a few years later in an heroic attempt to follow the
wanderers to Oregon, and that her bones would rest in an unknown and
unmarked grave of the Platte valley.

Of that October drive from the home near Indianapolis to Eddyville,
Iowa, in the delicious (shall I say delicious, for what other word
expresses it?) atmosphere of an Indian summer, and in the atmosphere
of hope and content; hope born of aspirations—content with our lot,
born of a confidence of the future, what shall I say? What matter if we
had but a few dollars in money and but few belongings?—we had the wide
world before us; we had good health; and before and above all we had
each other, and were supremely happy and rich in our anticipations.

At this time but one railroad entered Indianapolis—it would be called
a tramway now—from Madison on the Ohio River, and when we cut loose
from that embryo city we left railroads behind us, except such as
were found in the wagon track where the rails were laid crossways to
keep the wagon out of the mud. What matter if the road was rough? We
could go a little slower, and then wouldn't we have a better appetite
for our supper because of the jolting, and wouldn't we sleep a little
sounder for it? And so everything in all the world looked bright, and
what little mishaps did befall us were looked upon with light hearts,
because we realized that they might have been worse.

The great Mississippi River was crossed at Burlington, or rather, we
embarked several miles down the river, and were carried up to the
landing at Burlington, and after a few days' further driving landed
in Eddyville, Iowa, destined to be only a place to winter, and a way
station on our route to Oregon.


My first introduction to an Iowa winter was in a surveyor's camp on the
western borders of the state, a little north of Kanesville (now Council
Bluffs), as cook of the party, which position was speedily changed and
that of flagman assigned to me.

If there are any settlers now left of the Iowa of that day (sixty-four
years ago) they will remember the winter was bitter cold—the "coldest
within the memory of the oldest inhabitant." On my trip back from the
surveying party above mentioned to Eddyville, just before Christmas, I
encountered one of those cold days long to be remembered. A companion
named Vance rested with me over night in a cabin, with scant food for
ourselves or the mare we led. It was thirty-five miles to the next
cabin; we must reach that place or lay out on the snow. So a very early
start was made—before daybreak, while the wind lay. The good lady of
the cabin baked some biscuit for a noon lunch, but they were frozen
solid in our pockets before we had been out two hours. The wind rose
with the sun, and with the sun two bright sundogs, one on each side,
and alongside of each, but slightly less bright, another—a beautiful
sight to behold, but arising from conditions intolerable to bear. Vance
came near freezing to death, and would had I not succeeded in arousing
him to anger and gotten him off the mare.

I vowed then and there that I did not like the Iowa climate, and the
Oregon fever was visibly quickened. Besides, if I went to Oregon
the government would give us 320 acres of land, while in Iowa we
should have to purchase it,—at a low price to be sure, but it must
be bought and paid for on the spot. There were no pre-emption or
beneficial homestead laws in force then, and not until many years
later. The country was a wide, open, rolling prairie—a beautiful
country indeed—but what about a market? No railroads, no wagon roads,
no cities, no meeting-houses, no schools—the prospect looked drear.
How easy it is for one when his mind is once bent against a country
to conjure up all sorts of reasons to bolster his, perhaps hasty,
conclusions; and so Iowa was condemned as unsuited to our life abiding

But what about going to Oregon when springtime came? An interesting
event was pending that rendered a positive decision impossible for
the moment, and not until the first week of April, 1852, when our
first-born baby boy was a month old, could we say that we were going to
Oregon in 1852.



I have been asked hundreds of times how many wagons were in the train I
traveled with, and what train it was, and who was the captain?—assuming
that, of course, we must have been with some train.

I have invariably answered, one train, one wagon, and that we had no
captain. What I meant by one train is, that I looked upon the whole
emigration, strung out on the plains five hundred miles, as one train.
For long distances the throng was so great that the road was literally
filled with wagons as far as the eye could reach. At Kanesville where
the last purchases were made, or the last letter sent to anxious
friends, the congestion became so great that the teams were literally
blocked, and stood in line for hours before they could get out of the
jam. Then, as to a captain, we didn't think we needed one, and so when
we drove out of Eddyville, there was but one wagon in our train, two
yoke of four-year-old steers, one yoke of cows, and one extra cow.
This cow was the only animal we lost on the whole trip—strayed in the
Missouri River bottom before crossing.

And now as to the personnel of our little party. William Buck, who
became my partner for the trip, was a man six years my senior, had had
some experience on the Plains, and knew about the outfit needed, but
had no knowledge in regard to a team of cattle. He was an impulsive
man, and to some extent excitable; yet withal a man of excellent
judgment and as honest as God Almighty makes men. No lazy bones
occupied a place in Buck's body. He was so scrupulously neat and
cleanly that some might say he was fastidious, but such was not the
case. His aptitude for the camp work, and unfitness for handling the
team, at once, as we might say by natural selection, divided the cares
of the household, sending the married men to the range with the team
and the bachelor to the camp. The little wife was in ideal health, and
almost as particular as Buck (not quite though) while the young husband
would be a little more on the slouchy order, if the reader will pardon
the use of that word, more expressive than elegant.

Buck selected the outfit to go into the wagon, while I fitted up the
wagon and bought the team.

We had butter, packed in the center of the flour in double sacks; eggs
packed in corn meal or flour, to last us nearly five hundred miles;
fruit in abundance, and dried pumpkins; a little jerked beef, not too
salt, and last, though not least, a demijohn of brandy for "medicinal
purposes only," as Buck said, with a merry twinkle of the eye that
exposed the subterfuge which he knew I understood without any sign. The
little wife had prepared the home-made yeast cake which she knew so
well how to make and dry, and we had light bread all the way, baked in
a tin reflector instead of the heavy Dutch ovens so much in use on the

Albeit the butter to considerable extent melted and mingled with the
flour, yet we were not much disconcerted, as the "short-cake" that
followed made us almost glad the mishap had occurred. Besides, did we
not have plenty of fresh butter, from the milk of our own cows, churned
every day in the can, by the jostle of the wagon? Then the buttermilk!
What a luxury! Yes, that's the word—a real luxury. I will never, so
long as I live, forget that short-cake and corn-bread, the puddings and
pumpkin pies, and above all the buttermilk. The reader who smiles at
this may recall that it is the small things that make up the happiness
of life.

But it was more than that. As we gradually crept out on the Plains and
saw the sickness and suffering caused by improper food and in some
cases from improper preparation, it gradually dawned on me how blessed
I was, with such a partner as Buck and such a life partner as the
little wife. Some trains, it soon transpired, were without fruit, and
most of them depended upon saleratus for raising their bread. Many had
only fat bacon for meat until the buffalo supplied a change; and no
doubt much of the sickness attributed to the cholera was caused by an
ill-suited diet.

I am willing to claim credit for the team, every hoof of which reached
the Coast in safety. Four (four-year-old) steers and two cows were
sufficient for our light wagon and light outfit, not a pound of which
but was useful (except the brandy) and necessary for our comfort. Not
one of these steers had ever been under the yoke, though plenty of
"broke" oxen could be had, but generally of that class that had been
broken in spirit as well as in training, so when we got across the Des
Moines River with the cattle strung out to the wagon and Buck on the
off side to watch, while I, figuratively speaking, took the reins in
hand, we may have presented a ludicrous sight, but did not have time to
think whether we did or not, and cared but little so the team would go.


The first day's drive out from Eddyville was a short one, and so far
as I now remember the only one on the entire trip where the cattle
were allowed to stand in the yoke at noon while the owners lunched and
rested. I made it a rule, no matter how short the noontime, to unyoke
and let the cattle rest or eat while we rested and ate, and on the last
(1906) trip rigidly adhered to that rule.

An amusing scene was enacted when, at near nightfall, the first camp
was made. Buck excitedly insisted we must not unyoke the cattle. "Well,
what shall we do?" I asked; "They can't live in the yoke always; we
will have to unyoke them sometimes."

"Yes, but if you unyoke here you will never catch them again," came
the response. One word brought on another, until the war of words had
almost reached the stage of a dispute, when a stranger, Thomas McAuley,
who was camped nearby, with a twinkle in his eye I often afterwards saw
and will always remember, interfered and said his cattle were gentle
and there were three men of his party and that they would help us yoke
up in the morning. I gratefully accepted his proffered help, speedily
unyoked, and ever after that never a word with the merest semblance of
contention passed between Buck and myself.

Scanning McAuley's outfit the next morning I was quite troubled to
start out with him, his teams being light, principally cows, and thin
in flesh, with wagons apparently light and as frail as the teams. But
I soon found that his outfit, like ours, carried no extra weight; that
he knew how to care for a team; and was, withal, an obliging neighbor,
as was fully demonstrated on many trying occasions as we traveled in
company for more than a thousand miles, until his road to California
parted from ours at the big bend of the Bear River.

Of the trip through Iowa little remains to be said further than that
the grass was thin and washy, the roads muddy and slippery, and weather
execrable, although May had been ushered in long before we reached the
little Mormon town of Kanesville (now Council Bluffs), a few miles
above where we crossed the Missouri River.



"What on earth is that?" exclaimed Margaret McAuley, as we approached
the ferry landing a few miles below where Omaha now stands.

"It looks for all the world like a great big white flatiron," answered
Eliza, the sister, "doesn't it, Mrs. Meeker?" But, leaving the women
folks to their similes, we drivers turned our attention more to the
teams as we encountered the roads "cut all to pieces" on account of the
concentrated travel as we neared the landing and the solid phalanx of
wagons that formed the flatiron of white ground.

We here encountered a sight indeed long to be remembered. The
"flatiron of white" that Eliza had seen proved to be wagons with their
tongues pointing to the landing—a center train with other parallel
trains extending back in the rear and gradually covering a wider
range the farther back from the river one would go. Several hundred
wagons were thus closely interlocked completely blocking the approach
to the landing by new arrivals, whether in companies or single. All
around about were camps of all kinds, from those without covering
of any kind to others with comfortable tents, nearly all seemingly
intent on merrymaking, while here and there were small groups engaged
in devotional services. We soon ascertained these camps contained
the outfits, in great part, of the wagons in line in the great white
flatiron, some of whom had been there for two weeks with no apparent
probability of securing an early crossing. At the turbulent river
front the muddy waters of the Missouri had already swallowed up three
victims, one of whom I saw go under the drift of a small island as
I stood near his shrieking wife the first day we were there. Two
scows were engaged in crossing the wagons and teams. In this case the
stock had rushed to one side of the boat, submerged the gunwale, and
precipitated the whole contents into the dangerous river. One yoke of
oxen, having reached the farther shore, deliberately entered the river
with a heavy yoke on and swam to the Iowa side, and were finally saved
by the helping hands of the assembled emigrants.

"What shall we do?" was passed around, without answer. Tom McAuley was
not yet looked upon as a leader, as was the case later. The sister
Margaret, a most determined maiden lady, the oldest of the party and as
resolute and brave as the bravest, said to build a boat. But of what
should we build it? While this question was under consideration and a
search for material made, one of our party, who had gotten across the
river in search of timber, discovered a scow, almost completely buried,
on the sandpit opposite the landing, "only just a small bit of railing
and a corner of the boat visible." The report seemed too good to be
true. The next thing to do was to find the owner, which in a search of
a day we did, eleven miles down the river. "Yes, if you will stipulate
to deliver the boat safely to me after crossing your five wagons and
teams, you can have it," said the owner, and a bargain was closed right
then and there. My! but didn't we make the sand fly that night from
that boat? By morning we could begin to see the end. Then busy hands
began to cut a landing on the perpendicular sandy bank on the Iowa
side; others were preparing sweeps, and all was bustle and stir and one
might say excitement.

By this time it had become noised around that another boat would be
put on to ferry people over, and we were besieged with applications
from detained emigrants. Finally, the word coming to the ears of
the ferrymen, they were foolish enough to undertake to prevent us
from crossing ourselves. A writ of replevin or some other process
was issued, I never knew exactly what, directing the sheriff to take
possession of the boat when landed, and which he attempted to do. I
never before nor since attempted to resist an officer of the law, nor
joined to accomplish anything by force outside the pale of the law,
but when that sheriff put in an appearance, and we realized what it
meant, there wasn't a man in our party that did not run for his gun
to the nearby camp, and it is needless to add that we did not need to
use them. As if by magic a hundred guns were in sight. The sheriff
withdrew, and the crossing went peaceably on till all our wagons were
safely landed. But we had another danger to face; we learned that there
would be an attempt made to take the boat from us, not as against us,
but as against the owner, and but for the adroit management of McAuley
and my brother Oliver (who had joined us) we would have been unable to
fulfill our engagements with the owner.



When we stepped foot upon the right bank of the Missouri River we were
outside the pale of civil law. We were within the Indian country where
no organized civil government existed. Some people and some writers
have assumed that each man was "a law unto himself" and free to do his
own will, dependent, of course, upon his physical ability to enforce it.

Nothing could be further from the facts than this assumption, as
evil-doers soon found out to their discomfort. No general organization
for law and order was effected, but the American instinct for fair
play and for a hearing prevailed; so that while there was not mob
law, the law of self-preservation asserted itself, and the mandates
of the level-headed old men prevailed; "a high court from which there
was no appeal," but "a high court in the most exalted sense; a senate
composed of the ablest and most respected fathers of the emigration,
exercising both legislative and judicial power; and its laws and
decisions proved equal to any worthy of the high trust reposed in it,"
so tersely described by Applegate as to conditions when the first
great train moved out on the Plains in 1843, that I quote his words as
describing conditions in 1852. There was this difference, however, in
the emigration of 1843—all, by agreement, belonged to one or the other
of the two companies, the "cow column" or the "light brigade," while
with the emigrants of 1852 it is safe to say that more than half did
not belong to large companies, or one might say any organized company.
But this made no difference, for when an occasion called for action a
"high court" was convened, and woe-betide the man that would undertake
to defy its mandates after its deliberations were made public.

One incident, well up on the Sweetwater, will illustrate the spirit
of determination of the sturdy old men (elderly, I should say, as
no young men were allowed to sit in these councils) of the Plains,
while laboring under stress of grave personal cares and with many
personal bereavements. A murder had been committed, and it was clear
that the motive was robbery. The suspect had a large family and was
traveling along with the moving column. Men had volunteered to search
for the missing man and finally found the proof pointing to the guilt
of the suspect. A council of twelve men was called and deliberated
until the second day, meanwhile holding the murderer safely within
their grip. What were they to do? Here was a wife and four little
children depending upon this man for their lives; what would become
of his family if justice was meted out to him? Soon there came an
under-current of what might be termed public opinion—that it was
probably better to forego punishment than to endanger the lives of the
family; but the council would not be swerved from its resolution, and
at sundown of the third day the criminal was hung in the presence of
the whole camp, including the family, but not until ample provisions
had been made to insure the safety of the family by providing a driver
to finish the journey. I came so near seeing this that I did see the
ends of the wagon tongues in the air and the rope dangling therefrom,
but I have forgotten the names of the parties, and even if I had not,
would be loath to make them public.

From necessity, murder was punishable with death; but stealing, by a
tacit understanding, with whipping, which, when inflicted by one of
those long ox lashes in the hands of an expert, would bring the blood
from the victim's back at every stroke. Minor offenses, or differences
generally, took the form of arbitration, the decision of which each
party would abide by, as if emanating from a court of law.

Lawlessness was not common on the Plains, no more so than in the
communities from which the great body of the emigrants had been drawn;
in fact, not so much so, as punishment was swift and certain, and that
fact had its deterrent effect. But the great body of the emigrants were
a law-abiding people from law-abiding communities.

And now as to our mode of travel. I did not enter an organized company,
neither could I travel alone. Four wagons, with nine men, by tacit
agreement, traveled together for a thousand miles, and separated only
when our roads parted, the one to California, the other to Oregon.
And yet we were all the while in one great train, never out of sight
or hearing of others. In fact, at times, the road would be so full of
wagons that all could not travel in one track, and this fact accounts
for the double road-beds seen in so many places on the trail. One of
the party always went ahead to look out for water, grass and fuel,
three requisites for a camping place. The grass along the beaten
track was always eaten off close by the loose stock, of which there
were great numbers, and so we had frequently to take the cattle long
distances from camp. Then came the most trying part of the whole
trip—the all-night watch, which resulted in our making the cattle our
bed-fellows, back to back for warmth; for signal as well, to get up
if the ox did. It was not long, though, till we were used to it, and
slept quite a bit except when a storm struck us; well, then, to say
the least, it was not a pleasure outing. But weren't we glad when the
morning came, with, perchance, the smoke of the campfire in sight, and
maybe, as we approached, we could catch the aroma of the coffee; and
then such tender greetings and such thoughtful care that would have
touched a heart of stone, and to us seemed like a paradise. We were
supremely happy.

People, too, often brought their own ills upon themselves by their
indiscreet action, especially in the loss of their teams. The trip
had not progressed far until there came a universal outcry against
the heavy loads and unnecessary articles, and soon we began to see
abandoned property. First it might be a table or a cupboard, or
perhaps a bedstead or a heavy cast-iron cook-stove. Then began to
be seen bedding by the wayside, feather beds, blankets, quilts,
pillows—everything of the kind that mortal man might want. And so,
very soon here and there an abandoned wagon could be seen, provisions,
stacks of flour and bacon being the most abundant—all left as common
property. Help yourself if you will; no one will interfere; and, in
fact, in some places a sign was posted inviting all to take what they
wanted. Hundreds of wagons were left and hundreds of tons of goods.
People seemed to vie with each other to give away their property,
there being no chance to sell, and they disliked to destroy. Long
after the mania for getting rid of goods and lightening the load, the
abandonment of wagons continued, as the teams became weaker and the
ravages of cholera struck us. It was then that many lost their heads
and ruined their teams by furious driving, by lack of care, and by
abuse. There came a veritable stampede—a strife for possession of the
road, to see who should get ahead. Whole trains (often with bad blood)
would strive for the mastery of the road, one attempting to pass the
other, frequently with drivers on each side the team to urge the poor,
suffering brutes forward.

"What shall we do?" passed from one to another in our little family

"Now, fellers," said McAuley, "don't lose your heads, but do just as
you have been doing; you gals, just make your bread as light as ever,
and we'll boil the water and take river water the same as ever, even if
it is almost as thick as mud."

We had all along refused to "dig little wells near the banks of the
Platte," as many others did, having soon learned that the water
obtained was strongly charged with alkali, while the river water was
comparatively pure, other than the fine impalpable sediment, so fine as
to seemingly be held in solution.

"Keep cool," he continued; "maybe we'll have to lay down, and maybe
not. Anyway, it's no use frettin'. What's to be will be, 'specially if
we but help things along."

This homely yet wise counsel fell upon willing ears, as most all were
already of the same mind; and we did "just as we had been doing," and
escaped unharmed.

I look back on that party of nine men and three women (and a baby),
with four wagons, with feelings almost akin to reverence.

Thomas McAuley became by natural selection the leader of the party,
although no agreement of the kind was ever made. He was, next to his
maiden sister, the oldest of the party, a most fearless man, who never
lost his head, whatever the emergency, and I have been in some pretty
tight places with him. While he was the oldest, I was the youngest of
the men folks of the party, and the only married man of the lot, and
if I do have to say it, the strongest and ablest to bear the brunt of
the work (pardon me, reader, when I add, and willing according to my
strength, for it is true), and so we got along well together until the
parting of the way came. This spirit, though, pervaded the whole camp
both with the men and women folks to the end. Thomas McAuley still
lives, at Hobart Hills, California, or did a few years ago when I last
heard from him, a respected citizen. He has long since passed the
eighty-year mark, and has not "laid down" yet.

Did space but permit I would like to tell more in detail of the members
of that little happy party (family we called ourselves) camped near the
bank of the Platte when the fury of that great epidemic—cholera—burst
upon us, but I can only make brief mention. William Buck—one of
Nature's noblemen—has long ago "laid down." Always scrupulously neat
and cleanly, always ready to cater to the wants of his companions and
as honest as the day is long, he has ever held a tender place in my
heart. It was Buck that selected our nice little outfit, complete in
every part, so that we did not throw away a pound of provisions nor
need to purchase any. The water can was in the wagon, of sufficient
capacity to supply our wants for a day, and a "sup" for the oxen and
cows besides. The milk can in the wagon always yielded its lump of
butter at night, churned by the movement of the wagon from the surplus
morning's milk. The yeast cake so thoughtfully provided by the little
wife ever brought forth sweet, light bread baked in that tin reflector
before the "chip" (buffalo) fire. That reflector and those yeast cakes
were a great factor conducive to our health. Small things, to be sure,
but great as to results. Instead of saleratus biscuit, bacon and beans,
we had the light bread and fruit, with fresh meats and rice pudding,
far out on the Plains, until our supply of eggs became exhausted.

Of the remainder of the party, brother Oliver "laid down" fifty-five
years ago, but his memory is still green in the hearts of all who knew
him. Margaret McAuley died a few years after reaching California. Like
her brother, she was resolute and resourceful, and almost like a mother
to the younger sister and the young wife and baby. And such a baby!
If one were to judge by the actions of all the members of that camp,
the conclusion would be reached there was no other baby on earth. All
seemed rejoiced to know there was a baby in camp; young (only seven
weeks old when we started) but strong and grew apace as the higher
altitude was reached.

Eliza, the younger sister, a type of the healthy, handsome American
girl, graceful and modest, became the center of attraction upon which a
romance might be written, but as the good elderly lady still lives, the
time has not yet come, and so we must draw the veil.

Of the two Davenport brothers, Jacob, the youngest, became ill at Soda
Springs, was confined to the wagon for more than seven hundred miles
down Snake River in that intolerable dust, and finally died soon after
we arrived in Portland.

John, the elder brother, always fretful, but willing to do his part,
has passed out of my knowledge. Both came of respected parents on an
adjoining farm to that of my own home near Indianapolis, but I have
lost all trace of them.

Perhaps the general reader may not take even a passing interest in this
little party (family) here described. I can only say that this was
typical of many on the Trail of '52. The McAuleys or Buck and others of
our party could be duplicated in larger or smaller parties all along
the line. There were hundreds of noble men trudging up the Platte at
that time in an army over five hundred miles long, many of whom "laid
down," a sacrifice to their duty, or maybe to inherent weakness of
their system. While it is true such an experience brings out the worst
features of individual characters, yet it is also true that the shining
virtues come to the front likewise; like pure gold, they are found
where least expected.

Of the fortitude of the women one cannot say too much. Embarrassed
at the start by the follies of fashion (and long dresses which were
quickly discarded and the bloomer donned), they soon rose to the
occasion and cast false modesty aside. Could we but have had the camera
(of course not then in existence) trained on one of those typical
camps, what a picture there would be. Elderly matrons dressed almost
like the little sprite miss of tender years of today. The younger women
were rather shy of accepting the inevitable, but finally fell into the
procession, and we had a community of women wearing bloomers without
invidious comment, or, in fact, any comment at all. Some of them went
barefoot, partly from choice and in some cases from necessity. The
same could be said of the men, as shoe leather began to grind out from
the sand and dry heat. Of all the fantastic costumes it is safe to say
the like was never seen before. The scene beggars description. Patches
became visible upon the clothing of preachers as well as laymen;
the situations brooked no respecter of persons. The grandmother's
cap was soon displaced by a handkerchief or perhaps a bit of cloth.
Grandfather's high crowned hat disappeared as if by magic. Hatless and
bootless men became a common sight. Bonnetless women were to be seen on
all sides. They wore what they had left or could get, without question
as to the fitness of things. Rich dresses were worn by some ladies
because they had no others; the gentlemen drew upon their wardrobes
until scarcely a fine unsoiled suit was left.

The dust has been spoken of as intolerable. The word hardly expresses
the situation; in fact, the English language contains no words to
properly express it. Here was a moving mass of humanity and dumb
brutes, at times mixed in inextricable confusion, a hundred feet wide
or more. Sometimes two columns of wagons traveling on parallel lines
and near each other would serve as a barrier to prevent loose stock
from crossing; but usually there would be a confused mass of cows,
young cattle, horses, and footmen moving along the outskirts. Here and
there would be the drivers of loose stock, some on foot and some on
horseback;—a young girl, maybe, riding astride, with a younger child
behind, going here and there after an intractable cow, while the mother
could be seen in the confusion lending a helping hand. As in a thronged
city street, no one seemed to look to the right or to the left, or to
pay much, if any, attention to others, but bent alone on accomplishing
the task in hand. Over all, in calm weather at times, the dust would
settle so thick that the lead team of oxen could not be seen from the
wagon—like a London fog, so thick one might almost cut it.[1] Then,
again, that steady flow of wind up to and through the South Pass would
hurl the dust and sand in one's face sometimes with force enough to
sting from the impact upon the face and hands.

Then we had storms that were not of sand and wind alone;—storms that
only a Platte Valley in summer or a Puget Sound winter might turn
out;—storms that would wet one to the skin in less time that it takes
to write this sentence. One such I remember being caught in while out
on watch. The cattle traveled so fast it was difficult to keep up with
them. I could do nothing else than follow, as it would have been as
impossible to turn them as it would to change the direction of the
wind. I have always thought of this as a cloudburst. Anyway, there was
not a dry thread left on me in an incredibly short time. My boots were
as full of water as if I had been wading over boot-top deep, and the
water ran through my hat as though it was a sieve, almost blinding me
in the fury of wind and water. Many tents were leveled, and, in fact,
such occurrences as fallen tents were not uncommon.

One of our neighboring trains suffered no inconsiderable loss by the
sheets of water on the ground, floating their camp equipage, ox yokes,
and all loose articles away; and they only narrowly escaped having a
wagon engulfed in the raging torrent that came so unexpectedly upon
them. Such were some of the discomforts on the Plains in '52.


[1] The author spent four winters in London on the world's hop market,
and perhaps has a more vivid recollection of what is meant by a London
fog than would be understood by the general reader. I have seen the fog
and smoke there so black that one could not see his hand held at arm's
length, and it reminded me of some scenes in the dust on the Plains.



The buffalo trails generally followed the water courses or paralleled
them, while again they would lead across the country with scarcely
any deviation from a direct course. When on the road a herd would
persistently follow their leader, whether in the wild tumult of a
stampede or the more leisurely grazing as they traveled.

However, for nearly a thousand miles a goodly supply of fresh meat was
obtainable from the adventurous hunters, who in spite of the appalling
calamity that had overtaken the moving column of the emigrants would
venture out on the chase, the temptation being too great to restrain
their ardor.

A story is told, and it is doubtless true, of a chase on the upper
regions of the Missouri, where the leaders, either voluntarily or
by pressure from the mass behind, leaped to their death over a
perpendicular bluff a hundred feet high overlooking the river, followed
blindly by the herd until not only hundreds but thousands lay at the
foot struggling in inextricable confusion, piling one upon another till
the space between the river and the bluff was bridged and the belated
victims plunged headlong into the river.

Well up the Platte but below Fort Laramie, we had the experience of a
night stampede that struck terror to the very vitals of man and beast.
It so happened that evening we had brought our cattle into camp, a
thing we did not usually do. We had driven the wagons into a circle
with the tongue of one wagon chained to the hind axle tree of the one
in front, with the cattle inside the circle and the tents outside. I
slept in the wagon that night, which was not often, for usually I would
be out on the range with the oxen, and if I slept at all, snugged up
close to Dandy's back. My partner, William Buck, was in the tent nearby
and sleeping on the ground, likewise brother Oliver.

We first heard the approaching storm, but almost instantly every animal
in the corral was on his feet. Just then the alarm was given and all
hands turned out, not yet knowing what caused the general commotion. A
roar like an approaching storm could be heard in the distance. We can
liken it to the roar of a heavy railroad train on a still night passing
at no great distance. As by instinct all suddenly seemed to know what
was approaching, the tents were emptied of their inmates, the weak
parts of the corral guarded, the frightened cattle looked after, and
everyone in the camp was on the alert to watch what was coming.

In the darkness of the night we could soon see the form of the foremost
leader and then such dense masses that one could not distinguish one
from the other. How long they were passing we forgot to note; it
seemed like an age. When daylight came a few stragglers were yet to
be seen and fell under the unerring aim of the frontier-man's rifle.
Our neighbors in camp did not escape loss. Some were detained for days
gathering up their scattered stock, while again others were unable
to find them, and lost their teams, or a part of them, and never did
recover them.

At times when not on the road, the buffalo were shy, difficult to
approach and hard to bag, even with the long range rifles of the



As soon as a part of our outfits were landed on the right bank of the
river our trouble with the Indians began, not in open hostilities, but
in robbery under the guise of beggary. The word had been passed around
in our little party that not one cent's worth of provisions would we
give up to the Indians,—believing this policy was our only safeguard
from spoliation, and in that we were right. The women folks had been
taken over the river with the first wagon, and sent off a little way
to a convenient camp, so that the first show of arms came from that
side of our little community, when some of the bolder Pawnees attempted
to pilfer around the wagons. But no blood was shed, and I may say in
passing there was none shed by any of our party during the entire
trip, though there was a show of arms in several instances. One case
in particular I remember. Soon after we had left the Missouri River
we came to a small bridge over a washout across the road, evidently
constructed very recently by some train just ahead of us. The Indians
had taken possession and demanded pay for crossing. Some ahead of us
had paid, while others were hesitating, but with a few there was a
determined resolution not to pay. When our party came up it remained
for that fearless man, McAuley, in quite short order to clear the way
though the Indians were there in considerable numbers. McAuley said,
"You fellers come right on, for I'm going across that bridge if I have
to run right over that Ingen settin' there." And he did almost run over
the Indian, who at the last moment got out of the way of his team,
which was followed in such quick succession and with such a show of
arms that the Indians withdrew, and left the road unobstructed.

In another instance, I came very near getting into serious trouble
with three Indians on horseback. We had hauled off away from the road
to get water, I think, and became separated from the passing throng,
and almost, but not quite out of sight of any wagons or camps. The
Indians came up ostensibly to beg, but really to rob, and first began
to solicit, and afterwards to threaten. I started to drive on, not
thinking they would use actual violence, as there were other emigrants
certainly within a half mile, and thought they were merely trying to
frighten me into giving up at least a part of my outfit. Finally one
of the Indians whipped out his knife and cut loose the cow that I was
leading behind the wagon. I did not have to ask for my gun, as my
wife in the wagon, who had seen the act, believed, as I did, that the
time had come to fight, and handed me my trusty rifle out under the
cover, and before the savages had time to do anything further they
saw the gun. They were near enough to make it certain that one shot
would take deadly effect, but instead of shooting one, I trained the
gun in the direction so I might quickly choose between the three, and
in an instant each Indian was under cover of his horse, and speeding
away in great haste. The old story that "almost anyone will fight when
cornered" was exemplified in this incident, but I did not want any more
such experiences and consequently thereafter became more careful.

We did not, however, have much trouble with the Indians in 1852. The
facts are, the great numbers of emigrants, coupled with the superiority
of their arms, placed them on comparatively safe grounds. And it must
be remembered, also, that this was before the treaty-making period,
which has so often been followed by bloodshed and war.

But to return to the river bank. We crossed on the 17th and 18th of
May, and drove out a short way on the 19th, but not far enough to be
out of hearing of a shrill steamboat whistle that resounded over the
prairie, announcing the arrival of a steamer.

I never knew the size of that steamer, or the name, but only know that
a dozen or more wagons could be crossed at once, and that a dozen or
more trips could be made during the day, and as many more at night, and
that we were overtaken by this throng of a thousand wagons thrown upon
the road, that gave us some trouble and much discomfort.

And now that we were fairly on the way the whole atmosphere, so to
speak, seemed changed. Instead of the discordant violin and more
discordant voices, with the fantastic night open-air dances with mother
earth as a floor, there soon prevailed a more sober mein, even among
the young people, as they began to encounter the fatigue of a day's
drive and the cares of a night watch. With so many, the watchword was
to push ahead and make as big a day's drive as possible; hence it is
not to be wondered at that nearly the whole of the thousand wagons that
crossed the river after we did soon passed us.

"Now, fellers, jist let 'em rush on, and keep cool, we'll overcatch
them afore long," said McAuley. And we did, and passed many a
broken-down team, the result of that first few days of rush. It was
this class that unloaded such piles of provisions, noted elsewhere, in
the first two hundred mile stretch, and that fell such easy prey to
the ravages of the epidemic of cholera that struck the moving column
where the throng from the south side of the Platte began crossing. As
I recollect this, it must have been near where the city of Kearney
now stands, which is about two hundred miles west of the Missouri
River. We had been in the buffalo country several days, and some of
our young men had had the keen edge of the hunting zeal worn off by a
day's ride in the heat. A number of them were sick from the effects of
overheating and indiscreet drinking of impure water. Such an experience
came vividly home to me in the case of my brother Oliver, who had
outfitted with our Hoosier friends near Indianapolis, but had crossed
the Missouri River in company with us. Being of an adventurous spirit,
he could not restrain his ardor, and gave chase to the buffaloes,
and fell sick almost unto death. This occurred just at the time when
we had encountered the cholera panic, and of course it must be the
cholera that had seized him with such an iron grip, argued some of
his companions. His old-time comrades and neighbors, all but two, and
they could not delay. I said, "It's certain death to take him along
in that condition," which they admitted was true. "Divide the outfit,
then." The Davenport boys said they would not leave my brother, and
so their portion of the outfit was put out also, which gave the three
a wagon and team. Turning to Buck, I said, "I can't ask you to stay
with me." The answer came back quick as a flash, "I am going to stay
with you without asking," and he did, too, though my brother was
almost a total stranger. We nursed the sick man for four days amidst
scenes of excitement and death I hope never to witness again, with
the result that on the fifth day we were able to go on and take the
convalescent with us and thus saved his life. It was at this point the
sixteen hundred wagons passed us as noted elsewhere in the four days'
detention, and loose stock so numerous, we made no attempt to count

Of course, this incident is of no particular importance, except to
illustrate what life meant in those strenuous days. The experience of
that camp was the experience, I may say, of hundreds of others; of
friends parting; of desertion; of noble sacrifice; of the revelation
of the best and worst of the inner man. Like the shifting clouds of a
brightening summer day, the trains seemed to dissolve and disappear,
while no one, apparently, knew what had become of their component
parts, or whither they had gone.

There did seem instances that would convert the most skeptical to the
Presbyterian doctrine of total depravity, so brutal and selfish were
the actions of some men; brutal to men and women alike; to dumb brutes,
and in fact to themselves. And, yet, it is a pleasure to record that
there were numerous instances of noble self-sacrifice, of helpfulness,
of unselfishness, to the point of imperiling their own lives. It became
a common saying to know one's neighbors, they must be seen on the

The army of loose stock that accompanied this huge caravan, a column,
we may almost say, of five hundred miles long without break, added
greatly to the discomfort of all. Of course, the number of cattle and
horses will never be known, but their number was legion compared to
those that labored under the yoke, or in the harness. A conservative
estimate would be not less than six animals to the wagon, and surely
there were three loose animals to each one in the teams. By this it
would appear that as sixteen hundred wagons passed while we tarried
four days, nearly ten thousand beasts of burden and thirty thousand
loose stock accompanied them. As to the number of persons, certainly
there were five to the wagon, perhaps more, but calling it five, eight
thousand people, men, women and children, passed on during those four
days—many to their graves not afar off.

We know by the inscribed dates found on Independence Rock and elsewhere
that there were wagons full three hundred miles ahead of us. The throng
had continued to pass the river more than a month after we had crossed,
so that it does not require a stretch of the imagination to say the
column was five hundred miles long, and like Sherman's march through
Georgia, fifty thousand strong.

Of the casualties in that mighty army I scarcely dare guess. It is
certain that history gives no record of such great numbers migrating
so long a distance as that of the Pioneers of the Plains, where, as we
have seen, the dead lay in rows of fifties and groups of seventies.
Shall we say ten per cent fell by the wayside? Many will exclaim
that estimate is too low. Ten per cent would give us five thousand
sacrifices of lives laid down even in one year to aid in the peopling
of the Pacific Coast states. The roll call was never made, and we know
not how many there were. The list of mortalities is unknown, and so
we are lost in conjecture, and now we only know that the unknown and
unmarked graves have gone into oblivion.

Volumes could be written of life on the Plains and yet leave the story
not half told. In some matter before me I read, "found a family,
consisting of husband, wife and four small children, whose cattle we
supposed had given out and died. They were here all alone, and no wagon
or cattle in sight"—had been thrown out by the owner of a wagon and
left on the road to die. In a nearby page I read, "Here we met Mr. Lot
Whitcom, direct from Oregon—. Told me a great deal about Oregon. He
has provisions, but none to sell, but gives to all he finds in want,
and who are unable to buy." These stories of the good Samaritan, and
the fiendish actions of others could be multiplied indefinitely, but
I quote only extracts from these two, written on the spot, that well
illustrate the whole.

Mrs. Cecelia Emily McMillen Adams, late of Hillsboro, Oregon, crossed
the Plains in 1852, and kept a painstaking diary, and noted the graves
passed, and counted them. Her diary is published in full by the Oregon
Pioneer Association, 1904. I note the following: "June fourteenth.
Passed seven new made graves. June 15th. Sick headache, not able to sit
up. June 16th. Passed 11 new graves. June 17th. Passed six new graves.
June 18th. We have passed twenty-one new made graves today. June 19th.
Passed thirteen graves today. June 20th. Passed ten graves. June 21st.
No report. June 22nd. Passed seven graves. If we should go by all the
camping grounds, we should see five times as many graves as we do."

This report of seventy-five dead in 106 miles, and that "if we should
go by all the camping grounds we should see five times as many graves
as we do," coupled with the fact that a parallel column from which we
have no report was traveling up the Platte on the south side of the
river, and that the outbreak of the cholera had taken place originally
in this column coming from the southeast, fully confirms the estimate
of 5,000 deaths on the Plains in 1852. It is in fact rather under than
over the actual number who laid down their lives that year. I have
mislaid the authority, but at the time I read it, believed the account
to be true, of a scout that passed over the ground late that year
(1852) from the Loop Fork of the Platte to the Laramie, a distance
approximating 400 miles, that by actual count in great part and
conservative estimate of the remainder, there were six fresh graves to
the mile for the whole distance—this, it is to be remembered, on the
one side of the river in a stretch where for half the distance of a
parallel column traveling on the opposite bank, where like conditions

A few more instances must suffice to complete this chapter of horrors.

L. B. Rowland, now of Eugene, Oregon, recently told me the experience
of his train of twenty-three persons, between the two crossings of the
Snake River, of which we have just written. Of the twenty-three that
crossed, eleven died before they reached the lower crossing.

Mrs. M. E. Jones, now of North Yakima, states that forty people of
their train died in one day and two nights, before reaching the
crossing of the Platte. Martin Cook, of Newberg, Oregon, is my
authority for the following: A family of seven persons, the father
known as "Dad Friels," from Hartford, Warren County, Iowa, all died
of cholera, and were buried in one grave. He could not tell me the
locality nor the exact date, but it would be useless to search for
the graves, as all have long ago been leveled by the passing hoofs of
the buffalo or domestic stock, or met the fate of hundreds of shallow
graves, having been desecrated by hungry wolves.

A pathetic thought came uppermost in the minds of the emigrants as the
fact dawned upon them that all the graves were fresh made, and that
those of previous years had disappeared—either leveled by the storms of
wind or rain; by the hoofs of the passing throng of stock; or possibly
by ravages of the hungry wolf. Many believed the Indians had robbed the
graves for the clothing on the bodies. Whatever the cause, the fact
was realized that the graves of previous years were all, or nearly all
gone, and that the same fate awaited the last resting place of those
loved ones laid away in such great numbers.

One of the incidents that made a profound impression upon the minds of
all; the meeting of eleven wagons returning and not a man left in the
entire train;—all had died, and had been buried on the way, and the
women were returning alone from a point well up on the Platte below
Fort Laramie. The difficulties of a return trip were multiplied on
account of the passing throng moving westward. How they succeeded, or
what became of them I never knew, but we did know a terrible task lay
before them.

As the column passed up the Platte, there came some relief for awhile
from the dust and a visible thinning out of the throng; some had pushed
on and gotten out of the way of the congested district, while others
had lagged behind; and then it was patent that the missing dead left
not only a void in the hearts of their comrades, but also a visible
space upon the road, while their absence cast a gloom over many an
aching heart.

As we gradually ascended the Sweetwater, the nights became cooler, and
finally, the summit reached, life became more tolerable and suffering
less acute. The summit of the Rocky Mountains, through the South Pass
presents a wide, open undulating country that extends for a long
distance at a very high altitude—probably 6,000 feet above sea level,
until Bear River is reached, a distance of over 150 miles. This is a
region of scant herbage and almost destitute of water, except at river
crossings, for on this stretch of the Trail, the way leads across the
water courses, and not with them.

The most attractive natural phenomena encountered on the whole trip are
the soda springs near the Bear River, and in fact right in the bed of
the river. One of these, the Steamboat spring, was spouting at regular
intervals as we passed. These have, however, ceased to overflow as in
1852, as I learned on my recent trip.

When the Snake River was reached and in fact before, the heat again
became oppressive, the dust stifling, and thirst at times almost
maddening. In some places we could see the water of the Snake, but
could not reach it as the river ran in the inaccessible depths of
the canyon. Sickness again became prevalent, and another outbreak of
cholera claimed many victims.

There were but few ferries and none in many places where crossings were
to be made, and where here and there a ferry was found the charges
were high—or perhaps the word should be, exorbitant—and out of reach
of a large majority of the emigrants. In my own case, all my funds had
been absorbed in procuring my outfit at Eddyville, Iowa, not dreaming
there would be use for money "on the Plains" where there were neither
supplies nor people. We soon found out our mistake, however, and sought
to mend matters when opportunity offered. The crossing of the Snake
River, though late in the trip, gave the opportunity.

About thirty miles below Salmon Falls the dilemma confronted us to
either cross the river or starve our teams on the trip down the river
on the south bank.

Some emigrants had calked three wagon-beds and lashed them together,
and were crossing, but would not help others across for less than
three to five dollars a wagon, the party swimming their own stock. If
others could cross in wagon-beds, why could I not do likewise? and
without much ado all the old clothing that could possibly be spared was
marshaled, tar buckets ransacked, old chisels and broken knives hunted
up, and a veritable boat repairing and calking campaign inaugurated,
and shortly the wagon-box rode placidly, even if not gracefully on the
turbid waters of the formidable river. It had been my fortune to be the
strongest physically of any of our little party of four men, though I
would cheerfully accept a second place mentally.

My boyhood pranks of playing with logs or old leaky skiffs in the
waters of White River now served me well, for I could row a boat even
if I had never taken lessons as an athlete. My first venture across the
Snake River was with the wagon gear run over the wagon box, the whole
being gradually worked out into deep water. The load was so heavy
that a very small margin was left to prevent the water from breaking
over the sides, and some actually did, as light ripples on the surface
struck the "Mary Jane," as we had christened (without wine) the "craft"
as she was launched. However, I got over safely, but after that took
lighter loads and really enjoyed the novelty of the work and the change
from the intolerable dust to the atmosphere of the water.

Some were so infatuated with the idea of floating on the water as to
be easily persuaded by an unprincipled trader at the lower crossing to
dispose of their teams for a song, and embark in their wagon beds for
a voyage down the river. It is needless to say that these persons (of
whom there were a goodly number) lost everything they had and some,
their lives, the survivors, after incredible hardships, reaching the
road again to become objects of charity while separated entirely from
friends. I knew one survivor, who yet lives in our state, who was
out seven days without food other than a scant supply of berries and
vegetable growth, and "a few crickets, but not many," as it was too
laborious to catch them.

We had no trouble to cross the cattle, although the river was wide.
Dandy would do almost anything I asked of him, so, leading him to the
water's edge, with a little coaxing I got him into swimming water and
guided him across with the wagon bed, while the others all followed,
having been driven into the deep water following the leader. It seems
almost incredible how passively obedient cattle will become after long
training on such a trip, in crossing streams.

We had not finished crossing when tempting offers came from others
to cross them, but all our party said "No, we must travel." The rule
had been adopted to travel some every day possible. "Travel, travel,
travel," was the watchword, and nothing could divert us from that
resolution, and so on the third day we were ready to pull out from the
river with the cattle rested from the enforced detention.

But what about the lower crossing? Those who had crossed over the river
must somehow get back. It was less than 150 miles to where we were
again to cross to the south side (left bank) of the river. I could
walk that in three days, while it would take our teams ten. Could I
go on ahead, procure a wagon box and start a ferry of my own? The
thought prompted an affirmative answer at once; so with a little food
and a small blanket the trip to the lower crossing was made. It may be
ludicrous, but is true, that the most I remember about that trip is the
jackrabbits—such swarms of them I had never seen before as I traveled
down the Boise Valley, and never expect to see again.

The trip was made in safety, but conditions were different. At the
lower crossing, as I have already said, some were disposing of their
teams and starting to float down the river; some were fording, a
perilous undertaking, but most of them succeeded who tried, and besides
a trader whose name I have forgotten had an established ferry near the
old fort (Boise). I soon obtained a wagon-bed, and was at work during
all the daylight hours (no eight-hour-a-day there) crossing people
till the teams came up, (and for several days after), and left the
river with $110 in my pocket, all of which was gone before I arrived in
Portland, save $2.75.

I did not look upon that work then other than as a part of the trip, to
do the best we could. None of us thought we were doing a heroic act in
crossing the plains and meeting emergencies as they arose. In fact, we
did not think at all of that phase of the question. Many have, however,
in later life looked upon their achievement with pardonable pride, and
some in a vainglorious mood of mind.

A very pleasant incident recently occurred in reviving memories of
this episode of my life, while visiting my old time friend Edward J.
Allen,[2] mentioned elsewhere in this work. It was my good fortune
to be able to spend several day; with that grand "Old Timer" at his
residence in Pittsburg, Pa. We had not met for fifty years. The reader
may readily believe there had been great changes with both of us as
well as in the world at large in that half century of our lives. My
friend had crossed the plains the same year I did, and although a
single man and young at that, had kept a diary all the way. Poring over
this venerable manuscript one day while I was with him, Mr. Allen ran
across this sentence, "The Meeker brothers sold out their interest in
the ferry today for $185.00, and left for Portland." Both had forgotten
the partnership though each remembered their experience of the ferrying
in wagon-boxes.

From the lower crossing of the Snake River, at Old Fort Boise to The
Dalles is approximately 350 miles. It became a serious question with
many whether there would be enough provisions left to keep starvation
from the door, or whether the teams could muster strength to take the
wagons in. Many wagons were left by the wayside. Everything possible
shared the same fate; provisions and provisions only were religiously
cared for—in fact, starvation stared many in the face. Added to
the weakened condition of both man and beast small wonder if some
thoughtless persons would take to the river in their wagon-beds, many
to their death, and the remaining to greater hardships.

I can not give an adequate description of the dust, which seemed to
get deeper and more impalpable every day. I might liken the wading
in the dust, to wading in water as to resistance. Often times the
dust would lie in the road full six inches deep, and so fine that one
wading through it would scarcely leave a track. And such clouds, when
disturbed—no words can describe it.

The appearance of the people is described in the chapter following.


[2] Recently died at the age of 89.



On a September day of 1852 an assemblage of persons could be seen
encamped on the banks of the great Columbia, at The Dalles, now a
city of no small pretensions, but then only a name for the peculiar
configuration of country adjacent to and including the waters of the
great river.

One would soon discover this assemblage was constantly changing. Every
few hours stragglers came in from off the dusty road, begrimed with
the sweat of the brow commingled with particles of dust driven through
the air, sometimes by a gentle breeze and then again by a violent gale
sweeping up the river through the mountain gap of the Cascade Range. A
motley crowd these people were, almost cosmopolitan in nationality, yet
all vestige of race peculiarities or race prejudice ground away in the
mill of adversity and trials common to all alike in common danger. And
yet, the dress and appearance of this assemblage were as varied as the
human countenance and as unique as the great mountain scenery before
them. Some were clad in scanty attire as soiled with the dust as their
brows; others, while with better pretensions, lacked some portions
of dress required in civilized life. Here a matronly dame with clean
apparel would be without shoes, or there, perhaps, the husband without
the hat or perhaps both shoes and hat absent; there the youngsters of
all ages, making no pretensions to genteel clothing other than to cover
their nakedness. An expert's ingenuity would be taxed to the utmost to
discover either the texture or original color of the clothing of either
juvenile or adult, so prevailing was the patch work and so inground the
particles of dust and sand from off the plains.

Some of these people were buoyant and hopeful in the anticipation of
meeting friends whom they knew were awaiting them at their journey's
end, while others were downcast and despondent as their thoughts
went back to their old homes left behind, and the struggle now so
near ended, and forward to the (to them) unknown land ahead. Some had
laid friends and relatives tenderly away in the shifting sands, who
had fallen by the wayside, with the certain knowledge that with many
the spot selected by them would not be the last resting place for the
bones of the loved ones. The hunger of the wolf had been appeased by
the abundance of food from the fallen cattle that lined the trail for
a thousand miles or more, or from the weakened beasts of the emigrants
that constantly submitted to capture by the relentless native animals.

The story of the trip across the plains in 1852 is both interesting and
pathetic, but I have planned to write of life after the journey rather
than much about the journey itself; of the trials that beset the people
after their five months' struggle on the tented field of two thousand
miles of marching were ended, where, like on the very battlefield, the
dead lay in rows of fifties or more; where the trail became so lined
with fallen animals, one could scarcely be out of sight or smell of
carrion; where the sick had no respite from suffering, nor the well
from fatigue. But this oft told story is a subject of itself, treated
briefly to the end we may have space to tell what happened when the
journey was ended.

The constant gathering on the bank of the Columbia and constant
departures of the immigrants did not materially change the numbers
encamped, nor the general appearance. The great trip had moulded this
army of homeseekers into one homogeneous mass, a common brotherhood,
that left a lasting impression upon the participants, and, although
few are left now, not one but will greet an old comrade as a brother
indeed, and in fact, with hearty and oftentimes tearful congratulations.

We camped but two days on the bank of the river. When I say we, let it
be understood that I mean myself, my young wife, and the little baby
boy, who was but seven weeks old when the start was made from near
Eddyville, Iowa. Both were sick, the mother from gradual exhaustion
during the trip incident to motherhood, and the little one in sympathy,
doubtless drawn from the mother's breast.

Did you ever think of the wonderful mystery of the inner action of
the mind, how some impressions once made seem to remain, while others
gradually fade away, like the twilight of a summer sunset, until
finally lost? And then how seemingly trivial incidents will be fastened
upon one's memory while others of more importance we would recall if we
could, but which have faded forever from our grasp? I can well believe
all readers have had this experience, and so will be prepared to
receive with leniency the confession of an elderly gentleman, (I will
not say old), when he says that most of the incidents are forgotten
and few remembered. I do not remember the embarking on the great scow
for the float down the river to the Cascades, but vividly remember,
as though it were but yesterday, incidents of the voyage. We all felt
(I now mean the immigrants who took passage) that now our journey was
ended. The cattle had been unyoked for the last time. The wagons had
been rolled to the last bivouac; the embers of the last camp fire
had died out; the last word of gossip had been spoken, and now, we
were entering a new field with new present experience, and with new
expectancy for the morrow.

The scow or lighter upon which we took passage was decked over, but
without railing, a simple, smooth surface upon which to pile our
belongings, which, in the majority of cases made but a very small
showing. I think there must have been a dozen families, or more, of
sixty or more persons, principally women and children, as the young
men (and some old ones, too) were struggling on the mountain trail to
get the teams through to the west side. The whole deck surface of the
scow was covered with the remnants of the immigrants' outfits, which in
turn were covered by the owners, either sitting or reclining upon their
possessions, leaving but scant room to change position or move about in
any way.

Did you ever, reader, have the experience when some sorrow overtook
you, or when some disappointment had been experienced, or when deferred
hopes had not been realized, or sometimes even without these and from
some unknown, subtle cause, feel that depression of spirits that for
lack of a better name we call "the blues"? When the world ahead looked
dark; when hope seemed extinguished and the future looked like a blank?
Why do I ask this question? I know you all to a greater or less degree
have had just this experience. Can you wonder that after our craft
had been turned loose upon the waters of the great river, and begun
floating lazily down with the current, that such a feeling as that
described would seize us as with an iron grip? We were like an army
that had burned the bridges behind them as they marched, and with scant
knowledge of what lay in the track before them. Here we were, more than
two thousand miles from home, separated by a trackless, uninhabited
waste of country, impossible for us to retrace our steps. Go ahead
we must, no matter what we were to encounter. Then, too, the system
had been strung up for months, to duties that could not be avoided or
delayed, until many were on the verge of collapse. Some were sick and
all reduced in flesh from the urgent call for camp duty, and lack of
variety of food. Such were the feelings and condition of the motley
crowd of sixty persons as we slowly neared that wonderful crevice
through which the great river flows while passing the Cascade mountain

For myself, I can truly say, that the trip had not drawn on my vitality
as I saw with so many. True, I had been worked down in flesh, having
lost nearly twenty pounds on the trip, but what weight I had left was
the bone and sinew of my system, that served me so well on this trip
and has been my comfort in other walks of life at a later period.
And so, if asked, did you experience hardships on the trip across
the plains, I could not answer yes without a mental reservation that
it might have been a great deal worse. I say the same as to after
experience, for these subsequent sixty years or more of pioneer life,
having been blessed with a good constitution, and being now able to say
that in the fifty-eight years of our married life, the wife has never
seen me a day sick in bed. But this is a digression and so we must turn
our attention to the trip on the scow, "floating down the river."

In our company, a party of three, a young married couple and an
unmarried sister, lounged on their belongings, listlessly watching
the ripples on the water, as did also others of the party. But little
conversation was passing. Each seemed to be communing with himself or
herself, but it was easy to see what were the thoughts occupying the
minds of all. The young husband, it was plain to be seen, would soon
complete that greater journey to the unknown beyond, a condition that
weighed so heavily upon the ladies of the party, that they could ill
conceal their solicitude and sorrow. Finally, to cheer up the sick
husband and brother, the ladies began in sweet, subdued voices to
sing the old familiar song of Home, Sweet Home, whereupon others of
the party joined in the chorus with increased volume of sound. As the
echo died away, at the moment of gliding under the shadow of the high
mountain, the second verse was begun, but was never finished. If an
electric shock had startled every individual of the party, there could
have been no more simultaneous effect than when the second line of the
second verse was reached, when instead of song, sobs and outcries of
grief poured forth from all lips. It seemed as if there was a tumult
of despair mingled with prayer pouring forth without restraint. The
rugged boatmen rested upon their oars in awe, and gave away in sympathy
with the scene before them, until it could be truly said no dry eyes
were left nor aching heart but was relieved. Like the downpour of a
summer shower that suddenly clears the atmosphere to welcome the bright
shining sun that follows, so this sudden outburst of grief cleared away
the despondency to be replaced by an exalted exhilarating feeling of
buoyancy and hopefulness. The tears were not dried till mirth took
possession—a real hysterical manifestation of the whole party, that
ended all depression for the remainder of the trip.

But our party was not alone in these trials. It seems to me like the
dream of seeing some immigrants floating on a submerged raft while
on this trip. Perhaps, it is a memory of a memory, or of a long lost
story, the substance remembered, but the source forgotten.

Recently a story was told me by one of the actors in the drama, that
came near a tragic ending. Robert Parker, who still lives at Sumner,
one of the party, has told me of their experience. John Whitacre,
afterwards Governor of Oregon, was the head of the party of nine that
constructed a raft at The Dalles out of dry poles hauled from the
adjacent country. Their stock was then started out over the trail,
their two wagons put upon the raft with their provisions, bedding,
women, and children in the wagons, and the start was made to float
down the river to the Cascades. They had gotten but a few miles until
experience warned them. The waves swept over the raft so heavily that
it was like a submerged foundation upon which their wagons stood. A
landing a few miles out from The Dalles averted a total wreck, and
afforded opportunity to strengthen the buoyancy of their raft by extra
timber packed upon their backs for long distances. And how should they
know when they would reach the falls? Will they be able to discover
the falls and then have time to make a landing? Their fears finally
got the better of them; a line was run ashore and instead of making
a landing, they found themselves hard aground out of reach of land,
except by wading a long distance, and yet many miles above the falls
(Cascades). Finally, a scow was procured, in which they all reached the
head of the Cascades in safety. The old pioneer spoke kindly of this
whole party, one might say affectionately. One, a waif picked up on the
plains, a tender girl of fifteen, fatherless and motherless, and sick—a
wanderer without relatives or acquaintances—all under the sands of the
plains—recalled the trials of the trip vividly. But, he had cheerful
news of her in after life, though impossible at the moment to recall
her name. Such were some of the experiences of the finish of the long,
wearisome trip of those who floated down the river on flatboat and raft.


[3] A chapter from Pioneer Reminiscences, by the author, published 1905.



About nine o'clock at night, with a bright moon shining, on October
1st, 1852, I carried my wife in my arms up the steep bank of the
Willamette River, and three blocks away in the town of Portland to a
colored man's lodging house.

"Why, suh, I didn't think yuse could do that, yuse don't look it," said
my colored friend, as I deposited my charge in the nice, clean bed in a
cozy little room.

From April until October, we had been on the move in the tented field,
with never a roof over our heads other than the wagon cover or tent,
and for the last three months, no softer bed than either the ground
or bottom of the wagon bed. We had found a little steamer to carry
us from the Cascades to Portland, with most of the company that had
floated down the river from The Dalles, in the great scow. At the
landing we separated, and knew each other but slightly afterwards. The
great country, Oregon, (then including Puget Sound) was large enough
to swallow up a thousand such immigrations and yet individuals be lost
to each other, but a sorrier mess it would be difficult to imagine
than confronted us upon arrival. Some rain had fallen, and more soon
followed. With the stumps and logs, mud and uneven places, it was no
easy matter to find a resting place for the tented city so continuously
enlarging. People seemed to be dazed; did not know what to do;
insufficient shelter to house all; work for all impossible; the country
looked a veritable great field of forest and mountain. Discouragement
and despair seized upon some, while others began to enlarge the circle
of observation. A few had friends and acquaintances, which fact
began soon to relieve the situation by the removals that followed
the reunions, while suffering, both mental and physical, followed
the arrival in the winter storm that ensued, yet soon the atmosphere
of discontent disappeared, and general cheerfulness prevailed. A few
laid down in their beds not to arise again; a few required time to
recuperate their strength, but with the majority, a short time found
them as active and hearty as if nothing had happened. For myself, I can
truly say, I do not remember the experience as a personal hardship. I
had been born of healthy parents. I know of my father working eighteen
hours a day for three years in the Carlisle mill at Indianapolis,
Indiana, for 75 cents a day, and as an experienced miller at that. If
his iron will or physical perfection or something had enabled him to
endure this ordeal and retain his strength, why could not I, thirty
years younger, hew my way? I did not feel fatigued. True, I had been
"worked down" in flesh, but more from lack of suitable food than from
excessive exertion. Any way, I resolved to try.

My brother, Oliver, who had crossed the plains with me—a noble man
and one destined, had he lived, to have made his mark—came ahead by
the trail. He had spied out the land a little with unsatisfactory
results, met me and pointed the way to our colored friend's abode. We
divided our purse of $3.75, I retaining two dollars and he taking the
remainder, and with earliest dawn of the 2nd found the trail leading
down the river, searching for our mutual benefit for something to do.

Did you, reader, ever have the experience of a premonition that led you
on to success? Some say this is simply chance; others say that it is a
species of superstition, but whatever it is, probably most of us, some
time in our lives have had some sort of trials to set us to thinking.

As we passed up the Willamette, a few miles below Portland, on the
evening of our arrival, a bark lay seemingly right in our path as we
steamed by. Standing upon the lower deck of our little steamer, this
vessel looked to our inexperienced eyes as a veritable monster, with
masts reaching to the sky, and hull towering high above our heads.
Probably not one of that whole party of frontiersmen had ever before
seen a deep sea vessel. Hence, small wonder, the novelty of this great
monster, as we all thought of the vessel, should excite our admiration
and we might almost say, amazement. That was what we came so far for,
to where ships might go down to the sea and return laden with the
riches of the earth. The word passed that she was bound for Portland
with a cargo of merchandise and to take a return cargo of lumber.
There, as we passed, flashed through my mind, will be my opportunity
for work tomorrow, on that vessel.

Sure enough, when the morrow came, the staunch bark Mary Melville
lay quietly in front of the mill, and so, not losing any time in
early morning, my inquiry was made "do you want any men on board this
ship?" A gruff looking fellow eyed me all over as much as to say, "not
you," but answered, "yes, go below and get your breakfast." I fairly
stammered out, I must go and see my wife first, and let her know where
I am, whereupon came back a growl "of course, that will be the last
of you; that's the way with these new comers, always hunting for work
and never wanting it" (this aside to a companion, but in my hearing).
I swallowed my indignation with the assurance that I would be back in
five minutes and so went post haste to the little sufferer to impart
the good news.

Put yourself in my place, you land lubber, who never came under the
domination of a brutal mate of a sailing vessel fifty years ago. My
ears fairly tingled with hot anger at the harsh orders, but I stuck
to the work, smothering my rage at being berated while doing my very
best to please and to expedite the work. The fact gradually dawned on
me that the man was not angry, but had fallen in the way of talking
as though he was, and that the sailors paid slight heed to what he
said. Before night, however, the fellow seemed to let up on me, while
increasing his tirade on the heads of their regular men. The second and
third day wore off with blistered hands, but with never a word about
wages or pay.

"Say, boss, I'se got to pay my rent, and wese always gets our pay in
advance. I doesn't like to ask you, but can't you get the old boss
to put up something on your work?" I could plainly see that it was a
notice to pay or move. He was giving it to me in thinly veiled words.
What should I do? Suppose the old skipper should take umbrage, and
discharge me for asking for wages before the end of the week? But when
I told him what I wanted the money for, the old man's eyes moistened,
but without a word, he gave me more money than I had asked for, and
that night the steward handed me a bottle of wine for the "missus,"
which I knew instinctively came from the old captain.

The baby's Sunday visit to the ship; the Sunday dinner in the cabin;
the presents of delicacies that followed, even from the gruff mate,
made me feel that under all this roughness, a tender spot of humanity
lay, and that one must not judge by outward appearances too much—that
even way out here, three thousand miles from home, the same sort of
people lived as those I had left behind me.

                                       "St. Helens, October 7th, 1852.

     "Dear Brother: Come as soon as you can. Have rented a house,
     sixty boarders; this is going to be the place. Shall I send you

                                        O. P. M."

The mate importuned me to stay until the cargo was on board, which I
did until the last stick of lumber was stowed, the last pig in the pen,
and the ship swung off bound on her outward voyage. I felt as though
I had an interest in her, but, remembering the forty dollars in the
aggregate I had received, with most of it to jingle in my pockets, I
certainly could claim no financial interest, but from that day on I
never saw or heard the name of the bark Mary Melville without pricking
my ears (figuratively, of course) to hear more about her and the old
captain and his gruff mate.

Sure enough, I found St. Helens to be the place. Here was to be the
terminus of the steamship line from San Francisco. "Wasn't the company
building this wharf?" They wouldn't set sixty men to work on the dock
without they meant business. "Ships can't get up that creek" (meaning
the Willamette), "the big city is going to be here." This was the talk
that greeted my ears, after we had carried the wife, (this time in a
chair) to our hotel. Yes, our hotel, and had deposited her and the baby
in the best room the house afforded.

It was here I made acquaintance with Columbia Lancaster, afterwards
elected as the first delegate to Congress from Washington. I have
always felt that the published history of those days has not done the
old man justice, and has been governed in part, at least, by factional
bias. Lancaster believed that what was worth doing at all was worth
doing well, and he lived it. He used to come across the Columbia with
his small boat, rowed by his own hand, laden with vegetables grown by
himself on his farm opposite St. Helens, in the fertile valley of the
Lewis River. I soon came to know what Lancaster said of his produce
was true to the letter; that if he told me he had good potatoes, he
had, and that they were the same in the middle or bottom of the sack
as at the top. And so with all his produce. We at once became his
heaviest customer, and learned to trust him implicitly. I considered
him a typical pioneer, and his name never would have been used so
contemptuously had it not been that he became a thorn in the side of
men who made politics a trade for personal profit. Lancaster upset
their well laid plans, carried off the honors of the democratic
nomination, and was elected as our first delegate in Congress from the
new Territory of Washington.

One January morning of 1853, the sixty men, (our boarders) did not
go to work dock building as usual. Orders had come to suspend work.
Nobody knew why, or for how long. We soon learned the why, as the
steamship company had given up the fight against Portland, and would
thenceforward run their steamers to that port. For how long, was
speedily determined, for the dock was not finished and was allowed to
fall into decay and disappear by the hand of time.

Our boarders scattered, and our occupation was gone, and our
accumulation in great part rendered worthless to us by the change.

Meantime, snow had fallen to a great depth; the price of forage for
cattle rose by leaps and bounds, and we found that we must part with
half of our stock to save the remainder. It might be necessary to feed
for a month, or for three months, but we could not tell, and so the
last cow was given up that we might keep one yoke of oxen, so necessary
for the work on a new place. Then the hunt for a claim began again. One
day's struggle against the current of Lewis River, and a night standing
in a snow and sleet storm around a camp fire of green wood, cooled
our ardor a little, and two hours sufficed to take us back home next

But claims we must have. That was what we had come to Oregon for; we
were going to be farmers. Wife and I had made that bargain before
we closed the other more important contract. We were, however, both
of one mind as to both contracts. Early in January of 1853 the snow
began disappearing rapidly, and the search became more earnest, until
finally, about the 20th of January, I drove my first stake for a claim,
to include the site where the town, or city, of Kalama now stands, and
here built our first cabin.

That cabin I can see in my mind as vividly as I could the first day
after it was finished. It was the first home I ever owned. What a
thrill of joy that name brought to us. Home. It was our home, and no
one could say aye, yes, or no, as to what we should do. No more rough
talk on ship board or at the table; no more restrictions if we wished
to be a little closer together. The glow of the cheek had returned to
the wife; the dimple to the baby. And such a baby. In the innocence
of our souls we really and truly thought we had the smartest, cutest
baby on earth. I wonder how many millions of young parents have since
experienced that same feeling? I would not tear the veil from off their
eyes if I could. Let them think so, for it will do them good—make them
happy, even if, perchance, it should be an illusion—it's real to them.
But I am admonished that I must close this writing now, and tell about
the cabin, and the early garden, and the trip to Puget Sound in another



What a charm the words our first cabin have to the pioneer. To many,
it was the first home ever owned by them, while to many others, like
myself, the first we ever had. We had been married nearly two years,
yet this was really our first abiding place. All others had been merely
way stations on the march westward from Indianapolis to this cabin.
Built of small, straight logs, on a side hill, with the door in the end
fronting the river, and with but little grading, for the rocky nature
of the location would not admit of it. Three steps were required to
reach the floor. The ribs projected in front a few feet to provide
an open front porch, with a ground floor, not for ornament, but for
storage for the dry wood and kindling so necessary for the comfort and
convenience of the mistress of the house. The walls were but scant five
feet, with not a very steep roof, and a large stone fire place and
chimney—the latter but seven feet high—completed our first home.

The great river, nearly a mile and three-quarters wide, seemed to tire
from its ceaseless flow at least once a day as if taking a nooning
spell, while the tides from the ocean, sixty miles away, contended for
mastery, and sometimes succeeded in turning the current up stream.
Immediately in front of our landing lay a small island of a few acres
in extent, covered with heavy timber and driftwood. This has long since
disappeared and ships now pass over the spot with safety.

Scarcely had we become settled in our new home before there came a
mighty flood that covered the waters of the river with wrecks of
property impossible to enumerate. Our attention was immediately turned
to securing logs that came floating down the river in great numbers.
In a very short time we had a raft that was worth quite a sum of
money could we but get it to the market. Encouraged by this find, we
immediately turned our attention to some fine timber standing close
to the bank nearby, and began hand logging to supplement what we had
already secured afloat. I have often wondered what we would have done
had it not been for this find, for in the course of seven weeks three
of us marketed eight hundred dollars' worth of logs that enabled us to
obtain flour, even if we did pay fifty dollars a barrel, and potatoes
at two dollars a bushel, and sometimes more.

And yet, because of that hand logging work, Jane came very near
becoming a widow one morning before breakfast, but did not know of it
until long afterwards. It occurred in this way. We did not then know
how to scaffold up above the tough, swelled butts of the large trees,
and this made it very difficult to chop them down. So we burned them
by boring two holes at an angle to meet inside the inner bark, and by
getting the fire started, the heart of the tree would burn, leaving
an outer shell of bark. One morning, as usual, I was up early, and
after starting the fire in the stove and putting on the tea kettle, I
hastened to the burning timber to start afresh the fires, if perchance,
some had ceased to burn. Nearing a clump of three giants, two hundred
and fifty feet tall, one began toppling over toward me. In my confusion
I ran across the path where it fell, and while this had scarce reached
the ground, a second started to fall almost parallel to the first,
scarcely thirty feet apart at the top, leaving me between the two with
limbs flying in a good many directions. If I had not become entangled
in some brush, I would have gotten under the last falling tree. It was
a marvelous escape, and would almost lead one to think that there is
such a thing as a charmed life.

The rafting of our precious accumulations down the Columbia River to
Oak Point; the relentless current that carried us by where we had
contracted our logs at six dollars a thousand; the following the raft
to the larger waters, and finally, to Astoria, where we sold them for
eight dollars, instead of six per thousand, thus profiting by our
misfortunes; the involuntary plunge off the raft into the river with
my boots on; the three days and nights of ceaseless toil and watching
would make a thrilling story if we had but the time to tell it. Our
final success was complete, which takes off the keen edge of the
excitement of the hour, and when finished, we unanimously voted we
would have none of it more.

At Oak Point we found George Abernethy, former Governor of Oregon, who
had quite recently returned with his family from the "States," and
had settled down in the lumber business. He had a mill running of a
capacity of about 25,000 feet of lumber a day. It was a water power
mill, and the place presented quite a smart business air for the room
they had. But Oak Point did not grow to be much of a lumber or business
center, and the water mill eventually gave way to steam, located
elsewhere, better suited for the business.

The flour sack was nearly empty when we left home expecting to be
absent but one night, and now we had been gone a week. There were no
neighbors nearer than four miles and no roads—scarcely a trail—the only
communication was by the river. What about the wife and baby alone in
the cabin with the deep timber close by in the rear, and heavy jungle
of brush in the front? Nothing about it. We found them all right
upon our return, but like the log drivers with their experience, the
little wife said she wanted no more of cabin life alone. And yet, like
adventures and like experiences followed.

The February sun of 1853 shone almost like midsummer. The clearing grew
almost as if by magic. We could not resist the temptation to begin
planting, and before March was gone, the rows of peas, lettuce, and
onions growing on the river bank could be seen from the cabin door,
thirty rods away.

One day I noticed some three-cornered bits of potatoes that had been
cut out, not bigger than the end of my finger. These all ran to a
point as though cut out from a pattern. The base, or outer skin, all
contained an eye of the potato. The wife said these would grow and
would help us out about seed when planting time came, and we could have
the body of the potatoes to eat. That would have seemed a plausible
scheme had we been able to plant at once, but by this time we had been
forcibly reminded that there was another impending flood for June,
incident to the melting of the snow on the mountains, a thousand miles
away as the channel ran. But the experiment would not cost much, so the
potato eyes were carefully saved and spread out on shelves where they
became so dry that they would rattle like dry onion sets when handled.
Every steamer outward bound carried potatoes for the San Francisco
market, until it became a question whether enough would be left for
seed, so that three and even four cents per pound was asked and paid
for sorry looking culls. We must have seed, and so, after experimenting
with the dried eyes, planted in moist earth in a box kept warm in the
cabin, we became convinced that the little lady of the household was
right, so ate potatoes freely even at these famine prices. Sure enough,
the flood came, the planting delayed until July, and yet a crop was
raised that undug brought in nearly four hundred dollars, for we did
not stay to harvest them, or in fact, cultivate them, leaving that to
another who became interested in the venture.

In April, the word began to pass around that we were to have a new
Territory to embrace the country north of the Columbia River, with its
capital on Puget Sound, and here on the Columbia we would be way off
to one side and out of touch with the people who would shortly become
a great, separate commonwealth. Besides, had we not come all the way
across the plains to get to the Sea Board, and here we were simply on
the bank of a river—a great river to be sure, with its ship channel,
but then, that bar at the mouth, what about it? Then the June freshet,
what about that?

So, leaving the little wife and baby in the cabin home, one bright
morning in May, my brother Oliver and myself made each of us a pack
of forty pounds and took the trail, bound for Puget Sound, camping
where night overtook us, and sleeping in the open air without shelter
or cover other than that afforded by some friendly tree with drooping
limbs. Our trail first led us down near the right bank of the Columbia
to the Cowlitz, thence up the latter river thirty miles or more, and
then across the country nearly sixty miles to Olympia, and to the salt
sea water of the Pacific sent inland a hundred and fifty miles by the
resistless tides, twice a day for every day of the year.

Our expectations had been raised by the glowing accounts about Puget
Sound, and so, when we could see in the foreground but bare, dismal
mud flats, and beyond but a few miles, of water with a channel scarce
twice as wide as the channel of the great river we had left, bounded
on either side by high table, heavily timbered land, a feeling of deep
disappointment fell upon us, with the wish that we were back at our
cabin on the river.

Should we turn around and go back? No, that was what we had not yet
done since leaving our Indiana home eighteen months before; but what
was the use of stopping here? We wanted a place to make a farm, and we
could not do it on such forbidding land as this. Had not the little
wife and I made a solemn bargain or compact, before we were married
that we were going to be farmers? Here, I could see a dense forest
stretched out before me quite interesting to the lumberman, and for
aught I know, channels for the ships, but I wanted to be neither a
lumberman nor sailor, and so my first camp on Puget Sound was not
cheerful and my first night not passed in contentment.

Olympia at the time contained about 100 inhabitants. It could boast
having three stores, a hotel, a livery stable, and saloon, with one
weekly newspaper, then publishing its thirtieth number. A glance at
the advertising columns of this paper, the "Columbian," (named for
what was expected would be the name of the new Territory) disclosed
but few local advertisers, the two pages devoted to advertising being
filled by announcements of business other than in Olympia. "Everybody
knows everybody here," said a business man to me, "so what's the use
of advertising." And it was thus with those who had been in the place
for a few weeks, and so it continued all over the pioneer settlements
for years. To meet a man on the road or on the street without speaking
was considered rude. It became the universal practice to greet even
strangers as well as acquaintances, and to this day I doubt if there
are many of the old settlers yet devoid of the impulse to pass the
time of day with hearty greetings to whomsoever they may meet, be they
acquaintances or strangers.

Edmund Sylvester in partnership with Levi L. Smith, located the claims
where the town of Olympia is built, in 1848. Mr. Smith soon after died,
leaving Sylvester as sole proprietor of the town, where I saw him, as
it will appear, five years later. It is said that Colonel I. N. Ebey
suggested the name Olympia, which was not given to the place until
after Mr. Sylvester's flight to the gold mines of California and return
in 1850.

But we could not stay here at Olympia. We had pushed on past some
good locations on the Chehalis, and further south, without locating,
and now, should we retrace our steps? Brother Oliver said no. My
better judgment said no, though sorely pressed with that feeling of
homesickness, or blues, or whatever we may call it. The resolve was
quickly made that we would see more of this Puget Sound, that we were
told presented nearly as many miles of shore line as we had traveled
westward from the Missouri River to Portland, near sixteen hundred
miles, and which we afterwards found to be true.

But how were we to go and see these, to us unexplored waters? I said I
would not go in one of those things, the Indian canoe, that we would
upset it before we were out half an hour. Brother Oliver pointed to the
fact the Indians navigated the whole Sound in these canoes, and were
safe, but I was inexorable and would not trust my carcass in a craft
that would tip so easily as a Siwash canoe. When I came to know the
Indians better, I ceased to use such a term, and afterwards when I saw
the performances of these apparently frail craft, my admiration was
greater in degree than my contempt had been.

Of the cruise that followed on Puget Sound, and in what manner of
craft we made it, and of various incidents of the trip that occupied a
month, I must defer telling now, and leave this part of the story for
succeeding chapters.



Put yourself in my place, reader, for a time—long enough to read this
chapter. Think of yourself as young again, if elderly (I will not say
old); play you have been old and now young again, until you find out
about this trip on Puget Sound fifty and more years ago. Then think
of Puget Sound in an inquiring mood, as though you knew nothing about
it, only a little indefinite hear-say; enough to know there is such a
name, but not what manner of place or how large or how small; whether
it was one single channel, like a river, or numerous channels; whether
it was a bay or a series of bays or whether it was a lake, but somehow
connected with the sea, and then you will be in the mood these two
young men were, when they descended the hill with their packs on their
backs and entered the town of Olympia in May, 1853. Now, if you are in
this inquiring mood, I will take you in my confidence and we will live
the cruise over again of thirty-two days of adventures and observation
on Puget Sound sixty-two years ago.

I was but a few months past twenty-three, while my brother Oliver
could claim nearly two years' seniority. We had always played together
as boys, worked together as men, and lived together ever after his
marriage until the day of his death, now nearly sixty years ago, and so
far as I can remember, never had a disagreement in our whole life.

So, when we cast off the line at Olympia, on or about the 28th day
of May, 1853, we were assured of one thing and that was a concert of
action, be there danger or only labor ahead. Neither of us had had
much experience in boating, and none as to boat building, but when we
decided to make the trip and discard the idea of taking a canoe we
set to work with a hearty good will to build us a skiff out of light
lumber, then easily obtained at the Tumwater mill of Hays, Ward & Co.,
in business at that place.

We determined to have the skiff broad enough to not upset easily, and
long enough to carry us and our light cargo of food and bedding. Like
the trip across the plains we must provide our own transportation.
We were told that the Sound was a solitude so far as transportation
facilities, with here and there a vessel loading piles and square
timber for the San Francisco market. Not a steamer was then plying on
the Sound; not even a sailing craft that essayed to carry passengers.
We did not really know whether we would go twenty miles or a hundred;
whether we would find small waters or large; straight channels or
intricate by-ways; in a word we knew but very little of what lay before
us. If we had known a little more, we would not have encountered the
risks we did. One thing we knew, we could endure sturdy labor without
fatigue, and improvised camp without discomfort, for we were used to
just such experiences. Poor innocent souls, we thought we could follow
the shore line and thus avoid danger, and perhaps float with the tide
and thus minimize the labor, and yet keep our bearings.

George A. Barnes sold us the nails and oakum for building the boat
and charged us 25 cents per pound for the former, but could not sell
us any pitch as that was to be had for the taking. However, articles
of merchandise were not high, though country produce sold for extreme

Recently I have seen a "retail prices current of Puget Sound,
Washington Territory, corrected weekly by Parker, Colter & Co.," in
which, among many others, the following prices are quoted in the
columns of the only paper in the Territory then published in Olympia,
the "Columbian," as follows:

Pork, per lb., 20c; flour, per 100 lbs., $10.00; potatoes, per bushel,
$3.00; butter, per lb., $1.00; onions, per bushel, $4.00; eggs, per
dozen, $1.00; beets, per bushel, $3.50; sugar, per lb., 12½c; coffee,
per lb., 18c; tea, per lb., 75c and $1.00; molasses, per gallon, 50c
and 75c; salmon, per lb., 10c; whisky, per gallon, $1.00; sawed lumber,
fir, per M, $20.00; cedar, per M, $30.00; shingles, per M, $4.25 to
$5.00; piles, per foot, 5c to 8c; square timber, per foot, 12c to 15c.

Thus it will be seen that what the farmer had to sell was high while
much he must buy was comparatively cheap, even his whisky, then but a
dollar a gallon, while his potatoes sold for $3.00 a bushel.

This Parker, of Parker, Colter & Co., is the same John G. Parker, Jr.,
of steamboat fame who yet lives in Olympia, now an old man, but never
contented without his hand on the wheel in the pilot house, where I saw
him but a few years ago on his new steamer the Caswell, successor to
his first, the Traveler, of fifty years before.

Two or three other stores besides Barnes' and Parker's were then doing
business in Olympia, the Kandall Company, with Joseph Cushman as
agent; A. J. Moses, and I think the Bettman Brothers.

Rev. Benjamin F. Close, Methodist, held religious service in a small
building near Barnes' store, but there was no church edifice for
several years. Near by, the saloon element had found a foothold, but I
made no note of them in my mind other than to remember they were there
and running every day of the week including Sunday.

The townsite proprietor, Edmund Sylvester, kept the hotel of the town,
the "Washington," at the corner of 2nd and Main Street, a locality now
held to be too far down on the water front, but then the center of
trade and traffic.

G. N. McConaha and J. W. Wiley dispensed the law and H. A. Goldsborough
& Simmons (M. T. Simmons) looked out for the real estate and
conveyances. Add to these a bakery, a livery stable, and a blacksmith
shop and we have the town of Olympia in our mind again of possibly 100
people who then believed a great future lay in store for their embryo
city "at the head of Puget Sound."

Three leading questions occupied the attention of all parties while we
were in this little ambitious city, the new Territorial organization so
soon to be inaugurated, the question of an overland railroad, and of an
over mountain immigrant wagon road. The last was the absorbing topic of
conversation, as it was a live enterprise dependent upon the efforts of
the citizens for success. Meetings had been held in different parts of
the district west of the Cascade Mountains and north of the Columbia
River, and finally subscription lists were circulated, a cashier and
superintendent appointed, with the result, as stated elsewhere, of
opening the way for the first immigration over the Cascade Mountains
via the Natchess Pass, but the particulars of this work are given in
other chapters following.

As the tide drew off the placid waters of the bay at Olympia with just
a breath of air, our little craft behaved splendidly as the slight
ripples were jostled against the bow under the pressure of the sail and
brought dreams of a pleasure trip, to make amends for the tiresome
pack across the country. Nothing can be more enjoyable than favorable
conditions in a boating trip, the more specially to those who have
long been in the harness of severe labor, and for a season must enjoy
enforced repose. And so we lazily floated with the tide, sometimes
taking a few strokes with the oars, and at other times whistling for
the wind, as the little town of Olympia to the south, became dimmed by

At this southern extremity of the Sound without the accumulation of
water to struggle for passage, as through the channel to the north, the
movement is neither swift, nor disturbed with cross currents to agitate
the surface—more like the steady flow of a great river.

But we were no sooner fairly out of sight of the little village and out
of the bay it was situated upon (Budd's Inlet), than the query came
up as to which way to go. Was it this channel or that or yet another
one we should take? Let the tide decide; that will take us out toward
the ocean we urged. No, we are drifting into another bay; that cannot
be where we want to go; why, we are drifting right back almost in the
same direction from which we came, but into another bay. We'll pull
this way to that point to the northeast. But there seems a greater
opening of waters to the northwest; yes, but I do not see any way out
there. Neither is there beyond that point (Johnson's Point); and so we
talked and pulled and puzzled until finally it dawned upon us that the
tide had turned and we were being carried back to almost the spot from
whence we came, into South Bay.

"Now the very best thing we can do is to camp," said the senior of
the party of two, to which the junior, your humble writer, readily
assented, and so our first night's camp was scarcely twelve miles from
where we had started in the morning.

What a nice camping place this. The ladies would say lovely, and why
not? A beautiful pebbly beach that extended almost to the water's edge
even at low tide with a nice grassy level spit; a back ground of
evergreen giant fir timber; such clear, cool water gushing out from the
bank near by, so superlative in quality as to defy words to adequately
describe; and such fuel for the camp fire, broken fir limbs with just
enough pitch to make a cheerful blaze and yet body enough to last well.
Why, we felt so happy that we were almost glad the journey had been
interrupted. Oliver was the carpenter of the party, the tent builder,
wood getter, and general roust-a-bout, to coin a word from camp
parlance, while I, the junior, was the "chief cook and bottle washer,"
as the senior would jocularly put it.

At the point a little beyond where we landed we found next morning J.
R. Johnson, M. D., with his cabin on the point under the pretentious
name of "Johnson's Hospital," opened as he said for the benefit of the
sick, but which, from what I saw in my later trips I think his greatest
business was in disposing of cheap whisky of which he contributed his
share of the patronage.

An Indian encampment being near by, a party of them soon visited our
camp and began making signs for trade. "Mika tik-eh clams?" came from
out the mouth of one of the matrons of the party as if though half
choked in the speaking, a cross between a spoken word and a smothered
guttural sound in the throat.

"What does she say, Oliver?" the junior said, turning for counsel to
the superior wisdom of the elder brother.

"I'm blessed if I know what she says, but she evidently wants to sell
some clams."

And so, after considerable dickering, and by signs and gestures and
words oft repeated we were able to impart the information that we
wanted a lesson in cookery; that we wanted her to show us how to cook
them, and that we would buy some. This brought some merriment in the
camp. The idea, that there lived a person that did not know how to
cook clams. Without saying by your leave or anything else the motherly
looking native began tearing down our camp fire.

"Let her alone," said the senior, "and see what she's up to,"
noticing that the younger man was going to remonstrate against such
an interference with his well laid plans for bread baking. And so
the kitchen of the camp was surrendered to the native matron, who
quietly covered the hot pebbles and sand where the fire had been,
with a lighter layer of pebbles, upon which the clams were deposited
and some fine twigs placed on top, upon which earth was deposited.
"K-l-o-s-h-e," said the matron. "Hy-as-kloshe," said her seignior,
who sat squatting watching the operation with evident pride upon the
achievement of his dame.

"What did they say?" innocently inquired the junior brother.

"I know what they said, but I don't know what they meant," responded
the elder one, "unless it was she had done a good job, which I think
she has," and thus began and ended our first lesson in the Chinook
jargon, and our first introduction to a clam bake.

What memories hover around these three words, "the clam bake." Did you
ever, may I ask my readers, other than those of ye olden times, did you
ever participate in the joys of a regular old-fashioned clam bake, with
or without the corn, with or without the help of the deft native hand?
If you never have, then go straightway, before you die, to the end that
you may ever after have the memory of the first clam bake, even if it
be but a memory, and likewise be the last.

Our first clam bake gave us great encouragement. We soon learned that
these bivalves were to be found in almost unlimited quantity, and were
widely distributed; that the harvest was ready twice a day, when the
tide was out, and that we need have no fear of a famine even if cast
away in some unfrequented place.

"Yah-ka kloshe al-ta," said the dame, uncovering the steaming mass
and placing them on a sliver found near by "de-late kloshe; kloshe
muck-a-muck al-ta," and so, without understanding what she said, but
knowing well what she meant, we fell to in disposing of this, our
first clam dinner.

Dividing with them the bread that had been baked, and some potatoes
that had been boiled, the natives soon withdrew to their own camp,
where, before retiring for the night, we repaid the visit.

To see the little fellows of the camp scud behind the mother when the
strangers entered, and shyly peep out from their retreat, and the
mother lovingly reassuring them with kind, affectionate caresses, and
finally coaxing them out from under cover, revealed the character of
the natives we had neither of us realized before. We had been in the
Indian country for nearly a year, but with guns by our side if not in
our hands for nearly half the time, while on the plains, but we had not
stopped to study the Indian character. We took it for granted that the
Indians were our enemies and watched them suspiciously accordingly,
but here seemed to be a disposition manifested to be neighborly and
helpful. We took a lesson in Chinook, and by signs and words combined
held conversation until a late hour, when, upon getting ready for
taking leave, a slice of venison was handed us, sufficient for several
meals. Upon offering to pay for it we were met with a shake of the
head, and with the words, "wake, wake, kul-tus-pot-latch," which we
understood by their actions to mean they made us a present of it.

This present from the Indian let in a flood of light upon the Indian
character. We had made them a present first, it was true, but did not
expect any return, except perhaps good will, and in fact, cannot now
say we particularly expected that, but were impelled to do our act
of courtesy from the manner of their treatment and from the evident
desire to be on friendly terms. From that time on during the trip, and
I may say, for all time since, I have found the Indians of Puget Sound
ready to reciprocate acts of kindness, and hold in high esteem a favor
granted if not accompanied by acts apparently designed to simply gain
an advantage.

We often forget the sharp eyes and ears of little children and let
slip words that are quickly absorbed to their hurt by affecting
their conduct. While the Indian is really not a suspicious person,
nevertheless, he is quick to detect and as quick to resent a real or
supposed slight as the little five-year-old who discovers his elders
in their fibs or deceit. Not that the Indian expects socially to be
received in your house or at your table, yet little acts of kindness,
if done without apparent design, touch their better nature and are
repaid more than a hundred fold, for you thereafter have a friend and
neighbor, and not an enemy or suspicious maligner.

All of this did not dawn on the young men at the time, though their
treatment of the Indians was in harmony with friendly feelings which we
found everywhere and made a lasting impression.

Subsequent experience, of course, has confirmed these first impressions
with the wider field of observation in after years, while employing
large numbers of these people in the hop fields of which I hope to
write later. And so now must end this chapter with the subject of the
"cruise" to be continued at another sitting.



"Keep to the right, as the law directs," is an old western adage that
governs travelers on the road, but we kept to the right because we
wanted to follow the shore as we thought it safer, and besides, why
not go that way as well as any other,—it was all new to us. So, on
the second morning, as we rounded Johnson's Point and saw no channel
opening in any direction; saw only water in the foreground and timber
beyond, we concluded to skirt the coast line and see what the day
would bring forth. This led us a southeasterly course and in part
doubling back with that traveled the previous day, and past what
became the historical grounds of the Medicine Creek Treaty Council,
or, rather leaving this two miles to our right as the Nisqually flats
were encountered. Here we were crowded to a northerly course, leaving
the Nisqually House on the beach to the east without stopping for

According to Finlayson's journal, as I afterwards ascertained, this had
been built twenty-three years before. At least, some house had been
built on this spot at that time (1829 or 1830), though the fort by that
name one-fourth mile back from the water was not constructed until the
summer of 1833, just twenty years previous to our visit.

This fort mentioned must not be confounded with the Nisqually fort
built some three years later (1836) a mile farther east and convenient
to the waters of Segwalitchew Creek, which there runs near the surface
of the surrounding country. All remains of the old fort have long since
vanished, but the nearly filled trenches where the stockade timbers
stood can yet be traced, showing that a space 250 feet square had been
enclosed. Another visible sign was an apple tree yet alive near the
spot, grown from seed planted in 1833, but now, when I visited the
place in June, 1903, overshadowed by a lusty fir that is sapping the
life of the only living, though mute, witness (except it may be the
Indian, Steilacoom) we have of those early days, when the first fort
was built by the intrepid employes of the Hudson Bay Company.

An interesting feature of the intervening space between the old and
the newer fort is the dense growth of fir timber averaging nearly two
feet in diameter and in some cases fully three, and over a hundred feet
high on what was prairie when the early fort builders began work. The
land upon which this timber is growing still shows unmistakable signs
of the furrow marks that can be traced through the forest. Verily, this
is a most wonderful country where forest product will grow, if properly
protected, more rapidly than the hand of man will destroy.

As the tide and wind favored us we did not stop, but had not proceeded
far before we came in sight of a fleet of seven vessels lying at anchor
in a large bay of several miles in extent.

Upon the eastern slope of the shores of this bay lay the two towns,
Port Steilacoom, established January 23d, 1851, by Captain Lafayette
Balch, and Steilacoom City, upon an adjoining land claim taken by John
B. Chapman, August 23d, of same year and later held by his son, John
M. Chapman. These two rival towns were built as far apart as possible
on the frontage lands of the claim owners (about one mile apart) and
became known locally as Upper and Lower Steilacoom, the latter name
being applied to Balch's town.

We found the stocks of goods carried by the merchants of these two
towns exceeded those held by the Olympia merchants, and that at Fort
Nisqually, six miles distant, the merchandise carried by the Puget
Sound Agricultural Company would probably equal that of all three
of the towns combined, possibly, in the aggregate, over one hundred
thousand dollars for the whole district under review.

Evidently a far larger trade centered on Steilacoom Bay and vicinity
than at any other point we had seen and, as we found afterwards, than
any other point on Puget Sound. Naturally we would here call a halt
to examine the country and to make ourselves acquainted with the
surroundings that made this early center of trade.

One mile and a half back from the shore and east of lower Steilacoom
we found what was by courtesy called Fort Steilacoom but which was
simply a camp of a company of United States soldiers in wooden shells
of houses and log cabins. This camp or fort had been established by
Captain Bennett H. Hill with Company M, 1st Artillery, August 27th,
1849, following the attempted robbery of Fort Nisqually the previous
May by Pat Kanim and his followers, the Snoqualmie Indians.

Dr. Tolmie, Chief Factor of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company at
Fort Nisqually, quickly seized the opportunity to demand rent from the
United States for the occupancy of the site of Fort Steilacoom, of six
hundred dollars a year, and actually received it for fifteen years and
until the final award was made extinguishing the claims of his company.
We found the plains alive with this company's stock (many thousand
head) running at large and fattened upon the scant but nutritious grass
growing upon the adjacent prairie and glade lands.

Balch and Webber were doing a thriving trade in their store at the
little town of Steilacoom, besides their shipping trade of piles and
square timber, shingles, lumber, cord wood, hides, furs, fish, and
other odds and ends. Just across the street from their store stood
the main hotel of the place with the unique history of being the only
building erected on Puget Sound from lumber shipped from the eastern
seaboard. Captain Balch brought the building with him from Maine, ready
to set up. At the upper town Philip Keach was merchandising while Abner
Martin kept a hotel. Intense rivalry ran between the two towns in the
early days when we were at Steilacoom.

Thomas M. Chambers, father of the prominent members of the Olympia
community of that name, had built a saw-mill on Steilacoom creek, two
miles from the town, and a grist mill where farmers oftentimes came
with pebbles in their wheat to dull the burrs.

We are wont now to speak of this place as "poor old Steilacoom,"
with its tumbled-down houses, rotting sidewalks and decayed wharves;
the last vestige of the latter of which has disappeared; but then
everything was new, with an air of business bustle that made one feel
here was a center of trade. The sight of those seven vessels lying in
the offing made a profound impression upon our minds. We had never
before seen so many ships at one place as were quietly lying at anchor
in front of the embryo city. Curiously enough, here was the very
identical vessel we had first seen on the Willamette River, the bark
"Mary Melville," with her gruff mate and big hearted master, Capt.
Barston, with whom the reader has been made acquainted in a previous
chapter. I took no special note of the names of these vessels other
than this one, but from the columns of the Columbian I am able to glean
the names of twenty-two vessels, brigs, barks, and schooners, then
plying between Puget Sound and San Francisco, which are as follows:

Brig Cyclops, Perkins; Bark Delegate, ——; Brig Tarquina, ——; Bark John
Adams, McKelmer; Brig G. W. Kendall, Gove; Brig Merchantman, Bolton;
Brig Kingsbury, Cook; Schooner Cynosure, Fowler; Brig George Emery,
Diggs; Bark Mary Melville, Barston; Bark Brontes, Blinn; Bark Sarah
Warren, Gove; Ship Persia, Brown; Brig I. C. Cabot, Dryden; Brig Jane,
Willett; Ship Rowena, ——; Brig Willingsly, Gibbs; Brig Mary Dare,
Mowatt; Brig John Davis, Pray; Bark Carib, Plummer; Brig Leonesa,
Howard, and Schooner Franklin, Leary. There were probably more, but I
do not recall them, but these were enough to keep every man busy that
could swing an axe, drag a saw or handle that instrument of torture,
the goad stick, and who was willing to work.

All this activity came from the shipment of piles, square timbers,
cordwood, shingles, with small quantities of lumber—all that was
obtainable, which was not very much, to the San Francisco market. The
descent of timber on the roll-ways sounded like distant thunder, and
could be heard almost all hours of the day, even where no camps were in
sight, but lay hidden up some secluded bay or inlet.

We were sorely tempted to accept the flattering offer of $4.00 each day
for common labor in a timber camp, but soon concluded not to be swerved
from the course we had outlined.

It was here, and I think at this time, I saw the Indian "Steilacoom,"
who still lives. I saw him recently at his camp in the Nisqually
bottom, and judge he is bordering on ninety years. Steilacoom helped
to build old Fort Nisqually in 1833, and was a married man at that
time. People called him chief because he happened to bear the name
adopted for the town and creek, but he was not a man of much force of
character and not much of a chief. I think this is a remarkable case
of longevity for an Indian. As a race, they are short lived. It was
here, and during this visit, we began seeing Indians in considerable
numbers. Off the mouth of the Nisqually and several places along the
beach and floating on the bay we saw several hundred in the aggregate
of all ages and kind. There seemed to be a perfect abandon as to
care or thought for the future, or even as to the immediate present,
literally floating with the tide. In those days, the Indians seemed to
work or play by spurts and spells. Here and there that day a family
might be seen industriously pursuing some object, but as a class there
seemed to be but little life in them, and we concluded they were the
laziest set on earth. I afterwards materially modified that opinion,
as I became better acquainted with their habits, for I have found just
as industrious Indians, both men and women, and as reliable workers,
as among the whites, though this class, it may be said, is exceptional
with the men. The women are all industrious.

Shall we camp here and spy out the land, or shall we go forward and see
what lay before us? Here were the ideals, that had enticed us so far
from our old home, where "ships went down into the sea," with the trade
of the whole world before us. We waxed eloquent, catching inspiration
from people of the town. After a second sober thought we found we had
nothing to trade but labor, and we had not come this far to be laborers
for hire. We had come to look up a place to make a farm and a farm we
were going to have. We, therefore, set about searching for claims, and
the more we searched the less we liked the looks of things.

The gravelly plains near Steilacoom would not do: neither the heavy fir
timber lands skirting the waters of the Sound, and we were nonplused
and almost ready to condemn the country. Finally, on the fourth day
after a long, wearisome tramp, we cast off at high tide, and in a
dead calm, to continue our cruise. The senior soon dropped into a
comfortable afternoon nap, leaving me in full command. As the sun shone
nice and warm and the tide was taking us rapidly in the direction we
wanted to go, why not join, even if we did lose the sight seeing for
which the journey was made.

I was shortly after aroused by the senior exclaiming, "What is that?"
and then answering half to himself and half to me, "Why, as I live,
it's a deer swimming way out here in the bay." Answering, half asleep
and half awake, that that could not be, the senior said: "Well, that's
what it is." We gave chase and soon succeeded in getting a rope over
its horns. We had by this time drifted into the Narrows, and soon found
that we had something more important to look after than towing a deer
among the tide-rips of the Sound, and turning him loose pulled for dear
life for the shore, and found shelter in an eddy. A perpendicular bluff
rose from the high water mark, leaving no place for a camp fire or bed.
The tide seemed to roll in waves and with contending forces of currents
and counter currents, yet all moving in a general direction. It was
our first introduction to a real genuine, live tide-rip, that seemed
to harry the waters as if boiling in a veritable caldron, swelling up
here and there in centers to whirl in dizzy velocity and at times break
into a foam, and, where a light breeze prevailed, into spray. Then in
some areas it would seem the waters in solid volume would leap up in
conical, or pointed shape—small waves broken into short sections, that
would make it quite difficult for a flat bottom boat like our little
skiff to float very long. We congratulated ourselves upon the escape,
while belittling our careless imitation of the natives of floating with
the tide. Just then some Indian canoes passed along moving with the
tide. We expected to see them swamped as they encountered the troubled
waters, but to our astonishment they passed right through without
taking a drop of water. Then here came two well manned canoes creeping
along shore against the tide. I have said well-manned, but in fact,
half the paddles were wielded by women, and the post of honor, or that
where most dexterity was required, was occupied by a woman. In shore,
short eddies would favor the party, to be ended by a severe tug against
the stiff current.

"Me-si-ka-kwass kopa s'kookum chuck," said the maiden in the bow of the
first canoe, as it drew along side our boat, in which we were sitting.

Since our evening's experience at the clam bake camp, we had been
industriously studying language, and pretty well mastered the Chinook,
and so we with little difficulty understood her to ask if we were
afraid of the rough waters, to which we responded, part in English and
part in Chinook, that we were, and besides that it was impossible for
us to proceed against the strong current.

"Ne-si-ka mit-lite," that is to say, she said they were going to camp
with us and wait for the turn of the tide, and accordingly landed near
by, and so we must wait for the remainder of this story in chapters to



By the time the tide had turned, night had come and we were in a
quandary as to what to do; whether to camp in our boat, or to start
out on unknown waters in the dark. Our Indian visitors began making
preparations to proceed on their journey, and assured us it was all
right ahead, and offered to show us the way to good camping grounds in
a big bay where the current was not strong, and where we would find a
great number of Indians in camp.

It did not occur to us to have any fear of the Indians We did not
at all depend on our prowess or personal courage, but felt that we
were among friends. We had by this time come to know the general
feeling existing between Indians and whites, and that there was no
trouble, as a class, whatever there might be as to individuals. I do
not want my reader to understand we thought we were doing an heroic
act in following a strange party of Indians into unknown waters and
into an unknown camp of the natives after dark, or that I think so
now. There was no danger ahead of us other than that incident to the
attempt of navigating such waters with so frail a boat, and one so
unsuited in shape as well as build, for rough waters, and by persons so
inexperienced on the water.

Sure enough, a short pull with a favorable current, brought us through
the Narrows and into Commencement Bay and in sight of numerous camp
fires in the distance. Our Indian friends lazily paddled along in
company, while we labored vigorously with our oars as we were by this
time in a mood to find a camp where we could have a fire and prepare
some food. I remember that camp quite vividly, though cannot locate it
exactly, but know that it was on the water front within the present
limits of the city of Tacoma. A beautiful small rivulet came down a
ravine and spread out on the beach, and I can remember the shore line
was not precipitous and that it was a splendid camping ground. The
particular thing I do remember is our supper of fresh salmon. Of all
the delicious fish known, give me the salmon caught by trolling in
early summer in the deep waters of Puget Sound; so fat that the excess
of oil must be turned out of the pan while cooking. We had not then
learned the art of cooking on the spit, or at least, did not practice
it. We had scarcely gotten our camp fire under way before a salmon was
offered us, but I cannot recall what we paid, but I know it was not a
high price, else we would not have purchased. At the time we did not
know but trolling in deep water for this king of fish was the only way,
but afterwards learned of the enormous quantities taken by the seine
direct from salt water.

Two gentlemen, Messrs. Swan and Riley, had established themselves on
the bay, and later in the season reported taking two thousand large
fish at one haul with their seine, three-fourths of which were salmon.
As I have a fish story of my own to tell of our experience later, I
will dismiss the subject for the present.

We were now in the bay, since made famous in history by that observing
traveler, Theodore Winthrop, who came from the north a few months
later, and saw the great mountain, "a cloud compeller," reflected in
the placid waters of the Sound, "Tacoma"[4] as he wrote, Rainier, as we
saw it. A beautiful sight it was and is whatever the name, but to us it
was whatever others said it was, while Winthrop, of a poetic mind, was
on the alert for something new under the sun, if it be no more than a
name for a great mountain.

Winthrop came in September, while we were in the bay in June, thus
ante-dating his trip by three months or more. To Winthrop belongs the
honor of originating the name Tacoma from some word claimed to have
been spoken by the Indians as the name of the mountain. As none of the
pioneers ever heard the word until many years afterwards, and not then
until after the posthumous publication of Winthrop's works ten years
after his visit, I incline to the opinion that Winthrop coined the word
out of his imaginative brain.

[Illustration: Mount Tacoma.]

We again caught sight of the mountain the next day, as we approached
the tide flats off the mouth of the Puyallup River. We viewed the
mountain with awe and admiration, but gave no special heed to it, more
than to many other new scenes engaging our attention. It was land we
wanted whereby we might stake a claim, and not scenery to tickle our
fancy. Yet, I doubt if there lives a man, or ever did, who has seen
that great mountain, but has been inspired with higher thoughts, and
we may say higher aspirations, or who has ever tired looking upon this
grand pile, the father of five great rivers.

We floated into the mouth of the Puyallup River with a vague feeling
as to its value, but did not proceed far until we were interrupted by
a solid drift of monster trees and logs, extending from bank to bank
up the river for a quarter of a mile or more. We were told by the
Indians there were two other like obstructions a few miles farther up
the river, and that the current was "de-late-hyas-skoo-kum," which
interpreted means that the current was very strong. We found this to be
literally true during the next two or three days we spent on the river.

We secured the services of an Indian and his canoe to help us up the
river, and left our boat at the Indian's camp near the mouth.

The tug of two days to get six miles up the river, the unloading of our
outfit three times to pack it over cut-off trails, and the dragging
of our canoe around the drifts, is a story of constant toil with
consequent discouragement, not ending until we camped on the bank of
the river within the present limits of the little thriving city of
Puyallup, founded afterwards by me on a homestead claim taken many
years later. The little city now contains over six thousand inhabitants
and is destined to contain many thousand more in the lapse of time.

The Puyallup Valley at that time was a solitude. No white settlers were
found, though it was known two, who lived with Indian women, had staked
claims and made some slight improvements—a man by the name of Hayward,
near where the town of Sumner is now located, and William Benson, on
the opposite side of the river, and a mile distant from the boundaries
of Puyallup. An Indian trail led up the river from Commencement Bay,
and one westward to the Nisqually plains, over which pack animals could
pass, but as to wagon roads, there were none, and as to whether a
feasible route for one could be found only time with much labor could

When we retraced our steps, and on the evening of the third day landed
again at the mouth of the river after a severe day's toil of packing
around drifts and hauling the canoe overland past drifts, it was
evident we were in no cheerful mood. Oliver did not sing as usual while
preparing for camp, or rally with sallies of wit and humor as he was
wont to do when in a happy mood. Neither did I have much to say, but
fell to work mechanically preparing the much needed meal, which we ate
in silence, and forthwith wrapped ourselves in our blankets for the
night, but not for immediate slumber.

We had crossed the two great states of Illinois and Iowa, over hundreds
of miles of unoccupied prairie land as rich as anything that "ever laid
out of doors," on our way from Indiana to Oregon, in search of land on
which to make a home, and here, at what we might say "at the end of our
rope" had found the land, but under such adverse conditions that seemed
almost too much to overcome. It was a discouraging outlook, even if
there had been roads. Such timber! It seemed an appalling undertaking
to clear it, the greater portion being covered with a heavy growth of
balm and alder trees, and thick tangle of underbrush besides, and so,
when we did fall to sleep that night, it was without visions of new
found wealth.

And yet, later, I did tackle a quarter section of that heaviest
timber land, and never let up until the last tree, log, stump, and
root disappeared, though of course, not all of it by my own hands.
Nevertheless, with a goodly part, I did say, come, boys, and went into
the thickest of the work.

But, of the time of which I am writing, there was more to consider
than the mere clearing, which we estimated would take thirteen years
of solid work for one man to clear a quarter-section; the question of
going where absolutely there were no neighbors, no roads, no help to
open them, and in fact, without a knowledge as to whether a feasible
route could be found, compelled us to decide against locating.

A small factor came in to be considered. Such swarms of mosquitoes
we had never seen before. These we felt would make life a burden,
forgetting that as the country became opened they would disappear.
I may relate here a curious phenomenon brought to light by after
experience. My donation claim was finally located on high table land,
where no surface water could be found in summer for miles around, and
there were swarms of mosquitoes, while on the Puyallup homestead taken
later, six miles from the mouth of the river, and where water lay on
the surface, in spots, the whole summer long, we seldom saw one of
these pests there. I never could account for this, and have long since
ceased to try; I only know it was so.

If we could have but known what was coming four months later, doubt
not, notwithstanding our discouragement, we would have remained and
searched the valley diligently for the choicest locations. In October
following, there came the first immigrants that ever crossed the
Cascade Mountains, and located in a body nearly all of the whole
valley, and before the year was ended had a rough wagon road out to the
prairies and to Steilacoom, the county seat.

As I will give an account of the struggles and trials of these people
later in this work, I will here dismiss the subject by saying that no
pioneer who settled in the Puyallup Valley, and stuck to it, failed
finally to prosper and gain a competence.

We lingered at the mouth of the river in doubt as to what best to do.
My thoughts went back to the wife and baby in the lonely cabin on the
Columbia River, and then again to that bargain we had made before
marriage that we were going to be farmers, and how could we be farmers
if we did not have the land? Under the donation act we could hold three
hundred and twenty acres, but we must live on it for four years, and
so it behooved us to look out and secure our location before the act
expired, which would occur the following year. So, with misgivings and
doubts, we finally, on the fourth day, loaded our outfit into our skiff
and floated out on the receding tide, whither, we did not know.


[4] Winthrop, in his delightful book, "The Canoe and the Saddle,"
describing his trip from Port Townsend to Nisqually, in September,
1853, says:

"We had rounded a point and opened Puyallup Bay, a breath of sheltered
calmness, when I, lifting sleepy eyelids for a dreamy stare about, was
suddenly aware of a vast white shadow in the water. What cloud, piled
massive on the horizon, could cast an image so sharp in outline, so
full of vigorous detail of surface? No cloud, as my stare, no longer
dreamy, presently discovered—no cloud, but a cloud compeller. It was a
giant mountain dome of snow, swelling and seeming to fill the aerial
spheres as its image displaced the blue deeps of tranquil water.
The smoky haze of an Oregon August hid all the length of its lesser
ridges, and left this mighty summit based upon uplifting dimness. Only
its splendid snows were visible, high in the unearthly regions of
blue noonday sky. The shore line drew a cincture of pines across its
broad base, where it faded unreal into the mist. The same dark girth
separated the peak from its reflection, over which my canoe was now
pressing, and sending wavering swells to scatter the beautiful vision
before it.

"Kindly and alone stood this majesty, without any visible consort,
though far to the north and to the south its brethren and sisters
dominated their realms, each in isolated sovereignty, rising from
the pine-darkened sierra of the Cascade Mountains—above the stern
chasm where the Columbia, Achilles of rivers, sweeps, short lived
and jubilant, to the sea—above the lovely valley of the Willamette
and Ningua. Of all the peaks from California to Frazier River, this
one was royalest. Mount Regnier, Christians have dubbed it in stupid
nomenclature, perpetuating the name of somebody or nobody. More
melodiously the Siwashes call it Tacoma—a generic term, also applied to
all snow peaks."



As we drew off on the tide from the mouth of the Puyallup River,
numerous parties of Indians were in sight, some trolling for salmon,
with a lone Indian in the bow of his canoe, others with a pole with
barbs on two sides fishing for smelt, and used in place of a paddle,
while again, others with nets, all leisurely pursuing their calling,
or more accurately speaking, seemed waiting for a fisherman's luck.
Again, other parties were passing, singing a plaintive ditty in minor
key with two or more voices, accompanied by heavy strokes of the paddle
handle against the side of the canoe, as if to keep time. There were
really some splendid female voices to be heard, as well as male, and
though there were but slight variations in the sounds or words, they
seemed never to tire in repeating, and, I must confess, we never tired
listening. Then, at times, a break in the singing would be followed
by a hearty laugh, or perhaps a salutation be given in a loud tone to
some distant party, which would always bring a response, and with the
resumption of the paddles, like the sailors on the block and fall,
the song would be renewed, oftentimes to bring back a distant echo
from a bold shore. These scenes were repeated time and again, as we
encountered the natives in new fields that constantly opened up to our

We laid our course in the direction the tide drew us, directly to
the north in a channel three miles in width, and discarded the plan
of following the shore line, as we found so little variation in
the quality of soil. By this time we began to see that opportunity
for farms on the immediate shores of Puget Sound were few and far
between—in fact, we had seen none. During the afternoon and after we
had traveled, by estimate, near twenty miles, we saw ahead of us larger
waters, where, by continuing our course, we would be in a bay of five
or six miles in width, with no very certain prospect of a camping
place. Just then we spied a cluster of cabins and houses on the point
to the east, and made a landing at what proved to be Alki Point, the
place then bearing the pretentious name of New York.

We were not any too soon in effecting our landing, as the tide had
turned and a slight breeze had met it, the two together disturbing the
water in a manner to make it uncomfortable for us in our flat bottomed

Here we met the irrepressible C. C. Terry, proprietor of the new
townsite, but keenly alive to the importance of adding to the
population of his new town. But we were not hunting townsites, and of
course lent a deaf ear to the arguments set forth in favor of the place.

Captain William Renton had built some sort of a saw-mill there, had
laid the foundation to his great fortune accumulated later at Port
Blakely, a few miles to the west, to which point he later removed.
Terry afterwards gave up the contest, and removed to Seattle.

We soon pushed on over to the east where the steam from a saw-mill
served as the guiding star, and landed at a point that cannot have
been far removed from the west limit of the present Pioneer Place of
Seattle, near where the totem pole now stands.

Here we found the never to be forgotten Yesler, not whittling his pine
stick as in later years, but as a wide awake business man, on the
alert to drive a trade when an opportunity offered, or spin a yarn, if
perchance time would admit. I cannot recall meeting Mr. Denny, though I
made his acquaintance soon after at my own cabin on McNeil's Island.
In fact, we did not stay very long in Seattle, not being very favorably
impressed with the place. There was not much of a town, probably twenty
cabins in all, with a few newer frame houses. The standing timber could
scarcely have been farther removed than to be out of reach of the mill,
and of course, scarcely the semblance of a street. The lagoon presented
an uninviting appearance and scent, where the process of filling with
slabs and sawdust had already begun. The mill, though, infused activity
in its immediate vicinity, and was really the life of the place.

As we were not looking for a millsite or a townsite, we pushed on
north the next day. We had gone but a few miles until a favorable
breeze sprang up, bringing with it visions of a happy time sailing,
but with the long stretch of open waters back of us of ten miles,
or more, and of several miles in width, and with no visible shelter
ahead of us, or lessening of width of waters, we soon felt the breeze
was not so welcome after all. We became doubtful as to the safety of
sailing, and were by this time aware of the difficulty of rowing a
small, flat-bottom boat in rough waters with one oar sometimes in the
water and the other in the air, to be suddenly reversed. While the
wind was in our favor, yet the boat became almost unmanageable with
the oars. The sail once down was not so easy to get up again, with the
boat tipping first one way and then another, as she fell off in the
trough of the waves. But finally the sail was set again, and we scudded
before the wind at a rapid rate, not feeling sure of our bearings, or
what was going to happen. The bay looked to us as if it might be five
miles or more wide, and in fact, with the lowering weather, we could
not determine the extent. The east shore lay off to our right a half
a mile or so distant, where we could see the miniature waves break on
the beach, and at times catch the sound as they rolled up on the gravel
banks. We soon realized our danger, but feared to attempt a landing in
the surf. Evidently the wind was increasing, the clouds were coming
down lower and rain began to fall. There was but one thing to do. We
must make a landing, and so the sail was hastily taken down again, and
the junior of the party took to the oars, while the senior sat in the
stern with paddle in hand to keep the boat steady on her course, and
help a little as opportunity offered. But fortune favored us in luckily
finding a smooth pebbly beach, and while we got a good drenching in
landing, and the boat partially filled before we could haul her up out
of reach of the surf, yet we lost nothing outright, and suffered but
slight loss by damage from water. We were glad enough to get ashore and
thankful that the mishap was no worse. Luckily our matches were dry and
a half hour or so sufficed to build a rousing camp fire, haul our boat
above high tide, to utilize it as a wind break and roof turned bottom
up at an angle of forty-five degrees. Just how long we were compelled
to remain in this camp, I cannot recall, but certainly two days, and I
think three, but we did not explore the adjacent land much, as the rain
kept us close in camp. And it was a dismal camp, although we had plenty
to eat and could keep dry and warm. We here practiced the lesson taught
us the evening of our first camp, by the native matron, and had plenty
of clams to supplement our other provisions during the whole period,
and by the time we broke up camp, concluded we were expert clam-bakers.
But all such incidents must have an end, and so the time came when we
broke camp and pulled for the head of Whidby's Island, a few miles off
to the northwest.

And now I have a fish story to tell. I have always been shy of telling
it, lest some smart one should up and say I was just telling a yarn
and drawing on my imagination, but, "honor bright," I am not. But to
be sure of credence, I will print the following telegram recently
received, which, as it is printed in a newspaper, must be true:

     "Nanaimo, B. C., Friday, Jan. 29.—Another tremendous destruction
     of herring occurred on the shores of Protection Island a day or
     two ago in exactly the same way as took place near Departure Bay
     about three weeks ago, and today the entire atmosphere of the
     city carries the nauseous smell of thousands upon thousands of
     tons of decaying fish which threatens an epidemic of sickness.

     "The dead fish now cover the shores of Protection Island
     continuously for three miles to a depth ranging all the way from
     fifteen inches to three feet. The air is black with sea gulls. So
     thick have the fish been at times that were a fishing boat caught
     in the channel while a shoal of herring was passing, the rush of
     fish would literally lift the boat out of the water."

We had not proceeded far before we heard a dull sound like that
often heard from the tide-rips where the current meets and disturbs
the waters as like in a boiling caldron. But as we approached the
disturbance, we found it was different from anything we had seen
or heard before. As we rested on our oars, we could see that the
disturbance was moving up toward us, and that it extended as far as we
could see, in the direction we were going. The sound had increased and
became as like the roar of a heavy rainfall, or hailstorm in water, and
we became aware that it was a vast school of fish moving south, while
millions were seemingly dancing on the surface of the water and leaping
in the air. We could sensibly feel them striking against the boat in
such vast numbers as to fairly move it as we lay at ease. The leap in
the air was so high as to suggest tipping the boat to catch some as
they fell back, and sure enough, here and there one would leap into the
boat. We soon discovered some Indians following the school, who quickly
loaded their canoes by using the barbed pole as a paddle and throwing
the impaled fish into their canoes in surprising numbers. We soon
obtained all we wanted by an improvised net.

We were headed for Whidby's Island, where, it was reported, rich
prairie land could be found. The bay here at the head of the island was
six or seven miles wide and there was no way by which we could keep
near shore. Remembering the experience of a few days before, in waters
not so large as here, the younger of the two confided his fears to
his older companion, that it was unwise to loiter and fish, howsoever
novel and interesting, and so began pulling vigorously at the oars to
find himself greatly embarrassed by the mass of fish moving in the
water. So far as we could see there was no end to the school ahead of
us, the water, as far as the eye could reach, presenting the appearance
shown with a heavy fall of hail. It did seem at times as if the air was
literally filled with fish, but we finally got rid of the moving mass,
and reached the island shore in safety, only to become again weather
bound in an uninhabited district of country that showed no signs of the
handiwork of civilized man.



This camp did not prove so dreary as the last one, though more exposed
to the swell of the big waters to the north, and sweep of the wind. To
the north we had a view of thirty miles or more, where the horizon and
water blend, leaving one in doubt whether land was in sight or not,
though as we afterwards ascertained, our vision could reach the famous
San Juan Island, later the bone of contention between our Government
and Great Britain. Port Townsend lay some ten miles northerly from
our camp, but was shut out from view by an intervening headland.
Marrowstone Point lay about midway between the two, but we did not
know the exact location of the town, or for that matter, of our own.
We knew, like the lost hunters, where we were, but the trouble was,
we "didn't know where any place else was"; not lost ourselves, but
the world was lost from us. In front of us, the channel of Admiralty
Inlet, here but about four miles wide, stretched out to the north into
a fathomless sea of waters that for aught we knew, opened into the
wide ocean. Three ships passed us while at this camp, one coming, as
it would seem, from out of space, a mere speck, to a full-fledged,
deep-sea vessel, with all sails set, scudding before the wind and
passing up the channel past us on the way to the anchorage of the seven
vessels, the other two gracefully beating their way out against the
stiff breeze to the open waters beyond. What prettier sight can one
see than a full-rigged vessel with all sails spread, either beating or
sailing before the wind? Our enthusiasm, at the sight, knew no bounds;
we felt like cheering, clapping our hands, or adopting any other method
of manifesting our pleasure. We had, as a matter of prudence, canvassed
the question of returning from this camp as soon as released from
this stress of weather, to the bay of the anchored ships in the more
southern waters, but the sight of these ships, and the sight of this
expanse of waters, coupled with perhaps a spirit of adventure, prompted
us to quietly bide our time and to go farther, when released.

When I look back upon that decision, and in fact, upon this whole
incident of my life, I stand amazed to think of the rashness of our
actions and of the danger encountered from which we escaped. Not but
two men with proper appliances, and with ripe experience, might with
perfect security make just such a trip, but we were possessed of
neither and ran the great risks accordingly.

It was a calm, beautiful day when we reached Port Townsend, after a
three hours' run from our camp on the island. As we rounded Marrowstone
Point, near four miles distant, the new village came into view. A
feeling of surprise came over us from the supposed magnitude of the
new town. Distance lends enchantment, the old adage says, but in
this case the nearer we approached the embryo city, the greater our
admiration. The beautiful, pebbly beach in front, the clear, level spot
adjoining, with the beautiful open and comparatively level plateau
in the background, and with two or three vessels at anchor in the
foreground, there seemed nothing lacking to complete the picture of a
perfect city site. The contrast was so great between the ill-smelling
lagoon of Seattle or the dismal, extensive tide flats of Olympia, that
our spirits rose almost to a feeling of exultation, as the nose of
our little craft grounded gently on the beach. Poor, innocent souls,
we could not see beyond to discover that cities are not built upon
pleasure grounds, and that there are causes beyond the ken of man to
fathom the future destiny of the embryo towns of a new commonwealth.

We found here the enthusiastic Plummer, the plodding Pettygrove and the
industrious, enterprising Hastings, jointly intent upon building up a
town, "the greatest shipping port on the coast," as they were nearest
possible to the sea, while our Olympia friends had used exactly the
opposite arguments favoring their locality, as "we are the farthest
possible inland, where ships can come." Small wonder that land-lubbers
as we were should become confused.

Another confusing element that pressed upon our minds was the vastness
of the waters explored, and that we now came to know were yet left
unexplored. Then Puget Sound was looked upon as anchorage ground from
the Straits on the north to Budd's Inlet on the south, forgetting, or
rather not knowing, of the extreme depth of waters in many places. Then
that wonderful stretch of shore line of sixteen hundred miles, with its
forty or more islands of from a few acres in extent to thirty miles of
length, with the aggregate area of waters of several hundred square
miles, exclusive of the Straits of Fuca and Gulf of Georgia. All these
marvels gradually dawned upon our minds as we looked and counseled,
forgetting for the time the imminent risks we were taking.

Upon closer examination of the little town, we found our first
impression from the distance illusory. Many shacks and camps, at first
mistaken for the white men's houses, were found to be occupied by the
natives, a drunken, rascally rabble, spending their gains from the sale
of fish and oil in a debauch that would last as long as their money was
in hand.

This seemed to be a more stalwart race of Indians, stronger and more
athletic, though strictly of the class known as fish Indians, but
better developed than those to the south, from the buffeting received
in the larger waters of the Straits, and even out in the open sea in
their fishing excursions with canoes, manned by thirty or more men.

The next incident of the trip that I can remember is when we were
pulling for dear life to make a landing in front of Colonel Ebey's
cabin, on Whidby's Island, opposite Port Townsend. We were carried by
the rapid current quite a way past the landing, in spite of our utmost
efforts. It would be a serious thing to be unable to land, as we were
now in the open waters, with a fifteen-mile stretch of the Straits of
Fuca before us. I can remember a warm greeting at the hands of Ebey,
the first time I had ever seen him. He had a droll stoppage in his
speech that at first acquaintance would incline one to mirth, but after
a few moments' conversation such a feeling would disappear. Of all the
men we had met on the whole trip, Colonel Ebey made the most lasting
impression. Somehow, what he did say came with such evident sincerity
and sympathy, and with such an unaffected manner, that we were drawn
close to him at once. It was while living in these same cabins where we
visited him, that four years later the northern Indians, from British
Columbia, came and murdered him and carried off his head as a trophy in
their savage warfare.

We spent two or three days in exploring the island, only to find all
the prairie land occupied, but I will not undertake from memory to name
the settlers we found there. From our acquaintance, and from published
reports, I came to know all of them, but do not now recall a single
individual adult alive who was there then; a striking illustration of
having outlived the most of my generation.

Somehow, our minds went back to the seven ships we had seen at anchor
in front of Steilacoom; to the sound of the timber camps; to the bustle
and stir of the little new village; to the greater activities that we
saw there than anywhere else on the waters of the Sound, and likewise
my thoughts would go beyond to the little cabin on the Columbia River,
and the little wife domiciled there, and the other little personage,
and so when we bade Colonel Ebey good-bye, it was the signal to make
our way as speedily as possible to the waters of the seven ships.

Three days sufficed to land us back in the coveted bay with no greater
mishap than getting off our course into the mouth of Hood's Canal, and
being lost another half day, but luckily going on the right course the

But, lo and behold, the ships were gone. Not a sailing craft of any
kind was in sight of the little town, but the building activity
continued. The memory of those ships, however, remained and determined
our minds as to the important question where the trade center was to
be, and that we would look farther for the coveted spot upon which to
make a home.

I look back with amazement at the rash undertaking of that trip, so
illy provided, and inexperienced, as we were, and wonder that we
escaped with no more serious mishap than we had. We were not justified
in taking these chances, or at least I was not, with the two dependents
left in the cabin on the bank of the Columbia River, but we did not
realize the danger until we were in it, and hence did not share in
the suspense and uneasiness of that one left behind. Upon the whole,
it was a most enjoyable trip, and one, barring the risk and physical
inability now to play my part, I could with great enjoyment encounter
the same adventure of which I have only related a mere outline. Did
you ever, reader, take a drive, we will say in a hired outfit, with
a paid coachman, and then take the lines in your own hands by way of
contrast? If so, then you will realize the thrill of enjoyment where
you pull your own oars, sail your own craft, cook your own dinner, and
lie in your own bed of boughs, and go when and where you will with that
keen relish incident to the independence and uncertainties of such a
trip. It was a wild, reckless act, but we came out stronger than ever
in the faith of the great future in store for the north country, where
we finally made our home and where I have lived ever since, now over
sixty-four years.



"Can I get home tonight?" I asked myself, while the sun was yet high
one afternoon of the last week of June (1853).

I was well up river, on the left bank of the Cowlitz. I could not tell
how far, for there were no milestones, or way places to break the
monotony of the crooked, half obstructed trail leading down stream.
I knew that at the best it would be a race with the sun, for there
were many miles between me and the cabin, but the days were long, and
the twilight longer, and I would camp that much nearer home if I made
haste. My pack had been discarded on the Sound; I did not even have
either coat or blanket. The heavy, woolen shirt, often worn outside
the pants, will be well remembered by my old-time pioneer readers.
Added to this, the well worn slouch hat, and worn shoes, both of which
gave ample ventilation, completed my dress; socks, I had none, neither
suspenders, the improvised belt taking their place; and so I was
dressed suitable for the race, and was eager for the trial.

I had parted with my brother at Olympia, where he had come to set me
that far on my journey; he to return to the claims we had taken, and
I to make my way across country for the wife and baby, to remove them
to our new home. I did not particularly mind the camping so much if
necessary, but did not fancy the idea of lying out so near home, if I
could by extra exertion reach the cabin that night. I did not have the
friendly ox to snug up to for warmth, as in so many bivouacs while on
the plains, but I had matches, and there were many mossy places for
a bed and friendly shelter of the drooping cedars. We never thought
of "catching cold" by lying on the ground or on cedar boughs, or from
getting a good drenching. Somehow it did seem I was free from all
care of bodily ailment, and could endure continued exertion for long
hours without the least inconvenience. The readers of this generation
doubtless will be ready to pour out their sympathy for the hardships of
the lonely trail, and lone camp, and the supperless bed of boughs, but
they may as well reserve this for others of the pioneers whose systems
were less able to bear the unusual strain of the new conditions. But
the camp had to be made; the cabin could not be reached, for the trail
could not be followed at night, nor the Kalama Creek crossed; so,
slackening my pace at nightfall to gradually cool my system, I finally
made my camp and slept, as sound as if on a bed of down, with the
consolation that the night was short and that I could see to travel by
3 o'clock, and it did not make so very much difference, after all.

I can truly say that of all those years of camp and cabin life, I do
not look upon them as years of hardship. To be sure, our food was plain
as well as dress, our hours of labor long and labor frequently severe,
and that the pioneers appeared rough and uncouth, yet underlying all
this, there ran a vein of good cheer, of hopefulness, of the intense
interest always engendered with strife to overcome difficulties where
one is the employer as well as the employed. We never watched for the
sun to go down, or for the seven o'clock whistle, or for the boss to
quicken our steps, for the days were always too short, and interest in
our work always unabated.

The cabin could not be seen for a long distance on the trail, but I
thought I caught sight of a curl of smoke and then immediately knew I
did, and that settled it that all was well in the cabin. But when a
little nearer, a little lady in almost bloomer dress was espied milking
a cow, and a frisking, fat calf in the pen was seen, then I knew, and
all solicitude vanished. The little lady never finished milking that
cow, nor did she ever milk others when the husband was at home, though
she knew how well enough, and never felt above such work if a necessity
arose, but we parceled out duties on a different basis, with each to
their suited parts. The bloom on the cheek of the little wife, the
baby in the cabin as fat as the calf, told the story of good health and
plentitude of food, and brought good cheer with the welcome home. The
dried potato eyes had just been planted, although it was then the first
week of July, following the receding waters of the June freshet up the
Columbia, and were sprouting vigorously. I may say, in passing, there
came a crop from these of nearly four hundred bushels at harvest time.

It did seem there were so many things to talk about that one could
scarcely tell where to begin or when to stop. "Why, at Olympia, eggs
were a dollar a dozen. I saw them selling at that. That butter you
have there on the shelf would bring a dollar a pound as fast as you
could weigh it out; I saw stuff they called butter sell for that;
then potatoes were selling for $3.00 a bushel and onions at $4.00.
Everything the farmer raises sells high." "Who buys?" "Oh, almost
everybody has to buy; there's the ships and the timber camps, and the
hotels, and the—"

"Where do they get the money?"

"Why, everybody seems to have money. Some take it there with them.
Then men working in the timber camps get $4.00 a day and their board.
I saw one place where they paid $4.00 a cord for wood to ship to San
Francisco, and one can sell all the shingles he can make at $4.00 a
thousand, and I was offered 5 cents a foot for piles. If we had Buck
and Dandy over there we could make twenty dollars a day putting in

"Where could you get the piles?"

"Off the government land, of course. All help themselves to all they
want. Then there are the fish, and the clams, and the oysters, and—"

"But what about the land for a claim?"

That question was a stumper. The little wife never lost sight of that
bargain made before we were married, that we were going to be farmers;
and here now I found myself praising a country I could not say much
for its agricultural qualities, but other things quite foreign to that

But if we could sell produce higher, might we not well lower our
standard of an ideal farm? The claim I had taken was described with a
tinge of disappointment, falling so far below in quality of what we had
hoped to acquire, but still adhering to the resolution to be farmers,
we began the preparations for removal to the Sound.

The wife, baby, bedding, ox yoke, and log chain were sent up the
Cowlitz in a canoe, while Buck and Dandy and I renewed our acquaintance
by taking to the trail where we had our parting bivouac. We had camped
together many a night on the plains, and slept together literally, not
figuratively. I used to crowd up close under Buck's back while napping
on watch, for the double purpose of warmth and signal—warmth while at
rest, signal if the ox moved. On this occasion I was illy prepared for
a cool night camp, having neither blanket nor coat, as I had expected
to reach "Hard-Bread's" Hotel, where the people in the canoe would stop
over night. But I could not make it and so again laid on the trail to
renew the journey bright and early the next morning.

Hard Bread's is an odd name for a hotel, you will say; so it is, but
the name grew out of the fact that Gardner, the old widower that kept
"bachelor's" hall at the mouth of Toutle River, fed his customers on
hard tack three times a day, if perchance any one was unfortunate
enough to be compelled to take their meals at his place.

I found the little wife had not fared any better than I had on the
trail, and, in fact, not so well, for the floor of the cabin was a
great deal harder than the sand spit where I had passed the night, with
plenty of pure, fresh air, while she, in a closed cabin, in the same
room with many others, could neither boast of fresh air nor freedom
from creeping things that make life miserable. With her shoes for a
pillow, a shawl for covering, small wonder the report came "I did not
sleep a wink last night."

Judge Olney and wife were passengers in the same canoe and guests at
the same house with the wife, as also Frank Clark, who afterwards
played a prominent part at the bar, and in the political affairs of
Pierce County in particular, and incidentally of the whole Territory.

We soon arrived at the Cowlitz landing, and at the end of the canoe
journey, so, striking the tent that had served us so well on the
plains, and with a cheerful camp fire blazing for cooking, speedily
forgot the experience of the trail, the cramped passage in the canoe,
the hard bread, dirt and all, while enjoying the savory meal, the
like of which only the expert hands of the ladies of the plains could

But now we had fifty miles of land to travel before us, and over such a
road! Words cannot describe that road, and so I will not try. One must
have traveled it to fully comprehend what it meant. However, we had
one consolation, and that was it would be worse in winter than at that
time. We had no wagon. Our wagon had been left at The Dalles, and we
never saw nor heard of it again. Our cows were gone—given for provender
to save the lives of the oxen during the deep December snow, and so
when we took account of stock, we had Buck and Dandy, the baby, and
a tent, an ox yoke and chain, enough clothing and bedding to keep us
comfortable, with but very little food and no money—that had all been
expended on the canoe passage.

Shall we pack the oxen and walk, and carry baby, or shall we build a
sled and drag our things over to the Sound, or shall I make an effort
to get a wagon? This latter proposition was the most attractive, and so
next morning, driving Buck and Dandy before me, leaving the wife and
baby to take care of the camp, the search for a wagon began.

That great hearted old pioneer, John R. Jackson, did not hesitate a
moment, stranger as I was, to say, "Yes, you can have two if you need
them." Jackson had settled eight years before, ten miles out from the
landing, and had an abundance around him, and like all those earlier
pioneers, took a pride in helping others who came later. Retracing the
road, night found me again in camp, and all hands happy, but Jackson
would not listen to allowing us to proceed the next day any farther
than his premises, where he would entertain us in his comfortable
cabin, and send us on our way the morning following, rejoicing in

Without special incident or accident, we in due time arrived at the
foot of the falls of the Deschutes (Tumwater), and on the shore of
Puget Sound. Here a camp must be established again; the little wife and
baby left while I drove the wagon over the tedious road to Jackson's
and then returned with the oxen to tide water.

The reader may well imagine my feelings, when, upon my return, my
tent, wife, baby, and all were gone. We knew before I started on my
return trip that smallpox was raging among the Indians, and that a camp
where this disease was prevalent was in sight less than a quarter of
a mile away. The present-day reader must remember that dread disease
had terrors then that, since universal vaccination, it does not now
possess. Could it be possible my folks had been sick and had been
removed? The question, however, was soon solved. I had scarcely gotten
out of sight upon my trip before one of those royal pioneer matrons
came to the camp and pleaded and insisted and finally almost frightened
the little wife to go and share her house with her which was near by,
and be out of danger from the smallpox.

And that was the way we traveled from the Columbia River to Puget Sound.

God bless those earlier pioneers; they were all good to us, sometimes
to the point of embarrassment by their generous hospitality.

I can not dismiss this subject without reverting to one such, in
particular, who gave his whole crop during the winter of which I have
just written, to start immigrants on the road to prosperity, and, in
some instances, to prevent suffering.

In consequence of the large immigration and increased demand, prices
of provisions had run sky high, and out of reach of some of the recent
immigrants with large families. George Bush had squatted on a claim
seven miles south of Olympia, in 1845, and had an abundance of farm
produce, but would not sell a pound of anything to a speculator; but
to immigrants, for seed or for immediate pressing wants, to all alike,
without money and without price—"return it when you can," he would
say—and so divided up his whole crop, then worth thousands of dollars.
And yet this man's oath could not at that time be taken; neither could
he sue in the courts or acquire title to the land upon which he lived,
or any land. He had negro blood in his veins, and under the law of this
great country, then, was a proscribed outcast. Conditions do change as
time passes. The wrong was so flagrant in this particular case that a
special act of Congress enabled this old, big-hearted pioneer of 1845
to hold his claim, and his descendants are living on it yet.

I have been so impressed with the altruistic character of this
truly great man that I have procured this testimonial from a close
acquaintance and neighbor, Prof. Ayres, who has kindly written the
history of the life of this truly great pioneer.


The history of the Northwest settlement cannot be fully written without
an account of George Bush, who organized and led the first colony of
American settlers to the shores of Puget Sound, whose great humanity,
shrewd intelligence, and knowledge of the natives, who then numbered
thousands about the headwaters of the Sound, had much to do with
carrying the first settlers safely through all of the curses of famine
and war while the feeble colony was slowly gaining enough strength to
protect itself.

Mr. Bush claimed to have been born about 1791 in what is now Missouri,
but was then the French Colony of Louisiana, and in the extreme Far
West, and only reached by the most daring hunters. His early manhood
was spent in the employ of the great trading companies who reached out
into the Rock Mountains each season and gathered furs from the Indians
and the occasional white trappers.

Bush first began this work (?) with Rabidean, the Frenchman, who made
his headquarters at St. Louis, but later on enlisted with the Hudson's
Bay Company, which had been given unrestrained dominion over all
Canada outside of the settlements in the East, and, not satisfied with
that, sent its trading parties down across the national line, where it
was safe to do so. It was during this employment with the Hudson Bay
Company that Bush reached the Pacific Coast in the late twenties, and
while he did not get as far south as Puget Sound (then occupied by the
company and claimed as a part of the British Dominion), he learned of
its favorable climate, soil and fitness for settlement.

He then returned to Missouri about 1830, settled in Clay County,
married a German-American woman and raised a family of boys.

In 1843, Marcus Whitman made his famous trip from Oregon to the
national capital and excited the whole country by his stories of the
great possible future of the extreme Northwest and the duty of the
Government to insist upon its claim to dominion over the western coast
from the Mexican settlement in California up to the Russian possessions
in the far north.

Everything got into politics then, even more than now, and the
Democratic party, which until then had been the most aggressive in
extending the national bounds, took up the cry of "Fifty-four Forty or
Fight", to win what they knew would be a close contest for President in

This meant the taking possession of the whole thousand miles or more of
coast by settlement and driving the English out by threats or force.

As I have indicated before, the people of St. Louis and Missouri had
become deeply interested in the extreme west through their trading
interests, and as the retired voyager was one of the very few who knew
about the western coast and had sufficient fitness for leadership he
was encouraged by his friends to make up a party and cross the plains
to the new Oregon.

This was in the winter of 1843-4 and early in the spring, he, with four
other families and three single men, set out with a large outfit of
wagons and live stock over what is now known as the "Old Oregon Trail."

The names of this company were as follows:

George Bush, his wife and sons (Wm. Owen, Joseph, R. B., Sanford—now
living—and Jackson);

Col. M. T. Simmons, wife and seven children;

David Kindred, wife and one son;

Gabriel Jones, wife and three children;

Wm. McAllister, wife and several children, and the three young
bachelors, Samuel Crockett, Reuben Crowder, and Jesse Ferguson.

Of these families, the Jones and Kindreds are now extinct, and of the
original party only two sons of Col. Simmons and Sanford Bush are now
living. Semis Bush, the youngest son of George Bush, was born after
their arrival, in 1847, on Bush Prairie and, by the way, is perhaps the
oldest living white American born in the Puget Sound basin.

The Bush party suffered the usual hardships of the overland journey but
met no great disaster, and reached The Dalles late in the fall of 1844.
There they camped for the winter and decided their future plans.

At that time the headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company, the sole
official representative of the British Government, was on the Columbia
River with its chief settlements at Vancouver and The Dalles.

It was the policy of the company to prevent all settlement north of
the Columbia River and confine its use to the fur-bearing industry and
depend upon the Indians for the necessary hunting and trapping. The
employes of the company consisted of the necessary factors and clerks,
some English, but more Scotch, while the rest, boatmen, etc., were
nearly all Canadian French.

The great chief factor for the whole west was Dr. McLoughlin, a
benevolent despot, well fitted to govern his savage dominion so long as
the Yankees kept away, but at the period in question he found himself
in a painful conflict between the interests of humanity and the demands
of his superiors.

The governing board in London was composed of members of the government
and aristocracy who were extremely resentful of the demands and claims
of the American politicians and gave most imperative orders to Governor
McLoughlin and the other factors and agents on the Coast to discourage
all settlement by the Americans north of the Columbia River and to
furnish no supplies or other assistance to the American travelers or
settlers. This prohibition also extended, though less rigidly, to the
Oregon settlements south of the Columbia, for the company saw clearly
that unless the emigration could be checked the vast profits of their
fast growing trade in the west would soon be lost.

Sanford Bush, though a small boy at the time, remembers the trip well,
and tells me that the main dependence of his father's party and the
other early settlers was the friendliness of the French Canadians, who
had much more sympathy for the poor settlers than with the English
stockholders, and did not hesitate to smuggle all sorts of supplies,
especially of food, from their farms into the hands of the Americans,
and it was in this emergency that the former experience and intimate
acquaintance of George Bush with the French and their desire to assist
him turned his attention to the Puget Sound country and made it
possible for him to smuggle his party up into territory that was yet
claimed by the British, without its becoming officially known to the
chief factor. At that time the road from the Columbia River, or rather
from the landing on the Cowlitz River, to the head of the Sound was
only a single trail through dense forests, and that was always more or
less blocked by falling timber. No vehicle could get through and, while
Sanford says that the party did get some of the twenty wagons with
which they left Missouri through to The Dalles, they only reached the
Sound with what they could pack on their animals or drag on rude sleds.

In this condition the little party reached the extreme head of the
Sound at Tumwater early in the spring of 1845 and proceeded to take
possession of such tracts of land as took their fancy, covering what
is now the town of Tumwater and back along the west side of the little
Des Chutes River, and out on the prairie, which begins about a mile
south of the landing and extends down about three miles to a rise of
ground not far from the river. Upon this commanding site George Bush
pitched his last camp and there his family descendants have lived to
the present time, and the prairie of some five square miles extent has
always been known as Bush Prairie.

Mr. Bush was a farmer, and having brought as much live stock as
possible he at once broke up some of the best of the open prairie.
He was so successful that in a very few years his farm was the main
resource for grain, vegetables and fruit for supplying the newcomers in
that region.

Let me say in passing that his memory is honored to this day among the
early families for the fact that while he was at times the only man in
the country with food for sale he would never take advantage by raising
the price nor allow anyone to buy more than his own needs during an

In 1845 there were no mills on the Sound for grinding grain nor sawing
lumber and as quick as the necessary outfit could be secured, which was
about three years later, all of the Bush party, with Mr. Simmons as
manager, joined in constructing a combined saw and grist mill at the
foot of the lower Tumwater Fall, and where the small streams and rafts
of timber could reach it at high tide.

For the grist mill, the main question was a pair of grinding stones and
these were secured from a granite boulder on the shore of Mud Bay, the
western branch of Budd's Inlet, at the head of which Tumwater and (two
miles north) Olympia are situated. A man named Hamm, a stonecutter by
trade, worked out and dressed the stones for use. I have tried to find
these but am told that one was allowed to sink into the mud near the
old mill site, while the other was taken out to the Bush farm, but it
cracked to pieces many years ago and is now all gone.

It may be of interest to add that in the late seventies a man by the
name of Horton originated the patent wood pipe industry in a mill on
the site of the first mill.

In the same year of the first mill, in 1848, was loaded the first cargo
of freight for export from the Upper Sound. This was on the brig Orbit,
which had just come from the east around the Horn, and for this also
Bush and his party made up a cargo of piles and hand-sawed shingles,
etc. The vessel had brought quite a quantity of supplies and these made
the first respectable stock of goods for the little store which the
party had started in connection with the mill.


The Bush family still possess and use an interesting relic of that
first vessel. The Orbit brought out from the east two families named
Rider and Moulton, and in their outfit were two fanning mills. So far
as known, these were the first ever brought to the Sound and were
certainly the first outside of Nisqually, the Hudson Bay station for
the Sound.

As Bush was the greatest grain raiser and the new grist mill could not
well get along without it, Mr. Bush secured one of these fanning mills
and for some time all of the settlers who attempted to raise grain were
permitted to use it.

It is singular that this old hand mill, which was such an important and
hard worked factor in the first settlement, should, sixty-five years
later, still be as efficient as ever and still be a necessity for the
grandchildren of the old pioneer.

The other mill was secured by John R. Jackson, who was the first
American settler on Cowlitz Prairie, and was also a former employe of
the Hudson's Bay Company.

As I have said before, George Bush was not only remarkable, for his
time, in the virtues of humanity, sympathy and wise justice, which
virtues have been well kept by his descendants, but he had a rare power
over the natives and, while the different tribes often fought out their
quarrels in the neighborhood, none of the Bush family was ever molested
so long as they kept west of the Des Chutes River. Sanford tells of one
occasion when two tribes, numbering many hundreds, fought all day on
the Bush farm but both sides promised not to injure the whites.

As, however, the natives had only a few very poor guns and little
ammunition, only a few were hurt and the battle consisted mostly of
yells and insults.

I asked Sanford and Lewis about Chief Leschi. They say he often came
to their place up to the time of the war, and as his mother belonged
to the more fierce Klickitats of the trans-mountain tribes, so Leschi
was more of a positive and aggressive character than his clam-digging
brothers, but was always friendly and respectful to those who treated
him fairly.


It was during one of Leschi's visits to their place, about 1850, that
one of the ponies was killed by some wild animal. The same thing had
happened several times about the Cowlitz but none of the Indians nor
any of the French trappers had, up to that time, ever seen any around
that was capable of the mischief. Mr. Bush set a large bear trap that
he had brought from Missouri near the remains of the pony and was
fortunate enough to capture what proved to be a remarkably long bodied
and long tailed cougar, the first, so far as the Bush brothers could
learn, that had ever been seen on the Sound. In honor of the event,
Leschi was allowed to take charge of removing and preparing the skin of
the new kind of game.

Asked about the cause of the Indian war which was started by Leschi
on the ground that his people had been deceived and robbed in the
outlining of their reservation on the Nisqually, Sanford and Lewis
assert positively that all of the whites of the Tumwater and Bush
Prairie section were agreed that the Indians were badly wronged and
there was much sympathy with the Leschi party.

When the war opened, Leschi sent word to Bush promising that none of
the whites on the west side of the Des Chutes would be molested and
this proved to be true, though all of the natives were in a restless
condition over the trouble for many months.

The most critical experience that the Bush company had with the Indians
was a few years before, in May, 1849, when Pat Kamm, chief of the
Snoqualmies, landed nearby on the bay (Budd Inlet) with a great fleet
of war canoes, and made it known that they were going to destroy all
of the whites. In this emergency, a squad went down and told them
that Chief Bush had a terrible great gun that would sink all of the
canoes as soon as they should come around what is now known as Capitol
Point. This alarmed the natives so much that they finally gave up their
purpose and returned down Sound. It is to be added that the "terrible
gun" was a very heavy rifle that Bush had brought from the East and
which kicked so badly that nobody dared fire it twice.

Mr. Bush carried on his farm with great success and kept the high
respect and good will of all the settlement until his death in 1867 at
the age of 76. His eldest son, William Owen, who succeeded his father
as the recognized head of the family, was born in 1832 and was twelve
years old when he crossed the plains. He had the same gentle virtues
of his father and was always consulted in the affairs and politics of
Thurston County. During the first state legislature of '89-90, he was
an active and influential member. While he carried on both a logging
and farming business, he was also greatly interested in the world
fairs, and at Philadelphia, Chicago and St. Louis took several notable
prizes for his remarkable exhibits of Puget Sound productions, all
raised on his own farm. At the Centennial Fair, in 1876, he took the
world's prize for wheat; and from the Chicago Fair he brought back over
two hundred kinds of grain, which he raised in separate rows in one

Wm. Owen died in 1906 and his brother Sanford, with two sons of Col.
Simmons were all that are left of the first American colony of Puget



What I am now about to write may provoke a smile, but I can only say,
reader, put yourself in my place. That there should be a feeling akin
to affection between a man and an ox will seem past comprehension to
many. The time had come that Buck and Dandy and I must part for good
and all. I could not transport them to our island home, neither provide
for them. These patient, dumb brutes had been my close companions for
the long, weary months on the plains, and had never failed me; they
would do my bidding to the letter. I often said Buck understood English
better than some people I had seen in my lifetime. I had done what not
one in a hundred did; that was, to start on that trip with an unbroken
ox and cow team. I had selected these four-year-old steers for their
intelligent eyes as well as for their trim build, and had made no
mistake. We had bivouacked together; actually slept together, lunched
together. They knew me as far as they could see, and seemed delighted
to obey my word, and I did regret to feel constrained to part with
them. I knew they had assured my safe transit on the weary journey, if
not even to the point of having saved my life. I could pack them, ride
them, drive them by the word and receive their salutations, and why
should I be ashamed to part with feelings of more than regret.

But I had scant time to spend on sentiment. The brother did not expect
my return so soon. The island claim (and cabin, as I thought) must be
reached; the little skiff obtained in which to transport the wife and
baby, not yet feeling willing to trust them in a canoe.

So, without further ado, a small canoe was chartered, and my first
experience to "paddle my own canoe" materialized. It seemed this same
place where we had our first clam bake was the sticking point again.
The tide turned, night overtook me, and I could go no farther. Two men
were in a cabin, the Doctor Johnson heretofore mentioned and a man by
the name of Hathaway, both drunk and drinking, with a jug handy by,
far from empty. Both were men that seemed to me to be well educated,
and, if sober, refined. They quoted from Burns, sang songs and ditties,
laughed and danced until late in the night, when they became exhausted
and fell asleep. They would not listen to my suggestion that I would
camp and sleep outside the cabin, and I could not sleep inside, so the
night passed off without, rest or sleep until the tide turned, and I
was glad enough to slip away, leaving them in their stupor.

A few miles vigorous paddling brought me to McNeil Island, opposite
the town of Steilacoom, where I expected to find our second cabin, my
brother and the boat. No cabin, no brother, no boat, were to be seen.
A raft of cabin logs floating in the lagoon near by, where the United
States penitentiary now stands, was all the signs to be seen, other
than what was there when I left the place for my return trip to the
Columbia River. I was sorely puzzled as to what to do. My brother was
to have had the cabin ready by the time I returned. He not only had not
done that, but had taken the boat, and left no sign as to where it or
he could be found. Not knowing what else to do I mechanically paddled
over to the town, where, sure enough, the boat was anchored, but nobody
knew where the man had gone. I finally found where the provisions
had been left, and, after an earnest parley, succeeded in getting
possession. I took my canoe in tow and soon made my way back to where
the little folks were, and speedily transferred the whole outfit to the
spot that was to be our island home; set up our tent, and felt at home
once more.

The village, three miles away, across the bay, had grown during my
absence and in the distance looked like a city in fact as well as in
name. The mountain looked bigger and taller than ever. Even the songs
of the Indians sounded better, and the canoes seemed more graceful, and
the paddles wielded more expertly. Everything looked cheerful, even
to the spouting clams on the beach, and the crow's antics of breaking
clams by rising in the air and dropping them on the boulders. So many
new things to show the folks that I for a time almost forget we were
out of provisions and money, and did not know what had happened to the
brother. Thoughts of these suddenly coming upon us, our spirits fell,
and for a time we could hardly say we were perfectly happy.

"I believe that canoe is coming straight here," said the little wife,
the next morning, about nine o'clock. All else is dropped, and a
watch set upon the strange craft, moving slowly, apparently in the
long distance, but more rapidly as it approached, and there sat the
brother. Having returned to the village and finding that the boat and
provisions had been taken, and seeing smoke in the bight, he knew
what had happened, and, following his own good impulse, we were soon
together again, and supremely happy. He had received a tempting offer
to help load a ship, and had just completed his contract, and was able
to exhibit a "slug"[5] of money and more besides that looked precious
in our eyes.

The building of the cabin, with its stone fireplace, cat-and-clay
chimney, its lumber floor, real window with glass in, together with the
high post bedstead out of tapering cedar saplings, the table fastened
to the wall, with rustic chairs, seemed but like a play spell. No eight
hour a day work there—eighteen would be nearer the mark—we never tired.

There came a letter: "Boys, if Oliver will come back to cross with us,
we will go to Oregon next year," this signed by the father, then fifty
years old. The letter was nearly three months old when we received it.
What should we say and what should we do? Would Davenport pay for the
Columbia River claims and the prospective potato crop in the fall—could
he? We will say yes, Oliver will be with you next Spring. We must go to
the timber camp to earn the money to pay expenses of the trip and not
depend altogether on the Columbia River asset.

"What shall we do with the things?" said the little wife.

"Lock them up in the cabin," said the elder brother.

"And you go and stay with Dofflemire," said the young husband.

"Not I," said the little wife, "I'm going along to cook," and thus it
was that all our well-laid plans were suddenly changed, our clearing
land deferred, the chicken house, the inmates of which were to make us
rich, was not to be built, the pigs were not bought to fatten on the
clams, and many other pet schemes dropped that we might accomplish this
one object, that Oliver might go back to Iowa to "bring the father out"
across the Plains.

[Illustration: "We Struck Rapid, Heavy, But Awkward Strokes."]

We struck rapid, heavy, but awkward strokes in the timber camp
established on the bluff overlooking the falls at Tumwater, while the
little wife supplied the huckleberry pudding for dinner, plenty of the
lightest, whitest bread, vegetables, meat, and fish served in style
good enough for kings; such appetites! No coaxing required to eat a
hearty meal; such sound sleep; such satisfaction! Talk about your
hardships. We would have none of it. It was a pleasure as we counted
the eleven dollars a day that the Tullis brothers paid us for cutting
logs, at one dollar and seventy cents a thousand, which we earned every
day, and Sundays, too, seventy-seven dollars a week. Yes, we were going
to make it. "Make what?" the reader will say. Why, succeed in getting
money enough together to pay the passage of the elder brother to Iowa.
And what a trip. Over to the Columbia River, out from there by steamer
to San Francisco, then to the Isthmus, then New York, after which by
rail as far west as there was a railroad and then walk to Eddyville,
Iowa, from where the start was again to be made.

Again the younger brother was left without money and but a scant
supply of provisions, and winter had come on. The elder brother was
speeding on his way, and could not be heard from frequently. How our
little family succeeded in getting enough together to eat is not an
interesting topic for the general reader. Suffice to say, we always
secured abundance, even if at times the variety was restricted.

It was soon after Oliver's departure that I first made the acquaintance
of Dr. Tolmie. It was upon the occasion when our new baby was born, now
the mother of eight grown-up children, and several times a grandmother,
Mrs. Ella Templeton of Halsey, Oregon.

Of course, Dr. Tolmie did not practice medicine. He had the cares of
the great foreign corporation, the Puget Sound Agricultural Company,
on his shoulders. He was harassed by the settlers, who chafed because
a foreign corporation had fenced up quite large tracts of grazing and
some farming lands, and had thousands of sheep and cattle on the range.
Constant friction was the result. The cattle were wild; therefore, some
settler would kill one every now and then, and make the remainder still
wilder, and again, therefore, the more the reason that others might
be killed. The Doctor was a patient, tactful man, with an impulse to
always do one a good turn for the sake of doing it. Consequently, when
asked to attend, he did so without hesitation, though the request came
from a perfect stranger and compliance was to his great inconvenience,
yet without fee and without expectation of ever meeting the parties
again. This first acquaintance ripened into friendship lifelong,
that became closer as he neared his end. But recently, fifty years
after this event, I have had the pleasure of a visit from two of his
daughters, and I may say there has been scarcely a year in all this
time but some token of friendship has passed. He was a noble man, with
noble impulses. He died on his farm near Victoria many years ago.

Soon after this, I made my first acquaintance with Arthur A. Denny.
It came about in this way. He and two other gentlemen were returning
from the first Territorial Legislature, then just adjourned. Wind and
tide compelled them to suspend their journey from Olympia to Seattle,
and to stay over night with us in the little cabin. This was early in
May, 1854. Mr. Denny remarked in the morning that he thought there was
a good foundation under my cabin floor, as he did not find any spring
to the bed. He and his companion laid on the floor, but I remember we
did not go to bed very early. All during the session we had heard a
great deal about removing the capital of the Territory from Olympia
to Steilacoom. The legislature had adjourned and no action had been
taken, and, in fact, no bill for the purpose was introduced. Mr. Denny
said that before the recess a clear majority of both houses were in
favor of removal to Steilacoom, but for the mistake of Lafayette Balch,
member of the council from Pierce County, the removal would have been
accomplished. Balch, so Denny told me, felt so sure of his game that he
did not press to a vote before the recess.

At that, the first session of the legislature, the mania was for
territorial roads; everybody wanted a territorial road. One, projected
from Seattle to Bellingham Bay, did not meet with approval by Balch.
Stroking his long beard as he was wont to do almost mechanically,
he "thought they had gone far enough in establishing roads for one
session." It was impolitic in the highest degree for Balch to offend
the northern members in this way, as also unnecessary, as usually these
roads remained on paper only, and cost nothing. However, he lost his
majority in the council, and so the project died, to the very great
disappointment of the people of Steilacoom and surrounding country.


[5] A "slug" was fifty dollars value in gold, minted by private
parties, in octagon form and passed current the same as if it had borne
the government's stamp. "Slugs" were worth as much melted as in the
coined form. My ideas about the gold standard were formed at that time,
and I may say my mind never changed on this subject.

The "Beaver Money," so called because of the stamp of a beaver on the
piece, issued by the pioneers of Oregon, of the value of $5.00, was
another instance of no change in value of gold from the melting pot to
the mold. It was simply a matter of convenience to be rid of the more
cumbersome legal tender, wheat, which had been in vogue so long.



The latter part of August, 1854, James K. Hurd, of Olympia, sent me
word that he had been out on the immigrant trail and heard that some
of my relations on the road were belated and short of provisions. He
advised me that I should go to their assistance, and particularly if
I wanted to be sure they should come direct to Puget Sound over the
Cascade Mountains, and not go down the Columbia River into Oregon.
How it could be, with the experience of my brother Oliver to guide
them, that my people should be in the condition described was past
my comprehension. However, I accepted the statement as true and
particularly felt the importance of their having certain knowledge as
to prevailing conditions of an over-mountain trip through the Natchess
Pass. But how could I go and leave wife and two babies on our island
home? The summer had been spent clearing land and planting crops,
and my finances were very low. To remove my family would cost money,
besides the abandonment of the season's work to almost a certain
destruction. The wife said at once, and without a moment's hesitation,
to go, and she and Mrs. Darrow, who was with us as nurse and companion
friend, would stay "right where we are until you get back," with a
confidence in which I did not share. The trip at best was hazardous
to an extent, even when undertaken well prepared and with company. So
far as I could see, I might have to go on foot and pack my food and
blanket on my back, and I knew that I would have to go alone. I knew
some work had been done on the road during the summer, but was unable
to get definite information as to whether any camps were yet left in
the mountains, and did not have that abiding faith in my ability to get
back that rested in the breast of the little, courageous wife, but I
dared not impart my forebodings to harass and intensify her fears and
disturb her peace of mind while absent. The immigration the previous
year, as related elsewhere, had encountered formidable difficulties
in the mountains, narrowly escaping the loss of everything, if not
facing actual starvation. Reports were current that the government
appropriation for a military road had been expended, and that the road
was passable for teams, but a like report had been freely circulated
the previous year, with results almost disastrous to those attempting
to come through. I could not help feeling that possibly the same
conditions yet existed. The only way to determine the question was to
go and see for myself; meet my father's party and pilot them through
the pass.

It was on the third day of September of 1854 that I left home. I had
been planting turnips for two days, and made a memorandum of the date,
and by that fix the date of my departure. Of that turnip crop I shall
have more to say later, as it had a cheering effect upon the incoming

At Steilacoom there was a character then understood by few, and I may
say by not even many to the end, in whom, somehow, I had implicit
confidence. Dr. J. B. Webber, afterwards of the firm of Balch & Webber,
of Steilacoom, the largest shipping and mercantile firm on the Sound,
was a very eccentric man. Between him and myself there would seem
to be a gulf that could not be closed. Our habits of life were as
diametrically opposite as possible for two men to be. He was always
drinking; never sober, neither ever drunk. I would never touch a drop,
while the doctor would certainly drink a dozen times a day, just a
little at a time, but seemingly tippling all the time. Then, he openly
kept an Indian woman in defiance of the sentiment of all the families
of the community. It was with this man that I entrusted the safekeeping
of my little family. I knew my wife had such an aversion to this class
that I did not even tell her with whom I would arrange to look out for
her welfare, but suggested another to whom she might apply in case of
need. I knew Dr. Webber for long years afterwards, and until the day
of his horrible death with delirium tremens, and never had my faith
shaken as to the innate goodness of the man. Why these contrary traits
of character should be, I cannot say, but so it was. His word was as
good as his bond, and his impulses were all directly opposite to his
personal habits. Twice a week an Indian woman visited the cabin on the
island, always with some little presents and making inquiries about the
babies and whether there was anything needed, with the parting "alki
nika keelapie" (by and by I will return); and she did, every few days
after my absence.

When I spoke to Webber about what I wanted, he seemed pleased to be
able to do a kind act, and, to reassure me, got out his field glasses
and turned it on the cabin across the water, three miles distant.
Looking through it intently for a moment and handing the glass to me,
said, "I can see everything going on over there, and you need have no
uneasiness about your folks while gone," and I did not.

With a 50-pound flour sack filled with hard bread, or navy biscuit,
a small piece of dried venison, a couple of pounds of cheese, a tin
cup and half of a three point blanket, all made into a pack of less
than forty pounds, I climbed the hill at Steilacoom and took the road
leading to Puyallup, and spent the night with Jonathan McCarty, near
where the town of Sumner now is.

McCarty said: "You can't get across the streams on foot; I will let you
have a pony. He is small, but sure-footed, and hardy, and will in any
event carry you across the rivers." McCarty also said: "Tell your folks
this is the greatest grass country on earth; why, I am sure I harvested
five tons of timothy to the acre this year." Upon my expressing a
doubt, he said he knew he was correct by the measurement of the mow in
the barn and the land. In after years, I came to know he was correct,
though at the time I could not help but believe he was mistaken.

The next day found me on the road with my blanket under the saddle, my
sack of hard bread strapped on behind the saddle, and myself mounted to
ride on level stretches of the road, or across streams, of which, as
will appear later, I had full forty crossings to make, but had only one
ahead of me the first day. That one, though, as the Englishman would
say, was a "nasty" one, across White River at Porter's place.

White River on the upper reaches is a roaring torrent only at all
fordable in low water and in but few places. The rush of waters can be
heard for a mile or more from the high bluff overlooking the narrow
valley, or rather canyon, and presented a formidable barrier for a
lone traveler. The river bed is full of boulders worn rounded and
smooth and slippery, from the size of a man's head to very much larger,
thus making footing for animals uncertain. After my first crossing,
I dreaded those to come, which I knew were ahead of me, more than
all else of the trip, for a misstep of the pony meant fatal results
in all probability. The little fellow, though, seemed to be equal
to the occasion. If the footing became too uncertain, he would stop
stock still, and pound the water with one foot and finally reach out
carefully until he could find secure footing, and then move up a step
or two. The water of the river is so charged with the sediment from the
glaciers above, that the bottom could not be seen—only felt—hence the
absolute necessity of feeling one's way. It is wonderful, the sagacity
or instinct or intelligence, or whatever we may call it, manifested by
the horse. I immediately learned that my pony could be trusted on the
fords better than myself, thereafter I held only a supporting, but not
a guiding rein, and he carried me safely over the forty crossings on my
way out, and my brother as many on the return trip.

Allen Porter lived near the first crossing, on the farther side, and
as this was the last settler I would see and the last place I could
get feed for my pony, other than grass or browse, I put up for the
night under his roof. He said I was going on a "Tom fool's errand,"
for my folks could take care of themselves, and tried to dissuade me
from proceeding on my journey. But I would not be turned back and the
following morning cut loose from the settlements and, figuratively
speaking, plunged into the deep forest of the mountains.

The road (if it could be properly called a road) lay in the narrow
valley of White River, or on the mountains adjacent, in some places
(as at Mud Mountain) reaching an altitude of more than a thousand feet
above the river bed. Some places the forest was so dense that one could
scarcely see to read at midday, while in other places large burns gave
an opening for daylight.

During the forenoon of this first day, while in one of those deepest
of deep forests, where, if the sky was clear, and one could catch a
spot you could see out overhead, one might see the stars as from a deep
well, my pony stopped short, raised his head with his ears pricked
up, indicating something unusual was at hand. Just then I caught an
indistinct sight of a movement ahead, and thought I heard voices, while
the pony made an effort to turn and flee in the opposite direction.
Soon there appeared three women and eight children on foot, coming
down the road in blissful ignorance of the presence of any one but
themselves in the forest.

"Why, stranger! Where on earth did you come from? Where are you going
to, and what are you here for?" was asked by the foremost woman of the
party, in such quick succession as to utterly preclude any answer,
as she discovered me standing on the roadway holding my uneasy pony.
Mutual explanations soon followed. I soon learned their teams had
become exhausted, and that all the wagons but one had been left, and
this one was on the road a few miles behind them; that they were
entirely out of provisions and had had nothing to eat for twenty hours,
except what natural food they had gathered, which was not much. They
eagerly inquired the distance to food, which I thought they might
possibly reach that night, but in any event the next morning early.
Meanwhile I had opened my sack of hard bread and gave each a cracker,
in the eating of which the sound resembled pigs cracking dry, hard corn.

Of those eleven persons, I only know of but one now alive, although, of
course, the children soon outgrew my knowledge of them, but they never
forgot me.

Mrs. Anne Fawcet, the spokesman of the party, I knew well in after
years, and although now eighty years old[6] (she will pardon me for
telling her age), is living in good circumstances a mile out from
the town of Auburn, nearly twenty miles south of Seattle, and but a
couple of miles from the scene of the dreadful massacre at the outbreak
leading to the Indian war of 1855, where the gallant Lieutenant
Slaughter lost his life.

Mrs. Fawcet can scarcely be called a typical pioneer woman, yet there
were many approaching her ways. She was of too independent a character
to be molded into that class; too self-reliant to be altogether like
her neighbor housewives; and yet was possessed of those sturdy virtues
so common with the pioneer—industry and frugality, coupled with
unbounded hospitality. The other ladies of the party, Mrs. Herpsberger
and Mrs. Hall, I never knew afterwards, and have no knowledge as to
their fate, other than that they arrived safely in the settlement.

But we neither of us had time to parley or visit, and so the ladies
with their children, barefoot and ragged, bareheaded and unkempt,
started down the mountain intent on reaching food, while I started up
the road wondering or not whether this scene was to be often repeated
as I advanced on my journey. A dozen biscuits of hard bread is usually
a very small matter, but with me it might mean a great deal. How far
would I have to go? When could I find out? What would be the plight of
my people when found? Or would I find them at all? Might they not pass
by and be on the way down the Columbia River before I could reach the
main immigrant trail? These and kindred questions weighed heavily on my
mind as I slowly and gradually ascended the mountain.

Some new work on the road gave evidence that men had recently been
there, but the work was so slight one could easily believe immigrants
might have done it as they passed. Fifteen thousand dollars had been
appropriated by Congress for a military road, which report said would
be expended in improving the way cut by the immigrants and citizens
through the Natchess Pass during the summer of 1853. I saw some of the
work, but do not remember seeing any of the men, as I stuck close to
the old trail, and so my first camp was made alone, west of the summit
and without special incident. I had reached an altitude where the
night chill was keenly felt, and, with my light blanket, missed the
friendly contact of the back of the faithful ox that had served me so
well on the plains. My pony had nothing but browse for supper, and was
restless. Nevertheless I slept soundly and was up early, refreshed and
ready to resume the journey.


[6] Since these lines were penned the good lady died at the age of 88.



It is strange how the mind will vividly retain the memory of some
incidents of no particular importance, while the recollection of other
passing events so completely fades away. I knew I had to cross that
ugly stream, White River, five times during the first day's travel, but
cannot recall but one crossing, where my pony nearly lost his balance,
and came down on his knees with his nose in the water for the moment,
but to recover and bravely carry me out safely.

The lone camp well up on the mountain had chilled me, but the prospect
before me and that I had left behind brought a depressed feeling most
difficult to describe. I had passed through long stretches of forest
so tall and so dense that it seemed incredible that such did exist
anywhere on earth. And then, the road; such a road, if it could be
called a road. Curiously enough, the heavier the standing timber, the
easier it had been to slip through with wagons, there being but little
undecayed or down timber. In the ancient of days, however, great giants
had been uprooted, lifting considerable earth with the upturned roots,
that, as time went on and the roots decayed formed mounds two, three,
or four feet high, leaving a corresponding hollow in which one would
plunge, the whole being covered by a dense, short, evergreen growth,
completely hiding from view the unevenness of the ground. Over these
hillocks and hollows the immigrants had rolled their wagon wheels,
and over the large roots of the fir, often as big as one's body and
nearly all of them on top of the ground. I will not undertake to say
how many of these giant trees were to be found to the acre, but they
were so numerous and so large that in many places it was difficult
to find a passageway between them, and then only by a tortuous route
winding in various directions. When the timber burns were encountered
the situation was worse. Often the remains of timber would be piled in
such confusion that sometimes wagons could pass under legs that rested
on others; then again others were encountered half buried, while still
others would rest a foot or so from the ground. These, let the reader
remember, oftentimes were five feet or more in diameter, with trunks
from two to three hundred feet in length. All sorts of devices had been
resorted to in order to overcome those obstructions. In many cases,
where not too large, cuts had been taken out, while in other places
the large timber had been bridged up to by piling smaller logs, rotten
chunks, brush, or earth, so the wheels of the wagon could be rolled up
over the body of the tree. Usually three notches would be cut on the
top of the log, two for the wheels and one for the reach or coupling
pole to pass through.

In such places the oxen would be taken to the opposite side, a chain or
rope run to the end of the tongue, a man to drive, one or two to guide
the tongue, others to help at the wheels, and so with infinite labor
and great care the wagons would gradually be worked down the mountain
in the direction of the settlements. Small wonder that the immigrants
of the previous year should report that they had to cut their way
through the timber, while the citizen road workers had reported that
the road was opened, and small wonder that the prospect of the road
should have as chilling effect on my mind as the chill of the mountain
air had had on my body.

But, the more difficulties encountered, the more determined I became,
at all hazards, to push through, for the more the necessity to acquaint
myself with the obstacles to be encountered and to be with my friends
to encourage and help them. Before me lay the great range or pass, five
thousand feet above sea level, and the rugged mountain climb to get to
the summit, and the summit prairies where my pony could have a feast
of grass. It was on this summit hill the immigration of the previous
year had encountered such grave difficulties. At the risk of in part
repeating, I am tempted to quote some of my own words to a select party
of friends, the teachers of the county in which I have lived so long,
prepared for that special occasion.

"About twenty miles north of the great mountain of the Cascade range
is a picturesque, small scope of open country known as Summit Prairie,
in the Natchess Pass, some seventy miles southeasterly from this city
(Tacoma). In this prairie, fifty years ago this coming autumn, a camp
of immigrants was to be seen. * * * Go back they could not; either they
must go ahead or starve in the mountains. A short way out from the
camp a steep mountain declivity lay square across their track. As one
of the ladies of the party said, when she first saw it: 'Why Lawsee
Massee! We have come to the jumping off place at last!' This lady felt,
as many others of the party felt, like they had come to the end of the
world (to them), and the exclamation was not for stage effect, but of
fervent prayer for deliverance.

"Stout hearts in the party were not to be deterred from making the
effort to go ahead. Go around this hill they could not; go down it with
logs trailed to the wagons, as they had done before, they could not, as
the hill was so steep the logs would go end over end and be a danger
instead of a help. So the rope they had was run down the hill and found
to be too short to reach the bottom. One of the leaders of the party
(I knew him well) turned to his men and said, 'Kill a steer'; and they
killed a steer, cut his hide into strips and spliced it to the rope.
It was found yet to be too short to reach to the bottom. The order
went out: 'Kill two more steers!' And two more steers were killed,
their hides cut into strips and spliced to the rope, which then reached
the bottom of the hill; and by the aid of that rope and strips of the
hides of those three steers, twenty-nine wagons were lowered down the
mountain side to the bottom of the steep hill.

"Now, my friends, there is no fiction about this story—it is a true
story, and some of the actors are yet alive, and some of them live in
this county. Nor were their trials ended when they got their wagons
down to the bottom of that hill.

"Does it now seem possible for mortal man to do this? And yet this is
only a plain statement of an incident of pioneer life without giving
any names and dates, that can yet be verified by living witnesses; but
these witnesses are not here for long.

"James Biles, who afterwards settled near Olympia, was the man who
ordered the steers killed to procure the hides to lengthen out the
rope. Geo. H. Himes, of Portland, who is still living, was one of the
party; so was Stephen Judson, of Steilacoom; also Nelson Sargent, of
Grand Mound, now a very old man.

"The feat of bringing that train of twenty-nine wagons in with the loss
of only one is the greatest of anything I ever knew or heard of in the
way of pioneer travel.

"With snail-like movements, the cattle and men becoming weaker and
weaker, progress was made each day until it finally seemed as if the
oxen could do no more, and it became necessary to send them forward on
the trail ten miles, where it was known plenty of grass could be had.
Meantime the work on the road continued until the third day, when the
last particle of food was gone. The teams were brought back, the trip
over the whole ten miles made, and Connell's Prairie reached at dark.

"The struggle over that ten miles, where to a certain extent each
party became so intent on their particular surroundings as to forget
all else, left the women and children to take care of themselves while
the husbands tugged at the wagons. I now have in mind to relate the
experience of one of these mothers with a ten-year-old boy, one child
four years and another eight months.

"Part of the time these people traveled on the old trail and part on
the newly-cut road, and by some means fell behind the wagons, which
forded that turbulent, dangerous stream, White River, before they
reached the bank, and were out of sight, not knowing but the women and
children were ahead.

"I wish every little boy of ten years of age of this great State, or,
for that matter, twenty years old or more, could read and profit by
what I am now going to relate, especially if that little or big boy
at times thinks he is having a hard time because he is asked to help
his mother or father at odd times, or perchance to put in a good solid
day's work on Saturday, instead of spending it as a holiday; or if he
has a cow to milk or wood to split, or anything that is work, to make
him bewail his fate for having such a hard time in life. I think the
reading of the experience of this little ten-year-old boy with his
mother and the two smaller children would encourage him to feel more
cheerful and more content with his lot.

"As I have said, the wagons had passed on, and there these four people
were on the right bank of the river while their whole company was on
the opposite bank, and had left them there alone.

"A large fallen tree reached across the river, but the top on the
further side lay so close to the water that a constant trembling and
swaying made the trip dangerous.

"None of them had eaten anything since the day previous, and but a
scant supply then; but the boy resolutely shouldered the four-year-old
and safely deposited him on the other side. Then came next the little
tot, the baby, to be carried in arms across. Next came the mother.

"'I can't go!' she exclaimed; 'it makes me so dizzy.'

"'Put one hand over your eyes, mother, and take hold of me with the
other,' said the boy; and so they began to move out sideways on the
log, a half step at a time.

"'Hold steady, mother; we are nearly over.'

"'Oh, I am gone!' was the only response, as she lost her balance and
fell into the river, but happily so near the farther bank that the
little boy was able to catch a bush with one hand that hung over the
bank, while holding on to his mother with the other, and so she was

"It was then nearly dark, and without any knowledge of how far it was
to camp, the little party started on the road, only tarrying long
enough on the bank of the river for the mother to wring the water out
of her skirts, the boy carrying the baby, while the four-year-old
walked beside his mother. After nearly two miles of travel and
ascending a very steep hill, it being now dark, the glimmer of camp
lights came into view; but the mother could see nothing, for she fell
senseless, utterly prostrated.

"I have been up and down that hill a number of times, and do not wonder
the poor woman fell helpless after the effort to reach the top. The
great wonder is that she should have been able to go as far as she
did. The incident illustrates how the will power can nerve one up to
extraordinary achievements, but when the object is attained and the
danger is past, then the power is measurably lost, as in this case,
when the good woman came to know they were safe. The boy hurried his
two little brothers into camp, calling for help to rescue his mother.
The appeal was promptly responded to, the woman being carried into
camp and tenderly cared for until she revived.

"Being asked if he did not want something to eat, the boy said 'he had
forgotten all about it,' and further, 'he didn't see anything to eat,
anyway'; whereupon some one with a stick began to uncover some roasted
potatoes, which he has decided was the best meal he has ever eaten,
even to this day.

"This is a plain recital of actual occurrences, without exaggeration,
obtained from the parties themselves and corroborated by numerous
living witnesses.

"There were 128 people in that train, and through the indefatigable
efforts of Mr. Geo. H. Rimes, of Portland, Oregon, who was one of the
party, and in fact the ten-year-old boy referred to, I am able to give
the names in part.

"I have been thus particular in telling this story to illustrate
what trials were encountered and overcome by the pioneers of that
day, to the end that the later generations may pause in their hasty
condemnation of their present surroundings and opportunities and to
ask themselves whether in all candor they do not feel they are blessed
beyond the generation that has gone before them, the hardy pioneers of
this country."

This book could easily be filled by the recital of such heroic acts,
varying only in detail and perhaps in tragic results; yet would only
show in fact the ready, resourceful tact of the pioneers of those days.

I want to repeat here again that I do not look upon that generation
of men and women as superior to the present generation, except in
this: The pioneers had lost a large number of physically weak on the
trip, thus applying the great law of the survival of the fittest;
and further, that the majority of the pioneers in the true sense of
the word—frontiersmen for generations before—hence were by training
and habits eminently fitted to meet the emergencies of the trip and
conditions to follow.

One of the incidents of this trip should be related to perpetuate the
memory of heroic actions of the times, that of the famous ride across
these mountains and to Olympia, of Mrs. Catherine Frazier, one of this
party, on an ox.

Three days after arrival, Mrs. Frazier gave birth to the third white
child born in Pierce County, Washington Frazier, named after the
great territory that had been chosen for the home of the parents and

The first report, that the "mother and son were doing well," can again
and again be repeated, as both[7] are yet alive, the mother now past
seventy-three and the son fifty, and both yet residing at South Bay,
near Olympia, where the parents soon settled after arrival.

The curious part of such incidents is the perfect unconsciousness
of the parties of having done anything that would be handed down to
posterity as exhibiting any spirit of fortitude or of having performed
any heroic act. The young bride could not walk, neither could she
be taken into the wagons, and she could ride an ox, and so, without
ceremony, mounted her steed and fell into the procession without
attracting especial attention or passing remark. Doubtless the lady,
at the time, would have shrunk from any undue notice, because of her
mount, and would have preferred a more appropriate entry into the
future capital of the future State, but it is now quite probably that
she looks upon the act with a feeling akin to pride, and in any event,
not with feelings of mortification or false pride that possibly, at
that time, might have lurked within her breast.

The birth of children was not an infrequent incident on the plains,
the almost universal report following, "doing as well as could be
expected," the trip being resumed with but very short interruption, the
little ones being soon exhibited with the usual motherly pride.


[7] Since these lines were penned Mrs. Frazier has joined the majority
of that generation in the life beyond.



Readers of previous chapters will remember the lonely camp mentioned
and the steep mountain ahead of it to reach the summit.

What with the sweat incident to the day's travel, the chill air of an
October night in the mountains, with but half a three-point blanket
as covering and the ground for a mattress, small wonder my muscles
were a little stiffened when I arose and prepared for the ascent to
the summit. Bobby had, as I have said, been restless during the night,
and, when the roll of blankets and the hard bread was securely strapped
on behind, suddenly turned his face homeward, evidently not relishing
the fare of browse for supper. He seemingly had concluded he had had
enough of the trip, and started to go home, trotting off gaily down
the mountain. I could do nothing else but follow him, as the narrow
cut of the road and impenetrable obstructions on either side utterly
precluded my getting past to head off his rascally maneuvers. Finally,
finding a nip of grass by the roadside, the gait was slackened so that
after several futile attempts I managed to get a firm hold of his tail,
after which we went down the mountain together, much more rapidly than
we had come up the evening before. Bobby forgot to use his heels, else
he might for a longer time been master of the situation. The fact
was, he did not want to hurt me, but was determined to break up the
partnership, and, so far as he was concerned, go no further into the
mountains where he could not get a supper. By dint of persuasion and
main strength of muscle the contest was finally settled in my favor,
and I secured the rein. Did I chastise him? Not a bit. I did not blame
him. We were partners, but it was a one-sided partnership, as he had no
interest in the enterprise other than to get enough to eat as we went
along, and when that failed, rebelled.

It is wonderful, the sagacity of the horse or ox. They know more than
we usually think they do. Let one be associated (yes, that's the word,
associated) with them for a season alone. Their characteristics come to
the front and become apparent, without study. Did I talk to my friend
Bobby? Indeed, I did. There were but few other animate things to talk
to. Perhaps one might see a small bird flit across the vision or a
chipmunk, or hear the whirr of the sudden flight of the grouse, but all
else was solitude, deep and impressive. The dense forest through which
I was passing did not supply conditions for bird or animal life in

"You are a naughty lad, Bobby," I said, as I turned his head eastward
to retrace the mile or so of the truant's run.

We were soon past our camping ground of the night before, and on our
way up the mountain. Bobby would not be led, or if he was, would hold
back, till finally making a rush up the steep ascent, would be on my
heels or toes before I could get out of the way. "Go ahead, Bobby," I
would say, and suiting action to words seize the tail with a firm grasp
and follow. When he moved rapidly, by holding on I was helped up the
mountain. When he slackened his pace, then came the resting spell. The
engineering instinct of the horse tells him how to reduce grades by
angles. So Bobby led me up the mountain in zig-zag courses, I following
always with the firm grasp of the tail that meant we would not part
company, and we did not. I felt that it was a mean trick to compel
the poor brute to pull me up the mountain by his tail, supperless,
breakfastless, and discontended. It appeared to me it was just cause
to sever our friendship, which by this time seemed cemented closely,
but then I thought of the attempted abandonment he had been guilty of,
and that perhaps he should submit to some indignities at my hand in

By noon we had surmounted all obstacles, and stood upon the summit
prairie—one of them, for there are several—where Bobby feasted to his
heart's content, while I—well, it was the same old story, hard tack
and cheese, with a small allotment of dried venison.

[Illustration: Mt. Rainier.]

To the south, apparently but a few miles distant, the old mountain,
Rainier of old, Tacoma by Winthrop, loomed up into the clouds full
ten thousand feet higher than where I stood, a grand scene to behold,
worthy of all the effort expended to attain this view point. But I
was not attuned to view with ecstasy the grandeur of what lay before
me, but rather to scan the horizon to ascertain, if I could, what the
morrow might bring forth. The mountain to the pioneer has served as
a huge barometer to forecast the weather. "How is the mountain this
morning?" the farmer asks in harvest time. "Has the mountain got his
night cap on?" the housewife inquires before her wash is hung on the
line. The Indian would watch the mountain with intent to determine
whether he might expect "snass" (rain), or "kull snass" (hail), or
"t'kope snass" (snow), and seldom failed in his conclusions, and so I
scanned the mountain top that day partially hid in the clouds, with the
forebodings verified at nightfall, as will be related later.

The next camp was in the Natchess Canyon. I had lingered on the summit
prairie to give the pony a chance to fill up on the luxuriant but
rather washy grass, there found in great abundance. For myself, I had
had plenty of water, but had been stinted in hard bread, remembering my
experience of the day before, with the famishing women and children.
I began to realize more and more the seriousness of my undertaking,
particularly so because I could hear no tidings. A light snow storm
came on just before nightfall, which, with the high mountains on either
side of the river, spread approaching darkness rapidly. I was loth to
camp; somehow I just wanted to go on, and doubtless would have traveled
all night if I could have safely found my way. The canyon was but a few
hundred yards wide, with the tortuous river first striking one bluff
and then the other, necessitating numerous crossings; the intervening
space being glade land of large pine growth with but light undergrowth
and few fallen trees. The whole surface was covered with coarse sand,
in which rounded boulders were imbedded so thick in places as to cause
the trail to be very indistinct, particularly in open spots, where the
snow had fallen unobstructed. Finally, I saw that I must camp, and
after crossing the river, came out in an opening where the bear tracks
were so thick that one could readily believe the spot to be a veritable
play-ground for all the animals round about.

I found two good sized trunks of trees that had fallen; one obliquely
across the other, and, with my pony tethered as a sentinel and my fire
as an advance post I slept soundly, but nearly supperless. The black
bears on the west slope of the mountain I knew were timid and not
dangerous, but I did not know so much about the mountain species, and
can but confess that I felt lonesome, though placing great reliance
upon my fire, which I kept burning all night.

Early next morning found Bobby and me on the trail, a little chilled
with the cold mountain air and very willing to travel. In a hundred
yards or so, we came upon a ford of ice cold water to cross, and others
following in such quick succession, that I realized that we were soon
to leave the canyon. I had been told that at the 32d crossing I would
leave the canyon and ascend a high mountain, and then travel through
pine glades, and that I must then be careful and not lose the trail.
I had not kept strict account of the crossings like one of the men I
had met, who cut a notch in his goad stick at every crossing, but I
knew instinctively we were nearly out, and so I halted to eat what I
supposed would be the only meal of the day, not dreaming what lay in
store for me at nightfall. It would be uninteresting to the general
reader to relate the details of that day's travel, and in fact I cannot
recall much about it except going up the steep mountain—so steep that
Bobby again practiced his engineering instincts and I mine, with my
selfish hand having a firm hold on the tail of my now patient comrade.

From the top of the mountain glade I looked back in wonderment
about how the immigrants had taken their wagons down; I found out by
experience afterwards.

Towards nightfall I found a welcome sound of the tinkling of a bell,
and soon saw the smoke of camp fires, and finally the village of tents
and grime-covered wagons. How I tugged at Bobby's halter to make him go
faster, and then mounted him with not much better results, can better
be imagined than told.

Could it be the camp I was searching for? It was about the number of
wagons and tents that I had expected to meet. No. I was doomed to
disappointment, yet rejoiced to find some one to camp with and talk to
other than the pony.

It is not easy to describe the cordial greeting accorded me by those
tired and almost discouraged immigrants. If we had been near and dear
relatives, the rejoicing could not have been mutually greater. They
had been toiling for nearly five months on the road across the plains,
and now there loomed up before them this great mountain range to
cross. Could they do it? If we cannot get over with our wagons, can
we get the women and children through in safety? I was able to lift a
load of doubt and fear from off their jaded minds. Before I knew what
was happening, I caught the fragrance of boiling coffee and of fresh
meat cooking. It seemed the good matrons knew without telling that I
was hungry (I doubtless looked it), and had set to work to prepare
me a meal, a sumptuous meal at that, taking into account the whetted
appetite incident to a diet of hard bread straight, and not much of
that either, for two days.

We had met on the hither bank of the Yakima River, where the old trail
crosses that river near where the flourishing city of North Yakima now
is. These were the people, a part of them, that are mentioned elsewhere
in my "Tragedy of Leschi," in the chapter on the White River massacre.
Harvey H. Jones, wife and three children, and George E. King, wife and
one child. One of the little boys of the camp is the same person—John
I. King—who has written the graphic account of the tragedy in which
his mother and step-father and their neighbors lost their lives—that
horrible massacre on White River a year later—and the other, George
E. King (but no relation), the little five-year-old who was taken and
held captive for nearly four months, and then safely delivered over by
the Indians to the military authorities at Fort Steilacoom. I never
think of those people but with feelings of sadness; of their struggle,
doubtless the supreme effort of their lives, to go to their death. I
pointed out to them where to go to get good claims, and they lost no
time, but went straight to the locality recommended and immediately to
work, preparing shelter for the winter.

"Are you going out on those plains alone?" asked Mrs. Jones, anxiously.
When I informed her that I would have the pony with me, a faint, sad
smile spread over her countenance as she said, "Well, I don't think
it is safe." Mr. Jones explained that what his wife referred to was
the danger from the ravenous wolves that infested the open country,
and from which they had lost weakened stock from their bold forages,
"right close to the camp," he said, and advised me not to camp near the
watering places, but up on the high ridge. I followed his advice with
the result as we shall see of missing my road and losing considerable
time, and causing me not a little trouble and anxiety.



The start for the high table desert lands bordering the Yakima Valley
cut me loose from all communication, for no more immigrants were met
until I reached the main traveled route beyond the Columbia River. I
speak of the "desert lands" adjacent to the Yakima from the standpoint
of that day. We all thought these lands were worthless, as well as the
valley, not dreaming of the untold wealth the touch of water would
bring out. The road lay through a forbidding sage plain, or rather
an undulating country, seemingly of shifting sands and dead grass of
comparatively scant growth. As the sun rose, heat became intolerable.
The dust brought vivid memories of the trip across the plains in
places. The heated air trembling in the balance brought the question of
whether or not something was the matter with my eyes or brain; whether
this was an optical illusion, or real, became a debatable question in
my mind. Strive against it with all my might, my eyes would rest on the
farther horizon to catch the glimpse of the expected train, till they
fairly ached. Added to this, an intolerable thirst seized upon me, and
compelled leaving the road and descending into the valley for water.
Here I found as fat cattle as ever came to a butcher's stall, fed on
this selfsame dead grass, cured without rain. These cattle belonged to
the Indians, but there were no Indians in sight. The incident, though,
set me to thinking about the possibilities of a country that could
produce such fat cattle from the native grasses. I must not linger
off the trail; and take chances of missing the expected train, and so
another stretch of travel, of thirst, and suffering came until during
the afternoon, I found water on the trail, and tethered my pony for
his much needed dinner, and opened my sack of hard bread to count the
contents, with the conclusion that my store was half gone, and so lay
down in the shade of a small tree or bush near the spring to take an
afternoon nap. Rousing up before sun down, refreshed, we (pony and I)
took the trail in a much better mood than before the nooning. When
night came, I could not find it in my heart to camp. The cool of the
evening invigorated the pony, and we pushed on. Without having intended
to travel in the night, I had, so to speak, drifted into it and finding
the road could be followed, though but dimly seen, kept on the trail
until a late hour, when I unsaddled and hobbled the pony. The saddle
blanket was brought into use, and I was soon off in dream land, and
forgot all about the dust, the trail or the morrow.

Morning brought a puzzling sense of helplessness that for the time,
seemed overpowering. I had slept late, and awoke to find the pony had
wandered far off on the hill side, in fact, so far, it required close
scanning to discover him. To make matters worse, his hobbles had become
loosened, giving him free use of all his feet, and in no mood to take
the trail again. Coaxing was of no avail, driving would do no good,
so embracing an opportunity to seize his tail again, we went around
about over the plain and through the sage brush in a rapid gait, which
finally lessened and I again became master of him. For the life of me
I could not be sure as to the direction of the trail, but happened to
take the right course. When the trail was found, the question came as
to the whereabouts of the saddle. It so happened that I took the wrong
direction and had to retrace my steps. The sun was high when we started
on our journey.

A few hundred yards travel brought feelings of uneasiness, as it was
evident that we were not on the regular trail. Not knowing but this was
some cut off, so continued until the Columbia River bluff was reached,
and the great river was in sight, half a mile distant, and several
hundred feet of lower level. Taking a trail down the bluff that seemed
more promising than the wagon tracks, I began to search for the road at
the foot of the bluff to find the tracks scattered, and any resemblance
of a road gone; in a word, I was lost. I never knew how those wagon
tracks came to be there, but I know that I lost more than a half day's
precious time, and again was thrown in a doubting mood as to whether I
had missed the long sought for train.

The next incident I remember vividly, was my attempt to cross the
Columbia just below the mouth of Snake River. I had seen but few
Indians on the whole trip, and in fact, the camp I found there on the
bank of the great river was the first I distinctly remember. I could
not induce them to cross me over. From some cause they seemed surly and
unfriendly. The treatment was so in contrast to what I had received
from the Indians on the Sound, that I could not help wondering what
it meant. No one, to my knowledge, lost his life by the hands of the
Indians that season, but the next summer all, or nearly all, were
ruthlessly murdered that ventured into that country unprotected.

That night I camped late, opposite Wallula (old Fort Walla Walla), in a
sand storm of great fury. I tethered my pony this time, rolled myself
up in the blanket, only to find myself fairly buried in the drifting
sand in the morning. It required a great effort to creep out of the
blanket, and greater work to relieve the blanket from the accumulated
sand. By this time the wind had laid and comparative calm prevailed,
and then came the effort to make myself heard across the wide river to
the people of the fort. It did seem as though I would fail. Traveling
up and down the river bank for half mile, or so, in the hope of
catching a favorable breeze to carry my voice to the fort, yet, all
to no avail. I sat upon the bank hopelessly discouraged, not knowing
what to do. I think I must have been two hours halloaing at the top of
my voice until hoarse from the violent effort. Finally, while sitting
there, cogitating as to what to do, I spied a blue smoke arising from
the cabin, and soon after a man appeared who immediately responded to
my renewed efforts to attract attention. The trouble had been they were
all asleep, while I was in the early morning expending my breath.

Shirley Ensign, of Olympia, had established a ferry across the Columbia
River, and had yet lingered to set over belated immigrants, if any
came. Mr. Ensign came over and gave me glad tidings. He had been out on
the trail fifty miles or more, and had met my people, whom he thought
were camped some thirty miles away, and thought that they would reach
the ferry on the following day. But I would not wait, and, procuring
a fresh horse, I started out in a cheerful mood, determined to reach
camp that night if my utmost exertions would accomplish it. Sundown
came and no signs of camp; dusk came on, and still no signs; finally, I
spied some cattle grazing on the upland, and soon came upon the camp
in a ravine that had shut them out from view. Rejoicings and outbursts
of grief followed. I inquired for my mother the first thing. She was
not there; had been buried in the sands of the Platte Valley, months
before; also a younger brother lay buried near Independence Rock. The
scene that followed is of too sacred memory to write about, and we will
draw the veil of privacy over it.

Of that party, all are under the sod save one—Mrs. Amanda C. Spinning,
then the wife of the elder brother so often heretofore mentioned.

With fifty odd head of stock, seven wagons, and seventeen people, the
trip was made to the Sound without serious mishap or loss. We were
twenty-two days on the road, and thought this was good time to make,
all things considered. Provisions were abundant, the health of the
party good and stock in fair condition. I unhesitatingly advised the
over-mountain trip; meanwhile cautioning them to expect some snow, a
goodly amount of hard labor, and plenty of vexation. How long will it
take? Three weeks. Why, we thought we were about through. Well, you
came to stay with us, did you? But what about the little wife and the
two babies on the island home? Father said some one must go and look
after them. So, the elder brother was detailed to go to the island
folks, whilst I was impressed into service to take his place with the
immigrants. It would hardly be interesting to the general reader to
give a detailed account, even if I remembered it well, which I do not.
So intent did we all devote our energies to the one object, to get
safely over the mountains, that all else was forgotten. It was a period
of severe toil and anxious care, but not more so than to others that
had gone before us, and what others had done we felt we could do, but
there was no eight-hour-a-day labor, nor any drones; all were workers.
I had prepared the minds of the newcomers for the worst, not forgetting
the steep hills, the notched logs, and rough, stony fords, by telling
the whole story. "But do you really think we can get through?" said
father. "Yes, I know we can, if every man will put his shoulder to the
wheel." This latter expression was a phrase in use to indicate doing
one's duty without flinching, but in this case, it had a more literal
meaning, for we were compelled often to take hold of the wheels to
boost the wagons over logs, and ease them down on the opposite side, as
likewise, on the steep mountain side. We divided our force into groups;
one to each wagon to drive, four as wheelmen, as we called them, and
father with the women folks on foot, or on horseback, with the stock.

God bless the women folks of the plains; the immigrant women, I mean.
A nobler, braver, more uncomplaining people were never known. I have
often thought that some one ought to write a just tribute to their
valor and patience; a book of their heroic deeds. I know this word
valor is supposed to apply to men and not to women, but I know that the
immigrant women earned the right to have the word, and all it implies,
applied to them. Such a trip with all its trials is almost worth the
price to bring out these latent virtues of the so-called weaker sex.
Strive, however, as best we could, we were unable to make the trip in
the allotted time, and willing hands came out with the brother to put
their shoulders to the wheels, and to bring the glad tidings that all
was well on the island home, and to release the younger brother and the
father from further duty, when almost through to the settlements.

Do you say this was enduring great hardships? That depends upon the
point of view. As to this return trip, for myself, I can truly say that
it was not. I enjoyed the strife to overcome all difficulties, and so
did the greater number of the company. They felt that it was a duty and
enjoyed doing their duty. Many of them, it is true, were weakened by
the long trip across the Plains, but with the better food obtainable,
and the goal so near at hand, there was a positive pleasure to pass
over the miles, one by one, and become assured that final success was
only a matter of a very short time.

One day, we encountered a new fallen tree, as one of the men said,
a whopper, cocked up on its own upturned roots, four feet from the
ground. Go around it, we could not; to cut it out seemed an endless
task with our dulled, flimsy saw. Dig down, boys, said the father, and
in short order every available shovel was out of the wagons and into
willing hands, with others standing by to take their turn. In a short
time the way was open fully four feet deep, and oxen and wagons passed
through under the obstruction.



People now traversing what is popularly known as Nisqually Plains, that
is, the stretch of open prairie, interspersed with clumps of timber,
sparkling lakes, and glade lands, from the heavy timber bordering the
Puyallup to a like border of the Nisqually, will hardly realize that
once upon a time these bare gravelly prairies supplied a rich grass
of exceeding fattening quality and of sufficient quantity to support
many thousand head of stock, and not only support but fatten them ready
for the butcher's stall. Nearly half a million acres of this land lie
between the two rivers, from two to four hundred feet above tide level
and beds of the rivers mentioned, undulating and in benches, an ideal
part of shade and open land of rivulets and lakes, of natural roads and
natural scenery of splendor.

So, when our little train emerged from the forests skirting the
Puyallup Valley, and came out on the open at Montgomery's, afterwards
Camp Montgomery, of Indian war times, twelve miles southeasterly of
Fort Steilacoom, the experience was almost as if one had come into a
noonday sun from a dungeon prison, so marked was the contrast. Hundreds
of cattle, sheep and horses were quietly grazing, scattered over the
landscape, so far as one could see, fat and content. It is not to be
wondered that the spirits of the tired party should rise as they saw
this scene of content before them, and thought they could become
participants with those who had come before them, and that for the
moment rest was theirs if that was what they might choose.

Fort Nisqually was about ten miles southwesterly from our camp at
Montgomery's, built, as mentioned elsewhere, by the Hudson Bay Company,
in 1833.

In 1840-41, this company's holdings at Nisqually and Cowlitz were
transferred to the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. This latter
company was organized in London at the instance of Dr. William F.
Tolmie, who visited that city to conduct the negotiations in person
with the directors of the Hudson Bay Company. He returned clothed with
the power to conduct the affairs of the new company, but under the
direction of the Hudson Bay Company, and with the restriction not to
enter into or interfere with the fur trade; he later became the active
agent of both companies at Nisqually.

It was principally the stock of this company that we saw from our camp
and nearby points. At that time, the Agricultural Company had several
farms on these plains, considerable pasture land enclosed, and fourteen
thousand head of stock running at large; sheep cattle and horses.

The United States government actually paid rent to this foreign company
for many years for the site where Fort Steilacoom was located on
account of the shadowy title of the company under the treaty of 1846.

During this lapse of time, from 1833 to the time our camp was
established, many of the company's servants' time had expired and
in almost every case, such had taken to themselves Indian wives and
had squatted on the choice locations for grazing or small farming.
Montgomery himself, near whose premises we were camping, was one of
these. A few miles to the south of this place, ran the small creek
"Muck," on the surface for several miles to empty into the Nisqually.
Along this little creek, others of these discharged servants had
settled, and all taken Indian wives. These were the settlers that
were afterwards denounced by Governor Stevens, and finally arrested
for alleged treason. Each of these had an abundance of stock and
farm produce, and was living in affluence and comfort. One of them,
reputed to be the rightful owner of thirteen cows, one summer raised
thirty-three calves, the handy lasso rope having been brought into play
among the company's herds in secluded places; yet, as the rule, these
people were honorable, upright men, though as a class, not of high
intelligence, or of sober habits.

Added to this class just mentioned, was another; the discharged United
States soldiers. The men then comprising the United States army were
far lower in moral worth and character than now. Many of these men had
also taken Indian wives and settled where they had chosen to select.
Added to these were a goodly number of the previous years' immigrants.
By this recital the reader will be apprised of the motley mess our
little party were destined to settle among, unless they should chose to
go to other parts of the Territory. I did not myself fully realize the
complications to be met until later years.

All this while, as we have said, settlers were crowding into this
district, taking up donation claims until that act expired by
limitation in 1854, and afterward by squatter's rights, which to all
appearances, seemed as good as any. My own donation claim afterwards
was involved in this controversy, in common with many others. Although
our proofs of settlement were made and all requirements of the law
complied with, nevertheless, our patents were held up and our title
questioned for twenty years, and so, after having made the trip across
the Plains, because Uncle Sam had promised to give us all a farm, and
after having made the required improvements and resided on the land for
the four years, then to be crowded off without title did seem a little
rough on the pioneers.

I have before me one of the notices served upon the settlers by the
company's agent which tells the whole story.[8] The then thriving town
of Steilacoom was involved, as likewise part of the lands set apart for
the Indian Reservation, and it did seem as though it would be hard to
get a more thorough mix-up as to titles of the land, than these knotty
questions presented.

All this while, as was natural there should be, there was constant
friction between some settler and the company, and had it not been
for the superior tact of such a man as Dr. Tolmie in charge of the
company's affairs, there would have been serious trouble.

As it was, there finally came a show of arms when the company undertook
to survey the boundary line to inclose the land claimed, although the
acreage was much less than claimed on paper. But the settlers, (or
some of them), rebelled, and six of them went armed to the party of
surveyors at work and finally stopped them. An old-time friend, John
McLeod, was one of the party (mob, the company called it), but the
records do not show whether he read his chapter in the Bible that day,
or whether instead, he took a double portion of whiskey to relieve his

It is doubtful whether the old man thought he was doing wrong or
thought anything about it, except that he had a belief that somehow or
other a survey might make against him getting a title to his own claim.

I had a similar experience at a later date with the Indians near the
Muckleshute Reservation, while attempting to extend the sub-divisional
lines of the township near where the reserve was located. I could not
convince the Indians that the survey meant no harm to them.

The case was different in the first instance, as in fact, neither party
was acting within the limits of their legal rights, and for the time
being, the strongest and most belligerent prevailed, but only to be
circumvented at a little later date by a secret completion of the work,
sufficient to platting the whole.

All this while the little party was halting. The father said the island
home would not do, and as he had come two thousand miles to live
neighbors, I must give up my claim and take another near theirs, and
so, abandoning over a year's hard work, I acted upon his request with
the result told elsewhere, of fleeing from our new chosen home, as we
supposed, to save our lives, upon the outbreak of the Indian War in two
years from the time of the camp mentioned.

One can readily see that these surroundings did not promise that
compact, staid settlement of energetic, wide awake pioneers we so
coveted, nevertheless, the promise of money returns was good, and that
served to allay any discontent that would otherwise arise. I remember
the third year we began selling eighteen months' old steers at fifty
dollars each, off the range that had never been fed a morsel. Our
butter sold for fifty cents a pound, and at times, seventy-five cents,
and many other things at like prices. No wonder all hands soon became
contented; did not have time to be otherwise.

It came about though, that we were in considerable part a community
within ourselves, yet, there were many excellent people in the widely
scattered settlements. The conditions to some extent encouraged
lawlessness, and within the class already mentioned, a good deal of
drunkenness and what one might well designate as loose morals, incident
to the surroundings. A case in point:

A true, though one might say a humorous story is told on Doctor Tolmie,
or one of his men, of visiting a settler where they knew one of their
beeves had been slaughtered and appropriated. To get direct evidence he
put himself in the way of an invitation to dinner, where, sure enough,
the fresh, fat beef was smoking on the table. The good old pioneer (I
knew him well) asked a good, old-fashioned Methodist blessing over the
meat, giving thanks for the bountiful supply of the many good things of
the world vouchsafed to him and his neighbors, and thereupon in true
pioneer hospitality, cut a generous sized piece of the roast for his
guest, the real owner of the meat.

This incident occurred just as here related, and although the facts
are as stated, yet we must not be too ready to scoff at our religious
friend and condemn him without a hearing. To me, it would have been
just as direct thieving as any act could have been, and yet, to our
sanctified friend I think it was not, and upon which thereby hangs a

Many of the settlers looked upon the company as interlopers, pure
and simple, without any rights they were bound to respect. There had
been large numbers of cattle and sheep run on the range and had eaten
the feed down, which they thought was robbing them of their right of
eminent domain for the land they claimed the government had promised to
give them.

The cattle became very wild, in great part on account of the settlers'
actions, but the curious part was they afterwards justified themselves
from the fact that they were wild, and so it happened there came very
near being claim of common property of the company's stock, with not a
few of the settlers.

One lawless act is almost sure to breed another, and there was no
exception to the rule in this strange community, and many is the
settler that can remember the disappearance of stock which could be
accounted for in but one way—gone with the company's herd. In a few
years, though, all this disappeared. The incoming immigrants from
across the plains were a sturdy set as a class, and soon frowned down
such a loose code of morals.

For the moment let us turn to the little camp on the edge of the
prairie, of seven wagons and three tents. There came a time it must
be broken up. No more camp fires, with the fragrant coffee morning
and evening; no more smoking the pipe together over jests, or serious
talk; no more tucks in the dresses of the ladies, compelled first by
the exigencies of daily travel and now to be parted with under the
inexorable law of custom or fashion; no more lumps of butter at night,
churned during the day by the movement of wagon and the can containing
the morning's milk. We must hie us off to prepare shelter from the
coming storms of winter; to the care of the stock; the preparations for
planting; to the beginning of a new life of independence.



We hereby certify that a correct copy of the within notice was
presented to T. Hadley by Mr. Wm. Greig this 6th day of April, 1857.

                                        WILLIAM GREIG.
                                        ALFRED MCNEILL.
                                        AMBROSE SKINNER.

                                    Nisqually, W. T., 12th March, 1857.

To Mr. Thomas Hadley.—Sir: I hereby warn you that, in cultivating land
and making other improvements on your present location in or near
the Talentire precinct, Pierce County, Washington Territory, you are
trespassing on the lands confirmed to the Puget's Sound Agricultural
Company by the Boundary Treaty, ratified in July, 1846, between Great
Britain and the United States of America. Very Respectfully,

                                        Your Obed't Servt.,

                                                  W. F. TOLMIE,
                              Agent Puget's Sound Agricultural Company.



It almost goes without saying, that before the final break up of
the camp and separation of the parties there must be some sort
of celebration of the event, a sort of house warming or surprise
party—something must be done out of the usual course of events. So,
what better could these people do than to visit the island[9] home they
had heard so much about, and see for themselves some of the wonder land

My cabin stood on the south side of the bight or lagoon within stone
throw of where the United States penitentiary now stands and only a
few feet above high tide level. The lagoon widens and deepens from the
entrance and curves to the south with gentle slope on either side, the
whole forming a miniature sheltered valley of light, timbered, fertile
land. On the higher levels of the receding shore, great quantities of
salal and high bush huckleberries grew in profusion, interspersed with
what for lack of a better name we called Sweet Bay, the perfumes from
the leaves of which permeated the atmosphere for long distances. In
the nearby front a long flat or sandy beach extended far out from the
high tide line where the clams spouted in countless numbers, and crows
played their antics of breaking the shell by dropping to the stony
beach the helpless bivalve they had stealthily clutched and taken to
flight with them.

Off to the eastward and three miles distant the town of Steilacoom, or
rather the two towns, loomed up like quite a city, on the ascending
slope of the shore, to make us feel after all we were not so far off
from civilization, particularly at the time as two or more deep sea
vessels (ships we called them), were in port discharging merchandise.
Southeasterly, the grand mountain, before mentioned, rose so near three
miles high above the tide level that that was the height spoken by all
and as being fifty miles distant.

Nisqually House, on the arm of the bay known as Nisqually Beach, five
miles distant, could be seen in clear weather, while the Hudson Bay
Fort of that name was hidden from view by intervening timber, two miles
easterly from the beach.

The Medicine Creek council grounds, afterwards made famous by the
treaty council held a few months later than the date of which I am
writing, lay across the Nisqually tide flats, south from Nisqually
House, near three miles distant, but the view of this was cut off by an
intervening island (Anderson), of several sections in extent, and of
varying elevations to a maximum of near four hundred feet.

Fortunately one of those "spells" of weather had settled over the
whole country, a veritable Indian Summer, though now bordering on
the usually stormy month of November, a little hazy, just enough to
lend enchantment to the landscape, and warm enough to add pleasurable
experience to the trip the little party was to make. Add to these
surroundings the smooth glassy waters of the bay, interspersed here and
there by streaks and spots of troubled water to vary the outlook, small
wonder that enthusiasm ran high as the half-rested immigrants neared
the cabin in their boat and canoe, chartered for the trip, piloted and
paddled by the Indians and supplemented by the awkward stroke of the
landlubber's oar.

"What in the world are we going to do with all these people?" I said to
the little wife, half apologetically, partly quizzical and yet with a
tinge of earnestness illy concealed.

"Oh, never mind, we will get along all right some way; I'll venture
father has brought a tent." And sure enough, the party had brought the
three tents that had served them so well for so long a time, on the
long journey, and much of their bedding also.

Father had been over to the cabin before, and taken the measurement.

"Eighteen feet square," he said, "that's a pretty good size, but I
don't see why you boys didn't build it higher; it's scant seven feet."

Yes, the walls were but seven feet high. When building, the logs ran
out, the sky was threatening and we had a race with the storm to get a
roof over our heads.

"But that's a good fireplace," he continued; "there must be pretty good
clay here to hold these round stones so firmly. And that's as good a
cat-and-clay chimney as I had in Ohio, only mine was taller, but I
don't see that it would draw any better than this." This one was just
nine feet high, but I said there was plenty of room to build it higher.

The floor was rough lumber, or had been when laid, but the stiff scrub
brush of twigs and strong arms of house cleaners had worn off the rough
till when cleaned it presented a quite creditable appearance. And the
walls! "Why, you have a good library on these walls; all the reading
matter right side up, too; the Tribune is a great paper, indeed; you
must have sent for it right away when you got here," and so I had, and
continued steadily for eighteen years, and thereby hangs a tale, which,
though a digression, I will tell before writing more about our visitors.

Eighteen years after my arrival from across the plains in October,
1852, I made my first trip to the "States," to our old home and to New
York. I had to go through the mud to the Columbia River, then out over
the dreaded bar to the Pacific Ocean, and to San Francisco, then on
a seven days' journey over the Central, Union Pacific and connecting
lines and sit bolt upright all the way—no sleeper cars then, no diners
either, that I remember seeing. I remember I started from Olympia
on this trip the first week in December. Mr. —— Woodward of Olympia
suggested that we gather all the varieties of flowers obtainable in
the open air and that I press them in the leaves of my pamphlets
(presently to be mentioned), and in that way to dry and press them, so
I might exhibit the product of our wonderful mild climate up to the
month of December. We succeeded in getting fifty-two varieties then in
bloom in the open air, and all were well dried and preserved when I
arrived at my original starting place, Eddyville, Iowa. Here, loving
friends, Mrs. Elizabeth Male (Aunt Lib, we call her now), and a little
sprightly youngster, Miss Molly Male, the well-known teacher in Tacoma,
artistically arranged my treasures on tinted paper ready for exhibition
upon my arrival in New York.

I had written an eighty-page pamphlet (long since out of print)[10],
descriptive of Washington Territory, and my friend E. T. Gunn, of the
Olympia Transcript, printed them—five thousand copies—most of which I
took with me. The late Beriah Brown gave me a letter of introduction to
his old-time friend, Horace Greeley, to whom I presented it, and was
kindly received and commended to Chairman Ely of the New York Farmer's
Club, and by him given an opportunity to exhibit my flowers, speak to
the club about our country and tell them about our climate. This little
talk was widely circulated through the proceedings of the club and
printed in a number of the great papers, among them the Tribune.

This coming to the notice of Jay Cooke, of Northern Pacific fame,
with his six power presses just started at Philadelphia to advertise
the Northern Pacific route, I was called to his presence and closely
questioned, and finally complimented by the remark that he "did
not think they could afford to have any opposition in the field of
advertising," took up my whole edition and sent them on their way to
his various financial agencies.

Our visitors were all soon at home with their tents up, their blankets
out airing, the camp fires lit and with an abandon truly refreshing
turned out like children from school to have a good time. The garden,
of course, was drawn upon and "such delicious vegetables I never saw
before," fell from a dozen lips, during the stay. That turnip patch was
planted in September. "Why, that beats anything I ever saw," father
said, and as insignificant an incident as it may seem, had a decided
effect upon the minds of the party. "Why, here they are growing in
November. At home (Iowa) they would by this time be frozen as solid as
a brick." "Why, these are the finest flavored potatoes I ever ate,"
said another. The little wife had a row of sweet peas growing nearby
the cabin that shed fragrance to the innermost corner and to the
tents, and supplied bouquets for the tables, and plenty of small talk
comparing them with those "in the States".

And so the little garden, the sweet peas, and other flowers wild and
cultivated, brought contentment among those who at first had had a
feeling of despondency and disappointment.

Didn't we have clam bakes? I should say! And didn't the women folks
come in loaded with berries? And, what, whoppers of huckleberry
puddings, and huckleberry pies and all sorts of good things that
ingenuity of the housewives could conjure up.

I had frequently seen deer trotting on the beach and told my visitors
so, but somehow they could not so readily find them—had been too
noisy—but soon a fat buck was bagged, and the cup of joy was full, the
feast was on.

My visitors could not understand, and neither could I, how it came that
a nearby island (Anderson) of a few sections in extent, could contain
a lake of clear, fresh water several hundred feet above tide level,
and that this lake should have neither inlet nor outlet. It was on the
margin of this lake that the first deer was killed and nearby where the
elder brother had staked his claim.

Mowich Man, an Indian whom I have known for many years, and, by
the way, one of those interfering with the survey of Muckleshute,
as related elsewhere, was then one of our neighbors, or at least,
frequently passed our cabin with his canoe and people. He was a great
hunter, a crack shot, and an all-round Indian of good parts, by the
standard applicable to his race. Many is the saddle of venison that
this man has brought me in the lapse of years. He was not a man of any
particular force of character, but his steadfast friendship has always
impressed me as to the worth, from our own standpoint, of the race to
which he belonged. While our friends were with us visiting, my Indian
friend came along and as usual brought a nice ham of venison to the
camp, and at my suggestion, went with the younger men of the visitors
to where their first exploit of hunting bore fruit. Our young men came
back with loud praise on their lips for the Indian hunter. There was
nothing specially noteworthy in the incident only as illustrating what,
to a great extent, was going on all over the settled portion of the
Territory leading up to a better understanding between the two races.
I can safely say that none of the pioneers was without what might be
designated as a favorite Indian, that is, an Indian who was particular
to gain the good will of his chosen friend, and in most cases would
assume, or custom would bring about, the adoption of the white man's
name and the Indian would ever afterwards be known by his new name.
Mowich Man, however, like Leschi, as we shall see later, while friendly
to the whites was possessed of a more independent spirit. Some of
Mowich Man's people were fine singers, and in fact his camp, or his
canoe if traveling, was always the center for song and merriment, but
it is a curious fact one seldom can get the Indian music by asking for
it, but rather must wait for its spontaneous outburst. But Indian songs
in those days came out from nearly every nook and corner and seemed to
pervade the whole country, so much that we often and often could hear
the songs and accompanying stroke of the paddle long before our eyes
would rest on the floating canoes.

Will the reader in his mind dwell on the hardships of the pioneers,
or will he rather look upon the brighter side, that the so-called
hardships were simply the drill that developed the manhood and
womanhood, to make better men and better women, because they had faced
a duty they could not shirk, and were thereby profited? Neither did
the pioneers as a class want to shirk a duty and those of the later
generation, who have poured out their sympathy for the hardships of the
poor pioneers may as well save some of it for the present generation,
the drones of the community that see no pleasure in the stern duties of
life. But I must have done with these reflections to resume my story,
now nearly ended, of the visitors at the island home and of the long

Never did kings or queens enjoy their palaces more, nor millionaires
their princely residences, than the humble immigrant party did the
cabin and tents in their free and luxurious life. Queens might have
their jewels, but did we not have ours? Did we not have our two babies,
"the nicest, smartest, cutest in all the world?" Did we not have a
profusion of fresh air to inhale at every breath, and appetites that
made every morsel of food of exquisite flavor?

But we were all far away from what all yet thought of as home, and
admonished that winter was coming on and that after a short season
of recreation and rest we must separate, each to his task, which we
did, and the great trip was ended. The actors separated; and now, as I
write, almost all have gone on that greater journey, in which the two
of us left are so soon to join.


[9] McNeil Island, twelve miles westerly as the crow flies from Tacoma.

[10] The last purchasable copy has recently been sold for twenty-five



While the breaking of the barrier of the great mountain range for
the immigrants to Puget Sound through the Natchess Pass was not in a
baptism of blood, certainly it was under the stress of great suffering
and anxiety, as shown by the graphic letter following, of that
indefatigable worker and painstaking searcher after historic facts,
Geo. H. Himes, now of Portland, Oregon, the real father of that great
institution, the Oregon Historical Society.

Having, as the reader will see by the reading of other chapters of
this work, had some keen personal experiences through this gap of the
mountains, it is but natural the incidents will come nearer home to
me than to the general reader, particularly as I know the sincerity
of purpose of the writer and the utter absence of any spirit of
exaggeration. Although some errors have crept into Mr. Himes' letter,
where he has drawn from other sources yet this in nowise detracts from
the value of his statements, but shows how very difficult it is to
ascertain exact facts so long after the events.

The letter follows:

                                      "Portland, Oregon, Jan. 23, 1905.

  "My Dear Meeker:

     "Some time early in August, 1853, Nelson Sargent, from Puget
     Sound, met our party in Grand Ronde Valley, saying to his father,
     Asher Sargent, mother, two sisters and two brothers, and such
     others as he could make an impression on, 'You want to go to
     Puget Sound. That is a better country than the Willamette Valley.
     All the good land is taken up there; but in the Sound region you
     can have the pick of the best. The settlers on Puget Sound have
     cut a road through Natchess Pass, and you can go direct from
     the Columbia through the Cascade Mountains, and thus avoid the
     wearisome trip through the mountains over the Barlow route to
     Portland, and then down the Columbia to Cowlitz River, and then
     over a miserable road to Puget Sound.'

     "A word about the Sargents. Asher Sargent and his son Nelson
     left Indiana in 1849 for California. The next year they drifted
     northward to the northern part of Oregon—Puget Sound. Some time
     late in 1850 Nelson and a number of others were shipwrecked
     on Queen Charlotte Island, and remained among the savages for
     several months. The father, not hearing from the son, supposed
     he was lost, and in 1851 returned to Indiana. Being rescued in
     time, Nelson wrote home that he was safe; so in the spring of
     1853 the Sargents, Longmire, Van Ogle, and possibly some others
     from Indiana, started for Oregon. Somewhere on the Platte the
     Biles (two families), Bakers (two families), Downeys, Kinkaids,
     my father's family (Tyrus Himes), John Dodge and family—John
     Dodge did the stone work on the original Territorial university
     building at Seattle; Tyrus Himes was the first boot and
     shoemaker north of the Columbia River; James Biles was the first
     tanner, and a lady, Mrs. Frazier, was the first milliner and
     dressmaker—all met and journeyed westward peaceably together,
     all bound for Willamette Valley. The effect of Nelson Sargent's
     presence and portrayal of the magnificent future of Puget Sound
     caused most members of this company of 140 or more persons—or the
     leaders thereof, James Biles being the most conspicuous—to follow
     his (Sargent's) leadership. At length the Umatilla campground was
     reached, which was situated about three miles below the present
     city of Pendleton. From that point the company headed for old
     Fort Walla Walla (Wallula of today), on the Columbia River. It
     was understood that there would be no difficulty in crossing,
     but no boat was found. Hence a flatboat was made by whip-sawing
     lumber out of driftwood. Then we went up the Yakima River,
     crossing it eight times. Then to the Natchess River, through the
     sage brush, frequently as high as a covered wagon, which had to
     be cut down before we could pass through it. On September 15th
     we reached the mountains and found that there was no road,
     nothing but an Indian trail to follow. Indeed, there was no road
     whatever after leaving the Columbia, and nothing but a trail
     from the Umatilla to the Columbia; but being an open country, we
     had no particular difficulty in making headway. But I remember
     all hands felt quite serious the night we camped in the edge of
     the timber—the first of any consequence that we had seen—on the
     night of the 15th of September. Sargent said he knew the settlers
     had started to make a road, and could not understand why it
     was not completed; and since his parents, brothers and sisters
     were in the company, most of us believed that he did not intend
     to deceive. However, there was no course to pursue but to go
     forward. So we pushed on as best we could, following the bed of
     the stream part of the time, first on one bank and then on the
     other. Every little ways we would reach a point too difficult to
     pass; then we would go to the high ground and cut our way through
     the timber, frequently not making more than two or three miles a
     day. Altogether, the Natchess was crossed sixty-eight times. On
     this journey there was a stretch of fifty miles without a blade
     of grass—the sole subsistence of cattle and horses being browse
     from young maple and alder trees, which was not very filling, to
     say the least. In making the road every person from ten years old
     up lent a hand, and there is where your humble servant had his
     first lessons in trail making, barefooted to boot, but not much,
     if any, worse off than many others. It was certainly a strenuous
     time for the women, and many were the forebodings indulged in as
     to the probability of getting safely through. One woman, 'Aunt
     Pop', as she was called—one of the Woolery women—would break down
     and shed tears now and then; but in the midst of her weeping she
     would rally and by some quaint remark or funny story would cause
     everybody in her vicinity to forget their troubles.

     "In due time the summit of the Cascades was reached. Here there
     was a small prairie—really, it was an old burn that had not
     grown up to timber of any size. Now it was October, about
     the 8th of the month, and bitter cold to the youth with bare
     feet and fringed pants extending half way down from knees to
     feet. My father and the teams had left camp and gone across the
     little burn, where most of the company was assembled, apparently
     debating about the next movement to make. And no wonder, for as
     we came across we saw the cause of the delay. For a sheer thirty
     feet or more there was an almost perpendicular bluff, and the
     only way to go forward was by that way, as was demonstrated by
     an examination all about the vicinity. Heavy timber at all other
     points precluded the possibility of getting on by any other
     route. So the longest rope in the company was stretched down the
     cliff, leaving just enough to be used twice around a small tree
     which stood on the brink of the precipice; but it was found to
     be altogether too short. Then James Biles said: 'Kill one of the
     poorest of my steers and make his hide into a rope and attach
     it to the one you have.' Three animals were slaughtered before
     a rope could be secured long enough to let the wagons down to
     a point where they would stand up. There one yoke of oxen was
     hitched to a wagon, and by locking all wheels and hitching on
     small logs with projecting limbs, it was taken down to a stream
     then known as 'Greenwater.' It took the best part of two days to
     make this descent. There were thirty-six wagons belonging to the
     company, but two of them, with a small quantity of provisions,
     were wrecked on this hill. The wagons could have been dispensed
     with without much loss. Not so the provisions, scanty as they
     were, as the company came to be in sore straits for food before
     the White River prairie was reached, probably South Prairie[11]
     of today, where food supplies were first obtained, consisting
     of potatoes without salt for the first meal. Another trying
     experience was the ascent of Mud Mountain in a drenching rain,
     with the strength of a dozen yoke of oxen attached to one wagon,
     with scarcely anything in it save camp equipment, and taxing the
     strength of the teams to the utmost. But all trials came to an
     end when the company reached a point six miles from Steilacoom,
     about October 17th, and got some good, fat beef and plenty of
     potatoes, and even flour, mainly through the kindness of Dr. W.
     F. Tolmie. The change from salmon skins was gratifying.

     "And now a word about the wagon road. That had been cut through
     to Greenwater. There, it seems, according to a statement made
     to me a number of years ago by James Longmire, and confirmed by
     W. O. Bush, one of the workers, an Indian from the east side
     of the mountains, met the road workers, who inquired of him
     whether there were any 'Boston men' coming through. He replied,
     'Wake'—no. Further inquiry satisfied the road builders that
     the Indian was truthful, hence they at once returned to the
     settlement, only to be greatly astonished two weeks later to find
     a weary, bedraggled, forlorn, hungry and footsore company of
     people of both sexes, from the babe in arms—my sister was perhaps
     the youngest, eleven months old, when we ceased traveling—to the
     man of 55 years, but all rejoicing to think that after trials
     indescribable they had at last reached the 'Promised Land.'

     "Mrs. James Longmire says that soon after descending the big
     hill from the summit, perhaps early the next day, as she was a
     few hundred yards in advance of the teams, leading her little
     girl, three years and two months old, and carrying her baby boy,
     then fifteen months old, that she remembers meeting a man coming
     towards the immigrants leading a pack animal, who said to her:
     'Good God almighty, woman, where did you come from? Is there any
     more? Why, you can never get through this way. You will have to
     turn back. There is not a blade of grass for fifty miles.'

     "She replied: 'We can't go back; we've got to go forward.'

     "Soon he ascended the hill by a long detour and gave supplies to
     the immigrants. Mrs. Longmire says she remembers hearing this
     man called 'Andy', and is of the opinion that it was Andy Burge.

     "When the immigrant party got to a point supposed to be about
     six miles from Steilacoom, or possibly near the cabin of John
     Lackey, it camped. Vegetables were given them by Lackey, and
     also by a man named Mahon. Dr. Tolmie gave a beef. When that was
     sent to the camp the doctor gave it in charge of Mrs. Mary Ann
     Woolery—'Aunt Pop'—and instructed her to keep it intact until
     the two oldest men in the company came in, and that they were
     to divide it evenly. Soon a man came with a knife and said he
     was going to have some meat. Mrs. Woolery said: 'No, sir.' He
     replied: 'I am hungry, and I am going to have some of it.' In
     response she said: 'So are the rest of us hungry; but that man
     said I was not to allow anyone to touch it until the two oldest
     men came into camp, and they would divide it evenly.' He said:
     'I can't wait for that.' She said: 'You will have to.' He then
     said: 'By what authority?' 'There is my authority,' holding up
     her fist—she weighed a hundred pounds then—and she said: 'You
     touch that meat and I'll take that oxbow to you,' grabbing hold
     of one. The man then subsided. Soon the two oldest men came into
     camp. The meat was divided according to Dr. Tolmie's directions,
     and, with the vegetables that had been given, by the settlers,
     all hands had an old-fashioned boiled supper—the first for many a

I know from experience just what such a supper meant to that camp and
how it tasted. God bless that company. I came to know nearly all of
them personally, and a bigger hearted set never lived. They earned the
right to be called pioneers in the true sense of the word, but a large
percentage have gone on to pleasant paths, where the remainder of us
are soon to be joined in enduring fellowship.

"In the list following are the names of the Natchess Pass immigrants of
1853. The names followed by other names in parentheses are those of
young ladies who subsequently married men bearing the names within the

"James Biles,[12] Mrs. Nancy M. Biles,[12] Geo. W. Biles, James D.
Biles,[12] Kate Biles (Sargent), Susan B. Biles (Drew), Clark Biles,[12]
Margaret Biles,[12] Ephemia Biles (Knapp), Rev. Chas. Byles,[12] Mrs.
Sarah W. Byles,[12] David F. Byles,[12] Mary Jane Hill (Byles), Rebecca
E. Byles (Goodell),[12] Chas. N. Byles,[12] Sarah I. Byles (Ward), John
W. Woodward,[12] Bartholomew C. Baker,[12] Mrs. Fanny Baker,[12] James E.
Baker,[12] John W. Baker, Leander H. Baker, Elijah Baker,[12] Mrs. Olive
Baker,[12] Joseph N. Baker, Wm. LeRoy Baker, Martha Brooks (Young),[12]
Newton West, William R. Downey,[12] Mrs. W. R. Downey,[12] Christopher C.
Downey,[12] Geo. W. Downey,[12] James H. Downey,[12] R. W. Downey, John M.
Downey, Louise Downey (Guess),[12] Janes Downey (Clark),[12] Susan Downey
(Latham),[12] Laura B. Downey (Bartlett), Mason F. Guess,[12] Wilson
Guess,[12] Austin E. Young, Henry C. Finch,[12] Varine Davis,[12] James
Aiken, John Aiken, Glenn Aiken, Wesley Clinton, J. Wilson Hampton,
John Bowers, William M. Kincaid,[12] Mrs. W. M. Kincaid,[12] Susannah
Kincaid (Thompson), Joseph C. Kincaid, Laura Kincaid (Meade),[12]
James Kincaid, John Kincaid,[12] James Gant, Mrs. James Gant, Harris
Gant, Mrs. Harris Gant. All of the foregoing were from Kentucky.
Isaac Woolery,[12] Mrs. Isaac Woolery, Robert Lamuel Woolery, James
Henderson Woolery, Sarah Jane Woolery (Ward) (born on Little Sunday),
Abraham Woolery,[12] Mrs. Abraham Woolery (Aunt Pop), Jacob Francis
Woolery,[12] Daniel Henry Woolery, Agnes Woolery (Lamon), Erastus A.
Light,[12] Mrs. E. A. Light,[12] Henry Light, George Melville,[12] Mrs.
George Melville,[12] Kate Melville (Thompson),[12] Robert Melville,[12]
Isaac H. Wright,[12] Mrs. I. H. Wright,[12] Benjamin Franklin Wright,[12]
Mrs. B. F. Wright, James Wright, Eliza Wright (Bell), Rebecca Wright
(Moore), William Wright, Byrd Wright,[12] Grandfather—Wright,
Grandmother—Wright, Jas. Bell, Annis Wright (Downey). The foregoing
were from Missouri. Tyrus Himes,[12] Mrs. Tyrus Himes,[12] George H.
Himes, Helen L. Himes (Ruddell), Judson W. Himes, Lestina Z. Himes
(Eaton),[12] Joel Risdon,[12] Henry Risdon, Chas. R. Fitch,[12] Frederick
Burnett,[12] James Longmire,[12] Mrs. James Longmire, Elcaine Longmire,
David Longmire, John A. Longmire, Tillathi Longmire (Kandle), Asher
Sargent,[12] Mrs. A. Sargent,[12] E. Nelson Sargent, Wilson Sargent,[12]
F. M. Sargent,[12] Matilda Sargent (Saylor), Rebecca Sargent (Kellet),
Van Ogle, John Lane, Mrs. John Lane, Joseph Day, Elizabeth Whitesel
(Lane), Wm. Whitesel, Mrs. Wm. Whitesel, William Henry Whitesel,
Nancy Whitesel (Leach), Clark N. Greenman, Daniel E. Lane,[12] Mrs.
D. E. Lane,[12] Edward Lane, William Lane, Timothy Lane, Albert Lane,
Margaret Whitesel, Alexander Whitesel, Cal Whitesel. The foregoing were
from Indiana. Widow Gordon, Mary Frances Gordon, or McCullough, Mrs.
Mary Ann McCullough Porter,——McCullough,——Frazier,[12] Mrs. Elizabeth
Frazier,[12] Peter Judson,[12] Mrs. Peter Judson,[A] Stephen Judson,
John Paul Judson, Gertrude Shoren Judson (Delin), John Neisan.[A] The
foregoing were from Illinois. In addition to the above were William H.
Mitchell and John Stewart,[13] from States unknown."

This makes a total of 148 of the immigrants who completed the road—that
is, all but Melville. He refused to assist in making the road and kept
about a half day behind, notwithstanding James Biles asked him to lend
a hand.

Accompanying the party of road makers was Quiemuth, a half-brother of
Leschi, who acted as guide and led the horse upon which were packed the
blankets and provisions of Parker and Allen.


[11] It was Connell's Prairie. The route has been viewed at the outset
through South Prairie, but afterwards it was discovered that a road had
previously been opened to White River through Connell's Prairie, and
the latter route was adopted and the old road cleared by Allen's party.

[12] Dead.

[13] Dead.



We have seen with what travail the first immigrants passed through the
Natchess Pass. We will now tell about that other struggle to construct
any kind of a road at all, and so we must need go back a little in our

While I had been struggling to get the little wife and baby over from
the Columbia River to the Sound, and a roof over their heads, the
sturdy pioneers of this latter region set resolutely to work building
a wagon road through this pass, to enable the immigration of 1853, and
later years, to come direct to Puget Sound.

For unknown ages the Indians had traveled a well-worn but crooked and
difficult trail through this pass, followed by the Hudson Bay people
later in their intercourse with the over-mountain tribes, but it
remained for the resolute pioneers of 1853 to open a wagon road over
the formidable Cascade range of mountains to connect the two sections
of the Territory, otherwise so completely separated from each other.

Congress had appropriated twenty thousand dollars for the construction
of a military road from Fort Steilacoom to Wallula on the Columbia
River, but it was patent to all the appropriation could not be made
available in time for the incoming immigration known to be on the way.

This knowledge impelled the settlers to make extraordinary efforts to
open the road, as related in this and succeeding chapters.

Meetings had been held at various points to forward the scheme and
popular subscription lists circulated for prosecuting this laudable
enterprise. It was a great undertaking for the scattered pioneers,
particularly where so many were newcomers with scant provision yet made
for food or shelter for the coming winter.

But everyone felt this all important enterprise must be attended to,
to the end that they might divert a part of the expected immigration
which would otherwise go down the Columbia or through passes south of
that river, and thence into Oregon, and be lost to the new but yet
unorganized territory of Washington.

And yet in the face of all the sacrifices endured and the universal
public spirit manifested, there are men who would belittle the efforts
of the citizens of that day and malign their memories by accusing
them of stirring up discontent among the Indians. "A lot of white men
who were living with Indian women, and who were interested in seeing
that the country remained common pasture as long as possible." A more
outrageous libel was never penned against the living or dead. In this
case but few of the actors are left, but there are records, now fifty
years old that it is a pleasure to perpetuate for the purpose of
setting this matter aright, and also of correcting some errors that
have crept into the treacherous memories of the living, and likewise
to pay a tribute to the dead. Later in life I knew nearly all these
sixty-nine men, subscribers to this fund, and so far as I know now all
are dead but eight, and I know the underlying motive that prompted this
strenuous action; they wanted to see the country settled up with the
sturdy stock of the overland immigrants.

The same remark applies to the intrepid road workers, some of whom it
will be seen camped on the trail for the whole summer, and labored
without money and without price to that end.

It is difficult to abridge the long quotation following, illustrating
so vividly as it does the rough and ready pioneer life as Winthrop saw
and so sparklingly described. Such tributes ought to be perpetuated,
and I willingly give up space for it from his work, "The Canoe and the
Saddle," which will repay the reader for careful perusal. Winthrop
gives this account as he saw the road-workers the last week of August,
1853, in that famous trip from Nisqually to The Danes. Belated and
a little after nightfall, he suddenly emerged from the surrounding
darkness where, quoting his words:

     "A score of men were grouped about a fire. Several had sprung
     up, alert at our approach. Others reposed untroubled. Others
     tended viands odoriferous and frizzing. Others stirred the flame.
     Around, the forest rose, black as Erebus, and the men moved in
     the glare against the gloom like pitmen in the blackest coal

     "I must not dally on the brink, half hid in the obscure thicket,
     lest the alert ones below should suspect an ambush and point
     toward me open-mouthed rifles from their stack near at hand.
     I was enough out of the woods to halloo, as I did heartily.
     Klale sprang forward at shout and spur. Antipodes obeyed a
     comprehensive hint from the whip of Loolowean. We dashed down
     into the crimson pathway, and across among the astonished road
     makers—astonished at the sudden alighting down from Nowhere
     of a pair of cavaliers, Pasaiook and Siwash. What meant this
     incursion of a strange couple? I became at once the center of
     a red-flannel-shirted circle. The recumbents stood on end. The
     cooks let their frying pans bubble over, while, in response to
     looks of expectation, I hung out my handbill and told the society
     my brief and simple tale. I was not running away from any fact
     in my history. A harmless person, asking no favors, with plenty
     of pork and spongy biscuit in his bags—only going home across
     the continent, if may be, and glad, gentlemen pioneers, of this
     unexpected pleasure.

     "My quality thus announced, the boss of the road makers, without
     any dissenting voice, offered me the freedom of their fireside.
     He called for the fattest pork, that I might be entertained right
     republicanly. Every cook proclaimed supper ready. I followed my
     representative host to the windward side of the greenwood pyre,
     lest smoke wafting toward my eyes should compel me to disfigure
     the banquet with lachrymose countenance.

     "Fronting the coals, and basking in their embrowning beams,
     were certain diminutive targets, well known to me as defensive
     armor against darts of cruel hunger—cakes of unleavened bread,
     light flapjacks in the vernacular, confected of flour and the
     saline juices of fire-ripened pork, and kneaded well with drops
     of the living stream. Baked then in frying pan, they stood now,
     each nodding forward and resting its edge upon a planted twig,
     toast-crustily till crunching time should come. And now to every
     man his target! Let supper assail us! No dastards with trencher
     are we.

     "In such a platonic republic as this a man found his place
     according to his powers. The cooks were no base scullions; they
     were brothers, whom conscious ability, sustained by universal
     suffrage, had endowed with the frying pan. Each man's target of
     flapjacks served him for platter and edible table. Coffee, also,
     for beverage, the fraternal cooks set before us in infrangible
     tin pots—coffee ripened in its red husk by Brazilian suns
     thousands of leagues away, that we, in cool Northern forests,
     might feel the restorative power of its concentrated sunshine,
     feeding vitality with fresh fuel.

     "But for my gramniverous steeds, gallopers all day long,
     unflinching steeplechase, what had nature done here in the way of
     provender? Alas! little or naught. This camp of plenty for me was
     a starvation camp for them.

     "My hosts were a stalwart gang. I had truly divined them from
     their cleavings on the hooihut (road). It was but play for any
     one of these to whittle down a cedar five feet in diameter. In
     the morning this compact knot of comrades would explode into a
     mitraille of men wielding keen axes, and down would go the dumb,
     stolid files of the forest. Their talk was as muscular as their
     arms. When these laughed, as only men fresh and hearty and in
     the open air can laugh, the world became mainly grotesque; it
     seemed at once a comic thing to live—a subject for chuckling,
     that we were bipeds with noses—a thing to roar at; that we had
     all met there from the wide world to hobnob by a frolicsome fire
     with tin pots of coffee, and partake of crisped bacon and toasted
     doughboys in ridiculous abundance. Easy laughter infected the
     atmosphere. Echoes ceased to be pensive and became jocose. A
     rattling humor pervaded the feast, and Green River[14] rippled
     with noise of fantastic jollity. Civilization and its dilettante
     diners-out sneer when Clodpole at Dive's table doubles his soup,
     knifes his fish, tilts his plate into his lap, puts muscle into
     the crushing of his meringue, and tosses off the warm beaker
     in his finger bowl. Camps by Tacoma sneer not at all, but
     candidly roar at parallel accidents. Gawkey makes a cushion of
     his flapjack. Butterfingers drops his red-hot rasher into his
     bosom, or lets slip his mug of coffee into his boot drying by the
     fire—a boot henceforth saccharine. A mule, slipping his halter,
     steps forward unnoticed, puts his nose in the circle and brays
     resonant. These are the jocular boons of life, and at these the
     woodsmen guffaw with lusty good nature. Coarse and rude the jokes
     may be, but not nasty, like the innuendoes of pseudo-refined
     cockneys. If the woodsmen are guilty of uncleanly wit, it differs
     from the uncleanly wit of cities as the mud of a road differs
     from the sticky slime of slums.

     "It is a stout sensation to meet masculine, muscular men at the
     brave point of a penetrating Boston hooihut—men who are mates—men
     to whom technical culture means naught—men to whom myself am
     naught, unless I can saddle, lasso, cook, sing and chop; unless
     I am a man of nerve and pluck, and a brother in generosity and
     heartiness. It is restoration to play at cudgels of jocoseness
     with a circle of friendly roughs, not one of whom ever heard the
     word bore—with pioneers who must think and act and wrench their
     living from the closed hand of nature.

     "* * * While fantastic flashes were leaping up and illuminating
     the black circuit of forest, every man made his bed, laid his
     blankets in starry bivouac and slept like a mummy. The camp
     became vocal with snores; nasal with snores of various calibre
     was the forest. Some in triumphant tones announced that dreams of
     conflict and victory were theirs; some sighed in dulcet strains
     that told of lovers' dreams; some strew shrill whistles through
     cavernous straits; some wheezed grotesquely and gasped piteously;
     and from some who lay supine, snoring up at the fretted roof of
     forest, sound gushed in spasms, leaked in snorts, bubbled in
     puffs, as steam gushes, leaks and bubbles from yawning valves in
     degraded steamboats. They died away into the music of my dreams;
     a few moments seemed to pass, and it was day.

     "* * * If horses were breakfastless, not so were their masters.
     The road makers had insisted that I should be their guest,
     partaking not only of the fire, air, earth and water of their
     bivouacs, but an honorable share at their feast. Hardly had
     the snoring ceased when the frying of the fryers began. In the
     pearly-gray mist of dawn, purple shirts were seen busy about the
     kindling pile; in the golden haze of sunrise cooks brandished
     pans over fierce coals raked from the red-hot jaws of flame that
     champed their breakfast of fir logs. Rashers, doughboys, not
     without molasses, and coffee—a bill of fare identical with last
     night's—were our morning meal. * * *

     "And so adieu, gentlemen pioneers, and thanks for your frank,
     manly hospitality! Adieu, 'Boston tilicum,' far better types
     of robust Americanism than some of those selected as its
     representatives by Boston of the Orient, where is too much
     worship of what is, and not too much uplifting of hopeful looks
     of what ought to be.

     "As I started, the woodsmen gave me a salute. Down, to echo
     my shout of farewell, went a fir of fifty years' standing.
     It cracked sharp, like the report of a howitzer, and crashed
     downward, filling the woods with shattered branches. Under cover
     of this first shot, I dashed at the woods. I could ride more
     boldly forward into savageness, knowing that the front ranks of
     my nation were following close behind."

The men who were in that camp of road workers were E. J. Allen, A. J.
Burge, Thomas Dixon, Ephraim Allen, James Henry Allen, George Githers,
John Walker, John H. Mills, R. S. More, R. Foreman, Ed. Crofts, Jas.
Boise, Robert Patterson, Edward Miller, Edward Wallace, Lewis Wallace,
Jas. R. Smith, John Burrows, and Jas. Mix.

The names of the workers on the east slope of the mountains are as
follows: Whitfield Kirtley, Edwin Marsh, Nelson Sargent, Paul Ruddell,
Edward Miller, J. W. Fonts, John L. Perkins, Isaac M. Brown, James
Alverson, Nathaniel G. Stewart, William Carpenter, and Mr. Clyne.

The Pioneer and Democrat, published at Olympia, in its issue of
September 30th, 1854, contains the following self-explanatory letter
and account that will revive the memory of many almost forgotten names
and set at rest this calumny cast upon the fame of deserving men.

     "Friend Wiley: Enclosed I send you for publication the statement
     of the cash account of the Puget Sound emigrant road, which has
     been delayed until this time, partly on account of a portion of
     the business being unsettled, and partly because you could not,
     during the session of the last legislature, find room in your
     columns for its insertion. As you have now kindly offered, and as
     it is due the citizens of the Territory that they should receive a
     statement of the disposition of the money entrusted to me, I send
     it to you, and in so doing close up my connection with the Cascade
     road, and would respectfully express my gratitude to the citizens
     for the confidence they have reposed in me, and congratulate them
     upon the successful completion of the road."

                                        "JAMES K. HURD."


     By subscription of John M. Swan, $10.00; S. W. Percival, $5.00;
     Jos. Cushman, $5.00; Milas Galliher, $5.00; C. Eaton, $5.00;
     Chips Ethridge, $5.00; Wm. Berry, $5.00; J. C. Patton, $5.00; T.
     F. McElroy, $5.00; James Taylor, $5.00; George Gallagher, $5.00;
     J. Blanchard, $5.00; Weed & Hurd, $100.00; Kendall Co., $50.00;
     G. A. Barnes, $50.00; Parker, Colter & Co., $30.00; Brand &
     Bettman, $25.00; J. & C. E. Williams, $25.00; Waterman & Goldman,
     $25.00; Lightner, Rosenthal & Co., $10.00; A. J. Moses, $10.00;
     Wm. W. Plumb, $10.00; Isaac Wood & Son, $15.00; D. J. Chambers,
     $20.00; John Chambers, $5.00; McLain Chambers, $10.00; J. H.
     Conner, $5.00; H. G. Parsons, $5.00; Thomas J. Chambers, $20.00;
     Puget Sound Agricultural Co., $100.00; Wells, McAllister & Co.,
     $30.00; Henry Murray, $25.00; L. A. Smith, $25.00; Chas. Wren,
     $25.00; James E. Williamson, $10.00; H. C. Mosely, $5.00; J.
     M. Bachelder, $5.00; Lemuel Bills, $25.00; W. Boatman, $15.00;
     W. M. Sherwood, $5.00; James Barron, $5.00; S. W. Woodruff,
     $5.00; R. S. More, $5.00: John D. Press, $5.00; Samuel McCaw,
     $5.00; Philip Keach, $10.00; Abner Martin, $20.00; George
     Brail, $10.00; T. W. Glasgow, $10.00; McGomery, $10.00; Thos.
     Tallentire, $10.00; Garwin Hamilton, $5.00; John McLeod, $25.00;
     Richard Philander, $5.00; W. Gregg, $5.00; David Pattee, $20.00;
     Thomas Chambers, $50.00; W. A. Slaughter, $10.00; W. Hardin,
     $15.00; L. Balch, $50.00; W. W. Miller, $10.00; J. B. Webber,
     $25.00; J. W. Goodell, $10.00;——Kline, $10.00; A. Benton Moses,
     $5.00;——Parsons, $5.00; H. Hill, $5.00; by amount received for
     horse, $35.00; by amount received for horse (Woods), $35.00; by
     subscription of Nelson Barnes, $30.00. Total, $1,220.00. Deduct
     amount note from Lemuel Bills, $25.00. Whole amount received as
     per subscription paper, $1,195.00.

This list of subscribers to the road fund will revive memories of
almost forgotten names of old-time friends and neighbors, and also will
serve to show the interest taken by all classes. It must not for a
moment be taken this comprises the whole list of contributors to this
enterprise, for it is not half of it, as the labor subscription far
exceeded the cash receipts represented by this published statement.
Unfortunately, we are unable to obtain a complete list of those who
gave their time far beyond what they originally had agreed upon, but
were not paid for their labor.

The Columbian, published under date of July 30th, 1853, says:

     "Captain Lafayette Balch, the enterprising proprietor of
     Steilacoom, has contributed one hundred dollars in money towards
     the road to Walla Walla. To each and every man who started from
     that neighborhood to work on the road, Captain Balch gives a lot
     in the town of Steilacoom. He is security to the United States
     Government for a number of mules, pack saddles and other articles
     needed by the men. He furnished the outfit for the company who
     started from that place with Mr. E. J. Allen, at just what the
     articles cost in San Francisco."

Mr. Hurd's expenditure is set out in his published report, but none of
it is for labor, except for Indian hire, a small sum. We know there
were thirty men at work at one time, and that at least twelve of them
spent most of the summer on the work and that at least fifty laborers
in all donated their time, and that the value of the labor was far in
excess of the cash outlay.

By scanning the list the "Old Timer" will readily see the cash
subscribers and road workers were by no means confined to Olympia, and
that many of the old settlers of Pierce County are represented, and
even the foreign corporation, the Puget Sound Agricultural Company,
came down with a heavy subscription. Everybody was in favor of the
road. Such can also pick out the names of those "white men who were
living with Indian women" among the liberal subscribers to the fund for
opening the road.

Nor were the Indians lacking in interest in the enterprise. A. J.
Baldwin, then and for many years afterwards a citizen of Olympia, and
whom it may be said was known as a truthful man, in a recent interview,

     "We all put our shoulders to the wheel to make the thing go. I
     helped to pack out grub to the working party myself. It seemed
     to be difficult to get the stuff out; entirely more so than to
     get it contributed. I was short of pack animals one trip, and
     got twelve horses from Leschi, and I believe Leschi went himself

     "Do you remember how much you paid Leschi for his horses?"

     "Why, nothing. He said if the whites were working without pay and
     were giving provisions, it was as little as he could do to let
     his horses go and help. He said if I was giving my time and use
     of horses then he would do the same, and if I received pay then
     he wanted the same pay I got. Neither of us received anything."

These were the Indians who were actually driven from their farms into
the war camp, leaving the plow and unfinished furrow in the field and
stock running at large, to be confiscated by the volunteers, at the
outbreak of the Indian war of 1855.

And such were the road workers in the Natchess Pass in the fall of
1853, and such were the pioneers of that day. Fortunate it is we have
the testimony of such a gifted and unbiased writer as Winthrop to
delineate the character of the sturdy men who gave their strenuous
efforts and substance that their chosen commonwealth might prosper.


[14] This should read Green Water. This camp was far up in the
mountains and the stream referred to came from the main range and not
from the glaciers of the great mountain, and hence was a sparkling,
dancing rivulet of clearest water. Green River is forty miles or more
farther down the mountain.

[15] Baldwin is mistaken. Queimuth, Leschi's brother, went as guide and
packer, but Leschi doubtless supplied the horses.



Allen's party left Steilacoom for this work July 30th, (1853), and was
still at work on the 26th of September, when he wrote: "We will be
through this week, having completed the western portion of the road."
With twenty men in sixty days and over sixty miles to cut, he could not
be expected to build much of a road.

The other party, under Kirtley, left Olympia, thirteen strong, July
19th, and was back again August 20th, and so could not have done very
effective work on the east slope, as it would take at least a third of
the time to make the trip out and back from their field of labor.

With a view of trying to settle the disputed points, I wrote to my old
time friend, A. J. Burge, one of the Allen party, to get information
from first hands, and have this characteristic reply:

                                        "Wenass, December 8th, 1904.

     "Friend Meeker.—Sir: Your letter dated Nov. 26, 1904, at hand.
     Sir, I am quite sick. I will try to sit up long enough to
     scratch an answer to your questions. Kirtley's men fell out
     among themselves. I well remember Jack Perkins had a black eye.
     Kirtley, as I understood, was to go (to) Wenass creek, thence cut
     a wagon road from Wenass to the Natchess River, thence up the
     Natchess River until they met Allen's party. It is my opinion
     they did commence at Wenass. There were three notches cut in
     many of the large trees (logs). I can find some of these trees
     yet where these notches show. Allen did not know Kirtley and his
     party had abandoned the enterprise until Ehformer told him. He
     expressed much surprise and regret. I packed the provisions for
     Allen's party. The last trip I made I found Allen and his party
     six or eight miles down the Natchess River. I was sent back to
     the summit of the mountain to search for a pack mule and a pack
     horse. These two animals were used by the working party to move
     their camp outfit, and their provisions. When they returned they
     told me that they cut the road down to where Kirtley's party left
     off. Of my own knowledge I can safely say Allen's party cut the
     road from John Montgomery's[16] to some six or maybe eight miles
     down the Natchess River, and it was four days after that before
     they came to the summit on their return.

     "It is possible Kirtley's party slighted their work to the extent
     that made it necessary for the immigrants to take their axes in
     hand. I consider Kirtley a dead failure at anything. Kirtley's
     party came home more than a month before we came in. If Van Ogle
     is not insane he ought to remember.

     "Allen's party cut the road out from six to eight miles down the
     Natchess River from John Montgomery's. The valley on the Natchess
     River is too narrow for any mistake to occur.

     "The first men that came through came with James and his brother,
     Charles Biles, Sargent, Downey, James Longmire, Van Ogle,
     two Atkins, Lane, a brother-in-law of Sargent, Kincaid, two
     Woolery's, Lane of Puyallup, E. A. Light, John Eagan (Reagan),
     Charley Fitch. Meeker, I am quite sick; when I get well I will
     write more detailed account; it is as much as I can do to sit up."

                                        "Yours in haste, as ever,
                                                         "A. J. BURGE."

This man I have known for over fifty years, and it touched me to think
at the age bordering on eighty, he should get up out of a sick bed
to comply with my request. He has written the truth, and some of the
information we could get in no other way.

It seems that some people live a charmed life. Burge was shot by a
would-be assassin a few miles out from Steilacoom over forty years ago,
the bullet going through his neck, just missing the jugular vein.

While it is a complete digression, nevertheless, just as interesting
here as elsewhere, so I will tell the story of this shooting to further
illustrate conditions of early settlement on the Nisqually plains. The
man with the thirteen cows and thirty calves mentioned elsewhere, lived
near Burge. The most desperate character I ever knew, Charles McDaniel,
also was a near neighbor, but a friend of Andy, as we used to call
Burge. Both lost stock that could be traced directly to their neighbor,
Wren, the man with the extra calves, but it was no use to prosecute him
as a jury could not be procured that would convict. I had myself tried
it in our court with the direct evidence of the branded hide taken
from him, but a bribed juryman refused to convict. For a few years and
for this district and with the class previously described as occupying
the country adjacent to Steilacoom, there seemed to be no redress
through our courts. Finally Burge and McDaniel waylaid their neighbor
a few miles out from Steilacoom, tied him to a tree, and whipped him
most unmercifully. I have never yet given my approval to mob law and
never will, believing that it is better to suffer awhile, bide one's
time until laws can be enforced, rather than to join in actions that
will breed contempt for law and lead to anarchy; but, if ever there
was a justifiable case of men taking the law in their own hands, this
was one of them, and is introduced here to illustrate a condition of
affairs that had grown up which seemed well nigh intolerable. After
the whipping Wren was warned to leave the country, which he could not
well do, tied to a tree as he was until third parties discovered and
released him, but which he speedily did, although the wealthiest man
in the county. No prosecutions followed, but in the lapse of time a
colored man appeared at Steilacoom and spent much time hunting herbs
on the prairies, until one day Burge was going home from Steilacoom in
his wagon, when this centre shot was fired with the result as related.
The colored man disappeared as mysteriously as he came, but everyone
believed he had been hired to assassinate Burge and McDaniel, and as
afterwards proven was the case.

But the trouble was not ended here. The lawless neighbor had gone, but
not lawlessness. The old story that lawlessness begets lawlessness was
again proven. McDaniel and others concluded that as Wren was gone,
they could prey upon his land holdings, which for twenty-five years
in Pierce County was no more than squatter's rights, in consequence
of that intolerable claim of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company,
mentioned elsewhere. At this, most of the community rebelled and
warned McDaniel, but to no purpose, until finally he was shot down on
the streets of Steilacoom, or rather a vacant lot in a public place,
and lay for hours in his death struggles uncared for, and his pal
murdered in the wagon that was carrying him to a scaffold. The two
had been waylaid, but had escaped, only to meet their fate in a more
public manner. Burge narrowly escaped a like fate at the hands of
the mob, because of his near neighborship with McDaniel and of his
participation with him in the first instance that had led up to the
final catastrophe. But Burge was an honorable man, though rough in
manner, yet just in his dealings, while McDaniel was a gambler and a
blackleg of the very worst imaginable type. The Indian war had brought
to the front many vicious characters, and the actions of some officials
in high places had encouraged lawlessness, so, as a community, the
nearby country round and about Steilacoom was scourged almost beyond

And yet there were genuine pioneer settlements in not very far off
regions of this storm center of lawlessness, where the law was as
cheerfully obeyed as in any old and well settled community, where crime
was scarcely known, and where family ties were held as sacred as any
place on earth, and where finally the influence spread over the whole
land and the whole community leavened.

By these incidents related it will be seen that pioneers were neither
all saints nor all sinners, but like the older communities had their
trials other than the supposed discomforts incident to pioneer life.

The reader may not have noticed that Burge in his letter mentions
that there are still trees (he means logs), yet to be seen with the
three notches cut in them, where the immigrant road had been cut. I had
forgotten the third notch, but it all comes back to me now that he has
mentioned it. These logs that we bridged up to and cut the notches in
for the wheels in most cases had to have the third notch in the center
to save the coupling pole or reach from catching on the log, especially
where the bridging did not extend out far from the log to be crossed.
Oftentimes the wagon would be unloaded, the wagon box taken off, the
wagon uncoupled and taken over the obstruction or down or up it, as the
case might be, to be loaded again beyond.

It will be noticed by Mr. Himes' letter that their party came all the
way up the canyon and crossed the Natchess River 68 times while I
crossed it but thirty odd times. At or near the 32d crossing, the road
workers took to the table land and abandoned the lower stretch of the
canyon, and through that portion the train which Mr. Himes refers to
was compelled to cut their own road for a long stretch. But that part
reported cut was certainly a hard road to travel, and we had to work
more or less all the way down the mountain; as Colonel E. J. Allen, who
is yet alive, quaintly put it in a recent letter: "Assuredly the road
was not sandpapered." I should say not. I think the Colonel was not
much of a teamster and had never handled the goad stick over the road
or elsewhere, as I did, else he would be more sympathetic in responses
to outcries against the "execrable shadow of a road."

Nelson Sargent, mentioned by Mr. Himes, still lives and is a respected,
truthful citizen, but he certainly did take great risks in leading
that first train of immigrants into that trap of an uncut road up
the Natchess River. The whole party narrowly escaped starvation in
the mountains and Sargent a greater risk of his neck at the hands of
indignant immigrants while in the mountains, if we may believe the
reports that came out at the time from the rescued train. However, I
never believed that Sargent intended to deceive, but was over-sanguine
and was himself deceived, and that Kirtley's failure to continue in
the field was the cause of the suffering that followed.

Allen sent 300 pounds of flour to Wenass and a courier came to Olympia,
whereupon "Old Mike Simmons," Bush, Jones, and others, forthwith
started with half a ton of flour, onions, potatoes, etc., and met them
beyond the outskirts of the settlement. All that was necessary those
days for a person to get help was to let it become known that some one
was in distress and there would always be willing hands without delay;
in fact, conditions almost approached the socialistic order of common
property as to food, by the voluntary actions of the great, big hearted
early settlers, as shown in other instances related, as well as in
this. God bless those early settlers, the real pioneers of that day.

The Indian Leschi, who we have seen contributed to the work, utilized
the road to make his escape with seventy of his people, after his
disastrous defeat at the hands of the volunteers and United States
troops in March, 1856, to cross the summit on the snow, so that after
all, in a way, he received a benefit from his liberality in times of

Two years after the opening of the road, the Hudson Bay Company sent
a train of three hundred horses loaded with furs, from the interior
country to Fort Nisqually, with a return of merchandise through the
same pass, but never repeated the experiment.


[16] Nisqually Plains.



The outbreak of an Indian war, soon followed the first treaty making.
The Indians had been outrageously cheated and deceived and war followed.

"October 28th, 1855, nine persons were massacred on White River, about
twenty miles South of Seattle." Such is the record of that bloody day's
work, eighteen miles distant from where I was living, six miles east
of Fort Steilacoom.[17]

"The Indians have broken out," was passed from one settler's cabin to
another by rumors, so quickly that by the morning of the 29th all were
on the move towards the fort, which in fact was no fort at all—simply a
few cabins and some thin board houses.

[Illustration: Type of Blockhouse of Which Seventy-five Were Built at
the Outbreak of the Indian War.]

I had lived in peace with these Indians and they had gained my
confidence, and as the sequel subsequently showed, I held their
friendship and confidence, for in after-times, during the war, a war
party held me harmless within their power, as they had said they would
of those who had advocated their cause at the time the treaties were

Soon after the outbreak noted, I disregarded the earnest entreaties
of many, went back to my stock and to the cabin and cared for the
abandoned dairy and young stock. I did not believe the Indians would
molest me, but took the precaution of having my rifle in a convenient
place. But I did not need to use it. When nightfall came, however, I
did withdraw from my cabin, not in fear of war parties, but as against
individual outlaws.

As the sole military record of my life consisted in my experience with
a company of 17 settlers to make a raid to the Puyallup valley soon
after the outbreak described, I thought to "save" my prestige and tell
about it.

The settlers of Puyallup had left their homes the next day after the
massacre in such haste, that they were almost absolutely destitute
of clothing, bedding and food, as well as shelter. A strong military
force had penetrated the Indian country:—the upper Puyallup valley
and beyond, we knew, but did not know they had retreated by another
road,—virtually driven out—the very day we went in armed with all sorts
of guns and with scarcely any organization. We had, however, not gone
into the Indian stronghold to fight Indians, but to recover property,
nevertheless, there would have been hot work if attacked. The settlers
knew the country as well as the Indians, and were prepared to meet
them on their own grounds and in their own way—by couples or singly
if need be. The Indians were in great force but a few miles distant,
and had their scouts on our tracks, but did not molest us while we
visited every settler's cabin, secured their belongings not destroyed
and on the sixth day came away with great loads of "plunder," all the
while in blissful ignorance that the troops had been withdrawn, and no
protection lay between us and the Indian forces.

This was the beginning of the discrimination of the Indians in favor of
non-combatants, which became so pronounced as the war progressed.


[17] Fully told in my "Tragedy of Leschi," to which the reader is
referred who may wish to acquaint themselves of the early history of
the Northwest and Indian Warfare: 575 pages, 6×9, silk cloth binding,
$3.00 postpaid. Address Ezra Meeker, 1120 38th Ave. N., Seattle, Wash.



On the 21st day of March, 1858, the schooner Wild Pidgeon arrived at
Steilacoom and brought the news that the Indians had discovered gold on
Fraser River; had traded several pounds of the precious metal with the
Hudson Bay Company, and that three hundred people had left Victoria and
vicinity for the new eldorado. And, further, the report ran, the mines
were exceedingly rich.

The next day there came further reports from the north, that the
Bellingham Bay Company's coal mines had been compelled to suspend work,
as all their operatives but three had started for the mines, that many
of the logging camps had shut down, and all the mills were running on
short time from the same cause.

The wave of excitement that ran through the little town upon the
receipt of this news was repeated in every town and hamlet of the
whole Pacific Coast, and continued around the world, sending thither
adventurous spirits from all civilized countries of the earth.

But when the word came the next week that one hundred and ten pounds
of gold had actually been received in Victoria, and that hundreds of
men were outfitting, the virulence of the gold fever knew no bounds,
and everybody, women folks and all, wanted to go, and would have
started pell-mell had there not been that restraining influence of
the second sober thought of people who had just gone through the mill
of adversity. My family was still in the block house we had built
during the war in the town of Steilacoom. Our cattle were peacefully
grazing on the plains a few miles distant, but there remained a
spirit of unrest that one could not fail to observe. There had been
no Indian depredations for two years west of the Cascade Mountains,
but some atrocious murders had been committed by a few renegade white
men, besides the murder of Leschi under the forms of law that had but
recently taken place. The Indians just over the mountains were in a
threatening mood, and in fact soon again broke out into open warfare
and inflicted heavy punishment on Steptoe's command, and came very near
annihilating that whole detachment.

The close of the Indian war of 1855-6 had engendered a reckless spirit
among what may be called the unsettled class that to many of the more
sober minded was looked upon as more dangerous than the Indians among
us. In the wake of the United States army paymaster came a vile set of
gamblers and blacklegs that preyed upon the soldiers, officers and men
alike, who became a menace to the peace of the community, and, like
a veritable bedlam turned loose, often made night hideous with their
carousals. The reader need not feel this is an overdrawn picture, for
it is not. We must remember the common soldiers of the United States
army fifty years ago were very different from our army of the present
time. At least such was the case with the forces stationed at Fort
Steilacoom at the time of which I am writing.

An illustration: Having drifted into a small business conducted in
our block house at Steilacoom, in an unguarded moment I let a half
dozen of the blue-coats (as the soldiers were then universally called)
have a few articles on credit. These men told their comrades, who came
soliciting credit but were refused, when some drunken members of the
party swore they would come strong enough to take the goods anyway,
and actually did come at night thirty strong, and having been refused
admission, began breaking down the door. A shot through the door that
scattered splinters among the assembled crowd served as a warning that
caused them to desist, and no damage was done, but the incident serves
to illustrate the conditions prevailing at the time the gold discovery
was reported. Pierce County contributed its contingent of gold seekers,
some of the desperadoes and some of the best citizens. One Charles
McDaniel, who killed his man while gone, returned to plague us;
another, one of our merchants, Samuel McCaw, bundled up a few goods,
made a flying trip up Fraser River, came back with fifty ounces of
gold dust and with the news the mines were all that had been reported,
and more, too, which of course added fuel to the burning flame of the
all-prevalent gold fever. We all then believed a new era had dawned
upon us, similar to that of ten years before in California that changed
the world's history. High hopes were built, most of them to end in
disappointment. Not but there were extensive mines, and that they were
rich, and that they were easily worked, but, how to get there was the
puzzling question. The early voyagers had slipped up the Fraser before
the freshets that came from the melting snows to swell the torrents of
that river. Those going later either failed altogether and gave up the
unequal contest, or lost an average of one canoe or boat out of three
in the persistent attempt. How many lives were lost never will be known.

"Beginning at a stump in the bank of said creek (Squalecum), about 20
feet above the bridge near the mouth of said creek; thence running due
west 240 feet; thence due south 60 feet; thence due east 240 feet;
thence due north 60 feet to the place of beginning." Such is the
description of a tract of land as recorded on the book of records of
deeds for the county of Whatcom, bearing date of June 25th, 1858. On
that date I was in Whatcom, and saw the sights and acted my part as one
of the wild men of the north country, received a deed for the land as
described from Edward Eldridge, who then resided on his claim adjoining
the town of Whatcom, and where he continued until his death. No public
surveys had up to that time been made, and so, to describe a lot I
was purchasing of Mr. Eldridge, what more durable monument could we
select than the big stump of one of those giants of the monster forests
fronting on Bellingham Bay.

Going back a little in my story to the receipt of the news of
the discovery on the Fraser and Thompson Rivers, each succeeding
installment of news that came to Steilacoom more than confirmed the
original report. Contingents began to arrive in Steilacoom from Oregon,
from California, and finally from "the States," as all of our country
east of the Rocky Mountains was designated by pioneers. Steamers great
and small began to appear with more or less cargo and passenger lists,
which we heard were as nothing compared to what was going on less than
a hundred miles to the north of us. These people landing in Whatcom in
such great numbers must be fed, we agreed, and if the multitude would
not come to us to drink the milk of our dairies and eat the butter,
what better could we do than to take our cows to the multitude where we
were told people did not hesitate to pay a dollar a gallon for milk and
any price one might ask for fresh butter.

But, how to get even to Whatcom was the "rub". All space on the
steamers was taken from week to week for freight and passengers, and
no room left for cattle. In fact, the movement of provisions was so
great that at one time we were almost threatened with a veritable
famine, so close had the stock of food been shipped. Finally, our
cattle, mostly cows, were loaded in an open scow and taken in tow
along side of the steamer (Sea Bird, I think it was), where all went
smoothly enough until we arrived off the head of Whidby Island, where
a chopped sea from a light wind began slopping over into the scow and
evidently would sink us despite our utmost efforts at bailing. When
the captain would slow down the speed of his steamer all was well, but
the moment greater power was applied, over the gunwales would come the
water. The dialogue that ensued between myself and the captain was more
emphatic than elegant and perhaps would not look well in print, but he
dare not risk let go of us or run us under without incurring the risk
of heavy damages and probable loss of life. But I stood by my guns
(figuratively), and would not consent to be landed, and so about the
20th of June, tired and sleepy, we were set adrift in Bellingham Bay,
and landed near the big stump described as the starting point for the
land purchased later.

But our cows must have feed, must be milked, and the milk marketed, and
so there was no rest nor sleep for us for another thirty-six hours.
In fact, there was but little sleep for anybody on that beach at the
time. Several ocean steamers had just dumped three thousand people on
the beach, and the scramble still continued to find a place to build a
house or stretch a tent, or even to spread a blanket, for there were
great numbers already on hand landed by previous steamers. The staking
of lots on the tide flats at night, when the tide was out, seemed to be
a staple industry. Driving of piles or planting of posts as permanent
as possible often preceded and accompanied by high words between
contestants came to be a commonplace occurrence. The belief among these
people seemed to be that if they could get stakes or posts to stand on
end, and a six-inch strip nailed to them to encompass a given spot of
the flats, that they would thereby become the owner, and so the merry
war went on until the bubble burst.

A few days after my arrival four steamers came with an aggregate of
over two thousand passengers, many of whom, however, did not leave
the steamer and took passage either to their port of departure, San
Francisco, Victoria, or points on the Sound. The ebb tide had set in,
and although many steamers came later and landed passengers, their
return lists soon became large and the population began to diminish.

Taking my little dory that we had with us on the scow, I rowed out
to the largest steamer lying at anchor surrounded by small boats so
numerous that in common parlance the number was measured by the acre,
"an acre of boats." Whether or not an acre of space was covered by
these craft striving to reach the steamer I will not pretend to say,
but can say that I certainly could not get within a hundred feet of
the steamer. All sorts of craft filled the intervening space, from
the smallest Indian canoe to large barges, the owners of each either
striving to secure a customer from a hapless passenger, or, having
secured one, of transferring his belongings to the craft.

There were but a few women in this crowd, but ashore, quite too many,
a large majority of whom (those on the ground will remember) were too
much like their arch representative, "Old Mother Damnable," well and
truly named. But I draw the veil.

"Where's DeLacy?" became a byword after weeks of earnest inquiry of the
uninitiated as to what was transpiring out at the front, where supposed
work was going on to construct a trail leading through the Cascade
Mountains to the mouth of Thompson River, that emptied into the Fraser
one hundred and fifty miles easterly from Whatcom. If a trail could be
constructed through the mountains from Whatcom, then the town would
at once bloom into a city, and the fortunes of townsite proprietors
would be made, and all might go to the mines whose spirit moved them.
It all looked very feasible on paper, but several obstacles not taken
into account by the impatient crowd defeated all their hopes. A fund
had been raised by subscription at the inception of the excitement to
send out parties to search for a pass, and W. W. DeLacy, an engineer
of considerable note, started out early in the season, and so far as I
know never came back to Whatcom.

Directly this party was sent out to search for a pass through the
mountains another party was set to work to follow and cut the trail.
All seemingly went well for awhile, and until there came no word to
the public from DeLacy. The trail workers were yet at work, but did
not know what was ahead of them. DeLacy had to them become a sort of
myth. The fact was he had failed to find a pass, and when he arrived
at a point that he thought was the summit, he had yet fifty miles or
more of the worst of the mountains ahead of him. Meanwhile, the trail
out from Whatcom for forty or fifty miles became well worn by men and
animals going and returning. I saw sixty men with heavy packs on their
backs start out in one company, everyone of whom had to come back after
floundering in the mountains for weeks. So long as there could be kept
up a hope that the trail would be cut through, just so long a complete
collapse of the townsite boom might be averted, and so DeLacy was kept
in the mountains searching for a pass which was never found.

About the time I landed in Whatcom, H. L. Yesler and Arthur A. Denny
headed a party to go through the Snoqualmie Pass, but they did not
reach the open country. W. H. Pearson, the intrepid scout, who won such
laurels with Governor Stevens in his famous ride from the Blackfeet
country, conducted a party of eighty-two persons, sixty-seven of whom
packed their bedding and food on their backs, through the Snoqualmie
Pass to the Wenatchee, where they were met by the Indians in such
numbers and threatening mood that nearly all beat a hasty retreat.

Simultaneous with the movement through the Snoqualmie Pass, like action
was set on foot to utilize the Natchess Pass, and large numbers must
have gotten through, as on August 7th the report was published that
fourteen hundred miners were at work on the Natchess and Wenatchee.
This report we know to be untrue, although it is possible that many
prospectors were on those rivers, and we know also some gold was taken
out, and more for many years afterwards. But the mines on these rivers
did not prove to be rich nor extensive.

At the same time efforts were made to reach the mines by crossing the
mountains further south. The people of Oregon were sure the best way
was to go up the Columbia River to The Dalles, and thence north through
the open country, and more than a thousand men were congregated at The
Dalles at one time preparing to make the trip northward.

All this while the authorities of British Columbia were not asleep,
but fully awake to their own interests. Soon Governor Douglass put
a quietus upon parties going direct from Puget Sound ports into the
Fraser River, and several outfits of merchandise were confiscated,
among which was one of McCaw and Rogers from Steilacoom. Another
effectual barrier was the prohibition from entering the country without
a miner's license, which could be obtained only at Victoria. In this
way the Whatcom game was blocked, with or without a trail, and the
population disappeared nearly as rapidly and more mysteriously than
it had come, and the houses that had been built were left tenantless,
the stakes that had been set were left to be swept away by tides or to
decay, and Whatcom for a time became only a memory to its once great

It is doubtful if a stampede of such dimensions ever occurred where
the suffering was so great, the prizes so few and the loss of life
proportionately greater, than that to the Fraser in 1858. Probably not
one in ten that made the effort reached the mines, and of those who did
the usual percentage of blanks were drawn incident to such stampedes.
And yet the mines were immensely rich, and many millions of dollars
of gold value came from the find in the lapse of years, and is still
coming, though now nearly fifty years have passed.

While the losses to the people of the Puget Sound country were great,
nevertheless, good came out of the great stampede in the large
accession of population that remained after the return tide was over.
Many had become stranded and could not leave the country, but went to
work with a will, of whom not a few are still honored citizens of the
State that has been carved out of the Territory of that day.



The fact that the generation that participated in the Indian war in
this State (then Territory) will soon pass, an attempt was made to hold
a reunion of all the adults who were in Pierce County at the outbreak
of the Indian war in 1855, who are still living in the county.

[Illustration: An Old Settlers' Meeting.]

Naturally, the incidents of the war coming under personal observation
formed a never-ending topic of conversation. Mrs. Boatman related the
incident of her boy "Johnny" (John Boatman, who now lives in Puyallup),
two years and a half old, who was carried off by the Indians, as she
firmly believes, but was found under an oak tree the following day.
The whole garrison at Steilacoom turned out, together with a great
many citizens, and scoured the prairie all night. Colonel Casey, the
commandant, threatened vengeance against the Indians if the child was
not returned. The theory was that the Indians had taken him for a
ransom of their own people held by the whites.

A romantic incident was recalled of Kate Melville, the lady deputy
sheriff. Her father was the first sheriff of Pierce County, and during
his term of office was imprisoned for contempt of court. Kate was a
beautiful girl, in ideal health, and a superb equestrienne, but withal
was a modest, retiring woman. When her father was incarcerated she was
aroused to action and accepted the appointment of deputy sheriff with a
resolute spirit, determined to take the responsibility of enforcing the

"Yes, I saw Kate coming down from the garrison one day with some
prisoners with a pistol strapped to her person," said Willis Boatman,
"but I do not remember what her father was imprisoned for."

Scarcely one present but remembered the incident "that seemed like a
dream almost," in the lapse of forty-five years.

I remember seeing Kate on horseback, while acting as deputy sheriff
during those troublous times, and had often thought to write up this
romantic incident of real stern pioneer life, but space will not permit
it here, further than to say that the responsibilities of the office
were undertaken from a sense of duty and under intense loyalty to her
father. Both now lie peacefully under the sod in the county in which
their lot was cast.

"We moved out to my father's place about two months after the outbreak
of the war," said George Dougherty. "The Indians sent us word not to be
afraid—that they would not harm us. I had lived among the Indians from
childhood, and in fact had learned to talk the Indian language before I
could speak my mother tongue. At that time I believe there were twenty
Indians to where there is one now. Most of the Indians were friendly.
Had it been otherwise they could have wiped out the white settlement
completely, in spite of the military volunteers."

"Yes, and not left a grease spot of them," said Mr. Rogers. "But
the fact is, the Indians did not want to fight the whites, but were
dissatisfied with their treatment by the government. They wanted their
land back, and got it, too, after they whipped the whites, which they
did this side of the mountains. If it had not been that a majority of
the Indians were in favor of peace with the whites, they could have
held this country for a number of years. In fact, there were fifty or
sixty Indians who fought on the side of the whites. There were a lot of
whites who intended to stay out on their ranches, as they had perfect
confidence in the Indians. The result of the war was that the Indians
got all that they contended for. The good bottom lands had been taken
away from the Indians and they had been given the woods. This was done
to open up the bottom lands for settlement. Notwithstanding this,
many of the Indians were not hostile enough to go to war. The Indians
east of the mountains initiated the war when they came over here and
insisted that these Indians drive out the whites. In the meantime the
Indians were given their lands back again. The Indians killed as many
whites as the whites killed Indians. They had been living at peace with
the whites and would have continued to do so had it not been for the
Indians east of the mountains. I think that a mean advantage of the
Indians was taken at that treaty."

"I think there were as many whites killed this side of the mountains as
Indians," said Mr. Dougherty, resuming; "and there would have been no
war had the Indians been properly treated. I remember Leschi and his
band passed down through the prairie nearby father's house, but did not
stop to disturb us, but moved on to Muckleshoot and Green River."

"Yes, I remember considerable about the early condition of the Indian
and their supply of food, for many and many is the time that I have
enjoyed their hospitality and partaken of the various forms of what may
be termed their land food as distinguished from fish. This was varied
and abundant. I have seen trainloads of dried camas and sunflower
roots carried by their ponies, and sometimes by the squaws on their
backs. The Indians called the sunflower roots 'kalse.' It has now
become almost extinct, except in small fields where it is protected.
Kalse is a small root, about the size of an ordinary carrot, and has
a yellow flower resembling the sunflower. The Indians would dig it
with a crooked staff of ironwood stick, by twisting the stick around
the roots and using it as a lever to pull up the roots. After getting
a sufficient quantity of this sunflower root together the tops of the
roots would be nipped off, then the bark would be beaten off and a
baking place arranged in a hollow in the ground, with sallal berry
twigs, leaves and hemlock boughs. The roots would be piled up rounding,
and covered over with the sallal and other material, and the whole
covered with earth. A fire would be made over the ground and the
roasting would occupy three or four days, depending upon the size of
the pile. After the end of three or four days the remaining coals and
hot ashes would be removed from the top of the pile, and there would
be exposed the steaming sunflower roots. The roots are very delicious
in taste, though I cannot compare it to anything now in use. They also
made a liquor from its roots by soaking, which was very exhilarating
and strengthening. I have often partaken of this food when a child.
There was another food gathered from the prairie, which the Indians
called 'la-camas' or 'camas'. It is a small root, about the size of
the end of your thumb, and has a stalk that shows itself early in the
spring. It comes up as two leaves folded together, and as it progresses
in growth it spreads. From this appears a stem on the top of which is a
blue flower. It is very nutritious. It was generally prepared in large
quantities and could be kept until the following year. I have always
thought that it would be a great addition to our garden products, and
would be beneficial to us as a health diet generally. The Indians who
used it were generally very healthy. There is another article of food
that I know the Indian name for, but not the white man's. The Indian
name is 'squelebs'. It grows in low, marshy places and in creeks that
run cold, clear water. It has the appearance of the wild parsnip, and
probably is a species of it. It grows in joints. It is very delicious
to the taste in its season and is eaten raw. It is the finest nervine
that I ever used. Then comes 'kinnikinnick' berries, or the Indian
tobacco. The Indians will take 'kinnikinnick' leaves, roast them until
brown, and then mix half and half with tobacco, when it makes very
fine smoking, and the odor is fragrant and very acceptable. It has an
influence over the smoker like opium or ether. Some Indians that I have
seen using it would keel over in a trance. It is very highly prized by
them. The berries that grow and ripen on the 'kinnikinnick' when ripe
are used as food by the Indians by mixing them with dried salmon eggs,
and have the property of strengthening to an abnormal degree. They
also used the young sprouts of the wild raspberry and salmon berry,
which were very useful in cooling the system and very acceptable to
the palate. There was another food product that the Indians called
'charlaque'. It throws out a broad, dark green leaf on one side of the
stem, and on the end of the stem there is a bell-shaped flower of a
brownish cast on the outside, and on the inside the color is orange,
mottled with brown specks. It produces a flat root about the size of
an ordinary walnut and is good either raw or roasted. It grows in
shady places and near oak bushes. The root is white. There is also a
species of the dandelion which has a very delicate-tasting root, which
was eaten either raw or roasted. It is something similar to the wild
parsnip, and the root is also white. When the root is broken it exudes
a milk which is an excellent cure for warts. Another food plant was the
'wapato'. It grows in swampy places and sends its roots into the water.
It grows luxuriantly in such places, and the tubers of the 'wapato'
were highly prized by the Indians and could be eaten either raw or
cooked. It had a delicate and pungent taste that was very acceptable
to the palate. By this you will see that the Indians had a variety of
food, when one takes into consideration the wild fruits, fish and game
in which the country abounded."

Peter Smith said: "We were crossing the plains in 1852 when Spotted
Tail with about thirty warriors, fresh from the Crow war, rode up to
our camp early one morning. I was cooking breakfast for our party,
and I tell you I was pretty well scared, but I thought to offer them
something to eat and after several attempts, made them understand what
I wanted, and finally gave them all a breakfast of bread and sugar and
coffee. When they first came they sat on their horses with feathers in
their hair, and said nothing to me and nothing to each other, and I
really thought my time had come. After they had eaten their breakfast
they went on up the Platte River toward Fort Laramie. After we had
traveled about three hundred miles we camped in the vicinity of a large
Indian force under the control of Spotted Tail. I was with a group
of men that had gathered when I felt a tug at my coat tail. I looked
around quickly but saw no one, so I went on speaking to the man that I
had been talking to. Pretty soon I felt another tug, and looking around
saw an Indian, whom I recognized as the leader of the band that had
eaten breakfast at our camp a few days before. The Indian told me that
his name was Spotted Tail, and that he wanted me to come to his camp a
few miles away. I told him I would go. Although the others in our party
tried to dissuade me from the undertaking, I went. The chief treated me
with great kindness and hospitality. He was a tall, athletic Indian,
and his daughters were very pretty, having regular features and black
hair. I returned to the train well pleased with my visit. Forty years
after, while at the world's fair, I met a young man who had some office
at Fort Laramie, which post Spotted Tail often visited. He told me that
Spotted Tail often inquired about me, said that he had never been so
well treated by a white man in his life, and expressed a desire to have
me come and see him. I was very sorry that I never went through the
reservation where Spotted Tail lived to stop off and see him."

"The Indians have massacred all the white settlers on White River and
are coming down on us here in Puyallup," was passed from house to house
on that fateful October day of 1855. Mrs. Woolery and Mrs. Boatman
were the only survivors present at the reunion who witnessed the
scenes that followed. Some had wagons; some had none. Strive as best
they could, they only got across the river the first day. Two canoes
were lashed together and the wagons ferried across, after being first
taken apart. The trip out the next day was made on foot, the women
carrying the young children on their backs. Then came the volunteer
company a week later to rescue the provisions, stock, clothing and
other property that had been abandoned. This party consisted of the
settlers of the valley, with a few others—nineteen in all. The author
was one of the "others," not having yet settled in the valley. As
we went in by the "lower" road the column of United States troops
and volunteers abandoned the field and withdrew by the "upper" road,
leaving our little band in utter ignorance of our danger for four days,
when we crossed the trail of the retreating column, which we afterwards
learned had halted at Montgomery's, at the edge of the prairie. Our
women folks were disturbed at our long stay, and the troops were under
orders to advance to our rescue, when lo! and behold! at nightfall on
the sixth day we returned, loaded with property and provisions, in most
cases being all the possessions of the owners who formed a part of the
company, and there was great joy in camp. Not an Indian had been seen
nor a shot fired, except to empty our guns to make sure that they would
"go," as some of the men quaintly expressed it.

After looking back over the vista of years, none of the party could
say that life had been a failure; there was the lady bordering close
on eighty years; the gentleman eighty-four and past (Peter Smith),
with the "kids" of the party past the sixty-eighth mark, yet one would
scarcely ever meet a more cheerful and merry party than this of the
reunion of the old settlers of 1855.[18]


[18] Since this meeting in June, 1904, all of the ten pioneers that
comprised the party have died, prior to the writing of this note,
except the author and one other.



In the latter part of the seventeenth century that intrepid American
traveler, Jonathan Carver, wrote these immortal words:

     "From the intelligence I gained from the Naudowessie Indians,
     among whom I arrived on the 7th of December (1776), and whose
     language I perfectly acquired during a residence of five months,
     and also from the accounts I afterwards obtained from the
     Assinipoils, who speak the same tongue, being a revolted band of
     the Naudowessies; and from the Killistinoes, neighbors of the
     Assinipoils, who speak the Chipeway language and inhabit the
     heads of the River Bourbon; I say from these natives, together
     with my own observations, I have learned that the four most
     capital rivers on the continent of North America, viz.: the St.
     Lawrence, the Mississippi, the River Bourbon and the Oregon,
     or the River of the West (as I hinted in my introduction),
     have their sources in the same neighborhood. The waters of the
     three former are within thirty miles of each other; the latter,
     however, is further west."

All students of history acknowledge this is the first mention of the
word Oregon in English literature. The narrative quoted was inspired
by his observations on the upper Mississippi, and particularly upon
the event of reaching his farthest point, sixty miles above the Falls
of St. Anthony, November 17th, 1776. This was the farthest up the
Mississippi that the white man had ever penetrated, "So that we are
obliged solely to the Indians for all the intelligence we are able to
give relative to the more northern parts," and yet this man, seemingly
with prophetic sight, discovered the great river of the West, attempted
to name it, and coined a word for the purpose. While Carver missed his
mark and did not succeed in affixing the new-born name to the great
river he saw in his vision, yet the word became immortal through the
mighty empire for which it afterwards stood. Carver made no explanation
as to where the word Oregon came from, but wrote as though it was well
known like the other rivers mentioned. Probably for all time the origin
of this name with be a mystery.

We have a like curious phenomenon in the case of Winthrop first writing
the word Tacoma, in September, 1853. None of the old settlers had
heard that name, either through the Indians or otherwise, until after
the publication of Winthrop's work ten years later, "The Canoe and
the Saddle," when it became common knowledge and was locally applied
in Olympia as early as 1866, said to have been suggested by Edward
Giddings of that place.

However, as Winthrop distinctly claimed to have obtained the word from
the Indians, the fact was accepted by the reading public, and the
Indians soon took their cue from their white neighbors.

It is an interesting coincident that almost within a stone's throw of
where Winthrop coined the name that we find it applied to the locality
that has grown to be the great city of Tacoma.

On the 26th of October, 1868, John W. Ackerson located a mill site on
Commencement Bay, within the present limits of the city of Tacoma,
and applied the name to his mill. He said he had gotten it from Chief
Spot of the Puyallup tribe, who claimed it was the Indian name for the
mountain, Rainier.

The word or name Seattle was unknown when the founders of this city
first began to canvass the question of selecting a site for the town,
and some time elapsed before a name was coined out of the word se-alth.

Se-alth, or Seattle, as he was afterwards known, was reported to be the
chief of six tribes or bands, but at best his control was like most all
the chiefs on the Sound, but shadowy.

Arthur Denny says that "we (meaning himself, Boren and Bell) canvassed
the question as to a name and agreed to call the place Seattle, after
the old chief" (Se-alth), but we have no definite information as to
when the change in the old chief's name took place. Se-alth was quite
disturbed to have his name trifled with and appropriated by the whites,
and was quite willing to levy a tribute by persuasion upon the good
people of the embryo city.

I have another historic name to write about, Puyallup, that we know
is of Indian origin—as old as the memory of the white man runs. But
such a name! I consider it no honor to the man who named the town (now
city) of Puyallup. I accept the odium attached to inflicting that name
on suffering succeeding generations by first platting a few blocks
of land into village lots and recording them under the name Puyallup.
I have been ashamed of the act ever since. The first time I went East
after the town was named and said to a friend in New York that our town
was named Puyallup he seemed startled.

"Named what?"

"Puyallup," I said, emphasizing the word.

"That's a jaw breaker," came the response. "How do you spell it?"

"P-u-y-a-l-l-u-p," I said.

"Let me see—how did you say you pronounced it?"

Pouting out my lips like a veritable Siwash, and emphasizing every
letter and syllable so as to bring out the Peuw for Puy, and the strong
emphasis on the al, and cracking my lips together to cut off the lup,
I finally drilled my friend so he could pronounce the word, yet fell
short of the elegance of the scientific pronunciation.

Then when I crossed the Atlantic and across the old London bridge to
the Borough, and there encountered the factors of the hop trade on that
historic ground, the haunts of Dickens in his day; and when we were bid
to be seated to partake of the viands of an elegant dinner; and when I
saw the troubled look of my friend, whose lot it was to introduce me to
the assembled hop merchants, and knew what was weighing on his mind, my
sympathy went out to him but remained helpless to aid him.

"I say—I say—let me introduce to you my American friend—my American
friend from—my American friend from—from—from—"

And when, with an imploring look he visibly appealed to me for help,
and finally blurted out:

"I say, Meeker, I cawn't remember that blarsted name—what is it?"

And when the explosion of mirth came with:

"All the same, he's a jolly good fellow—a jolly good fellow."

I say, when all this had happened, and much more besides, I could yet
feel resigned to my fate.

Then when at Dawson I could hear the shrill whistle from the would-be
wag, and hear:

"He's all the way from Puy-al-lup," I could yet remain in composure.

Then when, at night at the theaters, the jesters would say:

"Whar was it, stranger, you said you was from?"


"Oh, you did?" followed by roars of laughter all over the house. And
all this I could hear with seeming equanimity.

But when letters began to come addressed "Pew-lupe," "Polly-pup,"
"Pull-all-up," "Pewl-a-loop," and finally "Pay-all-up," then my cup of
sorrow was full and I was ready to put on sackcloth and ashes.

The name for the town, however, came about in this way: In the early
days we had a postoffice, Franklin. Sometimes it was on one side of the
river and then again on the other; sometimes way to one side of the
settlement and then again to the other. It was not much trouble those
days to move a postoffice. One could almost carry the whole outfit in
one's pocket.

We were all tired of the name Franklin, for there were so many
Franklins that our mail was continually being sent astray. We
agreed there never would be but one Puyallup; and in that we were
unquestionably right, for surely there will never be another.

Nevertheless, people would come and settle with us. Where the big
stumps and trees stood and occupied the ground, we now have brick
blocks and solid streets. Where the cabins stood, now quite pretentious
residences have arisen. The old log-cabin school house has given way
to three large houses, where now near twelve hundred scholars are in
attendance, instead of but eleven, as at first. And still the people
came and built a hundred houses last year, each contributing their mite
to perpetuating the name Puyallup. Puyallup has been my home for forty
years, and it is but natural I should love the place, even if I cannot
revere the name.



If we were to confine the word religion to its strict construction as
to meaning, we would cut off the pioneer actions under this heading
to a great extent; but, if we will think of the definition as applied
to morality, the duties of man to man, to character building—then
the field is rich. Many of the pioneers, necessarily cut loose from
church organizations, were not eager to enter again into their old
affiliations, though their conduct showed a truly religious spirit.
There were many who were outside the fold before they left their homes,
and such, as a class, remained as they were; but many showed a sincere
purpose to do right according to the light that was in them, and who
shall say that if the spirit that prompted them was their duty to
man, that such were not as truly religious as if the higher spiritual
motives moved them?

We had, though, many earnest workers, whose zeal never abated, who felt
it a duty to save souls, and who preached to others incessantly, in
season and out of season, and whose work, be it said, exercised a good
influence over the minds of the people.

One instance I have in mind—Father Weston, who came at irregular
intervals to Puyallup, whose energy would make amends for his lack of
eloquence, and whose example would add weight to his precepts. He was
a good man. Almost everyone would go to hear him, although it was in
everybody's mouth that he could not preach. He would make up in noise
and fervency what he lacked in logic and eloquence. Positively, one
could often hear him across a ten-acre lot when he would preach in a
grove, and would pound his improvised pulpit with as much vigor as he
would his weld on his anvil week days.

One time the old man came to the valley, made his headquarters near
where the town of Sumner now is, induced other ministers to join
him, and entered on a crusade, a protracted union meeting, with the
old-time mourners' bench, amen corner and shouting members. When the
second Sunday came the crowd was so great that the windows were taken
out of the little school house, and more than half the people sat or
reclined on the ground, or wagons drawn nearby, to listen to the noisy
scene inside the house.

A peculiar couple, whom I knew well, had attended from a distance, the
husband, a frail, little old man, intensely and fervently religious,
while the wife, who was a specimen of strong womanhood, had never
been able to see her way clear to join the church. Aunt Ann (she is
still living), either from excitement or to please the husband, went
to the mourners' bench and made some profession that led Uncle John,
the husband, to believe the wife had at last got religion. Upon their
return home the good lady soon began wavering, despite the urgent
appeals from the husband, and finally blurted out:

"Well, John, I don't believe there is such a place as hell, anyhow."

This was too much for the husband, who, in a fit of sheer desperation,

"Well, well, Ann, you wait and you'll see." And the good lady, now past
eighty-four, is waiting yet, but the good little husband has long since
gone to spy out the unknown land.

I have known this lady now for fifty years, and although she has never
made a profession of religion or joined a church, yet there has been
none more ready to help a neighbor or to minister to the sick, or open
the door of genuine hospitality than this same uncouth, rough-spoken
pioneer woman.

I recall one couple, man and wife, who came among us of the true and
faithful, to preach and practice the Baptist Christian religion. I
purposely add "Christian," for if ever in these later years two people
embodied the true Christ-like spirit, Mr. and Mrs. Wickser did—lived
their religion and made their professions manifest by their work.

Mrs. Wickser was a very tall lady of ordinary appearance as to
features, while the husband was short and actually deformed. The
disparity in their heights was so great that as they stood or walked
side by side he could have gone beneath her outstretched arm. Added
to this peculiar appearance, like a woman and a boy of ten years
parading as man and wife, the features of the little man riveted one's
attention. With a low forehead, flattened nose, and swarthy complexion,
one could not determine whether he was white or part red and black,
Chinaman or what not; as Dr. Weed said to me in a whisper when he
first caught sight of his features: "What, is that the missing link?"
In truth, the doctor was so surprised that he was only half in jest,
not at the time knowing the "creature," as he said, was the Baptist
minister of the place.

But, as time went on, the strangeness of his features wore off, and the
beauty of his character began to shine more and more, until there were
none more respected and loved than this couple, by those who had come
to know them.

A small factory had been established not far from the schoolhouse,
where we had our Christmas tree. Some of the men from the factory took
it into their heads to play what they called a joke on Mr. and Mrs. W.
by placing on the tree a large bundle purporting to be a present, but
which they innocently opened and found to contain a direct insult.

The little man, it could be seen, was deeply mortified, yet made no
sign of resentment, although it soon became known who the parties were,
but treated them with such forbearance and kindness that they became so
ashamed of themselves as to inspire better conduct, and so that night
the most substantial contribution of the season was quietly deposited
at the good missionary's door, and ever after that all alike treated
them with the greatest respect.

I have known this couple to walk through storm as well as sunshine,
on roads or on trails, for miles around, visiting the pioneers as
regularly as the week came, ministering to the wants of the sick,
if perchance there were such, cheering the discouraged or lending a
helping hand where needed, veritable good Samaritans as they were, a
credit to our race by the exhibition of the spirit within them.

Take the case of George Bush, the negro, who refused to sell his crop
to speculators for cash, yet distributed it freely to the immigrants
who had come later, without money and without price. Also Sidney Ford,
another early, rugged settler, although neither of them church members.
Who will dare say theirs were not religious acts?

In response to a letter, the following characteristic reply from one
of the McAuley sisters will be read with interest, as showing "the
other sort" of pioneer religious experience, and following this, the
brother's response about the "mining camp brand." She writes:

     "And now as to your question in a former letter, in regard to
     religious experiences of pioneers. Tom had written me just before
     your letter came, asking me if I had heard from friend Meeker
     and wife. I told him of your letter and asked him if he ever
     heard of such a thing as religious experience among pioneers. I
     enclose his answer, which is characteristic of him. The first
     church service I attended in California was in a saloon, and the
     congregation, comprising nearly all the inhabitants of the place,
     was attentive and orderly. I think the religion of the pioneers
     was carried in their hearts, and bore its fruit in honesty and
     charity rather than in outward forms and ceremonies. I remember
     an instance on the plains. Your brother, O. P., had a deck of
     cards in his vest pocket. Sister Margaret smiled and said: 'Your
     pocket betrays you.' 'Do you think it a betrayal?' said he. 'If I
     thought it was wrong I would not use them.' Here is Brother Tom's

     "'Why, of course, I have seen as well as heard of pioneer
     religious experiences. But I expect the California mining camp
     brand differed some from the Washington brand for agricultural
     use, because the mining camp was liable to lose at short notice
     all its inhabitants on discovery of new diggings.'

     "So, of course, large church buildings for exclusively church
     purposes were out of the question as impossible. And the only
     public buildings available were the saloons and gambling halls,
     whose doors, like the gates of perdition, were always open, day
     and night alike, to all, saint or sinner, who chose to enter,
     and having entered, had his rights as well as his duties well
     understood, and, if need be, promptly enforced."

John McLeod used to almost invariably get gloriously drunk whenever he
came to Steilacoom, which was quite often, and generally would take a
gallon keg home with him full of the vile stuff. And yet this man was
a regular reader of his Bible, and, I am told by those who knew his
habits best, read his chapter as regularly as he drank his gill of
whisky, or perhaps more regularly, as the keg would at times become
dry, while his Bible never failed him. I have his old, well-thumbed
Gaelic Bible, with its title page of 1828, which he brought with him to
this country in 1833, and used until his failing sight compelled the
use of another of coarser print.

I am loth to close this (to me) interesting chapter, but my volume is
full and overflowing and I am admonished not to pursue the subject
further. A full volume might be written and yet not exhaust this
interesting subject.



I will write this chapter for the youngsters and the elderly wise-heads
who wear specs may turn over the leaves without reading it, if they

Wild animals in early days were very much more plentiful than now,
particularly deer and black bear. The black bear troubled us a good
deal and would come near the houses and kill our pigs; but it did not
take many years to thin them out. They were very cowardly and would run
away from us in the thick brush except when the young cubs were with
them, and then we had to be more careful.

There was one animal, the cougar, we felt might be dangerous, but I
never saw but one in the woods. Before I tell you about it I will
relate an adventure one of my own little girls had with one of these
creatures nearby our own home in the Puyallup Valley.

I have written elsewhere about our little log cabin schoolhouse,
but have not told how our children got to it. From our house to the
schoolhouse the trail led through very heavy timber and very heavy
underbrush—so dense that most all the way one could not see, in the
summer time when the leaves were on, as far as across the kitchen of
the house.

One day little Carrie, now an elderly lady (I won't say how old), now
living in Seattle, started to go to school, but soon came running back
out of breath.

"Mamma! Mamma! I saw a great big cat sharpening his claws on a great
big tree, just like pussy does," she said as soon as she could catch
her breath. Sure enough, upon examination, there were the marks as high
up on the tree as I could reach. It must have been a big one to reach
up the tree that far. But the incident soon dropped out of mind and the
children went to school on the trail just the same as if nothing had

The way I happened to see the cougar was this: Lew. McMillan bought one
hundred and sixty-one cattle and drove them from Oregon to what we then
used to call Upper White River, but it was the present site of Auburn.
He had to swim his cattle over all the rivers, and his horses, too,
and then at the last day's drive brought them on the divide between
Stuck River and the Sound. The cattle were all very tame when he took
them into the White River valley, for they were tired and hungry. At
that time White River valley was covered with brush and timber, except
here and there a small prairie. The upper part of the valley was grown
up with tall, coarse rushes that remained green all winter, and so he
didn't have to feed his cattle, but they got nice and fat long before
spring. We bought them and agreed to take twenty head at a time. By
this time the cattle were nearly as wild as deer. So Lew built a very
strong corral on the bank of the river, near where Auburn is now, and
then made a brush fence from one corner down river way, which made it
a sort of lane, with the fence on one side and the river on the other,
and gradually widened out as he got further from the corral.

I used to go over from Steilacoom and stay all night so we could make
a drive into the corral early, but this time I was belated and had to
camp on the road, so that we did not get an early start for the next
day's drive. The cattle seemed unruly that day, and when we let them
out of the corral up river way, they scattered and we could do nothing
with them. The upshot of the matter was that I had to go home without
cattle. We had worked with the cattle so long that it was very late
before I got started and had to go on foot. At that time the valley
above Auburn near the Stuck River crossing was filled with a dense
forest of monster fir and cedar trees, and a good deal of underbrush
besides. That forest was so dense in places that it was difficult to
see the road, even on a bright, sunshiny day, while on a cloudy day it
seemed almost like night, though I could see well enough to keep on the
crooked trail all right.

Well, just before I got to Stuck River crossing I came to a turn in the
trail where it crossed the top of a big fir which had been turned up by
the roots and had fallen nearly parallel with the trail. The big roots
held the butt of the tree up from the ground, and I think the tree was
four feet in diameter a hundred feet from the butt, and the whole body,
from root to top, was eighty-four steps long, or about two hundred and
fifty feet. I have seen longer trees, though, and bigger ones, but
there were a great many like this one standing all around about me.

I didn't stop to step it then, but you may be sure I took some pretty
long strides about that time. Just as I stepped over the fallen tree
near the top I saw something move on the big body near the roots, and
sure enough the thing was coming right toward me. In an instant I
realized what it was. It was a tremendous, great big cougar. He was
very pretty, but did not look very nice to me. I had just received a
letter from a man living near the Chehalis telling me of three lank,
lean cougars coming into his clearing where he was at work, and when he
started to go to his cabin to get his gun the brutes started to follow
him, and he just only escaped into his house, with barely time to slam
the door shut. He wrote that his dogs had gotten them on the run by
the time he was ready with his gun, and he finally killed all three
of them. He found they were literally starving and had, he thought,
recently robbed an Indian grave, or rather an Indian canoe that hung in
the trees with their dead in it. That is the way the Indians used to
dispose of their dead, but I haven't time to tell about that now. This
man found bits of cloth, some hair, and a piece of bone in the stomach
of one of them, so he felt sure he was right in his surmise, and I
think he was, too. I sent this man's letter to the paper, the Olympia
Transcript, and it was printed at the time, but I have forgotten his

Well, I didn't know what to do. I had no gun with me, and I knew
perfectly well there was no use to run. I knew, too, that I could not
do as Mr. Stocking did, grapple with it and kick it to death. This one
confronting me was a monstrous big one—at least it looked so to me. I
expect it looked bigger than it really was. Was I scared, did you say?
Did you ever have creepers run up your back and right to the roots of
your hair, and nearly to the top of your head? Yes, I'll warrant you
have, though a good many fellows won't acknowledge it and say it's only
cowards that feel that way. Maybe; but, anyway, I don't want to meet
wild cougars in the timber.

Mr. Stocking, whom I spoke about, lived about ten miles from Olympia at
Glasgow's place. He was walking on the prairie and had a stout young
dog with him, and came suddenly upon a cougar lying in a corner of the
fence. His dog tackled the brute at once, but was no match for him, and
would soon have killed him if Stocking had not interfered. Mr. Stocking
gathered on to a big club and struck the cougar one heavy blow over
the back, but the stick broke and the cougar left the dog and attacked
his master. And so it was a life and death struggle. Mr. Stocking was
a very powerful man. It was said that he was double-jointed. He was
full six feet high and heavy in proportion. He was a typical pioneer in
health, strength and power of endurance. He said he felt as though his
time had come, but there was one chance in a thousand and he was going
to take that chance. As soon as the cougar let go of the dog to tackle
Stocking, the cur sneaked off to let his master fight it out alone. He
had had enough fight for one day. As the cougar raised on his hind legs
Stocking luckily grasped him by the throat and began kicking him in the
stomach. Stocking said he thought if he could get one good kick in the
region of the heart he felt that he might settle him. I guess, boys,
no football player ever kicked as hard as Stocking did that day. The
difference was that he was literally kicking for dear life, while the
player kicks only for fun. All this happened in less time that it takes
to tell it. Meanwhile the cougar was not idle, but was clawing away at
Stocking's arms and shoulders, and once he hit him a clip on the nose.
The dog finally returned to the strife and between the two they laid
Mr. Cougar low and took off his skin the next day. Mr. Stocking took it
to Olympia, where it was used for a base purpose. It was stuffed and
put into a saloon and kept there a long time to attract people into the

Did my cougar hurt me, did you say? I hadn't any cougar and hadn't lost
one, and if I had been hurt I wouldn't have been here to tell you this
story. The fun of it was that the cougar hadn't seen me yet, but just
as soon as he did he scampered off like the Old Harry himself was after
him, and I strode off down the trail as if old Beelzebub was after me.

Now, youngsters, before you go to bed, just bear in mind there is no
danger here now from wild animals, and there was not much then, for in
all the time I have been here, now over fifty years, I have known of
but two persons killed by them.

And now I will tell you one more true story and then quit for this
time. Aunt Abbie Sumner one evening heard Gus Johnson hallooing at the
top of his voice, a little way out from the house. Her father said Gus
was just driving up the cows, but Aunt Abbie said she never knew him to
make such a noise as that before, and went out within speaking distance
and where she could see him at times pounding vigorously on a tree for
awhile and then turn and strike out toward the brush and yell so loud
she said she believed he could be heard for more than a mile away. She
soon saw something moving in the brush. It was a bear. Gus had suddenly
come upon a bear and her cubs and run one of the cubs up a tree. He
pounded on the tree to keep it there, but had to turn at times to fight
the bear away from him. As soon as he could find time to speak he told
her to go to the house and bring the gun, which she did, and that woman
went right up to the tree and handed Gus the gun while the bear was
nearby. Gus made a bad shot the first time and wounded the bear, but
the next time killed her. But lo and behold! he hadn't any more bullets
and the cub was still up the tree. So away went Aunt Abbie two miles to
a neighbor to get lead to mold some bullets. But by this time it was
dark, and Gus stayed all night at the butt of the tree and kept a fire
burning, and next morning killed the cub. So he got the hides of both
of them. This occurred about three miles east of Bucoda, Washington.



Soon after the Indian war we moved to our donation claim. We had but
three neighbors, the nearest nearly two miles away, and two of them
kept bachelor's hall and were of no account for schools. Of course, we
could not see any of our neighbors' houses, and could reach but one
by a road and the others by a trail. Under such conditions we could
not have a public school. I can best tell about our morning school by
relating an incident that happened a few months after it was started.

One day one of our farther-off neighbors, who lived over four miles
away, came to visit us. Naturally, the children flocked around him to
hear his stories in Scotch brogue, and began to ply questions, to which
he soon responded by asking other questions, one of which was when they
expected to go to school.

"Why, we have school now," responded a chorus of voices. "We have
school every day."

"And, pray, who is your teacher, and where is your schoolhouse?" came
the prompt inquiry.

"Father teaches us at home every morning before breakfast. He hears the
lessons then, but mother help us, too."

Peter Smith, the neighbor, never tires telling the story, and maybe has
added a little as memory fails, for he is eighty-four years old now.

"Your father told me awhile ago that you had your breakfast at six
o'clock. What time do you get up?"

"Why, father sets the clock for half-past four, and that gives us an
hour while mother gets breakfast, you know."

You boys and girls who read this chapter may have a feeling almost akin
to pity for those poor pioneer children who had to get up so early, but
you may as well dismiss such thoughts from your minds, for they were
happy and cheerful and healthy, worked some during the day, besides
studying their lessons, but they went to bed earlier than some boys and
girls do these days.

It was not long until we moved to the Puyallup Valley, where there were
more neighbors—two families to the square mile, but not one of them
in sight, because the timber and underbrush were so thick we could
scarcely see two rods from the edge of our clearing. Now we could have
a real school; but first I will tell about the schoolhouse.

Some of the neighbors took their axes to cut the logs, some their oxen
to haul them, others their saws and frows to make the clapboards for
the roof, while again others, more handy with tools, made the benches
out of split logs, or, as we called them, puncheons. With a good many
willing hands, the house soon received the finishing touches. The side
walls were scarcely high enough for the door, and one was cut in the
end and a door hung on wooden hinges that squeaked a good deal when the
door was opened or shut; but the children did not mind that. The roof
answered well for the ceiling overhead, and a log cut out on each side
made two long, narrow windows for light. The larger children sat with
their faces to the walls, with long shelves in front of them, while
the smaller tots sat on low benches near the middle of the room. When
the weather would permit the teacher left the door open to admit more
light, but had no need for more fresh air as the roof was quite open
and the cracks between the logs let in plenty.

Sometimes we had a lady teacher, and then her salary was smaller, as
she boarded around. That meant some discomfort part of the time, where
the surroundings were not pleasant.

Some of those scholars are dead, some have wandered to parts unknown,
while those that are left are nearly all married and are grandfathers
or grandmothers, but all living remember the old log schoolhouse with
affection. This is a true picture, as I recollect, of the early school
days in the Puyallup Valley, when, as the unknown poet has said:

    "And children did a half day's work
    Before they went to school."

Not quite so hard as that, but very near it, as we were always up early
and the children did a lot of work before and after school time.

When Carrie was afterwards sent to Portland to the high school she took
her place in the class just the same as if she had been taught in a
grand brick schoolhouse. "Where there is a will there is a way."

You must not conclude that we had no recreation and that we were a
sorrowful set devoid of enjoyment, for there never was a happier lot of
people than these same hard-working pioneers and their families. I will
now tell you something about their home life, their amusements as well
as their labor.

Before the clearings were large we sometimes got pinched for both food
and clothing, though I will not say we suffered much for either, though
I know of some families at times who lived on potatoes "straight".
Usually fish could be had in abundance, and considerable game—some
bear and plenty of deer. The clothing gave us the most trouble, as but
little money came to us for the small quantity of produce we had to
spare. I remember one winter we were at our wits' end for shoes. We
just could not get money to buy shoes enough to go around, but managed
to get leather to make each member of the family one pair. We killed
a pig to get bristles for the wax-ends, cut the pegs from green alder
log and seasoned them in the oven, and made the lasts out of the same
timber. Those shoes were clumsy, to be sure, but kept our feet dry and
warm, and we felt thankful for the comforts vouchsafed to us and sorry
for some neighbors' children, who had to go barefooted even in quite
cold weather.

Music was our greatest pleasure and we never tired of it. "Uncle John,"
as everyone called him, the old teacher, never tired teaching the
children music, and so it soon came about they could read their music
as readily as they could their school books. No Christmas ever went by
without a Christmas tree, in which the whole neighborhood joined, or a
Fourth of July passed without a celebration. We made the presents for
the tree if we could not buy them, and supplied the musicians, reader
and orator for the celebration. Everybody had something to do and a
voice in saying what should be done, and that very fact made all happy.

We had sixteen miles to go to our market town, Steilacoom, over the
roughest kind of a road. Nobody had horse teams at the start, and so we
had to go with ox teams. We could not make the trip out and back in one
day, and did not have money to pay hotel bills, and so we would drive
out part of the way and camp and the next morning drive into town very
early, do our trading, and, if possible, reach home the same day. If
not able to do this, we camped again on the road; but if the night was
not too dark would reach home in the night. And oh! what an appetite
we would have, and how cheery the fire would be, and how welcome the
reception in the cabin home.

One of the "youngsters," sixty years old now, after reading "The
Morning School," writes:

"Yes, father, your story of the morning school is just as it was. I can
see in my mind's eye yet us children reciting and standing up in a row
to spell, and Auntie and mother getting breakfast, and can remember the
little bed room; of rising early and of reading 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' as
a dessert to the work."

Near where the old log cabin schoolhouse stood our high school building
now stands, large enough to accommodate four hundred pupils. In the
district where we could count nineteen children of school age, with
eleven in attendance, now we have twelve hundred boys and girls of
school age, three large schoolhouses and seventeen teachers.

The trees and stumps are all gone and brick buildings and other good
houses occupy much of the land, and as many people now live in that
school district as lived both east and west of the mountains when the
Territory was created in March, 1853. Instead of ox teams, and some at
that with sleds, the people have buggies and carriages, or automobiles,
or they can travel on any of the eighteen passenger trains that pass
daily through Puyallup, or on street cars to Tacoma, and also on some
of the twenty to twenty-four freight trains, some of which are a third
of a mile long. Such are some of the changes wrought in fifty years
since pioneer life began in the Puyallup Valley.

Now, just try your hand on this song that follows, one that our dear
old teacher has sung so often for us, in company with one of those
scholars of the old log cabin, Mrs. Frances Bean, now of Tacoma, who
has kindly supplied the words and music:


    How wondrous are the changes
      Since fifty years ago,
    When girls wore woolen dresses
      And boys wore pants of tow;
    And shoes were made of cowhide
      And socks of homespun wool;
    And children did a half-day's work
      Before they went to school.


    Some fifty years ago;
    Some fifty years ago;
      The men and the boys
      And the girls and the toys;
    The work and the play,
    And the night and the day,
      The world and its ways
      Are all turned around
    Since fifty years ago.

    The girls took music lessons
      Upon the spinning wheel,
    And practiced late and early
      On spindle swift and reel.
    The boy would ride the horse to mill,
      A dozen miles or so,
    And hurry off before 'twas day
      Some fifty years ago.

    The people rode to meeting
      In sleds instead of sleighs,
    And wagons rode as easy
      As buggies nowadays;
    And oxen answered well for teams,
      Though now they'd be too slow;
    For people lived not half so fast
      Some fifty years ago.

    Ah! well do I remember
      That Wilson's patent stove,
    That father bought and paid for
      In cloth our girls had wove;
    And how the people wondered
      When we got the thing to go,
    And said 'twould burst and kill us all,
      Some fifty years ago.



On the night of the 27th of November, 1866, a party of four young men,
Ransom Bonney, Jacob Woolery, Edward Ross, and Marion Meeker, none of
whom were nineteen years old, together with a middle-aged man, the
author, whom they called "Dad", and an Indian named "Skyuck", or Jim
Meeker, camped in a small shack of a house, standing on the spot now
described as the foot of Thirty-third Street, Tacoma.

We were tired and hungry when this camp was reached at dusk of evening,
and drenched to the skin by the copious rainfall between times of gusts
of wind such as is common on November days of a Puget Sound climate.
The cabin was open, with a small fireplace with a low cat-and-clay
chimney that did not reach high enough to prevent the smoke from being
blown freely into the cabin.

"Golly, Dad, that's been a tough old day," said Ransom Bonney, who was
the wag of the party and always cheerful (his father, a pioneer of
1853, still lives at the advanced age of 92 years), as he drew off his
socks to wring them before preparing supper.[19] "Just please deliver
me from surveying on tide flats," he added, as the water ran in streams
from the socks in his hands. "But it's all right when one gets used to

"Yes, but the d—l of it is, to get used to it," came as a quick
response from the lips of Jacob Woolery, who had shed most of his
clothing preparatory to drying. At the same time he was doing justice
to the boiled potatoes and ash cake, baked before the open fire in the
frying-pan. Edward Ross, the third lad of the party, said nothing. He
had been the flagman that day and frequently over boot-top deep in mud
and water without any murmur, but it was plain to me that he did not
want any more of such work.

Jacob, Edward and the Indian have long since passed away; Marion and
Ransom, the surviving members of the lads, are yet alive. At present,
only three of the whole party are left to tell the story of subdividing
the land for the Government where now the great city of Tacoma is
building. The day following the experience on the tide flat we ran the
line between sections T. 20, N., R. 3 E. Willamette, meridian almost
parallel with Pacific Avenue to a point near Seventh Street.

That day also gave a sample of what a rainy, stormy day could bring
forth in the dense forest of heavy timber and underbrush charged with
the accumulated raindrops in the intervals between the gusts of wind
and rainfall that prevailed all day.

"Dad, I believe this is worse than the tide flats," said Jake, as he
almost slid down the steep bluff just north of the Tacoma Hotel while
retracing the fifth standard parallel, to search for the bearing trees
in the meander line of Commencement Bay.

And so it was, the further the work progressed, the harder the task
seemed, and that second night's camp in the cabin found us if possible
with less comfort than the first. But we stuck to the job through thick
and thin, rain or wind, till the work was finished and the township
surveyed. Positively, if at that time one could have offered me the
land represented by that survey in lieu of the ten dollars per mile in
greenbacks (then worth seventy-five cents on the dollar) I would have
taken the greenbacks instead of the land.

Now, in the near vicinity, lots with twenty-five foot front and a
hundred foot depth have sold for twenty-five thousand dollars;
sixteen-story buildings occupy the land not three blocks away and a
city of over a hundred thousand people has grown up on the land thus
surveyed, that was then a dense virgin forest of giant timber.


[19] Since died at the age of 97.


I come now to a period of my life, as one might say, on the border
land between pioneer days of the old Oregon country and of the later
development of the younger territory and this giant State bearing the
great name of the father of our country.

An account of these ventures follows in the order of their occurrence.


The public, generally, give me the credit of introducing hop culture
into the Northwest.

As this business created such a stir in the world's market, and made
the Puyallup Valley famous, and as my name has become so prominently
connected with hop culture, I can hardly pass this episode of my life
by without notice. As I say elsewhere, this should not properly be
called a venture, although the violent fluctuations of prices made it
hazardous. But I can truly say, that for twenty-two years' successive
crops, I did not raise a single crop upon which I lost money, and that
for that many years I added each year some acreage to my holdings. But
few hop-growers, however, can say so much as to losses incurred.

A history of the establishment and destruction of the business follows:

About the fifteenth of March, 1865, Chas. Wood, of Olympia, sent about
three pecks of hop roots to Steilacoom for my father, Jacob R. Meeker,
who then lived on his claim nearby where Sumner was afterwards built
in the Puyallup Valley. John V. Meeker, my brother, carried this sack
of roots on his back from Steilacoom to my father's home, a distance
of about twenty miles, passing by my cabin (the remains of which are
still standing in Pioneer Park, Puyallup) with his precious burden. I
fingered out of the sack roots sufficient to plant six hills of hops,
and so far as I know those were the first hops planted in the Puyallup
Valley. My father planted the remainder in four rows of about six rods
in length, and in the following September harvested the equivalent of
one bale of hops, 180 pounds, and sold them to Mr. Wood for 85 cents
per pound, receiving a little over $150.00.

[Illustration: One Group of Five of Ezra Meeker's Hop Houses.]

This was the beginning of the hop business in the Puyallup Valley, and
the Territory of Washington.

This was more money than had been received by any settler in the
Puyallup Valley, excepting perhaps two, from the products of their farm
for that year. My father's nearby neighbors, Messrs. E. C. Mead and L.
F. Thompson, obtained a barrel of hop roots from California the next
year, and planted them the following spring—four acres. I obtained
what roots I could get that year, but not enough to plant an acre.
The following year (1867) I planted four acres, and for twenty-six
successive years thereafter added to this plantation until our holdings
reached past the five-hundred-acre mark, and our production over four
hundred tons a year.

After having produced his third crop my father died (1869), but not
until after he had shipped his hops to Portland, Oregon. In settling up
his affairs I found it necessary for me to go to Portland, and there
met Henry Winehard, who had purchased some of the hops. Mr. Winehard,
was the largest brewer in Oregon. After closing up the business with
Mr. Winehard, he abruptly said, "I want your hops next year." I
answered that I did not know what the price would be. He said, "I will
pay you as much as anybody else," and then frankly told me of their
value. He said they were the finest hops he had ever used, and that
with them he had no need to use either foreign or New York hops, but
with the hops raised in the hotter climate of California, he could not
use them alone. I told him he should have them, and the result was
that for fourteen years, with the exception of one year, Mr. Winehard
used the hops grown on my place, some years 200 bales, some years
more. My meeting with him gave me such confidence in the business that
I did not hesitate to add to my yards as rapidly as I could get the
land cleared, for I had at first planted right among the stumps. There
came a depression in this business in 1869 and 1870, and my neighbors,
Messrs. Mead and Thompson, made the mistake of shipping their hops to
Australia, and finally lost their entire crop—not selling for much, if
anything, above the cost of the freight, while Mr. Winehard paid me
25 cents a pound for my crop. Under the discouragement of the loss of
their crop, Messrs. Mead and Thompson concluded to plow up a part of
their plantation—two acres and a half—whereupon I leased that portion
of their yard for a year, paying them $10.00 an acre in advance, and
harvested from those two acres and a half over four thousand pounds of
hops, and sold them to Henry Winehard for 50 cents a pound. This was
for the crop of 1871.

None of us knew anything about the hop business, and it was totally
accidental that we engaged in it, but seeing that there were
possibilities of great gain, I took extra pains to study up the
question, and found that by allowing our hops to mature thoroughly and
curing them at a low temperature, and baling them while hot, we could
produce a hop that would compete with any product in the world. Others
of my neighbors planted, and also many in Oregon, until there soon
became a field for purchasing and shipping hops.

But the fluctuations were so great that in a few years many became
discouraged and lost their holdings, until finally, during the world's
hop crop failure of the year 1882, there came to be unheard-of prices
for hops, and fully one-third of the crop of the Puyallup Valley was
sold for $1.00 per pound. I had that year nearly 100,000 pounds, which
averaged me 70 cents per pound.

About this time I had come to realize that the important market for
hops was in England, and began sending trial shipments, first, seven
bales, then the following year 500 bales, then 1,500 bales, until
finally our annual shipments reached 11,000 bales a year, or the
equivalent in value of £100,000—half million dollars—said to be at that
time the largest export hop trade by any one concern in the United

This business could not properly be called a venture; it was simply
a growth. The conditions were favorable in that we could produce the
choicest hops in the world's market at the lowest price of any kind,
and we actually did press the English growers so closely that over
fifteen thousand acres of hops were destroyed in that country.

My first hop house was built in 1868—a log house—and stands in Pioneer
Park, Puyallup, to this day, and is carefully preserved by the city
authorities and doubtless will be until it perishes by the hand of
time. We frequently employed from a thousand to twelve hundred people
during the harvest time. Until the beginning of the decline of the
business, the result of that little start of hop roots had brought over
twenty million dollars into the Territory of Washington.

I spent four winters in London on the hop market, and became acquainted
with all the leading hop men of the metropolis.

One evening as I stepped out of my office, and cast my eyes towards one
group of our hop houses, I thought I could see that the hop foliage
of a field nearby was off color—did not look natural. Calling one of
my clerks from the office he said the same thing—they did not look
natural. I walked down to the yards, a quarter of a mile distant, and
there first saw the hop-louse. The yard was literally alive with lice,
and were destroying—at least the quality. At that time I issued a hop
circular, sending it to over 600 correspondents all along the coast in
California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, and before the
week was out. I began to receive samples and letters from them, and
inquiries asking what was the matter with the hops.

It transpired that the attack of lice was simultaneous in Oregon,
Washington and British Columbia, extending over a distance coastwise of
more than 500 miles, and even inland up the Skagit River, where there
was an isolated yard.

It came like a clap of thunder out of a clear sky, so unexpected was it.

I sent my second son, Fred Meeker, to London to study the question
and to get their methods of fighting the pest, and to import some
spraying machinery. We found, however, in the lapse of years, to our
cost, that the conditions here were different, that while we could
kill the louse, the foliage was so dense that we had to use so much
spraying material that, in killing the louse, we virtually destroyed
the hops, and instead of being able to sell our hops at the top price
of the market, our product fell to the foot of the list, the last crop
I raised costing me eleven cents per pound, and selling for three under
the hammer at sheriff's sale.

At that time I had more than $100,000.00 advanced to my neighbors and
others upon their hop crops, which was lost. These people simply could
not pay, and I forgave the debt, taking no judgments against them, and
have never regretted the action.

All of my accumulations were swept away, and I quit the business, or,
rather, the business quit me.

The result was that finally, after a long struggle, nearly all of the
hops were plowed up and the land used for dairy, fruit and general
crops and is actually now of a higher value than when bearing hops.

A curious episode occurred during the height of our struggle to save
the hop business from impending destruction. The Post-Intelligencer of
Seattle published the following self-explanatory correspondence on the
date shown and while the Methodist conferences were yet in session:


                                        Puyallup, Sept. 6, 1895.

     To the Editor:

     In this morning's report of the Methodist conference I notice
     under the heading "A Curse on the Hop Crop", that Preacher
     Hanson, of Puyallup, reported he had some good news from that
     great hop country—the hop crop, the main support of the people,
     was a failure; the crop had been cursed by God. Whereupon Bishop
     Bowman said "Good" and from all over the room voices could be
     heard giving utterance to the fervent ejaculation, "Thank God."

     For the edification of the reverend fathers and fervent brethren
     I wish to publish to them and to the world that I have beat God,
     for I have 500 acres of hops at Puyallup and Kent that are free
     from lice, the "curse of God," and that I believe it was the
     work of an emulsion of whale oil soap and quassie sprayed on the
     vines that thwarted God's purpose to "curse" me and others who
     exterminated the lice.

     One is almost ready to ask if this is indeed the nineteenth
     century of enlightenment, to hear such utterances gravely made by
     men supposed to be expounders of that great religion of love as
     promulgated by the Great Teacher.

     I want to recall to the memory of the Rev. Mr. Hanson that the
     church in which he has been preaching for a year past was built
     in great part by money contributed from gains of this business
     "cursed by God." For myself I can inform him that, as a citizen
     of Puyallup, I contributed $400, to buy the ground upon which
     that church edifice is built, every cent of which came from this
     same hop business "cursed by God." I would "thank God" if they
     would return the money and thus ease their guilty consciences.

                                                             E. MEEKER.

When this letter appeared, vigorous protests came thick and fast and
compelled the good fathers to give Mr. Hanson another charge. But my
vainglorious boasting was not justified as the sequel shows; our hops
were finally destroyed—whether under a curse or not must be decided by
the reader, each for himself or herself. But I never got my $400.00
back, and, in fact, did not want it, and doubtless wrote the letter in
a pettish mood.



A more proper heading, I think, would be "Sugar Beet Raising," but
everybody at the time spoke of it the other way, and so it shall be. I
did raise hundreds of tons of sugar beets, and fed them to the dairy,
but had only enough of them manufactured to get half a ton of sugar,
which was exhibited at the New Orleans exposition—the second year of
the exposition—and probably the first sugar ever made from Washington
grown beets.

The first winter I spent on the London hop market (1884) my attention
was called to the remarkably cheap German made beet sugar, selling then
at "tuppence" a pound, as the English people expressed it—four cents a
pound, our currency. If beet sugar could be produced so cheaply, why
could we not make it, I queried, knowing as I did what enormous yields
of beets could be obtained in the rich soils of the Puyallup and White
River valleys. So I hied me off to the German sugar district, and
visited several of the factories, taking only a hasty view of their
works, but much impressed with the importance of the subject.

The following spring I planted two acres on one of my White River
farms, and Thomas Alvord planted two acres. I harvested forty-seven
tons from my two acres and at different times during their later growth
sent a dozen samples or more to the beet sugar factory at Alvarado,
California, to be tested. The report came back highly favorable—rich
and pure, and if figures would not lie, here was a field better than
hops—better than any crop any of the farmers were raising at the
time. So Mr. Alvord and myself organized a beet sugar company, and the
next year increased our acreage to further test the cost of raising
and of their sugar producing qualities. I raised over a hundred tons
that year, and we sent ten tons to the Alvarado factory to extract the
sugar—meanwhile had sent about a hundred samples at different times,
to be tested. Not all of the reports came back favorable, and the
conclusion was reached to test farther another year, and accordingly
a still larger acreage was planted. That year I sent my second son,
Fred Meeker, to a school of chemistry in San Francisco, and when the
factory started up in Alvarado, to the factory, for what was termed the
campaign, to work and to learn the business. Our samples were again
sent with the same result, some were exceedingly rich and pure, while
others would yield nothing. Fred wrote that the beets that had taken a
second growth were worthless for producing sugar.

That letter settled the whole question as our open, moist autumn
weather would surely at times destroy the crop, and would make it
extremely hazardous to enter into the business and so the whole matter
was dropped as well as $2,500.00 of expenses incurred. Subsequently,
however, the business has been successfully established in the drier
climate of the eastern part of Washington and Oregon.



Before giving an account of the adventure incident to marking the
Oregon Trail given in detail in chapters to follow in this volume, I
will write of one more adventure following my return from the Klondike;
that is, of my writing a book. The simple act of writing a book was
in no sense either a venture or an adventure, though it took me over
three years to do it. But when I undertook to have it printed (an
afterthought), then a real venture confronted me. No local works so far
had paid printers' bills and I was admonished by friends that a loss
would undoubtedly occur if I printed the work. But their fears were not
well founded, the work was printed,[20] the sales were made and the
printer paid.

Four years ago today I arrived at the ripe age of three score years and
ten, supposed to be the limit of life. Finding that I possessed more
ambition than strength, and that my disposition for a strenuous life
was greater than my power of physical endurance, I naturally turned
to other fields of work, that condition of life so necessary for the
welfare and happiness of the human race.

Many years before it had been my ambition to write our earlier
experiences of pioneer life on Puget Sound, and not necessarily for the
printer, but because I wanted to, but never could find time; and so
when the change came and my usual occupation was gone, what else would
I be more likely to do than to turn to my long delayed work, the more
particularly being admonished that it must be done soon or not at all.
And so, in a cheerful, happy mood, I entered again into the domain of
pioneer life, and began writing. But this is not history, you will say.
True, but we will come to that by and by.

I had, during the summer of 1853, with an inexperienced companion, in
an open boat—a frail skiff built with our own hands—crossed the path
of Theodore Winthrop, spending more than a month on a cruise from
Olympia to the Straits and return, while that adventurous traveler
and delightful writer had with a crew of Indians made the trip from
Port Townsend to Fort Nisqually in a canoe. I had followed Winthrop a
year later through the Natchess Pass to the Columbia River and beyond,
alone, except a companion pony that carried my sack of hard bread for
food, the saddle blanket for my bed and myself across the turbulent
rivers, and on easy grades. If Winthrop could write such a beautiful
book, "The Canoe and the Saddle," based upon such a trip, with Indians
to paddle his canoe on the Sound, and with an attendant and three
horses through the mountains, why should not my own experience of such
a trip be interesting to my own children and their children's children?
And so I wrote these trips.

Did you ever, when hungry, taste of a dish of fruit, a luscious,
ripe, highly flavored apple for instance, that seemed only to whet
but not satisfy your appetite? I know you have, and so can appreciate
my feelings when these stories were written. I craved more of pioneer
life experience, and so I went back to the earlier scenes, a little
earlier only—to the trip in a flat boat down the Columbia. River from
The Dalles to the first cabin, where Kalama town now stands; to the
pack on our backs from the Columbia to the Sound; to the three times
passing the road to and fro to get the wife and baby to tidewater—what
a charm that word tidewater had for me with a vision of the greatness
of opportunities of the seaboard—and I may say it has never lost its
charm—of the great world opened up before me, and so we were soon again
housed in the little cabin with its puncheon floor, "cat-and-clay"
chimney, and clapboard roof; its surroundings of scenery; of
magnificent forests and of constantly moving life, the Indians with
their happy song and fishing parties.

All this and more, too, I wrote, every now and then getting over to
the Indian question. How could I help it? We had been treated civilly,
and I may say, kindly, by them from the very outset, when we, almost
alone, were their white neighbors. I had been treated generously
by some, and had always found them ready to reciprocate in acts of
kindness, and so we had come to respect our untutored neighbors and to
sympathize with them in their troubles. Deep troubles came to them when
the treaty-making period arrived, and a little later upon all of us,
when war came, to break up all our plans and amicable relations. As I
began to write more about the Indians and their ways, a step further
brought me to the consideration of our Territorial government and the
government officials and their acts. It gradually dawned upon me this
was a more important work than writing of humble individuals; that the
history of our commonwealth was by far a more interesting theme, and
more profitable to the generations to follow than recording of private
achievements of the pioneer. It was but a step further until I realized
that I was fairly launched upon the domain of history, and that I must
need be more painstaking and more certain of my facts, and so then came
a long rest for my pen and a long search of the records, of old musty
letters, of no less old musty books, of forgetful minds of the pioneers
left, and again I was carried away into the almost forgotten past.

An authoress once told me that she never named her book until after
it was written. I could not then understand why, but I now do. While
writing of pioneer life I could think of no other title than something
like this: "Pioneer Life on Puget Sound Fifty Years Ago," a pretty long
title, but that was what the writing treated of. But when I got on the
Indian question and came to realize what a splendid true story was
wrapped up in the darkness of impending oblivion; how the Indians had
been wronged; how they had fought for their homes and won them; how the
chief actors had been sacrificed, but the tribes had profited—I again
became enthusiastic over my theme and over my ready-made heroes, and
before I realized it, lo! a new name took possession of my mind and
rang in it until there was born the title, "The Tragedy of Leschi."

When I come to think of it, that here were tribes that had never shed
white men's blood until grim war came, and that then they refused to
make war on their old neighbors, and that but one non-combatant settler
had lost his life after the first day of frenzy of the Muckleshoot
band at the massacre of White River, that here were men we called
savages, fighting for a cause, but threw themselves on the track of the
military arm of the government and not against helpless settlers. I had
myself been in their power and remained unharmed. I knew other of my
neighbors also that had been exposed and remained unmolested; surely
to tell the truth about such people is no more than justice and I said
to myself, I will write it down and prove what I write by the records
and the best obtainable witnesses alive, and having done so, will
print it, two books in one, two titles, yet but one volume, "Pioneer
Reminiscences of Puget Sound; The Tragedy of Leschi."

It is natural that in the stirring times of early days opinions would
differ; that neighbors, and even members of families, would look upon
events from different points of view, and so out of this maze I have
tried to state exact facts and draw just conclusions. The chapter
of this history begins with the creation of the Territory and ends
with Governor Stevens' official life in the Territory in the period
concerned. During that period, treaties were made with the Indians,
the war with them was fought; massacres horrid to contemplate were
perpetrated by the Indians and whites—by the Indians at the outbreak,
and the whites later—murders were committed; martial law proclaimed,
our courts invaded with armed men, judges dragged from the bench; our
governor in turn brought before the courts, fined and reprieved by
himself, and many other happenings unique in history are related, and
so, when my labor was finished and my pen laid aside, my only regret
was that the work had not been undertaken earlier in life when memory
served more accurately, and my contemporaries were more numerous.


[20] Pioneer Reminiscences of Puget Sound, The Tragedy of Leschi.



My connection with the banking business in Puyallup was neither a
venture nor an adventure, in the common acceptance of the meaning of
these words, and to this day I can scarcely account for my action. I
am sure that I was not "cut out" for a banker, and the business had
no attraction for me. I did want to see a national bank established in
Puyallup, and so took $10,000.00 of the stock, became a member of the
directory, and committed the grave indiscretion of letting others "run
the bank" without giving it personal attention.

In the lapse of time parties controlling a majority of the stock "run
it into the ground," to use a western phrase, that is, loaned to their
cousins and their aunts, to themselves indirectly, and to others
indiscreetly, until matters looked shaky. Suddenly "business" called
these parties to other and more attractive fields, and lo, and behold,
I became a bank president.

This was just before the time of the panic, and the question of what
was to become of the bank became one of the utmost concern. The notes
were nearly all hypothecated to secure loans from other banks, while
the tightening times caused the deposits to run down; the securities
could not be realized upon, and the banks holding them called for
their loans. The depositors, about one hundred in number, were
all my neighbors, and men and women of small means. One thing was
certain—could not continue to receive deposits with the knowledge I
had of the affairs of the bank, either with safety to myself or the
depositors. So one day when the deposits had run to a very low ebb,
and the cash balance correspondingly low, and a threatening demand had
been made by one of the secured banks, it was evident the time had
come when the bank must go into the hands of a receiver and what money
was on hand to be frittered away in receiver's fees, or pay out the
money on hand to the depositors, and let the creditor banks collect
on their collaterals. It was impracticable to pay depositors in part,
or part of them in full. October 16th, 1895, on my own responsibility
I obtained enough, with the funds of the bank in hand, to pay the
depositors in full. An attorney for one of the secured creditors of
the bank suspected what was going on, and believing the money was on
my person undertook to detain me in an office in Tacoma until papers
could be gotten out and served. But he was too late, as A. R. Herlig,
my attorney, was already in Puyallup with the funds, with directions
to take all the funds of the bank at nightfall, and with the cashier,
George Macklin, now of Portland, go to each depositor, and without
explanation insist on their taking the money due them. Charles Hood,
of Puyallup, and, I think, John P. Hartman, now of Seattle, was of the
party. Two trusted men with guns were sent along to guard the funds.
In fact, all carried guns, and so the story went out that the bank had
sent each depositor what was due him, and sent men along with guns to
make him take it. This became an alleged witticism for a long time in
Puyallup, but finally wore itself out. The result was that before four
o'clock next morning all the depositors were paid, except four, who
could not be found, and the next day the bank was open just the same as
if nothing had happened, but all deposits were refused. The attempted
holdup in Tacoma, resulted in nothing more serious than a scuffle, the
loss of a collar button or two, with plenty of threats, but no action.

I took the train for Puyallup, went to bed at the usual hour, and slept
soundly, as I always do.

As expected, in a few days a bank examiner came to take possession
of the bank, having received direct orders from Washington from Mr.
Eckles, the comptroller. In a week he was willing to quit, and asked
that the bank should be turned over to the directors, and was ordered
to do so. The affairs of the bank were closed up without litigation,
but the capital was gone, and all that was left was the furniture and
the charter, which is held to be valid to this day, and so it would
seem I am yet the president of the First National Bank of Puyallup, and
have been for nearly twenty years.

A few years ago the late Charles Fogg, of Tacoma, acting as an attorney
for a group of capitalists, undertook to marshal the scattered and
really worthless stock with a view to rehabilitate the bank and save
the name, but were met by some obstinate stockholders who refused to
either co-operate or dispose of their holdings and so the bank sleeps
though not dead. Possibly when the "Rip Van Winkle sleep" has lapsed
and when the little city of Puyallup has reached the twenty-thousand
mark of inhabitants and one or two more of the recalcitrant
stockholders die (one of the chief obstructionists died since the
attempt was made), the bank may reappear as one of the institutions of
the rising city of Puyallup.



After the failure of the hop business, I undertook a venture to the
mines of the north. This resulted in a real live adventure of exciting

I had lived in the old Oregon country forty-four years and had never
seen a mine. Mining had no attraction for me, any more than corner
lots in new, embryo cities. I did not understand the value of either,
and left both severely alone. But when my accumulations had all been
swallowed up, the land I had previously owned gone into other hands,
and, in fact, my occupation gone, I concluded to take a chance in a
mining country; matters could not well be much worse, and probably
could be made better, and so in the spring of 1898 I made my first
trip over the Chilcoot Pass, and then down the Yukon River to Dawson
in a flatboat, and ran the famous White Horse Rapids with my load of
vegetables for the Klondike miners.

One may read of the Chilcoot Pass the most graphic descriptions
written, and yet when he is up against the experience of crossing, he
will find the difficulties more formidable than his wildest fancy or
expectation had pictured. I started in with fifteen tons of freight,
and got through with nine. On one stretch of 2,000 feet I paid forty
dollars a ton freight, and I knew of others paying more. The trip for
a part of the way reminded me of the scenes on the Plains in 1852—such
crowds that they jostled each other on the several parallel trails
where there was room for more than one track. At the pass, most of the
travel came upon one track, and so steep that the ascent could only be
made by cutting steps in the ice and snow—1,500 in all.

Frequently every step would be full, while crowds jostled each other at
the foot of the ascent to get into the single file, each man carrying
from one hundred (it was said) to two hundred pounds pack on his back.
Nevertheless, after all sorts of experiences, I arrived in Dawson, with
nine tons of my outfit, sold my fresh potatoes at $36.00 a bushel and
other things in like proportionate prices and in two weeks started up
the river, homeward bound, with two hundred ounces of Klondike gold
in my belt. But four round trips in two years satisfied me that I did
not want any more of like experience. Then was when my mind would
run on this last venture, the monument expedition, while writing the
Reminiscences,[21] a part of which are elsewhere to be found in this
volume. Had it not been for the loss of my business, it is doubtful if
I ever would have settled down to this work, and so, maybe, the loss
was a blessing in disguise. Anyway, no happier years of my life were
passed than while engaged in writing it.

As I have said, the trips to the Klondike became real adventures.
Fortunately detained for a couple of days, I escaped the avalanche
that buried fifty-two people in the snow, and passed by the morgue the
second day after the catastrophe on my way to the summit, and doubtless
over the bodies of many unknown dead, imbedded so deeply in the snow
that it was utterly impossible to recover them.

[Illustration: The Klondike Team.]

I received a good ducking in my first passage through the White Horse
Rapids, and vowed I would not go through there again, but I did, the
very next trip that same year, and came out of it dry; then when going
down the thirty-mile river, it did seem as though we could not escape
being dashed upon the rocks, but somehow or another got through safely
while the bank of that river was strewed with wrecks, and the waters
had swallowed up many victims. When the Yukon proper was reached, the
current was not so swift but the shoals were numerous, and more than
once we were "hung up" on the bar, and always with an uncertainty as
to how we would get off. In all of this experience of the two trips
by the scows no damage resulted, except once when a hole was jammed
into the scow, and we thought we were "goners" certain, but effected a
landing so quickly as to unload our cargo dry. I now blame myself for
taking such risks, but curiously enough I must admit that I enjoyed
it, sustained, no doubt, with the high hopes of coming out with "my
pile." But fate or something else was against me, for the after mining
experience swept all the accumulation away "slick as a mitten," as
the old saying goes, and I came out over the rotten ice of the Yukon
in April of 1901 to stay, and to vow I never wanted to see another
mine, or visit another mining country. Small wonder, you may say, when
I write, that in two weeks' time after arriving home I was able to,
and did celebrate our golden wedding with the wife of fifty years and
enjoyed the joys of a welcome home even if I did not have my pockets
filled with gold. I had then passed the seventy-year mark, and thought
my "pet project," as some people call it, of marking the old Oregon
Trail, was hung up indefinitely, but the sequel is shown in what
followed and is the answer to my foreboding. I am now at this writing
past the eighty-fifth year mark, and cannot see but I am as strong as
when I floated down the Yukon in a flatboat, or packed my goods over
the Chilcoot Pass, or drove my ox team over the summit of the Rocky
Mountains on my recent trip to mark the historic Oregon Trail.


[A song of the Oregon Trail. Dedicated to Ezra Meeker, Pioneer.]


    A song for the men who blazed the way!
      With hearts that would not quail;
    They made brave quest of the wild Northwest,
      They cut the Oregon trail.

    Back of them beckoned their kith and kin
      And all that they held their own;
    Front of them spread the wilderness dread,
      And ever the vast unknown.

    But ever they kept their forward course!
      And never they thought to lag,
    For over them flew the Red, White and Blue
      And the dream of a star for the flag!


    A cheer for the men who cut the trail!
      With souls as firm as steel
    And fiery as wrath they hewed the path
      For the coming Commonweal.

    And close on the heels of the pioneers
      The eager throng closed in
    And followed the road to a far abode.
      An Empire new to win.

    And so they wrought at the end of the trail,
      As ever must brave men do,
    Till out of the dark there gleamed a spark,
      And the dream of the star came true.


    A toast to the men who made the road!
      And a health to the men who dwell
    In the great new land by the heroes planned,
      Who have builded it wide and well!

    The temple stands where the pine tree stood,
      And dim is the ancient trail,
    But many and wide are the roads that guide
      And staunch are the ships that sail!

    For the land is a grand and goodly land,
      And its fruitful fields are tilled
    By the sons who see on the flag of the free
      The dream of the star fulfilled!

                                                         ROBERTUS LOVE.


[21] "Pioneer Reminiscences of Puget Sound," 600 pages, $3.00. Address
Ezra Meeker, 1201 38th Ave. N., Seattle, Wash.

The Oregon Trail Monument Expedition.



The ox is passing; in fact, has passed. Like the old-time
spinning-wheel and the hand loom, that are only to be seen as mementos
of the past, or the quaint old cobbler's bench with its hand-made lasts
and shoe pegs, or the heavy iron bubbling mush pots on the crane in
the chimney corner; like the fast vanishing of the old-time men and
women of sixty years or more ago—all are passing, to be laid aside for
the new ways, and the new actors on the scenes of life. While these
ways and these scenes and these actors have had their day, yet their
experiences and the lesson taught are not lost to the world, although
at times almost forgotten.

The difference between a civilized and an untutored people lies in
the application of these experiences; while the one builds upon the
foundations of the past, which engenders hope and ambition for the
future, the other has no past, nor aspirations for the future. As
reverence for the past dies out in the breasts of a generation, so
likewise patriotism wanes. In the measure that the love of the history
of the past dies, so likewise do the higher aspirations for the future.
To keep the flame of patriotism alive we must keep the memory of the
past vividly in mind.

Bearing these thoughts in mind, this expedition to perpetuate the
memory of the old Oregon Trail was undertaken. And there was this
further thought, that here was this class of heroic men and women who
fought a veritable battle—a battle of peace, to be sure, yet as brave
a battle as any ever fought by those who faced the cannon's mouth—a
battle that was fraught with as momentous results as any of the great
battles of grim war—a battle that wrested half a continent from the
native race and from a mighty nation contending for mastery in the
unknown regions of the West—whose fame was scantily acknowledged,
whose name was already almost forgotten, and whose track, the
battle-ground of peace, was on the verge of impending oblivion. Shall
this become an established fact? The answer to this is this expedition,
to perpetuate the memory of the old Oregon Trail, and to honor the
intrepid pioneers who made it and saved this great region—the "Old
Oregon Country"—for American rule.

The ox team was chosen as a typical reminder of pioneer days, and as an
effective instrument to attract attention, arouse enthusiasm, and as a
help to secure aid to forward the work of marking the old Trail, and
erecting monuments in centers of population.

The team consisted of one seven-year-old ox, Twist, and one unbroken
range five-year-old steer, Dave. When we were ready to start, Twist
weighed 1,470 and Dave 1,560 pounds, respectively. This order of weight
was soon changed. In three months' time Twist gained 130 and Dave lost
10 pounds. All this time I fed with a lavish hand all the rolled barley
I dare and all the hay they would eat. During that time thirty-three
days lapsed in which we did not travel, being engaged either arranging
for the erection or dedication of monuments.

The wagon is new woodwork throughout except one hub, which did service
across the plains in 1853. The hub bands, boxes and other irons are
from two old-time wagons that crossed the plains in 1853, and differ
some in size and shape; hence the fore and hind wheel hubs do not
match. The axles are wood, with the old-time linch pins and steel
skeins, involving the use of tar and the tar bucket. The bed is of the
old style "prairie schooner," so called, fashioned as a boat, like
those of "ye olden times." I crossed Snake River in two places in 1852,
with all I possessed (except the oxen and cows), including the running
gear of the wagon, in a wagon-box not as good as this one shown in the

In one respect the object was attained, that of attracting attention,
with results in part wholly unexpected. I had scarcely driven the
outfit away from my own dooryard till the work of defacing the wagon
and wagon cover, and even the nice map of the old Trail, began. First,
I noticed a name or two written on the wagon-bed, then a dozen or more,
all stealthily placed there, until the whole was so closely covered
there was no room for more. Finally the vandals began carving initials
on the wagon bed, cutting off pieces to carry away. Eventually I put a
stop to it by employing a special police, posting notices, and nabbing
some in the very act.

[Illustration: Ezra Meeker's Homestead, Puyallup, Washington; Camp No.
1, the Oregon Trail Monument Expedition.]

Give me Indians on the plain to contend with, give me fleas—ah, yes,
the detested sage brush ticks to burrow in your flesh—but deliver me
from the degenerates who are cheap notoriety seekers.

Many good people have thought there was some organization behind
this work, or that there had been Government aid secured. To all of
this class, and to those who may read these lines, I will quote from
the cards issued at the outset: "The expense of this expedition to
perpetuate the memory of the old Oregon Trail, by erecting stone
monuments is borne by myself except such voluntary aid as may be given
by those taking an interest in the work, and you are respectfully
solicited to contribute such sum as may be convenient." The use of
these cards was soon discontinued, however. After leaving Portland
no more contributions were solicited or in fact received for the
general expense of the expedition, and only donations for local
monuments, to be expended by local committees were taken. I found
this course necessary to disarm criticism of the inveterate croakers,
more interested in searching some form of criticism than in lending a
helping hand.

To my appeal a generous response has been made, however, as attested
by the line of monuments between Puget Sound and the Missouri River, a
brief account of which, with incidents of the trip made by me with an
ox team, will follow.



Camp No. 1 was in my front dooryard at Puyallup, Washington, a town
established on my own homestead nearly forty years ago, on the line
of the Northern Pacific Railroad, nine miles southeast of Tacoma, and
thirty miles south of Seattle, Washington. In platting the town I
dedicated a park and called it Pioneer Park, and in it are the remains
of our ivy-covered cabin, where the wife of fifty-eight years and I,
with our growing family, spent so many happy hours. In this same town
I named the principal thoroughfare Pioneer Avenue, and a short street
abutting the park Pioneer Way, hence the reader may note it is not a
new idea to perpetuate the memory of the pioneers.

[Illustration: The Ivy-Covered Cabin, the First House in Puyallup; the
Early Home of Ezra Meeker.]

No piece of machinery ever runs at the start as well as after trial;
therefore Camp No. 1 was maintained several days to mend up the weak
points, and so after a few days of trial everything was pronounced
in order, and Camp No. 2 was pitched in the street in front of the
Methodist church of the town, and a lecture was delivered in the church
for the benefit of the expedition.

I drove to Seattle, passing through the towns of Sumner, Auburn and
Kent, lecturing in each place, with indifferent success, as the people
seemed to pay more attention to the ox team than they did to me, and
cared more to be in the open, asking trivial questions, than to be
listening to the story of the Oregon Trail. However, when I came to
count the results I found ninety-two dollars in my pocket, but also
found out that I could not lecture and make any headway in the work
of getting monuments erected; that I must remain in the open, where I
could meet all the people and not merely a small minority, and so the
lecture scheme was soon after abandoned.

Then I thought to arouse an interest and secure some aid in Seattle,
where I had hosts of friends and acquaintances, but nothing came out of
the effort—my closest friends trying to dissuade me from going—and, I
may say, actually tried to convince others that it would not be an act
of friendship to lend any aid to the enterprise. What, for lack of a
better name, I might call a benign humor underlay all this solicitude.
I knew, or thought I knew, my powers of physical endurance to warrant
undertaking the ordeal; that I could successfully make the trip, but
my closest friends were the most obdurate, and so after spending two
weeks in Seattle I shipped my outfit by steamer to Tacoma. Conditions
there were much the same as at Seattle. A pleasant incident, however,
broke the monotony. Henry Hewitt, of Tacoma, drove up alongside my
team, then standing on Pacific Avenue, and said, "Meeker, if you get
broke out there on the Plains, just telegraph me for money to come back
on." I said no, "I would rather hear you say to telegraph for money to
go on with." "All right," came the response, "have it that way then,"
and drove off, perhaps not afterwards giving the conversation a second
thought until he received my telegram, telling him I had lost an ox and
that I wanted him to send me two hundred dollars. As related elsewhere,
the response came quick, for the next day I received the money. "A
friend in need is a friend indeed."

[Illustration: The Old and the New; Camp in Seattle in Background; High
School Building in the Farther Background.]

Somehow no serious thought ever entered my mind to turn back after once
started, no more than when the first trip of 1852 was made.

Almost everyone has just such an experience in life, and, after looking
back over the vista of years, wonder why. In this case I knew it was a
case of persistence only, to succeed in making the trip, but of course
could not know as to the results; but there was more than this: I
simply wanted to do it, and having once resolved to do it, nothing but
utter physical disability could deter me.

From Tacoma I shipped by steamer to Olympia.

The terminus of the old Trail is but two miles distant from Olympia,
at Tumwater, the extreme southern point of Puget Sound, and where
the waters of the Des Chutes River mingles with the salt waters of
the Pacific through the channels of Puget Sound, Admiralty Inlet and
Straits of Fuca, 150 miles distant. Here was where the first American
party of home builders rested and settled in 1845 and became the end
of the Trail, where land and water travel meet. At this point I set a
post, and subsequently arranged for an inscribed stone to be planted to
permanently mark the spot.

I quote from my journal: "Olympia, February 19th, 1906.—Spent the day
canvassing for funds for the monument, giving tickets for the lecture
in the evening in return; what with the receipts at the door and
collections, found I had $42.00—$21.00 of which was given to Allen Weir
for benefit of monument fund."


"Camp 10, Tenino, Feb. 20th.—Went to Tenino on train to arrange for
meeting and for monument; hired horse team to take outfit to Tenino, 16
miles, and drove oxen under the yoke; went into camp near site of the
monument to be erected about 3 p. m."

"21st.—A red-letter day; drove over to the stone quarry and hauled
monument over to site, where workman followed and put same in place.
This monument was donated by the Tenino Quarry Company and is
inscribed, 'Old Oregon Trail, 1845-53.' At 2 o'clock the stores were
closed, the school children in a body came over and nearly the whole
population turned out to the dedication of the first monument on the
Trail. Lectured in the evening to a good house—had splendid vocal
music. Receipts $16.00."

The reader will note quotation from my journal, "hired horse team to
take outfit to Tenino," and wonder why I hired a team. I will tell you.
Dave, the so-called ox, was not an ox but simply an unruly Montana
five-year-old steer and as mean a brute as ever walked on four legs.
I dare not entrust the driving to other hands, and must go ahead to
arrange for the monument and the lecture. Dave would hook and kick
and do anything and all things one would not want him to do, but to
behave himself was not a part of his disposition. Besides, he would
stick his tongue out from the smallest kind of exertion. At one time I
became very nearly discouraged with him. He had just been shipped in
off the Montana cattle range and had never had a rope on him—unless
it was when he was branded—and like a great big overgrown booby of a
boy, his flesh was flabby and he could not endure any sort of exertion
without discomfort. This is the ox that finally made the round trip
and that bore his end of the yoke from the tide waters of the Pacific
to the tide waters of the Atlantic, at the Battery, New York City, and
to Washington City to meet the President. He finally became subdued,
though not conquered; to this day I do not trust his heels, though he
now seldom threatens with his horns. He weighed in Washington City
when viewed by the President 1,900 pounds—330 pounds more than he did
when I first put him under the yoke twenty-two months before.[22] The
ox "Twist," also shown in the illustration, suddenly died August
9, 1906, and was buried within a few rods of the Trail, as told in
another chapter. It took two months to a day before I could find a mate
for the Dave ox, and then had to take another five-year-old steer off
the cattle range of Nebraska. This steer, Dandy, evidently had never
been handled, but he came of good stock and, with the exception of
awkwardness, gave me no serious trouble. Dandy was purchased out of the
stock yards of Omaha, weighed 1,470 pounds, and the day before he went
to see the President tipped the scales at the 1,760-pound notch and has
proven to be a faithful, serviceable ox.

[Illustration: Dedicating Monument at Tenino, Washington.]


At Chehalis a point was selected in the center of the street at the
park, and a post set to mark the spot where the monument is to stand.
The Commercial Club undertook the work, but were not ready to erect and
dedicate, as a more expensive monument than one that could be speedily
obtained would be provided as an ornament to the park.

I vividly recollected this section of the old Trail, having, in company
with a brother, packed my blankets and "grub" on my back over it in
May, 1853, and camped on it nearby over night, under the sheltering,
drooping branches of a friendly cedar tree. We did not carry tents on
such a trip, but slept out under the open canopy of heaven, obtaining
such shelter as we could from day to day.

It is permissible to note the liberality of H. C. Davis, of Claquato,
who provided a fund of $50.00 to purchase one ox for the expedition,
the now famous ox Dave that made the round trip to the Atlantic and


John R. Jackson was the first American citizen to settle north of the
Columbia River. One of the daughters, Mrs. Ware, accompanied by her
husband, indicated the spot where the monument should be erected,
and a post was planted. A touching incident was that Mrs. Ware was
requested to put the post in place and hold it while her husband tamped
the earth around it, which she did with tears streaming from her eyes
at the thought that at last her pioneer father's place in history was
to be recognized. A stone was ordered at once, to soon take the place
of the post.


Toledo, the last place to be reached on the old Trail in Washington,
is on the Cowlitz, a mile from the landing where the pioneers left the
river on the overland trail to the Sound. Here, later, the citizens
erected a suitable monument.


From Toledo I shipped by river steamer the whole outfit, and took
passage with my assistants to Portland, thus reversing the order of
travel in 1853, accepting the use of steam instead of the brawn of
stalwart men and Indians to propel the canoe, and arrived on the
evening of March 1, and on the morning of the 2nd pitched my tent in
the heart of the city on a beautiful vacant lot, the property of Jacob
Kamm. I remained in camp here until the morning of March 9, to test the
question of securing aid for the expedition.

Except for the efforts of that indefatigable worker, George H. Himes,
secretary of the Oregon Pioneer Association since 1886, and assistant
secretary of the Oregon Historical Society, with headquarters in
Portland, no helping hand was extended. Not but that the citizens took
a lively interest in the "novel undertaking" in this "unique outfit,"
yet the fact became evident that only the few believed the work could
be successfully done by individual effort, and that Government aid
should be invoked. The prevailing opinion was voiced by a prominent
citizen, a trustee of a church, who voted against allowing the use of
the church for a lecture for the benefit of the expedition, when he
said that he "did not want to do anything to encourage that old man to
go out on the Plains to die." Notwithstanding this sentiment, through
Mr. Himes' efforts nearly $200 was contributed.

March 10, at 7:00 a. m., embarked at Portland on the steamer Bailey
Gatzert for The Dalles, which place was reached at night, but enlivened
by a warm reception from the citizens awaiting my arrival, who
conducted us to a camping place that had been selected.

Upon this steamer one can enjoy all the luxuries of civilized life,
a continuous trip now being made through the Government locks at the
Cascades. The tables are supplied with all the delicacies the season
affords, with clean linen for the beds, and obsequious attendants to
supply the wants of travelers.

"What changes time has wrought," I exclaimed. "Can it be the same
Columbia River which I traversed fifty-four years ago? Yes, there are
the mighty mountains, the wonderful waterfalls, the sunken forests,
each attesting the identity of the spot, but what about the conditions?
The answer can be found in the chapter elsewhere in this work,
"Floating Down the River," illustrating the mighty changes of fifty-six
years, when as an emigrant I passed through this gap of the Cascades in
a flatboat, on the waters of the great river."


[22] Finally 2,375 pounds at the age of 14, when he was mounted for
preservation in history.



I quote from my journal:

"The Dalles, Oregon, Camp No. 16, March 10.—Arrived last night all in
a muss, with load out of the wagon, but the mate had his men put the
bed on, and a number of the willing boys helped to tumble all loose
articles into the wagon while Goebel arranged them, leaving the boxes
for a second load. Drove nearly three-quarters of a mile to a camping
ground near the park, selected by the citizens; surprised to find the
streets muddy. Cattle impatient and walked very fast, necessitating my
tramping through the mud at their heads. Made second load while Goebel
put up the tent, and went to bed at 10:00 o'clock, which was as soon as
things were arranged for the night. No supper or even tea, as we did
not build a fire. It was clear last night, but raining this morning,
which turned to sleet and snow at 9:00 o'clock.

"March 11.—Heavy wind last night that threatened to bring cold weather;
ice formed in the camp half an inch thick; damper of stove out of
order, which, with the wind, drove the smoke out of the stove and
filled the tent full of smoke, making life miserable. In consequence of
the weather, the dedication ceremonies were postponed."

Prior to leaving home I had written to the ladies of the landmark
committee that upon my arrival at The Dalles I would be pleased to
have their co-operation to secure funds to erect a monument in their
city. What should they do but put their heads together and provide one
already inscribed and in place and notify me that I had been selected
to deliver the dedicatory address, and that it was expected the whole
city would turn out to witness the ceremonies. But, alas, the fierce
cold wind spoiled all their well-laid plans, for the dedication had to
be postponed. Finally, upon short notice, the stone was duly dedicated
on the 12th of March, with a few hundred people in attendance with
their wraps and overcoats.

Before leaving Seattle I had the oxen shod, for which I was charged the
unmerciful price of $15, but they did such a poor job that by the time
I arrived at The Dalles all the shoes but one were off the Dave ox, and
several lost off Twist, and the remainder loose, and so I was compelled
to have the whole of the work done over again at The Dalles.

This time the work was well done, all the shoes but one staying on for
a distance of 600 miles, when we threw the Dave ox to replace the lost
shoe, there being no stocks at hand. The charge at The Dalles was $10,
thus making quite an inroad upon the scant funds for the expedition.
I felt compelled to have them again shod at Kemmerer, Wyoming, 848
miles out from The Dalles, but soon lost several shoes, and finally at
Pacific Springs had the missing shoes replaced by inexperienced hands,
who did a good job, though, for the shoes stayed on until well worn.


At 3:30 p. m. on March 14 I drove out from The Dalles. I have always
felt that here was the real starting point, as from here there could be
no more shipping, but all driving. By rail, it is 1,734 miles from The
Dalles to Omaha, where our work on the old Trail ends. By wagon road
the distance is greater, but not much, probably 1,800 miles. The load
was heavy as well as the roads. With a team untrained to the road, and
one ox unbroken, and no experienced ox driver, and the grades heavy,
small wonder if a feeling of depression crept over me. On some long
hills we could move up but one or two lengths of the wagon and team
at a time, and on level roads, with the least warm sun, the unbroken
ox would poke out his tongue. He was like the young sprig just out of
school, with muscles soft and breath short.

[Illustration: The First Boulder Marked.]


As we drew into camp a young man with eight horses approached the
creek. "What do you do with so many horses, lad?" I queried, as the
drove passed with their heads down and traces dangling around their
bodies. "Why, I have been harrowing in wheat today, up on the hill;
it's pretty tough work at that." "No, you see our horses are not
large," responding to an inquiry about eight horses to one harrow,
"and besides you see they are not in very good condition; the fact is,
our feed has run short and we have put them on short rations," and
the horses looked it, with their heads down as they came away from
the creek. "Why, we usually harrow 35 acres for a full day's work,
sometimes; but 40 acres is called a big day's run." "Yes, I can plow
seven acres a day, which is a fair day's work—too much, perhaps, with
this team, but with a good, strong team one can easily turn over eight
acres." "Let me see," he continued, in response to further inquiries;
"let me see. I think with what winter wheat we have in there'll be over
400 acres; we expect a yield of 20 bushels an acre, but some have got
as high as 30." "Why, we got a dollar last year right here," this in
response to a question as to price.

A nearby neighbor who had 600 acres in wheat said they expected a good
yield this year as there "had been 14 inches rainfall already for the
season, while the average was but 10."

"Well, of course it's a pretty good business with wheat at a dollar,"
which was in evidence at the next camp where a new fifteen hundred
dollar automobile was snugly housed ready for use. This man had 1,200
acres of land. "Why, yes, of course we have neighbors; Neighbor R——
lives but two miles off and then there's Neighbor B—— not three."

When reminded that when I was a boy anyone living three miles away was
considered out of the neighborhood: "Yes, but things is different in
Oregon," which I readily admitted, having just passed a schoolhouse
with but seven scholars, and remembered the six hundred or eight
hundred and twelve hundred acre farms we had passed.

I was also reminded of my boyhood days when father spoke approvingly if
I plowed two acres a day, and to harrow ten acres was the biggest kind
of a day's work. I queried in my mind which was the best condition of
things, the big farms and farming a business proposition, or the small
farms with the home surroundings. I had been told that "that man over
there has been there twenty-six years and don't raise fruit enough for
his own use." Money-making was his object and he had no time to "fool
with fruit trees or garden truck." Then I was reminded of the time we
cut the wheat with a sickle, or maybe with the hand cradle, and thresh
it out with horses on the barn floor. Sometimes we had a fanning mill,
and how it would make my arms ache to turn the crank; then at other
times if a stiff breeze sprung up the wheat and chaff would be shaken
loosely from an elevation and the chaff would be blown away, or if all
other means failed two stout arms at either end of a blanket or a sheet
would move it as a fan to "clean" the wheat.

Now we not only see the gang plows with eight horses plowing eight
acres a day and hear that the gasoline traction engine is doing even
better than that, and not only see the harrow cover 40 acres a day
instead of 10, but see the great combination harvester garner thirty
acres a day and instead of the flail, thresh it as well and sack it
ready for the mill or warehouse—no shocking, no stacking or housing—all
in one operation, preparing the grain ready for market. What a change
this, in three-quarters of a century, the span of one life.

As we traveled eastward and the Blue Mountains came in distant view
and half a day's brisk travel brought us within close proximity of
wheat fields well up to approaching the snow line, the country became
less broken, the soil seemed better, the rainfall, we were told, being
better, the yield of wheat greater and fifty bushels is reported as
not an unusual crop. We began to see the red barns, the comfortable
farmhouse (wide apart though, for the farms are large) and ten horses
to the team the rule and oftentime three teams in a field each turning
three furrows instead of one as in the olden times. Finally as we
approached the Walla Walla Valley the scene changed, the large farms
disappeared, the small holdings became the rule and orchards were to be
seen everywhere as we pass that historic point, the site of the tragedy
of Whitman, and are soon in camp in the very heart of the thriving city
of Walla Walla.


A fourteen days' drive to Pendleton, Oregon, 138½ miles, without
meeting any success in interesting people to help in the work, was not
inspiring. On this stretch, with two assistants, the Trail was marked
with boulders and cedar posts at intersections with traveled roads,
river crossings and noted camping places, but no center of population
was encountered until I reached the town of Pendleton. Here the
Commercial Club took hold with a will, provided the funds to inscribe
a stone monument, which was installed, and on the 31st of March
dedicated it, with over a thousand people present. Here one assistant
was discharged, the camera and photo supplies stored, a small kodak
purchased, and the load otherwise lightened by shipping tent, stove,
stereopticon and other et ceteras over the Blue Mountains to La Grande.

On that evening I drove out six miles to the Indian school in a fierce
wind and rain storm that set in soon after the dedication ceremonies,
on my way over the Blue Mountains.

A night in the wagon without fire in cold weather and with scant supper
was enough to cool one's ardor; but zero was reached when the next
morning information was given out that eighteen inches of snow had
fallen on the mountains. However, with the morning sun came a warm
reception from the authorities of the school, a room with a stove in it
allotted us, and a command to help ourselves to fuel.


Before this last fall of snow some had said it would be impossible for
me to cross, while others said it could be done, but that it would
be a "hard job." So I thought best to go myself, investigate on the
spot, and "not run my neck into a halter" (whatever that may mean) for
lack of knowing at first hands. So that evening Meacham was reached by
rail, and I was dumped off in the snow near midnight, no visible light
in hotel nor track beaten to it, and again the ardor was cold—cool,
cooler, cold.

Morning confirmed the story; twenty inches of snow had fallen, but was
settling fast. A sturdy mountaineer, and one of long experience and an
owner of a team, in response to my query if he could help me across
with his team said, "Yes, it's possible to make it, but I warn you it's
a hard job," and so the arrangement was at once made that the second
morning after our meeting his team would leave Meacham on the way to
meet me.

"But what about a monument, Mr. Burns?" I said. "Meacham is a historic
place with Lee's[23] encampment in sight."

"We have no money," came the quick reply, "but plenty of brawn. Send
us a stone and I'll warrant you the foundation will be built and the
monument put in place."

A belated train gave opportunity to return at once to Pendleton. An
appeal for aid to provide an inscribed stone for Meacham was responded
to with alacrity, the stone ordered, and a sound night's sleep
followed—ardor rising.


I quote from my journal: "Camp No. 31, April 4 (1906).—We are now on
the snow line of the Blue Mountains (8:00 p. m.), and am writing this
by our first real out-of-door campfire, under the spreading boughs of
a friendly pine tree. We estimate have driven twelve miles; started
from the school at 7:00 (a. m.); the first three or four miles over a
beautiful farming country, and then began climbing the foothills, up,
up, up, four miles, and soon up again, reaching first snow at 3:00
o'clock. The long uphill pull fagged the ox Dave, so we had to wait on
him, although I had given him an inch the advantage on the yoke."

True to promise, the team met us, but not till we had reached the snow,
axle deep, and had the shovel in use to clear the way. But by 3:00 p.
m. we were safely encamped at Meacham, with the cheering news that the
monument had arrived and could be dedicated the next day, and so the
snowfall had proven a blessing in disguise, as otherwise there would
not have been a monument provided for Meacham. Ardor warming.

But the summit had not been reached. The worst tug lay ahead of us.
Casting all thoughts of this from mind, all hands turned to the
monument, which by 11:00 o'clock was in place, the team hitched up,
standing near it, and ready for the start as soon as the order was
given. Everybody was out, the little school in a body, a neat speech
was made by the orator from Pendleton, and the two teams to the one
wagon moved on to the front to battle with the snow. And it was a
battle. We read of the "last straw that broke the camel's back." I
said, after we had gotten through, "I wonder if another flake of snow
would have balked us?" But no one answered, and I took it for granted
they didn't know. And so we went into camp on the hither side of the
summit. Ardor warmer.


The sunshine that was let into our hearts at La Grande (Oregon) was
refreshing. "Yes, we will have a monument," the response came, and they
did, too, and dedicated it while I tarried. Ardor normal.


I again quote from my journal:

"Camp No. 34, April 11.—We left La Grande at 7:30 (a. m.) and brought
an inscribed stone with us to set up at an intersection near the mouth
of Ladd's Canyon, eight miles out of La Grande. At 1:00 o'clock the
school nearby came in a body and several residents to see and hear.
The children sang "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean," after which I
talked to them for a few moments. The exercises closed with all singing
"America." We photographed the scene. Each child brought a stone and
cast it upon the pile surrounding the base of the monument."

CAMP No. 34.

At this camp, on April 12, the Twist ox kicked me and almost totally
disabled my right leg for a month, and probably has resulted in
permanent injury. Much had to be left undone that otherwise would have
been accomplished, but I am rejoiced that it was no worse and thankful
to the kind friends that worked so ardently to accomplish what has been
done, an account of which follows.


The citizens of Baker City lent a willing ear to the suggestion to
erect a monument on the high school ground to perpetuate the memory of
the old Trail and to honor the pioneers who made it, although the trail
is off to the north six miles. A fine granite shaft was provided and
dedicated while I tarried, and an inscribed stone marker set in the
Trail. Eight hundred school children contributed an aggregate of $60 to
place a children's bronze tablet on this shaft. The money for this work
was placed in the hands of the school directors. Two thousand people
participated in the ceremony of dedication on the 19th, and all were
proud of the work. A wave of genuine enthusiasm prevailed, and many of
the audience lingered long after the exercises were over.

[Illustration: OREGON TRAIL MONUMENTS. Center, Baker City, Ore.; Upper
Left, Boise, Idaho; Lower Left, Boulder Mark; Right, Ezra Meeker.]

A photograph of the Old Timer was taken after the ceremonies of the
dedication, and many a moistened eye attested the interest taken in the
impromptu reunion.


Sixteen miles out from Baker City at Straw Ranch, set an inscribed
stone at an important intersection. At Old Mount Pleasant I met the
owner of the place where I wanted to plant the stone (always, though,
in the public highway) and asked him to contribute, but he refused
and treated me with scant courtesy. Thirteen young men and one lady,
hearing of the occurrence, contributed the cost of the stone and $6
extra. The tent was filled with people until 9:00 o'clock at night.
The next day while planting the stone, five young lads came along,
stripped off their coats, and labored with earnestness until the work
was finished. I note these incidents to show the interest taken by the
people at large, of all classes.


The people of Durkee had "heard what was going on down the line," and
said they were ready to provide the funds for a monument. One was
ordered from the granite works at Baker City, and in due time was
dedicated, but unfortunately I have no photograph of it. The stone was
planted in the old Trail on the principal street of the village.


Huntington came next in the track where the Trail ran, and here a
granite monument was erected and dedicated while I tarried, for which
the citizens willingly contributed. Here seventy-six school children
contributed their dimes and half-dimes, aggregating over $4.

After the experience in Baker City, Oregon, where, as already related,
800 children contributed, and at Boise, Idaho, to be related later,
over a thousand laid down their offerings, I am convinced that this
feature of the work is destined to give great results. It is not the
financial aid I refer to, but the effect it has upon children's minds
to set them to thinking of this subject of patriotic sentiment that
will endure in after life. Each child in Baker City, or in Huntington,
or Boise, or other places where these contributions have been made,
feel they have a part ownership in the shaft they helped to pay for,
and a tender care for it, that will grow stronger as the child grows


It was not a question at Vale, Oregon, as to whether they would erect a
monument, but as to what kind, that is, what kind of stone. Local pride
prevailed, and a shaft was erected out of local material, which was not
so suitable as granite, but the spirit of the people was manifested.
Exactly seventy children contributed to the fund for erecting this
monument (which was placed on the court house grounds) and participated
in the exercises of dedication on April 30.


[23] Jason Lee, the first missionary to the Oregon country with four
assistants, camped here in September, 1834, at, as he supposed, the
summit of the Blue Mountains, and ever after the little opening in the
forests of the mountains has been known as Lee's encampment.



Erecting a monument in Vale, as related in the last chapter, finished
the work in Oregon, as we soon crossed Snake River just below the mouth
of Boise, and were landed on the historic spot of Old Fort Boise,
established by the Hudson Bay Company in September, 1834. This fort was
established for the purpose of preventing the success of the American
venture at Fort Hall, a post established earlier in 1834 by Nathaniel
J. Wyethe. Wyethe's venture proved disastrous, and the fort soon passed
into his rival's hands, the Hudson Bay Company, thus for the time being
securing undisputed British rule for the whole of that vast region
later known as the Inland Empire, then, the Oregon Country.

Some relics of the old fort at Boise were secured, arrangements made
for planting a double inscribed stone to mark the site of the fort and
the Trail, and afterwards, through the liberality of the citizens of
Boise City, a stone was ordered and doubtless before this put in place.


The first town encountered in Idaho was Parma, where the contributions
warranted shipping an inscribed stone from Boise City, which was done,
and is doubtless ere this in place, but no photograph of it is at hand.


At Boise, the capital city of Idaho, there were nearly 1,200
contributions to the monument fund by the pupils of the public schools,
each child signing his or her name to the roll, showing the school and
grade to which the child belonged. These rolls with printed headlines
were collected, bound together, and deposited with the archives of
the Pioneer Society historical collection for future reference and as
a part of the history of the monument. Each child was given a signed
certificate showing the amount of the contribution. The monument stands
on the state house grounds and is inscribed as the children's offering
to the memory of the pioneers. Over three thousand people attended the
dedication service.

The citizens of Boise also paid for the stone planted on the site of
the old fort and also for one planted on the Trail, near the South
Boise school buildings, all of which were native granite shafts, of
which there is a large supply in the quarries of Idaho very suitable
for such work.


At Twin Falls, 537 miles out from The Dalles, funds were contributed to
place an inscribed stone in the track of the old Trail a mile from the
city, and a granite shaft was accordingly ordered.


Upon my arrival at American Falls, Idaho, 649 miles out from The
Dalles, a combination was quickly formed to erect a cement shaft twelve
feet high to plant in the track of the Trail, and a park was to be
dedicated where the monument is to stand and a section of the old Trail


The Ladies' Study Club has undertaken the work of erecting a monument
at Pocatello, Idaho, 676 miles out from The Dalles. I made twenty-three
addresses to the school children on behalf of the work before leaving,
and have the satisfaction of knowing the undertaking has been
vigorously prosecuted, and that a fine monument has been placed on the
high school grounds.


At Soda Springs, 739 miles from The Dalles, the next place where an
attempt was made to erect a monument, a committee of citizens undertook
the work, collected the funds to erect a monument by one of those
beautiful bubbling soda springs, which is in the park and on the Trail.


Montpelier proved no exception to what apparently had become the rule.
A committee of three was appointed by the Commercial Club to take
charge of the work of erecting a monument, a contribution from members
and citizens solicited, nearly $30 collected and paid into the bank,
and arrangements for increasing the contributions and completing the
monument were made before the team arrived. A pleasant feature of the
occasion was the calling of a meeting of the Woman's Club at the Hunter
Hotel, where I was stopping, and a resolution passed to thoroughly
canvass the town for aid in the work, and to interest the school


I quote from my journal:

"June 7.—Up at 4:30; started at 5:30; arrived at Montpelier 11:00 a. m.
* * * A dangerous and exciting incident occurred this forenoon when a
vicious bull attacked the team, first from one side and then the other,
getting in between the oxen and causing them to nearly upset the wagon.
I was finally thrown down in the melee, but escaped unharmed," and it
was a narrow escape from being run over both by team and wagon.


This incident reminded me of a "scrape" one of our neighboring trains
got into on the Platte in 1852 with a wounded buffalo. The train had
encountered a large herd feeding and traveling at right angles to the
road. The older heads of the party, fearing a stampede of their teams,
had given orders not to molest the buffaloes, but to give their whole
attention to the care of the teams. But one impulsive young fellow
would not be restrained, and fired into the herd and wounded a large
bull. Either in anger or from confusion, the mad bull charged upon a
wagon filled with women and children and drawn by a team of mules. He
became entangled in the harness and on the tongue between the mules. An
eye-witness described the scene as "exciting for a while." It would be
natural for the women to scream, the children to cry, and the men to
halloa, but the practical question was how to dispatch the bull without
shooting the mules as well. What, with multiplicity of counsel, the
independent action of everyone, each having a plan of his own, there
seemed certain to be some fatalities from the gun-shots of the large
crowd of trainmen who had forgotten their own teams and rushed to the
wagon in trouble. As in this incident of my own, just related, nothing
was harmed, but when it was over all agreed it was past understanding
how it came about there was no loss of life or bodily injury.

[Illustration: The Old Oregon Trail.]


Cokeville, 800¼ miles out on the Trail from The Dalles, and near
the junction of the Sublette cut-off with the more southerly trail,
resolved to have a monument, and arrangements were completed for
erecting one of stone from a nearby quarry that will bear witness for
many centuries.



From Cokeville to Pacific Springs, just west of the summit, of the
Rocky Mountains at South Pass, by the road and trail we traveled, is
158 miles. Ninety miles of this stretch is away from the sound of the
locomotive, the click of the telegraph or the hello girl. It is a great
extension of that grand mountain range, the Rockies, from six to seven
thousand feet above sea level, with scant vegetable growth, and almost
a solitude as to habitation, save as here and there a sheep-herder or
his typical wagon might be discovered. The bold coyote, the simple
antelope, and the cunning sage hen still hold their sway as they did
sixty-three years before, when I first traversed the country. The old
Trail is there in all its grandeur.

"Why mark that Trail!" I exclaim. Miles and miles of it worn so deep
that centuries of storm will not efface it; generations may pass and
the origin of the Trail become a legend, but the marks will be there to
perplex the wondering eyes of those who people the continent centuries
hence, aye, a hundred centuries, I am ready to say. We wonder to see it
worn fifty feet wide and three feet deep, and hasten to take snap shots
at it with kodak and camera. But what about it later, after we are over
the crest of the mountain? We see it a hundred feet wide and fifteen
feet deep, where the tramp of thousands upon thousands of men and
women, and the hoofs of millions of animals and the wheels of untold
numbers of vehicles have loosened the soil and the fierce winds have
carried it away, and finally we find ruts a foot deep worn into the
solid rock.

"What a mighty movement, this, over the Old Oregon Trail!" we exclaim
time and again, each time with greater wonderment at the marvels yet to
be seen, and hear the stories of the few yet left of those who suffered
on this great highway.

Nor do we escape from this solitude of the western slope till we have
traveled 150 miles east from the summit, when the welcome black smoke
of the locomotive is seen in the distance, at Caspar, a stretch of 250
miles of primitive life of "ye olden times" of fifty years ago.

Nature's freaks in the Rocky Mountains are beyond my power of
description. We catch sight of one a few miles west of the Little
Sandy, without name. We venture to call it Tortoise Rock, from the
resemblance to that reptile, with head erect and extended. Farther on,
as night approaches, we are in the presence of animals unused to the
sight of man. I quote from my journal:


"Pacific Springs, Wyoming, Camp No. 79, June 20, 1906.—Odometer 958
(miles from The Dalles, Oregon). Arrived at 6:00 p. m., and camped near
Halter's store and the P. O.; ice formed in camp during the night.

"Camp No. 79, June 21.—Remained in camp all day and got down to solid
work on my new book, the title of which is not yet developed in my mind.

"Camp No. 79, June 22.—Remained in camp all day at Pacific Springs
and searched for a suitable stone for a monument to be placed on the
summit. After almost despairing, came to exactly what was wanted, and,
although alone on the mountain side, exclaimed, 'That is what I want;
that's it.' So a little later, after procuring help, we turned it over
to find the both sides flat; with 26 inches face and 15 inches thick
at one end and 14 inches wide and 12 inches thick at the other, one
of Nature's own handiwork, as if made for this very purpose, to stand
on the top of the mountains for the centuries to come to perpetuate
the memory of the generations that have passed. I think it is granite
formation, but is mixed with quartz at large end and very hard.
Replaced three shoes on the Twist ox and one on Dave immediately after
dinner, and hitched the oxen to Mr. Halter's wagon, and with the help
of four men loaded the stone, after having dragged it on the ground and
rocks a hundred yards or so down the mountain side; estimated weight,
1,000 pounds."

[Illustration: Summit Monument in South Pass, Rocky Mountains.]

"Camp No. 79, June 23.—Remained here in camp while inscribing the
monument. There being no stone cutter here, the clerk of the store
formed the letters on stiff past-boards and then cut them out to make
a paper stencil, after which the shape of the letters was transferred
to the stone by crayon marks. The letters were then cut out with the
cold chisel deep enough to make a permanent inscription. The stone is
so very hard that it required steady work all day to cut the twenty
letters and figures, 'The Old Oregon Trail, 1843-47.'

"Camp 80, June 24.—Odometer 970½. At 3:00 o'clock this afternoon
erected the monument described on the summit of the south pass at a
point on the Trail described by John Linn, civil engineer, at 42.21
north latitude, 108.53 west longitude, bearing N. 47, E. 240 feet from
the ¼ corner between sections 4 and 5, T. 27 N., R. 101 W. of the 6th
P. M. Elevation as determined by aneroid reading June 24, 1906, is

"Mr. Linn informs me the survey for an irrigation ditch to take the
waters of the Sweetwater River from the east slope of the range,
through the south pass, to the west side, runs within a hundred feet of
the monument.

"We drove out of Pacific Springs at 12:30, stopped at the summit to
dedicate the monument, and at 3:40 left the summit and drove twelve
miles to this point, called Oregon Slough, and put up the tent after

The reader may think of the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains as a
precipitous defile through narrow canyons and deep gorges, but nothing
is farther from the fact than such imagined conditions. One can drive
through this pass for several miles without realizing he has passed
the dividing line between the waters of the Pacific on the one side
and of the Gulf of Mexico on the other, while traveling over a broad,
open, undulating prairie the approach is by easy grades and the descent
(going east) scarcely noticeable.

Certainly, if my memory is worth anything, in 1852 some of our party
left the road but a short distance to find banks of drifted snow in low
places in July, but none was in sight on the level of the road as we
came along in June of 1906. This was one of the landmarks that looked
familiar, as all who were toiling west looked upon this spot as the
turning point in their journey, and that they had left the worst of the
trip behind them, poor, innocent souls as we were, not realizing that
our mountain climbing in the way of rough roads only began a long way
out west of the summit of the Rockies.


The sight of Sweetwater River, twenty miles out from the pass, revived
many pleasant memories and some that were sad. I could remember the
sparkling, clear water, the green skirt of undergrowth along the banks
and the restful camps as we trudged along up the streams so many years
ago. And now I see the same channel, the same hills, and apparently
the same waters swiftly passing; but where are the campfires; where
the herd of gaunt cattle; where the sound of the din of bells; the
hallowing for lost children; the cursing of irate ox drivers; the
pleading for mercy from some humane dame for the half-famished dumb
brute; the harsh sounds from some violin in camp; the merry shouts of
children; or the little groups off on the hillside to bury the dead?
All gone. An oppressive silence prevailed as we drove down to the river
and pitched our camp within a few feet of the bank where we could hear
the rippling waters passing and see the fish leaping in the eddies. We
had our choice of a camping place just by the skirt of refreshing green
brush with an opening to give full view of the river. Not so in '52
with hundreds of camps ahead of you. One must take what he could get,
and that in many cases would be far back from the water and removed
from other conveniences.

The sight and smell of the carrion so common in camping places in our
first trip was gone; no bleached bones even showed where the exhausted
dumb brute had died; the graves of the dead emigrants had all been
leveled by the hoofs of stock and the lapse of time. "What a mighty
change!" I exclaimed. We had been following the old Trail for nearly
150 miles on the west slope of the mountains with scarce a vestige
of civilization. Out of sight and hearing of railroads, telegraphs,
or telephones and nearly a hundred miles without a postoffice. It is
a misnomer to call it a "slope." It is nearly as high an altitude a
hundred miles west of the summit as the summit itself. The country
remains as it was fifty-four years before. The Trail is there to be
seen miles and miles ahead, worn bare and deep, with but one narrow
track where there used to be a dozen, and with the beaten path so solid
that vegetation has not yet recovered from the scourge of passing hoofs
and tires of wagons years ago.

As in 1852 when the summit was passed, I felt that my task was much
more than half done, though the distance was scarcely compassed. I felt
we were entitled to a rest even though it was a solitude, and so our
preparations were made for two days' rest if not recreation. The two
days passed and we saw but three persons. We traveled a week on this
stretch, to encounter five persons only, and to see but one wagon, but
our guide to point the way was at hand all the time—a pioneer way a
hundred feet wide and in places ten feet deep, we could not mistake.
Our way from this Camp 81 on Sweetwater led us from the river and over
hills for fifty miles before we were back to the river again. Not so
my Trail of '52, for then we followed the river closer and crossed it
several times, while part of the people went over the hills and made
the second trail. It was on this last stretch we set our 1,000-mile
post as we reached the summit of a very long hill, eighteen miles west
of where we again encountered the river, saw a telegraph line, and a
road where more than one wagon a week passed as like that we had been
following so long.


I quote from my journal:

"Camp No. 85, June 30.—Odometer 1,044. About ten o'clock encountered a
large number of big flies that ran the cattle nearly wild. We fought
them off as best we could. I stood on the wagon tongue for miles so I
could reach them with the whip-stock. The cattle were so excited, we
did not stop at noon, finding water on the way, but drove on through by
two-thirty and camped at a farmhouse, the Split Rock postoffice, the
first we had found since leaving Pacific Springs, the other side of the
summit of South Pass and eighty-five miles distant."

"Split Rock" postoffice derives its name from a rift in the mountain
a thousand feet or more high, as though a part of the range had been
bodily moved a rod or so, leaving this perpendicular chasm through the
range, which was narrow.


The Devil's Gate and Independence Rock, a few miles distant, are
probably the two best known landmarks on the Trail—the one for its
grotesque and striking scenic effect. Here, as at Split Rock, the
mountain seems as if it had been split apart, leaving an opening a
few rods wide, through which the Sweetwater River pours a veritable
torrent. The river first approaches to within a few hundred feet of the
gap, and then suddenly curves away from it, and after winding though
the valley for a half a mile or so, a quarter of a mile distant, it
takes a straight shot and makes the plunge through the canyon. Those
who have had the impression they drove their teams through this gap are
mistaken, for it's a feat no mortal man has done or can do, any more
than they could drive up the falls of the Niagara.

[Illustration: Devil's Gate, Sweetwater.]

This year, on my 1906 trip, I did clamber through on the left bank,
over boulders head high, under shelving rocks where the sparrows' nests
were in full possession, and ate some ripe gooseberries from the bushes
growing on the border of the river, and plucked some beautiful wild
roses—this on the second day of July, A. D. 1906. I wonder why those
wild roses grow there where nobody will see them? Why these sparrows'
nests? Why did this river go through this gorge instead of breaking
the barrier a little to the south where the easy road runs? These
questions run through my mind, and why I know not. The gap through
the mountains looked familiar as I spied it from the distance, but the
roadbed to the right I had forgotten. I longed to see this place, for
here, somewhere under the sands, lies all that was mortal of a brother,
Clark Meeker, drowned in the Sweetwater in 1854 while attempting to
cross the Plains; would I be able to see and identify the grave? No.

I quote from my journal:

"Camp No. 85, July 2.—Odometer 1,059. This camp is at Tom Sun's
place, the Sun postoffice, Wyoming, and is in Sec. 35, T. 29 N. R.
97, 6 P. M., and it is one-half mile to the upper end of the Devil's
Gate, through which the Sweetwater runs. The passage is not more
than 100 feet wide and is 1,300 feet through with walls 483 feet at
highest point. The altitude is 5860.27, according to the United States
geological survey marks. It is one of nature's marvels, this rift in
the mountain to let the waters of the Sweetwater through. Mr. Tom
Sun, or Thompson, has lived here thirty odd years and says there are
numerous graves of the dead pioneers, but all have been leveled by the
tramp of stock, 225,000 head of cattle alone having passed over the
Trail in 1882 and in some single years over a half million sheep. But
the Trail is deserted now, and scarcely five wagons pass in a week,
with part of the roadbed grown up in grass. That mighty movement—tide
shall we call it—of suffering humanity first going west, accompanied
and afterwards followed by hundreds of thousands of stock, with the
mightier ebb of millions upon millions of returning cattle and sheep
going east, has all ceased, and now the road is a solitude save a few
straggling wagons, or here and there a local flock driven to pasture.
No wonder that we looked in vain for the graves of the dead with this
great throng passing and repassing."

A pleasant little anecdote is told by his neighbors of the odd name of
"Tom Sun," borne by that sturdy yeoman (a Swede, I think), and of whose
fame for fair dealing and liberality I could hear upon all sides. The
story runs that when he first went to the bank, then and now sixty
miles away, to deposit, the cashier asked his name and received the
reply Thompson, emphasizing the last syllable pronounced with so much
emphasis, that it was written Tom Sun, and from necessity a check had
to be so signed, thus making that form of spelling generally known, and
finally it was adopted as the name of the postoffice.



"Camp No. 87, July 3, 1906.—Odometer 1,065, Independence Rock. We drove
over to the 'Rock,' from the 'Devil's Gate,' a distance of six miles,
and camped at 10:00 o'clock for the day."

Not being conversant with the work done by others to perpetuate their
names on this famous boulder that covers about thirty acres, we groped
our way among the inscriptions to find some of them nearly obliterated
and many legible only in part, showing how impotent the efforts of
individuals to perpetuate the memory of their own names, and, may I
add, how foolish it is, in most cases, forgetting, as these individuals
have, that it is actions, not words, even if engraved upon stone,
that carry one's name down to future generations. We walked all the
way around the stone, which was nearly a mile around, of irregular
shape, and over a hundred feet high, the walls being so precipitous
as to prevent ascending to the top except in two vantage points.
Unfortunately, we missed the Fremont inscription made in 1842.

Of this inscription Fremont writes in his journal: "August 23 (1842).
Yesterday evening we reached our encampment at Rock Independence, where
I took some astronomical observations. Here, not unmindful of the
custom of early travelers and explorers in our country, I engraved on
this rock of the Far West a symbol of the Christian faith. Among the
thickly inscribed names, I made on the hard granite the impression of a
large cross, which I covered with a black preparation of India rubber,
well calculated to resist the influences of the wind and rain. It
stands amidst the names of many who have long since found their way to
the grave and for whom the huge rock is a giant gravestone.

"One George Weymouth was sent out to Maine by the Earl of Southampton,
Lord Arundel, and others; and in the narrative of their discoveries he
says: 'The next day we ascended in our pinnace that part of the river
which lies more to the westward, carrying with us a cross—a thing never
omitted by any Christian traveler—which we erected at the ultimate end
of our route.' This was in the year 1605; and in 1842 I obeyed the
feeling of early travelers, and I left the impression of the cross
deeply engraved on the vast rock 1,000 miles beyond the Mississippi, to
which discoverers have given the national name of Rock Independence."

The reader will note that Fremont writes in 1842 of the name, "to which
discoverers have given the national name of Independence Rock," showing
that the name of the rock long antedated his visit, as he had inscribed
the cross "amidst the names of many."

Of recent years the traveled road leads to the left of the rock, going
eastward, instead of to the right and nearer the left bank of the
Sweetwater as in early years; and so I selected a spot on the westward
sloping face of the stone for the inscription, "Old Oregon Trail,
1843-57," near the present traveled road, where people can see it, as
shown in the illustration, and inscribed it with as deep cut letters
as we could make with a dulled cold chisel, and painted the sunken
letters with the best sign writer's paint in oil. On this expedition,
where possible, I have in like manner inscribed a number of boulders,
with paint only, which it is to be hoped, before the life of the paint
has gone out, may find loving hands to inscribe deep into the stone;
but here on this huge boulder I hope the inscription may last for
centuries, though not as deeply cut as I would have liked had we but
had suitable tools.


Eleven miles out from Independence Rock we nooned on the bank of a
small stream, well named Fish Creek, for it literally swarmed with fish
of suitable size for the pan, but they would not bite, and we had no
appliances for catching with a net, and so consoled ourselves with the
exclamation that they were suckers only, and we didn't care, but I came
away with the feeling that maybe we were "suckers" ourselves for having
wet a blanket in an attempt to seine them, getting into the water over
boot top deep, and working all the noon hour instead of resting like an
elderly person should, and as the oxen did.


Our next camp brought us to the North Platte River, fifteen miles above
the town of Casper.

I quote from my journal:

"Camp No. 89, North Platte River, July 5, 1906.—Odometer 1,104,
distance traveled twenty-two miles.

"We followed the old Trail till nearly 4:00 p. m., and then came to
the forks of the traveled road, with the Trail untraveled by anyone
going straight ahead between the two roads. I took the right-hand road,
fearing the other led off north, and anyway the one taken would lead
us to the North Platte River; and on the old Trail there would be no
water, as we were informed, until we reached Casper. We did not arrive
at the Platte River until after dark, and then found there was no feed;
got some musty alfalfa hay the cattle would not eat; had a little
cracked corn we had hauled nearly 300 miles from Kemmerer, and had fed
them the last of it in the afternoon; went to bed in the wagon, first
watering the cattle, after dark, from the North Platte, which I had not
seen for over fifty-four years, as I had passed fifteen miles below
here the last of June, 1852.

"Several times during the afternoon there were threatening clouds,
accompanied by distant lightning, and at one time a black cloud in the
center, with rapid moving clouds around it, made me think of a tornado,
but finally disappeared without striking us. Heavy wind at night.

"This afternoon as we were driving, with both in the wagon, William
heard the rattles of a snake, and jumped out of the wagon, and
thoughtlessly called the dog. I stopped the wagon and called the dog
away from the reptile until it was killed. When stretched out it
measured four feet eight inches, and had eight rattles."


I quote from my journal:

"Camp No. 90, odometer 1,117½, Casper, Wyoming, July 6.—At the noon
hour, while eating dinner, seven miles out, we heard the whistle of the
locomotive, something we had not seen nor heard for nearly 300 miles.
As soon as lunch was over I left the wagon and walked in ahead of the
team to select camping ground, secure feed, and get the mail. Received
twenty letters, several from home.

"Fortunately a special meeting of the commercial club held this
evening, and I laid the matter of building a monument before them, with
the usual result; they resolved to build one; opened the subscription
at once, and appointed a committee to carry the work forward. I am
assured by several prominent citizens that a $500 monument will be
erected, as the city council will join with the club to provide for a
fountain as well, and place it on the most public street crossing in
the city."[24]

Glen Rock was the next place in our itinerary, which we reached at
dark, after having driven twenty-five and one-fourth miles. This is the
longest drive we have made on the whole trip.

[Illustration: As an Old Scout.]


Glen Rock is a small village, but the ladies met and resolved they
"would have as nice a monument as Casper," even if it did not cost as
much, because there was a stone quarry out but six miles from town.
One enthusiastic lady said: "We will inscribe it ourselves, if no
stonecutter can be had." "'Where there's a will there's a way,' as the
old adage runs," I remarked as we left the nice little burg and said
good-bye to the energetic ladies in it. God bless the women, anyhow;
I don't see how the world could get along without them; and anyhow
I don't see what life would have been without that little faithful
companion that came over this very same ground with me fifty-four years
ago and still lives to rejoice for the many, many blessings vouchsafed
to us and our descendants.


At Douglas, Wyoming, 1,177½ miles out from The Dalles, the people at
first seemed reluctant to assume the responsibility of erecting a
monument, everybody being "too busy" to give up any time to it, but
were willing to contribute. After a short canvass, $52 was contributed,
a local committee appointed, and an organized effort to erect a
monument was well in hand before we drove out of the town.

I here witnessed one of those heavy downpours like some I remember in
'52, where, as in this case, the water came down in veritable sheets,
and in an incredibly short time turned all the slopes into roaring
torrents and level places into lakes; the water ran six inches deep in
the streets in this case, on a very heavy grade the whole width of the

I quote from my journal:

"Camp No. 95, July 12.—Odometer 1,192. We are camped under a group
of balm trees in the Platte bottom near the bridge at the farm of a
company, Dr. J. M. Wilson in charge, where we found a good vegetable
garden and were bidden to help ourselves, which I did, with a liberal
hand, to a feast of young onions, radishes, beets and lettuce enough
for several days."


This refreshing shade and these spreading balms carried me back to the
little cabin home in the Puyallup Valley, 1,500 miles away, where we
had for so long a period enjoyed the cool shades of the native forests,
enlivened by the charms of songsters at peep of day, with the dew
dripping off the leaves like as if a shower had fallen over the forest.
Having now passed the 1,200-mile mark out from The Dalles with scarcely
the vestige of timber life except in the snows of the Blue Mountains,
one can not wonder that my mind should run back to not only the little
cabin home as well as to the more pretentious residence nearby; to the
time when our homestead of 160 acres, granted to us by the Government,
was a dense forest—when the little clearing was so isolated we could
see naught else but walls of timber around us—timber that required
the labor of one man twelve years to remove from a quarter-section of
land—of the time when trails only reached the spot; when, as the poet

    "Oxen answered well for team,
    Though now they'd be too slow—";

when the semi-monthly mail was eagerly looked for; when the Tribune
would be re-read again and again before the new supply came; when the
morning hours before breakfast were our only school hours for the
children; when the home-made shoe pegs and the home-shaped shoe lasts
answered for making and mending the shoes, and the home-saved bristle
for the waxen end; when the Indians, if not our nearest neighbors, I
had liked to have said our best; when the meat in the barrel and the
flour in the box, in spite of the most strenuous efforts, would at
times run low; when the time for labor would be much nearer eighteen
than eight hours a day.

"SUPPER." Supper is ready; and when repeated in more imperative tones,
I at last awake to inhale the fragrant flavors of that most delicious
beverage, camp coffee, from the Mocha and Java mixed grain that had
"just come to a boil," and to realize there was something else in the
air when the bill of fare was scanned.

      Calf's liver, fried crisp, with bacon.
    Coffee, with cream, and a lump of butter added.
        Lettuce, with vinegar and sugar.
                  Young onions.
              Boiled young carrots.
            Beets, covered with vinegar.
  Cornmeal mush, cooked forty minutes, in reserve and for
  a breakfast fry.

These "delicacies of the season," coupled with the—what shall I call
it?—delicious appetite incident to a strenuous day's travel and a late
supper hour, without a dinner padding in the stomach, aroused me to
a sense of the necessities of the inner man, and to that keen relish
incident to prolonged exertion and to open-air life, and justice was
meted out to the second meal of the day following a 5:00 o'clock

I awoke also to the fact that I was on the spot near where I camped
fifty-four years ago in this same Platte Valley, then apparently almost
a desert. Now what do I see? As we drew into camp, two mowing machines
cutting the alfalfa; two or more teams raking the cured hay to the
rick, and a huge fork or rake at intervals climbing the steep incline
of fenders to above the top of the rick, and depositing its equivalent
to a wagon-load at a time. To my right, as we drove through the gate,
the large garden looked temptingly near, as did some rows of small
fruit. Hay ricks dotted the field, and outhouses, barns and dwellings
at the home. We are in the midst of plenty and the guests, we may
almost say, of friends, instead of feeling we must deposit the trusted
rifle in convenient place while we eat. Yes, we will exclaim again,
"What wondrous changes time has wrought!"

But my mind will go back to the little ivy-covered cabin now so
carefully preserved in Pioneer Park in the little pretentious city of
Puyallup, that was once our homestead, and so long our home, and where
the residence still stands nearby. The timber is all gone and in its
place brick blocks and pleasant, modest homes are found, where the
roots and stumps once occupied the ground now smiling fruit gardens
adorn the landscape and fill the purses of 1,400 fruit growers, and
supply the wants of 6,000 people. Instead of the slow trudging ox team,
driven to the market town sixteen miles distant, with a day in camp on
the way, I see fifty-four railroad trains a day thundering through the
town. I see electric lines with crowded cars carrying passengers to
tide water and to the rising city of Tacoma, but seven miles distant.
I see a quarter of a million people within a radius of thirty miles,
where solitude reigned supreme fifty-four years ago, save the song of
the Indian, the thump of his canoe paddle, or the din of his gambling
revels. When I go down to the Sound I see miles of shipping docks where
before the waters rippled over a pebbly beach filled with shell-fish.
I look farther, and see hundreds of steamers plying thither and yon on
the great inland sea, where fifty-four years ago the Indian's canoe
only noiselessly skimmed the water. I see hundreds of sail vessels that
whiten every sea of the globe, being either towed here and there or
at dock, receiving or discharging cargo, where before scarce a dozen
had in a year ventured the voyage. At the docks in Seattle I see the
28,000-ton steamers receiving their monster cargoes for the Orient, and
am reminded that these monsters can enter any of the numerous harbors
of Puget Sound and are supplemented by a great array of other steam
tonnage contending for that vast across-sea trade, and again exclaim
with greater wonderment than ever, "What wondrous changes time has
wrought!" If I look through the channels of Puget Sound, I yet see the
forty islands or more; its sixteen hundred miles of shore line; its
schools of fish, and at intervals the seal; its myriads of sea gulls;
the hawking crow; the clam beds; the ebb and flow of the tide—still
there. But many happy homes dot the shore line where the dense forests
stood; the wild fruits have given way to the cultivated; trainloads of
fruit go out to distant markets; and what we once looked upon as barren
land now gives plenteous crops; and we again exclaim, "What wondrous
changes time has wrought," or shall we not say, "What wondrous changes
the hand of man has wrought!"

But I am admonished I have wandered and must needs go back to our
narrative of "Out on the Trail."


[24] A monument 25 feet high has since been erected, that cost



I quote from my journal:

"Camp No. 99, July 16, Fort Laramie, odometer 1,247.—From the time we
crossed the Missouri in May, 1852, until we arrived opposite this place
on the north bank of the Platte, no place or name was so universally in
the minds of the emigrants as old Fort Laramie; here, we eagerly looked
for letters that never came—maybe our friends and relatives had not
written; maybe they had and the letter lost or dumped somewhere in 'The
States'; but now all hope vanished, regarding the prospect of hearing
from home and we must patiently wait until the long journey has ended
and a missive might reach us by the Isthmus or maybe by a sail vessel
around Cape Horn. Now, as I write, I know my letter written in the
morning will at night be on the banks of the great river, and so for
each day of the year. One never ceases to exclaim, 'What changes time
has wrought!' What wondrous changes in these fifty-four years, since I
first set foot on the banks of the Platte and looked longingly across
the river for the letter that never came."

[Illustration: A Snap Shot; Out on the Trail.]

"This morning at 4:30 the alarm sounded, but in spite of our strenuous
efforts the start was delayed till 6:15. Conditions were such as to
give us a hot day, but the cattle would not travel without eating the
grass in the road, having for some cause not liked the grass they
were on during the night; and so, after driving a couple of miles
and finding splendid feed, we turned them out to fill up, which they
speedily did, and thereafter became laggards, too lazy for anything. So
after all we did not arrive here till 4:00, and with dinner at six, it
is not strange that we had good appetites.

"Locally, it is difficult to get accurate information. All agree there
is no vestige of the old Traders' Camp or the first United States fort
left, but disagree as to its location. The new fort (not a fort, but an
encampment) covers a space of thirty or forty acres with all sorts of
buildings and ruins, from the old barracks, three hundred feet long,
in good preservation and occupied by the present owner, Joseph Wild,
as a store, postoffice, saloon, hotel and family residence, to the old
guard house with its grim iron door and twenty-inch concrete walls. One
frame building, two stories, we are told, was transported by ox team
from Kansas City at a cost of $100 per ton freight. There seems to be
no plan either in the arrangement of the buildings or of the buildings
themselves. I noticed one building, part stone, part concrete, part
adobe, and part burnt brick. The concrete walls of one building
measured twenty-two inches thick and there is evidence of the use of
lime with a lavish hand, and I think all of them are alike massive.

"The location of the barracks is in Sec. 28, T. 26 N., R. 64 W. of 6th
P. M., United States survey."


July 20th, odometer 1,308¼ miles.—We drove out from the town of Scott's
Bluff to the left bank of the North Platte, less than a mile from the
town, to a point nearly opposite that noted landmark, Scott's Bluff, on
the right bank, looming up near eight hundred feet above the river and
adjoining green fields, and photographed the bluffs and section of the

Probably all emigrants of early days remember Scott's Bluff, which
could be seen for so long a distance, and yet apparently so near for
days and days, till it finally sank out of sight as we passed on,
and new objects came into view. As with Tortoise Rock, the formation
is sand and clay cemented, yet soft enough to cut easily, and is
constantly changing in smaller details.

We certainly saw Scott's Bluff while near the junction of the two
rivers, near a hundred miles distant, in that illusive phenomenon, the
mirage, as plainly as when within a few miles of it.

Speaking of this deceptive manifestation of one natural law, I am led
to wonder why, on the trip of 1906, I have seen nothing of those sheets
of water so real as to be almost within our grasp, yet never reached,
those hills and valleys we never traversed, beautiful pictures on the
horizon and sometimes above, while traversing the valley in 1852—all
gone, perhaps to be seen no more, as climatic changes come to destroy
the conditions that caused them. Perhaps this may in part be caused by
the added humidity of the atmosphere, or it may be also in part because
of the numerous groves of timber that now adorn the landscape. Whatever
the cause, the fact remains that in the year 1852 the mirage was of
common occurrence and now, if seen at all, is rare.

The origin of the name of Scott's Bluff is not definitely known, but as
tradition runs "a trader named Scott, while returning to the States,
was robbed and stripped by the Indians. He crawled to these bluffs and
there famished and his bones were afterwards found and buried," these
quoted words having been written by a passing emigrant on the spot,
June 11, 1852.

Another version of his fate is that Scott fell sick and was abandoned
by his traveling companions, and after having crawled near forty miles
finally died near the "Bluffs" ever after bearing his name. This
occurred prior to 1830.


From the "Bluffs" we drove as direct as possible to that historic
grave, two miles out from the town and on the railroad right of way, of
Mrs. Rebecca Winters, who died August 15, 1852, nearly six weeks after
I had passed over the ground.

[Illustration: The Lone Grave.]

But for the handiwork of some unknown friend or relative this grave,
like thousands and thousands of others who fell by the wayside in those
strenuous days, would have passed out of sight and mind and nestled in
solitude and unknown for all ages to come.

As far back as the memory of the oldest inhabitant runs, a half-sunken
wagon tire bore this simple inscription, "Rebecca Winters, aged 50
years." The hoofs of stock trampled the sunken grave and trod it
into dust, but the arch of the tire remained to defy the strength of
thoughtless hands who would have removed it, and of the ravages of time
that seem not to have affected it. Finally, in "the lapse of time" that
usual non-respecter of persons—the railroad survey, and afterwards the
rails—came along and would have run the track over the lonely grave but
for the tender care of the man who wielded the compass and changed the
line, that the resting place of the pioneer should not be disturbed,
followed by the noble impulse of him who held the power to control
the "soulless corporation," and the grave was protected and enclosed.
Then came the press correspondent and the press to herald to the world
the pathos of the lone grave, to in time reach the eyes and touch the
hearts of the descendants of the dead, who had almost passed out of
mind and to quicken the interest in the memory of one once dear to
them, till in time there arose a beautiful monument lovingly inscribed,
just one hundred years after the birth of the inmate of the grave.

As I looked upon this grave, now surrounded by green fields and happy
homes, my mind ran back to the time it was first occupied in the desert
(as all believed the country through which we were passing to be),
and the awful calamity that overtook so many to carry them to their
untimely and unknown graves.

The ravages of cholera carried off thousands. One family of seven
a little further down the Platte, lie all in one grave; forty-one
persons of one train dead in one day and two nights tells but part of
the dreadful story. The count of fifty-three freshly made graves in
one camp ground left a vivid impress upon my mind that has never been
effaced; but where now are those graves? They are irrevocably lost. I
can recall to mind one point where seventy were buried in one little
group, not one of the graves now to be seen—trampled out of sight by
the hoofs of the millions of stock later passing over the Trail.

Bearing this in mind, how precious this thought that even one grave has
been rescued from oblivion, and how precious will become the memory of
the deeds of those who have so freely dedicated their part to recall
the events of the past and to honor those sturdy pioneers who survived
those trying experiences as well as the dead, by erecting those
monuments that now line the Trail for nearly two thousand miles. To
these, one and all, I bow my head in grateful appreciation of their aid
in this work to perpetuate the memory of the pioneers, and especially
the 5,000 school children who have each contributed their mite that the
memory of the dead pioneers might remain fresh in their minds and the
minds of generations to follow.

A drive of seventeen miles brought us to the town of Bayard, 1,338
miles on the way from The Dalles, Oregon, where our continuous drive


Chimney Rock is six miles southwesterly, in full view, a curious freak
of nature we all remembered while passing in '52.

[Illustration: Chimney Rock, Platte Valley.]

The base reminds one of an umbrella standing on the ground, covering
perhaps twelve acres and running, cone-shaped, 200 feet to the base of
the spire resting upon it. The spire (chimney) points to the heavens,
which would entitle the pile to a more appropriate name, as like a
church spire, tall and slim, the wonder of all—how it comes that the
hand of time has not leveled it, long ago and mingled its crumbling
substance with that lying at its base. The whole pile, like that at
Scott's Bluff and Court House Rock, further down, is a sort of soft
sandstone, or cement and clay, gradually crumbling away and destined to
be leveled to the earth in centuries to come.

A local story runs that an army officer trained artillery on this
spire, shot off about thirty feet from the top, and was afterwards
court-martialed and discharged in disgrace from the army; but I could
get no definite information, though the story was repeated again and
again. It would seem incredible that an intelligent man, such as an
army officer, would do such an act, and if he did he deserved severe
condemnation and punishment.

I noticed that at Soda Springs the hand of the vandal has been at work
and that interesting phenomenon, the Steamboat Spring, the wonderment
of all in 1852, with its intermittent spouting, had been tampered with
and ceased to act. It would seem the degenerates are not all dead yet.


At North Platte the ladies of the W. C. T. U. appointed a committee to
undertake to erect a monument, the business men all refusing to give up
any time. However, W. C. Ritner, a respected citizen of North Platte,
offered to donate a handsome monument with a cement base, marble cap,
stone and cement column, five and a half feet high, which will be
accepted by the ladies and erected in a suitable place.



[Illustration: Twist.]

"Old Oregon Trail Monument Expedition, Brady Island, Nebraska, August
9, 1906, Camp No. 120, odometer, 1,536⅝.—Yesterday morning Twist ate
his grain as usual and showed no signs of sickness until we were on the
road two or three miles, when he began to put his tongue out and his
breathing became heavy. But he leaned on the yoke heavier than usual
and seemed determined to pull the whole load. I finally stopped, put
him on the off side, gave him the long end of the yoke, and tied his
head back with the halter strap to the chain; but to no purpose, for he
pulled by the head very heavy. I finally unyoked, gave him a quart of
lard, a gill of vinegar and a handful of sugar, but all to no purpose,
for he soon fell down and in two hours was dead."

Such is the record in my journal telling of the death of this noble
animal, which I think died from eating some poisonous plant.

When we started from Camp No. 1, January 29, Puyallup, Washington,
Twist weighed 1,470 pounds. After we crossed two ranges of mountains,
had wallowed in the snows of the Blue Mountains, followed the tortuous,
rocky canyons of Burnt River, up the deep sand of the Snake, this
ox had gained in weight 137 pounds, and weighed 1,607 pounds. While
laboring under the short end of the yoke that gave him fifty-five per
cent. of the draft and an increased burden he would keep his end of the
yoke a little ahead, no matter how much the mate might be urged to keep

There are striking individualities in animals as well as in men, and
I had liked to have said virtues as well; and why not? If an animal
always does his duty, is faithful to your interest, industrious—why not
recognize it, even if he was "nothing but an ox"?

We are wont to extol the virtues of the dead, and to forget their
shortcomings, but here a plain statement of facts will suffice to
revive the memories of the almost forgotten past of an animal so dear
to the pioneers who struggled across plains and over mountains in the
long ago.

To understand the achievements of this ox it is necessary to state the
burden he carried. The wagon weighed 1,430 pounds, is a wooden axle
and wide track and had an average load of 800 pounds. He had, with an
unbroken four-year old steer—a natural-born shirk—with the short end
of the yoke before mentioned, hauled this wagon 1,776 miles and was in
better working trim when he died than when the trip began. And yet am
I sure that at some points I did not abuse him? What about coming up
out of Little Canyon or rather up the steep, rocky steps of stones like
veritable stairs, when I used the goad, and he pulled a shoe off and
his feet from under him? Was I merciful then, or did I exact more than
I ought? I can see him yet in my mind, while on his knees holding the
wagon from rolling back into the canyon till the wheel could be blocked
and the brakes set. Then, when bade to start the load, he did not
flinch. He was the best ox I ever saw, without exception, and his loss
has nearly broken up the expedition, and it is one case where his like
can not be obtained. He has had a decent burial and a head-board will
mark his grave and recite his achievements in the valuable aid rendered
in this expedition to perpetuate the memory of the Old Oregon Trail and
for which he has given up his life.

What shall I do? Abandon the work? No. But I can not go on with one ox,
and can not remain here. And so a horse team was hired to take us to
the next town, Gothenburg—thirteen miles distant—and the lone ox led
behind the wagon.


"Gothenburg, Nebraska, August 10, 1906. Camp No. 121, odometer
1,549.—The people here resolved to erect a monument, appointed a
committee, and a contribution of some fifteen dollars was secured."


Again hired a horse team to haul the wagon to Lexington. At Lexington I
thought the loss of the ox could be repaired by buying a pair of heavy
cows and breaking them in to work, and so purchased two out of a band
of 200 cattle nearby. "Why, yes, of course they will work," I said,
when a bystander had asked the question. "Why, I have seen whole teams
of cows on the Plains in '52, and they would trip along so merrily one
would be tempted to turn the oxen out and get cows. Yes, we will soon
have a team," I said, "only we can't go very far in a day with a raw
team, especially in this hot weather." But one of the cows wouldn't go
at all; we could not lead or drive her. Put her in the yoke and she
would stand stock still just like a stubborn mule. Hitch the yoke by a
strong rope behind the wagon with a horse team to pull, she would brace
her feet and actually slide along, but wouldn't lift a foot. I never
saw such a brute before, and hope I never will again. I have broken
wild, fighting, kicking steers to the yoke and enjoyed the sport, but
from a sullen, tame cow deliver me.

"Won't you take her back and give me another?" I asked. "Yes, I will
give you that red cow (one I had rejected as unfit), but not one of the
others." "Then, what is this cow worth to you?" Back came the response,
"Thirty dollars," and so I dropped ten dollars (having paid him forty),
lost the better part of a day, experienced a good deal of vexation.
"Oh, if I could only have Twist back again."

The fact gradually dawned upon me that the loss of that fine ox was
almost irreparable. I could not get track of an ox anywhere, nor of
even a steer large enough to mate the Dave ox. Besides, Dave always
was a fool. I could scarcely teach him anything. He did learn to haw,
by the word when on the off side, but wouldn't mind the word a bit if
on the near side. Then he would hold his head way up while in the yoke
as if he disdained to work, and poke his tongue out at the least bit
of warm weather or serious work. Then he didn't have the stamina of
Twist. Although given the long end of the yoke, so that Twist would
pull fifty-five per cent. of the load, Dave would always lag behind.
Here was a case where the individuality of the ox was as marked as ever
between man and man. Twist would watch my every motion and mind by the
wave of the hand, but Dave never minded anything except to shirk hard
work, while Twist always seemed to love his work and would go freely
all day. And so it was brought home to me more forcibly than ever that
in the loss of the Twist ox I had almost lost the whole team.

Now if this had occurred in 1852 the loss could have been easily
remedied, where there were so many "broke" cattle, and where there
were always several yoke to the wagon. So when I drove out with a
hired horse team that day with the Dave ox tagging on behind and
sometimes pulling on his halter, and an unbroken cow, it may easily
be guessed the pride of anticipated success went out, and a feeling
akin to despair seized upon me. Here I had two yokes, one a heavy ox
yoke and the other a light cow's yoke, but the cow, I thought, could
not be worked alongside the ox in the ox yoke, nor the ox with the cow
in the cow yoke, and so there I was without a team but with a double

Yes, the ox has passed—has had his day—for in all this State I have
been unable to find even one yoke. So I trudged along, sometimes behind
the led cattle, wondering in my mind whether or no I had been foolish
to undertake this expedition to perpetuate the memory of the Old Oregon
Trail. Had I not been rebuffed by a number of business men who pushed
the subject aside with, "I have no time to look into it"? Hadn't I been
compelled to pass several towns where even three persons could not
be found to act on the committee? And then there was the experience
of the constant suspicion and watch to see if some graft could not
be discovered—some lurking speculation. All this could be borne in
patience, but when coupled with it came the virtual loss of the team,
is it strange that my spirits went down below a normal condition?

But then came the compensatory thought as to what had been
accomplished; how three States had responded cordially and a fourth
as well, considering the sparse population. How could I account for
the difference in the reception? It was the press. In the first place
the newspapers took up the work in advance of my coming, while in
the latter case the notices and commendation followed my presence
in a town. And so I queried in my mind as we trudged along—after
all, I am sowing the seed that will bring the harvest later. Then my
mind would run back along the line of over 1,500 miles, where stand
nineteen sentinels, mostly granite, to proclaim for the centuries
to come that the hand of communities had been at work and planted
these shafts that the memory of the dead pioneers might live; where
a dozen boulders, including the great Independence Rock, also bear
this testimony, and where a hundred wooden posts mark the Trail, when
stone was unobtainable. I recalled the cordial reception in so many
places; the outpouring of contributions from 5,000 school children; the
liberal hand of the people that built these monuments; the more than
20,000 people attending the dedication ceremonies. And while I trudged
along and thought of the encouragement that I had received, I forgot
all about the loss of Twist, the recalcitrant cow, the dilemma that
confronted me, only to awaken from my reverie in a more cheerful mood.
"Do the best you can," I said almost in an audible tone, "and be not
cast down," and my spirits rose almost to the point of exultation.



At that beautiful city of Kearney we were accorded a fine camping place
in the center of the town under the spreading boughs of the shade
trees that line the streets, and a nice green, fresh-cut sward upon
which to pitch our tents. The people came in great numbers to visit
the camp and express their approval as to the object of the trip. I
said, "Here we will surely get a splendid monument," but when I came
to consult with the business men not one could be found to give up any
time to the work, though many seemed interested. The president of the
commercial club even refused to call a meeting of the club to consider
the subject, because he said he had no time to attend the meeting and
thought most of the members would be the same. I did not take it this
man was opposed to the proposed work, but honestly felt there were more
important matters pressing upon the time of business men, and said the
subject could be taken up at their regular meeting in the near future.
As I left this man's office, who, I doubted not, had spoken the truth,
I wondered to myself if these busy men would ever find time to die. How
did they find time to eat? or to sleep? and I queried, Is a business
man's life worth the living, if all his wakeful moments are absorbed
in grasping for gains? But I am admonished that this query must be
answered each for himself, and I reluctantly came away from Kearney
without accomplishing the object of my visit, and wondering whether my
mission was ended and results finished.

The reader will readily see that I would be the more willing listener
to such an inner suggestion, in view of my crippled condition to carry
on the work. And might not that condition have a bearing to bring
about such results? No. For the people seemed to be greatly interested
and sympathetic. The press was particularly kind in their notices,
commending the work, but it takes time to arouse the business men to
action, as one remarked to me, "You can't hurry us to do anything; we
are not that kind of a set." This was said in a tone bordering on the
offensive, though perhaps expressing only a truth.


I did not, however, feel willing to give up the work after having
accomplished so much on the 1,700 miles traveled, and with less than
200 miles ahead of me, and so I said, "I will try again at Grand
Island," the next place where there was a center of population, that
an effort would probably succeed. Here I found there was a decided
public sentiment in favor of taking action, but at a later date—next
year—jointly to honor the local pioneers upon the occasion of the
fiftieth anniversary of the settlement around and about the city; and
so, this dividing the attention of the people, it was not thought
best to undertake the work now, and again I bordered on the slough of

I could not repeat the famous words, I would "fight it out on this
line if it takes all summer," for here it is the 30th of August, and in
one day more summer will be gone. Neither could I see how to accomplish
more than prepare the way, and that now the press is doing, and sowing
seed upon kindly ground that will in the future bring forth abundant

Gradually the fact became uppermost in my mind that I was powerless
to move; that my team was gone. No response came to the extensive
advertisements for an ox or a yoke of oxen, showing clearly there were
none in the country, and that the only way to repair the damage was to
get unbroken steers or cows and break them in. This could not be done
in hot weather, or at least cattle unused to work could not go under
the yoke and render effective service while seasoning, and so, for the
time being, the work on the Trail was suspended.

As I write in this beautiful grove of the old court house grounds, in
the heart of this embryo city of Grand Island, with its stately rows
of shade trees, its modest, elegant homes, the bustle and stir on
its business streets, with the constant passing of trains, shrieking
of whistles, ringing of bells, the reminder of a great change in
conditions, my mind reverts back to that June day in 1852 when I passed
over the ground near where the city stands. Vast herds of buffalo
then grazed on the hills or leisurely crossed our track and at times
obstructed our way. Flocks of antelope frisked on the outskirts or
watched from vantage points. The prairie dogs reared their heads in
comical attitude, burrowing, it was said, with the rattlesnake and the

But now these dog colonies are gone; the buffalo has gone; the antelope
has disappeared; as likewise the Indian. Now all is changed. Instead
of the parched plain we saw in 1852, with its fierce clouds of dust
rolling up the valley and engulfing whole trains until not a vestige of
them could be seen, we see the landscape of smiling, fruitful fields,
of contented homes, of inviting clumps of trees dotting the landscape.
The hand of man has changed what we looked upon as a barren plain
to that of a fruitful land. Where then there were only stretches of
buffalo grass, now waving fields of grain and great fields of corn send
forth abundant harvests. Yes, we may again exclaim, "What wondrous
changes time has wrought."

At Grand Island I shipped to Fremont, Neb., to head the procession
celebrating the semi-centennial of founding that city, working the ox
and cow together; thence to Lincoln, where the first edition of "The
Ox Team" was printed, all the while searching for an ox or a steer
large enough to mate the Dave ox, but without avail. Finally, after
looking over a thousand head of cattle in the stock yards of Omaha, a
five-year-old steer was found and broken in on the way to Indianapolis,
where I arrived January 5, 1907, eleven months and seven days from date
of departure from my home at Puyallup, 2,600 miles distant.



Upon my arrival in Indianapolis, people began to ask me about the
Trail, and to say they had never heard that the Oregon Trail ran
through that city, to which I replied I never had heard that it did. A
quizzical look sometimes would bring out an explanation that the intent
of the expedition was as much to work upon the hearts of the people
as to work upon the Trail itself; that what we wanted was to fire the
imagination of the people and get them first to know there was such a
thing as the Oregon Trail and then to know what it meant in history.

After passing the Missouri, and leaving the Trail behind me, I somehow
had a foreboding that I might be mistaken for a faker and looked upon
either as an adventurer or a sort of a "wandering Jew" and shrank
from the ordeal. My hair had grown long on the trip across; my boots
were some the worse for wear and my old-fashioned suit (understood
well enough by pioneers along the Trail) that showed dilapidation all
combined, made me not the most presentable in every sort of company.
Coupled with that had I not already been compelled to say that I was
not a "corn doctor" or any kind of a doctor; that I did not have patent
medicine or any other sort of medicine to sell, and that I was neither
soliciting or receiving contributions to support the expedition? I had
early in the trip realized the importance of disarming criticism or
suspicion that there was graft or speculation in the work. And yet, day
after day, there would come questions, pointed or otherwise, evidently
to probe to the bottom to find out if there was lurking somewhere or
somehow an ulterior object not appearing on the surface. There being
none, the doubters would be disarmed only to make way for a new crop,
maybe the very next hour.

But the press, with but one exception, had been exceedingly kind,
and understood the work. It remained for one man[25] of the thousand
or more who wrote of the work, at a later date to write of his
"suspicions." I wrote that gentleman that "suspicions as to one's
motives were of the same cloth as the 'breath of scandal' against a
fair lady's character, leaving the victim helpless without amende
honorable from the party himself," and gave him full information, but
he did not respond nor so far as I know publish any explanation of the
article in his paper.

March 1st, 1907, found me on the road going eastward from Indianapolis.
I had made up my mind that Washington City should be the objective
point, and that Congress would be a better field to work in than out on
the hopelessly wide stretch of the Trail where one man's span of life
would certainly run before the work could be accomplished.

But, before reaching Congress, it was well to spend a season or
campaign of education or manage somehow to get the work before the
general public so that the Congress might know about it, or at least
that many members might have heard about it. So a route was laid
out to occupy the time until the first of December, just before
Congress would again assemble, and be with them "in the beginning."
The route lay from Indianapolis, through Hamilton, Ohio; Dayton,
Columbus, Buffalo, then Syracuse, Albany, New York City, Trenton, N.
J.; Philadelphia., Pa.; Baltimore, Md., thence to Washington, visiting
intermediate points along the route outlined. This would seem to be
quite a formidable undertaking with one yoke of oxen and a big "prairie
schooner" wagon that weighed 1,400 pounds, a wooden axle, that would
speak at times if not watched closely with tar bucket in hand; and a
load of a thousand pounds or more of camp equipage, etc. And so it was,
but the reader may recall the fable of the "tortoise and the hare" and
find the lesson of persistence that gave the race, not to the swiftest
afoot. Suffice it to say that on the 29th of November, 1907, twenty-two
months to a day after leaving home at Puyallup, I drew up in front of
the White House in Washington City, was kindly received by President
Roosevelt, and encouraged to believe my labor had not been lost.

The general reader may not be interested in the details of my varied
experiences in the numerous towns and cities through which I passed,
nevertheless there were incidents in some of the cities well worth

As noted before, the press, from the beginning, seemed to understand
the object, and enter into the spirit of the work. It remained for
one paper during the whole trip (Hamilton, Ohio) to solicit pay for
a notice. My look of astonishment or something, it seems, wrought a
change, and the notice appeared, and I am able to record that not one
cent was paid to the press during the whole trip, and I think fully
a thousand articles have been published outlining and commending the
work. Had it not been for the press, no such progress as has been made
could have been accomplished, and if the appropriation be made by
Congress to mark the Trail, the press did it, not, however, forgetting
the patient oxen who did their part so well.

An interesting incident, to me at least, occurred in passing through
the little town of Huntsville, ten miles east of Hamilton, Ohio, where
I was born, and had not seen for more than seventy years. A snap shot
of the old house where I was born did me no good, for at Dayton some
vandal stole my kodak, film and all, containing the precious impression.

Dayton treated me nicely, bought a goodly number of my books and sent
me on my way rejoicing with no further feeling of solicitude toward
financing the expedition. I had had particularly bad luck in the
loss of my fine ox; then when the cows were bought and one of them
wouldn't go at all, and I was compelled to ship the outfit to Omaha,
more than a hundred miles; and was finally forced to buy the unbroken
steer Dandy, out of the stockyards at Omaha, and, what was more, pay
out all the money I could rake and scrape, save seven dollars. Small
wonder I should leave Dayton with a feeling of relief brought about
by the presence in my pocket of some money not drawn from home. I had
had other experiences of discouragement as well: when I first put the
"Ox Team" in print, it was almost "with fear and trembling"—would the
public buy it? I could not know without trying, and so a thousand
copies only were printed, which of course brought them up to a high
price per copy. But these sold, and two thousand more copies printed
and sold, and I was about even on the expense, when, lo and behold, my
plates and cuts were burned and a new beginning had to be made.

Mayor Badger of Columbus wrote, giving me the "freedom of the city,"
and Mayor Tom Johnson wrote to his chief of police to "treat Mr. Meeker
as the guest of the city of Cleveland," which he did.

At Buffalo, N. Y., though, the mayor would have none of it, unless I
would pay one hundred dollars license fee, which of course I would not.
Fortunately, though, a camping ground was found in the very heart of
the city, and I received a hearty welcome from the citizens, and a good
hearing as well. A pleasant episode occurred here to while away the
time as well as to create a good feeling. The upper 400 of Buffalo were
preparing to give a benefit to one of the hospitals in the shape of a
circus. Elaborate preparations had been made and a part of the program
was an attack by Indians on an emigrant train, the Indians being
the well mounted young representatives of the city's elite. At this
juncture I arrived in the city, and was besieged to go and represent
the emigrant train, for which they would pay me, but I said, "No, not
for pay, but I will go." And so there was quite a realistic show in the
"ring" that afternoon and evening, and the hospital received over a
thousand dollars benefit.

Near Oneida some one said I had better take to the towpath on the canal
and save distance, besides avoid going over the hill, adding that while
it was against the law, everybody did it and no one would object. So,
when we came to the forks of the road, I followed the best beaten track
and soon found ourselves traveling along on the level, hard but narrow
way, the towpath. All went well, and just at evening on an elevated
bridge across the canal, three mules were crossing and a canal-boat
was seen on the opposite side, evidently preparing to "camp" for the
night. With the kodak we were able to catch the last mule's ears as he
was backed into the boat for the night, but not so fortunate the next
day when the boat with three men, two women and three long-eared mules
were squarely met, the latter on the towpath. The mules took fright,
got into a regular mix-up, broke the harness and went up the towpath at
a 2:40 gait and were with difficulty brought under control.

I had walked into Oneida the night before, and so did not see the sight
or hear the war of words that followed. The men ordered W. to "take
that outfit off the towpath." His answer was that he could not do it
without upsetting the wagon. The men said if he would not, they would
d—n quick, and started toward the wagon evidently intent to execute
their threat, meanwhile swearing at the top of their voices and the
women swearing in chorus, one of them fairly shrieking. My old and
trusted muzzle-loading rifle that we had carried across the Plains more
than fifty-five years before lay handy by, and so when the men started
toward him, W. picked up the rifle to show fight, and called on the dog
Jim to take hold of the men. As he raised the gun to use as a club, one
of the boatmen threw up his hands, bawling at the top of his voice,
"Don't shoot, don't shoot," forgot to mix in oaths, and slunk out of
sight behind the wagon; the others also drew back. Jim showed his teeth
and a truce followed when one of the women became hysterical and the
other called loudly for help. With but little inconvenience the mules
were taken off the path and the team drove on, whereupon a volley of
oaths was hurled at the object of all the trouble, in which the women
joined at the top of their voices, continuing as long as they could be
heard, one of them shrieking—drunk, W. thinks.

The fun of it was, the gun that had spread such consternation hadn't
been loaded for more than twenty-five years, but the sight of it was
enough for the three stalwart braves of the "raging canal".

I vowed then and there that we would travel no more on the towpath of
the canal.

When I came to Albany, the mayor wouldn't talk to me after once taking
a look at my long hair. He was an old man, and as I was afterwards
told, a "broken-down politician" (whatever that may mean). At any
rate, he treated me quite rudely I thought, though I presume, in his
opinion, it was the best way to get rid of a nuisance, and so I passed
on through the city.

But it took New York City to cap the climax—to bring me all sort of
experiences, sometimes with the police, sometimes with the gaping
crowds, and sometimes at the city hall.

Mayor McLellan was not in the city when I arrived, but the acting
mayor said that while he could not grant a permit, to come on in—he
would have the police commissioner instruct his men not to molest me.
Either the instructions were not general enough or else the men paid
no attention, for when I got down as far as 161st Street on Amsterdam
Avenue, a policeman interfered and ordered my driver to take the team
to the police station, which he very properly refused to do. It was
after dark and I had just gone around the corner to engage quarters
for the night when this occurred; returning, I saw the young policeman
attempt to move the team, but as he didn't know how, they wouldn't
budge a peg, whereupon he arrested my driver, and took him away. Just
then another police tried to coax me to drive the team down to the
police station; I said, "No, sir, I will not." He said there were
good stables down there, whereupon I told him I had already engaged a
stable, and would drive to it unless prevented by force. The crowd had
become large and began jeering the policeman. The situation was that he
couldn't drive the team to the station, and I wouldn't, and so there
we were. To arrest me would make matters worse by leaving the team on
the street without any one to care for it, and so finally the fellow
got out of the way, and I drove the team to the stable, he, as well as
a large crowd, following. As soon as I was in the stable he told me
to come along with him to the police station; I told him I would go
when I got the team attended to, but not before unless he wished to
carry me. The upshot of the matter was that by this time the captain
of the precinct arrived and called his man off, and ordered my driver
released. He had had some word from the city hall but had not notified
his men. It transpired there was an ordinance against allowing cattle
to be driven on the streets of New York. Of course, this was intended
to apply to loose cattle, but the police interpreted it to mean any
cattle, and had the clubs to enforce their interpretation. I was in
the city, and couldn't get out without subjecting myself to arrest
according to their version of the laws, and in fact I didn't want to
get out. I wanted to drive down Broadway from one end to the other,
which I did, a month later, as will presently be related.

All hands said nothing short of an ordinance by the board of aldermen
would clear the way; so I tackled the aldermen. The New York Tribune
sent a man over to the city hall to intercede for me; the New York
Herald did the same thing, and so it came about, the aldermen passed
an ordinance granting me the right of way for thirty days, and also
endorsed my work. I thought my trouble was over when that passed.
Not so, the mayor was absent, and the acting mayor could not sign an
ordinance until after ten days had elapsed. Then the city attorney came
in and said the aldermen had exceeded their authority as they could not
legally grant a special privilege. Then the acting mayor said he would
not sign the ordinance, but if I would wait until the next meeting
of the aldermen, if they did not rescind the ordinance, it would be
certified as he would not veto it, and that as no one was likely to
test the legality he thought I would be safe in acting as though it was
legal, and so, just thirty days from the time I had the bother with the
police, and had incurred $250.00 expense, I drove down Broadway from
161st Street to the Battery, without a slip or getting into any serious
scrape of any kind except with one automobilist who became angered, but
afterwards became "as good as pie," as the old saying goes. The rain
fell in torrents as we neared the Battery. I had engaged quarters for
the cattle nearby, but the stablemen went back on me, and wouldn't let
me in, and so drove up Water Street a long way before finding a place
and then was compelled to pay $4.00 for stable room and hay for the
cattle over night.

[Illustration: Curb Stock Exchange, Broad Street, New York.]

Thirty days satisfied me with New York. The fact was the crowds were
so great that congestion of traffic always followed my presence, and I
would be compelled to move. I went one day to the City Hall Park to get
the Greeley statue photographed with my team, and could not get away
without the help of the police, and even then with great difficulty.

A trip across Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn was made, but I found the
congestion there almost as great as in the city proper. The month I
was on the streets of New York was a month of anxiety, and I was glad
enough to get out of the city on the 17th of October, just thirty days
after the drive down Broadway, and sixty days after the holdup on 161st
Street, and the very day the big run on the Knickerbocker Bank began.

I came near meeting a heavy loss two days before leaving the city.
Somehow I got sandwiched in on the East Side above the Brooklyn
bridge in the congested district of the foreign quarters and finally
at nightfall drove into a stable, put the oxen in the stalls and, as
usual, the dog Jim in the wagon. The next morning Jim was gone. The
stablemen said he had left the wagon a few moments after I had and
had been stolen. The police accused the stablemen of being a party to
the theft, in which I think they were right. Anyway, the day wore off
and no tidings. Money could not buy that dog. He was an integral part
of the expedition; always on the alert; always watchful of the wagon
during my absence and always willing to mind what I bid him to do. He
had had more adventures than any other member of the work; first he
had been tossed over a high brush by the ox Dave; then shortly after
pitched headlong over a barbed wire fence by an irate cow; then came
the fight with a wolf; following this came a narrow escape from the
rattlesnake in the road; after this a trolley car run over him, rolling
him over and over again until he came out as dizzy as a drunken man—I
thought he was a "goner" that time sure, but he soon straightened up,
and finally in the streets of Kansas City was run over by a heavy truck
while fighting another dog. The other dog was killed outright, while
Jim came near having his neck broken, lost one of his best fighting
teeth and had several others broken. I sent him to a veterinary surgeon
and curiously enough he made no protest while having the broken teeth
repaired and extracted. He could eat nothing but soup and milk for
several days, and that poured down him, as he could neither lap nor
swallow liquids. It came very near being "all day" with Jim, but he
is here with me all right and seemingly good for a new adventure.

[Illustration: Jim.]

No other method could disclose where to find him than to offer a
reward, which I did, and feel sure I paid the twenty dollars to one of
the fellow-parties to the theft who was brazen faced enough to demand
pay for keeping him. Then was when I got up and talked pointedly, and
was glad enough to get out of that part of the city.

Between Newark and Elizabeth City, New Jersey, at a point known as
"Lyons Farm," the old "Meeker Homestead" stands, built in the year
1767. Here the "Meeker Tribe," as we called ourselves, came out to
greet me near forty strong, as shown by the illustration.[26] Except
in Philadelphia, I did not receive much recognition between Elizabeth
City and Washington. Wilmington would have none of it, except for pay,
and so I passed on, but at Philadelphia I was bid to go on Broad Street
under the shadow of the great city hall where great crowds came and
took a lot of my literature away during the four days I tarried; in
Baltimore I got a "cold shoulder" and passed through the city without
halting long. In parts of Maryland I found many lank oxen with long
horns and light quarters, the drivers not being much interested in the
outfit except to remark, "Them's mighty fine cattle, stranger; where do
you come from?" and like passing remarks.

But when I reached Washington, the atmosphere, so to speak, changed—a
little bother with the police a few days, but soon brushed aside. I
had been just twenty-two months to a day in reaching Washington from
the time I made my first day's drive from my home at Puyallup, January
29th, 1906. It took President Roosevelt to extend a royal welcome.

[Illustration: President Roosevelt on the Way to View the Team; War and
Navy Building in the Background.]

"Well, well, WELL, WELL," was the exclamation that fell from his lips
as he came near enough the outfit to examine it critically, which he
did. Senator Piles and Representative Cushman of the Washington State
Congressional delegation had introduced me to the President in the
cabinet room. Mr. Roosevelt showed a lively interest in the work from
the start. He did not need to be told that the Trail was a battlefield,
or that the Oregon pioneers who moved out and occupied the Oregon
country while yet in dispute between Great Britain and the United
States were heroes who fought a strenuous battle as "winners of the
farther west," for he fairly snatched the words from my lips and went
even farther than I had even dreamed of, let alone having hoped for, in
invoking Government aid to carry on the work.

[Illustration: President Roosevelt Viewing the Team, November 29, 1907.]

Addressing Senator Piles the President said with emphasis, "I am in
favor of this work to mark this Trail and if you will bring before
Congress a measure to accomplish it, I am with you, and will give it my
support to do it thoroughly."

Mr. Roosevelt thought the suggestion of a memorial highway should first
come from the states through which the Trail runs; anyway it would be
possible to get congressional aid to mark the Trail, and that in any
event, ought to be speedily done.

Apparently, on a sudden recollecting other engagements pressing, the
President asked, "Where is your team? I want to see it." Upon being
told that it was near by, without ceremony, and without his hat he was
soon alongside, asking questions faster than they could be answered,
not idle questions, but such as showed his intense desire to get real
information—bottom facts—as the saying goes.


[25] William Allen White.

[26] See illustration, Chapter I.



I left Washington on the 8th of January, 1908, and shipped the outfit
over the Alleghany Mountains to McKeesport, Pennsylvania, having
been in Washington, as the reader will note, thirty-nine days. From
McKeesport I drove to Pittsburg and there put the team into winter
quarters to remain until the 5th of March; thence shipped by boat on
the Ohio River to Cincinnati, Ohio, stopping in that city but one day,
and from there shipping by rail to St. Louis, Missouri. At Pittsburg
and adjacent cities I was received cordially and encouraged greatly
to believe the movement for a national highway had taken a deep hold
in the minds of the people. The Pittsburg Automobile Club issued a
circular letter to all the automobile clubs of Pennsylvania, and
likewise to the congressional delegation of Pennsylvania, urging them
to favor not only the bill then pending in Congress, appropriating
$50,000 for marking the Oregon Trail, but also a measure looking to
the joint action of the national government and the states, to build
a national highway over the Oregon Trail as a memorial road. I was
virtually given the freedom of the city of Pittsburg, and sold my
literature without hindrance; but not so when I came to Cincinnati.
The mayor treated me with scant courtesy, but the automobile clubs of
Cincinnati took action at once similar to that of the Pittsburg club.
Again when I arrived in St. Louis, I received at the city hall the
same frigid reception that had been given me at Cincinnati, although
strenuous efforts were made by prominent citizens to bring out a
different result. However, the mayor was obdurate and so after tarrying
for a few days, I drove out of the city, greatly disappointed at the
results, but not until after the automobile club and the Daughters of
the American Revolution had taken formal action endorsing the work.
My greater disappointment was that here I had anticipated a warm
reception. St. Louis, properly speaking, had been the head center of
the movement that finally established the Oregon Trail. Here was where
Weythe, Bonneyville, Whitman and others of the earlier movements out on
the trail had outfitted; but there is now a commercial generation, many
of whom that care but little about the subject. Nevertheless I found a
goodly number of zealous advocates of the cause of marking the Trail.

The drive from St. Louis to Jefferson City, the capital of the State
of Missouri, was tedious and without results other than reaching the
point where actual driving began in early days.

Governor Folk came out on the state house steps to have his photograph
taken and otherwise signified his approval of the work, and I was
accorded a cordial hearing by the citizens of that city. On the fourth
of April I arrived at Independence, Missouri, which is generally
understood to be the eastern terminus of the Trail.

I found, however, that many of the pioneers shipped father up the
Missouri, some driving from Atchison, some from Leavenworth, others
from St. Joseph and at a little later period, multitudes from
Kainsville (now Council Bluffs), where Whitman and Parker made their
final break from civilization and boldly turned their faces westerly
for the unknown land of Oregon.

A peculiar condition of affairs existed at Independence. The nearby
giant city of Kansas City had long ago overshadowed the embryo
commercial mart of the early thirties and had taken even that early
trade from Independence. However, the citizens of Independence
manifested an interest in the work and took measures to raise a fund
for a $5,000 monument. At a meeting of the commercial club it was
resolved to raise the funds, but found to be "uphill work." Whether
they will succeed is problematical. A novel scheme had been adopted
to raise funds. A local author proposed to write a drama, "The Oregon
Trail," and put it on the stage at Independence and Kansas City, for
the benefit of the Monument fund. If he can succeed in carrying out
successfully the plot as outlined, he ought to write a play that would
be a monument to the thought as well as to provide funds for a monument
to the Trail, for certainly here is a theme that would not only fire
the imagination of an audience but likewise enlist their sympathies.
I am so impressed with the importance of this work that I am tempted
to outline the theme in the hope if his attempt does not succeed, that
others may be prompted to undertake the work.

First, the visit of the four Flat Head Indians in search of the
"white man's book of heaven," entertained in St. Louis by Gen. George
Rogers Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame, until two of them died; then
the death of a third on the way home; the historic speech of one,
telling of their disappointment, and final return home of the single
survivor; then follows the two-thousand-mile bridal tour of Whitman
and Spaulding, and this in turn by the historic movement of the early
home builders to the Oregon country with its grand results; the fading
memory of a forgetful generation until the recollections of the
grand highway is recovered in a blaze of glory to be handed down to
succeeding generations, by the homage of a nation.

At Kansas City, Mo., the thoughts of the people had been turned to the
Santa Fe Trail by the active campaign in the border state of Kansas in
erecting markers on that trail. To my utter surprise it seemed that the
Oregon Trail had almost been forgotten; the sentiment and thought had
all been centered on the Santa Fe Trail. I tarried with them exactly
one month, spoke to numerous organized bodies, and came away with the
feeling the seed had been planted that would revive the memory of the
Oregon Trail and finally result in a monument in the greater city.
In the lesser Kansas City, Kansas, I visited all the public schools,
spoke to the eleven thousand school children of the city and came away
with the satisfaction of having secured contributions from over 3,000
children to a fund for erecting a monument in that city.

To further interest the children of the State of Kansas, I placed
$25.00 in the hands of their state superintendent of schools, to be
offered as a prize for the best essay on the Oregon Trail. This contest
has been determined during the calendar year of 1908 and the award made.

[Illustration: Addressing Colored School, Kansas City, Kans.]

All existing maps in the State of Kansas ignore the Oregon Trail. The
"Santa Fe Trail" is shown; there is a "Fremont Trail," a "California
Trail," a "Mormon Trail," but not one mile of an "Oregon Trail,"
although this great historic ancient trail traversed the state for
fully two hundred miles. This incident shows how extremely important,
that early action to mark the Oregon Trail should be taken before it is
too late.

The Santa Fe and Oregon trails from Independence and Kansas City
are identical out to the town of Gardner, Kansas, forty miles or
thereabouts. Here, the Santa Fe Trail bore on to the west and finally
southwest, while the Oregon Trail bore steadily on to the northwest
and encountered the Platte Valley below Grand Island in what is now
Nebraska. At the "forks of the road," the historian Chittenden says,
"a simple signboard was seen which carried the words 'Road to Oregon,'
thus pointing the way for two thousand miles. No such signboard ever
before pointed the road for so long a distance and probably another
such never will. I determined to make an effort to at least recover
the spot where this historic sign once stood, and if possible plant
a marker there. Kind friends in Kansas City, one of whom I had not
met for sixty years, took me in their automobile to Gardner, Kansas,
where, after a search of two hours, the two survivors were found who
were able to point out the spot—Mr. V. R. Ellis and William J. Ott,
whose residence in the near vicinity dated back nearly fifty years;
aged respectively, 77 and 82 years. The point is at the intersection
of Washington and Central Street in the town of Gardner, Kansas. In
this little town of a few hundred inhabitants stands a monument for the
Santa Fe Trail, a credit to the sentimental feelings of the community,
but, having expended their energies on that work, it was impossible to
get them to undertake to erect another, although I returned a few days
later, spoke to a meeting of the town council and citizens and offered
to secure $250.00 elsewhere if the town would undertake to raise a like

This last trip cost me over a hundred dollars. As I left the train at
Kansas City on my return, my pocket was "picked" and all the money I
had, save a few dollars, was gone. This is the first time in my life I
have lost money in that way, and I want it to be the last.

I planned to drive up the Missouri and investigate the remaining five
prongs of The Trail—Leavenworth, Atchison, St. Joseph and Kanesville,
the other, Independence and Westpoint (now Kansas City), considered as
one—but first drove to Topeka, the capital city of the State of Kansas,
where I arrived May 11th (1908). The "Trail" crosses the Kansas River
under the very shadow of the state house—not three blocks away—yet only
a few knew of its existence. The state had appropriated $1,000 to mark
the Santa Fe Trail, and the Daughters of the Revolution had conducted
a campaign of supplementing this fund and had actually procured the
erection of 96 markers. While I received a respectful hearing by these
ladies, yet they shrank from undertaking new work at the present time.
The same conditions controlled at Leavenworth and likewise at Atchison,
and hence, I did not tarry long at either place, but at all three,
Topeka, Leavenworth and Atchison, a lively interest was manifested,
as well as at Lawrence, and I am led to feel the drive was not lost,
although no monument was secured, but certainly the people do now know
there is an Oregon Trail. All the papers did splendid work and have
carried on the work in a way that will leave a lasting impression.

On the 23d of May the team arrived at St. Joseph, Missouri. At this
point many pioneers had outfitted in early days and the sentiment was
in hearty accord with the work, yet plainly there would be a hard "tug"
to get the people together on a plan to erect a monument. "Times were
very tight to undertake such a work" came the response from so many
that no organized effort was made. By this time the fact became known
that the committee in Congress having charge of the bill appropriating
$50,000 to mark the Trail, had taken action and had made a favorable
report, and which is universally held to be almost equivalent to the
passage of the bill.

So, all things considered, the conclusion was reached to suspend
operation, ship the team home and for the time being take a rest from
the work. I had been out from home twenty-eight months, lacking but
five days, hence it is small wonder if I should conclude to listen to
the inner longings to get back to the home and home life. Put yourself
in my place, reader, and see what you think you would have done. True,
the Trail was not yet fully nor properly marked, yet something had been
accomplished and with this, the thought, a good deal more might be
expected from the seed planted.

May 26th I shipped the outfit to Portland, Oregon, where I arrived on
the 6th day of June (1908), and went into camp on the same grounds I
had camped on in March (1906) on my outward trip.

Words cannot express my deep feelings of gratitude for the royal,
cordial reception given me by the citizens of Portland, from the mayor
down to the humblest citizen, and for the joyous reunion with the 2,000
pioneers who had just assembled for their annual meeting.

The drive from Portland to Seattle is one long to be remembered, and
while occupying a goodly number of days, yet not one moment of tedious
time hung heavy on my shoulders, and on the 18th day of July, 1908, I
drove into the city of Seattle and the long "trek" was ended.

It would be unbecoming in me to assume in a vainglorious mood that the
manifestation of cordiality, and I may say joy, in the hearts of many
at my homecoming was wholly due to the real merit of my work, knowing
as I do that so many have magnified the difficulties of the trip,
yet it would be less than human did I not feel, and unjust did I not
express the pride, and I hope is pardonable, and openly acknowledge it,
for the kindly words and generous actions of my friends and neighbors,
and to all such I extend my kindest and heartfelt thanks.



Now that the trip has been made, and an account of stock, so to speak,
taken, I have become surprised the work was undertaken. Not that I
regret the act any more than I regret the first act of crossing the
Plains in 1852, which to me now appears to be as incomprehensible as
the later act. If one questions the motive prompting and governing the
movements of the early pioneers, scarcely two of the survivors will
tell the same story, or give the same reason. This wonderful movement
was brought vividly home to my mind recently while traversing the great
fertile plains of the Middle West, where most of the emigrants came
from. Here was a vast expanse of unoccupied fertile land, beautiful
as ever mortal man looked upon; great rivers traversed this belt, to
carry the surplus crops to distant markets; smaller streams ramify all
over the region to multiply the opportunities for choice locations
to one's heart's content, and yet these Oregon emigrants passed all
these opportunities and boldly struck out on the 2,000-mile stretch
of what was then known as the Great American Desert, and braved the
dangers of Indian warfare, of starvation, of sickness—in a word, of
untold dangers,—to reach the almost totally unknown Oregon Country.
Why did they do it? Can any man tell? I have been asked thousands of
times while on this later trip what prompted me to make it? I can
not answer that question satisfactorily to myself and have come to
answering the question by asking another, or more accurately speaking,
several, "Why do you decorate a grave?" or "Why do we as a people mark
our battlefields?" or "Why do we erect monuments to the heroic dead of
war?" It is the same sentiment, for instance, that prompted marking the
Gettysburg battlefield.

Yes, as I recently returned home over the Oregon Short Line Railroad
that in many places crossed the old Trail (with Dave and Dandy quietly
chewing their cud in the car, and myself supplied with all the luxuries
of a great palatial overland train), and I began vividly to realize the
wide expanse of country covered, and passed first one and then another
of the camping places, I am led to wonder if, after all, I could have
seen the Trail stretched out, as like a panorama, as seen from the car
window, would I have undertaken the work? I sometimes think not. We
all of us at times undertake things that look bigger after completion,
than in our vision ahead of us, or in other words, go into ventures
without fully counting the cost. Perhaps, to an extent this was the
case in this venture; the work did look larger from the car window
than from the camp. Nevertheless, I have no regrets to express nor
exultation to proclaim. In one sense the expedition has been a failure,
in that as yet the Trail is not sufficiently marked for all time and
for all generations to come. We have made a beginning, and let us hope
the end sought will in the near future become an accomplished fact,
and not forget the splendid response from so many communities on the
way in this, the beginning. And let the reader, too, remember he has
an interest in this work, a duty to perform to aid in building up
American citizenship, for "monumenting" the Oregon Trail means more
than the mere preservation in memory of that great highway; it means
the building up of loyalty, patriotism—of placing the American thought
upon a higher plane, as well as of teaching history in a form never to
be forgotten and always in view as an object lesson.

The financing of the expedition became at once a most difficult
problem. A latent feeling existed favoring the work, but how to utilize
it—concentrate it upon a plan that would succeed,—confronted the
friends of the enterprise. Elsewhere the reader will find the reason
given, why the ox team was chosen and the drive over the old Trail
undertaken. But there did not exist a belief in the minds of many
that the "plan would work," and so it came about that almost every
one refused to contribute, and many tried to discourage the effort,
sincerely believing that it would result in failure.

I have elsewhere acknowledged the liberality of H. C. Davis of
Claquato, Washington, sending his check for $50.00 with which to
purchase an ox. Irving Alvord of Kent, Washington, contributed $25.00
for the purchase of a cow. Ladd of Portland gave a check for $100.00
at the instance of George H. Rimes, who also secured a like sum from
others—$200.00 in all. Then when I lost the ox Twist and telegraphed
to Henry Hewitt of Tacoma to send me two hundred dollars, the response
came the next day to the bank at Gothenburg, Nebraska, to pay me
that amount. But, notwithstanding the utmost effort and most rigid
economy, there did seem at times that an impending financial failure
was just ahead. In the midst of the enthusiasm manifested, I felt the
need to put on a bold front and refuse contributions for financing
the expedition, knowing full well that the cry of "graft" would be
raised and that contributions to local committees for monuments would
be lessened, if not stopped altogether. The outlay had reached the
$1,400.00 mark when I had my first 1,000 copies of the "Ox Team"
printed. Would the book sell, I queried? I had written it in camp,
along the roadside; in the wagon—any place and at any time I could
snatch an opportunity or a moment from other pressing work. These were
days of anxieties. Knowing full well the imperfections of the work,
small wonder if I did, in a figurative sense, put out the book "with
fear and trembling,"—an edition of 1,000 copies. The response came
quick, for the book sold and the expedition was saved from failure
for lack of funds. Two thousand more were printed, and while these
were selling, my cuts, plates and a part of a third reprint were all
destroyed by fire in Chicago, and I had to begin at the bottom. New
plates and new cuts were ordered, and this time 6,000 copies were
printed, and later another reprint of 10,000 copies (19,000 in all),
with less than 1,000 copies left unsold two months after arriving
home. So the book saved the day. Nevertheless, there were times—until
I reached Philadelphia—when the question of where the next dollar of
expense money would come from before an imperative demand came for it
bore heavily on my mind. Two months tied up in Indianapolis during the
winter came near deciding the question adversely; then later, being
shut out from selling at Buffalo, Albany and some other places, and
finally the tie-up in New York, related elsewhere, nearly "broke the
bank". New York did not yield a rich harvest for selling, as I had
hoped for, as the crowds were too great to admit of my remaining long
in one place, but when Philadelphia was reached and I was assigned a
place on Broad Street near the city hall, the crowds came, the sales
ran up to $247.00 in one day and $600.00 for four days, the financial
question was settled, and there were no more anxious moments about
where the next dollar was to come from, although the aggregate expenses
of the expedition had reached the sum of nearly eight thousand dollars.

"All is well that ends well," as the old saying goes, and so I am
rejoiced to be able to report so favorable a termination of the
financial part of the expedition.



The preceding chapter, "The End", was written more than eight years
ago. Readers will have noted the work of monumenting the Oregon Trail
was left unfinished, that only a beginning had been made, that the
seed had been planted from which greater results might reasonably
have been expected to follow; that though in one sense the work had
failed, nevertheless the effort had been fully justified by the results

A great change has come over the minds of the American people in this
brief period of eight years. Numerous organizations have sprung into
existence for the betterment of Good Roads, for the perpetuation of
"The Old Trails" and the memory of those who wore them wide and deep.
It is without the province of this writing to give a history of these
various movements, and in any event space forbids undertaking the task.
Suffice it to say the widespread interest in the good roads movement
alone is shown by the introduction of sixty bills upon the subject
during the first month of the Sixty-fourth Congress—more than double
that introduced in any previous Congress. But we are now more concerned
to record a brief history of what happened to the "Overland Outfit"
since the so-called great trek ended.

[Illustration: At the Yukon Exposition, 1909.]

Dave and Dandy, after a few weeks of visiting, were put into winter
quarters in Seattle, where the admonition of the Israelite law, "Thou
shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn", was observed and
both showed more fat on the ribs for the nearly three years of the
strenuous life on the road. The dog "Jim" had likewise fattened up
under a less strenuous life, but did not lose his watchful, faithful
care of things surrounding him, that had seemed to have become a sort
of second nature while on the trip. The owner of the "outfit", the
writer, soon became restless under enforced idleness and arranged to
participate in the Alaska Yukon Exposition held in Seattle during the
summer of 1909, for illustrating pioneer life in the cabin and feeding
the hungry multitude. Neither enterprise succeeded financially and the
"multitude" soon ate him out of "house and home", demonstrating he had
missed his calling by the disappearance of his accumulation, leaving
him the experience only, to be vividly felt, though mysterious as the
unseen air. To "lie down" and give up, to me was unthinkable. I had
contemplated a second trip over the Trail to add to what had been done
even if it was impossible to "finish up", but winter was approaching
and so a trip to the sunny climate of California was made to remain
until the winter 1909-10 had passed into history.

March 16, 1910, the start was made for a second trip over the old
Trail from The Dalles, Oregon. "Dave" by this time had become a
"seasoned ox" though had not yet worked out of him the unruly meanness
that seemed to cling to him almost to the last. "Dandy" was not a whit
behind him as an ox and kept his good nature for the whole trip before
him (which lasted nearly two years) and to the end of his life.

On this trip no effort was made to erect monuments, but more special
attention paid toward locating the Trail. Tracings of the township
survey through which the Trail was known to run were obtained at the
state capitals at Boise, Idaho; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Lincoln, Nebraska;
and Topeka, Kansas. The United States deputy surveyors of public
lands are instructed to note all roads or trails crossing section or
township lines. Here came "confusion worse confounded" by the numerous
notations, some appearing on several section lines in succession,
others on one line and then not again for many miles and, of course,
it was not known by the deputies which was the Oregon Trail, or which
was a later road or which was simply an old buffalo trail, and later
followed by the Indians.

If we could pick up a known point of the Oregon Trail noted on a
section line crossing and search for another even if many miles distant
and find it and get the general direction, I don't recall a single
failure to locate the intervening points. This, however, did not always
result in finding the visible marks on the ground, but the memory of
the old settlers would come in or an Indian might remember, and then
sometimes we would stumble on it before we knew where the mysterious
track lay. Once I remember finding two rods in length of the "old
trough" in a fence road crossing, where the traces in fields on both
sides had been cultivated, the road graded, and only this little spot
left undisturbed. Other places out on the plains were left undisturbed
by improvements. Nature had come in to it in parts and obliterated
the marks. Then again at other places the marks remained so plain one
might almost say it could be seen miles ahead, both wide and deep—200
feet wide in places where the sage had been killed out, and then again
in sandy points so deep one hesitates to tell fearing lest he may be
accused of exaggerating; but here goes: I did measure one point fifteen
feet deep and seventy-five feet wide.

In the sage lands there came points where one might say the Trail could
be identified by its "countenance", that is by the shade of color
of the sage growth, sometimes only a very light shade at that, yet
unmistakable where one had become accustomed to see it, like a familiar
face. To me this search became more and more interesting, and I may say
fascinating, and will remain a pleasant memory as long as I live.

It is not my purpose to give a detailed account of this second trip
beginning at The Dalles, Oregon, March 16, 1910, and ending at
Puyallup, Washington, August 26, 1912, twenty-nine months and ten days,
but only refer briefly, very briefly, to some experiences, a passing
notice only.

At San Antonio, Texas, we camped in the Alamo, adjoining to that
historic spot where David Crocket was killed. At Chicago the crowds
"jostled" us almost like the experience in New York three years before.
I crossed over the Loop Fork of Platte River, three-quarters of a mile
wide, in the wagon box under a moving picture camera to illustrate
the ways of the pioneers of the long ago. We encountered a veritable
cloudburst in the Rocky Mountains in which we very nearly lost the
outfit in the roaring torrent that followed, and did lose almost all
of my books and other effects. Later Dandy pulled off one of his shoes
in the mountain road and became so lame we were compelled to abandon
farther driving, then we shipped home. Then came the great misfortune
of losing Jim out of the car, and never got him back. Nevertheless,
I have no regrets to express and have many pleasant memories to bear
witness of the trip. All in all it was a more strenuous trip than
the drive to Washington and all things considered it was prolific in

Part of the time I was alone; but I didn't mind that so much, except
for the extra work thrown upon me.

One more incident, this time a pleasant one:

One day as I was traveling leisurely along, suddenly there appeared
above the horizon veritable castles—castles in the air. It was a
mirage. I hadn't seen one for sixty years, but it flashed upon me
instantly what it was—the reflection of some weird pile of rocks so
common on the Plains. The shading changes constantly, reminding me of
the almost invisible changes of the northern lights, and it so riveted
my attention that I forgot all else until Jim's barking ahead of the
oxen recalled me to consciousness, as one might say, to discover Dave
and Dandy had wandered off the road, browsing and nipping a bit of
grass here and there. Jim knew something was going wrong and gave the
alarm. Verily the sagacity of the dog is akin to the intelligence of

As just recorded, the second trip was ended. I had long contemplated
contributing the outfit for the perpetuation of history. It did not
take long to obtain an agreement with the city authorities at Tacoma
to take the ownership over and to provide a place for them. Before the
whole agreement was consummated the State of Washington assumed the
responsibility of preserving them in the State Historical Building,
where by the time this writing is in print the whole outfit will be
enclosed in a great glass case, fourteen feet by twenty-eight, in one
of the rooms of the new State Historical Building. The oxen, from the
hands of the taxidermist, look as natural as life, while standing with
the yoke on in front of the wagon, as so often seen when just ready for
a day's drive.

The wagon, typically a "Prairie Schooner" of "ye olden days" of the
pioneers, with its wooden axle, the linch pin and old-fashioned
"schooner bed", weather-beaten and scarred, would still be good for
another trip without showing wobbling wheels or screeching axle, as
when plenty of tar had not been used. Of this "screeching" the memory
of pioneers hark back to the time when the tar gave out and the
groaning inside the hub began with a voice comparable and as audible
as of a braying donkey, or the sharper tone of the filing of a saw. Is
it, or was it, worth while to preserve these old relics? Some say not.
I think it was. Taxidermists tell us, barring accidents and if properly
cared for, the oxen are virtually indestructible and that a thousand
years hence they may be seen in this present form by the generation
then inhabiting the earth, who may read a lesson as to what curious
kind of people lived in this the twentieth century of the Christian era.

A map of the old Trail nearly forty feet long has been made with
painstaking care, an outline of which will be painted on the inside of
the glass case. Nearly a hundred and fifty monuments, or thereabouts,
have been erected along the old landmark. Photographs of most of these
have been secured or eventually all will be. The plan is to number
these and display them on the glass with a corresponding number at the
particular point on the map where each belongs. These will doubtless
be added to as time goes on to complete the record of the greatest
trail of all history—where twenty thousand died in the conquering of
a continent, aside from the unknown number that fell by the resisting
hand of the native uncivilized savages. It's a pathetic story and but
few, very few, of the actors are left to tell the story.


I do not propose to write a history of the "Old Trails". That has been
done by painstaking historians, though it may be truly said that by no
means has the last word been written. There is, however, a field that
is to be hoped will soon be occupied, for the assembling of already
recorded facts in a "Child's History" in attractive form, to the end
the younger generation as they come on the stage of action may learn
to love the memory of the pioneers and the very tracks they trod.
Nothing will more surely build up a healthy patriotism in the breasts
of generations to follow than a study of the deeds of their forbears
that conquered the fair land they inhabit. Thus far, a brief history
has been given of the effort to erect granite monuments along the old
Trail. This of itself is a commendable, grand work, but by no means the
last word. Simple sentinel monuments, if we may so designate them, have
their value, but to be enduring should be of utility that will not only
serve as a reminder of the past but likewise attract the attention of
the greater number, the multitude that will become interested because
of their utility and more willing to lend a hand to their preservation
after once being created. This is why the pioneers have so persistently
clung to the design of a highway along the lines of the trails—once
a highway, say they, let them always be such as long as civilization

And so an appeal was made to Congress for renewing the memory of the
"Old Trails" by establishing a national highway from coast to coast, to
be known as "Pioneer Way".


     64th Congress, First Session.—H. R. 9137.


     January 15, 1916.

     Mr. Humphrey of Washington introduced the following bill; which
     was referred to the Committee on Military Affairs and ordered to
     be printed.

     A BILL

     _To survey and locate a military and post road from Saint Louis,
     Missouri, to Olympia, Washington._

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
     the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the
     Secretary of War be, and is hereby, directed, to appoint a board
     of two members, one of them being a United States Army engineer
     and the other a civilian, to make a preliminary survey for a
     military and post highway from Saint Louis, Missouri, to Olympia,
     Washington, said military highway to follow the following route
     as near as may be: From Saint Louis to Kansas City, Missouri,
     following as near as may be the general route of what is commonly
     known as the "Old Trail." From Kansas City, following the joint
     Santa Fe and Oregon trails for about forty miles to the city of
     Gardner, Kansas; thence following the general route of the Oregon
     Trail to Topeka, Kansas, and from Topeka thence to the State line
     of Nebraska; thence, following said trail, to the Platte River,
     and thence along the most practical route near the right bank
     of the said Platte River to a point where, in the judgment of
     said board, they may decide as to the best point to cross said
     river, said crossing to be below or at the junction of the north
     and south forks of said river; thence, as near as may be, along
     the left river bank of said North Platte River to the State line
     of Wyoming; thence by the best general route to a point where
     the Old Trail diverges from said river to the left bank of the
     Sweetwater River near the landmark known as Independence Rock;
     thence up Sweetwater River to a point where said Old Trail leaves
     said river and ascends to the summit of the Rocky Mountains in
     the South Pass, and thence to the nearby point known as Pacific
     Springs; thence to Bear River Valley and the State line of Idaho;
     thence down said valley to Soda Springs and to Pocatello, Idaho;
     thence to American Falls, Idaho, and to the best crossing of the
     Snake River; thence to and down the Boise Valley to Boise City,
     Idaho; thence to recrossing of Snake River and to Huntington in
     the State of Oregon; thence to La Grande, Oregon; thence over the
     Blue Mountains to the city of The Dalles, Oregon; thence through
     the Columbia River Gap to Vancouver on the right bank of the
     Columbia River in the State of Washington; thence to the city of
     Olympia, Washington; following generally the Old Oregon Trail
     and other trails followed by the pioneers in going from Saint
     Louis to Puget Sound, utilizing, wherever practicable, roads and
     highways already existing.

     Sec. 2. That said board shall report as to the cost, the location
     of said highway, and the character of construction that they deem
     advisable for such highway.

     Sec. 3. That said board shall also take up with the State
     authorities in the States through which the said road shall pass
     and report what co-operation can be secured from such States in
     the construction and maintenance of such road.

     Sec. 4. That the board shall also report on the advisability
     of employing the United States Army in the construction of any
     portion of said road.

     Sec. 5. That the name of said road shall be "Pioneer Way."

     See. 6. That the sum of $75,000, or so much thereof as may be
     necessary, be, and the same is hereby, appropriated out of any
     money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the purpose
     of defraying the expense in connection with such survey.

"At the hearing before the House Committee on Military Affairs, H. R.
9137, A Bill 'To survey and locate a Military and Post Road from Saint
Louis, Missouri, to Olympia, Washington,' Ezra Meeker, of Seattle,
Washington, was called before the Committee and made an oral plea
favoring the passage of the bill and filed a statement, a copy of which
appears below":

     The bill before you authorizing the locating and survey of a
     great National Highway to be known as "Pioneer Way," as a tribute
     to the memory of the pioneers, has a deeper significance than
     that of sentiment, though fully justified from that motive alone.

     It is well to remember that the possession of the Oregon
     country hung in the balance for many years; that a number of
     our statesmen of the Nineteenth Century, including Jefferson
     himself, did not believe we should attempt to incorporate this
     vast territory, the Oregon country, as a part of the United
     States, Jefferson even going so far as advocating an independent
     government in that, to him then, land of mystery.

     Encouraged by these differences of opinion among our own people
     and prompted by the hunger for territorial aggrandizement and
     likewise spurred to action by the rich harvest of furs that
     poured millions of pounds sterling into the coffers of the London
     company, known as the Hudson Bay Company, the British government
     tenaciously held its grip on the country and refused to give it
     up until the pioneers, the home builders, boldly took possession,
     refused any sort of a compromise and presented the alternative
     of war or to be left in peaceable possession of their homes. It
     is simply a record of history that this vanguard of bold, great
     men and women hastened the final settlement of the contest and
     it is believed by many to have been the determining factor that
     compelled the British to withdraw.

     It was a great event in the history of the United States, in fact
     of the world's history, as otherwise the "Stony Mountains," as
     Jefferson advocated, would have been the western limits of the
     United States, and it requires no stretch of the imagination to
     discern the far-reaching results that would have followed.

     Although as I have said, justified in undertaking this great work
     from sentiment alone, there are other potent factors that to some
     may seem to be of greater importance and to which I wish to call
     your attention.

     The last decade has wrought great changes in world affairs by the
     numerous discoveries and improvements; not the least of these
     is the wonderful advance in the use of the "trackless" car now
     progressing so rapidly. Pardon me for saying that in my belief
     that any of you gentlemen that may live to be of my present age
     will see a far greater improvement than has already been made—one
     that staggers the imagination to grasp.

     Having been born before the advent of railroads in the United
     States (1830); witnessing the strides in civilization made
     possible by this great factor, I can truly say that I believe
     there is a far greater impending change before you from the
     introduction of the trackless car than has followed the rail
     car. This one feature alone, the government ownership (State
     or National) of the road bed with private ownership of the car
     will foster enterprise, build up character, promote independence
     of spirit, change the tide of people from the cities "back to
     the farm", now so important to the continued welfare of the
     nation. The tremendous effect upon the development of the seven
     States, through which this proposed highway will pass, can not
     fail to serve as a great object lesson and encourage other great
     interstate highways so necessary to the commercial development of
     the country in time of peace and preparedness for defense in time
     of war.

     As to the latter, preparedness for war, I will speak presently,
     but just now wish to call your attention to the influence upon
     the material developments of the country, which in fact is a
     measure of preparedness for defense or war. This measure, if you
     will notice, provides for state co-operation in the building and
     maintenance of this thoroughfare. This feature should not be lost
     sight of. It is important, of vital importance may I not say. If
     a given state will not join, the national government nevertheless
     should build the road and restrict its use to military and postal
     service, until such times as the state would enter into an
     equitable agreement as to its cost and upkeep (which would not be
     for long), for commercial use as well as for military and postal

     Now, as to preparedness for defense or for war to follow the
     building of this great trunk line, military highway over the
     Oregon Trail which would soon be followed east by the extension
     on the old Cumberland road as such to Washington and, as
     originally, to Philadelphia, thus creating the world's greatest
     thoroughfare, is so patent, we need not occupy your time to
     discuss, except as to the general principles of such a measure.
     We can readily see how a small army may become more formidable
     than a larger one where the means are at hand for speedy
     mobilization. The great battle of the Marne, that saved Paris
     from the horrors of a siege and probable destruction, was won by
     the French by the sudden concentration of troops made possible by
     the use of thousands of automobiles.

     This object lesson should not be lost sight of and it should
     be remembered that the road bed is the final word; in other
     words, the usefulness of the automobiles is measured by the road
     condition. It is without the province of this discussion to
     advocate the measures, that is the extent of preparedness this
     nation should undertake. There are millions of honest citizens
     who believe there is no danger of an attack from a foreign foe
     and hence no measure of preparedness is necessary, forgetting
     that as far back as history records run, there has been war, wars
     of conquest, religious wars, wars from jealousies or towering
     ambitions, from causes so numerous, we tire to recite them and
     that what has happened in the history of the thousands of years
     that have passed, will happen in the cycle of time in the future.

     Whatever may be the difference of opinion as to what measure of
     defense we adopt, whether it shall be a large army or a large
     navy, there should be none as to this proposed measure coupled
     as it is with such other manifest benefits to follow, alone
     sufficient to warrant the undertaking. I have been witness in
     my short span of life of 85 years to four wars this nation has
     been engaged in, all in measure without preparedness and all in
     consequence resulting in frightful loss. We can't forget the
     battle of Bladensburg, where over 8,000 raw troops, unprepared,
     gave way before 4,000 trained that marched to Washington and
     burned the Capitol and inflicted a humiliation that rancors to
     this day in the breast of any American citizen with red blood in
     his veins.

     Shall we invite a like humiliation for the future? I say nay,
     nay, and bear with me if I repeat again, nay, nay. I feel deeply
     the solemnity of this duty that rests in your hands and pardon me
     if I do speak with deep feeling.

     Mind you, I am addressing you as to this particular feature of

     Many of you gentlemen will doubtless remember that pathetic
     address of Hon. Lloyd George in the House of Commons last
     December, now known the world over as the "Too Late" appeal.
     After a million lives had been lost and billions of pounds
     sterling expended, this address fell like a thunderbolt upon the
     ears of Parliament. He said, "Too late," emphasizing the words:
     "We have been too late in this, too late in that, too late in
     arriving at decision, too late in starting this enterprise or
     that adventure. The footsteps of the Allies have been dogged by
     the mocking spectre of too late."

     Let not "Too late" be inscribed on the portals of our workshop.

     It's a solemn warning this, that some day will come home in
     disaster to this nation if we fail to take heed and profit by
     the lessons from the experience of others as taught in these
     outspoken words of agony, shall we not say, almost presaging the
     downfall of a great nation.

     I am not an alarmist, not a pessimist, but, gentlemen, we should
     not ignore plain facts. There is a disturbing question on the
     Pacific Coast that we should heed. A vast population to the West
     is clamoring to enter the United States whom we are unwilling to
     receive as citizens and who would refuse to accept citizenship.

     You will remember the tension of but a few months ago. Some day
     the bands of friendship will snap and light the flames of war.
     Do you remember the utter failure—breakdown shall I not say—of
     the railroads during the war with Spain? What if this condition
     covered 3,000 miles instead of but a few hundred? With bridges
     destroyed by spies, trains derailed, railroads blockaded, it
     requires no stretch of the imagination to know what would happen.
     Provide this roadbed, and hundreds of thousands of trackless
     cars would appear on the scene and supply transportation for the
     speedy transfer of troops and as like in the battle of the Marne
     referred to, would decide the fortune of the day.

     Bear with me for a moment longer, please. I may have spoken
     with too much zeal, too much earnestness, too much feeling,
     but I look upon the action to be taken by this committee as of
     great importance. We pioneers yearn to have this work begun
     because of the intense desire to perpetuate the memory of the
     past and believe it of great importance to the rising generation
     in implanting this memory in the breasts of the future rulers
     of the nation and of sowing the seeds of patriotism, but of
     transcendant importance, as you will perceive from what I have
     said, is the beginning of this work and carrying it to a speedy
     finish, as a measure of preparedness for defense or war. Let
     not the responsibility of "Too late" rest upon your shoulders,
     but speedily pass this bill to the end a report may reach this
     Congress in time for action before the year ends.



I will not delay you long with a story relating the beginning of the
conquest of the Oregon country through American valor. The first
period, that of the exploration, can be told in very few words. Robert
Gray, captain of the ship "Columbia", on May 7, 1792, discovered Grays
Harbor, and on May 11th, entered the mouth of a great river and named
it "Columbia" after the name of his ship.

The next great event to be recorded is the time when Lewis and Clark
"on the 7th of November, 1805, heard the breakers roar, and saw,
spreading and rolling before them, the waves of the western ocean, 'the
object of our labors, the reward of our anxieties'," as they recorded
in that wonderful journal of that wonderful trip.

It is permissible to note that sixteen years before Gray sailed into
the mouth of the great river, Jonathan Carver, an American explorer, on
the 7th of December, 1776, sixty miles above St. Anthony Falls, from a
point which we may very properly call the heart of the continent, wrote
these immortal words: "The four most capital rivers on the continent
of North America, viz., the St. Lawrence, the Mississippi, the River
Bourbon, and the Oregon, or the River of the West, have their sources
in the same neighborhood". While Carver did not explore the river,
or any of its tributaries, yet with wonderful vision foretold of its
existence, and gave it a name, the "Oregon", the first instance that
word was written. It is beyond the wit of man to divine where the word
came from other than from the imaginative brain of that noted traveler.

The second period, that of exploitation, began with the entrance of the
ship "Tonquin" into the mouth of the Columbia on the 25th of March,
1811, sent out by John Jacob Astor as "planned for a brilliant trading
project". The tragic fate of the ship in more northern waters is told
by an Indian, of the massacre of the whole ship's crew save one who,
wounded, had retreated to the hold of the ship near the magazine and
blew up the ship and avenged the death of his comrades by destroying
ten Indians to every white man of the crew that had been sacrificed.

Next on the scene came the Hunt party overland, to arrive at Astoria
February 15, 1812. The suffering of this party, the danger incurred,
with the risks taken, far and away eclipse any feat of record in
exploration of the Oregon country.

Following close upon the heels of their arrival came Astor's second
ship, "The Beaver", to cross the bar at the mouth of the Columbia River
May 10, 1812. The American flag that had floated peacefully over the
heads of the little colony at Astoria for fourteen months was doomed,
a year and seven months later, to the humiliation of being hauled down
to make way for the British flag, as a result of the fortunes of war,
and was not restored until October 6, 1818. As a result of the joint
occupancy treaty of October 20, 1818, the British continued to exploit
the country and built Fort Vancouver in 1824, and remained in full
control of all avenues of trade until challenged by the traders coming
from the east, with St. Louis the head center.

In 1822 General William H. Ashley's company sent out "bands of trappers
to form camps in the best beaver districts, and trap out the streams
one after another", much like the gold seekers who would wash out
the gold of the different streams in succession. One of these Ashley
parties discovered the South Pass (1822) and invaded the Oregon
country, and a commercial war began and continued until the final
overthrow of the British twenty-four years later.

In 1830 (the year I was born) the first wagon crossed the summit of the
Rocky Mountains through the South Pass, that wonderful opening in the
range, easy of access from either slope, and where the way is as safe,
with no more obstacles to overcome than in a drive twenty miles south
of Tacoma. William L. Sublette, reported to be the first man to invade
the Oregon country through the South Pass for trapping, still lives, or
did a year ago, at "Elk Mountain", a small place in Wyoming, high up on
the west slope of the Rocky Mountains. He must be a very old man, but I
am told is yet quite active.

I followed his "cut-off" west from the Big Sandy to Bear River, in the
year 1852, and can testify it was then a hard road to travel. On my
recent trip (1906) I avoided this short cut and followed more nearly
the trail of 1843 further south, which led to near Fort Badger, below
the forty-second parallel of latitude, and then Mexican territory.

We have now arrived at a period of impending change when the eccentric
Bonneville drove through the South Pass (1832), closely followed by
that adventurous Bostonian, Nathaniel J. Wythe. Both lost everything
they had in these ventures, but they pointed the way, followed a little
later by countless thousands of home builders to the Oregon country.
A part of the Wythe party remained and became the first American home
builders in the Oregon country.

We are now arrived at what we may call the third period. The four
Flathead or Nez Perces Indians, shall we not call them Pilgrims, had
crossed over to St. Louis (1832) in search of the "White Man's Book
of Heaven". General Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame, then Indian agent
for the West, had received them kindly, and introduced them widely to
the religious world and elsewhere. Their advent kindled a flame of
missionary zeal not often excelled, with the result that in 1834 the
Methodists sent Jason Lee and others, and in 1835 the American Board
of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, representing the Presbyterian
and Congregationalists, sent Dr. Samuel Parker and Marcus Whitman as
missionaries to the Oregon country. Parker completed the trip during
the year of 1835, but Whitman turned back at the rendezvous on Green
River, west of the crest of the Rock Mountains, and retraced his trail
to his home for the purpose of securing more aid to occupy the field,
and the following year with his young wife, in company with H. H.
Spaulding and wife, crossed over to Vancouver, where the party arrived
in September, 1836. These two were the first ladies to pass over the
Oregon Trail and deserve special mention here, not so much for this
distinction as for their piety, coupled with heroism and courage,
not popularly expected of their sex. I will venture to digress to
pay a just tribute to the pioneer ladies, so often, and I may say so
generally, misunderstood. Students of history are well aware that, but
for the firm support of the Pilgrim mothers, the lot of the Pilgrims
that landed on Plymouth Rock would have been infinitely harder. I have
often thought that in thinking and speaking of the Pilgrims we ought
always to speak of the Pilgrim fathers and mothers. It has fallen to
my lot to observe at close range the heroism of Pioneer mothers, and I
wish to testify that, under stress of suffering or danger, they always
became a bulwark of encouragement and support.

Let me relate one instance. Meeting one day nine wagons on the Oregon
Trail returning, we discovered the teams were all driven by the women
and children—the men were all dead. This was on the trail in the Platte
Valley after that dreadful scourge of cholera had struck the columns.

While the missionaries were but few in number, their influence became
widespread, and especially helpful to the later inrush of home
builders, and even if not successful in saving men's souls, they were
instrumental in saving men's lives, and deserve a tender spot in our
hearts. I would not have you infer from the remark about "saving men's
souls" that I wished to belittle the efforts of those sincere men, the
missionaries. I simply record a fact acknowledged by the missionaries

We now approach the fourth period, that of the home builders. It is
hardly fair to say this class exploited the country, developed is the
better word. We have, in fact, come to the turning point as to the
future of the country. If the English had been able to throw a strong
colony into the Oregon country, no man can tell what the final result
would have been. England was arrogant, and some at least, of her
statesmen held the United States in contempt, and would have welcomed a
war over the Oregon country. The joint occupancy treaty (fortunate for
us) disarmed the war spirit, for did they not have control of the trade
of the country? And could they not afford to wait?—forgetting that
_exploiting_ and _developing_ a country are radically different.

When the American home builders began to arrive in great numbers it
became impossible to again renew the pact for joint occupancy, and
the treaty of 1846 quickly followed. As I have said, a few of the
Wythe party of 1833 remained and joined the settlers' colony already
begun by discharged Hudson Bay servants, and trappers who had tired
of nomadic life, less than a hundred all told, at the end of the year
1839. In May, 1840, the ship "Lusanne" arrived, bringing fifty men,
women and children as a reinforcement to the Methodist Mission at
Champoeg, but who soon became home builders. During the two following
years, possibly a hundred more arrived direct from the east, having
traversed the Oregon Trail from the Missouri River.

All of a sudden there came a widespread "Oregon fever" during the
winter of 1842-3. A measure known as the Lynn bill had passed the
Senate, granting land to actual settlers. Whitman had returned overland
during the winter. Fremont had made his first trip as far as to the
Rocky Mountains and returned to be commissioned to lead a large
exploring party to the Oregon country. The "times" were not prosperous,
nor health good in the Middle West, and besides, an unrest had taken
possession of the minds of many people on account of the slavery
question. The result was that more than a thousand people congregated
nearby what is now Kansas City, preparing to start for Oregon as soon
as time and seasonable weather would permit; some pushed out to Elm
Grove, west of the Missouri, and camped; others passed on a little
farther; finally a great company was formed, captains appointed, and
all was to move with precision, and order, and the start was made. But
the independent spirit of the frontiersmen would not brook control
and soon there came a division into two parties, then, later, others
broke away, until finally but little of the discipline was left, though
there continued co-operation in the face of a common danger. Whitman
joined, or rather overtook, the main body of the moving caravan, but
he never led it, or attempted to lead it. His knowledge of the trail
and his counsel was helpful. It was upon Whitman's advice that the
great venture was made to open a wagon road from Ft. Hall west—over 600
miles—a wonderful feat. Thus, nearly a thousand people reached the
Oregon country in 1843, and news sent back that a wagon road had been
opened the whole length of the Oregon Trail.

Life was at once infused into the dormant body of the Provisional
Government that had been formed, and the absolute rule of the Hudson
Bay Company ended.

During the year 1844, nearly fifteen hundred immigrants reached
Oregon and yet, early in 1845, the British Government refused to
accept the thrice made offer of a settlement of the boundary on the
49th parallel, but when 3,000 emigrants crossed over during the year
1845, and the Hudson Bay Company gave up the contest by formally, on
the 15th of August, 1845, placing themselves under the protection
of the Provisional Government, then the British Government of their
own accord, offered to accept the line she had so long persistently
refused. The Ashburton Treaty speedily followed, and the Oregon
question was settled—the conquest was complete.

Of the subsequent migration, I cannot tarry to speak in detail. In
1850, the population of the whole of the old Oregon country was less
than 15,000. The gold excitement had drawn large numbers to California,
and turned much of the immigration from the east to that field. Not
until the great wave of 1852, when 50,000 people crossed the Missouri
River, did Oregon make a new beginning in the race for population.

I had cast my fortune with that throng—a marching column 500 miles
long—and like Sherman's army marching through Georgia 50,000 strong at
the beginning, but leaving 5,000 dead on the way. At the parting of
the ways at Bear River, many turned to the south, yet leaving a great
throng to reach the Oregon country. And yet, when I rowed my little
open boat, 18 feet long, into Commencement Bay on a June day of 1853,
there were less than 4,000 inhabitants in all the territory within
the boundary of this great State, and but _eleven_ persons within the
borders of the present city of Tacoma.

And now, my friends, will this generation "let the dead bury the
dead", and let the memory of those who made it possible for you to
enjoy the blessings of this great commonwealth, sink into oblivion? Or
will you join generously to perpetuate the memory of those who have
gone before, to the end that you may profit by their examples?

A word now as to this institution, "The Washington State Historical
Society". It was my fortune to be in at the beginning. More than
twenty years have passed since the completed organization was formed
by articles of incorporation. Thirty-six people participated in the
organization—six only of the signers are now living. We are admonished
that the generation of men that made the beginning will all soon have
passed and gone into history. Shall the work thus begun languish and
fail for lack of support? The time has arrived when there should be an
emphatic answer to this question by liberal state aid appropriation.
Much has already been lost because of the withholding of this help. The
harvest has been ripe all these years and many of the precious relics
have been lost or garnered elsewhere. Remember, this is a harvest that
cannot be reproduced. If not gathered in time, it is lost forever.

A case in point: There is an opportunity now to secure a typical
blockhouse built nearly sixty years ago, one of seventy-five built
during the Indian war, all of which will disappear in a few years if
left exposed to the elements. This society ought to be enabled to
secure this relic,[28] erect it under the shelter of a great building,
fill it with exhibits, and preserve the whole for future generations.
I mention this as one instance only, but the country is rich in these
relics that will become more and more precious as future generations
come on the scene of action. This is not something we can leave for
future generations to do, for then it will be too late; it is _NOW_
this work ought to be prosecuted. I will repeat, _by state aid_.

A word now as to the proposed memorial arch to the Pioneers to be
erected in Tacoma, perhaps within less than a stone's throw of the
home of the society, to add its beauty to what is to become the civic
center of the city, with the magnificent structure of the High School
building on the one part; the home of the Historical Society, may we
not hope, in as impressive architectural structure, near by for another
part; with that wonderful and unique structure—shall we call it the
Stadium—as the central figure of attraction, the whole overlooked by
this work of art, this record of history, as well as a tribute to those
who contributed to the conquest of the Oregon country, this empire of
which we all are so justly proud.

It is but little over a hundred years since this history began.
Momentous changes have come in our national history within that short
period of time, not the least of which is this great conquest, opening
a gateway to the great "western" ocean, thus winning of the farther
west, to found a nation spanning the continent from ocean to ocean,
destined to be one of the greatest world powers of all history.

As before outlined, the march of events naturally divides into five
periods. Provision is made for five large bronze tablets, or engraved
in granite on the base of the arch, upon which to record a history
of the conquest; one for a record of the explorers, giving names and
dates; a second, a history of the exploitation during fur gathering
period, and disclosure of the interior; a third might recite the
efforts and achievements of the missionaries, giving names and dates;
a fourth may show the Oregon Trail in relief, and recite the history
of the home builders, and, finally, a fifth should show present day
achievements, as for instance, who founded the city of Tacoma and when,
and present day population; who founded Olympia, Seattle, Spokane; in a
word, the cities of the State, thus reaching out to the borderland of
pioneer days.

The groups of bronze statues to crown the arch will naturally represent
these different periods and lend an enchanting scene the eye will
never tire viewing. We will doubtless hear some one, or more than one,
say all this can't be done. Seven years ago I heard many say that
the Oregon Trail could not be searched out, and found "with an old ox
team", but it was done. I did not hear it, but heard of it, that "the
man was crazy to go out with such a rig"; "that the people would laugh
at him"; but they didn't laugh. Many came to the dedicatory services of
monuments, and stood with tears in their eyes, instead of giving way
to mirth. I tell you, friends, such work as here proposed reaches the
hearts of men and makes better citizens of them—makes them love their
country better, their flag, their homes, their own lives, when they
participate and become conscious of having performed an altruistic act;
it is farther reaching than we are at first thought willing to concede.

But I must have done. I sincerely thank you for the courtesy in
extending this invitation to speak before you and for the respectful
hearing accorded by the assembled audience.


[27] Note—An address by Ezra Meeker before Washington State Historical
Society, Tacoma, Washington, 1912.

[28] Since has been secured by the society.



This account of pioneer life in the Puyallup would be incomplete
without looking closer into their manner of living. The cabins were
built under stress for immediate shelter, and so lacked completeness
that otherwise would not have been had the builders had more time.
All the early built cabins were of logs, rudely constructed, small,
and without floors. Indeed, no lumber could at the time be obtained,
and the pioneers did the best they could. Most of these cabins were
burned during the Indian war. I will describe one built after the war
that I am more familiar with than any other, as it became my home
for twenty-four years and the remnants of which are still preserved
in Pioneer Park, Puyallup. Jerry Stilly took a squatter's right on
the quarter section of land that afterwards became my homestead and
built the first section, or room, to which I afterwards added. Stilly
did not succeed in raising much of a crop, in fact did not stay long
enough, but he did succeed in after life in raising a crop of ten
children, all yet living I think in the State, but never succeeded in
gathering much of the world's goods around him. In fact he moved too
often to do so, but he did enrich his mind, drawn from the best store
of literature. He was a dear lover of Shakespeare and a close student
of the Bible. Gibbon also was one of his favorite authors. He could
repeat almost verbatim the twentieth and twenty-first chapters of the
"Decline and Fall," not that he had memorized it, but had grasped the
whole meaning from repeated readings of that wonderfully comprehensive
work. Stilly was a typical pioneer, made no pretension in dress, seldom
went to church, but was exemplary in his habits, though inclined toward
pessimism in his later life. The cabin that Stilly built was of inch
board walls, eight feet high and sixteen feet square and covered with
clapboard, or "shakes" as many designate them. Soon after coming into
possession of the claim I built another of same dimensions, leaving a
space of five feet between the two for a double fireplace and chimney.
These fireplaces became a source of great comfort for many a long
winter evening, furnishing both warmth and light. They were built of
float lava rock that had been belched from the throat of the great
mountain (Ranier) and brought to the lower level by the avalanches and
later the mighty floods that had inundated the valley ages ago. They
were so light in weight that an ordinary farm wagon box full was not a
heavy load and so soft they could be shaped with an ordinary chopping
ax without injuring, except dulling the sharp edge just a little. To
have fireplaces with smooth faced stones, and a chimney that did not
"smoke" seemed to be the very acme of elegance and comfort. The inside
of the cabin was first covered with newspapers and a little later with
real wall paper for warmth, and appearance as well, and really we
felt as proud of the cabin home, "our home", as we afterwards did of
the more pretentious homestead described elsewhere. An ivy vine[29]
planted next to the entry way between the two cabins, now nearly fifty
years old, which yet marks the spot, soon climbed to the top of the
roof and spread out, assuming the shape of the roof, ferreting out all
niches and cracks, and finally invaded the sitting-room of the cabin
as a cheerful reminder of what was above our heads. The last time I
measured the main stalk at the ground it was found to be nine inches
in diameter; overhead, what used to be in the loft, there are now main
branches as big as a man's arm with the whole surface covered with a
beautiful bright green mass of foliage.


In course of time the land upon which the cabin stood was dedicated by
my wife and myself as Pioneer Park, Puyallup, and given over to the
care of the city. The cabin walls in the lapse of years weakened and
the roof fell in. Temporary props held the remnants of the ceiling in
place, which in turn supported the over-spreading vine. Finally the
ladies of the now grown up little city of six thousand people took a
hand, placed six heavy cement columns to support overhead cement joists
to in turn support the ivy vine.

A cement floor, a drinking fountain in the center of the cabin floor,
the ivy bower, and a few cement seats attest the faithful efforts
those lovers of the almost forgotten past have made to preserve in
perpetuity the identity of the spot where the first cabin of the now
pretentious city was built. The last vestige of the old decaying walls
were removed and placed overhead, but under the ivy vine, where in the
lapse of years the roots of the vine that have taken firm hold of the
decaying relics will absorb and transmit not only the memory of the
cabin for all time to come, but the very substance of the cabin will be
transformed into a new life of everlasting green.

A stone tablet inscribed "Site of Ezra Meeker's Cabin Home," completes
the record to be read by the many generations to follow.

Just who is the person that first conceived the idea to erect
this memorial is unknown to the author. The organization known as
the Puyallup Ladies' Club assumed the responsibility and carried
the work to completion. A letter from the President reached me at
Elm Creek, Neb., while on the last drive with the ox team homeward
bound, informing me of the arrangement for dedicating the tablet and
requesting if possible to be present and "make a short address." This
was the first information I had of the contemplated work. I could not
possibly leave my work on the Oregon Trail in time to reach home and
be present, so I bethought myself to be present in spoken words and
voice even if I could not be in person. My address was spoken into
the wonderful "thing of life," shall I call it? No, not of life, "the
spirit of life," that is named the "phonograph", that recorded the
very tones of my voice that would be familiar to my friends at home,
although at the time these words would be reproduced I would be nearly
two thousand miles distant, climbing up the eastern slope of the Rocky
Mountains, or more accurately speaking on the summit and above the
clouds of the midsummer day. The records of the address reached the
hands of the ladies in due time, when lo and behold, instead of a few
friends as anticipated more than a thousand came to see and listen,
and as all could not hear, the address was read in full after a part
had been reproduced from the phonograph. As a part of the history of
the cabin and of pioneer life it is here reproduced for the greater
audience, the readers of this volume:

     "This is Ezra Meeker talking, June 8th, 1912, Elm Creek, Neb., 211
     miles west of Omaha. I am on my way home to the Pacific Coast.
     This is my fourth trip with an ox team over the Oregon Trail. I
     crossed the Missouri River ten miles below Kanesville, now Council
     Bluffs, Ia., and drove out from the river on my first trip, May
     19th, 1852, and arrived at the straggling village of Portland,
     Ore., Oct. 1st of the same year. We encountered the buffalo before
     reaching Elm Creek, and did get some scourge of cholera, which
     also soon after that caused the death of thousands of pioneers.
     On my second trip I started from my home at Puyallup, Wash., Jan.
     29, 1906, and drove over the Trail getting people to erect granite
     monuments to perpetuate the memory of the Oregon pioneers, and to
     mark the Trail they had made, which has resulted in the erection
     of fifty of these monuments.[30] I then drove to Washington City
     to invoke the aid of the Government, where I arrived Nov. 29,
     1907; met President Roosevelt, secured favorable committee report
     on a bill appropriating money to blaze and mark the Trail. I
     returned home during the summer of 1908, shipping most of the way.
     I made my third trip in 1910 to secure data to estimate the cost
     of the work, and now have 1,600 miles of the Trail platted showing
     the section line crossings."

     I am 81 years old, 44 years a farmer in the one location where
     this cabin is.


     "My mind harks back to the virgin forest surrounding the cabin;
     to the twilight concert of the bird songsters; to the dripping
     dews of the dense foliage of the trees; to the pleasant gathering
     within the cabin; to the old time music of the violin, flute,
     melodeon, and finally the piano, mingled with the voices of many
     now hushed and hidden from us; to the simple life of the pioneer;
     to the cheerful glow of the double open fires within the cabin;
     to the more cheerful glow of contentment notwithstanding the
     stern battle of life confronting the inmates of the cabin—all
     these visions vividly arise before me, and not only intensifies
     my interest in this occasion, but brings uppermost in mind the
     importance of this work.

     "As we better understand each other or the ways of each generation
     we are sure to profit by their failures on the one hand, as well
     as by their successes on the other. The difference between a
     civilized and untutored people lies in the application of this
     principle, and we perhaps build better than we know or can
     realize in the furtherance of such work consummated here today.

     "May we not for a few moments indulge in some old time
     reminiscences? When we entered this cabin we were without a
     team, without a wagon, without money and with but scant supply
     of household goods and clothing; seven cows and a steer (Harry),
     a few pigs and a dozen or so of chickens comprising our worldly
     belongings, albeit the bears divided the pigs with us and the
     skunks took their share of the chickens. One cow traded to Robert
     Moore for a steer (Jack) to mate the one we had, gave us a team.

     "The loss of the steamship Northerner had carried all our
     accumulations with it and also the revered brother, Oliver Meeker,
     who, had he lived, was destined to make his mark in the annals of
     the history of this great State.

     "If the walls of this cabin had had ears and could speak, we
     could hear of the councils when the shoes gave out; of the trip
     to Steilacoom for two sides of leather, a shoe hammer, awls,
     thread and the like; of the lasts made from split alder blocks;
     of shoe pegs split with a case knife and seasoned in the oven; of
     how the oldest pig suffered and died that we might have bristles
     for the wax ends; of how, with a borrowed auger and our own axe a
     sled was made and work in earnest in the clearing began; of how
     in two years the transplanted orchard began to bear; of how the
     raspberries, blackberries and other small fruit came into full
     bearing and salmon berries were neglected and Siwash muck-a-muck
     had lost its attraction; of how the steamed ladyfinger potatoes
     would burst open just like popcorn and of how the meat of the
     baked kidney potatoes would open as white as the driven snow;
     small things to be sure, but we may well remember the sum of
     life's happiness is made up of small things and that as keen
     enjoyment of life exists within the walls of a cabin as in a

     "Shall we strive to look into the future a little way? When the
     spot we dedicate will have become an integral part of the greater
     Tacoma; when the name Puyallup, so troublesome for strangers to
     spell, pronounce or remember, will have disappeared; when the
     great ships passing through the completed Panama canal will ride
     at anchor in basins undisturbed by the tides in sight of this
     monument and almost within the present border limits of our city;
     when the trolley car shall have taken the place of the train and
     aviators are competing for passenger traffic; when the wireless
     telephone has replaced the present way and banished the hello
     girls, we may well exclaim in amazement: 'What wondrous change
     time has wrought since this cabin was built,' and safely predict
     greater changes will greet the generation to follow in the no
     distant future.

     "That tremendous event approaching the completion of the Panama
     canal, thus giving direct, quick and cheap water carriage from
     our ports to the marts of trade of Europe, is destined to
     revolutionize conditions on the Pacific coast. Instead of sending
     trainloads of our fruit to Eastern ports and to Europe as now,
     ship loads will be dispatched in ever-increasing quantities as
     freight is cheapened and supplies increased and with this stream
     of traffic will come a vast throng of immigrants to aid in
     developing the land, build up our cities and bring in their train
     new problems to solve."

The song sung by Mrs. Montgomery was written to the tune of "Home,
Sweet Home." The words, composed by Mrs. Mills, were:

    "We welcome you gladly
      To our Valley of Homes.
    These trees are more stately
      Than pillars and domes.
    This park is the gift
      Of a brave pioneer;
    This stone marks the site
      Of his old home so dear.


    All honor and praise
      To our brave pioneers.
    They have worked for the home
      Through all the long years.
    On memory's tablet
      We'll carve each dear name,
    For home is far sweeter
      Than power, wealth or fame."


[29] See illustration on page 247.

[30] Now over a hundred and fifty.



The immigration of 1853 through the Natchess Pass settled in the
Puyallup Valley. Although they had been on the Plains all summer and
needed rest, imperative necessity compelled them to immediately make a
road through the forest to the county town of Steilacoom, sixteen miles
away and situated on the borders of Puget Sound.

Soon after the road was built one of them, John Carson, established a
ferry and later built the first bridge across the Puyallup. He was an
enterprising, intelligent man, yet nevertheless exceedingly careless in
business as likewise of his person. Eighteen months before I moved to
the valley, I crossed the river at his place and found him nailing on
the third course of shingles to cover a new house that he had built.
He came down off the roof and I remained with him for a couple of
hours, most of the time in the orchard, for even at that early day we
were both deeply interested in fruit culture. I willingly acknowledge
that he could teach me a great deal on the subject. A year later I
visited him again. The row of shingles, the nail bag and even the
hatchet remained as he had left it on the occasion of my first visit,
notwithstanding he and his family were living in the hovel of one room
and a loft—the remains of a block house that had been erected in the
Indian war times. The lower story was so low that his wife, who was
a tall woman, could not stand up straight except between the rough
hewed joists, as attested in numerous places by the red hair from the
lady's head coming in contact with slivers from the rough-hewed logs.
Not much difference existed between the two as to personal habits of
cleanliness, or rather lack of cleanliness, and yet I never knew a
more altruistic worker than this same Emma Darrow Carson. When, in
early days, we established a Good Templars' Lodge, for the sake of the
children, Mrs. Carson, rain or shine, would always attend and always
do her part to make the meetings interesting.

Nearby lived my neighbor, Walker, who though very strict in religious
matters, nevertheless would not join in upbuilding the lodge for the
reason he and his wife both were opposed to secret societies. One
could readily see that Mrs. Walker believed "cleanliness was next to
godliness" by a look into her house, where I often told her it would
seem she was looking after the invisible dirt, so persistent she
seemed in the care of her house. She was an industrious, religious,
conscientious lady and was always welcomed in our own cabin, where she
often came to spend an hour with another pioneer's wife who likewise
practiced the time-honored proverb.

These two extreme cases will show to the reader that even in the cabins
there can be as wide variance in habits as in the more pretentious
homes. A goodly number of the pioneer women would become helpers in the
field and gardens whether the men folks of the household thought it was
just the proper thing to do or not. The flower gardens soon appeared
in every dooryard to enliven the homes and spread contentment in the

For years the pioneers led a strenuous life with but little money
return, so little it would seem almost incredible if given, and yet
there was no "moping" or complaining, for there seemed to be a will
to make the best of things possible and enjoy life as time passed.
And, why not? The youngsters (and "greybeards" as well) soon began to
look forward with anticipated pleasure to the coming of a holiday,
Fourth of July, Christmas or what not, and make weeks of preparation
for them, enjoy the occasion while passing and enjoy the memory of the
experiences for weeks following.

Let us look in on a Fourth of July celebration. A grove has been
selected and the "boys" in their "'teens" have cleared away the brush,
built a speaker's stand, fixed up the tables and plenty of seats. The
girls have baked the cakes and pies, picked the berries and flowers and
provided other "nick-nacks" to fill in, while the mothers have baked
the chickens, made the salads and provided the substantials until the
tables fairly groaned under the load of bountiful supplies. It was
the rule that everybody should have something to do. One of the older
boys, or perhaps a girl, would be appointed to read the Declaration
of Independence; another, to deliver the address; another to read an
original essay, or a poem, with music sandwiched in between, sometimes
with a chorus of the very young ones, or perhaps a solo—enough of these
exercises to go round. The old melodion, now in the Washington State
Historical Building at Tacoma, that has long ago lost its voice, was
then thought to be a marvel of sweet tones and served to drown whatever
discord might creep in from the flute and violin. When the evening
came the small folks could have their dance "all by their lone", while
the greater lords and ladies had naught to do but look on or organize
somewhere else, which they often did. All this tended to build up a
feeling of confidence in themselves in the minds of the youngsters and
cultivate a social atmosphere that could not have been attained in
any other way. All of these "youngsters" have grown up to manhood and
womanhood or sleep beneath the sod of the valley. If perchance the eye
of any one of them catches this writing they will for the moment say
"give me back the Fourth of July celebration of Puyallup of fifty years

Seven years passed after the first settlement was made before we had a
postoffice. All the trading was done at Steilacoom, which was sixteen
miles distant from the river crossing. Any one going out to the market
town (Steilacoom) was expected to bring the mail for everybody and
leave it at the ferry or carry it on up the valley for those living
beyond. Finally a postoffice was established and named Franklin, and
my next door neighbor, J. P. Stewart, was appointed postmaster. He
established the office near the ferry landing and brought in a stock
of goods to trade on. The whole stock might easily have been hauled
in one load of an ordinary farm wagon. He came very near losing the
postoffice, stock of goods and his life from a great freshet that came,
the like of which has not since been seen to this day. The headwaters
of the Puyallup issue out from under a great glacier of Mount Rainier,
probably no more than eight thousand feet above sea level and but
forty miles distant from the present city of Puyallup. The avalanches
from the great mountain are wonderful to contemplate. I saw the effect
of one in British Columbia once where a swath of dense forest trees
had been cut off close to the ground, where not uprooted, and carried
to the lower lands, a mixture of timber, stone and snow, packed,
apparently, as solid as a rock. In this particular instance the front
mass had been carried beyond the bottom and up the slope of at least
twenty-five degrees on the opposite side, several hundred feet on the
mountain side, by the irresistible force of the mass behind. At the
time of which I write, there undoubtedly had been a huge dam formed by
an avalanche until a vast accumulation of water finally broke loose
and came down the valley, seemingly carrying everything before it. A
tremendous roar of water came, accompanied with a crash of timber not
easily described. Mr. Walker, who stood on the bank of the river a mile
above, told me he saw great balm trees caught with some obstructions
under the roots and the timber lifted bodily by the force of the
water and forced end over end with an indescribable crash to terrify
the onlooker. Water running on the lower ground back of Stewart soon
formed an island and left him alone without any means of escape, as the
ferry had been carried away. A big, high balm stump furnished the only
refuge of safety and there he stayed all night and part of the next day
without food or sufficient clothing, chilled to the "marrow bone", for
he was in his shirt sleeves when the crash came. When the water receded
so he could, the postoffice, store and all were speedily removed to
a place of safety. It was common remark that when Stewart moved the
postoffice he simply put it on his back and walked off with it.

Those who have seen the glacier describe it as a wonder. The water
issues out as from a great cavern into which one can walk upright
for quite a way. This is the first glacier discovered in the United
States. Doctor Tolmie, then the chief factor of the Hudson's Bay
Company at Nisqually, ascended the Puyallup in 1833 and discovered the
huge glacier and wrote in the fort journal an account of his trip. For
sixty years since I first saw the Puyallup River, this great mill has
been grinding away and sluicing out fine particles of the mountain,
sufficient in quantity to whiten the water almost a milk-white color.
When the glacier is most active, a glass of the water left standing
over night will show sediment in the bottom thick as a sheet of writing
paper. We are led to wonder how long this has been grinding, how long
it will take to grind away the mountain. We are told the continual
dropping of water will wear away a stone. Will not this grinding
finally grind away the whole mountain? Can we guess how long it has
taken to fill up this valley? We know the deposit off the mouth of the
Puyallup River is fully six hundred feet deep; that the Puyallup Valley
at its junction with the Stuck Valley was once an arm of the Sound; and
the latter valley with the White River (so called because of the milky
whiteness of its water coming from the same mountain), and Duwamish
Valley to the salt waters of the Sound at Elliott Bay, where again it
is met, the bay six hundred feet deep just off from the mouth of the
river, was also once a part of the Sound. How long before Commencement
Bay, Elliott Bay and Admiralty Inlet will have met the same fate as
the Puyallup, Stuck and Duwamish valleys, and the cities of Tacoma and
Seattle be dredging a channel through Admiralty Inlet?

But let us look to the story of Puyallup. The marvelous fertility of
the soil has been told over and over again until the very name has
become famous across the sea. I once measured a hop root eleven feet
long that had been exposed by the cutting away of the river bank and
thus leaving it exposed to view where it had reached a point seven
feet under the surface of the land. The little band of pioneers had
come into a heritage beyond their wildest dreams; the ages of decaying
leaves falling from the deciduous growth of the balm, alder and ash had
mingled with the silt of the mountain until a soil not surpassed in
richness was found—so rich we may cease to wonder that Walker might dig
his bucket full of potatoes from one hill.

Let us look in on this little colony two years after their arrival in
the autumn of 1853. Their clearing had widened sufficiently to let
the sun in but not so wide as to afford a continuous view to see each
other's cabins or see the great mountain. No money had come into the
valley in return for their crops, for the double reason that as yet
there was but little to spare, and even if there had been a surplus
they could not have gotten it to the market because of the lack of
a road over which a load could be hauled. I will tell one little
incident that will illustrate. Anyone passing through the fir forest
will remember the wonderful size of surface roots of the fir trees, in
some places running out part above the surface and nearly as big as a
man's body. One day when I was driving a cart over the road mentioned
the pioneers had opened, the wheels passed over and left the cart bed
resting solidly on the big root, and so, in the common expression of
the county, I was "stuck". This will give a faint idea of what an early
day road was like.

In places a glimpse of smoke from a neighbor's cabin might be seen or
the sound of voices heard. All were busy in their clearing, "making
hay while there was sun", before the winter rains set in. At nightfall
of the evening of October 28, 1858, just two years after their arrival
in the valley, the pioneers were startled by the news that in the
neighboring valley of White River the settlers had all been massacred
by the Indians. The scene of this massacre was no more than ten miles
distant from the nearest cabin in the Puyallup—a ride, as the trail
run, of less than two hours. Consternation seized every mind. It was
natural to believe the Indians would be over on them when daylight
came, even if not before. The pioneers were scattered, illy armed,
encumbered with their families and in no condition to resist an attack.
The fort (Steilacoom) was fifteen miles distant from the nearest cabin
and the river lay between with no means of crossing teams or wagons
except by the long detour of what was known as the "upper road", that
is, the military road, and by fording the river. For most of the
settlers the ford would not be reached before daylight of the next
day, and even then it would be doubtful if the stage of the river
would permit of crossing. The only alternative seemed to take the
most direct route over the road they had themselves opened soon after
their arrival in the valley. Without concert of action (for none was
possible, scattered as they were in their cabins) the movement began in
the night. Women, with children in their arms, almost immediately upon
receipt of the dreadful news, started on the perilous trip, the men
carrying their guns and such clothing or bedding as could hastily be
selected and bundled up into packs. At Carson's two canoes and a small
boat afforded all the means of crossing. The two canoes had been lashed
together and finally a wagon gotten across and a team that swam across
the river. By midnight many had crossed and had at once began the weary
journey to the fort. Daylight overtook them, strung out for miles on
the road or either crossing at the ferry or waiting their time when
they could cross. The "upper settlement" in the forks of the river, the
Lanes, Whitesels and others nearer the military road, fared better, for
they could cross the south fork with their teams and wagons and take
considerable of their belongings with them and some provisions as well,
while the throng on the lower road could not. Such was the condition
of affairs on the morning of the 29th. I had started with my family
in the early morning, as fully told in "The Reminiscences—The Tragedy
of Leschi", and reached the fort six or more hours before any of the
Puyallup people from either settlement began to arrive.

But the Indians did not come to harass the fleeing settlers. They
turned their guns on the small volunteer force that had just reached
a camping place at the foot of the bluff on the military road a mile
east of the ford of the main river (Puyallup) that had been sent out
by Acting-Governor Mason—Governor Stevens being absent negotiating the
Blackfeet Indian treaty. The horses of this force had been run off
and the men cooped up in a cabin by the Indians following the killing
of Cornell and McAllister, preceding the massacre a day, all of which
is given in detail in the "Tragedy" and will not be repeated here
further than to give the context to the scenes that followed. Of the
indescribable scenes of confusion that followed; the dilemma of the
pioneers as to where to go for safety; how to subsist; the incursion of
nineteen men to the Puyallup to rescue some of the abandoned property
and provisions of the pioneers, is all told in "The Tragedy of Leschi."

Looking back over the vista of these fifty-eight years that have passed
and which now again come so vividly in mind reviving old-time memories,
I can truly say with General Sherman that "war is hell", whether
between brothers of the same race or with the native race blindly
wreaking vengeance upon innocent people who were their true friends.

The Indians held possession of the country adjacent to the Puyallup
Valley for several months. Most of the settlers' cabins were burned,
their fences destroyed, their stock run off or killed, crops
appropriated, leaving the valley a scene of desolation and solitude as
before the advent of the white man but little over two years before.

But what to do after arriving at the so-called fort (Steilacoom), which
was no fort at all but merely an encampment in a few log huts and where
neither comfort nor safety was vouchsafed, was the question confronting
the pioneers. For myself, I will say that my brother Oliver and father,
Jacob R. Meeker, with the three families, withdrew from the garrison,
proceeded to the town of Steilacoom, built a strong log block house and
took care of ourselves. That block house stands there in Steilacoom to
this day, weather-boarded on the outside and ceiled inside so that the
passing visitor will not recognize it, and is almost forgotten by the
generation now occupying the town.

In two years' time a majority of the settlers had returned to their
homes while a few hesitated because of the fear of further outbreak
of the Indians (which never came), but here and there one abandoned
his claim and did not return. But the handicaps remained. Soon the
clearings produced vastly more products than could be consumed at home;
the market at Steilacoom was restricted and at best difficult to reach,
and so certain crops became a burden to producers instead of a profit.
A road could easily be opened down the valley to Commencement Bay to
the point now known as the Tide Flats within the city limits of Tacoma,
but there was then only a waste of waters confronting the pioneers,
for this was long before Tacoma was thought of or even the name,
except in the brain of that eccentric traveler and delightful writer,
Winthrop, whose works disclosed his fine writing, after his death on
the battlefield of Chantilly.

Ten long years elapsed before a change came, except as the clearings
became larger and stock increased, for the dairy brought prosperity
to the few and encouraged others to continue the strife. Within this
period hops had been introduced and set a new standard of industry and
wrought a marvelous change.

Finally a store was opened at the "Reservation" where the government
agency had been established and a road opened to it from the up-river
settlements, but the road extended no further, and all freight was
carried out of the river in canoes, or later, in lighters to the mill
wharf that had been built in 1869 and where a limited market had been

Opposite the point where the Indian school was later established a
drift obstructed the river for more than a thousand feet so completely
that a person could cross over the channel anywhere. Two more drifts
further up, but not so extensive, completely blocked the channel.
A theory gained currency that the river could be navigated with
small boats once the drifts were removed, and they were removed by
the pioneers, but no navigation followed and the $1,500 put into the
enterprise became a total loss, except for the timber logging camps
that were established and thrived for a while.

We now pass over another ten years' period to the building of the
Northern Pacific Railroad up the valley to the coal veins in the
mountains, ending at the time at the point named Wilkeson. Twenty years
before close observers noted the fact that float coal could be found
on the bars of the Puyallup River. These small pieces, not bigger than
a pea, became a matter of dispute as to whether the substance was coal
or not. Finally, early in the seventies, a "chunk" as big as a man's
fist was found imbedded in the gravel between the roots of a balm tree
that had lodged, part of it burned, and all doubts removed as to the
existence of coal on the headwaters of the river. John Gale prosecuted
a diligent search and was rewarded by finding the vein to which the
railroad was built.

The building of the railroad opened up the valley and give
encouragement to those who had bided their time so long. The time had
arrived when there came to be a money value to land. So long as the
country was not subdivided, settlers could not obtain title to their
land and transfers would become confusing as each had surveyed his own
claim under the donation act. This act gave the head of a family 160
acres, and the same to the wife in her own right. Such delays on the
part of the Government that followed seemed now almost incredible. I
did not receive the patent for my donation claim for thirteen years
after my settlement was made, and others had a similar experience
and even a longer period. But with the coming of the surveys and the
advent of the hops, values rose and became established at a rate that
pioneers had never dreamed of and yet had advanced from year to year,
or rather for the whole period, to a point that would then have seemed
unthinkable. The first subdivision surveys by the Government were
made in Puyallup during the year 1864. J. P. Stewart and George W.
Sloan took the contract. Neither was well suited for the work, Stewart
being too nervous and Sloan scarcely responsible for his acts. Up to
the time of the survey all claims outside of the first taken under the
donation act were mere squatters' claims upon the public land, but no
recognition of any right could be had at the land office, then, as
now, at Olympia. No serious trouble followed in adjusting the lines
followed, as the donation claim lines were respected and had in fact
for many years served as a guide to later claimants. As soon as the
surveys were made, all parties made for the land office, the donation
claimants to "prove up" the pre-emptions, and homesteaders to make
application for their respective rights. I did not go with the rush
for the reason that I wanted to take my claim under the homestead law,
which required an outlay of sixteen dollars, and "for the life of me"
I couldn't raise that much money. The fact was that, almost literally
speaking, there was no money in the valley. Finally, becoming uneasy
lest some one might "slip in" and pre-empt from under me, I walked to
Olympia and pre-empted where the fee was but a dollar, and held under
the entry for several months until money could be obtained, when a
homestead was located upon the same land, thus expending both rights
for the lack of $16.00. This to many would seem ludicrous, but the
actors looked upon the serious side, and did not wish to take any
chances of losing their homes. A few years later I sold one crop of
hops for $75,000, which now looks as incredible as the other fact of
inability to raise even so small an amount as $16.00. In the chapter on
hops the reader will be told the whole story of the $75,000 hop crop.
The reader may well wonder why I walked from Puyallup to Olympia, a
distance of thirty-five miles, and back out of sympathy for conditions
that would seem to call for such a "sacrifice" of personal comfort. To
such, let me disabuse their minds, for it was indeed a pleasant day, if
not of recreation—a day of self-communion with pleasant thoughts of
the past and bright anticipations as to the future. Fatigued? Yes, but
just enough to enjoy rest. Can we enjoy rest without first experiencing
fatigue and withal with good appetite for a frugal meal? I did not
think of it then as anything out of the ordinary, and for that matter
do not now, as it was only one of the strenuous day's experiences of
the time, besides to me long walks are conducive to good health—not so
long a walk as that to Olympia, but the one or two hours' brisk walk in
communion with nature and oneself.

I remember another walk from Puyallup to Olympia in 1870, where I first
met Judge Roger S. Greene, who was then on the bench as Chief Justice
of the Territory. I remained some time in Olympia, overlooking my first
stagger at book making, an 80-page pamphlet, "Washington Territory West
of the Cascades",[31] of which I had 5,000 copies printed, all of which
went into circulation in the Eastern States. When I got through with
this work I walked back home.

I still love to walk. Leaving the house (1120 North Thirty-eighth
Street, Seattle), a few days ago, the fresh air felt so good I
continued my walk to First Avenue, at the foot of Madison, in an hour
and five minutes—three miles and perhaps a little more; nothing very
remarkable about these walks except I attribute my continued good
health to this open air exercise and would like to encourage anyone,
the young people in particular, to the end that they may do likewise. I
have no doubt that I walked over two thousand miles on my recent trips
across the continent with the ox-team, part of the time from necessity
but often for a camping place, frequently four or six miles. The oxen
usually would travel two miles an hour while my easy gait would be
three, so that by timing myself I could easily tell how far I was ahead
and how long it would take the oxen to catch up. But the long walk was
across the Plains in 1852, after the teams weakened and the dust became
intolerable in the wagon on the Plains in early days. Then is when the
walking became wearisome, so wearisome that I lost my weight rapidly,
though apparently not any strength.

But as a forced walk, that is, one taken mechanically where one can
see nothing except the road ahead of him and think of nothing but
the mechanical action, soon becomes tiresome and will lose much of
the benefit that comes from an exhilarating walk where one scarcely
remembers the road and only sees nature if in the country or pleasant
things if in the city, and then of the bright side of life, and casts
unpleasant subjects from his mind; then is when the long walk becomes a
"joy forever."

Of the social side of life in the early pioneer days, much can be
truthfully written worthy of emulation by the present day generation.
The reader will doubtless bear in mind that the author is of a
generation nearly gone, and, measured with the average length of life,
two whole generations have passed and a third nearly so, and hence will
hesitate to accept the conclusions as coming from an unbiased source.
We so often see pessimism manifested by unsuccessful elderly persons
that the world is ready to accept as a fact that age brings with it a
pessimistic spirit, and hence the writing by an old man of younger days
is like looking where distance lends enchantment. I am not conscious
of looking on life other than in my younger days—the bright, hopeful
side, where right and honesty is the rule and wrong and dishonesty
the exception. The isolation of the pioneers from the outside world
had a tendency to draw them together as one great family. While of
course a great disparity of habit, thrift, morals and intellectual
attainments existed, yet the tendency undeniably was to look with a
lenient eye upon the shortcomings of others as between brothers or
parents and child. There were none too high not to associate with the
least of his neighbors and none too low not to look with respect upon
his more successful neighbor. I remember but one divorce case in the
whole period under review, and this long after their family had been
born to them and some of them married—sad case, that not only brought
universal condemnation to one of the parties but financial ruin to
both, and although in affluent circumstances at the time, both finally
died penniless and, as we might say, filled paupers' graves—a sorry but
just retribution to one and a sad ending to the other. Cruel as it may
appear to some of my readers, I am always ready to exclaim, "would that
it were thus to all that seek to dissolve the sacred bonds of matrimony
for light and trivial cause", as we see so prevalent in this day,
that is sapping the very foundation of good morals from under later

Without preaching the doctrine, there comes a feeling to pervade the
minds of many that "he is my brother" and acted accordingly. There came
very near being socialism at the outset, on the Plains, to help the
weaker. Of course, I do not mean to be understood that selfishness, or
that ill-feeling between individuals did not exist, but would have the
reader understand that the great body of the pioneers were altruistic
in their actions and forgiving in spirit. When this much is said, it
would almost seem to cover the religious life as well as the social.
Indeed, such to a great extent was the case. The pioneers at once built
schoolhouses but no churches. Teachers were employed for the schools,
but no preachers, except itinerants who came at times, prompted by the
religious zeal that was in them. These were indeed strenuous times,
but the experiences tended to the development of a better manhood and
womanhood than to lead a life of affluence and idleness.

But two of the adults of that day remain—I mean of those with families:
Willis Boatman and the author.

The following letter from my old time friend and pioneer, Edward J.
Allen, now 86 years old,[32] so vividly portrays the ways of those
early days, yet with cheerful optimism, that it brings to mind memories
of the past, needs no comment at my hand other than to invite a careful

                                        "NOVEMBER 28, 1908.

     "MY DEAR OLD PIONEER—I am glad to know that you have taken up the
     Pioneer branch of the Exposition, as it insures that it will be
     best presented.

     "Someone else might take up the scheme and study out a fair
     presentation of the old days, but with you it will require no
     study, not even a test of memory, for you have kept the past
     in close and loving remembrance, while you have held an active
     interest in the ever changing present.

     "You link together today and yesterday.

     "Long may you wave.

     "I want greatly to get out to the great show and am endeavoring
     to shape things that I may. It would be a delight in many ways,
     and maybe my last chance to see what is left of the Old Guard.

     "And I would like to see my old friend Meeker, amid the
     surroundings that become him most, and in the impersonations of
     the old days that the next generation, nor those to come can ever
     know, for the waste places of the earth are being inhabited, and
     the old ways are lost ways, and may never be known again. We
     that were of them know that the world grows better and we do not
     wish the dial to now reflect only the shadows of the past, but
     there are times when the old simple ways are ways to regret, even
     though we accept the truth that progress means betterment. But
     in the betterment, we lose some things we miss greatly and would
     love to retain. There is nothing more humanizing, nothing more
     tending to the brotherhood of man, than much interdependence.

     "In those days while there was of necessity great self-reliance,
     there was also much wholesome dependence upon our neighbors, in
     all the matters of daily life the need was felt, and the call was

     "The day, in the last extremity, when death invades the household
     doubtless the last rites are better cared for in the skilled
     hands of the "funeral director" than by the kindly neighbors
     who in the earlier times came with tender thought and kindly
     intention to you in your affliction. It brought you close
     together. If there were need to be tolerant to some blemishes in
     their general make up, you felt you were constrained to exercise
     such tolerance, for you had accepted their services in your need.

     "You knew them at their best and always remembered they had such
     a best.

     "We lose this in our larger life, and it is a serious loss, as
     are all things that separate us from our fellow man, when our
     need is to be brought closer together. In all large gains we have
     to accept some losses.

     "It is the remembrance of this feature of primitive days that
     make them so dear to us."

                                                         "E. J. ALLEN."


[31] Now so rare that $25.00 has been paid for a copy in two instances.

[32] Since deceased at the age of 93.



_"Occidental, Transcontinental, Oriental" McDonald._

In the early fifties of the 19th century, there appeared on the waters
of Puget Sound an eccentric character answering to the name of Joe
Lane McDonald. He was a corpulent man of low stature, short bowlegs, a
fat neck, a "pug" bulldog nose, with small but very piercing eyes and
withal a high forehead that otherwise softened the first unfavorable
impression of him.

The writer is relating personal observations of this unique character
as he frequently saw him at the new and then thriving town of
Steilacoom, then the center of trade for all of Puget Sound and to the
Straits of San Juan De Fuca.

McDonald enjoyed the distinction of being among the first, if not the
very first, trader among the 6,000 Indians of Puget Sound, for at that
early day, 1853-55, there were but few whites to be seen. His sloop,
about the size of an ordinary whaleboat, was decked over fore and aft
and along each side, leaving an oblong open oval space in the center
from which the captain, as he was frequently called, could stand at the
helm and manage his sail, and eat a lunch easily reached from a locker

When once engaged in conversation, the unfavorable impression made by
his physical deformities and unkempt condition disappeared, as he was
glib of tongue and possessed a world of ideas far in advance of his
compeers, and with knowledge to back up his theories. He would declaim
almost by the hour portraying the grand future of Puget Sound, the
"Occidental, Transcontinental, Oriental Trade", as he put it, that
would certainly come in the near future and the grand possibilities for
the embryo center of trade, the town of Steilacoom.

"Harping" upon the topic so much, McDonald came to be known more by the
sobriquet of "Occidental, Transcontinental, Oriental" McDonald, rather
than by his own given name.

The keep of his sloop was as neglected as that of his person, which of
itself is saying a good deal. It was a fact that the odor from his boat
(not to give it a worse name) could be detected, with favorable wind,
a hundred paces away and from McDonald himself uncomfortably so in a
close room.

Notwithstanding all this he was an interesting character, and always
arrested attention when he spoke, though of course with differing views
of his theories advanced.

McDonald clearly pointed out what was going to happen and what has
happened, the building of a vast overland and oversea trade far beyond
his greatest "flights of fancy," as so many of his pioneer friends were
wont to call his teaching.

But the Indian war came, some white people were massacred, some Indians
went on the warpath, the remainder of the six thousand went to the
reservations and McDonald's occupation was gone, his sloop was taken
over for Government use and he himself disappeared, doubtless to reach
an early and unmarked grave.

These scenes were enacted now nearly sixty years ago. The then
silent waters of Puget Sound, save by the stroke of the paddle upon
the waves and the song of the Indians, is now displaced by great
steamers navigating these waters; the overseas tonnage is in excess of
McDonald's prophecies.

The transcontinental traffic that McDonald so prophetically pointed
out is now almost beyond computation and cared for by six great
railroad systems; the "Oriental" trade has assumed vast proportions,
cared for in part by the regular sailing of 20,000 ton steamers; the
coast tonnage has grown far beyond the most optimistic prophecy; the
"dream of the star" to the flag has come true for the great State of
Washington, as depicted by the poet:

    "For the land is a grand and goodly land,
      And its fruitful fields are tilled
    By the sons who see the flag of the free,
      The dream of the star fulfilled."



"_The Prairie Schooner._"

Just why the prairie schooner wagon body was built boat shape I have
never been able to tell or see anybody else that could. That shape came
in very handy when we crossed the plains in the early days, with which
to cross the rivers, but we had the same kind on the farm in Indiana,
where we had no thought to use them as a boat.

Their real history is, this type of wagon was introduced from England,
and for a century this form was used because those that had gone before
us had used it, and it took a long time to bring about a change.

These, though, as the Westerner would say, "came in mighty handy,"
when we came to a big river to cross as we were on the road to Oregon
sixty-three years ago.

[Illustration: The Prairie Schooner on the White House Grounds,
Washington, D. C., November 29, 1907. White House in Background.]

I got into a scrape once in crossing Snake River when I foolishly
put my whole running-gear on top of the bed and weighted it down to
within an inch of the top; I escaped, as the saying goes, "by the skin
of my teeth," but vowed I would never do so again, and I never did.
Hundreds crossed over in their wagon beds in 1852, and I never knew of
an accident, though when some foolish people started down Snake River
they soon got into rapid water, lost all they had, and some their lives.

Just to be a "doing" as the saying goes, and to see how it would look,
I concluded to cross a river in my wagon box on this last trip when I
drove to Washington, and let the moving picture men take it. It was
the Loop Fork of the Platte River and about three-quarters of a mile
wide. I have the film and some days I showed it in the Washington State
Building at the Panama Exposition at San Francisco and every day the
oxen themselves could be seen.

Before I got through I was somewhat like the little boy that went out
a hunting and got lost, who said he was sorry he come. We ran onto a
sand bar and had to get out on to the quicksand to push off, and then,
to cap the climax, the current carried us down past our landing and we
had to tow up by main strength and awkwardness, so I concluded there
wasn't so much fun in it as there might be and that I didn't want any
more like experiences when past eighty years. We got a good picture,
though, for when we got into the scrape we forgot to act and got "the
real thing."

[Illustration: Dave and Dandy (mounted), with the Prairie Schooner in
the Transportation Building, Panama-Pacific Exposition.]

I have often been amused when asked how I got the oxen over, just as
though they thought I could put a two thousand pound live ox into a
wagon box. I didn't take these in the picture at all, but came back to
the same side of the river from which we started. Not so in '52. We
had to cross with the oxen also, and sometimes it was no small job, in
fact, more than to cross the outfit and wagon. I was generally able
to get all mine to swim over in a bunch, but I knew some that had to
tow over each animal separate, and some were drowned on the way. Some
streams had quicksand bottoms, and woe betide the wagon that once
got stuck. To guard against this many wagons were hitched together (a
team though to each wagon) and it was a long, strong pull and a pull
altogether. We had to keep moving, else there would be serious trouble.

Some places the sand would disappear so suddenly the wheels would come
down with a jolt like as if passing over a rough corduroy road.

Verily the pioneers did have all sorts of experiences.



I am going to tell you the story of a public market of Cincinnati,
Ohio, nearly a hundred years ago, or more accurately speaking of
incidents in which the farmer dispensed with the service of middlemen;
where the producer and the consumer met and dealt face to face upon the
sidewalks of that embryo city in the long ago.

I am reminded of the incidents referred to by a stroll through the
public markets of Seattle. The "middleman", those who bought of the
producer and sold to consumers, or those who established a place of
deposit and for a commission would sell the products of producer to the
retail merchants, who in turn would sell to the consumer, have been
berated and charged with the crime of contributing to the high cost
of living, hence the public markets were established to the end that
producers and consumers might meet on common ground and drive their own
bargains. Here is what I found in the Seattle markets:

Eggs from China; grapes from California and Spain; nuts from Brazil,
California, Texas and Italy; lemons from California, and Italy;
bananas from South America; tomatoes from Cuba; peanuts from Japan and
Virginia; oranges from California and Florida; grapefruit from Florida;
beef from Australia; butter from New Zealand; cranberries from New
Jersey; cocoanuts from South America; oysters from Maryland, and so
on down a long list, of various minor products not necessary here to
name, to illustrate the point, or rather two points, first that the
producers and consumers could not come together and must be served by
the "middleman"; and, second, that we are ransacking the world, even
to the antipodes, for the products of the earth, in a great measure to
satisfy the cravings of abnormal appetites incident to high living.

Any one, at a glance, can see this marshaling of products from the
ends of the earth and transporting them for thousands of miles must
increase the cost of living and must of necessity call for the offices
of the hated "middlemen" with their resultant profits. Even the local
products were sold to a great extent by dealers (middlemen) and but few
producers were seen in the market. Things are different now from the
prevailing condition of a hundred years ago, or even eighty-five years
ago, when I was born. The application of steam power for propelling
boats was unknown then, or known only as an experiment, and hence
there were no steamships to cross the ocean and bring their cargoes
of perishable freight; no cables to tap and with a flash to convey an
order to the uttermost corners of the earth; no international postal
service to carry and deliver written messages; in a word, no facilities
to aid in and thus to increase the cost of living; hence, that
generation of a hundred years ago, led the simple life. I am not here
canvassing the question as to which is the better—simply record the
fact. I will venture the opinion, however, the pioneers enjoyed their
living with their keen appetites, incident to their out-of-door life,
as much as the most tempting collection can give to the abnormal hunger
following a gorge of dainties after a day of idleness.

It is well to note, however, the fact that not all the gatherings from
foreign lands tend to increase the price of a particular article.
Sometimes the opposite results and the cost is reduced, but the general
rule is that the imported articles are simply luxuries and should be
chargeable to the cost of high living rather than to the high cost of

When the tariff was recently revised and protection withdrawn or duties
reduced on agricultural articles produced in the United States, with
trumpets from the housetops it was proclaimed the cost of living would
be reduced. No such result has followed, as in fact it has advanced.

Take the article of beef for instance. The duty was removed, the
great packing firms at once established agencies in all foreign meat
producing countries, the foreign markets advanced a notch, the meat
baron of the United States took up the remainder of the duty reduction,
the government lost the revenue, meat at the block continued as high as
ever to the consumer, the meat producing industry of our country was
discouraged and the high cost of living remained. This foreign meat
produced on cheap lands and with cheap labor is a constant menace to
our own meat producing industry and will deter many from increasing
their bands of cattle, so that we may see prices in the future advance
instead of declining, because of the reduced home production.

Take the item of eggs. The duty was removed and immediately shipments
came from China, where labor is twenty cents a day or less, where
eggs can be produced at half the cost as here, but the consumer does
not as yet reap any benefit, for the shipper fixes the price at what
the market will bear; but, and here is the point, there is the menace
to deter our home producers from reaching out to produce more eggs,
knowing there will come a time when prices will seek a common level,
governed by the shipments from China, our producers will be discouraged
and go out of the business and up will go the price of eggs higher than

The duty was lowered from six cents a pound to two and a half on
butter; foreign canned milk is displacing our home production and the
dairy interest begins to feel the depressing influence of the danger
that hovers over it. Let the prices drop to a point that would cease to
be profitable, our dairies would be depleted and the foreign products
take possession and take all the market would bear. And so we find it
in other agricultural products, to be considered hereafter.

The point bearing on the high cost of living is that we need to
encourage and not discourage home production and labor and to get the
producer and consumer closer together; also with our railroads, we
should insist that they look inward and stop the waste before being
granted an increase of rates, so with our consumers, before they outlaw
the producers and kill the goose that lays the golden egg, they had
better look inward and see if the remedy is not at least in part with

Let us now look into the scenes of the Cincinnati market of pioneer
days. I will describe only one phase of it, as handed down to me by my
mother, who was one of the actors. My grandfather Baker was a farmer
and lived twenty-five miles away from Cincinnati as the road ran. He
had settled a few miles east of Hamilton, Ohio, in 1801 or 1802, where
my mother was born and near where I was born. In ten years time he had
his flock of sheep, his cows, pigs, horses, colts and abundance of
pasture on the land he had cleared. I never could understand why in all
these years he didn't have a wagon, but such was the case. He never
would go in debt for anything. When my mother was twelve years old
she began making the trips on horseback with her father to the market
at Cincinnati. They carried everything they had to sell on the horses
they rode, or perhaps a loose horse or a two-year-old colt might be
taken along. They carried butter, eggs, chickens (dressed and sometimes
alive), smoked meat and sometimes fresh. Sometimes they would make lye
hominy and then again sauerkraut; then again when hog killing time came
around, sausage and head cheese would be added, and so we see quite a
variety would make up their stock to offer on the market. Nor was this
all. The family of four children were all girls. They were taught to
card the wool raised on the farm, spin the yarn and weave the cloth
all by hand in the cabin adjoining the living room and sometimes in
the living room. I can remember the hum of the spinning-wheel and the
"slam" of the loom as the filling of cloth was sent "home", also the
rattle of grandmother's knitting-needles to be heard often clear across
the room, which is a precious memory. To the stock of products as
enumerated would often be added a "bolt" of cloth, or perhaps a blanket
or two or a few pairs of stockings and often a large bundle of "cuts"
of yarn which always found a ready purchaser—wanted by the ladies of
the city for their knitting parties.

The youngsters will ask, "What is a 'cut' of yarn?" I will tell you as
near as I know. The yarn when spun was "reeled" off from the spool of
the wheel into skeins of even lengths of yarn that could be used in the
chain or warp for the cloth to be woven or wound off into balls for the
knitting. These "cuts" were the skein, of even length of thread neatly
twisted, doubled into shape as long as your hand and size of your wrist
and securely fastened to remain in this shape. Sometimes the yarn would
be "dyed" a butternut color and again would be taken to market in
natural colors either white or black; sometimes a black sheep's wool
would serve to make up the variety by doubling and twisting a black's
and white's together.

The trip to Cincinnati would often be made by moon-light, so timed as
to arrive at "peep of day" to be ready for the buyers that were sure
to come to meet the country folks, for this was a real country market
where no middlemen appeared, and for that matter were not allowed. My
grandfather's "stuff", as they called it, would be displayed either on
the sidewalk or in the street nearby where his horses were munching
their grain or a bit of hay, and by 9:00 o'clock they would be off on
their road home, to arrive by nightfall, hungry and tired, with the
money safe in his deerskin sack.

It is needless to add that this household was thrifty and accumulated
money. Later in life it was currently reported that he had a barrel
of money (silver), and I can readily believe the story, as he spent
but little and was always accumulating. I know that more than a peck
of this silver came over to Indianapolis to assist in buying the farm
where I received my education in farming on the daily routine of farm
work experience.

And so we can see that the so-called high cost of living is chargeable
to the cost of "high living", to the abandonment of the simple life,
to the change in habits of the later generation, not counting the
extravagant wants now so prevalent that was unknown in pioneer days.



On the 16th day of December, 1873, the last spike was driven to
complete the Northern Pacific Railway between Kalama and Tacoma.

This was then, and is yet, considered a great event in the history of
the Northwest country, not because of completing railroad connection
between the two towns, but because of the binding together with bands
of steel the two great arteries of traffic, the Columbia River and
Puget Sound.

Kalama, situated on the right bank of the Columbia forty miles below
Portland, was then simply a construction town of railroad laborers, and
has remained as a village to this day. Tacoma, which then could boast
of four hundred inhabitants—mill hands, terminal seekers and railroad
laborers—has now fully one hundred thousand permanent inhabitants,
engaged in the usual avocations of industry incident to civilized life.

On the 16th day of December, 1913, the Tacoma Commercial Club
celebrated "The Fortieth Anniversary of Train Operation to Tacoma," in
the form of a railroad "Jubilee Dinner." In consideration of my having
been a passenger on that first train, and "possibly the only survivor
of that passenger list", the writer received a cordial invitation to be
the guest of the club, which was accepted. He occupied a chair at the
banquet table, sat as a mute spectator, and listened to the speeches
that followed the banquet, and saw the many devices arranged for
entertaining the company.

It would appear unseemly for the writer, as a guest, to criticize
his host, the Commercial Club, for the manner of his entertainment,
particularly considering the cordiality of the invitation. "We hope
that you can be here, but if you cannot there will be at least one
vacant chair at the banquet table, and it will be held in memory of
Ezra Meeker, the pioneer of the Puget Sound country", this following
expressions of concern as to my health. So, whatever criticism may
follow will be as a friend of a friend and not in a facetious spirit.
Let us now consider the banquet, so intimately connected with the
subject of the high cost of living, or perhaps in this case might
I not better say, "cost of high living", or for what might be more
appropriately known as the woeful waste cost of living. Covers were
laid for 344 in the large banquet hall, and every seat was occupied. In
addition a large number were fed in overflow, improvised dining halls,
the participants coming into the main hall to hear the speeches after
the feast was over. Seven courses came upon the board, including wine
in profusion. Fully one-third of the viands of these seven courses was
sent off the table and to the garbage cans, destined to soon reach the
incinerator or sewers of the city, and later the deep sea waters of
Puget Sound, save one item, the wine, all of which was consumed. As
I sat and mused, to me it seemed a pity the wine did not follow the
waste into the sea. The tables and hall were profusely decorated with
flowers. In one corner of the hall soft strains of sweet music would
issue from a band half hidden from view. Alternately with these, in a
more central position, gifted singers would entertain the assemblage
with appropriate songs.

In one angle of the room was a booth, "The Round House" of one of the
transcontinental lines; at another point, "The Terminals", and so on
through with the four transcontinental railroad lines centering in
Tacoma, with "conductors" as ushers, dining and sleeping car porters as
waiters, each appropriately decorated to point the line to which they

As I sat and mused between courses, it gradually dawned upon my mind
that this was in fact as well as in name a "railroad jubilee dinner"
and celebration, and not an assemblage to commemorate pioneer deeds
as pioneer days; that the "Anniversary" date had been seized upon
to attract the widest possible attendance to accomplish another
purpose—that the object of the meeting was to obtain a hearing for
a "square deal" for the railroads, in a word, to build up a public
sentiment favoring the increase of freight rates. This fact became
more manifest and more apparent as the program was unfolded in the
introduction of five railroad magnates as the principal speakers of the
evening, followed by the young governors of the States of Oregon and
Washington, but not a pioneer was called or heard. In fact, less than
half a dozen of the pioneers of forty years ago were present—a whole
generation had passed in these eventful years since 1873.

We come now to the consideration of the high cost of living as outlined
by the railroad magnates in their plea for an advance in freight rates.
The high cost of living had advanced wages; the cost of operating
the railroad was greater, while the rates from time to time had been
lowered until the receipts had almost reached the vanishing point where
dividends might be declared; and to the point where more capital could
not be enlisted for betterment and extension of the lines to keep
pace with the vast increase of traffic. The burden of these speeches
for an hour and a half was for a higher freight rate and a plea for a
more friendly feeling on the part of the general public towards the

I had expected to hear something said about some method of reducing
the cost of living, but nothing whatever was said on that point; or
of economizing in the cost of operating the railroads, but on that
point the speakers were silent. These five speakers were together
probably drawing a hundred thousand dollars annual salary, but no hint
was given of expecting to take less. However, many of the points were
well taken, and ably stated by the speakers, and received the serious
consideration of the four hundred business men who were present, and
of thousands that read the account of the proceedings published in
the current issues of the newspapers of the day. I mused. If because
of the high cost of living wages advanced, and because wages advanced
freight rates advanced, how long would it be until another advance for
all hands round would be demanded? This in turn brings to the front the
question of whither are we tending? Some honestly, while others with
better knowledge insolently, charged the "Robber Tariff" as the cause
of the high cost of living. The tariff has been revised downward and
yet the cost of living advances. The demand for labor has lessened and
bread lines for the unemployed threatened, and with it the cost of _low
living_ has become a vital question.

Referring again to the banquet room and to the woeful waste going
into the sewers of Tacoma, may we not pause for the moment to ask,
How many of these banquet rooms, great and small, hotels, kitchens of
the idle rich as well as the improvident poor, are pouring like waste
into the sewers and the deep sea in the United States? If all were
collected in one great sewer, the volume would stagger the imagination.
One authority would have it the volume would equal that of the water
pouring through the channel of the Ohio River. Whatever the volume, all
will realize that could this wilful waste of food be stopped, that food
would become more abundant, the general public better fed while the
cost of living would be lowered. The American people have this sin to
answer for, and the question will remain with them until answered and
atonement made.

May we not properly ask the railroad magnates to look inwardly and see
if some methods of economy can not be introduced in their management
that will reduce the cost of operating while not lessening the
efficiency of the services. Not one word was said by the speakers on
this point. I do not allege that much can be accomplished in this
direction, but I do say that it is incumbent upon railroad managers to
search the way and come before the American people with clean hands and
they will be met with hearty response for the square deal. Some of the
speakers emphasized the fact that once the people eagerly welcomed the
railroads until they got them, and then turned against them apparently
as enemies. The speakers seemingly forgot the time when the railroad
managers had become arrogant and acted, some of them, somewhat as
expressed by that inelegant phrase, "the public be damned", and treated
the railroads wholly as private property the same as a farm or a
factory or the home. One might easily read between the lines of some of
the speeches that this doctrine of ownership without restriction as to
the duties due the public was still lurking in minds of the men making

These speeches and kindred efforts, however, will do a good work,
will clear the way for a better understanding, and will in the end
accomplish the coming together of the people and railroads. More than
once in the banquet speeches, government ownership was spoken of as the
result of present tendencies, and one might almost say welcomed by the
speakers, anyway, flippantly spoken of as a possible if not probable
event. I could not help but feel that there was a vein of insincerity
running through these expressed opinions, and that the words were
intended for effect to hasten the day of reconciliation as between
the public and the railroads. To my mind such expressions coming from
such a source were ill advised. One can scarcely imagine a so-called
railroad man that in his heart would welcome government ownership of
railroads in this great nation of freedom. These lines are penned by
the hand of one born before the advent of railroads in the United
States. Perhaps, to be exact, we might note that at that time (December
29, 1830) twenty-eight miles of a so-called railroad (a tramway) were
in operation in the coal mining district. Now we are told there are
over two hundred and sixty thousand miles, requiring a tremendous army
to operate and maintain. The day the policy of government ownership
of railroads in the United States is adopted, that day will see the
germ planted that will eventually grow to open the way for the "man
on horseback" and the subversion of a free government. The reader may
conclude this belief comes from the pessimistic mind of an old man,
and not worthy of serious attention. The writer will cheerfully submit
to be called elderly, but will emphatically disclaim being a pessimist
and will claim this thought expressed as to government ownership of the
railroads deserves very serious consideration as fraught with great
danger. But this is a digression and now let us get back to the subject
of the high cost of living.

A few weeks ago much was written and published about the high cost of
eggs. Finally the ladies of Seattle hired a theater and more than a
thousand of them assembled to listen to speeches made and to vote for
resolutions presented denouncing alleged speculation in eggs by the
cold storage people, forgetting the fact there was no surplus and that
the law of supply and demand governed. As before written, I hesitated
to criticise mine hosts, the Commercial Club, and how shall I dare
brave the danger of the displeasure of this particular thousand ladies
and of millions more of the same mind to be found in other parts of the
land? Notwithstanding all these resolutions and denunciations, the hens
refused to cackle and the price of eggs advanced. If these same ladies
had, during the season of abundance and reasonable prices of eggs,
provided themselves with suitable earthen jars and a small quantity
of water glass they might have had a supply in their own larders so
near in quality that only a connoisseur could tell the difference,
just as healthful and at moderate price, and thus contribute one
factor to keep down the high cost of living. God bless the fifteen
million housewives of our nation. It is with diffidence I venture,
even in a mild criticism, and so let me assume the role to question
and leave conclusions to the ladies themselves. How many of these
ne'er-do-well housewives look closely to the garbage cans? I would
ask, what percentage of the food that comes on to the table is carried
off and not eaten—in a word, wasted? If this waste, even to a small
degree, was stopped, the effect would be instantly felt, not only in
each particular household, but likewise in the larger way to cut off a
portion of the demand in the markets, and this would tend to lessen the
general cost of living.

Again, we hear much charged against the "middlemen", as not only
conducing to the high cost of living, but as being the real cause; that
the producer gets scarcely fifty per cent. of the price paid by the
consumer, hence a great wrong is being perpetrated upon a suffering
public by a class who are unmercifully denounced for their alleged
wrong conduct. Indeed, here is one factor that gives us most trouble,
that is, I mean to say the gap between the consumer and the producer,
not the middlemen.

As with the ladies and the eggs, where words had no effect,
denunciation of middlemen is ineffectual. A sufficient answer to
clear the middlemen's skirts is, that as a class they do not build up
great fortunes, and in fact a large percentage of them either fail in
business or barely make a reasonable living.

It is the system we must look to for the real cause of our trouble and
not the instruments carrying out the mandates of the public demand. If
we insist upon having the products of the farm in season and out of
season, some of which must be transported for long distances, cared
for, much of it in refrigerating cars and in cold storage, all of
which costs money, of course we must expect an increase in the cost of
living. I am not decrying against this so much as simply noting the
fact, to point the way to one real cause of our complaint. A more real
cause of this great disparity lies with the consumers who demand their
supplies delivered in small portions, always wasteful and expensive,
put up in attractive, costly packages—all of which must come out of the
pockets of the consumers. If the good lady of the household telephones
to her grocer to send her a pound of some new named stuff (and which
comes in a neat but expensive package), how can she expect to get the
same value at the same cost as if bought in original form and at the
counters? She must not only pay for the cost of delivering but often
for the new name of an old-time material in a different dress. It is
the demand of the consuming public that makes possible the waste of
small purchasers and incidentally the additional cost of delivery.

There is another phase of this question of high cost of living that
has so far received scant attention, which we may properly write
as Fast Living. I do not mean this in the sense of the profligate
spendthrifts, the joy-riders, the senseless wanderings of the idle rich
traveling thousands of miles to drive away the ennui incident to the
sin of indolence, although this has an appalling effect upon the vital
question under consideration and of the welfare of the nation, and must
be treated in another chapter. What I mean now is the legitimate fast
living which adds so greatly to the general cost of living. If, for
instance, the physician using an automobile can visit twenty patients
where before he could only see ten; or the business man utilizing this
rapid transit means for quick dispatch of business can transact as much
business in a day as otherwise would take a week; travel thousands
of miles where before he could make but hundreds, then he becomes a
fast liver and with this a high cost liver. If a locomotive hauls a
train but twelve miles an hour (the original standard of high speed)
manifestly if the speed is increased to sixty miles for the same period
of time, the cost of coal must be much more than at the lower speed.
And so with the fast liver; his expenditures for a given time will be
far greater than if content to move at lower speed. This principle
as applied to individuals is equally applicable to communities, and
becomes a factor in accounting for the high cost of living. We are as a
nation fast livers, and to an extent high livers, and must needs suffer
the penalty of higher cost of living than our forbears who led the
simple life and practiced frugality as a cardinal virtue.

Another factor we are apt to lose sight of, and it is a large one,
that of withdrawing so many from the field of food production and
moving them over to the side of consumers. Take the army of automobile
builders as one instance; these men, with their dependent families
become consumers, while engaged in an occupation that aids measurably
in the opportunity for fast living, which, as we have seen, adds to
the high cost as compared with the ordinary methods in life. Many such
instances might be named, but this one must suffice.

Another far-reaching cause—in fact worldwide—is the vast increase
in the volume of gold within recent years and consequent decline in
purchasing power, which of course carries with it the high cost of
commodities exchanged for it measured in dollars and cents. Space will
not permit following this feature of the question further, but it is
one of the things that must be reckoned with in reviewing the whole
question. This, however, is more apparent than real and is entirely
without our control.

And so, in summing up, we can see that high cost of living is with us
to stay; that, as compared with the simple life, it is a thing of the
past; that so long as we practice fast living we must expect a higher
cost; so long as any part of a community insists on high living, the
inevitable corollary follows that the average cost is advanced.

Are we then helpless to combat this upward tendency in the cost of
living? By no means; but if we miss the mark in our effort we lessen
the chance of success. We must discriminate and not be led astray by
false prophets teaching false premises. When demagogues, for political
effect, allege that the "Robber Tariff" is the cause, one can easily
see the fallacy of the assertion; when honest people inveigh against
the middlemen as the cause, instead of joining in the denunciation of a
class, they should look inwardly to the system and try to correct the
abuse within. If we are wasteful as alleged, then strive to stop the
waste; if we are extravagant, then let us stop it; if we are heedless
in the method of making our purchases, then let us turn over a new leaf
and begin anew and each do his or her part and the combined efforts
will have effect. While we will not get back to all the old-time ways
of the simple life (and it is not desirable that we should) yet the
effort will correct some glaring defects in our present system. While
we may not get the cost of living down to the old standard (and again
it is not desirable we should), yet all will agree that a combined
popular effort would work a wonderful change for the better in the
direction of reducing the cost of living.



In the eighty-five years of a busy life I have witnessed five wars in
which this nation has been a party, not counting the numerous Indian

One of these, the Mexican war of 1846, was clearly a war of conquest,
brought on by the discordant element of the slave power, then so
dominant and I may say domineering in our councils. Then followed the
dreadful War of the Rebellion to settle the question whether the United
States was a nation or a loose confederation of States.

I am one of the very few left that witnessed the war of aggression
that despoiled Mexico of half her territory, which gave us California,
extended our Pacific coast line to the 32° 30' parallel and made this
nation a great world power, in fact as well as in name.

Who will dare say that great benefit to the cause of civilization and
to the human race did not result from this war? Who, again, will dare
assert that the Indian wars of the last century did not likewise result
in the advancement of the cause of humanity and civilization? And,
again, are there any now so bold as to say that the war prosecuted by
the United States in suppressing the rebellion did not result in the
betterment of all parties engaged in the conflict? The why, as to these
results I will not discuss now, but simply state the acknowledged fact,
to the end that we may more clearly see that the pacificists' doctrine
is a fallacy and utterly impracticable until after the advent of the

Suppose a thousand pacificists were gathered in a peace meeting and
some one introduced a resolution condemning all wars, would they vote
for it? If not, why not? If against preparedness—preparedness for
defense—it follows they are against preparedness for war and prepared
to sing: "I did not raise my boy to be a soldier".

If, on the other hand, it is admitted that some wars are righteous, the
query arises, who would fight it? like the boy, when asked by a visitor
if he didn't wish that one of his brothers was a sister, promptly
responded, "Who'd a been her?"

Seriously, is there a pacificist with American red blood in his veins,
who will condemn the war with Spain to put a stop to the atrocities
right under our nose, in Cuba, or the wars with Aguinaldo in the
Philippines, or with the pirates of Tripoli, or coming right home to
the vital spot, the War of the Revolution that resulted in the birth
of this nation? There is no middle ground, there can be none, any more
than a given body can be moved in opposite directions at the same
instant of time.

It follows, then, that we who oppose the pacificists are in favor of
preparedness for defense or for war—for the two terms are synonymous.
How great and how numerous the ships needed for our navy must of
necessity be referred to experts, for the average citizen can not know.
How numerous the army and what the formation, must necessarily be left
to those who have made the subject a life study.

The average citizen will know the fundamentals and join to curb
excesses, though he may not know the specials. He will know that if we
are to meet an enemy with guns that will carry five miles it is useless
to oppose them with guns that carry but four, though he may not know
how to construct the better arm. He will know that a small army, that
can be speedily mobilized, is of greater efficiency than a large,
unwieldy, scattered force that can not be quickly concentrated at vital
points of danger, though he may not know how best to provide the means
for speedy concentration.

How narrowly we escaped a third war with Great Britain over the
Northwest boundary, now so nearly forgotten by this generation, I
personally witnessed on the San Juan Island in the northern waters
of Puget Sound. Again, how the Trent affair came so near plunging us
into a desperate struggle of arms with this same power, we of this
generation can read in history and a few vividly remember, and finally,
how the fitting out of privateers in English ports to prey upon our
commerce at last became so exasperating the war spirit of this nation
rose to a demand that emboldened our ambassador to the court of St.
James to utter those immortal words, "But, my Lordship, this is war,"
and it was.

And then again how near another war with England we came in the
Venezuela affair, a direct result of the Monroe Doctrine, we are too
prone to forget.

I happened to be in London when Cleveland's famous message was
received and witnessed the excitement that followed, that with but a
little more indiscretion would have lighted the spark for a worldwide
conflagration. Again I am not assuming to say which party was right, or
which was wrong, but simply to recite the fact and to point to the fact
that preparedness—for England was prepared—did not result in war.

And may I not point to another instance where preparedness did not lead
to war, but on the other hand averted war. I refer to the French in
Mexico. At the close of the Rebellion this nation was fully prepared
for the enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine, and notice to that effect
was made manifest and the French troops were accordingly withdrawn
without a struggle. Without this preparedness on our part the French
troops would have tightened their grip upon Mexico, and we would have
been compelled to fight, or else abandon the Monroe Doctrine. If we
cannot assert our rights, no other nation will for us. If we are
prepared, no nation will challenge us. Which do the American people
want? Shall we submit to endure as a nation by sufferance or shall we
by the strong arm maintain our rights?

We must, likewise, take note that we have championed the "open door"
policy in China, and already one of the signatory parties has violated
the compact. Shall we give up our trade with the Orient or shall we
assert that we have the right to trade with China on terms with other
nations. If we are not prepared how can we uphold a doctrine that
disputed the right of European monarchies to seize and appropriate any
portion of either Americas and extinguish the right of free government
of the western hemisphere?

It is well to remember that this Monroe Doctrine—the doctrine that
Europe must keep hands off all Americas—is still held by this nation
and is still repudiated by all European nations except England.

It is also well to remember that this present war to determine the
question of the divine right of kings to rule as the "vice-regents
of God" is directly antagonistic to our theory of government "by the
people and for the people", which becomes a platitude if we are not
prepared to defend it.

Dating back to the dawn of history there has been war in all the
centuries. Why, I will not undertake to say, but simply recite the
fact—a condition and not a theory—and a fact the American people should
bear in mind.

I do not believe preparedness or unpreparedness will avert war, but I
do believe to be prepared will avert an appalling calamity in the no
distant future for this nation if we neglect to provide the means of
defense when attacked.

Preparedness of course lessens the danger of attack, but can not nor
will not avert it.

Another factor, the congestion of population of nations or likewise in
vast cities breeds danger and eventually war.



    Eat to live, not live to eat.
    Be temperate in all things.
    Live the Simple Life.


  Across the

  Ezra Meeker, the famous transcontinental
  tourist, chooses

  [Illustration: Pathfinder
  the "GREAT"
  King of Twelves]

  because of its recognized
  ability, easy riding
  qualities and sound
  mechanical construction.


The Miles Make No Difference

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You can ride all day long in "Pathfinder the Great," traveling at high
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per hour "in high."

All the latest super-standard luxury features are found in "Pathfinder
the Great," making the car a masterpiece of beauty, strength and

Make an Effort to See Pathfinder Twin Six

     _Here are some of the specifications that logically make
     "Pathfinder the Great" the Twelve Extraordinary_

THE PATHFINDER TWIN SIX has a "V" type valve-in-head motor with
cylinders arranged six on a side. Cast in blocks of three, 2⅞ inch
bore with 5-inch stroke. The motor develops 77 horse power at 2600 R.
P. M. The wheelbase is 130 inches. Tires 35" x 5", non-skid in rear.
Upholstering is of best quality straight grain hand-buffed leather.
Improved Pathfinder one-man top—can be _actually_ operated by one man.
Absolutely positive and simple starting, lighting and ignition, special
Pathfinder-Delco (largest type). Springs of vanadium steel—rear springs
underslung. This type costs us more but the extra value is seen in the
easy riding qualities. Body finish beautiful and enduring. Colors,
blue, black, wine and green with white wheels.

Models, seven-passenger touring car, $2,750, and three-passenger
"Cloverleaf" roadster, $2,900. Prices f. o. b. Indianapolis.

Pathfinder "Six," America's paramount six cylinder car, has a wheelbase
of 122 inches and sells for $1695, f. o. b. Indianapolis.

_See the nearest Pathfinder dealer for demonstration, or write for full

The Pathfinder Company INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, U. S. A.

  │ Transcriber's Note:                                               │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.      │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant  │
  │ form was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.     │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.             │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Mid-paragraph illustrations have been moved between paragraphs    │
  │ and some illustrations have been moved closer to the text that    │
  │ references them. The List of Illustrations pagination was         │
  │ changed accordingly.                                              │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Footnotes were moved to the end of chapters.                      │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Italicized words are surrounded by underline characters, _like    │
  │ this_.                                                            │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Errors uncorrected:                                               │
  │ p. xi: "... inspired poem on next page,...." (on [the] next page.)│
  │ p. 70: "... and lived together ever after his marriage...."       │
  │  ([for]ever.)                                                     │
  │ p. 86: "Mount Regnier, Christians have dubbed it...." (Mount      │
  │  [Rainier],)                                                      │
  │ p.168: Quiemuth and 177: Queimuth.                                │
  │ p. 202: "... the origin of this name with be a mystery." ([will]  │
  │ be a mystery)                                                     │
  │ p. 299: "The wagon weighed 1,430 pounds, is a wooden axle...."    │
  │  ([has] a wooden axle)                                            │

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