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Title: Extracts from the Diary of William C. Lobenstine, December 31, 1851-1858
Author: Lobenstine, William Christian
Language: English
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  Extracts from the Diary of
  William C. Lobenstine
  December 31, 1851-1858

  Biographical Sketch by
  Belle W. Lobenstine

  Printed Privately


  In Loving Memory of
  My Father

  That those of us who follow after
  may honor and love his memory and
  live worthy of his name


This book does not in any sense purport to be a biography. Often during
Father's lifetime, on our long walks together or during long quiet
evenings at home, he would tell of his early life, repeating over and
over certain incidents which had impressed him deeply and so—when after
he had gone we found among his papers two closely written diaries
bound in calf, telling of his trip to California and the return from
there—it seemed most natural to work over these diaries, to try to make
out their closely penciled pages and, when that was done, with as few
changes as possible, to publish these, together with a brief sketch of
his early life and a few explanatory notes, for his family, friends,
and any others who may be interested in these early experiences of one
who came seeking the best in this country.

The construction has been left unchanged and is very suggestive of the
German, while the use of words, if at times inaccurate and somewhat
flowery, is remarkable when one considers that but three years before
he had come to this country an immigrant boy, knowing no English
whatever. He was constantly reading, both books and the daily papers
(has spoken often of how, later on, he took the _New York Tribune_ to
study the editorials by Horace Greeley), and then trying to use the
new words which he found—doubtless keeping his diary partly for that
purpose. On the whole it would seem that he has succeeded in making
his thoughts remarkably clear. Some of these are very characteristic
of him as we knew him in later years—but in religious matters he
had reacted from the despotism of a strong established church and
of a narrow-minded bigotry without as yet knowing the deep personal
religious experience which was afterwards his. As to his political
views—it is hard to believe that they were written in 1852 when they
might equally well have been expressed at any time since 1914.

                                        BELLE WILLSON LOBENSTINE


Christian Lobenstine or William C. Lobenstine, as he called himself
later on in this country, was born in Eisfeld, Dukedom of Meiningen, on
November eighth, eighteen hundred and thirty-one. He was the youngest
in his family. The others were Theodore, Caroline, Frederic, Bernard,
Dorothea, Georgia, and Henry. They were the children of Johanne Andreas
and of Elizabeth Lobenstein.

His father and older brothers were tanners and also farmers. Of the
brothers, Theodore, the eldest, seems to have been the most lovable,
always kind to his younger brothers and sisters. Father always spoke
very affectionately of him. Frederic, on the other hand, the first of
the boys to come to this country, was stern and rather arbitrary to the
other members of the family. These, and Henry who also came to this
country, together with his father and his mother, whose gentleness and
care he never forgot, were the only ones of whom he ever spoke.

The earliest known incident of his life, and one to which he often
referred, came when he was about seven years old. He, with other
children, was playing by a stream near the tannery, and he fell in.
It was early spring and the waters were swollen by melting snows so
that he was carried down stream very rapidly. His friends ran along
the banks with grappling hooks trying in vain to reach him. Finally,
however, the stream ran under a bridge and here Theodore ran out and
with one of the great hooks used in handling hides in the tanyard,
caught him by the buttonhole of his vest. He was unconscious but they
were able to bring him to and carried him to an uncle who had an inn
near by. After a night's rest, they took him home, none the worse for
his adventure.

As he grew older he became ambitious for a good education and one day
while working in the fields with his father, mustered up courage to ask
him to send him away to school, and won his consent. He studied three
years and a half at the Real Gymnasium in Meiningen. His life was one
of the simplest and hardest. He had an attic room with some townspeople
and ate his midday meal with them. His breakfasts and suppers consisted
of a jug of water and a big piece of the rye bread of the country with
butter. Once in a while, his family would send him down a ham. He kept
his cot at the window so that he might be awakened by the first rays of
the rising sun and begin to study, for he always worked hard for what
he got and was an earnest, faithful student rather than a brilliant
one. He kept, however, on the highest bench all the way through common
school and also ranked well in the gymnasium.

After leaving school, he studied for nearly a year with a country
doctor, a relative of his, going about with him and assisting in many
ways, but developed no liking for the profession and so gave it up and,
together with his brother Henry, decided to come to America whither
Frederic had already gone. This was in eighteen hundred and forty-nine,
when a new spirit was abroad in Germany and when people looked to
this country both as a land of freedom and also as a place where one
could almost literally pick up gold and silver on the streets. At that
time it was the rule in Meiningen that upon emigrating, you forfeited
all rights and claims upon that Government and before leaving he
went to the Castle and signed papers giving up all rights of German
citizenship. He left Germany with the definite idea of settling in
the United States, making it his permanent home and becoming a part
of this new country. From the first, therefore, he chose to associate
with Americans and to use the English language rather than keep up his
German associations.

Coming to this country from Havre to New York on a sailing ship was a
long and hard journey of fifty-three days and by the end of that time,
what with the hardships and poor fare, many of the passengers were down
with cholera. Father, among others, was taken to quarantine, which
was a very different place from what it is now. While many were dying
in the hospital—and he was taken to the ward where all the very worst
cases were—he did not believe that he was very ill or going to die.
Watching what was going on he saw them take one patient after another
and dump them into a bath without changing the water and finally they
started for him. This was too much, and he jumped up and ran back into
another ward where the less serious cases were. Here they let him stay
until he was able to leave the hospital. He had expected to find the
people of this country living in great ignorance, and came expecting
to teach, but he was adaptable and finding that such services were not
required from him, a young immigrant lad, he quickly turned to other

He went first to Wheeling, where his brother Frederic was in the
leather business, and worked for him about a year. Then he took to
steamboating on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. During the next two
years he was first cabin boy and later steward and had many stories to
tell of his various experiences. Once the steamer upon which he was
steward—through a mistake in signals—struck another amidships and cut
her in two. Fortunately, the few passengers on board were saved, before
she sank. Another time, as he went into the kitchen to give an order
to the cook, that individual, more drunk than sober, proceeded to grab
up a carving knife and run Father out of the kitchen. There was much
gambling at poker on these river steamers which Father saw constantly.
Also much crooked work. One day a man left the table and asked another
to take his hand for a few moments. This fellow lost some money and
wished to repay it, but was not allowed to. So the others gradually
drew him into the game and cleaned him out. Another time a man gambled
his all (he had come on board with a good pile of money) and when he
lost he grabbed up his money bag, ran to the deck of the steamer, and
before any one could stop him—jumped overboard. Whether he reached the
shore no one knew. Probably, however, he was drowned in the turbid
waters of the Mississippi. These incidents, together with what he saw
while in California, always gave Father a strong prejudice against
cards, which he associated almost inevitably with gambling and all its

After two years of this life, he decided to seek his fortune in the Far
West, and his diary tells much of these days. A few other details of
which he spoke may however be of interest.

The emigrant party as it started from Pittsburgh consisted of
about forty men and ten wagons. They shipped their wagons down the
Mississippi and up the Missouri to St. Joseph where they bought forty
oxen. In Father's wagon was Captain Speers, a river pilot with whom
Father had worked while steamboating. He was a farmer's son who knew
about cattle. There was also a business man named Logan from Allegheny
City. He was a strong Christian man, the only one in the party who
carried a Bible and his life and death (for it was he whose death is
mentioned in the diary) made a profound impression on Father. One
evening as they sat at supper, Logan put down his cup saying, "I don't
feel well," and went into his tent to lie down. There was a doctor in
the party who did what he could, but the next morning at four Logan was
dead—of cholera. They buried him there on the prairie, wrapped in a
buffalo robe with a mound of stones over the grave and sent the little
Bible back to his wife. On this whole trip Father was the cook for his
mess and he has always claimed that he made a splendid one. The men of
each wagon seem to have camped together and had their own mess. When
night came the ten wagons were arranged in a circle—the tongue of one
against the back of the next—and after the cattle had been allowed to
graze till midnight, they were corralled within this circle.

Father's mates while mining were Captain Speers, McElrey, and Evans.
Their camp was back in the mountains quite close to the border of
Nevada, with Sacramento as their nearest city, where they went for
supplies. Their claim was located several hundred feet above the level
of the creek, so in order to get water they had to go back into the
mountains fifteen miles. They had a surveyor survey the line and then
these four men, not one of whom was a mechanic and all but one town
bred, went to work to bring down water. In the first place they built
a dam. Then they brought the water down hill and in one place bridged
a valley two hundred feet wide. Their form of mining was called gulch
mining. They built flumes or long boxes with enough fall for the water
to run slowly and into these they dumped the pay dirt. The water would
wash away the earth while they stood and tossed out stones, etc.
Finally, after running through several boxes, the earth was all washed
away, leaving only the heavy gold, which was collected by quicksilver.

The men worked in this way for three years, making no strikes and
averaging about five dollars a day. Then Father and Speers sold out
their claim and went to a large camp, Camp Secco, Dry Creek, it was
called, and went to merchandising. They bought mules and a wagon and
brought in from Sacramento the usual goods necessary to miners. After
two years, the captain went home to his family. Father hired a man
and kept on for another year, after which he sold out and came away,
having accumulated six thousand five hundred dollars, the beginning of
his fortune. He was in California from eighteen fifty-two to eighteen
fifty-eight. His mates were sober, hard-working men. They made no
wonderful strikes and what they got was by hard work and perseverance.

There were many robbers and desperadoes about, and Father made one
dangerous trip. He had left the few schoolbooks that he had carried
even out to California miles away with some people he knew, and one day
when it was raining so that he could not work his claim decided to go
after them. He took a mule and on several occasions had to swim swollen
creeks. Finally, night came on, and he was caught in the hills alone
where many a man had disappeared never to be seen again. However, after
wandering about for hours in the darkness and in growing terror, he
reached his destination at two o'clock in the morning.

Before leaving California in eighteen fifty-eight he was naturalized in
the San Francisco court and ever held his naturalization papers as one
of his most prized possessions.

His diary tells of his return to the East and his choice of Leavenworth
for a home. Here he went into the leather business as the one of which
he knew most and with his later life and business success, we are all

                                        BELLE WILLSON LOBENSTINE



Among the great many opinions expressed regarding usurpation of the
government or despotism, one attracted my attention and agreed so much
with my own sentiment that I could not but pay due merit to the moral
truth of it. Despotism is despicable in its perpetrator and at all
times a disgrace to human beings, depriving them perforce of their
inalienable rights and their moral esteem for themselves and bringing
them down on common ground with slaves. Although as just mentioned,
despotism is at all times disgraceful to both sides we ought to pity
those beings more who got their power as an inheritance than hate
them. Who would and can deny that the early trainings of men lay the
foundations to their further field of action? Therefore, when princes
become the heirs of absolute governments, who can expect them to act
differently than the Southern man does to his slaves? The latter,
who was brought up among the family of mankind, and has accepted
principles common to them, is much more to blame for his tyranny than
a sovereign who was raised alone isolated from his fellowmen by a
belief in his divine origin and who never imagined, therefore, nor
ever dreamed of the least equality with mankind. If Napoleon was great
as conqueror, he was equally despicable for the misuse he made of the
confidence entrusted in him by the people, and instead of perfecting
the rights and liberties of the nation, he cheated them of these very
objects given to his care and usurped the government. Napoleon knew
how to play the deceiver well enough to keep the people in their happy
dreams. He knew how to flatter them by giving them all visible power,
but he showed by his future way of action that he only played the
hypocrite and that his outward course only served him to attain his
inward higher object which was nothing short of grasping the nation and
enslaving his own countrymen, as all other nations, which were possible
for him, he conquered. Looking back from the point we started and
considering once more both hereditary despots and usurpated despots,
so will we certainly not think so hard of one who has got that power
by inheritance, or who was raised from infancy to this sole object of
keeping the people down, in poverty, and slavery, as of a usurpator,
who has imbibed principles of liberty and equality, sympathises with
his brothers, and becomes then their flatterer, and by abuse of
his mental faculties and moral sentiments, with a happy change of
circumstances, their master and commander.

It is the great political question at present, if America is bound
by the treaties with the foreign sovereigns to abstain from helping
the poor, downtrodden and oppressed people of those countries to
their attainments of their inalienable rights. It is true that at
the time when our constitution was made, our forefathers or rather
their representatives in Congress, made a contract with the European
princes to observe neutrality in their affairs, and declared therefore
it to be the duty of this government for its own dignity as well as
for the honor of the nation not to send any help to Europe, but to be
free from doing such an illegal act. America being, however, the most
liberal, and by that the most powerful government in the world, if
it is her duty to stick to the act which our forefathers have made,
there is still the other side of the argument to consider, to arrive
to a proper result. Justice is the first law of nature and as all
of us expect to get justice done from our neighbors, and especially
the government we have chosen out of our minds, so humanity demands
to see our brothers, however distant, equalized in the same way. The
consistent law or the laws on which societies are framed, and reared
up to developed bodies, are of various kinds, devised principally by
our philanthropists and philosophers and legislators, for the best of
the parties concerned. Their origin, however, being of human intellect
and moral sentiment, can be only as following out very narrow sources,
limited in their consistency with human happiness. Laws which are the
most beneficial influence upon a society under certain circumstances
and times, may be quite the opposite, with another united body, under
different physical and moral conditions. Times and circumstances,
therefore, cannot be suited to laws, but the latter need to be in a
harmonizing cooperation with the former. If, therefore, our forefathers
made laws or what is the same, the Constitution, they could not at
that time, establish or devise such as should stand for all times
but only for themselves and for their own generation. If Washington,
John Adams or Jefferson, made treaties with foreign despots, it was
for various causes arising out of their own at that time yet feebly
maintained independence. But times have changed, out of that spark of
freedom which fell among the population of this continent has come a
powerful government, illuminating, with its might, the whole world,
and whose physical powers are sufficient to crush all enemies to dust
and raise downtrodden, oppressed and dishumanized mankind and brothers
up to their by nature determined position of equality and fraternity.
As maintained before, the exhausted position of America, which only
could follow so great and sacrificing a struggle as that of the war
of independence, obliged our forefathers to make friendly treaties
with the foreign powers, to avoid if possible another blow upon their
rights and liberties maintained so gloriously with England. But what
is our strength at this moment? Are we still so feeble? Still so
dependent on beings who are the scourge of mankind and deface the earth
with cruelty and tyranny? We all certainly will say no. All will say
America is no more dependent on anybody but themselves and nature's
laws. Politics and love to live forced legislators to treat friendly
with despots and now this voice of justice and humanity calls them to
throw off this so long maintained mask of amity to tyrannical systems
and to declare themselves at once for mankind and fellowmen. The
voice of nature is mighty and omnipotent. She calls us up out of our
dreamlike indifference to honorable participation in the fate of our
fellowmen and makes it our duty to stand in defense of her laws on this
planet and home of intellectual creatures. Let us throw off then our
fastidious way of action and exert one and all of us the strength both
physical and moral, for universal happiness and so lay by this the road
to world's perfection.



December thirty-first, eighteen hundred and fifty-one.

Left Wheeling on Steamer _Messenger_ for Pittsburgh, April twentieth.
Exodus to California.

The tide of emigration for California swept me along in its progress
for the same reason as thousands of others—to appropriate money enough
by a few years' hard toil, to secure a future independency. When
first the idea of a movement to the West took possession of me, I was
wavering in the choice between California and Oregon and gave finally
preference to Oregon on account of securing a homestead at the arrival
there and to judge from the last news of the diggings better wages
than in the latter. From an inability to make up a certain complement
of immigrants I had to give up the project and go to California. I
left subsequently Pittsburgh on the Steamer _Paris_, passing Wheeling
without seeing my brother, and arrived after a week's journey down to
the mouth of the Ohio River and from Cairo up the Mississippi to St.

The Ohio River is formed by the confluence of the Monongahela and the
Allegheny at Pittsburgh, the formation of which place is alluvial
bottom carried down from the mountains in previous ages. It has
along its shores some of the finest agricultural country as well as
numberless cities and towns, among which we count the following as the
largest and where the most business is carried on: Wheeling, Virginia,
Marietta, Ohio, Cincinnati, Louisville, Evansville, etc. Besides
these, being all places where manufacture of all kinds is carried on,
I mention from its great obstruction to navigation, rather than its
cosmogenic character, the Falls of Louisville, with the nature of which
I am, however, too little acquainted to give particulars. A canal,
which was built years ago, to overcome this obstacle, is of so little
dimensions that the larger boats can not pass through and therefore
this has always been a drawback to Ohio navigation and a hindrance to
more progress for the City of Louisville. Several requests have lately
been made from several states to Congress for the construction of a
new canal large enough to let boats of large dimensions pass at any
time conveniently. The hills running alongside the river beginning at
its source generally slope down to its shores, having in many places
very fertile tracts for agriculture. This mountain chain proceeds
most of the time in a parallel direction with the river down to about
one hundred and fifty to two hundred miles below the falls where they
gradually descend to a level covered with luxurious vegetation in
some places while marshes extend over a considerable part of it. The
confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi is at Cairo, built on a vast
swampy and unhealthy desert which, but for its low level, would be the
central place of the United States, for merchants, around which they
would gather and from whose midst the greatest movements would emerge
and be controlled. This being, however, a natural difficulty, which no
human skill can ameliorate, that centralizing point has to move higher
up the river to St. Louis. This latter place has within the last twenty
years increased remarkably and is at present the metropolis of the
West and will undoubtedly increase in importance in a ratio parallel
with the civilization of California and Oregon. By the present tide of
emigration to the latter countries the amount of business is very much
increased. In consequence of this a great many improvements have been
made, consisting in building a large number of new expensive houses for
merchants and manufacturers which betray to every stranger at the first
look the impression of a great and industrial city.

Leaving St. Louis on the Steamer _El Paso_, we proceeded up the
Mississippi twenty miles where we left this river to follow the course
of another great river, the Missouri. This has in its main features
a great resemblance to the Mississippi, having a chain of mountains
parallel to both its shores and being sown with numberless islands
like the former, the most of them nothing but sand carried down
from the Rocky Mountains. The hills, however, instead of breaking
off abruptly as on the Mississippi are generally sloping gradually
at a height of sixty or seventy feet, toward the river bed. The
country along the shores is comparatively little cultivated, the
constantly washing power of the water keeping back any active efforts
for agricultural improvements. A great number of quite respectable
towns are met with along the river, as Alton, Washington, Jefferson,
Booneville, Lexington, Independence (starting point for California,
Oregon and Texas) then, Kansas and last St. Joseph. The Kansas River
coming from the West, separates Missouri from the Indian Territory,
the latter still peopled by the Indians as their last and only resting
place in this country. The history of this great family of the human
race teaches us the constant progress and retreat in the pursuit of
nature's laws, the eternal relation of all things existing. This once
so numerous family of red men were the sole possessors of America,
over which they had extended in all directions, and several tribes
had reached a high state of civilization when the country first was
discovered, but as other families analogous to their own (Hindus and
Malays), they retrograded by some aberration of the laws of nature and
fell back into moral darkness and gradual disappearance from the face
of the earth. The red men, once the masters of this vast land, had to
give up their homes to give room to its present inhabitants and who
knows how soon an inevitable Nemesis will strike out their existence
from the Book of Nations?

This territory consists of mostly fertile prairie land, of an
undulating appearance offering most beautiful fields to the observer of
nature's beauties. After six days' journey we arrived at St. Joseph,
Missouri. After our landing was made, a most active business took place
at the wharf for a few hours arising from the delivery of freight to
its respective owners. Having received our little property we put it in
our wagons and camped out about a half mile above the town in a valley
surrounded by hills and corn fields and except for a few cold rainy
days we had a good encampment and passed the time we were there in
making preparation for our long journey.

We left camp the third day of May to proceed on our journey further
West, and after a few hours traveling not obstructed by difficulties
with our teams nor bad roads, we arrived at Duncan's Ferry where
emigrants for the West leave the United States and cross over to the
Indian Territory. The ferry being badly attended to by its owners
travelers were obliged to stop here rather longer than would be
necessary if things were put in better condition with better men
there to take care of it. We got across the river, however, after a
thirty-six hour detention and put our foot on Indian ground the morning
of the fifth, went on five miles, where, meeting good wood and water,
we struck our camp and stopped until the next morning.

May sixth. The quiet of the night from the fifth to the sixth was
interrupted by the heavy rolling of thunder, and its darkness by
flashes of lightning. Towards morning we had a very heavy rain, which,
although it put the roads in a rather bad condition, helped the
vegetation considerably, and therefore, was of some advantage to our
procedure. On the morning of the sixth we started on our journey, and
after passing a river which is difficult to cross we ascended for the
first time the plateau this side of the Missouri. After having got up
to a height of about fifty feet above the level of the Missouri River,
a magnificent scene was displayed to our view, resembling very much
my native country—Germany. The whole ground is prairie land, running
off in slight undulations to the horizon and bounded in its Eastern
progress by the bed of the Missouri and the mountain chains on the left.

Nature is in this territory following its gradual progress and offers a
vast land for cultivation to the natives of this and other continents.
The civilization of this territory and Oregon will raise America
to its pinnacle of perfection, both in wealth and moral efficiency.
California and the Western shore of Oregon will become a centralizing
place for business progress from which knowledge will spread out a
beacon light to all nations.

We traveled this day about ten miles North-westward from our last
encampment and about fifteen miles from St. Joseph. Our team got along
very well and could have traveled several miles more but for driving
our cattle as little as possible the first few days, to let them gather
all the strength possible. We encamped at the left of the road where we
met with plenty of wood and water and off to the right with pasture for
our cattle.

On the morning of the seventh after having fed our oxen and taken
some refreshment ourselves we started for our further journey. About
one-half mile from Camp we passed the Creek, on its upward ascent;
passing on about a mile further we arrived at Wolf Creek, across which
the Indians have struck a bridge, for the crossing of which they charge
the emigrants a high price. It is, however, a great convenience to
the latter, the creek being about thirty feet wide and from three to
four feet deep. The Indians, who built the bridge, have put up their
camp there. This side of the creek I ascended several hills, and
after traveling about five miles arrived at the Mission. This is an
Indian settlement, where the Indians are taught the principles of
Christianity. It consists of a few log huts, one of which contains
stores where several of our traveling companions stopped and bought
articles necessary on our journey.

After leaving the Mission we went on about thirteen miles further,
meeting within this distance with several springs and after passing
another creek we went up to the next hill and put up quarters for
the night. This evening we bought a pony from some of the emigrants,
which, although not of immediate necessity for the journey, is a very
convenient thing to its owners.

On the morning of the eighth I mounted the pony and rode ahead for
a few miles. I mention this as being rather something great, being
the first riding ever I did. Crossed about three miles from our last
encampment—Buffalo Creek—where the Indians again charge toll for
crossing and drove on this side the creek about twelve miles, meeting
the grave of a deceased emigrant, on which lay a live dog, probably
the only faithful servant to his master, howling away and paying the
last tokens of sympathy to him who was resting there in a lonely grave.
We stopped at the left of the road till morning, where we calculated
to lay over Sunday. However, not finding good pasture for our cattle,
we left there about eleven o'clock and proceeded forwards about eight
miles where we unyoked our teams and put up for the night.

May the tenth. We started early in the morning, proceeding Southwest
on our road. Although the sky was clear at daylight, it clouded over
toward noon and we had one of the hard storms frequent on the plains
and exposing the emigrants to discomfort and contagious diseases.
Having driven off from the road expecting to find water and wood
in a Southwesterly direction, about two miles off, we finally met,
after having been wet all through, a creek bordered by plenty of
timber, where we put up our encampment. These were some of the most
discouraging moments we had since our start—arising from the wet and
cold of the weather, and only moral courage can at this moment prevent
moral depression. A man that had come around with us from Pittsburgh
and displayed to us the most gentlemanly behaviour, having started with
a sick family of eight little children from St. Joseph, and kept with
us up to this night, keeping up under all difficulties, was obliged, on
account of his wife getting sick, a woman of the greatest energy ever
met with, to turn back to the States. After having dried ourselves, we
took a good night's rest and started with new vigor the next morning
on our journey. We had no difficulty getting along until about three
o'clock P.M.

About this time we arrived at a creek called Mehemahah. The descent to
the water is very steep and muddy, however of no great difficulty,
compared to what is on the other side. Here, after passing the rapid
stream, the water up to the wagon beds, we had to wade through some
of the greatest mud holes ever met with before. Several of the teams
got stuck on the other side. By increasing, however, the force, they
finally got out and cleared the road for us to pass. After having
proceeded about three miles on this side of the Mehemahah we stopped
for the night.

It is Wednesday to-day, the twelfth day of May, and we have safely
arrived at this side of the Big Blue River. This is a very nice stream
and bordered with willow, elm and walnut and some of the oak found
on the hills. We crossed the river the next day having but little
difficulty, the river being low and the roads good. A starting house
is to be found at the ferry this side of the river where emigrants can
get what is most necessary on the journey. The country Westward of the
Blue becomes very hilly, which with the rivulets and streams between
presents a beautiful scene. The Blue River is about one hundred fifty
miles from St. Joseph and supposed to be about one-half the distance
to Fort Kearney. We have traveled since our fording of that stream
about thirty-five miles and are at the present encamped somewhere in
the neighborhood of Little Blue. The weather set in extremely cold
and stormy about midnight and not having sufficient bed clothing
nearly froze me to death. After having got up and taken our morning
refreshments, we went on to our present place of encampment. The just
mentioned stormy and extremely cold weather continued throughout the
day, which, with the dust raised off the roads, made traveling very
disagreeable and difficult.

On Sunday last we got in sight of the Little Blue in a Southerly
direction from our present route. We did not, however, come to its
banks before Tuesday the eighteenth day, and passed up an extremely
hilly country for about twenty-five miles and left this river for the

We didn't leave the banks of Little Blue until this afternoon, Tuesday,
the twentieth, the misstatement previously mentioned arising from the
unauthenticity of the guide we took the respective distances from. The
parallel distance we made along the shores of this river must have been
about fifty to sixty miles. It is a very beautiful stream, much more
elevated in its beauty by the barrenness of the surrounding country.
Its water is, when at a medium stage, very clear and of very good
taste. On our passage up the river we got in view of several prairie
inhabitants as wolves, chickens and several miles off the river,
antelopes and single specimens of buffalo.

The weather of to-day, although it was very pleasant and favorable to
our journey, caused by its continued dryness a dearth of grass and
by this, loss in the strength of our cattle. While I am writing these
remarks a change of weather has taken place, which likely will make an
improvement in the growth of the vegetation. The health of our company
has been, since our start, in a good condition and although a number
of deaths, partly of cholera morbus and smallpox happened among the
emigrants, all of us are still enjoying our vigorous health and in
general are in a good spirited mood. The frequent change, however, from
hot days to damp cold nights is sufficient to undermine the stoutest
constitution. How, therefore, we will in future this great gift of
nature—health—preserve, is not to be fixed as a definite fact. Be it,
however, understood, that a careful observance of physiological laws
can abate diseases to a considerable extent.

May the twenty-first. We are now encamped about six miles Northwards of
the Little Blue, and although late in the day we have on account of the
rainy and stormy weather, not as yet decamped.

May the twenty-third. It is Sunday to-day and the great bright
luminary of the day is peeping over the horizon in its full splendor,
and eternal youthfulness animating the whole creation and endowing
it with new strength and vigor. The remark so frequently referred to
by Christians that the sublime beauty displayed by the sun proved
the existence of a God, was made to me last night by a Universalist.
True, the beauty is grand and sublime, but it is so without divinity
connected with it. It is not something beyond nature but a planetary
phenomenon following the great arrangements, the great and eternal
laws of Mother Nature. No reasonable man will doubt the existence of a
great incomprehensible principle which pervades throughout all nature,
but this principle is nothing separated from the universe but is the
great whole itself which can exist only all in all and not other ways
which always was, always is and always will be, although things may be
subjected to great changes.

We stopped in our camp a considerable part of the day, Orthodox
Christians objecting to our movement. Calling, however, a meeting, and
taking every single vote, the majority carried the motion for moving
onwards. Having arrived last night within three miles to Fort Kearney,
we made this distance in about an hour's time. The resemblance of
this place to the civilized world awakened in us a great feeling of
happiness thinking that although far, far off from home, out in a great
desert, still enjoyment was offered to the onward moving emigrant. The
fort consists of five frame houses, two for the use of the commanding
officers, the rest for the soldiers, all built in good style well
answering their respective purposes. Besides these buildings is a
church for the service of the Lord which is frequented by soldiers,
civilized Indians and passing emigrants. About three miles above the
fort, we lost, by the carelessness of one of the men, our pony. By
the hardest kind of running, we recovered it again. Nothing of weight
happened the next day. Having proceeded about twenty miles further up
the river we stopped for the night.

Twenty-sixth. We are now about three hundred and fifty miles off St.
Joseph, encamped along the bank of the Platte here of about one and
one-half miles width and very shallow. The river is sown with small
islands all of very modern formation. They are generally over-grown
with cottonwoods, and some of the oak kind, frequented more or less
by wild geese, crows and numerous birds of smaller kind. Just as I am
writing these lines my attention is attracted by the sublimity of the
scenery around us. The whole Western border of the horizon is grandly
beautified by the setting sun which, although out of sight, still
leaves traces of its grand and sublime beauty behind, painting the
horizon with the most various colours. It is getting darker and the far
off peaks of a mountain chain which appears to follow a parallel course
with the edges of the horizon gradually disappear. Quiet and peace is
spread all over nature's garden. Many a turbulent mind is silenced by
this beautiful phenomenon, and while yet gazing at it, is sunk in
the arms of the God of Sleep, Morpheus.


May the twenty-ninth, morning at five o'clock. We have traveled
since my last notes were put down forty miles through a very barren
mountainous country, grass being very scarce and water of inferior
character, having in it dissolved some alkali substances. The second
day or May twenty-eighth, inserting first that the day before we passed
several creeks, meeting a most splendid spring at the last, we struck
the bluffs near about the forks of the river. The bluffs which I
visited this day are mainly composed of sand, likely deposited there by
the wind in latter times. The whole bottom along the Platte is mostly
sand which in dry season on account of the violent winds which prevail
here, nothing being here to break its force, is a great inconvenience
to travelers. The Platte river bottom below and above Fort Kearney up
to where the road meets with the bluffs, is very little above the level
of its waters, varying from five to fifteen feet above that, however,
till when you strike the above mentioned point, its altitude is about
twenty-five feet.

We met on the latter part of our journey numerous graves of emigrants
who had finished their course in nature's garden to adopt new form and
shape suiting a different object in nature. The deceased died mostly
of cholera and smallpox, more or less originating from an unhealthy
diet, bad water and exposure. Good care and observance of physiological
laws, however, as I previously mentioned, can considerably alleviate
the diseases, if not keep them off altogether, from which cause then, I
principally account for the good state of our health.

We are now about crossing the river (the South fork of it) the forks
of which we struck a day before this. The river runs in a Southwest
direction and is about half a mile wide and very shallow, with
quicksand in the bottom. The fordage was of no difficulty to us, the
river as first mentioned being very low, and having arrived on its
opposite side we pursued our journey in a West-Northwesterly direction
toward the Cedar Bluffs. After having the day before stopped about five
o'clock at the right of the road, where we met with fairly good grass
and water, we traveled the next day, Sunday, the thirtieth, till we
reached the point where the road strikes the Bluffs which latter point
is about twenty or twenty-five miles from where we crossed the river.
Stopped about ten o'clock and encamped to rest ourselves and our cattle
for the remainder of the day, which by the hard road and great heat of
the past week was very much required to invigorate us for the future. I
read several chapters of Byron, but my mind being nearly down to zero
on account of the excessive heat, I could not concentrate my spirits
enough to follow his violent imagination. Next morning we started
early for the Bluffs. The passage of them was very hard on our teams,
the weather being very hot and the road being all sand, our wagons cut
in very deep and therefore required the hardest pulling to get along.
We descended down the other side—a terrible steep road—having traveled
about ten miles over the hills and after proceeding ten miles further
we encamped nigh the river whirl-pool. Here was a good camping ground,
dry and pleasant.

Tuesday we started for Ashes Hollow, being about eighteen miles from
our starting place. The road led like the previous days through very
sandy regions, the parallel running bluffs offering from the sameness
of appearance in stratifications and composition very little attraction
to the passing travelers. Two miles this side Ashes Hollow, the road
ascends a very steep hill, about sixty feet above the level of the
sea, being undoubtedly the hardest hill to pass over we have met up
to this on our journey. After having got up to its highest point, the
road gradually descends into the hollow which builds with the former a
square angle. This valley is about two hundred feet wide, bordered with
rocks and fine gravel in its hollow and timbered with ash trees and
some wild roses and grapes. A cool spring, unsurpassed in its water by
any we have met yet in this territory, is to be found to the right of
the creek about a mile from where you first strike it. There we met a
kind of trading post where several articles for the remainder of the
journey for a reasonable price can be got. We passed on about two miles
further from where we left the latter and encamped for the night (June

Monday, June 7th. Last week I neglected, not being at leisure in
mornings or evenings and too much downspirited at noon, to keep up my
journal with the events as I met them, but I shall try to recall in
my memory the main objects met with. For two days after we left Ashes
Hollow the roads were bad, being very hard on our cattle as well as
ourselves. We got along, however, as well as circumstances did permit
and after passing several creeks, hove on Friday last towards noon,
in sight of Courthouse Rocks, called so by emigrants from a supposed
resemblance with the building of that name, but appearing to me,
however, more like some ancient castle than the object it is compared
with. The rock is about eight miles off the road, a very deceiving
distance to the traveler who thinks it only two or three miles off.

Proceeding further, having the Courthouse to our left, and the Platte
at our right, the pinnacle of another rock got within the reach of our
eye. This is what is called a chimney rock from its great resemblance
to some factory chimneys. Although nearly twenty miles away it could
distinctly be seen. We traveled on to within about eight miles of it
and encamped to the right of the road, nigh the river bank. The next
morning we started early. Some of our company went on ahead to ascend
the rock. I stayed with the wagon, being not very well on foot, and
proceeded slowly on our journey. Chimney rock is about, from its base
to its apex, four hundred feet high, consisting of a low and second
platform. Upon the latter is the chimney or shaft of the rock nearly
one hundred feet high. This rock is principally composed of marl and
clay, intermixed with several strata of white cement. Joining the
chimney rock, right above it, I beheld a most beautiful sight, being a
section of rock of singular construction resembling in its appearance
very much some of the scenery along the Rhine. The whole consisted of
five rocks, one approaching the form of another smaller chimney and
giving with the rest a most grand view, just like an ancient fort of
the feudal barons on an average steep ascending hill, with cupola on
the top assuming the forms of ruins. Had I the talent of a Byron or
the skilled hand of a Raphael I might give an adequate idea of the
landscape, but as I am, even common language is wanting to give an
appropriate description. I thought it, however, romantic, and truly
felt more than my tongue may express. O what a pity it is to be
deficient of _Brain_!

Towards evening we arrived at a trading post, about eight miles before
the pass of Scotch Bluffs, and encamped here for the night.

Sunday, set out with a cloudy sky and rain. It soon, however, cleared
up and turned into a sunny day. We approached the Scotch Bluffs, which
we saw the evening before golden in the light of the setting sun, and
our whole attention was attracted by the grandeur of the former, still
more beautified by the surrounding country. The appearance of these
sand hills, although from far off like solid rock, has a very accurate
resemblance to a fortification or stronghold of the feudal barons of
the middle age, of which many a reminder is yet to be met with along
the bank of the Rhine. The rock itself is separated nearly at its
middle, having a pass here about fifty to sixty feet wide, ascending at
both sides perpendicular to a height of three hundred to four hundred
feet. The passage through here was only made possible in 1851 and is
now preferred by nearly all the emigrants, cutting off a piece of eight
miles from the old road. We passed through without any difficulty and
after having passed another blacksmith shop and trading post, which are
very numerous, protection being secured to them by the military down at
Fort Laramie, we encamped for the night.

We arrived at Laramie on Tuesday evening, a day sooner than we
calculated to get there. The Fort is situated on the Laramie River,
which joins with the Platte about two miles below the Fort and about
one hundred yards below the bridge for crossing of which we were
charged two hundred dollars. The country around the fort is of a
pleasing aspect. The bluffs which surround it slope off gradually down
into the valley, through which the river of the same name winds in
the most lovely curves, whose margins are timbered with a scattered
growth of cottonwood and brush of various kinds. The Fort consists of
several caserns for the subordinate soldiers, a better building for
the captain, a powder and provision magazine, a hospital open to the
broken-down travelers who wish to stop there, a good store where all
articles a man wants in civilized countries or on the plains can be
bought. The garrison disposed here is of a small number—from fifty to
one hundred and fifty, which number although small, is sufficient to
keep down any unruly spirit among the inhabitants of the soil. After
getting a few requisite articles, we started from our encampment near
the Fort for the black hills, along which the road runs on towards the
Rocky Mountains.

The scenery, after passing the Fort and proceeding a few miles up the
river, assumes quite a different aspect from that which we have passed
before the Fort. The monotony of the prairie land disappears, and a
varied highland scenery is offered to the traveler. The road leads
generally over the bluffs at an average height of about seventy to one
hundred feet above the bed of the Platte and in advancing approaches
sometimes towards the Southwestern mountain chain with the Laramie
Peak, whose summit is six thousand feet above the sea and covered with
snow throughout the greater part of the year. This mountain can be seen
at a distance of one hundred miles. We have first sight of it at the
Scotch Bluff, distant about that far from it. Cones or little craters
form the bulk of the mountain and give it a romantic appearance. The
Platte River above the Fort Laramie takes a different appearance from
its lower course. The low fertile land through which it runs for nearly
seven hundred to eight hundred miles to its mouth, is changed into a
highland scene. Its course is rapid and cut through the solid granite
rocks which must have taken many a century to open such passes and to
such an extent as we met in this part of our journey. The beauty of the
mountain chain is greatly increased by the scattered trees of cedar and
pine and by the interruption of numerous streams which are bordered
with a most beautiful growth of cottonwoods and other trees.

June twelfth. We left the river about noon and ascended for the whole
afternoon up the highest bluffs on our advance. We got considerably
molested by the wind which blew right in our faces and darkened them
with sand. Meeting a spring up near the highest point of ascent we
stopped for the night. Next morning started for the descent. The
Blackhill road comes in from where the road commences taking down to
the bottom. We passed the LePonds River, at the foot of the bluffs, a
very nice stream, beautifully treed with cottonwood. About four miles
forwards on the road we passed another creek called by its red bank,
Red Bank. The whole country around is a red stratified rock of the same
kind—being iron ore.

June fourteenth. We drove about ten miles to-day, passed several new
graves, and crossed three small creeks. Toward evening we encamped
two miles up the Little Deer Creek to rest our cattle, as well as
ourselves, and prepare for ascending the Rocky Mountains. I read
several pages of geology treating of the different classes of rocks,
their respective composition, position and the circumstances under
which the process of protrusion and stratification took place.

The fifteenth. Some of our men killed various kinds of game on the
bluffs with which we quite prepared us a feast adequate to all luxuries
we ever had at home.

June the sixteenth. We took a new start this morning for the future of
our journey. Leaving Little Deer Creek, we struck, after having met
with the main road, the river, along the banks of which we passed all
day and towards evening encamped within reach of it. We passed Big
Deer Creek about noon; the country around, although the stream is of
quiet romantic beauty, is very barren, offering but little pasture to
the emigrants' teams.

June the seventeenth. This morning we started for the ferry,
twenty-seven miles above Big Deer Creek. We arrived at the river about
noon and got across again three or four o'clock in the afternoon, where
we left the other side for the bluffs and encamped about four miles
onwards on the road from the Platte. The ferry at this place is carried
on with flat boats which are fastened to ropes spread across the river.
The current carries them from one shore to the other. The following day
we started very early in the morning, ascended Rattlesnake Hills, very
rocky, and pursued our journey this day through an extremely barren
section of country, the soil being mainly sand without any good water
and grass. At Willow Springs twenty-six miles above the Platte ferry we
arrived towards evening and put up for the night.

Not having any grass at all we started very early next morning
intending to stop wherever any pasture could be found. Meeting the
object of our wishes, we grazed the cattle for several hours. Ponds
with alkali water being about, several of our cattle got to drink,
and shortly after our start, several got to be very sick, the alkali
beginning to operate. We gave some of them fat bacon and some vinegar
to neutralize the alkali, which had the best wished effects.

The country passed over to-day is very sandy and dry, offering nothing
hardly to the passing emigrants. The hills which range along this part
are called Blue Hills, probably from the growth of pines with which
they are planted.

Sunday, June the twentieth. Proceeding onwards, we came to the
Indian Dance Rock, called so by Colonel Fremont in 1847. This rock
is a huge pile of granite about half a mile in circumference and one
hundred-fifty feet high. Its sides are decorated with numerous names
of emigrants who passed them since '49. The road leads to the left of
the rock along the river and crosses it about one and one-half miles
from the said rock. Five miles onwards, passing over a very sandy road,
we arrived at Devil's Gate, a precipice between the perpendicular
walls of which the Sweetwater passed. This is undoubtedly the most
interesting sight to the attentive traveler, made so by the profound
deepness of the pass and the stratæ of ancient rocks laid open to the
view of the naturalist. The rocks here are piled up in a strange chaos,
consisting of primary (hypogene) rocks turned up on their edges in a
nearly perpendicular position, intermixed with others in a horizontal
and vertical position. The descent of this rock is, on account of its
steepness, very difficult and connected with considerable danger. Too
great precaution can't be taken by explorers. The river undergoes
a fall of nearly ten or twelve feet, the water running very rapidly
in its onward bound course. The road from here leads more or less
along the river for twenty-five miles, where it separates in two, one
crossing the river and the other takes over the bluffs. This latter
road is extremely sandy and as heavy a pull for cattle as any part of
the road we have passed. Teams that have not been taken proper care of,
generally are lessened here by several of them breaking down by fatigue
and feebleness.

Traveling onwards we struck the river and passed along it for two miles
where we ascended the bluffs again. Viewing the surrounding country,
we discovered on the edges of the horizon a very large snow clad
mountain, its summit nearly hid in the clouds, and its sides shining in
a bedazzling luster.

June the twenty-third. Rain setting in through the night, we were
obliged to take a very early start. The alkali, with which the ground
was covered, being dissolved by the water, might, if drunk by the
cattle, have some very serious effect. Passing the bluffs, nothing
of note happened, and after fourteen miles traveling, we arrived at
the river banks, where we stopped to feed our cattle and took our own
repast. Pasture being very gloomy here, we left for our afternoon's
journey. After crossing the river we ascended a very steep hill, very
stony and barren ground, the road leading down towards the river, where
it turns at nearly a square angle, and ascends another very steep hill.
The descent here is very rapid and slopes off into the Sweetwater
Valley. Pursuing our course upwards, we met with some good pasture
where we stopped and encamped for the night.

June the twenty-fifth. Having enjoyed a good night's rest and taken
a good repast, we started with our cattle pretty well filled for
the bluffs. This mountain, or rather tableland, about three to four
hundred feet above the level of the river or six to seven thousand
feet above the level of the sea, is principally composed of aqueous
rocks of tertiary formation, sand and gravel, which are turned up here
in vertical position, the upturned edges giving evidence of volcanic
action. The road over this rock, of course, is very stony and hard,
difficult to pass over for the cattle. We struck a branch of the
Sweetwater this side the bluffs, about fifteen miles from where we
ascended them. The weather to-day is very unpleasant, heavy and cold
showers drenching us several times. Meeting with no grass up to our
usual stopping time, we drove on till late trying to make the river,
where we expected to meet with some good pasture. At our arrival
there we found the prospects as poor as previously met with. Stopped,
however, and the next morning crossed for the last time the Sweetwater.

The weather to-day, although the road led us through hills covered
with snow, was fair and warm, and the contrast or change it was from
yesterday, made the travelers the more sensitive to it. We arrived at
the South pass about noon and stopped to take dinner at the Pacific
Springs. The pass goes through the mountain gradually so that when
the traveler arrives at this point he hardly feels satisfied with the
reality. The country along here is extremely poor. No grass, and even
good water is scarce. The road ascends again this side the springs,
and continues hilly for about eighteen miles, when it separates in
two branches, the Mormon road going off in a South, Southwest, the
California road in a nearly due West direction. Our wagons arriving at
the fork, struck without any previous consultation with the company,
the Mormon road. Proceeding onwards we forded the Little Sandy, nine
miles off the fork and eight and one-half miles further onwards the
Big Sandy—both pleasant streams with a lovely growth of willows and
cottonwood. We encamped this side the bank of the latter stream where
there was good pasture for our cattle and all necessaries for our own

June twenty-sixth. This day being Sunday and one man in our company
being sick and in rather poor condition to travel, we stayed all day
and recruited ourselves and our oxen. Nothing happened throughout the
day except that several of the Snake Indians caught squirrels about
our neighborhood and paid us a short visit. Towards evening, read
several passages out of the Bible and argued about the vulgar sentiment
and language used in many places.

Monday morning, started stout and hearty on our journey and have just
arrived again after passing over about eighteen miles of highland to
the Big Sandy. There we strike this stream for the last time and are
making now for Green River, ten miles further onwards. About five
miles from our starting point the road forks. The upper road is called
Kiney's cut off and joins with Sapplett's cut off. The lower branch
strikes the Green River, which is on account of its extreme swiftness
very hard to cross. The fording of this river is, by a good ferry
carried on by Mormons, very much facilitated. Emigrants crossing here
at the beginning of the California emigration had a great deal of
trouble to get their stock across—numbers of them lost their lives and
stock both.

Green River leads into the Rocky Mountains and numerous tributaries are
flowing into it on its Southwesterly course where it pours its waters
into the Colorado. The river is about one hundred and fifty yards wide
and considerably deep; its water is very cold from its snowy origin and
runs at the rate of five to eight miles an hour. We forded the river
on the morning of the twenty-ninth and followed down along its banks
for eight miles in a Southeastern direction. Took then the bluffs and
traveled on Southwards for about five miles where we encamped near a
branch of the river with plenty of grass. Although snow clad mountains
bordered the horizon in the South the weather was extremely warm and
what made it still more burdensome were the myriads of mosquitoes which
molested us very much, yes extremely so.

Next morning we traveled onwards five miles from our last camping
ground and crossed a branch of the Green River, on the other side of
which we took the bluffs, descending several times into valleys where
the river pursued his ocean-bound course. After striking the river the
last time about ten miles from where we passed the branch we ascended
again and traveled on in a Southwest direction. Meeting a small stream
of water here about five miles distant from where we left the river, we
encamped for the night.

July first. Left this encampment after having put in a horrible night
with mosquitoes, bound for Fort Bridger, twenty miles from this spot.
The road along this distance is hilly and stony, pasture and water
scarce, scenery poor up to where we have sight of the Fort which is
located in a beautiful valley and named for this reason the Garden of
the Mountains. From here the road gradually ascends a ridge and on
the latter, about five miles this side the Fort, we encamped for the
night. Cedar trees growing spontaneously here, we had plenty wood for
cooking use and good pasture for the cattle.

The road from now covers very hilly country over high ridges and deep
valleys with very steep ascents and descents, therefore very hard for
our teams. Proceeding onwards we met some most lovely and beautiful
sights of natural beauty and but the hum of rural life would be
necessary to make it a second Eden. To give an adequate idea of the
beauty of this country none but a Byron or some other passionate writer
can do. I, however, add that the high going sea appears to have the
most resemblance to this interrupted bottom. The soil which covers
the most of these mountains is very spontaneous (fertile), the most
so in the bottoms. The mountains themselves are a deposit of water,
the greatest number of them lately by their abrupt form and to my
view are gravity rocks, cemented together by some binding matter. The
formations of many of these rocks offer quite a picturesque view as we
pass by. Caves and tunnels of all shapes are carved into them by the
dissolving power of water. Towards noon to-day after having passed many
ups and downs, we arrived at the highest point between the States and
Salt Lake. The height of this ridge is seven thousand, seven hundred
feet above the level of the sea and is the dividing ridge between
the Colorado and the water of the great basin. From this point on we
descended more or less and having arrived in the valley we traveled on
about sixteen miles to the Sulphur Springs where we encamped for the

Next day our road continued over the same interrupted ground. About
two miles from our last camp forwards on the road we arrived at Bear
River which we crossed with some difficulty and went on to Echo Creek
meeting on our road some Indians who traded us venison for powder and
beads. Here we stopped for the night and after we got our breakfast
next morning, July the fourth, we followed the river down twenty
miles, crossing it seventeen times in this distance. This valley along
which the road leads is very narrow bordered on both sides with high
mountains of gravelly composition closely cemented together. The valley
runs in a nearly Southern direction and runs on to where Echo Creek
joins the Webber River, a stream about the size of Bear River. We
crossed the river Sunday towards evening and went onwards several miles
of nearly steady descent from the top of a hill which we had previously
ascended to a creek along which we traveled about twelve miles crossing
it thirteen times—crossings very bad. After we had the last crossing we
commenced to climb a very difficult ascent. At the top of the latter,
four miles from the base to the high point, the road leads down hill
again. Echo Creek which heads on this side of the mountains runs on
to the city. The road leads alongside of it, crossing it some twenty
times. We traveled on till three o'clock when we struck the foot of a
mountain three miles this side of town and encamped for the night.

The Salt Lake Valley is built by high mountains whose summits reach
into the clouds, forming with its craggy sides a picturesque and,
joined with the beauty of the valley, a lovely scene. The valley is
thirty miles wide and some seventy-five to one hundred miles long.
Within its mountainous enclosure it contains some of the most fertile
and beautiful country ever looked on by men. The Salt Lake which
stretches along the Valley on the North side helps to beautify the
scene. Beside this is the town itself which is laid out in practical
lots consisting in a house and garden lot, the latter for agricultural
purposes. The houses, about one thousand in number, are built of mud,
dried in the sun and are in every way like the houses in the States.
The people to the number of about six thousand living in the city and
about four thousand in different counties of the valley are Mormons.
Although their creed contains a great many foolish things, they have
in some of their social arrangements the advantage over us and the
traveler passing through Salt Lake Valley and seeing everything working
harmoniously together as nature itself cannot help but think them,
more so, if he looks upon the crops which nature spontaneously produces
here, a happy and nearly independent people. One of the precepts of
their faith, Polygamy, although generally used as a reproach to them, I
personally admit as a true natural one, being consistent with nature.
Having supplied ourselves with a few more necessaries for the remainder
of the trip and some little repairing done to our teams, we left the
city intending to stop at some good pasture place in the valley. On the
road which runs on along through town towards the North we met with
the Hot Spring at the left of the road. This Spring comes out of the
surrounding mountains, being of nearly boiling heat and containing in
it diluted a high percentage of sulphur.

The weather to-day is very hot and oppressive, being the more
burdensome on account of my not being well, having previously been
weakened by sickness. Eight miles from here, to the left we espied good
grass and a stream of water, where we encamped and stopped there for
the next two days. While lying here I took sick again, being a relapse
of my former illness of dysentery. In applying though some of Dr.
Dickson's pills and some other strong mixture besides this, I stopped
it and I am fully convinced to-day that by paying a little precaution
to diet I shall get well and strong again.

We left our camp on Saturday, the tenth day of July, traveling along
a high mountain range through the valley for about sixteen miles,
crossing in this distance several small creeks bordered with willows
and aspens. A great part of the country is well cultivated and loaded
with a heavy crop of wheat, some corn and luxurious meadows, the
latter rivalling any I ever saw before in any country. This evening we
encamped at a small streamlet about twenty-five miles from the city.
Grass very scarce, all other things however easy to be got. From houses
being about here, we had plenty of milk and butter.

Sunday the eleventh. Started late, many of the company having not got
used to our former speedy proceeding yet. Drove over some sandy roads
through desert country to the Webber river, which we had crossed just a
week ago in its upper course. The river being in a low state, we forded
it ourselves without any difficulty and stopped three miles on the
other side of it, where we caught up with a wagon of our company that
had left us at the city.

Monday, July the twelfth. This morning the road led through brush and
high grass onto a second bank along which we travelled the whole day,
passing numerous farms on the lower side of the road and crossing
several creeks in the latter part of the day. To the right of the
road runs a mountain chain about one thousand to one thousand five
hundred feet above the level of the lake, its sides as well as summit
ornamented with a lovely growth of cedars and some of its crevices
filled with snow. This evening we struck camp three miles this side of
Grazing Creek where we laid till next morning to proceed no further on
our journey.

This day, the road crossed several creeks, the first, Grazing, and five
miles onward from this, Box Elder—further on, several small creeks and
springs so that we had abundance of water all day. At Box Elder, we
left the settlement, and pursued our course again on the Desert where
our former contest with hardships and privations began from now on for
the remaining journey. We traveled to-day twenty miles from Willow
Creek and encamped at a Spring five miles this side of Bear River. This
stream we crossed next day early in the morning paying four hundred
dollars ferriage and proceeded onwards. From here we had as hard times
as we ever saw on the plains arising from our want of good water for
thirty-six miles which latter circumstance with the extreme heat was
very hard on us and the cattle. We arrived at the end of the above
mentioned distance about noon the next day at Hensols Spring where we
stopped and refreshed ourselves with some good cold water. The road
along this distance leads over a very hilly and dry country which
on this latter account disappoints the choking emigrant extremely,
expecting at every roll to have in sight some fountain to revive the
exhausted energies.

Six miles further we struck Deep Creek, running on the North side
of the valley until where the road strikes the valley, where it
turns toward the South and about six miles downward it sinks in the
ground. At this place, called Deep Creek Sink we arrived next day and
our cattle being worked down and their feet being sore, the company
again decided to stay here and rest them as well as recruit ourselves

July sixteenth. We left our last encampment at the sink and proceeded
downwards for the Pilot Springs where we intended to water the cattle.
The country begins here to get poorer, pasture becoming extremely
scarce now, hardly to be found on creeks and around slews and then only
a good way up or down stream.

Seventeen miles from Deep Creek Sink at some Springs in the side of a
hill we met with good pasture and although still early in the day, we
stopped there and lay till morning. Cedar trees and sage bushes are
all the vegetation to be seen in this region and the journey on this
account is monotonous and tiresome. The road from here takes over a
hill from which can be seen for the last time the Salt Lake with its
blue waters and its mountain high islands which with the surrounding
hills offers quite a picturesque view to the observer.

About eight miles from Mountain Springs onwards we came to Stony Creek,
a mountain stream whose water is more or less made up of melted snow
and ice and is very cold, therefore very much relished by travelers.
From Stony Creek to the Casus Creek, distant about eight miles, the
country continues very poor having nothing but wild sage and cedars on
the bluffs. Casus Creek is a small stream bordered like all the creeks
in this country with willows, the latter from the thick bunches in
which they stand, a hiding place to the Indians. Pasture along this
Creek is plenty, therefore good camping here. The road follows up the
Creek about eight miles and crosses it in this distance three times,
the middle ford being considerable miry when we passed.

Leaving Casus Creek the road ascends gradually towards a high situated
point about five miles, where it joins with the cut off roads, three
hundred and seventy miles West from the forks of the main road.

Coming up towards the summit of the hill we hove in sight of the City
Rocks, being numerous rocks of all sizes and shapes piled up so on the
slope of a mountain towards North West which resembled in appearance
a city at a distance built on the side of a hill. From here the road
descends down into a valley about five or six miles long with several
small creeks which were, however, dry when we passed them. Ascending
the hills on the West side of the valley we met with some water to the
left, running down parallel with the road, and traveling on a mile
further struck its head, consisting of several good cold springs. Next
morning we started on our road which on account of many sliding rocks
was very difficult and extremely hard on cattle. These hills are called
Gooth Creek Mountains, running along a stream called the same name.
Their forms and shapes are very various and mostly composed of aqueous
rocks in parallel stratas. Five miles traveling over this interrupted
ground brought us into the Gooth Creek Valley which we followed up
eighteen miles—the roads good and grass plenty. The valley along the
upper course of the Gooth Creek narrows; the mountains forming the
valley are steep and composed of some granular gravel. Small sharp
edged rocks are scattered all along the road and are very hard on
cattles' feet.

At the head of Gooth Creek we met a good spring coming out from under
the rocks. The water is cold and the weather being very hot we relished
it very much. From here the road leaves the Gooth Creek Valley and
continues over a mountainous, rocky and very barren country to the Rock
Spring Valley. At the head of it to the right are several cold springs
coming like the one spring at the head of Gooth Creek from under a
rocky ledge. Grass around this spring is little or none. Following the
road, however, for about four miles further, grass became plentiful
and more so toward the head of the valley. Crossing several ridges, we
descended into Thousand Spring Valley, so called in consequence of the
numerous Springs some of very high temperature; others are mere cold
wells of considerable depth. The road leads here along the valley ten
miles and pasture was real good.

July the twenty-fourth. Friend and companion Logan died this morning
at five o'clock. Logan, a partner in our team, took sick very suddenly
about noon this day about two miles this side Hot Springs. Driving
on some few miles after noon, the disease came on in a very serious
manner so that we were obliged to stop and camp. His strength failed
rapidly and cramps in all his parts caused him very aggravating pains.
Getting worse and worse and medical help having no effect on him we
finally concluded that although unsuspected and however sudden he would
go home to his Father. Living on till sunrise next day, he died about
five o'clock in the morning after a sickness of seventeen hours. This
then is human life—to live, to eat, to propagate and die. We, from this
eventful place which we left after interring the deceased, proceeded
over a long ridge which, sloping upon the other side and ascending
again, gradually descended, taking us a stretch of twenty miles into
the Humbolt Valley, the mountains of the same name being in view
covered with the everlasting snows. We followed down the valley about
eighteen miles and camped on the North Branch of Mary's River about
three miles from where we forded it.

July twenty-sixth. The road from the ford of the North Branch runs
along a beautiful valley to where it joins the South Fork of Mary's
River, twenty miles below the above mentioned point. Grass along this
valley is more plentiful than any other place we found along the whole
route. The water, although not very cool, is good. From the junction of
the two forks, another valley commences, the river following it down
for twenty-eight miles. At this point the road leaves the river for the
bluffs after having previously come to the forks of the road, crossed
the river four times within six miles and followed it down about ten
miles further to a small tributary of Mary's River.

From here when we started early next morning, we had to travel over a
section of mountains pretty steep and stony. Descending on the other
side of these hills we met with several good springs on the road side
and finally after a tedious forenoon's drive we struck the river again
twenty miles from where we left it last. The roads along here being
very sandy and so many teams passing ours it raises any amount of dust
which is very disagreeable to emigrants and hard on cattle. We followed
the river for four miles when, finding good grass, we camped for the
night. Twenty miles further down stream the main road takes to the
right over the bluffs, another road crosses the river and follows down
on the South side. The latter road is preferred in low water, being the
best and shortest as well as having most grass on this side of Humbolt.
About forty miles onwards where we forded the stream it—the road—takes
up over a rough hill leaving the river at the ascent and coming to it
again at the descent, about two miles distant.

August the second. From this point the road takes over a hill about
five miles long when it descends into the valley again. Pasture along
here is poor, the bottom being mostly over-grown with sage. Although
grass is scarce, for the whole journey the careful emigrants can always
find sufficient feed for their cattle.

The road follows down the valley in a parallel direction with the river
for about twenty miles where it turns on an obtuse angle and runs off
in a Southwest direction. Here the road takes over low sandy hills
and along the banks of the river alternately. Twenty miles from our
starting point, we encamped on the river banks.

August the fifth. Ascended a hill about one-half mile on from our camp,
pretty steep and sandy. The road continues this way all along for
about twenty miles more where it takes the bluffs for eighteen miles
through a sandy desert about three or four miles parallel with the
river. In the evening after a hard day's drive, we struck the river but
did not meet with any grass which our starved animals badly needed. The
following day we ascended the bluffs again for another eighteen miles
desert having no grass nor water for the teams. Leaving, however, the
main road and taking towards the river we got near enough to water our
cattle, after which we drove on about four miles further and struck the
river again finding tolerable good grass. Next day we started for the
meadows and sink of Humbolt River. The distance to the former being
about fifteen miles, roads bad, both sandy and hilly, no grass between,
river handy enough in some places to water the stock.

Saturday evening we arrived at the meadows, our teams weakened from
want of grass and several days' hard pulling. From here to the edge of
the desert it is about twenty-five miles which we made in three days,
recruiting our stock, making grass and taking on water.

Thursday afternoon, about three o'clock, we started with seven head of
cattle and one horse, all of them in fair condition, for the desert—a
distance of forty miles without water and grass, hilly and sandy roads.
Thousands of dead cattle were lying along this road which had gone out
at the previous emigration. One of our oxen gave out, detaining us for
several hours. Slaying the latter however, we arrived safe although a
very close call at Carson River. Here people from California have put
up their shops, having liquor and fixtures for sale for the emigrants
at high prices. Grass being scarce here we started up the river about
five miles. Being about camping time and our cattle very tired we
stopped for the night.

From here we started the next morning having about five miles ahead a
desert of thirteen miles. Before we started into the latter, we stopped
and fed the teams for a few hours, then started on the said desert and
the footers, among which I was, traveled up along the river, being
higher and more pleasant than the main road. At the point where the
latter strikes the river again we found good company which induced us
to stop for the night, grass for our stock being plenty. From here the
road takes over the bluffs, being sandy again as the day before and the
country as poor as the deserts. Twelve miles' traveling took us to the
river where we stopped and nooned. From here the road gets to be stony
and sidling, hard on wagons and teams, leading over undulating ground
all along. About twenty-five miles further ahead the road takes over a
hill, a perfect desert. To the left of this is mining carried on in a
Canyon. Although it does not pay as well as some mines in California,
still it allows fair wages to the diggers. Some of us, among them
myself, would have stopped and dug here but for certain bondages which
we could not get rid of without injuring our pecuniary interest.

The distance here from the river to it again is thirteen miles, roads
tolerably good. In the afternoon of this day (Sunday) we traveled over
another sandy plain to the river, eight miles, where we camped over
night and started Monday morning all hearty and well. During the day's
travel we passed a good many trading posts, crossing numerous mountain
streams with good cold water. Grass along here is plenty so that stock
as well as men do well in this valley. Another day's travel will take
us to the foot of the Canyon which we ascend to take us to Hope Valley.
To-day at noon we arrived within a few miles of the Canyon where we
stopped for noon. Leaving this place we intend to ascend the ravine in
the afternoon.

We took into the Canyon on the morning of the eighteenth and ascending
it we met the worst road on the whole route being both rocky and steep
and extremely hard on cattle and wagons. The whole Canyon is sown with
rocks (metamorphic species) thrown there in chaos by volcanic eruption
and offers to the travelers with its steep pine clad mountains one of
those grand scenes of nature which are only met with in mountainous
or volcanic countries. Five or eight miles of the hardest traveling
brought us into Hope Valley at the other side of the Canyon which we
followed up to where the road takes the hills again and finding at this
point some excellent pasture we encamped.

We left our last night's camp where we suffered considerably by the
cold and started to ascend the first of the mountains of the Nevada.
The ascent is gradual for several miles till the road comes to red
rock where it takes a sudden ascent for about one-half mile being
very steep and rocky and undoubtedly constitutes with the yesterday's
passed Canyon the greater part of the elephant which will be finished
tomorrow by the steepest and highest ascent of the Sierra Nevada. Up
this mountain we doubled teams and our wagons being light we arrived
safely at the summit about seven thousand feet above the level of the
sea. Grass being scarce here we descended about four miles on the other
side of the mountain into a valley where we found some good feed along
the lake shore.

August twentieth. Started for the ascent of the last and highest
mountain of the Sierra Nevada, taking first over a mountain of five
hundred to one thousand feet in height which brought us to the foot
of the last mountain, we began our ascent, but though it was very
stony and high, we had less difficulty in passing over it than the
one we ascended the day before. I myself arrived at the summit about
ten o'clock where I disposed of our horse which had caused me a good
deal of trouble. This done I took a view of the country around me. I
always fancied to myself that the beauties of the mountainous countries
were grand and sublime but never could I fully imagine such a vast and
chaotic beautiful scene as I found here. The whole mountains are made
up of metamorphic rocks, thrown here by volcanic causes. The mountains
which extend around you, standing at the summit to the edge of the
horizon are interrupted by alpine valleys filled with beautiful meadows
and lakes of cold mountain water which help to make the grand scene of
the mountains lovely and rural to the observer.

We passed over the summit and drove on this day over mountain ridges
and encamped at night at about the same level as we traveled over in
the afternoon, finding some grass and water on the mountain side.

The following day took up the fork of the road, the one to the right
taking to Hangtown, the left hand one to Volcano. The distance from the
fork to the latter place is about thirty-five miles, very hilly and
extremely dusty, grass and water scarce—from ten to twenty miles apart
in the valleys.

We arrived at Volcano August twenty-third and sold our stock the next
day for the sum of three hundred dollars, making my share with our
previous receipt for horse and one yoke of cattle, eighty-seven dollars
and subtracting this from the whole of my expense leaves me ninety
dollars debit to the journey.

At Volcano is the first mining district met this side the Nevada and
provisions being tolerable cheap and some of the digging middling
favourable some five of us concluded to stay here a while and try our

Sunday, August twenty-ninth. We went to work the second day from our
arrival and sunk a shaft from ten to twelve feet deep at which depth
we struck a lead paying us about eight to ten cents to the ton. Water
which we happened to strike got to be very troublesome, keeping us back
considerably in our proceeding to get out the pay dirt for washing.
All we earned up to the present is about four dollars. We calculate
however to make more next week if we keep on at work steady and keep
our health.[1]


[1] Evidently a journal was kept during eighteen hundred and
fifty-three which has been lost.



April twenty-ninth, eighteen hundred and fifty-four.

Several weeks have elapsed since closing my last journal to the present
date of this entry, and longer still this interval might have been but
for sickness, which keeps me from my daily task and compels me to pass
the hours of ennui and solitude by such means as circumstances afford.
Among these means, reading is my favorite occupation if the subject of
it is attractive and pleasing and one main reason that my diary is not
more regularly kept is because it is easier to read the productions of
others' minds than to make efforts for a similar purpose ourselves.
The efforts I am going to make are not to be compared to the writing
of fictitious works, nor still less scientific essays but are simply
to note down the most important occurrences of my career—a few abrupt
ideas of my own and other men and some remarks upon the political and
moral affairs of the world.

Well then, to begin. I am at present as already stated, compelled by
sickness to stop in the house for an uncertain period of time which,
however, I ardently hope may not fetter me like the criminal to his
cell longer than nature may possibly require to heal the diseased part
of my body. This is a sore ankle, caused by the rubbing of the seams
of a boot, which, as undoubtedly a muscle or nerve was hurt, affects
the whole system and gives me a good deal of pain. These things will,
however, always happen and always by our own fault or carelessness—at
least this is my case. Having this conviction one must try to take it
as patiently as possible.

Although rain in April is rather a rarity, still, we had several
showers within the last week or so and a very wet night and forenoon
to-day. This is a great benefit to the country, both to the vegetable
and auriferous world. The former it animates while the water channels
which it swells assist the miner in procuring the latter—ore. I have
been tolerable successful for the last three months, averaging about
five dollars per day with prospects of continuing so as long as may be
water for our supply. The troubled state of our company has temporarily
subsided. Which fact is more to be ascribed to the just mentioned
success than to an alleviation of the antagonistic elements prevailing
among us. This however is not looked for by myself, nor does it matter
any in this case what the cause is, as long as the effect is good.

Monday morning, May first, eighteen fifty-four. The merry blooming
month of May has arrived and nature, shaking off the drowsiness of
Winter appears in all its beauty and splendor. A carpet of verdure
variegated by the innumerable hues and shades of myriads of flowers,
shrubs and trees, spreads over the crust of reanimated Mother
Earth—which scenery, combined with the beautiful sky of a California
heaven, grants a sublime sight to the beholder and admirer of the
garden of nature. In gazing upon these fields, hills and dales, all in
their bloom and vernal beauty; upon the pure sky that overspreads and
adds to their grandeur—the mind gradually loses itself in meditation
and deep thought. Minor objects lose their hold upon us and higher,
nobler sentiments take their place. In such sacred moments the empire
of the mind reigns and we truly live. The grand and wonderful effect of
a great unknown first cause meets us at every side—and while admiring
the former we wonder at the magnitude and goodness of the latter. We
try to penetrate the darkness which veils that unknown from our sight
and behold the _prima facie_—till now only known by its reflections.
Besides this desire to find and look upon the omnipotent, other
thoughts and images rise before our mind's eye. While looking at some
green and blooming spot, moments of the past or rather, recollections
associated with those gone-by hours, those blooming fields, crowd in.
We think of the innocent joys of those playfellows that loved us, of a
kind Mother that received us when we, flushed and exhausted arrived
home to refresh and rest ourselves, who would lay her hand upon our
forehead to dry the perspiration and brush aside our hair to restore
our infant beauty, and, with those benign eyes looking upon us, would
with her lips which always were so fond of kissing—express her fears
that we would over-heat ourselves and take sick. I would begin to
cry and promise to be more careful in the future. Yes, these are
recollections which will cheer the darkest and increase the fullness of
the happiest moments of our life.

May nineteenth, eighteen fifty-four. I am well once more, enjoying the
blessedness derived from such a state. I have just returned after a
day's work and having an hour to spare from this to dark I thought to
dedicate the same to scrawl down a few lines in these memoirs.


Although this is early May—the middle of Spring, we have already the
warmer days of August and the ground which had hardly got a good
soaking during Winter is dry now as ever it gets in our Northern
States. So with the vegetables. The flora and fauna of the country,
which have already seen their infancy—although now everything is
verdant and budding—in but a short month more will pass away and the
green will change to yellow, the bud to the ripened fruit and all
nature put on the attire of mellow Fall, and be finally resuscitated
by deluges of rain which pour down in Winter in this country. If ever
by some natural change this country shall be blessed by seasonable
rains through the Summer, it will undoubtedly exert a most beneficial
influence upon the soil of the land and make agricultural business more
permanent and profitable and vastly benefit the mining community and
make living itself more pleasant and comfortable on the shores of the
Pacific. There is a certain fact which manifests itself in new settled
countries—namely, that the amount of rain which falls every year
increases in proportion to the cultivation and irrigation of the soil.
At Salt Lake, and so here, when settlers first arrived rain was hardly
known to fall but has increased in amount every year since that period.
This is a fact experience has taught us to hold true although its cause
is hardly known.

The merry month of May has passed away; June holds reign over prairie,
hills and dales. The weather in general is just warm enough to make
it pleasant to work—which in itself is pain enough without having
it doubled by exposure to a scorching sun. A pleasant breeze being
wafted up from the smooth waters of the Pacific moderates the climate
to a genial warmth which only for want of sufficient rain would be
as beautiful as any person could wish for. But from a want of this
infinitely useful element at the proper season of the year, the soil,
otherwise fertile produces but little vegetation. July generally sees
this dying off for want of moisture. Still there are many fertile
spots in the valleys watered by mountain streams which intersect the
country—heading in the snow clad mountains and pouring their icy waters
like veins into the heart of the country to give vigor and health to
the country in their proximity. A traveler therefore can see in one
day's journey and less both the budding and refreshing Spring and the
yellow Autumn, the former in the valleys, the latter in the higher
parts of the land. It is on highlands that these lines are written—with
a valley spread at the foot of it, which extends to the Coast Range of
mountains whose outlines I can plainly trace on the horizon and this
minute its highest peaks stand out in bold relief, illuminated by the
setting sun close upon their brow. Ten minutes more—they will hide it
from view where, in the pacific waters of the broad Ocean it will seek
a resting place after its daily journey through the heavens, to rise
with new splendor and magnificence in the morning. To many thousands
who gaze upon the rising and setting of the sun its movement from East
to West is still a great mystery.

September twelfth, eighteen fifty-four. Over three months have passed
since I made my last entry in this journal and not only have I changed
my residence but my profession. I have exchanged the miner for the
confinements of the Store Room to which I intend to adhere in the

July and August passed in indolence and mental indifference. It is but
a few days back that I left off mining and find myself now comfortably
seated in my store writing these notes. This place—French Hill—is
within one-half mile of Camp Secco which was destroyed by fire about
three weeks ago, which however by the enterprise of its inhabitants
is rapidly building up and this time is an improved place. The place
of present residence is rapidly springing up into a little village as
yet nameless from its recent date and gives fair promise towards a
prosperous business. That this may be the case is my earnest wish, as
I hope to realize if no unforeseen mishaps befall me—enough to leave
California for a better home far to the East.

February, eighteen fifty-five. Four months have passed away since I
made the last notes but although the above dates indicate the Winter
season when in the Eastern States snow and frost are plenty, we still
enjoy as beautiful warm and dry weather as one can wish for—no snow,
nor cold chilly days but pleasant weather in their place. As miners
mainly depend upon the rain to wash their dirt, hove up throughout a
period of nine months, a failure of it in Winter when it is _anxiously_
looked for is a great disappointment to the miners all over the
country. When mining is stopped, everything else is dull and depressed.
We may have some rain yet for California presents such a strange
instance of change that it is hard to tell when it will come. It is
this morning cloudy and has every indication of rain. Three or four
weeks of even moderate rain would furnish a great deal of water—the
great commodity for the miner.

There appears to be at present a general depression in business all
over the country, money tight and provisions dear and labor scarce.
Heavy failures happen almost daily in the Atlantic Cities. Houses which
enjoyed the greatest public confidence and patronage are suspending
payment, not being able to pay their liabilities by a fearful amount.
Even Page and Bacon, one of the best and wealthiest banking houses in
the Union, has suspended payment which, however, is more ascribed to
the detention of gold shipments from California than to deficiency of
funds. The main cause for all this embarrassment in the money market
appears to lie in the heavy export of gold to England in exchange for
English manufactures and in the extravagance of our bankers, brokers
and merchant princes in the last ten years. Nothing but a stoppage in
the import of foreign manufacture and a more industrious sort of living
will save this country from bankruptcy. Even here, the great source
of wealth for the last six years, the pressure is felt. Gold diggings
are getting scarcer all the time and as living is almost as dear as in
forty-nine and fifty when it was easier to make an ounce than it is at
the present day to make a dollar—it is easy to imagine how oppressive
the hard times must be. The business I am engaged in at the present
yields but a very small profit for everything in the mercantile line
is high in the market and as miners reap but a very scant harvest
for their labor one has to sell just as low as admissible. Profits
therefore are but small. Still, making a little is better than making
nothing at all and as long as this can be done I intend to stop here.

March second. Again I pick up the pen to make a few notes in this diary
to keep the links in the chain of events which happen in this dull life
of mine. While writing these lines the cool breezes wafted from the
broad Pacific stir the warm air which was throughout the day oppressive
and in the hours of twilight grant comfort and ease to the inhabitants
of hot climates. The weather now is already as hot as it ever gets in
the middle of the Summer at home. Yes—I believe that the mercury is
higher now than it ever gets there. This being only March, when they
at home have still snow storms and frost, we have beautiful Spring and
nature is already attired in her sprightly dress of green variegated
with flowers of all hues and shapes. Trees assume their verdant
garments and alongside of streamlets adorn the garden of nature. Oh!
nature, grand and beautiful art thou! Beautiful in every scene that
meets our eye—the streamlet which meanders through pleasant valleys
by picturesque hills ornamented by vines, with the contented peasant
gathering the grapes. Mountains with their highest peaks covered with
everlasting snows meet our looks in the far off horizon and crown with
sublimity the rural beauties of the hills and vales at their foot. Man
himself feels stronger and of higher spirits in the Spring of the year,
the purity of the air and the balmy smell which emanates from flowers,
shrubs and trees exhilarate the soul and body of every animated organic
being. In time all this changes to yellow as their life runs out and
their vitality, their sweet smell are dried up by the tropical heat of
the South to rest and gather life and nutriment anew from Mother Earth.

Man, too, undergoes this change that everything in nature is subjected
to. His life compares favourably with the changes in the vegetable
world. First, tender and weak he gains care and attention, strength of
body and mind. In the Springtime of life, his beauty is of the noblest
kind and life is constant happiness. As time rolls on his body and mind
mature, he becomes wiser and abler and in this estate of manhood acts
and operates for himself and fellowmen. This is the most useful part
of man's career and as he grows older he loses the vigour he formerly
possessed and at the end—in the Winter of his life droops down, grows
weaker and weaker until finally his career is run and he has to join
Mother Earth again to serve some new purpose in the organization of

There is one great invention which will ever illumine the time
between the Dark Ages and the present epoch. An invention which is
as remarkable for its intensity of light as the Middle Ages for
their impenetrable darkness and consequent superstition. This is
the invention of printing by John Gutenberg of Metz in Germany in
fourteen hundred and forty. By one sublime thought which struck the
mind of a single man or more properly, by the divine inspiration of a
single human being, benefits as great and incalculable were bestowed
upon mankind as universal space itself is infinite and beyond human
calculation. Before that time all learning was limited to one class—the
Clergy of all countries, who had it in their power to devote time which
was at their own disposal to literary pursuits, in which they had great
assistance in the manuscripts of former ages, therefore enjoyed already
although to a limited extent the blessings which the art of printing
afterwards bestowed more universally upon the mass of mankind.

We all know now that as much as man is superior and master of all
other animals, so is the intelligent and well informed, master of the
ignorant and superstitious. The priests therefore of former ages—since
they possessed knowledge above the rest of mankind were to a great
extent the masters and in consequence ruled with a stronger rod than
ever any monarch ruled his subject since printing and consequent
knowledge became more diffused among the masses of mankind. When books,
in consequence of their cheapness became plentier and the masses became
possessed of the same—light began to penetrate the utter darkness which
formerly reigned supreme in the mind of man and in a comparatively
short period of time since the death of this inventor, the human family
has made a more rapid and greater progress in science and useful
knowledge than was made in all time before that great event.

March twenty-eighth, eighteen hundred and fifty-eight. Left this day
Camp Secco—where I had been stopping for three years doing business,
such as groceries and miners' implements. My success has been pretty
good—might however have been better. Still I don't complain. Although
I have not made as much as many a one has done in the same length of
time, still I am satisfied.

The time while there passed dully enough with me, arising from the
want of desirable company and the non-existence of any places of
amusement. I had lots of time to myself and had I been so disposed, had
I possessed different mental stamina, force, energy and perseverance,
I might easily have acquired a store of useful knowledge. But it is
of no use a-croaking now. The time has fled and in place of enjoying
at present a cultivated mind I hardly realize ideas enough to make me
sensible that I am an intelligent, animated being. And it always will
be so with me. I think nature is more to blame for it than I myself.
Had I been endowed with Genius great, with even the present balance of
mind I think I should have made a great man. I tried once, years ago,
to obtain a lofty position in science, labored hard and long and what
was the result? A machine capable of a certain amount of labor laid out
for it. Nothing else. I had no thought nor ideas of my own of the least
practical use. I had better then be satisfied. Although I might possess
a great deal more, still I don't think that it would materially benefit
my happiness here.

April twentieth, eighteen hundred and fifty-eight. This day at ten
o'clock, I left the wharf of San Francisco on the steamboat _Golden
Age_ for the Atlantic States—for my home in old Virginia and my friends.

I came to this country on the twentieth day of August eighteen hundred
and fifty-two— making the time that I have been here, five years and
eight months to a day. My success here, if not what it might have
been, still yielded me a small capital—enough to start me in business
most anywhere and consequently by proper management, diligence and
industry, I shall be enabled to get along in this world comfortably.
Had I mentally as well improved as I did my pecuniary circumstances,
I should be well enough satisfied. This, however, is not the case and
for this reason and this reason alone am I sorry that I ever came to
California. Had I remained at home, associated as I was with men of
intelligence and in a pursuit where mental effort was required I would
now unquestionably be a smarter if not equally as rich a man. My mind,
although naturally sterile, by proper care and pains would have been
cultivated; my taste beautified; my feelings and sentiments ennobled.
In short, I believe that I would have been a wiser, better, and in
consequence a happier man than I am now. Still, courage, "faint heart,"
the future may even yet bestow on you content and happiness.

I am tracing these lines in the steerage on board the steamer, looking
through a port hole onto the wide dark blue ocean of the Pacific, which
is laid before my eyes in every direction to the far off horizon. How
monotonous it seems to me. There are no hills nor mountains in the
background of the vast rolling Pacific before me. No trees, bushes,
plants of any kind; nor is there an animated being to be seen—unless
once in a while a shark or whale will show themselves to our greedy
eyes which long for something else than boundless waters.

There is something fearful in the fact that there is nothing between
destruction and the ocean tossed mariner but some frail planks which
half a dozen accidents may dislodge and send him to the deep bottom of
the pitiless sea. Such is man in his wild career in pursuit of wealth
and power that he will entrust his life, his all, to a frail bark
which the winds may toss on rocks and breakers from which there is no
salvation. These things are painfully clear to me now that there is no
escape from them and though I am not absolutely afraid, still I know
that there are many chances which may destroy us. Who knows—many a
stout vessel with passengers ever as sanguine of a safe voyage left a
safe haven never to reach the place of their destination. This may be
our—yes, my—fate. Still I will hope for the best. Hope that our voyage
across the treacherous ocean may be a safe one and carry us to a safe
Port at Panama. We have thus far enjoyed fine weather, a calm sea, and
I have enjoyed thus far tolerable good health.

Distance from San Francisco to Panama, three thousand, two hundred and
sixty-two miles.

Saturday, April twenty-fifth. The coast was out of sight since the
second morning and reappeared this morning, running for miles almost
level then suddenly turning abruptly into craggy headlands, standing
out grotesque in the background of the otherwise monotonous ocean. And
this is certainly a great relief after gazing day after day upon the
same far extending, swaying, rippling ocean, with nothing for the eye
after exhausting the utmost power of vision to rest on, but a hazy
horizon touching the blue expanse of waters.

The weather has been, up to this, clear and pleasant, perhaps a little
cold at first but now really very charming. The sea has been tolerably
quiet and smooth so we have had but little sickness on board—less than
I expected to see. How old I am getting though. While writing this, my
feet pain me which has been the case for the last four months. Also my
teeth which are mostly decayed and even my energies are dormant. I, who
once set myself the great task of studying a profession—now can hardly
even concentrate enough thought to note down a few sensible ideas. Yes,
I am surely grown old very fast in the last three years. I can feel
both in mind and body. The latter is invariably inclined to indolence.
The former to downright dormancy. Oh, could I regain the play of my
imagination, the buoyancy of thought which I once possessed; could I
possess myself of ambition, pride, to stimulate me, all yet might be
right and it is to have the former forced upon me by circumstances more
or less that I reseek the scenes of my former home, hoping that in
the wild and exciting race there for wealth and position I too may be
roused enough to take a share.

April twenty-sixth. We passed Cape St. Lucas on the night of the
twenty-fourth and ran yesterday across the mouth of the Gulf of
California which I believe is here one hundred and sixty miles wide.
While doing so we lost sight of the coast which, however, reappeared
this morning at daylight. The coast here presents a succession of
ridges rising higher back towards the land—the whole, however, broken
up into abrupt peaks rising from four to five hundred feet above the
sea level. Occasionally a high cliff stands boldly out into the sea—its
foot washed by the eternal breakers. The whole of them are covered with
a short low shrubbery which is now colored in a reddish dress being in
blossom at present.

After running down the coast about fifty miles, we doubled a headland
and turned into a short bay at the East side of which is the village of
Mansenilla inhabited by Mexicans who under supervision of Government
officers carry on silver mining here. The appearance of everything
here, the woods, houses and men would indicate that we are in a warmer
climate, if the weather did not. The people themselves wear clothing,
as may be judged by its scantiness, to hide their nakedness rather than
for protection against the climate. Their color is slightly coppery,
almost as much so as our California Indians. Their houses too are more
built as a shelter from the tropical sun than against the rigours of
a cold country, they being the roughest, simplest kind of huts built
out of timber and brush. We lay here about an hour during which time
we sent two passengers ashore in one of our boats, while a number of
natives in dugouts swarmed around the vessel, called out, I presume,
more on account of the novelty of our presence than any other notion.

We are now on our onward voyage, standing out to sea while the coast
range of mountains is still at our left. Yesterday being Sunday and
having several soul savers on board we had of course preaching—and
enough of it—as much as three times. I think were we all put
through the same task every day for the next three months it would
either make us the most orthodox Christians or else disgusted with
Christianity. The whole of them, the sermons, amounted to the same old
rigmarole,—believe and be saved—disbelieve and you are doomed to hell
and everlasting punishment.

We arrived at Acapulco this day, the twenty-eighth of April. This is
a Spanish town, situated on one of the best harbors on the Pacific
Coast. It forms a perfect elbow in shape and is therefore perfectly
water locked and on that account offers safe mooring to vessels. How
strange the contrast between a Spanish and an American town—the latter
enjoying all the health and vigor and activity of youth, progress. In
the former it is an eternal stand still, no activity of any kind, no
display of the least spirit or energy is to be met with here. Action,
perpetual action, is the characteristic of the American. The want of
all life, of the least healthy action so necessary to the existence
of a people is to be found in Mexico. They, the people, are lazy,
indolent by nature. All they ever strive for is to acquire enough of
the simplest necessaries of life and they are satisfied if not happy.
Toil is unknown to them and leisure is their _status quo_. They show
this fact in everything—in the way they dress, wearing nothing but
just enough to cover their nakedness. Their homes are builded of mud,
covered with old fashioned tiles or with straw, and present more the
appearance of fortified places than of dwellings. They (the houses)
most all have piazzas where the greater portion of the inhabitants
pass—in smoking and talking and sleeping—their days, yes, the greater
portion of their life. The streets are made of sandstone slabs or else
hewn in the same as it lies. As there is never hardly any rain here,
and the town being built on solid sandstone foundations, they are of
course perfectly clean which, as already intimated, is owing more to
the nature of the site than to the cleanliness and industry of the

The town is situated on the North West side of the Bay and consists
of several streets filled up by mud houses as already stated. North
from the town, about one-half mile distant, lies the fort on a slight
elevation sloping on the East toward the sea. The site is a very
favourable one as it can command the harbor with its guns, having
enough of the latter to sink any vessel which may try to force its
entrance in time of war. The fort itself is builded in the shape of a
square, with several embattlements. Its walls rise about thirty feet
from the bottom of the trench which is of a depth of about ten feet
and surrounds the whole. The entrance is afforded by a drawbridge
through a door fronting the town. The soldiers are but a sorry set and
I doubt, very little calculated to do war time service. I judge their
bravery by the general character of the Mexican people—which I know in
the main to be cowardly. I presume the soldiers—which are by the by,
the most ragged set I have ever seen, having neither uniform nor even
shoes, marching and countermarching like a lot of beggars on the street
with no military rearing whatever—will be the same. If I am allowed
to judge Mexico by this town of Acapulco—which has all the advantage
of a most favoured situation as seaport and in consequence is well
fitted for commerce, it is certainly a most neglected country and with
the resources it possesses both in mineral and agricultural wealth it
cannot be doubted but what it would soon in the hands of our people be
one of the richest as well as loveliest countries in the world. This,
however, seems to be its ultimate fate. Years may intervene but it
must most surely eventually give way to the rapid strides of an onward
moving civilization. When that day will come—that Mexico shall add
another star to our illustrious country—is not for me to say. I hope,
however, for the sake of the Mexican people themselves and for the sake
of the numerous resources the country offers that it may soon come.

We left Acapulco Bay about five o'clock this afternoon and stood out
to sea. We are now within three days of Panama, in fact nearer, but it
will take three days to make it.

This is the first day of May. Lovely May has come around once more
and Spring with its fine bracing breezes has set in. We are even now
within ten degrees of the Equator, enjoying the benefit of it in the
Trades which blow from the South East. The next morning after we left
Acapulco, I believe, we found ourselves in the Gulf of Tehuantepeck
which was tolerable rough. I was taken sea-sick, that most terrible of
all sicknesses. After three days' suffering, I have gotten better.
Still, even now I feel the sensation of it in my throat. Still, I think
that I have seen the worst of it. If so, I shall not lament it, as I
think it will secure me good health for a while.

Although in the tropics, we have enjoyed till now cool and extremely
pleasant weather with beautiful star and moonlight nights and the
bright expanse of ocean round us, with our vessel like a thing of life
moving along upon its bosom, and in the dark, at twilight before the
moon is up, what splendid sight is revealed to the traveller of the
sea. I mean the bright brilliant sparks and flashes which emit from
the spraying sheets which our cutwater sends off at both sides of our
vessel—caused by friction upon the phosphorescent matter contained in
the water of the ocean.

May second. This morning the land, consisting of detached ranges of
mountains, again came in sight, and now, five o'clock P.M. we are
abreast of an island to the left. This isle is very heavily timbered;
the whole of it is a mountain of about one hundred and fifty feet high
with a small point of level country at the Eastern end of it.

May third. We came up to another island this morning, thickly covered
with timber and vegetation of tropical growth. We kept now in sight of
land all the time, numbers of islands being to our left and towards
evening the Bay of Panama came in sight. This Bay is of large
dimensions and very secure, being well sheltered by islands and the
main coast. We passed Tobanga Island where the W. S. M. Company has
a station where they repair and clean their vessels when at Panama.
We entered the Bay and dropped anchor twenty minutes past seven
o'clock A.M. The next morning at four we took the ferry boat for the
wharfs, arrived there, took the cars across the Isthmus of Darien to
Aspinwall on the Gulf of Mexico. All the section of country we crossed
over on the cars offered a most beautiful sight. It is more or less
mountainous and covered with one emerald sheet of thick and almost
impenetrable highly perfumed tropical vegetation. I could not discover
any trees nor plants of the moderate zones—all being the products of
the tropics. This country, but for the extreme heat and the malaria it
must necessarily create from its numerous swamps, would be almost a
Paradise to live in. If Americans should ever possess it and be able to
live there, they in truth will make it indeed what it seems intended
for by nature—one of the loveliest spots the world knows. Aspinwall
is a new place and traces its origin to the discovery of the gold
mines in California and the subsequent travel across the Isthmus. It
is principally inhabited by natives of Central America, some French
and some Americans. The latter, however, being the only influential
portion of the community. They have made it and named it what it is
this day. They own the railroad and a large depot three hundred by one
hundred feet, fire proof, and a very commodious dock for the handling
of the mail steamers and offices to carry on their business.

We left the docks of Aspinwall about four o'clock. The trip across the
Isthmus occupied about five hours, so that we got to Aspinwall about
twelve and had from then till four at the latter place.

May fifth. _The Star of the West_, the boat I am now on, is not near as
large nor as good a boat as the steamer on the other side. Still, if
she only brings us safe to New York I shall be satisfied well enough. I
perceive by the latest New York news that yellow fever broke out on the
U. S. S. frigate _Susquehanna_ and at the Central American Port of St.
James. If I dread anything, I dread that and I hope to God it will not
appear on board of this bark. If it should be doomed to that, God only
knows what its effect might be. I must hope for the best. We are only
about a week's sail from New York. Still, how uncertain is our arrival
there considering the numerous accidents which we are apt to encounter,
which may finish our existence before we once more set our feet on
blessed Mother Earth.

Distance across the Isthmus from Panama to Aspinwall on Navy Bay
(Colon) forty-five miles. Distance to New York one thousand one hundred

Another bright day has risen over the water and a slight breeze
stiffens our sails, carrying us homewards. I am still in bad health, my
stomach being completely deranged and in consequence can't enjoy the
trip as well as I otherwise might were I in good health.

The steamboat _New Grenada_ which started one hour before us from
Aspinwall has been more or less in sight since we left that Port
and now is about ten miles astern of us. Last evening about five
o'clock P.M. we passed the island of Providence to our right. This
Island like all the rest I have seen on this trip is mountainous and
thickly timbered. As there were fires on the coast I presume it must
be inhabited and there are undoubtedly spots on it under cultivation.
All the country in these lower latitudes is very fertile, producing
luxurious growths of most all the tropical fruits.

Providence is about two hundred and forty miles North East of North
from Aspinwall. This being the course we have steered since we left
there. Now we are steering due North.

May ninth. In the evening of the seventh we came in sight of the
lighthouse of Saint Antoine—the S. W. Cape of Cuba. This night and the
next day, the eighth, we cruised along side of Cuba for some three
hundred miles. We came opposite to Havana about five o'clock on the
eighth. Havana is builded close to the shore, seemingly resting upon
the water. The ground back of it is higher and portions of the town
are builded there. The main city, however, is at the water's edge.
Morro Castle, the fort at the Harbor, is at the North East part of the
City. We sailed within about five miles of the City. The above were
all the points I could scan at this distance. Having struck the Gulf
Stream, the sea became rougher and I, in consequence, sick again and
feel miserable while scribbling this. I have the more reason to wish
myself safe on shore at New York, having ascertained to-day the fact of
the unseaworthiness of our boat. The Florida reefs—keys—came in sight
this forenoon and are still in sight. They are low lands, or rather are
elevated reefs, thinly timbered and dreaded, on account of the reefs
and rocks in the neighborhood, by the mariner.

We arrived on the night of Wednesday, May twelfth, in sight of the
Long Island and Sandy Hook Lights and after having taken on a Pilot we
entered Sandy Hook and passing into New York Harbor arrived at the city
about five o'clock in the morning of the thirteenth of May.

Here then I am in New York—the Empire City of America—the greatest
commercial port in the American Continent and the World. Its tonnage
is larger than that of any other Port city I believe in the World.
While it is connected by the Ocean with all Foreign Countries, it is
likewise so with all the important cities of the United States by
railroads and steamboat conveyance.

I remained at New York till the twenty-first instant. During my stay
here I visited the different theaters. The Laura Keene on Broadway was
the handsomest I had ever seen in America, and what was still better,
the acting was equally good and, as the building, the best I had ever
the pleasure to see in this country. The Crystal Palace I saw from
the outside only. The whole is built of iron. Its model is chaste and
displays a good deal of art and beauty. The Palace is surrounded by an
iron railing and between it and the building intervenes a beautiful
green sward. East from the Palace is the reservoir of the great Croton
water works which supply the whole of New York with water which is
brought some twenty-five or thirty miles to this grand reservoir, built
of solid masonry and occupying a large area of ground. From here the
water is distributed over the whole city for drinking, culinary and
manufacturing purposes. Another place of great celebrity, Barnum's
Museum, of American wide fame, was also visited by me. Here are stored
in rich profusion treasures of the animal world both of land and sea.
Also a good gathering of antiquities of almost all portions of the
world, and several statues of fame and renown. Among them are the wax
models of the Emperor of Russia, Joseph of Austria, Napoleon III and
Queen Victoria of England, and last but not least Kossuth and Napoleon
Bonaparte and the notorious Mrs. Cunningham in whose eyes passion and
crime but great beauty is also written. Among the persons of higher
renown is Mary the Mother of Jesus. Animals of all kinds and species
are amassed here in great variety too numerous to mention. They are
mostly stuffed except numerous fresh and salt water fishes which are
kept alive here enjoying their native element in large tanks. The large
boa constrictor and another large snake are also kept living here by
means of artificial heat supplied them. Among the antiques are coins
of centuries long since passed. American state documents of the last
century, flags and arms of the Revolutionary and Indian wars. Among the
latter a number of tomahawks, spears, battleaxes, etc. Curiosities from
China and Japan are also here in this great _multum in parvo_. Also a
large metallurgical collection with minerals of all kinds. A Panorama
with representation of many beautiful scenes from Italy, France and
Austria is found here. The pictures of the celebrated Generals and
Statesmen of American History as those of celebrated men and women of
the present day adorn its walls. The exposition in this Museum is so
grand and my survey of its treasures was so short and superficial that
I am not able to relate and specify them any plainer or with greater
accuracy. I was, however, well pleased the few hours I remained there
and considered that time spent to exceeding great purpose.

New York has many beautiful buildings and the Fifth Avenue is a street
of palaces and in my opinion compares favourably with any street of any
city in the World. Here reside the richest people in the city. None
but nabobs being able to exist in the air of this moneyed American
aristocracy. If the insides of these dwellings enjoy corresponding
happiness with all these luxurious surroundings is not for the people
to know. Still, as nothing in this world is all blessedness and
sunshine, one may well suppose that too, in these grand dwellings
wretchedness and heartburnings may be met. The great enterprise of New
York at present upon which succeeding ages will bestow all gratitude is
the building of a grand Park where the thousands of this city—the rich,
the poor, the highly born and lowly may pass moments of pleasure and
rest from the noise and turmoil of the city and acquire strength and
cheerfulness for the hard tasks of every day life.

I left New York City on the twenty-first instant for Philadelphia—the
Quaker City—where I arrived at four o'clock P.M. This, which I always
supposed to be the handsomest city in America, I am sorry that I am
compelled to state, disappointed all my bright anticipation of its
beauties. It is true, being considerably exhausted by much traveling
and having my thirst for sight-seeing considerably abated at New
York, I was not exactly in a condition to receive grand and stunning
impressions. Had I arrived here first, fresh from the mountains of
California instead of New York, Philadelphia might have impressed
me with feelings of admiration and satiated my desire to view
architectural and artistic beauties to its full. As it is—New York had
the precedence in my visit and with the remembrance of its grandeur
fresh upon my mind, I am obliged to admit that the City of Penn fell
short in its treasures of beauty of what I hoped and wished to find.
Here, however, as is universally the case, are exceptions to be met.
Only had I hoped the inverted to be the case—namely that beauties
might be the rule and common appearance the exception. I refer to the
Institution which will for a far off future immortalize the name it
bears—I mean Girard College. This is as far as I have knowledge, the
handsomest and grace-fullest edifice in America. At the time of day I
went to visit it, I could not get admittance and my view of it was in
consequence indistinct from the walls and distance that intervened.
Still, I saw enough fully to sustain the above opinion. The edifice
is large in size, surrounded by a portico ornamented by Corinthian
Columns of the chastest workmanship. The material which composes its
grand walls is I believe, fine marble. This, the main edifice, has
two additional buildings on each side—two for the male and two for
the female pupils. Beautiful grounds, planted with handsome trees and
flower beds intersected by gravel walks surround the buildings. The
whole again is enclosed by a big wall to keep the outer world from
intruding and marring the quiet and beauty within. Girard, the founder,
once poor but rich in thought, energy, and perseverance, accumulated by
well applied industry and diligence a princely fortune of which he the
greater portion, $800,000, bestowed upon the orphans of Philadelphia in
the most generous and useful way in this, the greatest American Orphan
College. He, in his will forbade the introduction of any religion for
educational purposes and also, the entrance of any of its apostles
within the walls. And who will blame him for this sweeping and, by many
condemned as sinful, prescription? It was not the want of faith of the
man in an all ruling Deity. No, but quite otherwise, his high regard
for the same, which guided him in this action. Knowing as we all know
of the great variety of religious communities, all differing with one
another, yes, in many cases condemning one another, he thought well
and justly so to keep the infant mind free of the different feuds
and enmities of the different sects. His purpose was to give them an
enlightened education, to acquaint their mind with facts, with events
and their causes and effects—so that when ripened and matured into men
and women free from all prejudices, they might themselves be enabled by
pure and cultivated thought to form a just and enlightened opinion of
their own about religion and its principles and aim and purpose. Is it
not better so to have the mind of the to-man-grown boy and the mind of
the girl who has reached womanhood unfettered by stubborn prejudices,
perhaps with hatred against its fellow creatures, than to have it
in its infancy so directed as to make it almost impossible to allow
them different views and opinions from those early implanted upon the
infant mind? I approve the motive and can appreciate the intelligence
and foresight of the mind of its originator. Honor and blessing be to
him—Girard—one of the great benefactors of the poor.

From here I continued my journey by the P. C. R. R. via Harrisburg
over the Alleghenys to Pittsburg, and from there took the steamer to
Wheeling the home of my brother Frederic and his family. I parted from
them, New Year eighteen fifty-one and as I, in the Spring of the same
year, left for California from which I have only now returned, I had
not seen them since. My arrival seemed to give them great pleasure
and all subsequent appearances seemed to warrant the genuineness
of their display of affectionate feelings. I trust this may really
be the case. That sincerity and not an un-nobler motive was at the
bottom of the lavished kindness. I know the value of a _true, sincere,
noble affection_ and _love_ so that I am always prone to suspect its
genuineness when too freely and plentifully offered. I still trust it
may have been real in this case. Brother Henry who resides at Sunfish,
Munro Co., Ohio, I also visited for five or six days and passed the
time right cheerfully whilst there. Henry is an honest soul, true and
sincere, incapable of deception. Both brothers wished me to remain
with them and join them in business. Their wishes, however, I saw best
to decline. I am certain that by separation we can harbor more and
better affection between us. Then the place and its environs did not
suit my taste for a life long _Home_. Yesterday, Tuesday, the eighth
of June, I bade them again farewell and took on the steamer _Courier_,
my departure for Cincinnati to go from there further West in search
of a home. Ho, for the West! Kind God, may ye will that I meet my
anticipations and wishes. All I wish is a pleasant, yes a beautiful and
healthy nook to live in, with a kind and loving wife to cheer me in
the battle of life and loving children to surround and ease when once
I journey the down hill of life towards ???—the grave—dissolution—the
end of man? In short, I want _Love in a Cottage_.

I arrived at Cincinnati on the morning of the tenth instant and took up
lodgings at the Spencer House, one of the best and of course, dearest
hotels in the city. This place surpassed my expectations which I had
formed in regard to its industry, activity and wealth. Since my last
visit here in eighteen fifty-two, the town has been greatly embellished
by many beautiful buildings, both private and public. Among the latter
those which deserve mention are the Custom House, and Post Office, the
Court House and many beautiful churches, amongst which the Catholic
Cathedral is the handsomest. Besides this, many new hotels—all of them
fine houses, as also many imposing business houses have been erected of
late years. The streets, at least in the main part of the town which
I only ambulated, are laid out at right angles. Among those which
run from the river, forming a right angle with the same, I noticed
Broadway, Main, Sycamore, Walnut. These are intersected by the streets
running parallel with the river numbered One, Two, Three, Four, etc. In
short Cincinnati, with a population of 200,000 and still increasing,
has all the appearance of a thriving, wealthy, industrial and
commercial city, and fills the position of such in the United States.
It is especially famous for the millions of hogs killed and packed here
annually. From here, in the shape of shoulders, bacon and ham they are
sent all over the United States and a large portion shipped via New
Orleans to England. Opposite to Cincinnati, is New Port, Kentucky—also
a thriving town. I stopped here over night and left the eleventh at
twelve o'clock on the steamer _Jacob Stratton_, the first and only low
pressure boat I ever saw on the Ohio, for Louisville, Kentucky. During
last night it set in again raining and continued so all day—so that
I had but little desire of being outside the cabin and consequently
observed but little of the scenery along the river to Louisville. There
are a number of thriving towns along the river—the principal of which
is Madison, Indiana. The Big Miami river divides Ohio from Indiana. We
lay over night at Louisville. The next morning I and my recently made
acquaintance Mr. Charles N. Scram, went over the greater part of the
city. Louisville belongs to Kentucky, situated on the Ohio river at
the head of the celebrated falls of the Ohio. The latter are, except
at high water, an obstruction to navigation to overcome which the
two-mile long canal was built at enormous cost and boats go through it
around the falls and strike again the Ohio below. Louisville counts a
population of sixty thousand inhabitants and is of both commercial and
industrial importance. It has several fine public buildings and the
richness and beauty and chastity of its many private buildings bespeak
at once the wealth and taste of its occupants. Its streets are wide and
it rejoices with Cincinnati in Avenues of trees now covered with the
richest of foliage.

We delayed here till noon of the twelfth, when we again took the
steamer _Moses McLellan_ for St. Louis, Missouri. The rain still
continued to fall and the Ohio river, as all the rivers throughout the
country, continues to rise. They promise to cause by their overflow an
incalculable amount of damage to the crops in the bottoms through which
they now roll their courses with the wildest of turbulence. Last night,
or rather, this morning, the rain has abated and thank God the sun once
more radiates its genial beams. May it continue and its blessed warmth
may yet reclaim many otherwise lost acres of grain.

It is now Sunday, twelve o'clock and we have arrived three hundred and
three miles from Louisville, having still three hundred and sixteen
miles to St. Louis. We shall probably get there tomorrow night. Thanks
to my cursed mind, I have this last two days again been oppressed with
the blues, what it will ever end in I don't know, possibly in suicide.
Why was I ever made or why was I not endowed with a mind to make life
desireful, pleasing and cheerful instead of the one I possess, which
is incapable to create a world for itself and too dull and selfish to
enjoy that of others? However, there is no help except—what can't be
cured must be endured.

Cairo, at the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, we reached
Sunday evening. The flood has desolated much of this lower country,
destroying crops and homes and in fact all kinds of property it
encountered in its sweeping course. Here it broke through the levee
which had been builded at a cost of twelve millions of dollars and
overran the whole town except a portion on the highest part of the Ohio
levee. The damage is immense and general. All being sufferers by it, it
is chance now whether it will ever be rebuilded. Its locality is such
that it must always be at the mercy of the high floods which occur in
these upper rivers periodically. They may fail some years, but will
only when they do come be so much more terrible in their destruction.
We doubled the point and with a strong current against us, ran up
stream. All the bottom along the river was covered with water, water,
presenting one bright broad sheet of water variegated with forests of
trees, in many places the roofs of homes being apparent only and many
being entirely under water.

We reached St. Louis Tuesday morning, the fifteenth instant. St.
Louis is a stirring place, made so by its favourable location on the
Mississippi river. This river connects it with the State of Missouri,
Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Kansas, and with all the country on the
lower Mississippi—principally New Orleans. This place will in a short
time rival any inland town in the Union and eventually become the next
largest city to New York. I stopped here almost two days, left it on
the seventeenth of June for the Northern part of Missouri and Kansas.
The trip up the Missouri is very tedious, the scenery being all the
same all the way. Bluffs of little beauty and bottom lands covered with
cottonwood. The river is very crooked and very rapid in its course.
On both these accounts we made slow headway up narrow chutes, around
innumerable bends, past ever so many towns and villages.

Sunday evening we got to Kansas City, Missouri. I laid over here the
next day Monday, in order to see the place and find out something about
its resources and prospects. While here I visited Wyandot on the North
side of Kansas River, the same side as Kansas City on the Missouri.
This is a very new free state settlement and although but of recent
origin has many fine houses, stores and hotels. Possessing a very good
site for a city with a good landing, it will be in time, when the
resources of Kansas are developed, a thriving place. Kansas City is
built on a bluff rising from the river bank and expensive grading was
necessary to secure an area for houses. From here streets are made by
excavating through the bluffs to the best part of the city which lies
back of the bluffs. This addition is quite new but springing up now
very fast and will become in time a large city.

I left Kansas City on Monday afternoon for Leavenworth and St. Joseph
and reached the latter place on the twenty-fourth instant. I had been
here in eighteen fifty-two, on my way to California. I remembered well
enough its site but the town has changed very much since that time,
having at least four times increased in its size and population. It is
laid out in rectangular streets having on Second street an open place
for the market house. There are already many fine buildings here and
many more going up. Property has greatly enhanced in value on account
of its unrivalled location. I stayed here several days making enquiry
and gaining information as to the resources of the place and its
adaptability to my business. The prospects held out to me were fair
enough and I partly decided if I could not find a place suiting still
better to return here and establish myself in business.

I left this town for Leavenworth, seventy miles South of St. Joseph on
the Missouri River. This is in Kansas and although only three years old
has already attained a size and enjoys a large and growing commerce
which rivals many a town of ten times its age. It is at present the
key port to Kansas Territory. Most of the business for the Territory
is transacted here. Its location on the Missouri River secures it the
connection with St. Louis and through it by the Grand Central Web of
Railroads with all parts of the United States. The site for the town is
good and back some distance from the river and right above the business
part of the town, up the River, beautiful.

This town holds out the same inducements to me to start business here
as St. Joseph. It does now and I think always will lead St. Joseph
in commercial importance and the fact of being in a free State will
probably turn the scale in its favor in my decision between the two
places. Leavenworth City at present is yet only three years old and
grown as sudden as it has, everyone putting up buildings only studying
to make the least outlay practicable for present purposes, the sanitary
arrangements have of consequence been neglected and this I am satisfied
in my mind will be the cause of severe sickness during this and the
still coming scorching heat of Summer. This fact will probably keep
me off till Fall, when colder winds will purify the air from putrid

I started on a short trip inland, to see somewhat more of the Territory
than its outskirts, on the last day of June. This is certainly a lovely
country to survey, bound to attract the admiration of any one in whose
heart the least drop of human kindness is not forever dried up. A
living sea is the truest picture I can give of its appearance, the
whole is a vast expanse of land, undulating, shifting, like the eternal
throwings of the Ocean. Here and there streams meandering along through
some of its shallow curves, fringed with trees, add to the sublimity
of the scene. But for me to portray this part of nature's face is a
useless task. I can feel the grandeurs of it easier than to describe

After passing through the reservation of the Delaware, we crossed the
Kansas River and arrived at Lawrence, the first town this side of
Leavenworth. I arrived just in time to hear of the acquittal of Jim
Lame for the murder of Jennings. After a stay of an hour during which
I promenaded once or twice through the only street which makes the
present town, I took the stage for Topeka, twenty-five miles distance.
I had the pleasure of enjoying a right good thorough jolting, making
the trip one of punishment instead of pleasure. After a long and
tedious ride of nine hours, passing through Tecompton and Tecomseh, we
arrived at two o'clock in the morning of the first of July in Topeka. I
came here principally to buy hides, but could not find any here. This,
like all the places here is quiet and at present very dull, being in
fact at the lowest stage of commercial stagnation. I shall take the
stage tomorrow at two A.M. for Leavenworth City.

  │ 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.             │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Italicized words are surrounded by underline characters,  _like   │
  │ this_.                                                            │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Other notes:                                                      │
  │   Fort Kerney changed to Fort Kearney (pp. 20, 23, 25).           │
  │   Fort Bredger changed to Fort Bridger (p. 40).                   │
  │   John Guttenburg changed to John Gutenberg (p. 71).              │
  │   Saint Antoin changed to Saint Antoine (p. 85).                  │

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