Starting from Monroe County, Iowa, Saturday, April 9, 1853, and Ending Near Millwaukie, Oregon Territory, September 17, 1853.
Saturday, April 9th, 1853 -- STARTED FROM HOME about 11 o’clock and traveled 8 miles and camped in an old house; night cold and frosty.
Sunday, April 10th -- Cool and pleasant, road hard and dusty. Evening Came 18 miles and camped close in to the Fulkerson’s house.
Monday, April 11th -- Morn. Cloudy and signs of rain, about 10 o’clock it began to rain. At noon it rains so hard we turn out and camp in a school house after traveling 11 miles; rains all the afternoon and all night, very unpleasant. Jefferson and Lucy have the mumps. Poor cattle bawled all night.
Tuesday, April 12th -- Warm and sultry. Still cloudy, road very muddy. Traveled 10 miles and camp on Soap creek bottom. Creek bank full; have to wait till it falls.
Wednesday, April 13th -- Fair weather. Have to overhaul all wagons and dry things. Evening. Still in camp.
Thursday, April 14th -- Quite cold. Little ewes crying with cold feet. Sixteen wagons all getting ready to cross the creek. Hurrah and bustle to get breakfast over. Feed the cattle. Hurrah boys, all ready, we will be the first to cross the creek this morning. Gee up Tip and Tyler, and away we go, the sun just rising. Evening -- We have traveled 24 miles today and are about to camp in a large prairie without wood. Cold and chilly; east wind. The men have pitched the tent and are hunting something to make a fire to get supper. I have the sick headache and must leave to boys to get it themselves the best they can.
Friday, April 15th -- Cold and cloudy, wind still east. Bad luck last night. Three of our horses got away. Suppose they have gone back. One of the boys has gone back after them, and we are going on slowly. Evening - Henry has come back with the horses all right again. Came 17 miles today. Roads very bad and muddy. Cold and clouds all day. It is beginning to rain; the boys have pitched the tent and I must get supper.
Saturday, April 16th -- Camped last night three miles east of Chariton Point on the prairie. Made our beds down in the tent in the wet and mud. Bed clothes nearly spoiled. Cold and cloudy this morning, and every body out of humour. Seneca is half sick. Plutarch has broke his saddle girth. Husband is scolding and hurrying all hands (and the cook), and Almira says she wished she was home and I say ditto. “Home Sweet Home.” Evening - We passed a small town this morning called Chariton Point. The sun shone a little this afternoon. Came 24 miles today, and have pitched our tent in the prairie again, and have some hay to put under our beds. Corn one dollar per bushel, feed for our stock cost 16 dol. to night.
Sunday, April 17th -- It is warm and pleasant; we are on our way again, traveling over some very pretty rolling prairie. Corn is up to three dollars a bushel. Travel 20 miles today, and have camped in the prairie. No wood to cook with. Have to eat cold supper. Have the good luck to find corn at 80 cents a bushel.
Monday, April 18th -- Cold; breaking fast the first thing; very disagreeable weather; wind east, cold and rainy, no fire. We are on a very large prairie, no timber can be seen as far as the eye can reach. Evening - Have crossed several bad streams today, and more than once have been stuck in the mud. We passes Pisgah this afternoon, and have just crossed Grand river, and will camp in a little bottom. Plenty of wood and we will have a warm supper, I guess. Came 22 miles today. My head aches, but the fire is kindled and I must make some tea, that will help it, if not cure it.
Tuesday, April 19th -- Still damp and cloudy; corn very scarce and high. Traveled 20 miles and camp.
Wednesday, April 20th -- Cloudy. We are creeping along slowly, one wagon after another, the same old gait; and the same thing over, out of one mud hole into another all day. Crossed a branch where the water run into the wagons. No corn to be had within 75 miles. Came 18 miles and camp.
Thursday, April 21st -- Rained all night; is still raining. I have just counted 17 wagons traveling ahead of us in the mud and water. No feed for our poor stock to be got at any price. Have to feed them flour and meal. Traveled 22 miles today.
Friday, April 22nd -- Still bad weather; no sun; traveling on, mile after mile in the mud, mud. Traveled 24 miles and cross Nishnabotna and camp on the bank of it.
Saturday, April 23rd -- Still in camp, it rained hard all night, and blew a hurricane almost. All the tents were blown down, and some wagons capsized. Evening -- It has been raining hard all day; everything is wet and muddy. One of the oxen missing; the boys have been hunting him all day. Dreary times, wet and muddy, and crowded in the tent, cold and wet and uncomfortable inthe wagon. No place for the poor children. I have been busy cooking, roasting coffee, etc., today, and have come into the wagon to write this and make our bed.
Sunday, April 24th -- The rain has ceased and the sun shines a little; must stay in camp and dry the bed clothes. No feed for the stock, but what little grass they can pick. Afternoon -- Found the ox, and lost our muley cow (hornless). Must wait and find her.
Monday, April 25th -- Rather cold, but the sun shines once more. Still feeding the cattle and horses on flour. One of our horses badly foundered. On our way again, at last, found our cow with a young calf; had to leave the calf behind; then travel on a while and come to a very bad sidling bridge to cross over a creek. Came 18 miles.
Tuesday, April 26th -- Cold and clear; found corn last night at 2 dollars a bushel. Paid 12 dollars for about half a feed for our stock. I can count 20 wagons winding up the hill ahead of us. Traveled 20 miles and camp.
Wednesday, April 27th -- A nice spring morning; warm and pleasant. The road is covered with wagons and cattle. Paid two dollars 40 cts. for crossing a bridge. Traveled 25 miles today and camp on a creek called --- about 10 miles from the bluffs.
Thursday, April 28th -- Still in camp, pleasant weather; we will stay here few days to rest and recruit our cattle, wash, cook, etc.
Friday, April 29th -- Cool and pleasant; saw the first Indians today. Luey and Almira afraid and run into the wagon to hide. Done some washing and sewing.
Saturday, April 30th -- Fine weather; spent this day in washing, baking, and overhauling the wagons. Several more wagons have camped around us.
Sunday, May 1st -- Still fine weather; wash and scrub all the children.
Monday, May 2nd -- Pleasant evening; have been cooking, and packing things away for an early start in the morning. Threw away several jars, some wooden buckets, and all our pickles. To unhandy to carry. Indians came to our camp every day, begging money and something to eat. Children are getting used to them.
Tuesday, May 3rd -- Fine weather. Leave Loudenback and his team this morning and are on our way again. Travel 6 or 7 miles and camp on Pony Creek, here Plutarch is taken sick.
Wednesday, May 4th -- Weather fair; travel 3 miles today, passed through Kanesville and camp in a lane, not far from the Missouri River, and wait our turn to cross. No feed for the stock, have to buy flour at 3 per hundred to feed them.
Thursday, May 5th -- We crossed the river this morning on a large steam boat called the Hindoo, after a great deal of Hurrahing and trouble to get the cattle all aboard. One ox jumped overboard and swam across the river, and came out like a drowned rat. The river is even with its banks, timber on it, which is mostly cottonwood, is quite green. Costs us 15 dollars to cross. After biding Iowa a kind farewell we travel about 8 miles and camp among the old ruins of the Mormon towns. We here join another company, which will make in all 24 men, 10 wagons, and a large drove of cattle. Have appointed a captain, and are now prepared to guard the stock, four men watch 2 hours and then call up four more to take their places, so by that means no person can sleep about the camp. Such a wild noisy set was never heard.
Friday, May 6th -- Pleasant. We have just passed the Mormon graveyard. There is a great number of graves on it. The road is covered with wagons and cattle. Here we passed a train of wagons on their way back, the head man had drowned a few days before, in a river called Elkhorn, while getting some cattle across, and his wife was lying in the wagon quite sick, and children were mourning for a father gone. With sadness and pity I passed those who perhaps a few days before had been well and happy as ourselves. Came 20 miles today.
Saturday, May 7th -- Cold morning, thermometer down to 48 in the wagon. No wood, only enough to boil some coffee. Good grass for the stock. We have crossed a small creek, with a narrow Indian bridge across it. Paid the Indians 75 cents toll. My hands are numb with cold. Evening -- Travel 23 miles and camp on Elkhorn bottom close to river. It is very high and dangerous to cross.
Sunday, May 8th -- Sunday morning. Still in camp waiting to cross. There are three hundred or more wagons in sight and as far as the eye can reach, the bottom is covered, on each side of the river, with cattle and horses. There is not ferry here and the men will have to make one out of the tightest wagon-bed (every company should have a waterproof wagon-bed for this purpose).Everything must now be hauled out of the wagons head over heels (and he who knows where to find anything will be a smart fellow), then the wagons must be all taken to pieces, and then by means of a strong rope stretched across the river, with a tight wagon-bed attached to the middle of it, the rope must be long enough to pull from one side to the other, with men on each side of the river to pull it. In this way we have to cross everything a little at a time. Women and children last, and then swim the cattle and horses. There were three horses and some cattle drowned while crossing this place yesterday. It is quite lively and merry here this morning and the weather fine. We are camped on a large bottom, with the broad, deep river on one side of us and a high bluff on the other.
Monday, May 9th -- Morning cold, within 4 degrees of freezing; we are all on the right side of the river this morning. It took the men all day yesterday to get everything across, which they did all safe by working hard. We are now on our way again. Evening - We have driven a good ways out off the road to find grass and camp after traveling 22 miles.
Tuesday, May 10th -- Cold; thermometer down to thirty in the wagon; ground froze last night. Came 20 miles and camp.
Wednesday, May 11th -- Evening. It has been very dusty yesterday and today. The men all have their false eyes on to keep the dust out. We are traveling up Platte River bottom, on the north side. We have been near the river several times; it is a beautiful river about a mile across, full of islands and sand bars; as far as the eye can reach the road is covered with teams. Plutarch is well and able to drive. Came 23 miles.
Thursday, May 12th -- Thursday Noon -- Beautiful weather, but very dusty. We are camped on the bank of Loup Fork, awaiting our turn to cross. There are two ferry boats running, and a number of wagons ahead of us, all waiting to cross. Have to pay three dollars a wagon for three wagons and swim the stock. traveled 12 miles today. We hear there are 700 teams on the road ahead of us. Wash and cook this afternoon.
Friday, May 13th -- It is thundering and bids fair for rain. Crossed the river very early this morning before breakfast. Got breakfast over after a fashion. Sand all around ankle deep; wind blowing; no matter, hurry it over. them that eat the most breakfast eat the most sand. We are all moving again slowly. Evening -- Came 24 miles today. Finding we can get along faster and more comfortable alone, we left all company this morning, and have camped alone. Our company passed us while at supper and said 'Good evening,' and camped a little ahead of us.
Saturday, May 14th -- Had a fine rain last night; laid the dust, cool and the sun shines this morning. We see very few Indians. Did not see more than a dozen Pawnees. We are now in the Sioux country. Passed the sand bluffs. Traveled 2 miles and were obliged to stop and camp on the prairie near a large pond of water, on account of the high winds, and some rain. Winds so high that we dare not make a fire, impossible to pitch the tent, the wagons could hardly stand the wind. All that find room are crowded into the wagons; those that can’t, have to stay out in the storm. Some of the boys have lost their hats.
Sunday, May 15th -- Cool and pleasant after such a storm. Travel 18 miles and camp.
Monday, May 16th -- Evening -- We have had all kinds of weather today. This morning was dry, dusty and sandy. This afternoon it rained, hailed, and the wind was very high. Have been traveling all the afternoon in mud and water up to our hubs. Broke chains and stuck in the mud several times. The men and boys are all wet and muddy. Hard times, but they say that misery loves company. We are not alone on these bare plains, it is covered with cattle and wagons. We have come to another muddy branch, we will cross it and find a camping place. Good grass for the stock, and that is one good luck we have. Travel about 20 miles. The wind is getting higher.
Tuesday, May 17th -- We had a dreadful storm of rain and hail last night and very sharp lightning. It killed two oxen for one man. We have just encamped on a large flat prairie, when the storm commenced in all its fury and in two minutes after the cattle were taken from the wagons every brute was gone out of sight, cows, calves, horses, all gone before the storm like so many wild beasts. I never saw such a storm. The wind was so high I thought it would tear the wagons to pieces. Nothing but the stoutest covers could stand it. The rain beat into the wagons so that everything was wet, in less than 2 hours the water was a foot deep all over our campgrounds. As we could have no tents pitched, all had to crowd into the wagons and sleep in wet beds, with their wet clothes on, without supper. The wind blew hard all night, and this morning presents a dreary prospect surrounded by water, and our saddles have been soaking in it all night and are almost spoiled. Our cow Rose came up to be milked; had little or nothing for breakfast. The men took the cow’s tracks and found the stock about 4 miles from camp. Start on and travel about 2 miles and come to Dry Creek, so called because it is dry most of the year. I should call it Water Creek now, as it is out of its banks and we will have to wait until it falls. No wood within 8 miles. Raining by spells.
Wednesday, May 18th -- Still in camp; very high winds again last night, blew some of the tents over; cold and windy this morning and not a stick of wood to make a fire; trying to dry clothes between showers. the creek is falling.
Thursday, May 19th -- Clear. All are getting ready to cross the creek. Afternoon - Crossed Dry Creek this morning and have traveled 10 miles and came to Wood Creek, and are up a stump again; it is also very high and we will have to cross it as we did Elkhorn, in a wagon bed, and swim the stock. Just got things packed away nicely this morning, now they must all be tumbled out again. well, there is plenty of wood and I will spend the afternoon in cooking.
Friday, May 20th -- Crossed Wood Creek last night and got loaded up a little after dark and drove out 3 or 4 miles, where we found a good camping place. We are now traveling between Platte River and Wood Creek; plenty of water and grass, not much wood, and that cotton wood. Traveled 21 miles.
Saturday, May 21st -- We have just crossed Deep Dry Creek. It had a little muddy water in it. Very warm; it is the first the cattle have lolled. Thermometer up to 92 in wagon; good grass, bad water, and no wood; came 20 miles.
Sunday May 22nd -- Fine weather. Crossed branches and mud holes all day. Traveled about 18 miles.
Monday, May 23rd -- The road is covered with droves of cattle and wagons -- no end to them. Dry and dusty all day. Traveled 20 miles and camp on the bank of Platte River. Plenty of wood, by wading across the islands for it.
Tuesday, May 24th -- Stay in camp today, to wash and cook, as we have a good camping ground, plenty of wood and water, and good grass. Weather pleasant. I had the sick headache all night, some better this morning; must do a day’s work. Husband went back a piece this morning in search of our dog, which he found with some rascals who were trying to keep him.
Wednesday, May 25th -- It is raining. We have got our washing and some cooking done, and with a bunch of wood tied on each wagon (for the purpose of making coffee as we will not see wood again soon), we are ready to start as soon as the rain holds up. Evening -- It has been cold and rainy all day. Only traveled 12 miles and camped.
Thursday, May 26th -- It rained all the forenoon, cleared off at noon; we started and traveled about 14 miles over marshy, wet ground. While the teams were creeping along, I went up on a high bluff and had a splendid view of the Platte and her beautiful timbered islands (chiefly cottonwood and willow).
Friday, May 27th -- Cloudy and wind east. We are now traveling along the edge of the Platte. It is so wide here you can just see timber on the other side. It must be 2 miles across. Traveled 20miles today.
Saturday, May 28th -- Traveled 18 miles today over very sandy ground. Passed a lot of men skinning a buffalo. We got a mess and cooked some of it for supper. It was very good and tender. It is the first we have seen dead or alive.
Sunday, May 29th -- Quite warm. Came 15 miles, very sandy, and bad traveling for the cattle. It will be 175 miles before we see timber again. We have a little dry wood along to make coffee and tea.
Monday, May 30th -- It has been cloudy and cool today and better roads. Traveled 23 miles.
Tuesday, May 31st -- Evening -- Traveled 25 miles today. When we started this morning there were two large droves of cattle and about 50 wagons ahead of us, and we either had to stay poking behind them in the dust or hurry up and drive past them. It was no fool of a job to be mixed up with several hundred head of cattle, and only one road to travel in, and the drovers threatened to drive their cattle over you if you attempted to pass them. They even took out their pistols. Husband came up just as one man held his pistol at Wilson Carl and saw what the fuss was and said, “Boys, follow me,” and he drove our team out of the road entirely, and the cattle seemed to understand it all, for they went into the trot most of the way. The rest of the boys followed with their teams and the rest of the stock. I had rather a rough ride, to be sure, but was glad to get away from such a lawless set, which we did by noon. The head teamster did his best by whipping and hollowing to his cattle. He found it of no use and got up into his wagon to take it easy. We left some swearing men behind us. We drove a good ways ahead and stopped to rest the cattle and eat some dinner. While we were eating we saw them coming. All hands jumped for their teams, saying they had earned the road too dearly to let them pass again, and in a few moments we were all on the go again. Had been very warm today. Thermometer at 98 in the wagon at one o’clock. Towards evening there came up a light thunderstorm which cooled the air down to 60. We are now within 100 miles of Fort Laramie.
Wednesday, June 1st -- It has been raining all day long and we have been traveling in it so as to be able to keep ahead of the large droves. The men and boys are all soaking wet and look sad and comfortless. The little ones and myself are shut up in the wagons from the rain. Still it will find its way in and many things are wet; and take us all together we are a poor looking set, and all this for Oregon. I am thinking while I write, 'Oh, Oregon, you must be a wonderful country.' Came 18 miles today.
Thursday, June 2nd -- It has cleared off pleasant after the rain and all hands seem bright and cheerful again. We are going along the same old gait. Evening -- Traveled 27 miles today. Passed Court House Rock and Chimney Rock, both situated on the lower side of the river, and have been in sight for several days. We have camped opposite Chimney Rock.
Friday, June 3rd -- We had another hard blow and rain last night, looks like some clearing off this morning. Evening -- Came 21 miles today and have camped about opposite Scott’s Bluffs. Water very bad -- have had to use out of Platte most of time. It is very high and muddy.
Saturday, June 4th -- More rain last night, is raining some today. The roads are very bad, nothing but mud and water. Came 16 miles.
Sunday, June 5th -- Very warm. Slow traveling. Several of the oxen have sore necks, caused by traveling in the rain. Came 18 miles today and are camped by the Platte, where we have wood and plenty of grass for the stock.
Monday, June 6th -- Still in camp, husband and myself being sick (caused, we suppose, by drinking the river water, as it looks more like dirty suds than anything else), we concluded to stay in camp and each take a vomit, which we did and are much better. The boys and myself have been washing some today. The prickly pear grows in great abundance along this Platte River road.
Tuesday, June 7th -- Rained some last night; quite warm today. Just passed Fort Laramie, situated on the opposite side of the river. This afternoon we passed a large village of Sioux Indians. Numbers of them came around our wagons. Some of the women had moccasins and beads, which they wanted to trade for bread. I gave the women and children all the cakes I had baked. Husband traded a big Indian a lot of hard crackers for a pair of moccasins and after we had started on he came up with us again, making a great fuss, and wanted them back (they had eaten part of the crackers). He did not seem to be satisfied, or else he wished to cause us some trouble, or perhaps get into a fight. However, we handed the moccasins to him in a hurry and drove away from them as soon as possible. Several lingered along watching our horses that were tied behind the wagons, no doubt with the view of stealing them, but our folks kept a sharp lookout till they left. We had a thunderstorm of rain and hail and a hard blow this afternoon. Have traveled 18 miles and are now camped among the Black Hills. They are covered with cedar and pine wood, sandstone, limestone and pure water.
Wednesday, June 8th -- It is a pleasant morning after the rain. Everything looks fresh and green. We are traveling through the Black Hills, over rocks and stones. There is some splendid scenery here. Beautiful valleys and dark, green clad hills with their ledges of rock and then far away over them you can see Laramie Peak, with her snow-capped top. Evening -- Came 16 miles today. Had another shower this afternoon and have camped in a lovely spot, plenty of wood, water, and good grass.
Thursday, June 9th -- Came 18 miles today. Weather warm. Had a slight shower in the afternoon. Camped without wood or water, but good grass.
Friday, June 10th -- It has been very warm today. Thermometer up to 99 at noon. Traveled 21miles over a very rough road, and have camped on the bank of Platte River. Wild sage brush to burn, which makes a very good fire when dry. Very poor grass. Here, one of our hands, left us (Benjamin Houghes).
Saturday, June 11th -- The last of the Black Hills we crossed this afternoon, over the roughest and most desolate piece of ground that was ever made (called by some the Devil’s Crater). Not a drop of water, nor a spear of grass to be seen, nothing but barren hills, bare broken rock, sand and dust. Quite a contrast to the first part of the hills. We reached Platte River about noon, and our cattle were so crazy for water that some of them plunged headlong into the river with their yokes on. Traveled 18 miles and camp.
Sunday, June 12th -- We are traveling on in the sand and dust. It is very dusty and the road is covered with teams and droves of cattle. The grass is very poor, mostly gone to seed. Evening --Came about 17 miles and have camped near the bank of the Platte. The boys have driven the cattle on to an island where they can get grass, and I have just washed the dust out of my eyes so that I can see to get supper.
Monday, June 13th -- This has been a long hard day’s travel. Came 30 miles through sand and dust, and have camped opposite the old upper ferry on the Platte. Tomorrow we will come to the first poison water. There will be no more good water for about 25 miles; we will also leave Platte River in the morning for good.
Tuesday, June 14th -- We started this morning at daybreak to travel our long, dry, dusty day’s travel. the dust and sand has been very bad. Passed the Avenue Rock this afternoon. Traveled 31 miles and are about to camp. There is not less than 150 wagons camped around us, but we have left most of the droves behind, and no end to the teams. Had a great deal of trouble to keep the stock from drinking the poison or alkali water. It is almost sure to kill man or beast who drink it.
Wednesday, June 15th -- Came 19 miles today; passed Independence Rock this afternoon, and crossed Sweetwater River on a bridge. Paid 3 dollars a wagon and swam the stock across. The river is very high and swift. There are cattle and horses drowned there every day; there was one cow went under the bridge and was drowned, while we were crossing, belonging to another company. The bridge is very rickety and must soon break down. We are camped 2 miles this side of the bridge, near the river.
Thursday, June 16th -- We are now traveling up Sweetwater Valley between two mountains, one of them being covered with snow. Sweetwater is a clear, cool, and beautiful stream, and close to its margin lies the road. This morning we passed the Devil’s Gate -- came 16 miles, and have camped on the banks of Sweetwater. No wood or grass on this side of the river.
Friday, June 17th -- Concluded to stay in camp and rest the cattle a day or tow. Swam the cattle and horses across the river where there is plenty of good feed. We also get our wood from the other side. The best swimmers go over and cut a light cedar log and swim back with it. Have been washing and cooking today. The mosquitoes are very bad here. Cut the first cheese today.
Saturday, June 18th -- Still in camp, overhauling the wagons, cooking, sewing patches, etc., etc. Had a very hard blow and a slight sprinkle of rain this afternoon.
Sunday, June 19th -- On our way again. Traveling in the sand and dust. Sand ankle deep -- hard traveling. Came 18 miles and camp on the bank of Sweetwater again, and swim the cattle over to feed.
Monday, June 20th -- Came 22 miles today, passed good water once; passed a good deal of poisoned water, and have camped in the mountains. Weather warm and pleasant.
Tuesday, June 21st -- We have traveled over a very rough, rocky road today; over mountains close to banks of snow. Had plenty of snow water to drink. Husband brought me a large bucket of snow and one of our hands brought me a beautiful bunch of flowers which he said was growing close to the snow, which was about 6 feet deep. Traveled 16 miles today, and have camped on the mountain about 7 miles from the summit. We are traveling through the South Pass. The Wind River Mountains are off to our right. Among them is Fremont’s Peak. They look romantic covered with snow.
Wednesday, June 22nd -- Very cold. Water froze over in its buckets; thermometer down to 30;the boys have on their overcoats and mittens. Evening -- It snowed a little through the day. The road has been very dusty, but smooth and level as a turnpike. Came 18 miles and camped about one-half mile from Pacific Springs. We left Sweetwater this morning.
Thursday, June 23rd -- Cold again this morning. Water froze over. Came 27 miles and camped on the bank of Little Sandy River after dark.
Friday, June 24th -- Came from Little Sandy to Big Sandy, 7 miles, and will camp for a day or two, to rest the stock; good grass and water here. Henry Miller left us this morning. We started with 5 hands and have only two left.
Saturday, June 25th -- Still in camp washing, cooking and sewing, etc. Weather very pleasant.
Sunday, June 26th -- We are on our way again traveling in the dust, dust. We must go 17 miles or more without water or grass. Evening -- All hands come into camp tired and out of heart. Husband and myself sick. No feed for the stock. One ox lame. Camp on the bank of Big Sandy again.
Monday, June 27th -- Cold, cloudy, and very windy -- more like November than June. I am not well enough to get out of the wagon this morning. The men have just got their breakfast over and drove up the stock. It is all hurry and bustle to get things in order. It’s “children milk the cows, all hands help yoke these cattle, the d--l’s in them.” Plutarch answers, “I can’t, I must hold the tent up, it is blowing away.” Hurrah boys. Who tied these horses? “Seneca, don’t stand there with your hands in your pocket. Get your saddles and be ready.” Evening-- Traveled 18 miles today and have camped on the bank of Green River and must wait our turn to cross on a ferryboat. No grass for the poor cattle. All hands discouraged. We have taken in two new hands today, which will make us full handed again.
Tuesday, June 28th -- Still in camp waiting to cross. Nothing for the stock to eat. As far as the eye can reach it is nothing but a sandy desert and the road is strewn with dead cattle, and the stench is awful. One of our best oxen is too lame to travel; have to sell him for what we can get, to a native for 15 dollars (all along this road we see white men living with Indians; many of them have trading posts; they are mostly French and have squaw wives). Have to yoke up our muley cow in the ox’s place.
Wednesday, June 29th -- Cold and cloudy. The wagons are all crowded up to the ferry waiting with impatience to cross. There are 30 or more to cross before us. Have to cross one at a time. Have to pay 8 dollars for a wagon; 1 dollar for a horse or cow. We swim all our stock. Evening-- We crossed the river about three o’clock then traveled 10 miles and camp close to Slate Creek. It is cold enough to sit by the fire.
Thursday, June 30th -- Traveled 20 miles today and have camped in the mountains near a clear, cold stream of good water; grass aplenty and dry sage brush top burn; the children have climbed the mountain to see the sunset.
Friday, July 1st -- We had a fine shower last night, which laid the dust and freshened the grass. It is cold this morning, almost freezing. We are now ascending a steep mountain. Now we are at the top. All around us we can see the snowy mountains, and down below us is a beautiful green valley and a small Indian village. Evening -- Traveled 18 miles today. Crossed Ham’s Fork of Green River this afternoon and have camped half way up a steep mountain.
Saturday, July 2nd -- We have been traveling up and down steep mountains all day. Came about15 miles and camped within 2 miles of Bear River, close to a good spring.
Sunday, July 3rd -- Bad luck this morning. Soon after starting one of our best oxen took sick, and in less than an hour he was dead. Suppose he was poisoned with alkali water, or weeds. Turned out the odd ox and started on. Crossed Smith’s Fork of Bear River. Paid a dollar a wagon. It is a very rapid stream, and hard to swim stock over. We then came over some very rough ground, the worst we have seen -- nothing but rocks to travel over, close under a steep mountain. came 10 miles, and camped near the foot of a steep mountain; water and grass plenty, also wood. We will stay here till after the Fourth. Two of our oxen quite lame.
Monday, July 4th -- It has been very warm today. Thermometer up to 110, and yet we can see banks of snow almost within reach. I never saw mosquitoes as bad as they are here. Chat (a son) has been sick all day with fever, partly caused by mosquito bites. The men have been shoeing one of the lame oxen, the first one they have tried to shoe. The other one’s foot is much too swollen.
Tuesday, July 5th -- We are camping on top of a mountain at noon to rest awhile. It is warm but there is a good breeze up here. Chatfield is sick yet; had fever all night. Evening -- Crossed two creeks today, one with a bridge over it. Paid one dollar a wagon to cross. Travel 15 miles over a very hilly road and camp near the Sulphur Springs situated on a small prairie surrounded by mountains.
Wednesday, July 6th -- Travel 20 miles today and camp near a spring (in the Mosquito Valley). There is plenty of good grass all along Bear River Valley. Traded a cow and calf today for a steer to yoke up with the old one. And find after using him half a day that we have been cheated as he can’t stand it to travel.
Thursday, July 7th -- We have traveled 20 miles today, all up hill and down. It has been very warm and dusty. We have camped about half a mile off from the road close to a splendid spring of limestone water in a beautiful pine and cedar grove. While I am writing, we are having a fine little shower, which is a great treat. Our poor dog gave out with the heat and sand so that he could not travel. The boys have gone back after him. It has cleared off and I must get supper.
Friday, July 8th -- Very pleasant. Found our dog last night. We have just left the soda springs, regaling ourselves on soda water. This part of the country is very pretty and quite romantic. We came then on a few miles and stopt at the Steam Boat Springs -- a great curiosity, situated near the bank of Bear River. It spouts up about a foot and a half, out of a hole in the solid rock. It is about warm enough to wash in. I put my handkerchief in to wash, and it drew it under a moment. It came up again, and I took better care of it. Afternoon -- After traveling 14 miles, we have camped near a spring to rest -- a lame man, a sick man, a lame ox, and a lame dog, etc. Grass plenty. Left Bear River this forenoon.
Saturday, July 9th -- We passed the forks of the emigrants’ road yesterday noon, after leaving the California road. We find the grass much better, as most of the large trains are bound for California. Noon -- Came 10 miles and have camped on Shoshone Creek; in this part of the country the water is all hard, not fit to wash with. Our thermometer broke here.
Sunday, July 10th -- Travel 9 miles this forenoon, and came to park near creek; paid dollar for crossing it, on a very rough bridge; then we stopped awhile to noon at a small bottom, then travel 8 miles up a mountain, and camp near the top, close to a very large spring of clear, cold water, running from under a snowy mountain.
Monday, July 11th -- We will now descend the mountain; pleasant weather, but the roads very dusty. Evening -- We have forded Ross Creek, and one more small creek today. Came 15 miles and camp by a small creek.
Tuesday, July 12th -- Came 12 miles, crossed Ross Creek again this morning, on a bridge, paid 25 cents a wagon, and we have just crossed Portneuf River on a ferry boat, paid 2 dollars a wagon, and swam the stock. We are now insight of the three Buttes. Evening -- Came 10 miles this afternoon’ crossed Panack Creek, and have camped this side of it. We are now traveling down the bank of Snake River.
Wednesday, July 13th -- We have just been spending an hour at the American Falls on Snake River. There are several falls on this river. The river is wide and deep, and very swift in places. We should cross it, and keep down on the other side, but there is no ferry boat, and we have no way to cross it, therefore we must keep down on this (south) side, with very little grass, while on the other side there is plenty. Travel 22 miles and camp.
Thursday, July 14th -- It is dust from morning until night, with now and then a sprinkling of gnats and mosquitoes, and as far as the eye can reach it is nothing but a sandy desert, covered with wild sage brush, dried up with heat; however it makes good firewood. Evening -- I have not felt well today and the road has been very tedious to me. I have ridden in the wagon and taken care of Chatfield till I got tired, then I got out and walked in the sand and through stinking sagebrush till I gave out; and I feel thankful that we are about to camp after traveling 22 miles, on the bank of Raft River, about dark; river high.
Friday, July 15th -- Last night I helped get supper and went to bed too sick to eat any myself. Had fever all night and all day. It is sundown and the fever has left me. I am able to creep around and look at things and brighten up a little; the sun has been very hot today. Remained in camp nearly all day, waiting for the river to fall. We forded the river late this afternoon by raising the wagon beds a foot, to prevent the water from running in. We have encamped a half mile from the same place; the bottom here is full of poison water.
Saturday, July 16th -- We came 16 miles over a very rough, rocky road, without water, then rested 2 hours and then traveled 4 miles more, and have camped near Swamp Creek.
Sunday, July 17th -- We are traveling through the Digger Indians’ country, but have not seen any yet. We crossed Swamp Creek this morning, and Goose Creek this afternoon. Goose Creek is almost straight down, and then straight up again. Several things pitched out of the wagons in to the Creek. Travel over some very rocky ground. Here Chat fell out of the wagon, but did not get hurt much. Came 25 miles today, and camp after dark near Snake River.
Monday, July 18th -- Traveled 22 miles. Crossed one small creek and have camped on one called Rock Creek. It is here the Indians are so troublesome. This creek is covered with small timber and thick underbrush, a great hiding place; and while in this part of the country the men have to guard the stock all night. One man traveling ahead of us had all his horses stolen and never found them as we know of. (I was very much frightened while at this camp. I lay awake all night. I expected every minute we would be killed. However, we all found our scalps on in the morning.) There are people killed at this place every year.
Tuesday, July 19th -- Came 15 miles. Crossed Rock Creek about noon in all the dust; we had a nice little shower, which laid the dust and made the traveling much better. Camped about three o’clock close to a canyon on Rock Creek.
Wednesday, July 20th -- Dry traveling today. No grass; water is very scarce. Stopped at noon to water at a very bad place on Snake River, one and a half miles or more down a steep bank or precipice. The cattle looked like little dogs down there, and after all the trouble of getting the poor things down there, they were so tired they could not drink, and were obliged to travel back and take the dusty road again. We are still traveling on in search of water, water.
Thursday, July 21st -- Very warm, traveled 25 miles yesterday and camped after dark one-half mile from Snake River. Crossed Salmon River about noon today and are now traveling down Snake River, till we reach the ferry. Afternoon -- Came 12 miles and have camped close to the ferry. Our turn will come to cross in the night. Have to pay 4 dollars a wagon, cross on a ferryboat, and swim the stock, which is a very hard job, on such a large river. Indians all around our wagons.
Friday, July 22nd -- Crossed the river before daybreak and found the smell of carrion so bad that we left as soon as possible. The dead cattle were lying in every direction. Still there were a good many getting their breakfast among all the stench. I walked off among the rocks, while the men were getting the cattle ready; then we drove a mile or so, and halted to get breakfast. Here Chat had a very narrow escape from being run over. Just as we were all getting ready to start, Chatfield, the rascal, came around the forward wheel to get into the wagon, and at that moment the cattle started and he fell under the wagon. Somehow he kept from under the wheels and escaped with only a good, or I should say, a bad scare. I never was so much frightened in my life. I was in the wagon at the time, putting things in order, and supposed Francis was taking care of him. After traveling 6 miles, we have encamped for the day, to rest the cattle; plenty of good grass. Afternoon, rained some.
Saturday, July 23rd -- We took a fresh start this morning with everything in order, for a good day’s drive. Travel about 5 miles and here we are, up a stump again, with a worse place than ever we had before us to be crossed, called Bridge Creek. I presume it takes its name from a natural bridge which crosses it. This bridge is only wide enough to admit one person at a time. A frightful place, with the water roaring and tumbling ten or fifteen feet below it. This bridge is composed of rocks, and all around us, it is nothing but a solid mass of rocks, with the water ripping and tearing over them. Here we have to unload all the wagons and pack everything across by hand, and then we are only on an island. There is a worse place to cross yet, a branch of the same. Have to stay on the island all night, and wait our turn to cross. There are a good many camped on the island, and there are camps on each side of it. There is no chance to pitch a tent, and this island is a solid rock, so we must sleep the best way we can, with the water roaring on each side of us. The empty wagons, cattle, and horses have to be taken further up the river and crossed by means of chains and ropes. The way we cross this branch is to climb down about6 feet on rocks, and then a wagon bed bottom will just reach across, from rocks to rocks. It must then be fastened at each end with ropes and chains, so that you can cross on it, and then we climb up the rocks on the other side, and in this way everything has to be taken across. Some take their wagons to pieces and take them over in that way.
Sunday, July 24th -- Crossed the river this morning and got loaded up, then traveled 16 miles without water; then we came to a creek of poison water in the bottom. Did not dare to stay there. Came on a mile and a half to a spring in the bottom, and have camped. Have to keep watch all night.
Monday, July 25th -- Bad luck this morning to start with. A calf took sick and died before breakfast. Soon after starting one of our best cows was taken sick and died in a short time. Presume they were both poisoned with water or weeds. Left our poor cow for the wolves and started on. Evening -- It has been very warm today. Traveled 18 miles and have camped right on top of a high, round sand hill, a fine mark for the Indians. We have also got onto a place that is full of rattlesnakes. One of our oxen sick.
Tuesday, July 26th -- Very warm and terribly dusty. We ascended a long and tedious mountain this forenoon; crossed one little creek about noon, all the water we have seen today. It is near night and we are still traveling on, and urging our poor, tired cattle on till we find water. It looks as though it never rained in this region, it is so dry and dusty. We have been jumping and jolting over rocks all day and are now about to camp near a creek of clear, cold water. Traveled 17miles.
Wednesday, July 27th -- Another fine cow died this afternoon. Came 15 miles today, and have camped at the boiling springs, a great curiosity. They bubble up out of the earth boiling hot. I have only to pour water on to my tea and it is made. There is no cold water in this part. (Husband and myself wandered far down this branch, as far as we dare, to find it cool enough to bathe in.) It was still very hot, and I believe I never spent such and uneasy sleepless night in my life. I felt as if I were in the bad place. I still believe it was not very far off. I was glad when morning came and we left.
Thursday, July 28th -- Filled all the empty vessels last night with water to cool for the stock. Have traveled 12 miles today and have camped in the prairie 5 or 6 miles from water. Chat is quite sick with scarlet fever.
Friday, July 29th -- Came 18 miles over some very rocky road and camped by a spring. Chat is some better.
Saturday, July 30th -- Traveled 16 miles over a very hilly, but good road and camped by a stream of water and good grass. It has been very warm today.
Sunday, July 31st -- Cool and pleasant, but very dusty. Came 12 miles and camped about one o’clock not very far from Boise River. We will stay here a day or two and rest and revive our cattle.
Monday, August 1st -- Still in camp, have been washing all day, and all hands have had all the wild currants they could eat. They grow in great abundance along this river. There are three kinds, red, black, and yellow. This evening another of our best milk cows died. Cattle are dying off very fast all along this road. We are hardly ever out of sight of dead cattle on this side of Snake River. This cow was well and fat an hour before she died. Cut the second cheese today.
Tuesday, August 2nd -- Traveled 12 miles today and have just camped about one-half mile from the river. Plenty of good grass.
Thursday, August 4th -- We have just passed Boise or Reed’s River. It is deep fording, but, by raising the wagon beds about a foot, and being very careful, we are all landed safe and about to camp not far from the bank of the river. Have traveled 20 miles today. Have also seen a good many Indians and bought fish of them. They all seem peaceable and friendly.
Friday, August 5th -- We have just bid the beautiful Boise River, with her green timber and rich currants; farewell, and are now on our way to the ferry on Snake River. Evening -- Traveled 18 miles today and have just reached Fort Boise and camped. Our turn will come to cross sometime tomorrow. There is one small ferry boat running here, owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company. Have to pay three dollars a wagon. Our worst trouble at these large rivers is swimming the stock over. Often after swimming half way over the poor things will turn and come out again. At this place, however, there are Indians who swim the river from morning till night. There is many a drove of cattle that could not be got over without their help. By paying them a small sum, they will take a horse by the bridle or halter and swim over with him. The rest of the horses all follow and by driving and hurrahing to the cattle they will almost always follow the horses, sometimes they fail and turn back. This Fort Boise is nothing more than three new buildings, its inhabitants, the Hudson’s Bay Company officials, a few Frenchmen, some half-naked Indians, half-breeds, etc.
Saturday, August 6th -- Got all safe across the river by noon, and it being 15 miles to next water, we are obliged to camp here, near the river, till morning. Camps all around us.
Sunday, August 7th -- Traveled 15 miles, and have just reached Malheur River and camped. The roads have been very dusty, no water, nothing but dust and dead cattle all day, the air is filled with the odor from dead cattle.
Monday, August 8th -- We have to make a drive of 22 miles, without water today. Have our cans filled to drink. Here we left, unknowingly, our Lucy behind, not a soul had missed her until we had gone some miles, when we stopped a while to rest the cattle; just then another train drove up behind us, with Lucy. She was terribly frightened and so were some more of us when we learned what a narrow escape she had run. She said she was sitting under the bank of the river, when we started, busy watching some wagons cross, and did not know we were ready. And Is upposed she was in Mr. Carl’s wagon, as he always took charge of Francis and Lucy and I took care of Myra and Chat. When starting he asked for Lucy and Francis said 'She is in Mother's Wagon,' as she often went there to have her hair combed. It was a lesson to all of us. Evening --It is near dark and we are still toiling on till we find a camping place. The little ones have curled own and gone to sleep without supper. Wind high, and it is cold enough for a great coat and mittens.
Tuesday, August 9th -- Came into camp last night at nine o’clock, after traveling 19 miles, with enough water in our cans to make tea for supper, men all tired and hungry. I groped around in the dark and got supper over, after a fashion. We are now on our way to Birch Creek, which is two and a half miles from our camp. Halted at Birch Creek and got breakfast, then started on and traveled as far as Burnt River - 17 miles - and camped.
Wednesday, August 10th -- Traveled 12 miles; crossed Burnt River 5 times and have camped on the bank of it, about 4 o’clock in the afternoon to repair the wagons. Evening cold.
Thursday, August 11th -- Frost this morning. Three of our hands got discontented and left this morning, to pack through. I am pleased, as we shall get along just as well without them and I shall have three less to wait on. Evening -- Came 10 miles today and crossed Burnt River four times and have camped near a small spring, about three miles from the river.
Friday, August 12 -- Came 12 miles today. Crossed Burnt River twice. Lost one of our oxen. We were traveling slowly along, when he dropped dead in the yoke. We unyoked and turned out the odd ox, and drove around the dead one, and so it is all along the road, we are continually driving around the dead cattle, and shame on the man who has no pity for the poor dumb brutes that have to travel and toil month after month on this desolate road. I could hardly help shedding tears, when we drove around this poor ox who had helped us along thus far, and have given us his very last step. We have camped on a branch of Burnt River.
Saturday, August 13th -- Traveled 5 miles this morning, then stopped to water at a spring; it is near night. We are still traveling on, through dust and sand and over rocks, until we find water. Have none since morning.
Sunday, August 14th -- Camped last night after dark after traveling 15 miles, in a large bottom, near some puddles of very poor water. Found out this, that it needed straining. Afternoon --After traveling 10 miles we have camped on the bank of Powder River about one o’clock. Another ox sick. We will rest here until morning.
Monday, August 15th -- traveled 11 miles (Powder River is a small, clear stream), and have camped on a small creek, 12 miles from the Grand Ronde Valley.
Tuesday, August 16th -- Slow traveling on account of our oxen having sore feet and the roads being very rocky. Passed the Sylvest Springs. Traveled 12 miles and now we have a long, steep ,rocky hill to descend into the valley. It is a mile long, very steep and very rocky. From the top of this hill, we could see a band of Indian horses in the valley below, and being mostly white, they looked like a flock of chickens. After reaching the bottom of this hill with a good deal of difficulty, we find ourselves in a most lovely valley, and have camped close to a spring, which runs through it. There are also two or three trading posts here, and a great many fine looking Cayuse Indians riding around on their handsome ponies.
Wednesday, August 17th -- Crossed the Grand Ronde Valley, which is 8 miles across, and have camped close to the foot of the mountains. Good water and feed plenty. There are 50 or more wagons camped around us. Lucy and Myra have their feet and legs poisoned, which gives me a good deal of trouble. Bought some fresh salmon from the Indians this evening, which is quite a treat to us. It is the first we have seen.
Thursday, August 18th -- Commenced the ascent of the Blue Mountains. It is a lovely morning and all hands seem to be delighted with the prospect of being so near the timber again, after the weary months of travel on the dry, dusty sage plains, with nothing to relieve the eye. Just now the men are hallooing to their echo rings through the woods. Evening -- Traveled 10 miles today and down steep hills, and have just camped on the banks of Grand Ronde River in a dense forest of pine timber - a most beautiful country.
Friday, August 19th -- Quite cold morning, water frozen over in the buckets. Traveled 13 miles, over very bad roads, without water. After looking in vain for water, we were about to give up as it was near night, when husband came across a company of friendly Cayuse Indians about to camp, who showed him where to find water, half mile down a steep mountain, and we have all camped together, with plenty of pine timber all around us. The men and boys have driven the cattle down to water and I am waiting for water to get supper. This forenoon we bought a few potatoes from an Indian, which will be a treat for our supper.
Saturday, August 20th -- Cold all day. Came 11 miles and camped about two o’clock in a pine and fir forest close to a small stream of poor water. Grass very scarce. Fifteen miles more and we will leave the Blue Mountains.
Sunday, August 21st -- Cold. After a great deal of trouble to find all our cattle, we got started about 11 o’clock and traveled 4 miles, then stopped to noon, not far from a spring; then traveled3 or 4 miles and turned out to let the cattle feed an hour. Feed very scarce. Evening -- We are descending a long mountain. It is nearly dark. Came 12 miles and still traveling.
Monday, August 22nd -- I began to think last night we would never get to the foot of the mountain. It was 4 miles long. However, we came into camp after nine o’clock at night and find ourselves in the Umatilla Valley, a warmer climate, more like summer. No feed for the poor stock. We are now traveling on the Nez Perce plains. Warm weather and very dusty. Came 12miles and camped at a spring one-half mile from the Umatilla River. Grass all dead, but the stock eat it greedily. For fuel, willows and some little sage brush.
Tuesday, August 23rd -- Very warm. Grass all dead. The dust is worse than ever today. I can hardly see the tongue cattle.
Wednesday, August 24th -- Traveled 20 miles yesterday and came into camp after dark on the banks of the Umatilla River. Numbers were camped around us. No feed for the poor stock. It is quite warm. Came 5 miles this morning and have just stopped at the Indian Agency 1 to fill our cans at the well. Evening -- After filling our cans with water, we came on and stopped at noon, and let the cattle pick dry grass, as it is too warm to travel in the middle of the day, then came 10miles and crossed Butter Creek, then came a mile up the creek and have encamped near a good spring and as there is no feed near the road, the men have driven the stock a mile and a half out, to dry bunch grass.
Thursday, August 25th -- We will remain in camp today to wash, and rest the cattle. It is 18miles to the next water. Cotton wood and willows to burn. We will start this evening and travel a few miles after dark. It is too hot and dusty to travel in the heat of the day. Camped about nine o’clock in the dry prairie.
Friday, August 26th -- Came 6 miles last night and 12 today, and have just reached a small spring, where we can water only one ox at a time by dipping up buckets full. This spring seems to rise out of the ground and then fall again right off. We will camp here and drive the cattle a mile to feed; a good many Indians camped around us. Bought salmon of them for supper and breakfast. Sagebrush to burn.
Saturday, August 27th -- Came 5 miles and stopped at the well spring about noon and watered the stock, then drove them out to grass. This well spring is not much better than a mud hole. We will remain in camp until evening. Our cattle are weak, and in order to save them, we travel slowly and rest during the heat of the day. Fifteen miles to the next water.
Sunday, August 28th -- Started last night about sun down and drove 5 miles and found tolerably good grass to turn cattle out to. Started very early this morning and drove as far as Willow Creek, 10 miles and camped again till evening. Plenty of willow to burn, but no running water. It is standing in holes along the creek and very poor. It will be 22 miles before we get water again.
Monday, August 29th -- Traveled 10 miles last night and 12 today, and have camped about one o’clock on Rock Creek. Weather very warm and dust bad.
Tuesday, August 30th -- Traveled 7 miles this morning. Crossed Rock Creek 4 times and have just crossed John Day River and encamped on the bank of it about one o’clock, not far from a trading post. Here husband sold and ox that was unable to work for 25 dollars. We will make the best of this river, as it is 25 miles to the next. Our camp is in a very pretty valley or glade, surrounded by hills, and our cattle and horses are feeding among the hills. A mile or two distant and close to us lies the river, a beautiful, clear stream running over a gravelly bottom.
Wednesday, August 31st -- Still in camp. It was too stormy to start out last evening, as intended. The wind was very high all the afternoon, and the dust and sand so bad we could hardly see. Thundered and rained a little in the evening. It rained and blew very hard all night. Is still raining this morning, the air cold and chilly. It blew so hard last night as to blow our buckets and pans from under the wagons, and this morning we found them (and other things which were not secured) scattered all over the valley. One or two pans came up missing. Everything is packed up ready for a start. The men folks are out hunting the cattle. The children and myself are out shivering around in the wagons, nothing for fires in these parts, and the weather is very disagreeable. Evening -- Got a late start this morning. Traveled about a mile, and were obliged to stop and turn the cattle out on account of rain. At noon it cleared off. We ate dinner and started. Came up a long and awful rock hollow, in danger every moment of smashing our wagons. After traveling 7 miles, we halted in the prairie long enough to cook supper. Split up some of the deckboards of our wagons to make fire. Got supper over, and are on our way again. Cloudy and quite cold all day.
Thursday, September 1st -- Traveled 8 miles last night and encamped in the prairie without wood or water. Afternoon -- After traveling 14 miles and descending a long hill, we have encamped not far from the Columbia River. Made a nice dinner of fried salmon. Quite a number of Indians were camped around us, for the purpose of selling salmon to the emigrants.
Friday, September 2nd -- Came 5 miles this morning, and are now crossing Fall (or Deschutes it is called here) River on a ferry boat, pay 3 dollars a wagon and swim the stock. This river is very swift and full of rapids. Evening - Traveled 5 miles this afternoon. Ascended and descended along steep hill; crossed Olney’s Creek and have camped on the hill close to it. Cold weather and no wood. Pretty good grass.
Saturday, September 3rd -- Cool and pleasant. Had a fine shower last night which laid the dust and makes the traveling much better. Here husband (being run out of money) sold his sorrel mare (Fan) for a hundred and twenty five dollars. Evening - Traveled 17 miles today. Crossed Olney’s (or the 15 Mile Creek) 7 times and have encamped on the banks of it. We are near timber once more.
Sunday, September 4th -- Clear and bright. Had a fine view of Mount Hood, St. Helens and Jefferson. Traveled 15 miles today; water. After descending a long, steep, rocky and very tedious hill, we have camped in a valley on the bank of Indian Creek, near some Frenchmen, who have a trading post. There are also a good many Indians encamped around us. No feed for the cattle tonight. 15 miles more will take us to the foot of the mountains.
Monday, September 5th -- Passed a sleepless night last night as a good many of the Indians camped around us were drunk and noisy and kept up a continual racket, which made all hands uneasy and kept our poor dog on the watch all night. I say poor dog, because he is nearly worn out with traveling through the day and should rest at night; but he hates and Indian and will not let one come near the wagons if he can help it; and doubtless they would have done some mischief but for him. Ascending a long steep hill this morning, which was very hard on the cattle, and also on myself, as I thought I should never get to the top, although I rested two or three times. After traveling two or three miles over some very pretty rolling prairie, we have turned our cattle out to feed a while, as they had nothing last night. Evening - Traveled about 12 miles today, and have encamped on a branch of the Deschutes, and turned our cattle and horses out to tolerably good bunch grass.
Tuesday, September 6th -- Still in camp, washing and overhauling the wagons to make them as light as possible to cross the mountains. Evening - After throwing away a good many things and burning up most of the deck boards of our wagons so as to lighten them, got my washing and cooking done and started on again. Crossed two branches, traveled 3 miles and have camped near the gate or foot of the Cascade Mountains (here I was sick all night, caused by my washing and working too hard).
Wednesday, September 7th -- First day in the mountains. Came 16 miles today; crossed Deschutes, or a branch of it, 4 times and have encamped on the bank of it. Bought flour at 20 cents per pound to feed the stock.
Thursday, September 8th -- Traveled 14 miles over the worst road that was ever made, up and down, very steep, rough and rocky hills, through mud holes, twisting and winding round stumps, logs and fallen trees. Now we are on the end of a log, now over a big root of a tree; now bounce down in a mud hole, then bang goes the other side of the wagon, and woe be to whatever is inside. There is very little chance to turn out of this road, on account of timber and fallen trees, for these mountains are a dense forest of pines, fir, white cedar or redwood (the handsomest timber in the world must be here in these Cascade Mountains). Many of the trees are 300 feet high and so dense to almost exclude the light of heaven, and for my own part I dare not look to the top of them for fear of breaking my neck. We have camped on a little stream called Sandy. No feed for the stock except flour, and by driving them a mile or so, they can get a little swamp grass or pick brush.
Friday, September 9th -- Came eight and a half miles. Crossed Sandy 4 times; came over corduroy roads, through swamps, over rocks and hummocks, and the worst road that could be imagined or thought of, and have encamped about one o’clock in a little opening near the road. The men have driven the cattle a mile off from the road to try and find grass and rest them till morning. We hear the road is still worse ahead. there is a great deal of laurel growing here, which will poison the stock if they eat it. There is no end to the wagons, buggies, yokes, chains, etc. that are lying all along this road. Some splendid good wagons just left standing, perhaps with the owners names on them; and many are the poor horses, mules, oxen, cows, etc. that are lying dead in these mountains. Afternoon - Slight shower.
Saturday, September 10th -- Pleasant. Noon - We have just halted in a little valley at the foot of Big Laurel Hill to rest ourselves and the poor, weary cattle an hour or so. We dare not rest long in these mountains, for fear of a storm, which would be almost certain to kill all our stock, although the poor things need it bad enough, after what they have gone through with this forenoon. It would be useless for me with my pencil to describe the awful road we have just passed over (let fancy picture a train of wagons and cattle passing through a crooked chimney and we have Big Laurel Hill). After descending several bad hills, on called Little Laurel Hill, which I thought is as bad as could be, but in reality it was nothing to this last one called Big Laurel. It is something more than half mile long, very rocky all the way, quite steep, winding, sideling, deep down, slippery and muddy, made so by a spring running the entire length of the road, and this road is cut down so deep that at times the cattle and wagons are almost out of sight, with no room for the drivers except on the bank, a very difficult place to drive, also dangerous, and to make the matter worse, there was a slow poking train ahead of us, which kept stopping every few minutes, and another behind us which kept swearing and hurrying our folks on, and there they all were, with the poor cattle all on the strain, holding back the heavy wagons on the slippery road. The men and boys all had their hands full, and I was obliged to take care of myself and little ones as best I could, there being no path or road except the one where the teams traveled. We kept as near the road as we could, winding round the fallen timber and brush, climbing over logs, creeping under fallen timber, sometimes lifting and carrying Chat. To keep from smelling the carrion, I, as others, holding my nose. (Must quit, as all hands are getting ready to travel again.) Evening - Came 10 miles today. Crossed Sandy River once and have camped by it about dark. Fed the stock flour and cut down alders for them to browse on. Nothing else for them, poor things. Kept them yoked and tied all night (there I was sick all night and not able to get out of the wagon in the morning).
Sunday, September 11th -- Traveled 12 miles
today. Crossed Sandy (or Zigzag) River once and have encamped close to
a spring branch and
drove the cattle one-half mile from the road to feedo n swamp grass. The road has been a very little better today, although we came down some very bad hills, also through mud holes.
Monday, September 12th -- Came 12 miles today. Crossed Sandy once, ascended three very steep hills passed over the (they call it here) Devil’s Backbone. We also passed over some pretty country today. We stopped to noon at a very beautiful spot. It was prairie interspersed with strips of pretty fir timber, with their branches sweeping the ground. To the left of us was a deep ravine, with a clear stream of water meandering through it (this pretty place was along toward the end of the old fellow’s backbone). Passed one new made claim this evening, and have encamped near a small stream of water. It is three miles to the first farm.
Tuesday, September 13th -- Ascended three steep, muddy hills this morning. Drove over some muddy, miry ground and through mud holes, and have just halted at the first farm to noon and rest awhile and buy feed for the stock. Paid $1.50 per hundred for hay. Price of fresh beef 16and 18 cts. per pound, butter ditto, 1 dollar, eggs 1 dollar a dozen, onions 4 and 5 dollars per bushel, all too dear for poor folks, so we have treated ourselves to some small turnips at the rate of 25 cents per dozen. Got rested and are now ready to travel again. Evening - Traveled 14miles today. Crossed Deep Creek and have encamped on the bank of it, a very dull looking place; grass very scarce. We may not call ourselves through they say; and there we are in Oregon, making our camp in a n ugly bottom, with no home, except our wagons and tent. It is drizzling and the weather looks dark and gloomy. Here old man Fuller left us and Wilson Carl remains.
Wednesday, September 14th -- Still in camp. Raining and quite disagreeable.
Thursday, September 15th -- Still in camp and still raining. I was sick all night.
Friday, September 16th -- Still in camp. Rain in the forenoon and clear in the afternoon. Washed some this forenoon.
Saturday, September 17th -- In camp yet. Still raining. Noon - It has cleared off and we are all ready for a start again, for some place we don’t know where. Evening - Came 6 miles and have encamped in a fence corner by a Mr. Lambert’s, about 7 miles from Milwaukie. Turn our stock out to tolerable good feed. A few days later my eighth child was born. After this we picked up and ferried across the Columbia River, utilizing skiff, canoes and flatboat to get across, taking three days to complete. Here husband traded two yoke of oxen for a half section of land with one-half acre planted to potatoes and a small log cabin and lean-to with no windows. This is the journey’s end. (Finis)
Information about the Knight family:
Joel Knight was born in the parish of Cuckfield County of Sussex, England, April 5, 1808, and he was the son of Simeon and Frances Knight of that place. When an infant he was removed to Madistone, Kent, his mother’s native town, and there he resided until 1825, when he emigrated with his father to the United States, landing in New York, November 7, 1825. While Mr. Knight, senior, settled in Wayne County, Joel went to Canandaigua, Ontario County, in the same State, where he resided till April 1831, during which time he learned the hatter’s trade, and from that date until the spring of 1834, moved about making himself acquainted with his adopted country and British America. At that time he proceeded to Boston and commenced the study of medicine, supporting himself meanwhile by working at his trade, and September 18, 1834, was married to Amelia, daughter of Adam Stewart of that city. Mr. Knight continued his medical studies in Boston until March, 1837, when, with his wife and five-month child, he moved to Iowa, then forming a part of Wisconsin, and there resided sixteen years, working hard to rear and educate his family. Mr. Knight finding, however, the long and severe winters, the changeable weather and prevailing ailments against the benefit of his family’s and his own health, determined to seek a more genial on the other side of the continent. He chose Oregon, then almost a terra incognita, and on April 9, 1853, set out to cross the plains. On September 13, of the same year he arrived on the west side of the Cascade Mountains, and on the 18th, ere the journey had been completed, his wife added another to the number of his family. On October 25,1853, Mr. Knight purchased a claim in Clark County, W.T., and there he died May 20, 1867. Dr.Knight represented at different times the people of Clark County in the territorial legislature, and in that capacity, as well as in all the relations of life, exhibited an integrity of purpose and conduct, and a devotion to his convictions worthy of all imitation. He left behind him a memory yet cherished by those who knew him, and an unspotted character well maintained by his children. Dr. and Mrs, Knight had nine children, viz.:
1. Plutarch Stewart Knight was born in Massachusetts October 21, 1836; taken to Lucas County, Iowa, when six months old. He was educated at Willamette University; studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1863; edited the Oregon Statesman in 1863-64; he was pastor of the Congregational Church at Oregon City the two years. His pastorate of the Congregational Church at Salem began in 1867 and lasted until 1885. That year he resigned to give his entire time to the deaf and dumb school at Salem, which he established in 1870, and maintained for several years. Finally it was taken over by the State, and is now known as the “Oregon State School for the Deaf.” After his connection with that work was severed, he resumed his ministerial work, as a home missionary, and organized a number of missionary stations; and finally one of them in the eastern part of Salem developed into a well-organized church and is now known as the Knight Memorial Church. He died in Salem, January 29, 1915.
2. Seneca Knight, born in Iowa, 1838; died, 1873. Farmer and stock raiser.
3. Frances Knight (Mrs. Nathan Pearcy), born in Iowa, 1840; died in Portland, Oregon, 1925. Teacher and homemaker.
4. Jefferson Knight, born in Iowa, 1842; drowned in the Columbia River near Knight farm, 1867. Farmer and stock raiser.
5. Lucy Knight (Mrs. J.J. Wintler), born in Iowa, 1845; died in 1877. Homemaker.
6. Almira Knight (Mrs. W.B. Patterson), born Iowa, 1848. Homemaker.
7. Chatfield Knight, born in Iowa, 1851. Carpenter and horticulturist.
8. Wilson C. Knight, born near Troutdale, Oregon, October 1853; died, 1886. Fruit grower.
9. Adam Knight, born in Clark County, Washington
Territory, in 1855; died, 1928. Trapper and carpenter.