William Ajax diary, 1862 February-1863 December, 118-78.
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- Related Companies
- Ansil P. Harmon Company (1862)
- Related Persons
- Emma Jemina Hughes Ajax
- William Ajax
- Jane Allen
- Alice Gardner Bowdidge
- Annie Eliza Crabb
- Eliza Grice Crabb
- William Henry Crabb
- George Davey
- John Davies
- Robert Deakin
- Clara Hannah Evans
- John Evans Sr.
- John Evans Jr.
- George Foiken [or Firkin]
- James Gough
- Ansil Perce Harmon
- James Hobday Harrison
- David Higgs
- Sarah Ann Humphreys
- Daniel Jones
- Jane Jones
- Jacobine Marie Larsen
- Eliza Le Clercq
- Henrietta Le Clercq
- Jane Le Clercq
- Jane Le Clercq
- Mary Lugg
- John Daniel Thompson McAllister
- Robert McNought
- Ann Mitchell
- Harriet Quinlan
- Victoria Regina Rogers
- Selina Doel Stevens
- Catherine Thomas
- David R. Todd
- Martha Elizabeth Price Todd
- Phillip Todd
- Hannah Treharne
- David Williams
- George Williams
- Hannah Williams
- Harriet Davies Williams
- Thomas Williams
- Caroline Winter
- Stephen Henry Winter
Friday, 1st. Our camp removed about 3 miles to-day; and, on the road, a rattle-snake was killed by one of the brethren. Emma was present, witnessing the “horrible scene.” Bro. C. C. Rich attended a meeting with us at 6 p. m. and gave us instructions relative to the journey. Bro. R. Roberts, Cache Valley, came to visit us about the same time, and stayed with us until 9. I was considerable troubled with the diarrhoae [diarrhea] for the most part of the day, and my bones were full of cold. A fine day.
Saturday, August 2d. A rather severe thunderstorm occurred in the night, which penetrated into our tent and partially wet our bedding; but we felt cheerful and jovial, and sang a portion of “A life on the desert plains.” We traveled about 7 miles, and camped on Big Papill[i]on Creek. While passing a well near the creek, I killed a snake. It was a kind of a black snake, with yellow streaks and red spots on the back, and a yellow head; its length was about 18 inches.
Sunday, 3d. A rather severe thunderstorm occurred last night also; but the day, like yesterday, proved fine. We passed Elk-horn City about 1, and camped a little after 2 p. m. about a mile beyond Elk-horn bridge, within less than a hundred yards of the river, where plenty of wood, and, of course, water existed. Big Papillon Creek was a very poor place for dry wood, yet some willows grew on the bank. As soon as we passed Elk-horn City, a scenery pretty well studded with wood unfolded itself to our view, which caused me considerable delight. It appeared very much like the country to the west from Swansea, and seemed exceedingly pleasant unto us. The wood near our camping ground abound with wild grapes, many of them ripe. Sister Jane Allen and I collected a quantity of them, which we had the pleasure of eating in a pie. We had a fine bathe in the river, and enjoyed ourselves exceedingly well. Its banks and bed were composed of fine white sand, thereby making it a very pleasant river to bathe in. This was the most pleasant camping-ground we hitherto had had, on account of the pleasant wood, and its contiguity.
Monday, 4th. We started this morning at 7 a. m. and reached our camping ground on the Platte, and about 2 miles beyond Fremont, at a little after 3. The distance was about 13 miles, which we traveled with great delight, in consequence of the pleasantness of the weather, and the interesting conversation that passed between us. Bro. Canfield’s company passed us a little before we came to Fremont, in which were bros. E. Parry, Llandudno, and family, and bro. J. Prichard, Cwmbach, Aberdare. Nine Pawnee Indians—2 Indians, 5 squake, [squaw] and 2 male papoose—appeared near our camp, to view whom bro. J. Davies and I repaired immediately. One of the men was young, and pretty handsome; the other rather old and ugly. I handled the tomahawk the young one had in his hand, and shook hands with the younger of the two children, who was about one year old. The other was about 5 or 6 year old, and both were almost naked. The others had blankets and other articles of clothing to cover themselves. Our stay among them was about 20 minutes, during which they flayed a hawk ready for cooking, and placed a few feathers in the head of the bigger boy. By this time, about 30 persons from the camp had come to visit us, and each eye was fully centred on the persons of the aborigines of this continent. When they finished flaying the hawk, they went to the camp, where they all, especially the children, received the greatest kindness from the Danish Saints, who made up quite a number of our company. We had met a young Indian, about 25 or 30 year old, in the morning, who was also of the Pawnee tribe, and was naked from his groin to his feet. I devoted the greater portion of the evening to picking grapes, of which there was a very great abundance near our camp. I went for nearly a mile and a half down the banks of the river, and the whole distance was literally strewn with vines and grapes; but about nine-tenths of the same were green, yet there was sufficient quantity of ripe ones to supply our camp for a day or so. I gathered a full half a bushel of fine, ripe ones, which made
a very good tarts, though our sugar was short. Grapes were pretty abundant at our last camping-place, but not so much as here.
Tuesday, 5th. Started about 7 a. m. and made our mid-day halt about 8 miles beyond Fremont, where we stayed about 2 hours. We camped in the evening about 16 miles beyond Fremont, right on the banks of the Platte. Our cattle were here swam across one portion of the river to a delta that was between the two portions. There were two Indian wig-wams, with about 30 old Indians, squaks [squaws], and some children in these, and in another large circular building they had, near our camping place. Many of them visited us, and I visited them on two occasions, each time entering the “building” referred to, which was built with wood and sward, something in the shape of a conical tent; but having a kind of a passage about 4 or 5 yards long leading into it. I and bro. David Todd and two sons, and Emma, were conducted inside said building by one Mr. Cotterrel that owned the land on the spot. They complained that our people had given them but little, and that they had driven them away, which was, undoubtedly, true; for many in our midst were entirely destitute of the feeling that Saints should possess. They had fire in the middle of the “house,” and a hole in the tip for the smoke to escape; yet, a good deal of it scattered over the whole room. A kind of a circular passage was around the fire, and outside of said passage, cratches, like cow-cratches, in which they slept. They shook hands with us when we parted with them on our second visit and said “good night” and “good bye” as plain as could be. Mr. Cotterrel told us that they frequently worked for him, and that one squak [squaw] among them had made a contract with him to keep the potatoes clear of some insects throughout the summer. He said that they used to bathe and wash themselves frequently, but that they were not clean with cooking their food. We sat for a while among them, during which time our curiosity was considerably gratified, as this was the first time for us to visit an Indian’s residence. Mr. Cotterrel said that the Pawnees, to which tribe they belonged, number nearly 5,000 persons, but that the majority were now hunting. He had lived on a farm hard by for 6 years; but had never been much troubled by them. He felt perfectly at home with them, though he was a respectable looking man, and said that there was no harm in them. There were several mats lying about which they had manufactured out of bul-rushes, and which proved them to be a little ingenious in that branch of trade.
Wednesday, 6th. A brother caught a cat-fish this morning in the river, weighing from 10 to 12 lbs. He had laid the lines last night. Several fish were caught by the brethren in Elk-horn Creek, as well as in Big Papillon Creek. A fine day, as was yesterday and the day before. We started about 7 a. m. and halted after travelling about 8 miles. After resting about 2 hours, we started again and reached a place called ElDorado—but not the place vainly sought for by travellers in Guiana—between 4 and 5. This was composed of two houses, close to one of which was an excellent well, end from which we were supplied with water during the night. A village called Buchanan was some miles east of this, and about a mile or two westward of Shell-Creek bridge. This, as well as Fremont and Elk-horn City, was composed of less than 10 houses. There were farm-houses on the side of the road every two miles or so, at which we were generally supplied with water. El-Dorado is about 3 miles from the Platte, and full 2 miles from any kind of wood, which made it necessary for us to collect cow-dung for fuel. We were, therefore, kept pretty busy while waiting upon the fires, and had but very little leisure time. Notwithstanding the distance to the wood, I, and bros. D[avid]. Todd and David Williams, the latter from Victoria, Monmouthshire, ventured it and fetched a load each; but we were very tired when we returned. We had grass for some distance up to our waists, and weeds sometimes as high as our heads. We passed some Indians on the road—2 at the place we dined, and 7 or 8 at Buchanan. The road was mostly sandy, and as it blew pretty hard, it was rather dusty. A four horse mail-coach passed us dinnertime.
Thursday, 7th. Started about ½ passed 6 a. m., and halted about ½ past 9 after travelling nearly 10 miles. We left again a little after 12 and reached Loupe Fork Ferry about 4, where we camped for the night. Columbus, a place containing about 10 houses, is within about half a mile of said ferry. A hot day, but a thunderstorm occurred in the night.
Friday, 8th. The whole of the day almost was spent in ferrying the waggons across the Loupe Fork. Volunteers were called for to assist in pushing the ferry-boat, which call I obeyed, and was, consequently, in the water from 9 a. m. to 5 p. m. It was hard work; for the water was sometimes to our arm-pits; yet, we felt well while at our post. We ferried the mail-coach across in the afternoon.
Grapes were in the woods here, but, as the ripe ones had been gathered, we were not much better of them. There was a tolerable good quantity of black currants in them, but I could not gather them on account of being engaged in the ferrying business. Many gathered considerable quantities of them, and had, that way, the chance of having some nice tarts. We left about sunset and reached our camping-place about 12. We saw a meteor in coming on, which had much the appearance of a sky-rocket.
Saturday, 9th. Started about 8, halted after travelling about 8 miles, and reached our camping-ground at about 8 p. m. A rather severe thunderstorm occurred this night, commencing about 9 and continuing about 2 hours, which drenched many of the tents. Bro. D. Todd caught a cat-fish this morning weighing full 20 lbs., of which we had a share. It had got into shallow water, and in a place it could not escape from; therefore bro. Todd jumped on it, and caught it without a hook. Several fish were caught by the brethren during the day, and one turtle, weighing about 6 lbs. We passed Prairie Creek about 9 <in> the morning.
Sunday, 10th. A very warm day. Yesterday was a fine, but not a very warm day. I had to herd the cattle to-day. Started about 8 a. m. and reached our camping place about 3. Our travel to-day was about 12 miles. We passed Canfield’s company, in which were bros. E. Parry, Llandudno, and Jno. Prichard, Cwmbach; in the morning, but they passed us afterwards in the afternoon. Two green snakes, perfectly green, were killed by our company this morning. We had to wade the river for wood, to some islands that were in the middle of it; but the water was not higher than our armpits in the deepest place. As we had a pretty long evening, a great number of the brethren indulged in fishing, at which work they were rather successful.
Monday, 11th. Started about 7, and reached the Lone Tree about 11, where we made our mid-day halt. This was merely a common looking tree, quite on the banks of the Platte, and almost 100 yards from a copse of wood. The wood referred to was on the western side of the tree, up the river. The old tree had been stripped of its bark, and was in a decayed condition. Many travellers had written their names, &c, on the trunk thereof, thereby making the old gentleman almost a matter of curiosity. This prompted me to imitate them, and I, accordingly, wrote the following. In English and Welsh:—
“Capt. Harmon’s company reached here on the 11th of August, 1862, having left Florence August 1st.”
‘“Er maint yw trwch y llwch arr Maid—a fwriwyd
Ar fawrred Mormoniaid,
Day w ein ple—Duw ara plain
Er hyll flood yr holl fleidiaid.”’
The latter is an excellent specimen of Welsh epigram, composed as a kind of defence for the “Mormons.” We camped during the night about 10 miles of the Lone Tree, having travelled 20 miles during the day. The banks of the river at our camping place were pretty well studded with woods, in which wild grapes abounded, and of which I collected a good quantity. Four snakes were killed today by our party; but not one of them a rattlesnake.
Tuesday, 12th. A rather warm day; but the forenoon of yesterday was ice and cool. We started about 7 and reached our halting-place, about 12 miles distant, about ½ past 12. It had fallen into my lot this day to drive the cows on before the waggons, which was by no means a pleasant job for me. The names, ages, &c, of the occupants of each tent were required of us this morning, and my returns were as follows:—
l. William Ajax, age 30, Wales
2. Emma Ajax, age 22, Wales
3. John Davies, age 55, Wales
4. Victoria Rogers, age 25, England
5. Mary Lugg, age 35, England
6. Catherine [Carolyn] Winter, England
7. Henry Winter, England
8. Harriet Quindlan [Quinlan], England
9. Jane Allen, age 19, England
10. Alice Bowdidge, age 19, England
11. George Firkins, England
12. Salina Stevenson [Stevens], England
The following persons sleep in our wagon, for which no tent has been prepared:—
Jane Le Clareq [Le Clercq]
Jane Le Clareq [Le Clercq]
Eliza Le Clareq [Le Clercq]
Harriet Le Clareq [Le Clercq]
I had been organized once in connection with bro. T. W. Rees, but I was afterwards requested to take the above as a company.
At our halting place, which was Grand Island, we saw a great number of very heavy trees having been blown down by the wind, some uprooted, but the majority cut in two, about a yard above the ground. We yesterday, also, saw two telegraph poles, which had been shattered almost by lightning. A vast quantity of grapes existed on the island opposite our camping place, <of> which some of the brethren collected not a few. We have had grapes all along the route since we came over Elk-horn Bridge, which have served to make us some nice meals. We crossed Wood River about sunset and camped about half a mile beyond; but the teams did not arrive until it was dark. In-consequence of our being very tired, the lateness of the hour, and the scarcity of wood, we repaired to rest as soon as we could. Wood was not very scarce here either; but it was scarce with us, as we had no chance to find it in the dark. Wood River is a small stream, ranging from 6 to 10 yards wide, and from 3 to 5 feet deep.
Wednesday, 13th. Had plenty of wood this morning, being crusts and worthless slabs of timber, at a saw-mill that was on the eastern side of the river, to fetch which we got up between 3 and 4 a. m. The camp started at 20 minutes to 8 and halted after traveling 8 miles. Two children belonging to our company were buried this morning, one yesterday morning, and one on the 11th, within a yard or so of the Lone Tree.
I never saw such a quantity of plums as I saw to day, from the place we crossed the river to our camping-place. From the fact that we found abundance of them at each point we touched the river—and we did so at four points, and walked at dinner time about a mile along its western bank, we could imagine that its banks were lined with plum trees, which had an abun-
xxxxdant crop. They also continued for the next 7 miles, at the end of which we camped for the night. That was at Wood River Centre, where we took up 7,000 lbs. Of flour, which had been deposited there by the teams in coming down from the Valley, and a man left in charge of the same. The place in which it was deposited was a small wooden stable. Wood River Centre consists of 5 or 6 houses, the inhabitants thereof being principally Saints, as they term themselves; but they are persons that have stayed on the road, and that love riches better than the kingdom of God. Many of such characters live at different places from Florence here; but they are as dry as the bones Ezekiel saw in his vision.
Thursday, 14. Started between 8 and 9 and reached Nebraska Centre about 2, where we stayed until nearly 6. During the interim, I went to gather grapes, of which I had about 3 quarts ful. I also gathered a pretty good quantity of plums during the same time, which made us a very good pudding. Between the plums I collected yesterday and the grapes I had collected the day previous we have managed for the last few days to have plenty of puddings. Nebraska Centre had only about 2 houses, one of which was a Post-Office. There were but few houses between Wood River Centre and this place, and none beyond it for the next 7 miles. There was a house about 9 miles from it belonging to Indian traders, at which we saw a large heap of buffalo hides. We were here leaving Pike’s Peak Route, and keeping to the right. It was dark before we came to this house, and, a little beyond it, a small dog belonging to one of the brethren attacked a skunk, which cast forth such nauseous smell that will not be forgotten by us for some time. I was about 40 yards from the scene of encounter when it took place, but as soon as I came near the dog I immediately guessed what had occurred, although I had never before had the odour of a skunk operating on my nasal organ. I suppose that we were then about 2 miles from the camping-place, but the smell was just as strong with the dog there as at the first place. It was past 12 when we pitched our tents, and we were nearly all very tired; at least, I was, as my feet were rather too much confined in their leather prison. The ground also was very wet, in consequence of the abundance of dew that had fallen; but we were right enough as soon as we had spread our blankets, and no cold had taken possession of us by the morning. Had we slept under such a circumstance in the climate of Britain, the majority would have been in entire subjection to Mr. Cold before the morning, as the atmosphere there is much damper than in this country.
Friday, 15th. Went about a mile this morning to seek wood; but could not get much, as <our>
xx camp had not moved far enough on. There was a very heavy dew on the grass, which on account of it being rather high made me entirely wet up to my knees. When I took off my boots, the water in both was nearly a saucerful. Some repairs had to be done to the waggons, so that we were not able to start until about 10 a. m. Bro. Canfield’s company was encamped about 2 miles beyond us, in which were bros. Parry, Llandudno, and Prichard, Cwmlach, whom we saw. We halted after travelling about 6 miles, about a mile to the east of which we first saw a prairie-dog town, being a number of holes dug like mole-hills by these canine creatures. We travelled about 10 more miles, and then camped for the night, where we had to go a mile for the wood, and where no water, except slough water existed. It was dark before we camped, and, as wood was so far, we retired without cooking any. We began to see buffalo skulls and bones to-day, and about six snakes were killed by our party, one of them having a toad in its mouth. We also saw some sand-hill cranes and a few antelopes.
Saturday, 16th. Started about 7, and halted at Buffalo Creek, a distance of about 7 miles, near which was a grave, with the following written in black lead pencil on a board that was stuck at its head:—
Died August 7th, 1862
Native of England.”
Elm Creek was about [blank space] miles eastward of it. After we had traveled about 3 miles after dinner, we had a fine race after a hare; but in vain, as we were not swift enough for her. About 7 snakes were killed to-day by the company, a rattle-snake among them, which had 9 rattles. She was killed at our camping-place, which was on the Platte, about 12 miles from our halting-place on Buffalo Creek. We had traveled all day without any water but slough water, being about the worse portion of the journey for water. Saw several bunches of cactus of two kinds, to-day, as we had for the last few days. Several wild geese were seen flying about this morning.
Sunday, 17th. Travelled only 12 miles to-day, which we commenced at about 7, and completed at about 2. Our camping-place was near the river, where wood was abundant; yet we burnt a considerable quantity of buffalo chips. While fetching water from the river, I found a pocket book, or rather, a pocket chest, containing 20 small bottles, nearly all full of medicine, and with the following written thereon:— Dr. J. A. Chapman, Dundee, Y
Eight of the bottles were broken; but the others were right. There was an excellent small-tooth comb in it, not any worse for wear. I went in the afternoon to a small island in the river to gather grapes, where I found abundance of them. I gathered a full half-bushel of them on one vine, which was the prettiest vine I ever saw. I also caught a bat on one vine, which I put in the bag and took to camp where one of the teamsters solicited it from me, in order to stuff it. It was of a larger species than any I had seen in Britain. In addition to grapes, buffalo-berries existed at this place, but I was not fortunate enough to get them. A meeting was held in the evening, at which bros. [Ansel Perce] Harman and [John Daniel Thompson] McAllister spoke on the necessity of our starting early in the morning, in order to reach the camping-ground before dark. A large rattle-snake was killed in the morning, but I have not yet seen one of that species.
Monday, 18th. I had to keep behind the waggons to-day, to see that none should be left behind. We started about 7, and halted about 12, after travelling 12 miles. We travelled about [blank space] miles again, and then camped for the night. The weather was hot, and the gnats bit very sharp in the morning. We passed a grave in the afternoon, at the head of which was a piece of a board, with the following written on it with a black-lead pencil:—“Eliza Jones, died Aug [blank space] 1862, native of England.” We had seen several graves before that one on the 16th, but that was the first we found having inscription on. Bro. Thomas Morgans, late Prest. of Brecknockshire Conference, but who has resided for the last 6 years in Utah, and one Wm. Thomas, formerly of Merthyr, met us in the afternoon. They had crossed the river to meet us, to inquire, as bro. Morgans affirmed, after sister Catherine Moore, his mother-in-law. He said that his train were told at Laramie that the bulk of our emigration would travel on the south side of the Platte, and that his train, accordingly, took that route; but my belief is that his tale was but a falsication, and that he is apostatizing. We saw a prairie squirrel in the morning, and we had seen another on a previous occation. Bro. [David] Higgs, of Cheltenham, killed a rattle snake to-day, having 10 rattles.
Tuedsay, 19th. Started about ½ past 6, and passed the grave of one Thos. Brewster, who had died on the [blank space] from the asthma. I had considerable trouble last night in getting wood, although we encamped near the river, and, as we had but little bread, I stayed up rather late to bake a loaf; yet, it had not soaked sufficiently when I went to bed, therefore, I determined to let it remain all night in the baking-kettle on the embers, but when I went to look for it this morning, I found nothing but an empty kettle, which fact proved that the tares havenot yet been plucked from among the wheat. I then had to bake another loaf, which made it impossible for me to start before the waggons. We made a halt close to the river, after ten miles travel. I gathered a full pint of buffalo-berries on an island in the river opposite our halting place; and, had I time, I would soon gather a gallon of them. Several of the brethren gathered large quantities of grapes on the same island; but I did not particularly direct my attention to that fruit to-day. We started about 2, and reached our camping place on Skunk Creek about 5, which we had to wade in two places. It was not above about 2 yards wide, and about 14 inches deep, in the first place; but it was about 6 yards wide and knee deep in the latter place. Its water was as clear as crystal and good to drink, which is scarcely the case with rivers in the western part of this country. Prairie Creek and some nameless sloughs were exceptions to this rule, for they had very clear water. The Missouri is very muddy, and the Platte, Loupe Fork, and Wood River are rather muddy, but not so much though as the Missouri. Yet it is impossible to see the bottom of these rivers, even when the water is only knee deep. Passed over a sandy road and a few sandy hills, but none above about 20 yards high this morning. We had sandy hills all day to our right, some about 50 yards high, but the most part of our afternoon’s journey was over the same ground as usual, being alluvial soil having a rich coat of grass. Our camping place this night was on the western edge of Skunk Creek, where no wood existed nearer us than from 4 to 5 miles, consequently we had to content ourselves with buffalo chips, which were very scarce, and the task of gathering them was rendered more difficult owing to our being without a bag—an almost indispensable article under such circumstances. Yet, I managed to bake an excellent loaf with them, which was well soaked. They are very good to bake with, but very poor to boil anything in something like the spare time we have on a journey like this. With a little wood to start them, they will kindle very well; but it is a slow business when wood is entirely out of the question. Their embers also, if piled in a heap, will retain fire until the morning. Five blisters on my feet.
Wednesday, 20th. Started about 7, and halted after about 6 miles travel, at a fine spring of water, called “Pawnee Spring.” It is an excellent spring too, and throws up about half as much water at St. Winifrode’s Well, Holywell. The head well is a large pool, on the left side of the road, with the water boiling up from the bottom like a caldron, and making the quicksand that is there to appear like a cloud of dust. A stranger might think that such a cloud would trouble the water; but it has not the least effect on it, for it is as clear as crystal, and tastes well. Its depth is about 20 feet, and its diameter about 6. There is a fine small spring, but in the stream that issues from her, about 3 yards below her, and 5 more, in the steam, about 40 yards below, making in the aggregate 7 springs, and forming a pretty good sized stream. The temperature of the water is rather cold, and is decidedly the best I have tasted yet in America. It, also, is the only spring water that we have had since we left Florence, for all the wells on the road are but sinking wells. It might be easily imagined that such a treat was not despised—for it was really a treat unto us—and that we did not rest until we had fully quenched our thirst. Both old and young came to examine the well they had so much heard of, but I do not think that any one departed until he had his “fill.” We stayed about 2 hours near it, and, When we departed, a thunderstorm threatened to visit us, but it kept away and we only had but a very small shower of it. About 6 snakes were killed today again. The country we travelled through today and yesterday abounded in lizards, of which we saw a vast number. We passed a patch of sun-flowers about 2 miles or so from Pawnee Spring, of about half an acre, which had very pleasant appearance. Encamped for the night, about 4 p. m. on the Platte ten miles from Pawnee Spring. As there was no wood here, and not much buffalo chips, bro. Geo. Davy and I determined upon crossing the river to an island that was near the other side, where wood and grapes abounded. The distance across was about a mile, which was very difficult to be performed on account of the bulk of water, and the swiftness of the current. We certainly had hard work to come back, as I had on my back a heavy load of wood and about half a bushel of grapes (chicken grapes) which were of a larger size than any I had seen before. There was an abundance of them, too, on that island, and other contiguous islands, and it was painful to leave them behind. During our absence, 6 Indians, having about 12 horses, visited the camp. They had been on a buffalo hunt, and were returning to their camp on the south side of the river. The distance we travelled this afternoon was about 10 miles. Just as we arrived at our camping place, bro. David Todd killed a rattle-snake, having 9 rattles, which he cut off and preserved. I was near him at the time, and that was the first rattle-snake I ever saw.
Thursday, 21st. Started about 7 and halted after travelling about 11 miles. Had some awkward creeks to pass, and went by the grave of a Danish brother or sister. Had a fine chase in the afternoon after a hare, but she outran us all. A fine day, but very hot in the afternoon. We had had dry weather since the [blank space]. Our journey to-day was over flat, alluvial ground, but we had about 8 miles of sand road yesterday, which was very heavy for the oxen. We travelled 9 miles in the afternoon, and camp
ied about half a mile beyond a river called North Bluff Fork, which was clear and about 20 yards wide. A camp of the Sioux Indians was on the same side of the river as ours, and about half a mile from us. Their tents numbered about 15. They saw us coming while we were more than a mile from the river, and off gallopped one of the men to the sides of the hills that were to our right (for there were sandy hills to our right since before we came to Skunk Creek, some 20 and others 100 yards in height) to see and guess how many we were. Others went and drove in the cattle, which is one of the first things they do, as our captain told me, when strangers approach them. After the one referred to reconnoitered us, he drove back at a rapid pace, and shook hands with our captain and others. Another one on foot met us, and walked with us to the river. The horseman by this time had returned to his camp, but, in a few minutes afterwards, on seeing some of the sisters performing the task of wading the river with some difficulty, another horseman rode along and offered, by signs, our captain to carry some over. That accepted, he drove through the river, alighted from his horse, and asked the sisters to get on the back of the same. The majority were afraid to venture; but a Danish sister mustered courage at last, and broke the ice, which example was followed by quite a number of the sisters. He walked himself through the water, leading the horse. The inhabitants of the camp were by this time sitting in a row about 150 yards from the crossing, looking at us. Many of them visited our camp in the evening, begging as usual. Yet, some of them offered moccasins and buffalo robes on sale. Some gave about 4 lbs of flour for a pair of the former; but bro. David Todd had two pairs for about 3 lbs of flour. The others, it is true, had beads on the back, while his had none. I had no flour to spare that I might barter with them for a pair; yet, I gave them a piece of bread. Our captain gave a certain quantity of flour to their chief to be distributed between them. Some of the Saints gave them needles, &c, of which they were very proud. Their dress was consisted of a kind of clothing around the waist and a blanket over their shoulders. Their arms and legs were generally exposed. They had large yellow rings (gold, say some, but I presume that there was much alloy in the material, if even there was any gold at all in it) in their ears, about 9 inches in circumference, as far as I could judge, and much resembling rings that people use sometimes to put over their umbrellas. All that we saw had black hair, (but no whiskers) except one, which had almost red hair. Every Indian that I had seen before had hair as black as jet. It was dark when we formed our camp, yet we stayed up for three hours after that to bake, &c. No wood here, but buffalo chips in quantities sufficient to meet our requirements.
Friday, 22d. Got up at 5 a. m. and started ½ 5, in order to get over a sand-hill close by before the heat would be very oppressive. This hill was very near 5 miles across, but not more than from 50 to 60 yards high; yet, the road was very heavy for the oxen. On this hill, a card from bro. T. H. Harrys to me was found, stating that he had passed there on the 20th. Two rattle-snakes were killed on the same, the one I saw having 9 rattles. Several of the Indians had come to our camp before we left, and they seemed to wonder at our brief stay. It was near this camping-place that Thomas Margetts was killed by the Indians. We had a fine cool spring on the left of the road, and about 6 miles from the camping-place, of which we all took a draught. Its water was colder than that of Pawnee Spring but not so good in its taste. The spring it-self was insignificant, and nothing to be compared with the Pawnee Spring (Brother Harmon, our captain, told me that the spring referred to is sometimes called Mud Spring), yet it was very refreshing to a weary traveler on a hot day. We reached our halting place about 2 miles beyond said spring, at ½ past 12, and did not start again until 5. We then travelled nearly 4 miles, nearly all over a sandy hill that was very difficult for the oxen to ascend. It was dark when we pitched our tents, at which time the oxen were very tired. We were close to the river, which is much smaller in that place than about 31 miles below; for the South Fork does not flow into until a little below that place. Bro. John Davies was taken very ill this morning on the road; but his sickness ended with the day. The diarrheae troubled him very much, in consequence, as he supposed, of eating dry apples uncooked.
Saturday, 23d. Started about 7 and traveled about 6 miles over a very bad road, over a chain of sandy hills. The first few miles were pretty level, and over a tolerable good road. Passed 3 creeks, with fine, clear water in them, and halted about 12 at the 4th, which had good water, at a foot of a sandy hill. A wolf was heard howling near our camp this morning, and a badger was killed by one of the teamsters. Travelled about 4 miles in the evening and passed 3 or 4 streams, and 1 well, which had 2 springs boiling up like those of the Pawnee Spring. It is called Cold Spring; but its water, though it is cold, has a mineral taste. Two rattlesnakes were killed by the brethren on the road, one having 8, and the other 7, rattles. We passed one fine creek of clear water after the last spring. It was dark before we encamped, and, as I was not very certain of the direction the river was from our camp, I went a mile and half out of the road in fetching water. We had a fine view of a recently appeared comet, which had been only seen by the company two nights before. Its locality was near the constellation of Charles’s [blank space]
Sunday, 24th. Took my turn last night as camp guard from 1 until 5 a. m. We were but two, and our duty was to guard the mouth of the corrall, which was plenty for wearied persons. A small thunderstorm occurred in the morning. Commenced our travel this morning again about 7 and reached our halting place on Rattle Snake Creek about 1. We passed about 6 or 7 fine, clear streams during the first 4 or 5 miles, having good water therein. Sister Rogers was very sick when we reached Rattle Snake Creek. That creek is about 2 or 3 yards wide, and about 18 inches deep. Its water also is pretty clear, and has a tolerable good taste. Our afternoon travel extended only to about 7 miles, or camping place being near the river. Several wild geese were seen flying about, at which our marksmen pointed their guns in vain. I happened to see some ground-cherries this afternoon, for the first time. A train of almost 15 waggons passed the other side of the river this afternoon, for the States.
Monday, 25th. Started about 15 minutes to 7, and reached our halting place on [blank space] about ½ past 12, a distance of [blank space] miles, over a road partly sandy. The first 4 or 5 miles of to-day’s travel had some 6 or 7 different streams of good, clear water, through which the brethren, as is most such instances, carried the sisters over. Bro. John Evans, Pembrokeshire, shot 6 wild ducks to-day. Passed a great quantity of ground-cherries; but no ripe ones. They grow on a small plant, resembling goose-foot mercury, almost, and are enclosed in a pod, some close to the ground and others about six inches from it. A portion of the grass near the camp was fired by some of the camp-fires mid-day; but it was soon extinguished. Bro. David Todd caught a [blank space] this morning, which was almost the size of a small rat, and pretty much resembling it in shape; but it was of a light color, almost like a leopard. In a short while after I had eaten my dinner, and while I was writing in the tent, a few plums were brought in, which had an excellent red colour, and a still better taste, as they were ripe. I began to use interrogative phases immediately, and was answered that they were found about a mile and a half up the creek; but the distance proved to be full two miles. It was a bad road, it is true, and perhaps, like the Irishman said, that they gave a good measure in consequence of its awkwardness. I made for the place forthwith, and was joined in the expedition by a great many others. We found some of the cattle-herders returning on horse with large quantities of fine, ripe plums, but when we went up, there were scarcely any ripe ones left; still I managed to gather nearly half a bushel of them. A very few of ours were ripe, but all were good enough for cooking. I never saw such abundance in my life, and the trees on which they grew were not any more than 8 feet high, and some not above 18 inches; in fact, I had fine plums not full 18 inches from the ground. Those that went with, and before me, were enabled to get a similar quantity of them. A large number of gooseberry trees were to be found on the banks of the creek, about 1½ mile above the crossing; but as it was past gooseberry time, I could not find any there. Quite a number of black currant trees also existed near the same spot; but the time was too limited for me to undertake to pick any. Just as I was returning and when about a mile above the crossing, I found a tortoise on the bank of the creek, which I took to camp to show to those that had not seen a living tortoise before, and, after gratifying the curiosity of several there, I liberated the captive and let him go his own way. A vast quantity of ground-cherries grow near Wolf Creek, which is a very pretty stream of good clear water, about 6 feet across, and 2 feet deep. Our halting place was at its embouchure into the Platte. Just as soon as we crossed it, we were at the foot of a sand-hill—the worst of any on the road—to ascend which was by no means an easy task; it was, in my opinion, about 80 yards high, and about a mile and a half across. The sand, too, was sinking very much under the waggons so that the teams had to be doubled in going up the steepest hill; and, as some waggons had 6 yokes of cattle to them, no less than 11 yokes were on this occasion, through the doubling process, drawing one waggon. It was quite a curiosity of see them, and to hear the almost uninterrupted shouts of “gee” and “wo-ha.” All reached across in safety, and we camped for the night at the other side of the hill; but it was dark before we pitched our tents, as it was not advisable to make the oxen travel through the sand in the heat of the day.
Tuesday, 26th. A wolf was seen this morning by some of our party, not far from the place we camped. Started this morning as usual, and saw quite a number of wild ducks. I counted about 30 in one shoal, 20 in the 2d, and about 15 in the 3d. Passed about two creeks of good water in the morning, and made our mid-day halt opposite Ash Hollow, which is a narrow valley on the south side of the Platte, through which a road passes to Fort Laramie. Several of the brethren crossed the river to Ash Hollow, where an abundance of both choke-cherries and plums were to be found, of which they brought large quantities. It was here that I first saw gravel in the bed of a river since we passed Chicago. Rocks, also, have made their appearance on both sides of the river since a little before we reached Rattle Snake Creek, being a kind of hard sandy stone in the commencement; but now appearing very much like bastard limestone. Our road this morning again was partly sandy, but not very bad. It was 4 p. m. before we started in the afternoon; therefore, it was quite dark for an hour before we had pitched our tents. Our distance in the morning was about 11 miles; in the afternoon, about 7. Castle Creek was about the middle of the afternoon’s stages, through which we carried the sisters. It is about 3 yards wide, 2 feet deep, and has good clear water. Had much difficulty this evening to get buffalo chips. Several snakes were killed today, as is the case every day, one of them having 10 rattles.
Wednesday, 27th. Started about 7 to-day again, and halted after travelling about 9 miles, the whole distance being performed without water, in consequence of the river’s bearing so much from us. Several rattle snakes were killed to-day again, and many of us had a fine chase in the afternoon after some wild young ducks, which were unable to fly. They were swimming in the river; and, for he sake of making their capture more secure, several of the brethren jumped to the water so lively that they were up to their waists unawares to themselves almost. Some made an attempt in vain, but others succeeded in capturing a few. Had a tolerable quantity of wood this evening, which had been deposited by the river during floods.
Thursday, 28th. Started about the same time this morning again, and halted after traveling about 7 miles, on the western bank of a creek of good, clear water, called [blank space]. Passed a large dog-town in the afternoon, being consisted of some scores of burrows made by the little creatures called prairie-dogs. Quite a number of the inhabitants were at the doors of their houses when we passed by, each saluting us with numberless barks. I counted about 10 of them moving about; but bro. James Gough, formerly of Victoria, Monmouthshire, who was nearer them than me, said that he saw some scores of them. As they were a little distance from me, I could not form a correct opinion of their size or shape; but their voices in barking resembled the voice of a weasel more than anything else. Cactus abounded near the canine city, and, especially, a little beyond it, 50 bunches of which, some of them very large, I counted within less than 100 yards travel. I could count 500 more in any time almost if I wished; but it was useless, as what I had already counted was sufficient to prove the abundance of that prickly plant in this part of country. We had seen considerable quantities of it before, since we passed Wood River; but never so much as this afternoon. Had a few grapes this afternoon in a hollow near the river, where a considerable quantity of sweet brier was to be found. A good spring of water, too, existed in the same hollow, of which I took a good draught. This hallow was between the road and the river, near which was a small bluff, from the top of which (being about 30 yards) we caught a glimpse of Chimney Rock and the adjacent bluffs. The distance was about 35 miles, and the appearance of it was like the mast of a vessel when about 8 miles distant. Our camping-place for the night was about 2 miles beyond the said bluff, and within a mile or so of Bluff City ruins, which, I am sorry to say, I was unable to visit, on account of the limited state of our time. A thunderstorm threatened to drench us this afternoon on two occasions; but we escaped without receiving but a little sprinkling. We have been exceedingly favoured hitherto with regard to rain, for we have had dry weather since the [blank space]. It was quite dark before we were within a mile of our camping place. I managed this evening again to gather a few sticks to assist a little on the buffalo chips.
Friday, 29th. Our morning’s travel extended to only about 8 miles, our halting-place being near the river. The time of starting was about the same as usual, but the sceneries were far more romantic and beautiful than we had before witnessed. Hitherto, we had seen no romantic views worth speaking of; but, to-day, they began to unfold themselves on our right and left, and to assume the appearance of massive buildings. We had had a faint view of them yesterday afternoon, but we were favoured with a full view of them this afternoon, and we camped opposite one portion of a bluff called the “court-house and prison,” owing to its resemblance to the same. The prison is a little separate from the “court-house,” and appears very much like a tower. To me, “the castle” would seem a far more appropriate name for it, as it does certainly bear a very great resemblance to a British castle in a partially ruined condition. Several rattlesnakes killed, one having 9, and the other 10, rattles; but snake-killing has now become too common a thing almost for me to trouble myself about. Without any exaggeration, I really believe that no less than 10 snakes per day, of various kinds, have been killed since we left the settlements. Our distance for the afternoon was only about 8 miles.
Saturday, 30th. We travelld only about 16 miles to-day again, as the oxen were not in a very fit state for making long journeys. They have been in rather a bad condition for travelling for the last few days. We camped this evening opposite Chimney Rock, which seemed to be only about a mile from us; but I was told that it was full 4 miles distant from us. The air is very clear in that portion of country, which enables persons to see objects at a great distance. We saw Scott’s Bluff when about 7 miles eastward of Chimney Rock. Had a few sticks this afternoon on an island that was opposite the “Rock.” An Indian camp was the other side of the river, and about a dozen of them came over to our camp, wishing to “swap” horses. They had 6 or 7 fine ones. Chimney Rock is a kind of a round pillar, seemingly about 4 yards high, and resting on a sort of a conical base of a considerable size. It is all composed of a sort of clay, and was until three or four years ago about 30 feet higher than it is now. Its name owes its derivation to the resemblance of the pillar to a chimney.
Sunday, 31st. Saw two or three deers this morning, and a big number of wild ducks, of which I noticed 7 being shot by the brethren. Several Indians came to our camp this morning, and came to our camp in the afternoon, who followed us until another party of them came to meet us about 4 p. m. As soon as they beheld our approach, their chief, and two others, rode across to meet us. He was dressed in an old U. S. uniform, wore his hair long as is usually the case with them; had a sword by his side, cased in a good sheath, and had several credentials in his pocket, which he produced to our captain. As I did not see the same, and did not like to be too inquisitive, I did not learn their purport. Like the others we saw, the first thing he did was to inquire who was the captain. After being introduced to the captain, he inquired where we intended to “sleep” (meaning camping) over night, and, as soon as he was told that we intended to camp about a mile or two further on, he said that there was a “heap” (meaning many) of Sioux the other side of the river, and that they would come to us to get something to eat. He was a smart man, and had quite an independent spirit in him. He did not seem to be above 35 years of age. While he was carrying on a conversation with the captain, his comrade was shaking hands and trying to converse with the company. He, too, was a fine man, and he wore a kind of a string at the back of his head, on which some round pieces of tin had been placed, commencing large in the top (larger than a 5/- piece) and getting smaller towards the bottom. It very much resembled the tail of a paper kite, and reached nearly to his ankles. Before we had much conversation with them, two more horsemen crossed the river, and we could see a great number of them wading it. One of them was of a very large stature, being the first that I saw with any beard on. I had never seen any one before with any kind of beard, eye brows, eyelashes, or hair on any part of the body; but this one had a little on his upper lip. We saw one today again with light hair—a very rare thing among Indians, as they all generally have very black hair. They all followed us to camp, and were not pleased to go so far as we did. They had gathered together to the number of about 30 by the time our corral was formed, several squaks [squaws] and papoose among them. The men all sat in the middle of the corral and commenced smoking. They had a very large pipe, which seemed to be composed of wood, and the ceremony was for the first to draw a few puffs, and all the others in succession. The captain gave them a sack of flour weighing 98 lbs. And about 12 lbs. Of bacon. They had, besides, a considerable quantity of provisions from the passengers. Several of them had guns; others, bows and arrows; and, for the sake of curiosity, I took a bow and arrow in my hand and examined them. The bow was constructed similar to those which children generally use in Britain, and of about the same material; but the arrow was consisted of a large quill, having a notch at one end for the spring, a metal point (steel, I suppose) on the other. They bartered some moccasins for flour, sugar, &c, with some of our company. The distance we travelled to-day was about 16 miles—from Chimney Rock to within about 4 miles of Scott’s Bluffs, which we just saw about mid-day yesterday. Saw large shoals of wild ducks this morning, and one company of Indians, moving over a bluff that was to our right. Bros. Amasa M. Lyman, C. C. Rich, J. W. Young, F. M. Lyman, J. Rich, and G. I. Taylor, and others arrived in our camping this evening, having left Florence on the 16th. They had 5 waggons, each drawn by 4 mules, and 4 persons rode in each. Bros. Rich and Young gave us some instructions relative to our journey.
Monday, September 1st. Bros. Lyman and Rich came around each tent this morning, and inquired after the health of all. They, with us, started a little after 7, and when they left us, we gave them a hearty shout of “hurrah.” Several Indians paid us a visit this morning again, and the chief rode with our captain to our mid-day halting-place—a little more than 10 miles distance, on the bank of a fine, clear creek, which ran almost parallel with the river, and about 1½ miles from its embouchure. Before our dinner was over, an Indian on horseback arrived at our camp, having with him two antelopes he had killed, which he brought over for the sake of trading with us. He soon gained his object, for all crowded around him forthwith to barter their flour, sugar, coffee, &c, for meat; and, by the time the waggons started, there was not much left with him. In order to gratify a little curiosity that existed in me, I took about half a cup-full, or about ½ gill, of sugar to him, and had in return about l lb. Of meat, which made excellent broth. The meat also, being the first antelope meat I had ever eaten, had an excellent taste, and was much praised by all in camp that tried it. Bro. David Todd wanted to purchase a leg; but the seller would not do so, as he wanted the bone to the . . . . , said he; but he offered bro. Todd a piece of meat off the leg, which was accepted in exchange for some flour and sugar. The old Indian had a considerable quantity of flour and sugar when he left, and there is no doubt but that he went his way rejoicing, for he was very careful not to give many large bargains. He had an excellent knife, which cut through the ribs of the antelope like through straw. The Indian that walked with us yesterday afternoon told us that there were “heaps” of antelopes in this part; but no buffalos. He, like those we saw yesterday, had large rings in his ears, but perhaps not so large as some, for one had rings yesterday that must have been 12 inches in circumference. They all, almost had a kind of a long strip, something in the shape of a bustle, bound by red tape, and hanging at each side of their necks behind. Travelled about 8 miles in the morning and 5 in the afternoon, without water, because the river bore so much away from us.
Came to the source of the creek about 8 miles from its embouchure, it being made up of several small springs at each side of it. Saw quite a number of wild ducks. Had a glimpse of Laramie’s Peak about 4 p. m. when about 45 miles eastward of Laramie, and about 100 off the “Peak” itself. Lost sight of Chimney Rock about mid-day. A rather hot day. Passed by some saleratus during the last 4 or 5 days, and some prairie fires. The saleratus was not in large quantities, but covering patches of the surface of the ground to the thickness of a coat of paint or so. Travelled about 18 miles to-day, and camped on the banks of the river, on an island in the middle of which we had a little quantity of wood. Saw a dead small prairie-dog, which bears some resemblance to a rat.
Tuesday, September 2d. Rather cold last night, as well as the night before. Travelled about 9 this morning, and halted on the banks of a small clear creek; but one having no good water. The weather very hot. Passed by two graves, quite close to each other, having the inscriptions cut in stones placed at their heads. Hitherto, all inscriptions on graves had been made on boards. Camped in the afternoon about 20 miles from Laramie. There were some traders living opposite us on the south side of the river. Some beautiful timber were passed by us in the afternoon, and we had abundance of wood for the night. Some wood to be seen during the last 5 or 6 days; but in most cases either too far from us, or on islands on the river. This afternoon, however, abundance of timber existed some distance from the river, and their green colour and regular order in growth imparted quite a novelty to the scenery, and brought into our minds many reflections concerning home.
Wednesday. Travelled only about 14 miles to-day [blank space] within about 6 miles of Laramie. Abundance of wood but poor feed. An Indian on horse-back came to our camp this morning. Made our mid-day halt about 1 mile eastward of Raw Hide Creek, which we found to be dry. Saw two antelopes in the afternoon, being about 2 miles from us. Wrote letter for bro. Sylvester James to his father, Isaac James, 1st Ward, G. S. L. City. An Indian camp of about 8 wigwams was the other side of the river, opposite our camping-place but none of them came over. Saw a crow this afternoon for the first time in this country. It seems that they are very rare in some parts of this country. A thunderstorm threatened us in the evening; but we had only a few drops. Lost sight of Scott’s Bluff to-day.
Thursday, 4th. Had some rain this morning on the road, which wet some to the skin; but it was quite a luxury. When we started, an Indian on horse-back met us near our camp, having a good oil-cloth coat on. Travelled only about 5 miles in the morning, and halted within about 1 mile of Laramie, properly called Fort Laramie. Passed a trade station, consisting of three tents, a little before we came to our halting place. Bro. Harmon disposed of some of his lame cows to one trader, one of which had been bitten by a rattle-snake the night we camped on Skunk Creek. A dull and cold day. Camped in the evening about 5 miles beyond Laramie, where an abundance of wood existed. The scenery on both sides of the road to-day was very pleasant. The hills each side the river were rather rocky and very much resembling the hills in the vicinity of Ffestiniog, Merionethshire, and the timber on the banks of the same had a very pretty and majestic appearance. About 4 miles beyond Laramie, and on our right, was seen a large cliff, and even cliffs, in a partially petrified condition. The road a little beyond passed through an amphitheatre of hills, having a very pleasing appearance. Laramie is situated within a little distance of the river, on its southern bank. The Platte Valley is not more than from 4 to 5 miles wide here, if that; but Laramie seems to be in a small valley that joins the Platte, and on a partially level ground. We passed opposite it, within about 100 yards or so of the river. Bro. James Harrison, engraver, of London, and other brothers went there; but they said that about half the place was uninhabited, and that there were but very few soldiers there. It seemed to us like a good sized country village. Bro. Harrison earned nearly $3 there by engraving. News was conveyed to us during our halt opposite this place of the success of the Confederates in repulsing the Federals from Kentucky and Virginia, and of their advance on Cincinnatti [Cincinnati] and Washington. Some sandy roads today again, which we have had occasionally since we left Wolf Creek; but we have not had to cross any sand hills since then, though they have existed a little distance from us on both sides since then. Laramie, I am told, is about 520 miles from Florence. An Indian came to our camp mid-day, having a bow and a quiver full of arrows.
Friday, 5th. Crossed the Platte this morning almost opposite our camping-place, in order to avoid certain sand-hills. The men had to precede the train and wade the river; but the sisters had to ride. The water at the crossing was not very deep; yet, it was a difficult task to wade it, on account of the exceedingly awkward stones in the bottom, and the swiftness of the current. Previous to our arriving at Ash
xxxx Hollow, I had not seen a single pebble in the bed of any river from St. Joseph on; but, since, pebbles have increased, so that there are as many of them in the Platte at Laramie as there are in any British river. The country around, also, is as rocky as any portion of North Wales. It was a grand scene to see the waggons and the loose cattle crossing the river, and had an artist been near, he would have had an excellent chance to try his skill; for the train formed a perfect crescent in passing through, and it appeared exceedingly well. The river was not more than about a quarter of a mile wide here; but the distance was more to the train, as it had to go in a circular route. When at the other side, we were at the foot of sandy hills, which continued for about 2 miles; but were not more than about 20 yards in height. Still, they were so heavy for the oxen that they could not proceed more than 2 miles; consequently we halted after travelling that distance; near the ruins of an old blacksmith shop, and on the southern bank of the river, where some fine trees grew. There was a grave on the same spot, and the following inscribed on it;—“Ann Firth, died August 26th, 1862, aged 66 years.” The telegraph lines were about 100 yards south of our crossing, which we left soon after we passed Nebraska Centre (about 180 miles from Florence,) and which we did not see again until the 30th of August; but we came not on the same side of the river as them until to-day. The halting place referred to was about 7 miles westward of Laramie, about 2 miles beyond which we saw an Indian corpse in the branches of a fir tree, having been wrapped in his red blanket, &c, and some sticks placed under him, to prevent it from falling. It seems that the Indian custom is to bury their dead in the branches of trees. Bro. McAllister, our chaplain, says that he has seen <a> vast number s of Indian corpses placed in the branches of trees—some near the Valley, and others eastward of Laramie. Saw some fir-trees at a little distance eastward of the Indian grave, being the first, according to my recollection, for me to see in America. There was a cliff close to the grave, but westward of it, in a more advanced stage of petrification than those we saw yesterday; but yet so soft that any person with even a leaden knife, might engrave his name deeply in it in a very little space of time. I walked alongside of it for a little more than 100 yards, and found the whole surface, from the ground to about 6 or 7 feet from it literally strewn with names. There must have been many hundreds of names engraved on it; but, notwithstanding the vastness of their number, I found the name of only one person that I knew, and that was bro. Daniel Tavey, formerly of Perry cae, Monmouthshire. The cliff we saw yesterday was composed of gravel and pebbles; but this was purely a sandy one. A house called Centre was about half a mile beyond it, at which we saw three Indian squaks [squaws] with their children, clad mostly after the fashion of white women. They were the wives of one man—a trader, and a white man, too. Nearly all the traders, I am told, who are frequently termed mountaineers, have Indian women for their wives, and they generally practice polygamy. Their children are termed “half-breeds,” and do not differ much from [blank space]. There was another house a little eastward of this, on the banks of the river; but westward of the last mentioned cliff. About a mile or so from Centre, we were on the top of a small hill, from which place I had one of the finest views I ever beheld. The meanderings of the river, bordered by numerous verdure-clad trees, could be traced for a long distance, and the numerous small hills to our right, dotted over by fir and cedar trees, with a train of 48 waggons, drawn by some 300 cattle, formed a scene that shall not very soon by forgotten by us. There were some cedar trees on the hill—the first of the kind for me to ever, wittingly, see. Our camping-place was about 11 miles from Laramie, where I burnt nothing but dried branches of cedar trees, of which there was an abundance around.
Saturday, 6th. Several wolves were heard howling last night, as also on the nights of the 3d and 4th, near our camp. Travelled about 8 or 9 miles this morning without water, over small hills dotted with fir and cedar trees. Numerous hills were visible to us all around, similarly dotted with the same kind of trees, and forming a lovely spectacle. The hills were generally barren, and as there was a considerable space between each tree, they seemed very pretty at a distance. The road was rather steep occasionally; yet, the oxen travelled over it in its steepest place as fast as they did through the sand on level ground, and it was a good and hard one. Passed a limestone rock about a mile from camp, where some of the brethren saw an old kiln. Came to some cliffs farther on in a more petrified state than the one we passed yesterday. The place we had the water was at an old mail-station on [blank space], which we found to be dry. We travelled a little more than 3 miles further and nooned at Spring Creek, or Echo Glen Spring, as it is called by some, where an abundance of wood and as much as was necessary of water existed. The water of said spring ran through a deep hollow, bound on both sides by perpendicular rocks of some 60 feet high, thereby forming a grand and romantic sight. The rock seemed to be composed of some sort of bastard limestone, having some flint therein. A better, but a much weaker, spring existed about half a mile further on, to our left. Passed a good wagon about ¼ of a mile before we came to our halting-place, which had been left because its fore-wheels were out of order. Travelled about 8 miles in the afternoon, the first four miles rather hilly, and camped near two fine springs, not more than 2 yards apart. I asked their name to our captain; but he did not know that there was any name on them. He, however, said that he thought that “The Twin Springs” would be a very appropriate name for them, which would undoubtedly be. Quite a quantity of sage brush existed here, which composed most of our fuel, although there was abundance of wood about half a mile from camp on either side. It happened to be night when we arrived at our camping ground, and that was the reason that many did not go after wood. Still, I, and many others, went and returned laden with dentritic productions. It was a beautiful night, and the moon shone brilliantly. Sage brush grow in bushes like rosemary, and is so thick in some places as the heath on some of the mountains of Cambria. It bears but very little resemblance to garden sage. It seems to me more like wormwood than sage, but the difference is that the latter is only a plant while the former is a shrub, and burns almost like furze. We had seen but very little of it before we came to this place, but here abundance of it existed.
Sunday, 7th. The horn was sounded at 3 this morning to wake us and we were on the road about 6. Passed a deserted mail station about 3 miles on, which had quite a range of buildings. I asked the reason of its desolated condition, and was replied by our captain that a new mail-route has been adopted since the coming of Pike’s Peak into notoriety, and that the Salt Lake mail passes through Denver City, in order to save running an extra mail to the last place. The whole range of buildings were in a pretty good condition, and were situated on the banks of a creek, having some fine trees shadowing it; but it was destitute of water, when we passed through. We diverged from the main road about half a mile beyond this place and kept to the right, in order to avoid the crossing of certain hills. Our road to-day was partly hilly, and partly level, and the distance we travelled was about 18 miles—10 in the morning and 8 in the afternoon. Passed by some red and sand rocks in the morning and several of the company picked lumps of flint on the road. Camped this evening on the north side of the Platte, which we crossed at its 2d crossing, going west, a little after sunset.
Monday, 8th. Were aroused this morning again at 8, in a short time after which we heard the howlings of quite a number of wolves, seemingly about a mile from us. Travelled 12 miles this morning without water, in consequence of the river’s bearing so much from the road. The most of the distance was up hill, and the weather was very hot. Passed 2 rocks near our halting-place, both very much resembling pyramids. The base of each must have been nearly sufficient to cover an acre of ground, but their height was no more than about 15 yards. An Indian on a white horse visited us at our halting-place; but his stay lasted only a few minutes; for he soon galloped off. Saw a wolf in the afternoon. He crossed the road when only about 400 yards from us, where we had a tolerable view of him. He moved about at a small trot, and did not stir any when we shouted at him; but he seemed as cozy as he could be, and used to stand occasionally to stare at us. He travelled upwards of half a mile in our sight, and all of that at about the same pace. Some of the brethren picked some coal in the bed of the river, and many of us saw almost unmistakable evidences of its existence in the locality. And, as for iron ore, it was to be found almost everywhere near the river. Crossed the river this evening again, and camped on its southern bank.
Tuesday, 9th. Travelled only 8 miles this morning; but travelled 10 in the afternoon. Passed an almost dried-up creek in the morning about 4 miles from our starting-place. Camped this evening about 6 miles east of Dear Creek, where we had a full half mile to go after water, and that through a rather difficult place. We passed a nice little creek about 4 miles before camping, called [blank space]. Sister Victoria Rogers died this evening about 10 minutes before the waggon arrived in camp, or about 30 minutes passed 7. She had been consumptive for years, and was rather sick when she embarked on board the “Antarctic,” but it was at Florence that her condition became precarious, for she had greatly improved on sea. However, the journey from New York to Florence affected her very much, and she was but a very short time in the latter place before she was confined to her bed. The diarrhaea, also, which is so incidental to emigrants in that region, attacked her soon after she landed, and did not leave her until death made her his prey. When she started from Florence to the camping-ground, July 27th, she spat considerable blood, and got very weak through that. She had so recovered by that morning that she was enabled to walk upwards of a mile; but she was never able afterwards to walk more than from the waggon to the tent. She continued very weak during the remainder of her earthly career, and suffered much affliction. Her mortal frame was but a frame indeed; for the uninterrupted attacks on her system during such a period, had depr
eived her of almost all her flesh. She died rather sooner than we expected, or inquiries would have been made of her respecting the bequeathal of her clothes, &c, and other matters that would have given us a better satisfaction had we asked her some questions. She was waited upon by sister Catherine Winter, of Bristol, who did much for her. Bros. Robert Madison, also, and Peter Hawkins, teamsters from the Valley, paid the greatest attention to her, and did everything in their power to restore her health. They spared neither time nor means, but acted as friends indeed to her, waiting upon her every meal, and rendering her all the assistance they could. I never saw any persons more attentive to patients than they were to her, and they certainly deserve much credit for such noble actions. I was not able to do scarcely anything for her, as I had so much of other work to do; but she was well waited upon, and the captain granted her every privilege in his power to try and restore her health. The joltings of the waggons, and perhaps the deficiency of variety in diet, no doubt, had a tendency to hasten the time of her death; but she had the best of what was in the camp, and had as much fair-play as a person could have under such circumstances. She was a native of Penrhyn, a place within about 2 miles of Falmouth, Cornwall, Gt. Britain.
Rather warm in the morning, but a little dull in the afternoon. Passed considerable quantities of iron ore.
Wednesday, 10th. Sister Rogers was buried about 7 a. m. on a little near the road, and about 6 miles eastward of Dear Creek. Two Scotch brethren dug her grave, assisted by bros J. D. G. MacAllister and Hawkins, and bro. Todd and I, and the said brethren buried her. All the sisters from our tent, and some from the adjoining tents, followed her to the grave to pay her their last token of respect. The grave was dug about 4 feet or 5 deep, and ledges were left all around it about a foot from the bottom to support planks that had been prepared to be placed between the body and the loose earth. She was buried in her own blanket, and Clara Hanna Evans, the daughter of bro. John Evans, formerly of Pembrokeshire, was burried by her side. The planks were placed over them, a layer of grass on them, and then the loose earth was shoveled in. It was an excellent grave, and the respect paid to their remains was as much as any person could have expected under the circumstance. I went to the river and cut a thick pole about 4 feet long, on which was nailed the board that contained the account of her death, and which was driven down about 3 feet into the grave, at its head, leaving about 14 inches of it exposed. Bro. R. Deakin inscribed the following on the board something in the following style, but in printed characters:—
Died Sept. 9th 1862,
Aged 25 years.
Died Sept. 9th, 1862
Aged 2 years.
The fore going was written by him in blacklead pencil, which preserves its impression sometimes for many years, especially in a climate like this, where rain is but a seldom visitor.
A very cold day, and rainy for about an hour in the morning. Made our mid-day halt about 2 miles west of Dear Creek. There were three Indian wigwams near the embouchure of said creek, where also was a store, and, formerly, a mail-station. Some of our waggons took up flour here, which had been deposited by our company while going to Florence. We only travelled 6 miles in the afternoon. Found abundance of buffalo berries near our camping-place—the only fruit we had met with for a considerable time. Yet, some of the company had a few grapes and buffalo berries at our camping-place on the 5th and 6th instant. There were some traders’ tents about a mile east of our camping-place. Came this morning in sight of the telegraphic line, which we had left on the 7th.
Thursday, 11th. Travelled some 10 miles to-day and camped in the evening about 2 miles eastward of the upper crossing of the Platte. Had it fine in the morning, but cold in the evening. A slight frost in the morning.
Friday, 12th. Started about 7, and crossed the [blank space] a little after 8. The captain went forward and agreed for our crossing, for it was a toll-bridge. I do not know the usual charge, but he had permission to let the whole train, consisting of 48 waggons, about 500 people, and about 30 head of loose cattle, on payment of 2 bags of flour (each weighing 98 lbs.) and on condition that about 30 of our people should press on a lever at a certain weak place on the bridge during the passage of the train. There were 3 tents at the eastern end of the bridge, pertaining to traders, who had several squaks [squaws] as wives to them. In addition, there were 50 U. S. Soldiers quartered near the tents, guarding the telegraphic line. One of them asked us if we had a doctor in our train, as one of them had shot his hand that morning. We had to reply in the negative, as we had no one. As soon almost as we had crossed the bridge, we had to ascend a gradual hill for some 4 miles, then continue to ascend and descend small bluffs occasionally until we came near Red Buttes. We had to descend some very steep hills, too, when about 6 miles from the bridge—a rather difficult task for the oxen. About 2 miles further, some very evident proofs of the existence of coal and iron were to be seen, which continued for a considerable distance. Bro. Todd and I went about half a mile out of our way to see what we considered to be coal, which was nothing else than some earth evidently proceeding from a vein of coal. There is no doubt but what coal could be found there very near the surface. The distance from the bridge to the Red Buttes, (which we could see when about 6 miles away) was about 10 or 12 miles, which we reached about 2 p. m.
Saturday, 13th. Started this morning about 5, and reached within 3 miles of Willow Springs about ½ past 9, where we halted for about 2 hours. We had rain for the most part of the way, which made our situation a little unpleasant. We met 8 Indians, all on horse-back, on the road, belonging to the [blank space] tribe. Eight Indians on house-back visited our camp last evening after we had left, but before the waggons left, offering antelope and buffalo meat at a very reasonable price. Several of the teamsters bartered with them for sugar, &c It was almost dark too when we left the camp, but we saw no signs of the “red men.” Our reason for starting so late was to make what is called a “dry camp.” There was no good, drinking water between Red Buttes and the stream that issues from the Willow Springs; consequently, we divided the distance, and made about 6 miles last night—the best time to travel without water. The whole distance was [blank space] miles; therefore, we made [blank space] of it this morning. Of course, we took some water with us just to quench our thirst, but not to cook or made tea with, so that we had to go to bed with nothing but a bite and start this morning as soon as we got up. Some few lit fires, in order to warm themselves. What, therefore, is meant by a “dry camp”, is a camp at a place where no water exists. When we reached the Springs, which was situated in a narrow valley between two hills, there was an ox there, which had either failed or been lost by some of the companies that were ahead of us. He was brought along by our company. When about 1½ miles from Willow Springs, and on top of a mountain, our captain showed us where Devil’s Gate existed, being about 25 miles away. Camped this evening on [blank space], about 9 miles beyond Willow Springs, where we had nothing but grease-wood and sage for fuel. It was a dark, windy, and cold night; yet, I had to bake a loaf, which was no pleasant work under such a circumstance. We had only the same kind of fuel where we nooned. Travelled 20 miles to-day.
Sunday, 14th. A very cold morning. Started about 7, and reached Devil’s Gate—a distance of 18 miles—about ½ past 4, without making but one drive. Crossed Grease-wood Creek in about 2 miles from our camping place. Had considerable rain on the road, until we came very near Independence Rock, which was within about 5 miles of Devil’s Gate. It continued dry thence on until we arrived at the latter place, when it began to pour it in style until nearly every one in the camp was completely drenched. It ceased not before about 11, during the whole of which time I was obliged to be moving about. The sites of our tents were as wet as they could ever be before we pitched them, and we had much difficulty to get them in a condition somewhat approaching dry. Some lit fires in their tents; but the smoke in the same was unbearable. I was in a completely drenched condition from 4 p. m. until about 11, and many others, in fact, the majority of the camp, were in about the same condition. Mostly all had to bear with damp beds for the night, and with wet clothes in the morning. The weather, too, was cold, which caused a good deal of shaking of teeth. Devil’s Gate will be long remembered by our company, on account of the treat they had there.
Y byd am dani hir, hir goffa
Gan bawb o Gwmniar Cadben Harmon
Draw yn nyffrynoed hyfryd Seion.
Our camping-place was about half a mile westward of the Gate, just opposite an old Mormon store house, the wood of which served for very good fuel unto us. There was scarcely any wood there, except some fir trees on the rocks around. We reached the Sweet-water River about 1 mile before we came to Independence Rock, which we had to wade at the latter place. There was a toll-bridge at the place we first reached the river, and a military station, at which were 24 soldiers, guarding the telegraphic line. Independence Rock is an isolated one, almost in the middle of the valley, seemingly about 1 mile long, half a mile wide, and from 50 to 100 yards high. It was nothing but a bare rock, having no appearance of any growing substance thereon.
Monday, 15th. Started about 8, passed [blank space] about 10, over which a wide bridge had been made, and camped at an old mail station that was about 10½ miles from Devil’s Gate. It was dry in the morning, and some of the mountains around us were capped with snow; but, before we had proceeded 6 miles, it began to rain again, and did not cease for the next 2½ hours until we were once more in a drenched condition. We stayed at the old station until 6 in the evening, by which time we had became almost dry. We then made another start, and reached Sage Creek about 9, on the western bank of which, and close to its embouchure, we camped for the night. Owing to being a little distance behind the advance crowd, I and about 7 others went about 1 mile astray from the road; but we came to it again without much trouble. Heard some wolves howling near the road. Our distance for the day was about 18 miles.
Tuesday, 16th. A cold day, and a very cold morning. It blew so hard that our tent came down in the night. No wood here but sage-brush. The ox that was found at Willow Springs had to be left behind last evening, because of not being able to travel. Several of our cattle failed to-day. Hitherto, they had done very well, and not one had been left behind. Passed by some rocks very much resembling the domes of cathedrals, with nothing growing on them but fir and cedar trees, and then very much apart from each other. The whole route was almost encompassed with rocks. Passed by the grave of a murderer when within about 1 mile of the 1st of the Three Crossings of the Sweet Water, on which was, as far as I can recollect, the following inscription:—
“Charles R. Young, aged 43 years, was tried by jury on the 7th of July, 1862, for murdering George Scott on the 6th of July, and was found guilty and executed on the 8th, by being shot. R. Kennedy, captain of emigration company, did the execution. Both parties were traveling together from Central City, Colorado Territory, and did not belong to our company.”
There was an old mail station at the 1st crossing occupied by a small company of U. S. soldiers, guarding the telegraph lines. We had passed another station in the morning about 4 miles westward of Sage Creek. The former was about 16 miles from Sage Creek, at the entrance of a pass, through which our road passed. We waded the river at the station, and the teams had to cross it twice afterwards before coming to the camping-ground, which was about 3 miles westward of the station. The rock on our right, alongside of which we went, was pretty well covered with names, painted in black on it. The rocks on both sides were rather, and there is no doubt but that they were matters of great curiosity to all those that had not been much acquainted with mountain sceneries. They seemed very homely to me; but I must acknowledge that they were on a far greater scale than I had before seen. I collected a tolerable quantity to-day of wild pepper-mint, of which there is an almost abundance growing on the banks of the Sweet-water from Independence Rock on. It was at a place about a mile westward of the Rock that we first touched the Sweet-water, which name is quite appropriate to it, for it has excellent water. Philip, the son of bro. David and sister Martha Todd, died this evening. He suffered for a long time from the diarrhaia, and afterwards from a kind of gathering in the throat, which caused his death.
Wednesday, 17th. Went this morning up to a rock hard by and fetched a post to nail on the head-board of Philip Todd’s grave. Another Danish child died last evening, and was burried in the grave that Philip was burried, on the head-board of which bro. R. Deakin inscribed the following:
Died Sept, 15, 1862
Aged 7 weeks.
Died Sept. 15, 1862.
Aged 6 years.
A mistake was made in the date, by inserting 15 instead of 16, which was not discovered until we had started. Started about 8, and nooned after travelling about 7 miles. We crossed the Sweet-water, though, first, and nooned on the other side, where we remained until dark. We then travelled 6 miles, and made a dry camp. After we travelled the first 4 miles this morning, we came in view of the Wind River chain of the Rocky Mountains, capped with snow. They seemed but 10 or 12 miles distant, but were in reality about 60 miles. Wolves were heard howling near the road as we were passing by.
Thursday, 18th. Some 13 heads of cattle were found by our company this morning, all in good condition. All of us thought that we had met with a very good luck, as our cattle, in consequence of not having had but poor feed for the last few days, were fastly giving way; but, before we had proceeded 4 miles, we met with a mountaineer searching for them. We though that they were Church cattle, having been left behind by some of the trains that were ahead of us; but great was our disappointment when we found that our expectations had been based on a sandy foundation. Saw 12 antelopes this morning about 1 mile from us—8 on the right and 4 on the left. About a mile further, being about 4 miles from our camping-place, we saw several wolves, one of them coming from the carcass of an ox that lay on the roadside. A deserted mail-station was about 5 miles from camp, having been almost burnt to the ground. A creek of clear water ran by it; but it was not of a good quality. We had about 6 miles of uphill from this place; and another mile of down-hill before we arrived at our nooning place, which was in a kind of a valley, through which a very muddy creek ran. We stayed here 3 hours, and started between 5 and 6 for Antelope Springs—8 miles distant. Nearly the whole of the road was up-hill, in some places rather steepy, which told so much on the cattle that one ox fell dead in the team, and another one in the loose herd. There was tolerable good water there, but not very easily obtained. No fuel but sage brush for the last few days. A fine day, as was yesterday. Bro. John Evans of Pembrokeshire shot an antelope this afternoon, and one of the teamsters shot another. The most part of bro. Evans’s antelope was divided among the sick in camp; the other among the teamsters. The grave of 2 Californian emigrants that were murdered by the Indians on the 8th of last June was about 7 miles eastward of Antelope Spring. They had lagged behind the train, and were, consequently, powerless compared with a number of armed Indians. The wife of one was taken away by then as a squak [squaw].
Friday, 19th. Did not start this morning until nearly 10, and our travel to-day only extended to 8 miles, our camping place being at some springs that are called by some The Head of the Sweet-water, where there was good water, abundance of sage-brush, and a better feed than the cattle had had since before we last crossed the Platte. And, indeed, they wanted it; for they had got into a very low condition. The rocks at Antelope Springs, and along to-day’s journey very much resembled the rocks in S. Wales, both as to their form and nature. The whole distance was almost uphill, with an occasional short down-hill, and almost entirely destitute of herbage, except at our camping-place. We have met with but very little else than grease-wood and sage-brush since we left, or last crossed, the Platte. Sage prevails most by far, which is as thick as the heath on British mountains. Saw 3 antelopes within a few hundred yards of the road, which ran for a considerable time along-side of it. Two antelopes were shot by our company to-day. Three young brethren were sent to relieve the guard at Rocky Ridge station, as the Indians around were rather hostile, and had one night stolen about 20 sacks of flour, and 1 barrel of molasses from there.
Saturday, 20th. The wind blowing rather hard, and one rather severe gale swept over us about 2 p. m. which raised such a cloud of dust that we were obliged to lie in the brush for a while. The day on the whole was fine, as was yesterday. One of the brethren was chased by the Indians, and would have been caught, very likely, had he not been fortunate enough to come to within sight of our train. A waggon that had come in Captain Horne’s company as far as Rockey Ridge, but had, for some purpose or other, waited there for us, joined our train this afternoon. Saw quite a number of sage hens, which appeared quite as large as pheasants, and would, most likely, constitute an excellent dish. Camped this evening after a travel of about 16 miles. Met 4 U. S. soldiers in the afternoon, mounted. Bros. E. Burgon and [blank space] joined our company this afternoon. They had gone with Horne’s company as far as Rocky Ridge, where they were requested to stop and guard some flour that had been deposited there for the benefit of the emigration. They were relieved by the brethren that were sent yesterday from our company. Came to-day again along side of the telegraphic lines, having left the same on the 17th. The banks of the Sweet-water at our camping-place were covered with willows, which served us for fuel. Previously we had seen scarcely any trees growing on that river, although we had travelled along it the greatest part of the distance from Independence Rock—about 100 miles.
Sunday, 21st. Had to take my turn to-day at driving the loose herd. Started about 8, and nooned about 1 mile beyond the Pacific Springs, where 3 persons were burried—2 grown up women, one that had died of a puerperal death, and a child that had been born in the morning. Our deaths since we left Florence make up about 20 by this time. Started about 3 p. m. and reached Sandy Creek, a distance of 9 miles, about 8. It was the intention to go about 2 miles farther, and make a “dry camp,” as it was thought that said creek would be dry; but it seems that the late rains raplenished [replenished] its stock of water; therefore, our captain determined to camp on it. Yet, its water was far from being good, as it had a considerable quantity of alkali in it. An old station in a ruined state was here, the wood of which did us great service in cooking our food. The Pacific Springs were a little upwards of 3 miles from our last camping-place, and within about [blank space] miles of G. S. L. City. Their water is as clear as crystal, and tastes tolerably well, but nothing extraordinary. All the water eastward of these springs, in our route, however, flows to the Atlantic; but the<ir>: water flows to the Pacific; hence, the name “Pacific Springs.” It seems that they are several springs, and can be seen within about 100 yards of a ruined mail-station that is on the road side. They form together a tolerable sized creek, on which we nooned to-day.
Monday, 22d. About 1/10 of an inch thickness of ice on the water near the entrance of our tent. Started about ½ 7 and reached Little Sandy Creek, a distance of 14 miles, about 2. The Oregon road diverged from ours about 6 miles from our camping-place. Our road to-day was tolerable level; but great quantities of saleratus were to be seen each side of it. Our road yesterday was pretty much the same. While staying here, a waggon drawn with 4 horses, and with others to relieve them, passed by us. It belonged to a merchant that had in the summer taken some goods to be disposed of in Utah, whom managed, as he told some of the brethren, to make a pretty good business of it. He carried passengers also, of which he had 3, now returning from the Washoe Diggings, having made very good time of it. One of them had a nugget upwards of 1 lb. Weight, and numerous smaller ones. Started again about 6 p. m., travelled 3 miles, and camped on Big Sandy Creek. Had we not met with water at Little Sandy, we would have been obliged to travel 23 miles without any.
Tuesday, 23d. Nearly ½ inch of ice on the water this morning. Some black currants were found this morning near the creek by some of the brethren, being the only fruit we had seen for some time. Travelled about 13 miles, and nooned. Started again about 6, travelled 6 miles, and made a dry camp, within about 2 miles of the crossing of Big Sandy Creek. We had to wade the creek, which was about 5 or 6 yards wide, and 18 inches deep. Little Sandy Creek was only about half as big a stream; but both had tolerable clear water, and it tasted good. Lost sight this morning of the Wind River Mountains; but others to the west of us, capped with snow, and apparently about 60 miles distant, came to view. Saw several antelopes this morning quite close to our road.
Wednesday, 24th. Another cold and frosty morning, but the day, like the 23d, 22d, and 21st, proved fine, and hotter than it was desirable for travellers. A child was burried just before we started. Reached Big Sandy after about 2 miles travel, it being on our left, and running almost paralell with our road, except in its meanderings. We nooned on Green River, after a travel of 12 miles, and about 1 mile above the embouchure of Big Sandy. Green River is a fine stream of good, clear water, and pretty well abounds with timber on its banks. It is larger than the Sweet-water, being about 40 yards wide by about 2 feet deep, and the distance hence to G. S. L. City is about [blank space] miles. We had abundance of dry wood here, which had not fallen to our lot, except at old stations, since we left the Three Crossings. We had some dry cedars at said place, and could have had some at other places, had it been advisable for us to camp at them; but, as it was not, we had to manage with sage-brush. True, we had a little wood at our last camping-place on the Sweet-water, but that was but little. Some timber also grew on Big Sandy near its embouchure, which, with that of Green river, formed a lovely spectacle. We reached the river about 2 and left a little after 4—the able-bodied men across the stream, with their pantaloons off; the others, and the sisters, in the waggons. The task of wading took the waggons about 2 hours, so that it was about dark when they all were across. A lad about 16 year old was taken away by the stream for a considerable distance, in consequence of rushing into a rather deep place after his bundle of clothes, and would have been drowned, very likely, had bro. David Higgs, Cheltenham, not jumped in to assist him. A teamster went in after the clothes and thus the clothes and their owner were saved. An old station was on the other side; but we kept a little from it, to the right, and deviated from the main road, in order to save a little distance. Bro. Joseph W. Young made a “cut off” here some time ago to Ham’s Fork station, which we followed. We had an uphill for about the first 3 miles, from the river, then we had more downhill than anything else. The whole distance from Green River to Ham’s Fork being without water, we had to make a dry camp this night, which we did after 12 miles travel. It was past 12 when the last of the waggons arrived in camp, and all the emigrants were by that time very weary.
Thursday, 25th. Started about 8 and reached Ham’s Fork a little after 12. The appearance of this place and the river was quite delightful; and formed quite a contrast with the dry country we had passed in the morning. To witness the mow of hay, the cattle and cows, the newly washed clothes drying out, the tilled land, and the poultry and the people, at the station, was exceedingly pleasant and homely to us. We had not seen any hay before since we had left the settlements. The most of the country we passed over this morning was hilly, and full of saleratus. Abundance of wild peppermint was to be found on Ham’s Fork, which was a fine creek, about 4 yards wide and a foot deep. We nooned the other side of it, and then started after about 2 hours stay. We camped for the night on [blank space] about 4 miles distant, where we had a tolerable quantity of wood. When at Ham’s Fork station, the Salt Lake mail passed us, drawn by 4 mules, being the first Salt Lake mail for me to see. We had struck the main road again at this station, where the telegraph was working when we passed. A company of two waggons and several horseman were forming a camp at about 2 miles beyond our nooning place. It was supposed that they were coming from the Valley; but we did not go near enough to them to make inquiries.
Friday 26th. Rather sickly for the most part of the day, but I managed to walk. Went about 6 miles in the morning and nooned on [blank space] where an abundance of black currants existed, but on the other side. I was none the better of them, as I was sick. Bro. George Williams, formerly of Cwmtilery Branch, Monmouthshire, found a fine white steer this morning while out hunting. It had been evidently left behind by some of the former companies; however, it proved a fine prize to him. Travelled about 6 miles this evening, crossed [blank space] and camped the other side of it. A fine day, as was yesterday.
Saturday, 27th. Travelled 23 miles to-day—14 in the morning, and 9 in the afternoon, and camped in the night at [blank space] about 7 miles from [blank space], where we had to go about ¾ of a mile for water. Had a good road to-day for the cattle. Sage-brush to a prodigious size was to be seen along our route to-day—some about 6 feet high, and about 9 inches in circumference. Came in sight, and passed by, quite a number of cedar trees this afternoon. The weather rather windy, but fine and dry.
Sunday, 28th. Reached [blank space] about 11 a. m. The soil between our camping-place and that was principally red, and the bluffs each side of us were dotted with cedar trees, which formed a lovely spectacle. [blank space] were about ½ from the station, at which place we espied 2 waggons making for Bridger. The captain went to meet them, thinking that they had been sent out to meet the emigrants, but they proved to be wagons sent to meet other companies. We were on the main road again at the station, having diverged from it about 2 westward of Ham’s Fork station and followed another “cut off” of bro. J. W. Young. While at [blank space] we were 13 miles west of Fort Bridger (which we did not see, as we diverged from the main road at Ham’s Fork station,) and within 100 miles of G. S. L. City. We nooned a little upwards of 3 miles beyond the station, and within about ½ mile of Soda Springs, whose water had a kind of chalybedle taste, and a very unpleasant one. We met 7 waggons, laden with flour, and drawn by mules, while about 3 miles beyond the station; 4 at our camping place, and 11 a little beyond it—all from the Valley, for some of the Government stations east of Bridger. Camped in the evening about 3 miles from [blank space] on the road, and on a portion of [blank space] where we had to go a full mile for water. The hills here were dotted with cedar.
Monday, 29th. Travelled about 10 miles this morning, and nooned on the western bank of Bear River. The first 2 miles of the road was hilly, and we were at the termination of the same on the highest place on the whole route, the altitude being [blank space] feet. This was called Quaking-asp Ridge, being the dividing ridge between the waters of the Colorado and Bear River. All the water westward of this ridge flows to G. S. L. Valley, yet, we had many up hills after this, and those of a very steepy character. Near the termination of the 2 miles referred to is a mail-station almost encompassed with quaking asp trees, from which, probably, the ridge has been named. Our next 2 miles was over a very steep hill, about the middle of which we quenched our thirst out of a fine, small spring that was on the side of the road. A small creek was at the bottom of the hill, called [blank space], along which we travelled 3 or 4 miles. We then crossed a ridge to our left, over a rather steep hill until we came to another larger creek, and one containing better water, which we followed until we came to Bear River—a distance of a little more than 10 miles from our camping place. It is a fine, clear stream, about 7 or 8 yards wide, and is bordered on both sides by some fine trees. There was a mail station near its eastern bank, at which one waggon belonging to Warham’s company had been left behind, on account of the oxen being unable to follow up. When its inmates saw us, they made ready and came with us. A waggon-load of potatoes, from the Valley, came to our nooning-place, where the same were offered for $3.50 per bushel. Those of the emigrants that had still retained possession of currency went and purchased some; but I happened not to be in that class; for I had not any in my possession when I left Florence. Still, I was blessed with about ½ oz. Of a potatoe, which served to give me a taste, a sister belonging to our tent having purchased 10 cents worth. It was very flourly and it tasted better than almost any one I had before applied to my palate. Some mushrooms were gathered along the road by some of the company. We left Bear River when we made our afternoon start; and kept to our left. The first 2 miles or so of the distance was mostly up a hill; then, the whole of the afternoon’s journey was along the banks of a creek that flows into Yellow Creek, called [blank space]. Both were but small creeks; but they had good clear water. Our camping-place in the evening was within a little distance of a mail-station that is on Yellow Creek, being a pretty good level place; but rather destitute of fuel. There were some shrubs growing on the banks of both creeks, but it was almost an impossibility to get any dry wood among the same; and had it not been for some logs that had been placed in the bottom of <a>
the road that become now useless, our fires would have been very small. It was very cold, too, for it froze considerably during the night. There were some high and rugged rocks on our right a little before we came to our camping-place, which we did not until about an hour after dark.
Tuesday, 30th. I was very sick all night, suffering from a bilious attack. I took a dose of turkey-rhubarb a little previous to going to bed, which proved both an emetic and a cathartic, and cleared away a considerable of the bile. I felt very weak to-day, and was not able to walk more than about 4 miles. I had determined to walk the whole distance from Florence to the Valley, and had done it hitherto; but I was obliged relieve “shank’s pony” to-day, as I was too weak to accomplish the journey in any other way. The first mile or so was over a rather steep hill; then we had about the same distance, or more, to descent. We soon afterwards entered Echo Kanyon [Canyon] through which a fine clear stream runs, which we followed. Our travel to-day amounted to about the same distance as that of yesterday—20 miles. We nooned a little westward of the first mail-station that is in the kanyon.
Wednesday, October 1st. Bro. Joseph W. Young and some clerks from G. S. L. City came to our camp last evening and detained us the whole of this forenoon, by settling accounts with us respecting our emigration. The whole of our travel to-day, therefore, amounted only to about 9 miles, which we did not accomplish until about an hour after the “shades of evening” had covered us. The roads were very bad; and, as our waggon was passing over one of the bad places, the oxen kept too near the creek so that the whole of it, with its contents, was precipitated into it. The embankment was very steep and about 30 feet high, so that the follow was a considerable one. Emma [Ajax], sister [Eliza] Crabbe, Catherine [Caroline] Winter, Anne Crabbe, and Eliza and Harriet Le Clarcq [Le Clercq], were in it at the time, and were all taken down with it. Sister Winter and Harriet LeClarq [Le Clercq} (the daughter of sister Jane Le Clarcq [Le Clercq}, and about 2 year old) received scarcely any injury: all that troubled sister Winter was her tea and sugar. Two big boxes were on Emma—one on her chest, and the other on her legs, which injured her considerably, and lead her to suppose for a while that her backbone was broken; but matters turned out better than we had expected, for, although she said that her back-bone was broken, and the report had gone out to that effect, even as far as G. S. L. City, it proved that the hurt she received was but a crush, and she came within two days to be able to move about. The water had begun to rush into one of her ears when they rescued her, and had she been obliged to remain there long, it is very likely that she would have been drowned. Eliza LeClarcq [Le Clercq] (a young girl about 7 year old, and the daughter of sister Jane LeClarcq [Le Clercq], Jersey) and Anne Crabbe (the daughter of bro. Wm. Crabbe, Cheshire, England, and about 18 months old) were drowned, and sister Crabbe, the mother of the latter, was very near being drowned. All the luggage, except one sack, we had was completely saturated, having been left in the creek until about 9 a. m. the following day. This book also had to share the same fate, and I was for nearly three days afterwards endeavoring to dry it. I therefore had no chance to write the memorandum on the spot; but I do it from memory in G. S. L. City. The custom in our train was for all the pedestrians to keep ahead of the train, and that sometimes as much as 2 miles distance, and as this occurred about 2 miles east of our camping place, or 6 miles east of Weber Valley, and as I was in the pedestrian band, I could not know anything of the accident until some one would arrive in camp. I was fetching wood when the intelligence reached camp (for it was generally our plan to provide wood by the time the waggons would arrive), and, as I was a little distance off, I came not to a knowledge of the occurrence until after the unfortunates had arrived. Emma was rather sick; but she had improved wonderfully by the morning. All our bed-clothes had, through their saturated condition, been rendered useless to us for the night; but our deficiency in that respect, and in our food, which was washed away, was made up through the kindness of the captain and bros. [blank space] and Robert Madison. They also (with others of the teamsters) rendered all the assistance they could in rescuing the sisters from their dangerous position, for which services they deserve great credit. They had, moreover, proven themselves very kind on many previous occasions. Our teamster, Oliver Ostler, and a native of Southampton, was riding when he should be walking, and was not careful enough of his business. He was, also, very careless about our luggage, which cause me to give him a little “dressing,” and I really believe he deserved it. He was far from being noble in his actions, and he did not seem to manifest the least sorrow for what had occurred through his negligence.
Thursday, 2d. Bros. Daniel Jones, James Gough, and George Dav[e]y volunteered this morning to assist to get our things out of the creek, and place them in the waggon. They returned about 9 a. m., when I found that all my books were in an awful state, and that many of our things were lost. We then started and struck Weber Valley in about an hour and a half.
Friday, 3d. I was ranked to-day again with the cow-drivers, for the last time on this journey. Started about 8, and reached Kimball’s mail-station about 5, in less than a mile beyond which we camped for the night, where we had sufficient wood and sage-brush. Our first 4 or 5 miles was through settlements, over a road partly hilly and partly level, but quite pleasant to travel. We were then at the embouchure of Silver Creek, which we followed up a narrow Kanyon for 7 or 8 miles. As the road was not constructed along the bed of the creek, but sometimes on the side of the hill and sometimes as low as the creek, it was a very hard one for the oxen to travel over. The road from the tip of the kanyon on to the station, being about 3 miles or so, was pretty level land easy for the oxen to travel it. Silver Creek has excellent water, and it is very clear. Numerous springs, also, were passed by us during to-day’s travel, as well as during the last few days, which would have given us much comfort and refreshment, had we met with the same about 100 miles eastward. Met quite a number of teams to-day again from the Valley, going eastward with flour, &c A brother gave me two good Valley onions this evening, being the first for me to have since I left the vessel. They were very acceptable, and ate exceedingly well. I kept one myself, and divided the other between bros. D[avid]. Todd and Thos. Williams. The giver was a native of London, and had come with his team to meet some one in our train.
Saturday, 4th. I filled our sauce-pan full of water last night, put the lid on, and placed it near the tent; but when I got up this morning, I found that it had frozen all around, and at the bottom of it, to the thickness of nearly an inch, being the thickest ice we had wittnessed on this journey. The saucepan, too, was an iron one. Emma improving. She was able last night to leave the waggon, and sleep in the tent. Several of our company left this morning for the city, having only 24 miles to go; and bro. Robert McKnight [McNought] left last night, a waggon having some to fetch him. Started about 9, and reached our camping place, about ½ mile beyond Hardy’s Station, and at the foot of the Little Mountain, about 5 p. m. (making only one drive like yesterday[.] Our distance to-day was a little upwards of 12 mile; that of yesterday, about 15. The both days were fine, as were the 1st and 2d, but it was very windy to-day, and the dust was such as I never had wittnessed before, especially in coming through [blank space]. The first 4 or 5 miles was tolerable level; then we had about 2 miles up-hill to what is called “The Summit” (but not the summit of any mountain, although we were pretty high there,) and then the remainder was down-hill (and that very steep, too, occasionally,) except a few hundred yards beyond Hardy’s Station, where we had a very steep hill before we reached the bench on which we camped. The road was rather bad through the kanyon; consequently, several of our men were selected to repair the same, as they had been doing for the last 5 or 6 days. Notwithstanding that, one waggon was capsized in the kanyon; but no one lost his life through that occurrence; yet, sister Carter, from London, was rather seriously injured. The kanyon was very narrow; but no wood larger than brush was to be seen growing therein. When about the end of the first 5 miles, I met with bro. Nathan Caple, (a native of [blank space] but was initiated into the Church in Victoria, Monmouthshire, whence he emigrated to the States in 18[blank space], and had quite a conversation with him. He was working on the road for the mail-company and was receiving for his labour $[blank space] per [blank space] with his board. He, and bro. John Davies, from Aberdare, had been at our camp the night previous and had spent an agreeable time with us. There were a few houses on the first 4 or 5 miles of the road, and some 3 or 4 near Kimball’s Station; but there were only 2 or 3 in the kanyon above Hardy’s Station, once called Hank’s Station, near which Governor Dawson was robbed. This station was only [blank space] miles from G. S. L. City, by taking the route we did, over the Little Mountain; but the other route was [blank space] miles. Met quite a number of teams to-day again, going eastward laden with flour, &c
Sunday, 5th. Happened to camp last night on a very dusty spot; and, as it was blowing very hard, we had sufficient pepper to last us for our lifetime, and to cause our last camping-place on our journey from Florence to the Valley to be retained in our memory for ages. It blew a regular hurricane occasionally, and, had not our tent-pegs been driven pretty deep into the hard ground, many of us would have found nothing in the morning to cover us but the “canopy of heaven.” I saw only one tent blown down, the inmates of which were too much discouraged to make an attempt at putting it up again. There was plenty of good water in the creek below us, and plenty of dry brush on its banks; but we had to descend a very steep hill for the same. Several left our camp this morning again for the city, as it was said that we would camp again 6 miles out of it, and not enter it until about 9 a. m. the day following. Started about 9 a. m., and had a very steep hill to ascend for nearly 2 miles. It was the worse hill we had met on the entire route, and it seems to me that the oxen could not have taken the waggons over one portion of it without doubling teams. I cannot say how they did, as I was ahead with the crowd, and as I was assisting to repair the roads. When at the top of this, or about 100 yards beyond it, Salt Lake Valley became visible unto us; but only a small portion of it, being the west and uninhabited portion of it. It became our lot next to descend a still steeper hill extending for a mile or so, at the bottom of which was a house, built near a fine creek that run through a kanyon, called Emigration Kanyon [Canyon]. We followed this kanyon until we entered the Valley, the city being about [blank space] miles from said house. There were two or three houses below the first mentioned, in one of which bro. Joseph Jones, formerly of Newmarket, Flintshire, lived, whom we met near the mouth of the kanyon. There were also several fields of wheat, newly cut, near these houses, which appeared well; but, as the valley was narrow, being hardly 300 yards in the widest place, the fields were necessarily small. We met quite a number of teams in this kanyon, some returning with, and some going for, wood, which proved to us that many in Zion preferred following their own inclinations to listening to the words of the Prophet. One of them was driven by an Indian, being an adopted Lamanite. Several families in the Valley have both male and female Lamanites, who, as they have been trained, work as well as white people. These are the children of Indians slain in battle, who are sold by the conquering party to the whites. Quite a number of the Saints here have purchased Indian children, and have trained them in the customs of civilization. The road through this kanyon again was very bad, and it was a source of wonder to me why it was let in such a wretched condition, as the bestowal of a little sum, even where the price of labour is as high as it is in this country, would make it a good one. When about [blank space] miles from the mouth of the kanyon, and about [blank space] miles from the city, the order was given for us to halt and camp there for the night. This had anything but a pleasant sound to our ears, and it cast a gloom over the whole camp, as we had been told since we started that there was a probability of our going in that day. However, I did not feel to despair; for it was a fine day, and I saw that it would be an excellent opportunity for me to open my box and sacks and dry the clothing and books the same contained, which had such a wetting on the night of the 1st; therefore I gathered a bundle of wood, and began to level a place on the slope of the hill for the fire. While thus engaged, the whistle, being the signal for driving the oxen in, was sounded, and almost simultaneously with that the shouts of “drive up” and “hurrah” from the teamsters rang through the whole camp. We thought for a while that the teamsters had done this for mischief in order to tease the emigrants a little; but when we saw 7 or 8 of them heading the oxen, and driving them at a rapid pace into the corral, we were convinced that the whistle was sounded by one having authority, and that the movement was not a feigned one. The oxen first unyoked had not gone 100 yards from the camp, and some of them were about drinking water in the creek, when their drivers were despatched after them. This changed the feeling considerably among the whole of us: every countenance now put on a cheerful appearance, and all began to prepare for the start. No time was to be lost now, and but very few, if any, could be seen bowing the neck to Mr. John Laziness. All the most of us did was to eat a small lunch, and put a bundle each of sticks in the waggons, that they might by [be] handy on the Emigrants’ Square in the city, should no friends come to meet us. It was a good plan, too, for they proved a great blessing to those that were left for a few days in the same. We travelled about a mile in G. S. L. Valley before we could descry the city. We looked to the north and to the south; but could not see anything except Great Salt Lake, a slight glimpse of which we had to the north. When about a mile westward of the mouth of the kanyon, the city, or a portion of the west end of it, unfolded itself to our view. It was right before us, and almost under us, about [blank space] miles to the west. Yet, we were not on a much higher ground than it, for we had left the mountains now and were on what is called here “the bench.” Its first appearance produced no extraordinary impression upon our minds, neither did it convey unto us any idea of a beautiful place; but, when we came near it, and we were permitted to have a full view of the whole of its buildings and gardens, the effect on the mind became quite different, and we were fully convinced that, on the whole, it was a delightsul city, of which I have no time to write at present, but shall, very likely, resume the task some other time. I had seen many encomiums pronounced on G. S. L. Valley for its beauty; but I must confess that I can not acquiesce with the authors in such statements, as I have seen many prettier vallies than it; but perhaps no one so fertile. It is true that we did not arrive here at the proper time to see it in its beauty, when clad in the green habiliments of spring and summer; but, as its soil is more adapted to fruit and grain than to pasture, the difference could not have been as much. I have no doubt that it would bear comparison with any other valley of its size in the world, were it all settled and tilled; but, as it is, I think that the Vale of Clwyd, the Platte Valley, &c, are far prettier than it. Yet, the cultivated portion, which is only a small portion of it, looks well, and proves exceedingly fertile. As my time is limited I must postpone my remarks respecting it and the city, and proceed to state a few particulars respecting our train.
When about 2 miles from the city, we halted until the waggons arrived. Then we were made to walk six abreast the remainder of the journey; but, in consequence of not having all willing to obey instructions, we only went in a very promiscuous state into the city. There were about 8 or 9 horsemen ahead of the train—2 captains (bros. Amsel Harmon and James [blank space] 4 cattleguards, and a few undistinguished citizens that had come out to meet us. We met quite a number in the kanyon that had come from the city to meet their friends—some with teams and others on horseback—who joined our procession, and contributed considerable to swell our number in marching towards the Public Square, or Emigrants’ Square, as it is sometimes called. We numbered 48 waggons, besides the 2 waggons that joined us at Rocky Ridge and Bear River; [blank space] oxen, about [blank space] cows, 2 captains, 4 guards, [blank space] teamsters, and [blank space] passengers. Our deaths on the route amounted to about [blank space] and our births to [blank space]. We pitched our tents and unloaded our waggons immediately after our arrival at the Public Square. It was then about 4 p. m., and the people were coming from the meeting in the [blank space]. Interrogations beyond number were now put to almost each emigrant, respecting friends that were in our own and other trains, by the hosts of beseigers that were on our camping-ground. Several languages were used as mediums to convey said interrogations; but principally English, Danish, and Welsh. Nearly all the questions put to me, which were by no means very few, were put in the latter, to speak which I could find scores around me. I never expected to meet half as many Welsh in this city as I did, or expect to find them half as kind. We were 21 Welsh in the train—Thos. Williams, formerly of Sirhowy, and wife and child; David William, Cwn, Victoria; Daniel Jones, Penycae; Phebe Davies and Sarah Humphreys [Humphrey], Tredegar; Jane Jones and Catherine Thomas, Trinant; David Todd, formerly of Cwmtillery, but latterly of [blank space] Pennsylvanis [Pennsylvania], wife and 5 children; myself, Emma, and bro John Davies, Bethesda, Carnarvonshire; John Evans, formerly of [blank space] Branch, Pembrokeshire; Hannah Treharne, Vangalch, Carmarthenshire; besides James Gough and [blank space] and Elizabeth Williams, Victoria, whom also were able to speak Welsh—
[Scanned images of diary and text transcription also available on "Trails of Hope: Overland Diaries and Letters, 1846-1869" web site, http://overlandtrails.lib.byu.edu/.]