Joseph Ellis Johnson letter to My Dearest Friends in J. E. J. Trail to Sundown (1961) by Rufus David Johnson, 120-21.
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In camp on Horse Creek, Friday 5½ O'clock
July 26, 1850
"My dearest friends
Ht Hh Mary Mother et al.
". . . We got here at 10 and it soon began to rain. I got in the wagon and tried to sleep but could not. Tried to read a novel that I bought at the fort but it was no use. My mind was far beyond the pages that my eyes traced o'er. I am so depressed that I must find something to drive away the gloom. I am in one wagon writing on the dinner box. Bros. Miller and Kelley have gone up in the hills for game and Bro. Hyde in the other wagon trying to sleep . . . with the hardships of riding horseback or driving team over such hills as you never saw and in my feeble health, making me so tired at night that I sometimes drop down and go to sleep. After being out all night in a frightful storm, taking cold and feeling the worst kind, traveling 16 miles over very bad roads, then to have to stop a half day and a night in such a rainy, lonesome valley as this! I feel so entirely lonely I would give a year's hard earnings to spend this one gloomy night in sweet home with my friends.
"I wrote letters that I intended to leave at the fort but near there I met a mail carrier going directly down, who took letters for 50c, which I gladly paid. We came to the fort in the afternoon, left some things, etc. I bought a bottle of pickles for $1 and some cigars. They have a full and well assorted stock of variety merchandise, something such as my own when full, but prices are at least double what we sell for. There are a few fine buildings and the place bids fair to become a pretty one. We went on about 7 miles and encamped on a large plot that was literally strewn with burnt wagon irons, harness and everything else, but everything destroyed that could be easily burned. We piled up nearly a ton of iron for fun.
"Stormy night. I stood guard for the first time. Next day traveled 22 miles and stopped before night on account of a dark storm coming up. Camp at Dead Timber creek with first rate water. Storm lasted all night; thunder and lightning. It was a flood, filled the numerous dry creek beds booming full . . . Next morning a deserter from the fort came into camp. We fed him and sent him back to the fort. A company left here yesterday. Much pine timber visible; sage and cactus grow larger. Occasionally see berries. Started early intending to noon on the La Bonte. Saw a buffalo but could not kill him. Saw 3 cattle left on account of lameness. I rode pony until 10 and was almost frozen. High mountains all around us.
"Came up with Thomas Johnson's company of 56 wagons. Reached river at 12 but found no feed. On 5 miles to a branch of the La Bonte, have cooked supper, made light biscuits—first time—pronounced excellent. I made Johnny cakes this morning.
"I will mention the names of some of my acquaintances who have died on the journey: two of Bishop Johnson's women and his son, John Shipley, Henry Wilcox, Edward Browitt, Charley Johnson, Dr. Braley (or Braby), Miss B. Dougall, Spicer Crandall's wife, Old Mrs. Call and some others I cannot think of now."