"From the Plains," Frontier Guardian, 4 September 1850, 2.
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"From the Plains," Frontier Guardian, 4 Sep. 1850, 2.
We received the following from our friend and fellow citizen, Mr. Joseph E. Johnson, one of Elder Hyde's company; and though not of so late a date, as letters which we published in our last issue, still the matter may be interesting to our patrons and friends, therefore we give it a place in our columns:
PLATTE RIVER, 50 MILES ABOVE FORT KEARNEY.,
Encamped July 14, 1850, 2 o'clock, P.M.
EDITORS FRONTIER GUARDIAN--Dear Sirs: on Friday, July the 5th, I left Kanesville with W. D. Johnson and F. Hall, (who kindly volunteered to take me forward to overtake the Express company for the Salt Lake Valley.) I crossed at Martin's Ferry and overtook the company, viz: Mr. Orson Hyde, Henry Miller and Joseph Kelley about five miles from the river encamped. In the morning our escort returned and we pursued our journey over a beautiful country, though with but little timber yet well watered. Passed hunters company about 25 miles from the river, and generally in good health but getting along rather slow waiting for Brs. Haywood and Wooley's train to come up. Encamped at night on a very pretty stream called Weeping water, passed 12 graves, and 4 in sight of camp.
7th day--Fair, started 8 1/2 o'clock. Crossed Salt Creek about 10, found part of the Government train, the rest has gone on; part of the country more flat, our horses rather fractious and balky. Encamped on the Platte bottom, with our California wagons. Strong signs of rain at night.
8th day--Morning fair, an axletree broke about 10, and came up with Middleton & Riley's train, and Capt. Markham's company at 12. A few cases of sickness and one death occurred (G. G. Johnson) [George Givens Johnston] while we were with them; traveled 25 miles to day and encamped on the bank of the river which is about 3 miles wide on an average; passed 50 graves up to this time; strong signs of rain to night.
July 9th--Some rain last night. Left our company behind, as they conclude they cannot keep up with us; passed brother Snow with a part of his company; health of the camp improving; encamped among the bluffs near the river; traveled 40 miles; health all good.
10th day--Morning pleasant. Had rained some in the night. Passed several small companies through the day and traveled over some bad roads; encamped after traveling some 40 miles on a high sandy knoll on the bottom without any wood; very heavy black clouds with thunder, lightning and rain; after it had ceased an immense swarm of musquitoes rushed upon us in the most severe manner that I ever before experienced. Bros. Miller and Kelley were obliged to take the horses back two miles to another encampment, leaving Bro. Hyde and myself to do the best we could; neither running, fighting nor wrapping up defended us from their attack and we suffered most severely.
12th day--Horses came up and drove swiftly 6 or 8 miles before stopping to feed. Passed Bro. Grant's train about 11, all well; passed Fort Kearney at 12; encamped on the bank of the river traveled 35 miles; heavy wind and rain.
13th day--Wet, and roads heavy and muddy; flies very bad in the afternoon. Express mail overtook us at night and propose to keep us company; heavy rain, wind thunder and lightning. Have seen some elk and antelope on the way.
14th day--Still raining hard. Br. Kelley has been quite sick since yesterday. Has rained all the forenoon; roads very muddy, wet and bad. 6 o'clock; encamped on a beautiful site on the bank of the river; traveled 25 or 30 miles. Bro. Kelley is better; cooked a good supper with Buffalo chips; heavy black clouds in the South. with wind, thunder and lightning. We are in the midst of a Buffalo country and expect to try and kill one to-morrow.
I am writing up this little sketch on account of expecting the Fort Laramie mail to meet us to-morrow, and we do not know when we shall have a chance to send back again. We have passed as many as 25 graves to-day and near as many yesterday; among the number we knew was the wife of Isaac Hill, Edward Wilcox, the wife of Peter Shirts, the widow Browitt, besides a number I do not now recollect. Our healths are all first rate. Our animals are doing well considering the wet weather and bad roads. We hope to get a change at Laramie.
The health of the companies of emigrants are improving, but they are generally getting along slow on account of the wet and bad roads. We have concluded that this is the wrong side of the Platte and shall probably return on the other side. I must close for want of news interesting.