Joseph Ellis Johnson diary excerpts, in J. E. J. Trail to Sundown (1961) by Rufus David Johnson, 124-26.
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[2 Aug.-14 Aug. 1850]
"Morn. Aug. 2, Independence Rock. Heavy wind last night, almost turned our wagon over . . . Went over the big rock. Crossed (Sweetwater) early, more companies. Passed Devil's Gate, curious place. Constant wind. Went on 10 miles, again crossed river. Nice camp on bank but left and drove 10 miles for fear of Indians.
"Aug. 4. Washed. Climbed the mountain to Summit Rock where I sat and wrote some verses . . . Boys had killed rabbits which I cooked for breakfast. Hot . . . had bath in the pleasant Sweetwater, wrote letters, shod horses, fixed wagons. Drove 15 miles, camp after dark. As we drove along our horses feet constantly clinked against irons. Had chicken and rabbits three times today.
"Aug. 5. Away early, drove 5 miles and the axletree of my carriage broke . . . stop and repair. Went fishing, no luck. Off at 3, encamped close to the river where there had been immense destruction of wagons and property. Plenty of currants, no game. Cooked bread and boiled our last ham which was nearly spoiled. Sat up late and sang songs.
"Aug. 6. Start about dawn, over high bluffs rough and rocky. Much game, antelope elk, buffalo. Nice streams abound. Warm, with snow [on the] mountains plain to be seen. Dug up a supposed cache and found it to be a grave.
"Aug. 7. Got off early, arrived Pacific Spring and stream. Found South Pass not a mountain of rocks but a high plain with roads smooth and hard. Country begins to descend. Camp on nice stream called Little Sandy. Provisions getting low. Stood guard half the night; terribly sleepy . . .
"Aug. 8. Two of our men went out to hunt, to join us at Green River, which we reached at 10. Cool and rapid stream, saw currants large as cherries, found oscia, made kinni-kin-ic to smoke, my last cigar gone. Went 3 miles down river, caught fish. Sat up late and smoked a lot of kinni-kin-ic.
"Aug. 9. Bros. Miller & Kelly went hunting, got nothing. Went down river 7 miles, then struck over the hills. I walked 5 miles. We reached Black's Fork at 2. Rain, no fish, no feed. On 3 miles to pleasant little stream called Ham's fork. Large company near.
"Aug. 10. Out early. Stormy looking. Road hard for teams. Met company of returning Californians who took letters eastward at 50c each. Found plums. Snow is in sight all directions. Eight miles from Fort Bridger. Killed sage hens and caught some nice fish.
"Aug. 11. Arrived at Fort Bridger at 10. Large company encamped there. Nice mountain streams with some timber and plenty of shrub cedar in the neighborhood., road rough but plenty of grass and water along. Traveled 28 miles and encamped at the bottom of a deep, narrow valley where we found soda and sulphur springs. Slept on the ground . . . pleasant.
"Aug. 12. Left early . . . rough road to Bear River, 13 miles. On the way saw some fine cold springs, also sulphur, soda, tar and stone coal. Bear River is one of the most swift, clear, rocky and beautiful streams I ever saw. Caught no fish. Mr. Kincaid and Mr. Livingstone passed us here and Capt. Hyde took passage with them and left us alone. Country assumed an entirely different aspect west of Bear River. The land is rich and fertile and covered with green.
"Aug. 13. Started early before breakfast. Drove 6 miles and came up with Kincaid & Livingstone. Traveled on to the Weber ford in a shower of rain. No fish. Horses rather done out.
Aug. 14. Late start, here we left Daniels . . . very rough roads. Found some berries and caught some trout. Much fatigued. Drove hard all day and encamped at night after getting sight of. . . ."