Jesse W. Crosby reminiscences, circa 1860, 38-51.
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All things now ready, I set off June 5th in company with about 50 wagons
8th arrived at the Horn, built a raft and prepared to cross
9th all across but more coming on
14th about 200 wagons camped side by side here we burned coal set fires built bridges remained in camp till
19th <Thence> to the Platt[e] here stopped for all to come on, the same day of our encampment some men on their way to Winter Quarters were attacked by three indians Omahaws, one named Weatherby was shot through and died soon after[.] On the first wagon arriving on the Platte the relicks of a man was found. By means of a letter found with him he was found to be a bearer of despatches from the Indian agent at the Bluffs to the Pawnees station evidently an Indian. It was not ascertained by whom he was killed
While in camp on the Platte our organization was completed[.] we keep up a guard by night and by day our cattle are herded in compacts the cattle of each 50 by themselves[.] we are numbered men and boys from 12 years and upwards the whole body being organised into hundreds, fifties, and tens each fifty by themselves[.] five wagons abreast or as close as may be but finding this order inconvenient, we traveled two abreast, afterwards our order of camping was by fifty, on stopping the wagons we formed into two half moons, with an open space between at the extremities, in this one cattle are kept safe by a guard of two or three men, chains extended between the wagons keeps all safe[.] in this order we traveled up the platte at the rate of from 8 to 15 miles a day[.] the country through which we passed is quite level so much so that no lock chains are needed[.] the soil quite sandy somewhat dry and barren in places, but good grass and plenty of rushes along the Platte, the land as we pass seems to under [words omitted] late more
25th Came to Loup Fork[.] camped on its banks in the evening[.] 5 men from Pawnee passed on their way to Council Bluffs.
28th Sunday remained in camp 130 miles from Winter Quarters[.] 6 miles from Pawnee village[.] The country through which we pass is quite destitute of timber, level and quite sandy for the most part, there are some small streams to pass but none of magnitude. The village of the Pawnees seemed a work of some magnitude but now in ruins being burned by the Sioux last year. The roofs of their Wigwams are round formed of poles covered with grass & earth[.] we saw and examined the cells in the earth where they conceal their corn[.] we saw no Indians yet some few seemed lurking around, a calf which had lagged behind came up with an arrow shot through his back, a few whites at the station forming for the Indians
June 30th still on the north side of Loup Fork but finding deep ravines we determined to cross.
July 1st All on the south side of Loup Fork 18 miles above the Pawnee station[.] a few Buffalo seen for the first time
July 6th Sunday camped on the Platte at Grand Island 170 miles from Winter Quarters[.] the whole camp of near 600 wagons arranged in order on a fine plain beautifully adorned with roses[.] the plant called the prickly pair [pear] grows spontaneously[.] our cattle are seen in herds in the distance[.] the whole scene is grand and delightful good
and Health and good Spirits prevail in the camp. Our labours are more than they otherwise would be, on account of the scarcity of men 500 being in the Army, and about 200 Pioneers ahead of us. We were one day going from Loup Fork to the Platte[.] the land somewhat broken
July 6 camped on an old camping ground of the pioneers[.] found a guide board with Inscriptions as follows April 29th 30th 1847 Pioneers all well, short grass, rushes plenty, fine weather <watch> Indians 217 miles from Winter Quarters
July 7th Saw herds of antelopes very wild[.] shot one. Fine camping grounds[.] good grass
8th Weather fine, for three days we have passed multitudes of Prairie dog villages,
they are certainly they are certainly a curiosity to the traveler, they live in cells the entrance of which is guarded against the rain, thousand of these little creatures dwell in composts, and as we pass great Nos. of them set themselves up to look at us, they resemble a ground hog or wood chuck but smaller. Passed another Pioneer camping ground found inscriptions on Buffalo heads or sculls, they had killed 11 Buffalo 250 miles from Winter Quarters.
10th Camped on the Platte which I crossed[.] found it one mile wide three feet deep one foot on an average, current 3 miles an hour.
July 11th Killed 6 Buffalo[.] it was supposed that 1500 were seen at one time. The grass in places is eaten close by them, those killed weighed from 4 to 10 hundred each, one thing worthy of notice
& a weeks[.] The ground here and a weeks journey back is in many places covered with a something called saltpetre, the ground is crushed with it, weather warm, good health.
June <July> 15th Camped by a large spring of water 280 or 300 miles from Winter Quarters. Buffalo in abundance, killed all we wanted. Two horses found some distance back and obtained, one had a bridle on, the other a halter, Two found yesterday but could not be taken[.] With the exception of the Platte bottom the country on this side, north of the river is a continual succession of sand hills, small valleys between.
June [July]16th 216 miles from fort Laramie[.] 15 miles from the forks of the Platte, have seen today many thousand head of Bufalo on each side[.] the river hills and valley were literally covered with them, their meat is good and wholesome, at evening while our herd was feeding on the plain some twenty Buffalo came running to them[.] our cattle were frightened and run. In the mean time our men fired upon them killed one & wounded three.
July 17th Traveled 14 miles and camped, at noon killed one Buffalo.
18th Sunday remained in camp[.] were somewhat troubled to keep the Buffalo out of the herds. During the night they bellowed about us and an alarm was given by the guard to keep the Buffalo out of camp. news reached us that 75 head of cattle were strayed from the third hundred who were some 20 miles behind[.] they broke out on the night of the 16th being frightened. men being called for to search after them[.] we were still detained in camp during the 19th. We are now in a country entir<e>ly destitute of timber[.] Buffalo dung dried on the plain is our only substitution[.] Yesterday 6 stray horses were seen[.] one taken[.] some letters reached us from the Mormon Ferry 118 Miles above fort Laramie north fork of the Platte[.] the Pioneers left men there to await our arrival
The bearers of these letters were bound to the states from Oregon, they report 40 head of oxen seen with a herd of Buffalo[.] they were lost by the Oregon Emigrants[.] Our men found four oxen & drove them in, strays.
20th Concluded to raise the oxen lost from other companies, and go on, as no trace of the 70 head had been found, traveled 8 miles to find grass camped, crossed rugged Bluffs, talk of crossing the Platte. For many days we have scarcely been out of sight of herds of Buffalo.
21 st Country sandy, while crossing some
rugged rugged bluffs, we at once came in sight of Buffalo almost without number, the river for miles swarmed with them, as we approached they ran in multitudes over the Bluffs, traveled 12 miles, camped.
22nd Saw the carcases of 13 Buffalo just killed which gave us to understand that a large body of Indians were near. At mid-day we came in sight of 100 or 110 Indian Lodges[.] we were no sooner in camp, at evening, than they came running on horseback to our camp about 100 in number, report ran through camp that a body of Indians were coming with a red flag, but on near approach it proved to be the stars and stripes. They are of the Sioux Nation[.] the neatest and most cleanly Indians I ever saw, they were friendly[.] we gave them a feast of bread &tc[.] After firing a cannon, the Indians retired to their lodges about 2 miles distance
23rd remained in camp awaiting the arrival of the third hundred[.] the Indians a gain visited us in greater numbers, our people traded with them gave them bread Meal and corn &tc for Moccasins Buffalo robes &tc[.] after the usual feast was over they commenced a dance, that over Our people got up a dance also with martial music[.] after firing two cannon they, returned to their Lodges in peace.
24th[.] Traveled 12 miles, As soon as were under way the Indians were with us by scores to trade, they followed us for some miles[.] some of our men went over to their lodges and were kindly received and invited to dine which invitation they accepted[.] their meal consisted of dried meat pounded, Our men bought some oxen of them which they had found with Buffalo. all the dishes which the Indians had were earth & shells, skins of beasts are used to carry water corn &tc. This Nation can[,] we are told mount thirty or forty thousand warriors, very wealthy in horses[.] this body of which we speak is merely a hunting party 2 or 3 hundred strong with considerable number of horses, for pack horses
25th Lay in camp, Brethren Met us from Pioneers[.] brought us cheering tidings.
26th Traveled twenty miles[.] a considerable no. of Indians were seen on the other side of the river going on[.] No timber except for small cedar
27th Traveled 18 miles[.] country level with some exceptions[.] We have seen no Buffalo for some days[.] met another body of Indians[.] seemed friendly[.] good grass.
28th Traveled 17 miles saw timber to our left across the river, for some days[.] rocks have shown themselves in the bluffs, but today ledges appear in some places 20 feet high[.] at evening we had a gale and thunder[.] some rain
29th Traveled 20 miles camped near chimney rock about 90 miles from fort Laramie[.] met a party of men from Oregon on horse back, saw high bluffs in the distance[.] weather fine
30th Traveled 18 miles through a country almost barren and camped on a fine bottom of rich grass and rushes[.] Exceeding high bluffs & shelving rocks appear on our left across the river[.] some men went to visit these heights, they found some creatures & killed them, that they called mountain goats, they resemble our sheep except the wool
31st Traveled 15 miles, this high range continues and places resembles ruined castles & towers of immense magnitude. some timber about 2 miles from the river in the Bluffs[.] Pine Cedar &tc
August 1st Sunday lay in camp, some of our cattle sick[.] supposed to be poisoned with the saltpetre[.] spoken of two died, general health with the people.
2nd Traveled 25 miles[.] poor grass, sandy plain
3rd Traveled 12 miles, going sandy very hard[.] came in sight of some high peaks of the black hills.
4th Traveled 12 miles over Sandy plains[.] some men passed us from California on their way to the States about fifty in number[.] General Kearney and his attendants horse back[.] many pack horses, camped within a few miles of Laramie
5th Traveled 8 miles[.] crossed the Platte at Laramie thence up the south side now enter the black hills a range of the rocky mountain[.] these heights are covered with a growth of small pitch pine, valleys small, land very broken, grass poor, & but little of it. Fort Laramie so called is on the Platte. At the foot of the Black hills camped by some Frenchmen[.] they build for dwellings a kind of fort built of unburnt brick that does well[.] As some of our cattle gave out we exchanged with the traders for fresh ones, they sell and buy cattle. At Laramie we strike the Oregon track
6th Traveled 6 miles,
7th remained in camp to recruit and repair for the mountains.
8th Moved 4 miles[.] some men in search of game saw a bear who retired to his den with threatening hand to give battle. the land with the exception of the valleys along the river is one continual succession of hills rugged in their appearance.
9th Traveled 16 miles, broke two wagons[.] crossed rugged hills and craggy rocks.
10th Traveled 18 miles[.] we are obliged to travel so far and no farther on account of stopping places. Since we left the Platte on the 9th we have no water except at these places where there are Brooks and Springs[.] some timber, Pitch pine, on the hills a species of willow on the watercourses, the grass what little there is as dry as if cured like hay
11th Ascended a very high hill and camped on the top having broke two wagons, found some fresh grass in deep ravines[.] gravel roads, some stone and rock wearing on our cattles feet[.] traveled 3 miles.
12th Traveled 17 miles[.] one continual succession of hills, quite difficult lofty blue peaks are seen in the distance[.] a new species of fowl called the sage bird was brought in
13th Traveled 18 miles, arrived at our camping ground late in the evening, roads very bad, broke two wagons, camped on a creek of spring water[.] some timber, good grass a mile up creek[.] country very broken and rocky, a plant called sage is about the only thing seen growing except on the water courses.
14-15th Lay in camp to repair and recruit, killed 3 Buffalo[.] saw
almost hundred almost the first for some weeks, a man from the Mormon ferry met us, brought tidings from the pioneers that they had pitched upon a place for the saints to locate, had laid off a city and temple lot near Salt Lake 450 mi from us.
16th Traveled 12 miles[.] arrived at the Platte[.] roads a little more level, met E.T. Benson[.] he confirmed the tidings from the Pioneers
17th Traveled 12 miles on the banks of the Platte.
18th Traveled 13 miles and camped at the mormon Ferry 120 miles from Laramie 400 from Salt Lake. grass very scarce, rainy weather, quite cool.
19th Traveled 7 miles[.] crossed the platte and camped on the north bank, here met 5 men waiting for us.
20th Traveled 14 miles[.] left the platte which here is quite a small stream and struck off for the Sweetwater 50 miles distant, saw buffalo plenty, killed two, camped by a spring[.] Saltpetre here, three Oxen died & one cow, men here sick[.] timber seen on the mountains, said to be none on the road for 200 miles. sage used for fuel, ledges of rock seen here and there[.] roads hard and good, camped on a brook, two miles and a half from its head.
21st Traveled 12 miles, roads sandy.
22nd Traveled 14 miles and camped on a fine creek well stored with fish, grass scarce. the country begins to look moutainous and rocky.
23rd Lay in camp.
24th Traveled 12 miles[.] at 12 o'Clock arrived at Saleratus lake[.] was found dried down to a crust of from 1 to 6 inches in thickness which we broke with axes and gathered all we wanted. tons of white and pure, so far as we know, Saleratus lay here a wonder & astonishment to the passer by, The earth under this crust appeared to us like potash equally as strong[.] there is considerable heat in it[.] Two miles further we arrived at Independance Rock a place of moment with travelers where hundreds of names are painted or engraved. here we enter the pass of the mountains[.] rocky points apppear on every side with a narrow defile. before arriving at this rock we strike the Sweetwater a branch of the Platte
25th Traveled 14 miles up the Sweet-water[.] after going two miles passed through the devils gate a defile with rocky heights on either side[.] here the river passes through a split in a high rock or mountain.
26th Traveled 10 miles[.] roads very sandy[.] a heavy white frost, saw camp grounds where to appearance near one thousand Indians had been a few days hence.
27th Frost, traveled 10 miles.
28th Traveled 10 miles, traced the Sweetwater through deep defiles with very high rocky summits on either side[.] a messenger from companies behind came up with us with dispatches from Bro Taylor, stating that their cattle were sick and dying and requesting help but as we could render none we moved on[.] this mineral whatever it may be, proves to be distructive to cattle[.] at one time after being turned out to feed, our cattle came in nearly all sick[.] some died early in the season[.] this difficulty is avoided, but now the streams are low and grass short so that cattle eat the saltpetre with the grass[.] the waters are tinctured with it also.
29th Traveled 18 miles[.] roads sandy, without feed or water, met about 15 Pioneers on their return, ascertained the distance to be less than we expected.
30th Traveled 10 miles, camped at the foot of a large hill.
31st Traveled 8 miles[.] camped by a spring, snowy mountains seen in the distance and met more Pioneers on their return.
Sept 1st Traveled 15 miles,
2nd Traveled 12 miles[.] went through South Pass the waters turn towards the Pacific, camped by the Pacific springs, very miry.
3rd Traveled 24 miles without water or grass, passed the Oregon road, we turn south on the California track, camped on little Sandy.
4th Lay in camp[.] the Twelve and others came up with us, in the evening had an interesting meeting where they gave a full description of the land; a good report.
5th Traveled 8 miles and camped on Big Sandy[.] country level and sandy.
6th Traveled 7 miles[.] Big Sandy again.
7th Traveled 12 miles and camped on Green river, snow & rain, cold.
8th lay in camp to recruit and repair and dry goods wet in crossing, found an abundance of black currants on other streams also we found and dried plenty
9th Traveled 13 miles and camped on Ham's fork.
10th Traveled 10 miles.
11th Traveled 15 miles and camped on Black's Fork, 18 miles from fort Bridger a trading post occupied by some French traders[.] This is near two small rapid streams of pure cold water, the traders keep a considerable number of cattle and horses, very good horses which are used for riding and carrying burdens from place to place. Furs are carried in this way to water navigation on the Yellowstone[.] goods brought in this way and sold at a very high price.
14th Traveled 13 miles and camped on muddy creek about 100 miles from the valley, the couuntry is somewhat broken sandy and barren, some scrub cedars in the high lands[.] some timber on the creeks; the weather is quite cool, hard frost last night.
15th Traveled 10 miles and camped on a mountain[.] night overtook us there.
16th Traveled 10 miles and camped on Bear river, one mile and a half before arriving at our camp ground we passed a tar spring[.] it is an oily substance resembling tar which we use on our wagon axles.
17th Traveled 5 miles[.] had trouble about finding our cattle in thickets[.] came over a mountain and camped by a spring in a deep defile. Traveled 10 miles and camped at a cave rock, killed some Antelope[.] grass some what dried and frostbitten yet plenty. the country appears more beautiful after crossing the Bear River mountains.
19th Traveled 10 miles and nearly all day in a narrow defile with high mountains on either side, camped on the head waters of a small stream leading into Weber river.
20th Traveled 15 miles in the before named Kanyon, Echo [Echo Canyon], very high rocks, which in places tower for hundreds of feet above and in places nearly over us as we passed in or near the bed of the stream. Toward evening struck Weber river and followed it down to our camp ground[.] this is a small rapid river well stored with fish, some timber called Balm of <Gilead> met men and oxen on their way from the valley to meet the camps.
21st entered Pratt's pass[.] traveled 9 miles having been troubled to find our cattle[.] got a late start consequently was out late in the evening[.] broke three wagons[.] tipped one over <by moonlight> which in with its load rolled down hill, in the morning it was considered best to break up into small companies which we did.
22nd Traveled 9 miles and broke one wagon[.] left it, roads very bad and dusty,
23rd Traveled 10 miles[.] bad roads[.] crossed a high mountain <(Big Mountain)> down the valley from its top[.] camped at the foot of another mountain, <(Little Mountain)>[.] grass plenty[.] our view of the valley just named reminded me of the space between mighty billows at sea.
24th <September> ascended the second mountain very high & steep[.] in descending it were compelled to chain two wheels. at sunset found ourselves camped within the bounds of Great Salt Lake City in the great basin of North America[.] 22 miles from Salt Lake.