Frank Stevens wrote this diary as he journeyed by wagon from Nebraska to what he calls "The Pacific Slope in the Washington Territory." They ended up in the Black Lake area near Olympia, Washington. Traveling with Frank Stevens and the train, and mentioned in the diary on several occasions, are nine by the name of Goldsby. Many of their descendants are still in the Black Lake and Olympia area of Washington State. The diary is of interest for historical reasons but also gives insight into the quality of character of those men and women who made the trip.
The original diary has been entrusted to the historical society (in Olympia, I believe) but I have a photo copy and have provided the contents of the diary here. It covers a period from April 1880 to December 1883, although in the last portions the train has already completed its journey and he is recounting personal travels. I trust you enjoy reading Mr. Steven's diary as much as I have.
We have always believed in the old saying, "a rolling stone gathers no moss." But having come to Nebraska in 1866 and not rolled any for the last 14 years. Have been eaten by grasshoppers, bitten by fleas and bled by bedbugs. Have eaten our allotted peck of dirt, many and many a time. Have seen good farms flying high in the air, and found that a deed could not be made strong enough to hold real estate in the county, or not strong enough to keep the wind from blowing a man's farm away or stop its blowing. So we came to the conclusion that the other old saying is also true: "A sitting hen don't get fat, or feathers very fast," providing the nest is in Nebraska.
And on the 20th day of
April 1880 we bade farewell to our friends in Vesta, Johnson County, Nebraska.
So started out and commenced our long and tedious journey to the Pacific Slope
in Washington Territory. Our party consisted of six wagons and 29 persons,
including women and children. I will give their names below:
William Goldsby, John Goldsby, Mary Goldsby, Mary Chisler, Fred Goldsby, Wesley Goldsby, Henry Goldsby, Marion Goldsby, George P. Goldsby, Frank Stevens, Frank Goldsby, William Weightman, Charles Weightman, Mrs. Sanders, Leslie Sanders, W. C. Cole, Mrs. Cole, Will Cole, George Cole, Burt Cole, Robert Cole, Sarah Cole, Eli Misner, Emery Greenfield, Margaret Greenfield, Susie Greenfield, Loney Greenfield, (?) Greenfield, Henry Norton.
The morning was very fine and pleasant. Started from Vesta at half-past eight. Camped on Yankee Creek for dinner and then came on to Beatrice and camped on a big blue river our first camping ground. In the afternoon the wind blew almost a hurricane. Some dirt drifted almost a foot deep. Was reminded of a caravan on the desert. The men that made our geography that we were to study gave it the right name when they called it the Great American Desert. Beatrice 25 or 30 miles from home.
Our first night out; in the morning greatly refreshed by sleeping soundly. Struck our tents and started at eight o'clock. Took dinner on Cub Creek, then came on and camped on Cherry Creek, about 31 miles from Beatrice. Passed through some very fine country; saw several jackrabbits. The weather today was very good and the wind did not blow so much as it did yesterday. Wood scarce, and water too.
Started from camp at half-past six. Crossed the Little Sandy; pushed through Alexandria and crossed the Big Sandy and came through Belvedere, keeping along the St. Joe and Denver R. R. , and then passed through Carleta and camped a mile from town. All the above towns are in Thayer County. We had a very fine day of it and saw some pretty country, and some rough and poor. Tonight we are camped on a small creek, and everything is much snug and comfortable our feet blistered and tired.
Left camp early in the morning; came through (several sentences illegible). Saw a well in Davenport 150 feet deep, and most of them around are a hundred. (A sentence or two illegible.)
Left camp at half-past seven; passed through (?), a new town just started. Came on an4 passed through Glenville; stopped for dinner in a (?) on the prairie. Came on and stopped at Hastings, with the intention of stopping over Sunday. This is a very thriving town at the junction of the B & M and the St. Joe and Denver R.R., and 40 miles from Fort Kearney. The weather has been very dry, and we have had great difficulty in obtaining water. There is some only in wells and they are very deep. This town has a population of 3000, and 4 railroads. The first town on this line that a man could get anything to take the cobwebs out of his throat. We had a little rain today - the first we have seen on the trip so far. Fell in with four teams going to Idaho, and they are going to travel with us. They are from southern Missouri and Arkansas. This makes us ten teams in our train.
Sunday, Aril 25:
The weather turned out very cold and the wind blew hard all day. Spent the day laying around camp and looking about town. Had several persons visit us. Saw a man that used to keep hotel at Bismarck - the one owned by Pat Gallagher.
Monday, April 26: Illegible. (Apparently nothing of importance.)
Tuesday, April 27:
Started at 7:00. Came through Newark, past old Fort Kearney. Saw the ruins of the old fort, the rifle parts around a grove of trees growing nearby. Came on and Kearney City, or Dobie Town, as it is called. Came to the Platte and crossed on a bridge I mile long. The Platte is a very wide and shallow stream. Saw large flocks of ducks and geese. Came on to Kearney City and struck the W.P.R.R. and stopped for dinner. Traveled up the R.R. and camped at a farmhouse (one illegible word) of hay, wood and water. The country we have passed through today is level and sandy. We are some ways from the river, but we can see it a long ways off. The wind has been blowing very hard today. Two fellows are camped with us, and they are going to Leadville, Colorado.
Wednesday, April 28:
Started early and came to Elm Creek; came on and took dinner at Buffalo Creek, the first running stream we have seen for a long time, except the Platte. Came to a bridge which they were repairing and could not cross; had to go around l~ miles, and in trying to cross the creek, one of the wagons went down to the hub in the quicksand. Had to unload and double teams to pull the wagon out. Came on and camped at Plum Creek, or Station, on the W.P. R.R. 'Tis quite a town; it has about 600 people. We had quite a shower last night, and today it is very cool. The country we have traveled over today is level, and there is lots of places where the ground is white with alkali, so that it looks like frost. Game not very plenty yet, though they tell us that there is plenty of antelope in the Sand Hills. One jackrabbit was killed today by Fred Goldsby. We hope to find game more plenty as we get more out of the settlement.
Thursday, April 29:
Left camp at 8:00. Came to Coyote. One of the horses got sick and we were obliged to stop awhile. Came to (illegible) and camped early in the afternoon. Today we passed over some very poor country; the ground is covered in places with alkali, and there is some in the water. It has been very cool and windy today, but is warmer tonight. Have not seen any timber for days. We are ahead of the grass, and expect to have to lay over till it grows. The boys have gone to the Platte to shoot geese and ducks. Flour cheaper than in Johnson County.
Friday, April 30:
Started from camp at half-past-seven; passed Willow Island; came to Warren and camped a little after noon, on account some of our horses being alkalied. Warren is a station but no town. We are about ~ mile from the Platte, and take the horses there to water. There is lots of antelope here in the Sand Hills or river bluffs, some 3 miles from here, and the boys have gone out to try to take some of them in. There is also all kinds of small animals on the river - skunks in particular. The boys killed 4 last night, and it was not much of a night for skunks neither. The ground is covered with buffalo bones, and every short distance the skeleton of a horse that has probably been killed by drinking alkali water. There is no timber on the river, only on the islands, and none but the little brush - all the largest having been cut off. I noticed several kinds of flowers, amongst which is the strawberry cactus. It was very pretty - species of the prickly pear, which grows here to perfection, having a red berry resembling the strawberry. Plenty wood from the R.R. (gobbled a lot ties, you know), and plenty of good water. Some of us have got the skin peeling from our faces in spots, and some of our noses are swelled so that they will weigh two pounds and a half - caused by the alkali blowing in our faces. If you don't believe me, send for some of our pictures. (The boys have just returned from their hunt, bringing with them a nice, fat antelope.)
Saturday, May 1st:
Started early in the morning. Traveled all day and camped a few miles from Garnett, some 8 miles from North Platte City. Very bad on account of sand in places; passed one big spring, where there is water enough to turn a saw mill. Friday was very warm, at 90 in the shade. Killed one jackrabbit. The country we have been through today is very poor - no farming is done here at all. There is a cattle ranch along the river, and the bottom is covered with cattle and sheep corral fences. Heard the wolves howling this morning (remainder of sentence illegible).
Sunday, May 2:
Left camp in the morning, and came to North Platte City and camped for the rest of the day to rest. This is a town containing 1500 inhabitants and the machine shop and roundhouse is located here. Counted 15 locomotives. Without the R.R. the town would not amount to much, as there is no farming country around here. Crossed the Platte on the R.R. bridge, which is 1600 ft. long. Saw 10 buffaloes in a corral, and 1 calf. Saw some prairie dogs in town, tame, and they had their holes in the middle of the street. Heard that Buffalo Bill lived here, and Mr. Goldsby and I went I mile from town to see him at his home. Did not find him here, but the family said he was absent on a trip through the east, and would be back the 18th. Has a nice house, and everything in good shape. Owns a big ranch; has it all under fence, 300 miles from Vesta. Fell in with a big train going to Washington, and they wanted us to travel with them. Hear all kinds of~ tales about the Indians, and some are scared over it. Considerable talk about horse thieves, and tonight we guard the horses for the first time.
Monday, May 5:
Left North Platte in the morning and struck up the South Platte. Took dinner at Nicholl's Corner and camped at Dexter. Passed through some awful poor country, but a great place for stock. One fine ranch here where we camped has 15000 cattle. The South Platte is all dried up; there is no water in it. They have it all in irrigating in Cole. Some fellows in a train wanted to bulldoze us by having us pay 25¢ a head to guide us through, as they were going the same way. We couldn't see it in that light; we are able to take care of ourselves. Saw owls that live in holes in the ground. Antelope plenty, but hard to get onto; but John Goldsby succeeded in bringing one down today. (A few lines illegible).
Tuesday, May 4:
Left camp late in the morning, on account of not having any hay to feed our horses. Stopped for dinner at Alkali and there was joined by eight teams, making our train up to 17 wagons. Came on and camped early in the day at a station called Roscoe. Water scarce, except Platte water, and that is very warm, it not running, only standing in puddles. Got our pails filled from the tender of an engine that stopped here. The country we passed over today is the poorest I have seen anywhere; not much but sand and roads. Killed one jackrabbit. Saw a prairie dog town. They sat at their holes and barked at us. Had a little shower last night, but it is very dry yet. Our eight teams left us the same day. Grass very poor and not growing now.
Wednesday, May 5:
Got on the road late in the morning. Traveled until afternoon and stopped for dinner on the banks of the Platte. Came on and camped at a ranch about 4 miles from Big Springs. The country today has been sandy and poor, and the water very bad. Could not get much grass for the horses at noon, but tonight we have a little better gra2ing. There is not any settlement to speak of; only now and then there is a cattle ranch. We heard tonight that there was buffalo within 10 or 12 miles of here, but not in the direction we were going, and being tired, did not go farther. (Peterburg, Cot.?) 377 miles (I can hardly write; the wind keeps blowing my light out). The (??) got scared and went to the creek bank and dry holes, and crawled in and pulled the holes in after them.
Thursday, May 6:
Started late in the morning; came to Big Spring Station on the R.R. There is a big spring at this place, which supplies the (???). Stopped for dinner at a ranch near Barton; came through (Petersburg, Col.?) and camped l~ miles from town on the (??) Creek. The wind is blowing almost all the time tonight. Saw a herd of buffalo today on the river bottom. Road very sandy, and a great many low hills. (Had to go to the Platte to find a little grass).
Friday. May 7:
Left camp late in the morning, on account of rain and wind we had in the night. Took dinner on (???) Creek, and came on and camped a few miles from Lodge Pole Station, on Lodge Pole Creek. Good, clear morning; water; roads better today. Saw a great many antelope, and wounded one, but he made his escape. Met some fellers coming back from Sidney, and they told us that there was no grass at all farther on, that there was a foot of snow at Cheyenne. Did not believe all they told us, having been lied to so much about the country that we would hardly believe a man if he was telling the truth. The country today is a little better and not so many bare spots. (Sidney, Neb.1 414 miles). There is no settlement - only now and then a ranch. We have not seen any timber for a long time, but we get plenty of wood along the R.R.
Saturday, May 8:
Started early in the morning. Came past Colton and arrived at Sidney about noon, and camped with the intention of stopping over Sunday. Last night we had a shower and this morning was warm and pleasant; but after we were on the road awhile the wind commenced to blow, and I never saw a worse wind; the dust blew so that I could not see the wagon ahead of us. We could hardly see where to go. Sidney is, I think, the dirtiest town I ever saw; everything is thrown into the streets, and all around them the ground is covered with all kinds of cans, old shoes and dead cattle and horses, and everything you can think of. There is soldiers' barracks in this place - 1 company of Infantry and 2 companies of Cavalry. Saw several antelopes. Horse thieves in camp last night, and stampeded our horses, but did not get any; we were on the lookout for them.
Sunday, May 9:
Cold in the morning, and looked like snow. Went over to the post and saw the soldiers drill, and took a stroll round through the town places of business - most of them open, and the town does not have the appearance of Sunday. Some soldiers visited our camp and gave us some valuable information about the country we are about to pass through. This town is irrigated; a ditch is taken from Lodge Pole Creek, some ways above here, and the water runs through all the streets, and they can run it anywhere they please. Saw a formation of large trains of freight wagons that run from here to the Black Hills. Flour here is $3.75 per sack, but bacon is only lO~ per pound. It costs 6O~ per span for the horses to be fed hay in the stables, and hay is $1.00 per hundred; corn is $1.25 per hd. Fell in with the sergeant of the Infantry at the post - gave me some information about Washington Territory. Said it was as pretty a country as ever he laid eyes on.
Monday, May 10:
Left camp at 8 in the morning and camped at Lodge Pole Creek for dinner, near a beaver dam. Came on and camped for the night on the same creek, in the sand. The weather warm today. Saw a large prairie dog town about half a mile long, and containing a great many acres of land. They came out and barked at us as we passed by. Saw owls too into the holes with them1 and they say snakes also live with them. Came on to the creek, where there was some willows growing - the first brush we have seen - and it lo9ked reviving to us after so long a time without seeing any timber at all. This creek has a place in it where it sinks away and runs underground for about 5 miles and then breaks out again. The country better, but poor enough yet.
Tuesday, May 11:
Left camp at 8:00 in the morning; stopped for dinner at Antelope, a R.R. station, and aptly named, for there is a great many antelopes around here. Had antelope for dinner. Came on and camped on Lodge Pole again; nowhere near anyplace. The weather very warm and fine. Passed several dog towns; saw lots of antelopes and jackrabbits; saw one antelope killed today by Wesley Goldsby. Very nice meat and all the train had antelope for dinner. Found a good camp stove on the ground here. We intend to get through Nebraska tomorrow, and will not be sorry to bid farewell to the state - a country we have been passing through for a long time. The boys are getting very bad, on account of the scarcity of switches. They are now down on the creek fishing. I cannot pass this camp without giving a description of it. On the north of us is the Union Pacific Railroad, on the south and east is the creek –a swift-running stream of fine, cold water - and on the opposite side is a perpendicular wall of stone some 12 or 15 feet high, and the~creek flows around close to the bottom. Under overhanging rocks, thousands of mud-daubers have their nests, and a little above us is a beaver dam. They have cut down all the trees, and here directly opposite us is a tree which they have fell and gnawed all the bark off of to build their dam. On the west and N.W. the ground slopes gently down to the water's edge, and tonight we are camped on a pretty place of around a few yards from the creek. On the whole, this is the most beautiful campground we have had on the trip. (Bushnell, the last station in Nebraska, 463 miles.) Mr. Cole, myself and several others climbed the bluff and found it more of a climb than we had expected. I noticed one pine from the top, which looked like a small pole from the bottom, but we found it must be a foot through.
Wednesday, May 12:
Started at half-past-seven in the morning - passed Bushnell, the last station in Nebraska, and camped near Pine Bluff in Wyoming Territory. Took our final leave of Nebraska - perhaps never to see it more. We are camped tonight at the foot of the Bluff, which is at least 100 feet high and all stone. A small stream of pure water runs at the foot of there. Saw a large R.R. culvert, arched over, which was completely lined with swallows' nests. I went in and they made a big fuss over it. Saw two carloads of soldiers going up the R.R. Saw antelope all the way along the road, but they are hard to get onto. Fred Goldsby killed one today. He shot at another and it ran right into our camp. John caught up his rifle and went plunging right into the creek to get a shot at it, but it ran in with some cattle and he was afraid of shooting them and did not get him. We are having what they call here a sand storm - the wind is blowing very hard and the air is full of sand flying like snow. We have struck a country where hay is plenty once more, but a big price per bale. (They are $1.00 per hundred). They are shipping to Denver and get $12 a ton at Cheyenne. The bluffs here are covered with pine, at Cheyenne.
Thursday, May 13:
Got an early start in the morning; traveled steady and stopped for dinner at a sheep ranch. Came on and camped at Atkins Station. Passed over dry plain 12 miles across and could not get a drop of water. Saw a great many antelope killed, and 1 jackrabbit and 1 big snake. It is a sheep range here for 20 miles. The ranch were we took dinner had 4000 sheep, and I saw others that looked as though they had more. The road's good today. We are camped tonight in the Bluffs and are just coming to the hills. Caught sight of the mountains for the first time today; they look blue and almost like a cloud in the distance. We are now 13 miles from Cheyenne and about 500 miles from home.
Friday, May 14:
Started in the morning and arrived at Cheyenne about noon, and camped about 3 miles past the town. Road's good. Saw the peaks of the hills in the distance. Came past one snow shed and passed one large dog town. Saw the apple cactus growing on the prairie, and they were in blossom and very fragrant - about the size of a large apple, with a pink blossom on the top. We are camped tonight at the foot of some bluffs, near a small stream. There is trout in it. We are going to lay over for a day. Saw some soldiers and was talking with them, and they are camped at Ft. Russell. At this place there is a company of Cavalry station at this post Cheyenne is a town containing 3500 population and some say nearly 5000. There is more substantial building in this place than in any other we have passed through. There is a great many brick and stone buildings here, and town has a very clean appearance.
Saturday, May 15:
Laying in camp. Washing, baking, shaving and giving ourselves a general cleaning up. Last night and this morning was very cool, but the rest of the day was very warm. We have very cool nights here, as we are just coming to the hills and mountains. We can see Long's Peak from here, all white with snow. We are in sight of the Black Hills, and shall be in them tomorrow. All the trains from Cheyenne are drawn by engines, as it is a very heavy grade here. The engines all have a set of driving wheels, and are very heavy. Four chaps prowling around here, armed with revolvers, and look very suspicious. The guards tonight will keep a sharp lookout for them, and if they try to take the horses they will get a warm reception. The boys were out ten miles in the hills, and they saw them farming out there; saw where wheat was grown last year, and saw wheat hay in bales. The R.R. from Denver forms a junction with the W.P. R.R. near this place.
Sunday, May 16:
Started from camp in the morning. Saw a very large eagle - the biggest I ever saw. As we came uphill and got on high ground we got a plainer view of Long's Peak, with timber up the sides a piece, and above that all white with snow. Long's Peak is 12,500 feet high, and from where we are the distance is 65 miles, although it did not look but a short distance. Came on and took dinner in Granite Canyon. The sides of this canyon - the cliffs - rise to considerable height. There is a nice clear stream of water running through it. Saw snow drifts here 5 or 6 feet deep, and some snow on the Black Hills, and the boys and girls have fun snowballing. Had a heap of fun here rolling big rocks down from the top of the hill and seeing them go over the cliff into the valley below. Saw some woodchucks go under the rocks, and dug for them, but did not get them, as it was not exactly a ground hog cave. We are camped tonight near Buford Station on the R.R., on a small clear stream of water. We can see the Black Hills looming up and looking very black, only a few miles ahead of us. (Laramie City, Wyo. - 573 miles) Some ladies and gentlemen visited our camp. They came from the Section House. The Black Hills are covered with pine and cedar. Roads are very good, but very hilly. The air is so cool that when we are out on guard nights we need our overcoats and a good campfire to keep warm and comfortable. Two hunters with buffalo and elk meat are camping with us tonight. Had some for supper. The hunters have a mountain lion skin stuffed, and some beaver and mink skins. Pine and other kinds of wood a-plenty at our camp. Several kinds of timber on the creek.
Monday, May 17:
Left camp in the morning and came to Sherman and camped for dinner. This is the highest point on the N.P.R.R. Came on and camped between Fort Sanders and Laramie. Snow on the hills and along the route, and on the mountains far away. We reached the summit at Sherman and came down this side, and have Just got onto level ground once more. Tonight we can see hills on both sides of us, and a little ways in front of us is Laramie City, about two miles off. Soldiers in camp - the same ones we saw in Sidney; they are now at Fort Sanders. Went through Laramie City. It is a very pretty place of considerable size, and used to be the headquarters of all the freighters. The streets are all irrigated - nice streams of water running along every street on both sides. Saw many curious rocks in all shapes in some places. We would see large piles of rocks which looked as though they had been laid by a mason, and in others ve would see some in cone shape, and 30 or 40 feet high, of red stone. We went on to one of the mounds, which looked like a house with a chimney. So thought we could go onto it and step up on the chimney - it looked so small and low. But when we got up there, - which we done with great difficulty - we found that the little chimney was some 20 or 30 feet higher than the rock, and the top was 10 or 12 feet square, and we could not climb on it. It has been warm all day, but tonight the wind is blowing back from the snowy range, and it looks as if we might have some snow before morning.
Tuesday. May 18th:
Crossed the Laramie River. Started early and came into Laramie Plains. Camped for dinner on the Little Laramie; had a bad time fording the river. We had to ford in four different places; two teams got stuck. The water was very high, caused by the snow melting in the mountains, and was running very fast. Where we crossed we can see the mountains on all sides. To the west of us is the Medicine Bow Mountains and they are all covered with snow. It has been snowing in the mountains all day, but not anywhere we are traveling. Have seen plenty of antelope today. We are camped tonight on a mountain stream, and it is very high, on account of the snow melting. The roads are splendid, it all being gravel, though the?e is rocks in some places. We have left the railroad, and will not strike it again until we get to Fort Steele on the North Platte River. The distance from Laramie - 123 miles. We saw one peak of a mountain today, and we thought by the looks that it was only a mile or two off, but a man told us that it was 14 miles to the peak. It is very deceivin( Co,l tonight, and looks like snow.
Wednesday. May 19:
Last night was very cold. Started in the morning and camped for dinner on Cooper Creek, and camped for the night on Rock Creek, a swift- running mountain stream, and rightly named, for it is the most rocky place we have seen yet on the trip. There is a toll bridge here - toll 25¢ per team. We were a-thinking about fording below the bridge, and one team went through, but it was too deep and dangerous. The balance crossed over the bridge. We camped tonight at the very foot of the Medicine Bow Mountains, and the scenery is very wild. There is plenty of dry wood on the mountainside close to us, and boys went onto the mountain and were till nearly noon in climbing them, and when they got to what they thought was the top they rounded another peak so high above the other that they did not go any farther. Sometimes you cannot see the top--the clouds are below it. There is any amount of dead timber lying on the ground--the prettiest kind of pine and fir for lumber. The boys traveled in snow today in the mountains, that was drifted to the tops of the pine trees--and they grow very tall--they were in a gulch that was filled up with snow, and the tops were barely sticking out. Expect to cross the North Platte tomorrow.
Saturday, May 22nd: Left camp early in the morning. Forded several streams, and one bad one; and had to unhitch one horse and Wes rode him through, to see if it was fordable. Found it was and all crossed over with considerable difficulty. Came on and had to make a day camp for dinner. Came on and camped on the North Platte at Fort Steele. Very late1 but found a good camp ground. Plenty of wood. Made at least 35 miles today. Warmer tonight, but having wind and some rain. There is three companies of Cavalry stationed here at this post. We are camped close to the river, and will cross over on the ferry in the morning. It costs $3.00 to ferry here; the river is up and we cannot ford. Saw a grave at the side of the road in a lonely spot; a board was at the head and foot, and bore the following inscription: "William Scott, dies May 13, 1864." Came up with a couple of our boys who had got ahead of the train, and were sitting by the roadside having a social game of euchre. The country here is full of game. Killed jackrabbits, sage turkeys, sage hens and other game which I find is too numerous to keep account of. Part of the road today was rough and hilly, and the other was good. Can see the Rocky Mountains ahead of us, all covered with snow. I drunk from a small brook which came out from under the snow at the mouth of a canyon, and wish I had a place like it for a lemonade stand, the 4th of July.
Sunday,.May 23: Could not get ferried across the Platte, and so had to lay over until tomorrow. Do not want to stop here long, but we are obliged to. Some of the boys have gone to find a place to ford, and thus save $24, but I think it doubtful--the river is so high. Mr. Goldsby was up at the station this morning, and a train came in and he saw Mr. Edmonson and family aboard. He did not have much time to talk with them. They were from Vesta, Johnson County, Nebraska, and were our old neighbors and were going to Oregon; so we heard from home once more. The boys have just returned from the ford, and report too deep to cross; will have to try the ferry. Saw a man coming toward the river with a (?) with (?) wheels on spindles too small for the (?). Had a pony hitched on. Wes and I went up to where he was camped and talked with him. Said he came from Iowa - lived in Nebraska 12 years and had a homestead near Beatrice. He traveled from Iowa to Denver, Colorado and was now on his way to Washington Territory. Said he was going through in his sulky; would start in it and if that played out he would go through on horseback, and if the horse played out he would take it on foot. Said he was a natural poet, and quoted one of his poems, entitled, "The Latest Style." I will give you one verse as he quoted it:
"And if to church you chance to go,
To see the preacher make a show,
His mission he'll outstep awhile,
While he puts on the latest style."
--- Shakespeare, by---
Monday, May 24:
Left camp early in the morning and ferried across the North Platte. The river runs very swift here, and it was a dangerous-looking stream, but we got over all right. A little while after we were on the road it commenced to rain. I was on the outside of the train on foot, and got wet. It turned cold and snowed, and we had to put on overcoats, and then we came very near freezing. It snowed all day, but tonight it has cleared off, but is very cold. Came on and camped on the other side near town. Came up with Mr. Cole, who was at this place waiting for us to come up We thought we had lost our preacher, but consoled ourselves in this way: if we had lost him, we had to get a natural poet to take his place. Passed a large U.W. train at the Cove. Corral. Some of the boys came with our camp. We are now within 15 or 20 miles of the Summit, and one day will take us to where the water runs to the Pacific Wood not very plenty; have to burn sagebrush tonight. We are camped tonight at the foot of a high hill, so as to break off the cold wind. Have to pick off the rocks so as to get a soft place to lay. We have now 11 teams in all in our train - some from Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Colorado. Quite a mixed-up crowd.
Tuesday, May 25th:
The morning clear and fair to be a pleasant day. Started from camp late and traveled on and stopped for dinner in a hollow, and let the horses graze. No water, only what we had with us. Made fires out of sagebrush; it makes a hot fire, but does not last long. Came on about six miles and came to what is called "Separation." This is the highest point over the main range of Rocky Mountains and where the water runs east to the Atlantic and west to the Pacific Ocean. Started down the slope and found a nice spring; came three miles and camped on a small creek. No wood - only a few willows. It has been snowing on us all day, and the wind blowing very cold--so cold that we could not stand it to ride, and walked to keep warm. We are now going down the western side of the mountains and in a few days shall be in warmer climate, I hope. Everything high in this country - potatoes $2.50 per bushel, corn $1.50 per 100 pounds, salt 5¢ per lb., whiskey 25¢ per drink, and beer l5¢ and everything else in proportion. Saw a great many dead mules and horses along the road today. We left our poet behind, and our preacher is traveling with us. Our courage good, but we are terrible cold. Our preacher must not preach Hell to us now, or we'll want to go there to find a warmer climate.
Wednesday, May 26:
Left camp late in the morning, and came down the Slope. Came to Muddy Creek and found a toll bridge, and no house within a mile. A woman came from a mile away to collect the toll, which was 50¢, and said as she had to come to the bridge it would be $1.00. We told her we would not pay it and forded above the bridge. Had to double teams. It was a very bad place to ford, and the first wagon that came over, we gave a cheer, which made her very mad, and when the last wagon came over we gave three cheers, and the woman went home without any money. Stopped there and camped for dinner, then came on and near night struck a creek, but there was no grass; so we thought we would pwll on. We did so and did not strike any water at all, and have not got any along to amount to much. Have to go 40 miles before we can get any more. The boys went a mile and reported no water. Passed a coal bank; think it was 5 or 6 feet thick. It has been snowing on us all day, and has been warm and cold, and very changeable. Am writing this by sagebrush firelight.
Thursday, May 27:
The morning clear and pleasant, only a heavy frost. Started at sunrise, without breakfast, hoping that we had been misinformed about water. Came on to an old deserted stone ranch and saw it painted on stone, "Big Springs, 12 miles." This cheered us up, and we came on and arrived at the spring at half-past nine. Filled our kegs (there was no grass to amount to much) and then came on two miles and camped for dinner and breakfast altogether, though the grass was no better than at the spring. Came over and camped on the head of Bitter Creek. The water, which is strong with alkali, found a small stream of water from the snow, and this answers for the horses. We are now in the worst country I ever saw; the ground is all covered with alkali and for miles there is but little grass and little spring water, and the hills are all white with alkali. Has not snowed on us today, though there is drifts of snow along the road in some places. Some of the boys are sick with what some think is the Mountain Fever, and the remedy, we know, is sagebrush tea, which seems to be the very thing. Saw some buffalo tracks in the road. We are camped tonight in the sagebrush, and cut some of it up to build fires We can see the mountains far away, covered with snow, though we are now in some warmer climate than we was, and hope it will improve as we go down the slope. Have not seen much game for a day or two; it is too poor here for them to live. We are now passing the roughest part of our trip. Would advise everyone not to come the way that leaves the R.R. southeast of Rawlins Station. They want a little (?) of their own till they get off to Bitter Creek.
Friday, May 28:
The morning still and clear, and a heavy frost. Started early from camp, and traveled on and forward. No water, but some standing in ponds, as white as alkali, but about 11:00 o'clock we came to a rock where it said "Springs" and an (Index?) fronting it from the road. We followed it in that direction, and found some springs of good water. There being no grass there, we concluded to drive on a piece and find grass. Drove a long ways and found the ground perfectly bare, and as far as we could see ahead it was the same. So we stopped in the road and fed our horses corn and ate our dinner, and then came on and traveled all afternoon over the worst sandy road I ever saw, a regular desert, with nothing growing but now and then a little greasewood. We were beginning to think of having to make another dry camp, when all of a sudden the road turned towards the hills, and we soon struck onto as beautiful a camp ground as I ever say, the nicest kind of grass and a spring big enough to carry a mill wheel running from the foot of a perpendicular cliff about 100 feet high - the water clear as crystal and as cold as ice. Wood rather scarce here, but can find some sagebrush and buffalo chips. We are camped at the foot of the hill, near the spring, and a short distance in front of us is a creek of pure cold water, which comes from away off in the hills. Found an ax that some camper had probably lost, which makes two we have found so far. Everybody feeling happy tonight, after what we have been passing through today, to have found such comfortable surroundings. Here the road entered the canyon and another road branched off, and there being some dispute as to which to take, Wes and I took our guns and went out on a scout, to ascertain the right way. Cut across several high hills and at last (struck?).
Saturday, May 29:
Left camp early in the morning and had not proceeded far when we came up with Fred and George Goldsby, who had left camp ahead of us and had killed an antelope, and was waiting for us to come up. Came on and passed an old deserted stone ranch which was probably built in the time of the great rush to Colorado, as this is on the old California trail. In wandering around near the place one of the boys found a human skull. It probably belonged to someone who was killed there for his money. There is lots of deserted ranches all along this route and there is something about them that has a dismal appearance, and if ghosts are to be found anywhere, that would be the place I would look for them. Some of those old ranchers, if they could speak, could tell some horrid tales. Came on, winding through a narrow pass with a good road between the mountains on each side, when we came to a place where the road left the pass and we had to pull up the steep side of the mountains to the top. Then we struck out on more level ground for a piece, then uphill and down, winding first one way and then the other, till we came to another pass and had a very long, steep hill to go down. We came to the creek - the road about six miles from camp, and then came back around the road. We did not start back until most dark, and Wes found a farm where some emigrants had camped; arrived in camp very late and reported road all right - at the bottom, then up a short but very steep hill, and then a long, gradual ascent, and stopped for dinner when halfway up, then crossed over the top and came down the other side, which was very steep in places. Thought we had got down near the bottom when we struck on another pass, which was the longest and steepest place we have seen on the whole trip. We had to let our wagons slide down, and all got down without accident. As we were passing the peaks, which rose on all sides, and were white with snow, we saw flowers bloom on all sides, and the grass, where there was any, green. Came down another long, gradual descent and struck out on the level plains, where there is no grass and the ground sandy and bare, except where there is sagebrush. Came on many miles and found that we could not make it across, so picked the place where we could find the most grass and went into camp. Saw a number of elk, but could not get a shot at them.
Sunday, May 30:
Started from camp in the morning and traveled over a level plain with high hills of stone on each side, rising to a great height, and of all different shapes. Passed several coal banks, one about six feet thick and only three feet surface. Came on, now winding our way through the hills, through a narrow pass, now climbing a high hill, first turning one way and then the other, and came down a long hill and camped for dinner in a small canyon, where there was grass, but no water. There Aunt Mary was taken sick all of a sudden, and we thought she was dying, but she revived and tonight she is better, but not well by no means. Came on after dinner and soon came to one of the steepest and longest hills we have pulled up yet. We had to double teams and then they had all they wanted to do to make it. It was l~ miles to the top and took a long time to go back with the horses. On the top was a guide post which said 11Green River, 24 miles," and another road run to Rock Springs. We could see the road to the Springs winding through the mountains ahead and we concluded not to try that road. We were at the highest on the Green River Road, and it (a few words illegible). Water and grass, one mile. So we came down into the first starting in of the pass and found water and wood and grass a-plenty, and camped for the night. It has been snowing on us all day and tonight the ground is white, but it has cleared off. Had to drive around a big snow drift that had drifted across the road for a long ways each side. Horses in one Nebraska outfit stood it well. Expect to reach Green River tomorrow and lay over for a day or two to rest.
Monday, May 31:
This morning something happened to cast a shadow over the whole train. Aunt Mary, as we called her, or Mary Chisler, died very sudden this morning. She had a bad spell yesterday, but last night, to all appearances, was quite well - ate her supper and went to Mr. Cole's tent and seemed, quite lively, but in the morning I heard her calling, "Henry, tell my heir that his father was calling him!" Henry called to us and said Aunt Mary had one of her spells, and by the time anyone could get to her she was breathing her last. She went off and did not suffer much - she died so sudden. Had 25 miles to come to make Green River, where we brought her to bury. Arrived there late in the afternoon and ordered a coffin made, which cost $20. Went into camp on the Green River; saw a cave that went under a hill. Was a very large room and the roof was 15 feet high. A man and his wife used to live in it. The place where Aunt Mary died was Fans Canyon at the head of (?), a ranch where they herd 500 cattle, and I saw one of the best spring houses I ever saw; there was a large spring came out of the hill; there was a house built with a stone floor, with a square hole in the middle, where there was a place to dip up the water, and all around this was shelves. Struck onto Bitter Creek and came two miles down it. The water of the creek is not fit for anyone to use, it being very strong with alkali - the banks being coated with it as white as snow. Green River is a small town with considerable (Side track?) and a (?) house.
Tuesday, June 1st:
Today was a very sad day for our little train. We went in the morning and dug her grave in the graveyard, which was at the foot of a high, steep mountain and a short distance from town. Got a stone and I cut on it the following inscription: "Mary Chisler - died May 31, 1880 - aged 64 years." All the rest of the graves in the yard have boards in good shape, and painted on them. The funeral was held in the school house, which is close to the grave- yard. The school was keeping, but the teacher was kind enough to dismiss the school and toll the bell as the funeral procession came in sight. Many of the citizens of the place were present. The sermon was preached by Rev. William P. Cole, a Baptist preacher belonging to our train. The solemn services over, we crossed the Green River late in the afternoon, with the intention of going two miles and camping, where we were told we could find water and grass a-plenty; but we did not find it, and traveled on awhile. We went 10 miles and struck the Black Fork sometime after dark, but did not find any grass.
Wednesday, June 2:
Started early in the morning and soon came to where Ham Fork came into Black York. Came on to Bryan, a small town, and started on the railroad. Has been quite a town, but most all the buildings are now gone, but we could see the (?) Mountains with their peaks all white with snow - far away in Utah to the southwest, towards Salt Lake. Took dinner on the Ham Fork and soon after struck off from the river and up a mountain at least two miles to the top. Came down the other side and struck a line of telegraph running north to some fort on the frontier. In a short time came back on the railroad again. Traveled up and camped by its side about two miles from Granger plenty of wood, water and grass. The weather very fine, and does not look as though it would ever snow again.
Tuesday, June 3:
Got an early start; came to Granger and stopped and laid in supplies and took what is called the Northern Route. Left the R.R. and struck off in a N. W. direction, keeping to the Ham Fork, and everywhere along the banks of the stream we saw the willows and other trees growing and we found the bottom all the way as far as we came green with grass. Traveled until noon and camped in a willow-shaded bend on the river. Pitched our tents, with the intention of staying over a day or two to rest and recruit up our horses Found grass plenty, and where we were camped there is lots of wild flowers growing, and some inside our tent. Saw a golden eagle today, stuffed, which measured 7’ feet across the wings. Nothing occurred this afternoon, worth mentioning, only we went a-fishing. But the water was too high, so we did not catch only three, and they were white fish. It has been very warm today, but tonight there is a black cloud laying in the west, which looks like snow, and it has already got considerable cooler.
Friday, June 4:
Laying in camp and resting and preparing to continue our journey doing baking, washing etc. Went fishing; caught several whitefish of decent size. Our poet caught up with us today; we left him 177 miles back from here, and did not expect to see him again, but today we saw the sulky heave in sight, and he came directly for our camp and stopped, and will start with us tomorrow. Said he had been on our track and found every camp we made except when we turned off the road. The wind is blowing quite cool. We have not had much wind since we have been on this side of the mountains. The river is rising, and it may give us trouble in fording above here; it runs very swift.
Saturday, June 5:
Started from camp very early in the morning, with the intention of making a big day's drive, but we were taken back considerable after coming about two miles, to find we had to cross the Ham Fork. Found it was up and too deep to ford, and we did not know what to do. Some of the men went below a mile or two, to examine a ford there, but soon came back and reported no chance. So we came to the conclusion that something must be done, as the river was raising, and the prospect of waiting for it to go down was very poor; we would have to wait too long. So we took off two wagon beds and attached ropes to them in regular ferry shape and commenced to ferry over. (I once read a story in which Hungry Bill was one of the heroes. Whenever he got into a dangerous place or a fight with the Indians, he would say he was hungry and have to eat. And one of our fellows reminded me of him in that respect today; it was early in the day, and all hands were making preparations to cross, when this fellow proposed to have something to eat and went to work to get his dinner). The contents of our wagons could not be taken but a little at a time, but we kept at work along late in the afternoon, when we got all our goods over, and then the women and children crossed over safely to the other side. The stream where we ferried was deep and ran very swift. One of Mr. Wilson's horses got too near the bank and fell in and went down the river and was some time making the other shore. We took the sheets from our wagons and tied down the wagon beds so they could not float away, then collected the horses which were turned loose and drove them into the river below, where the ferries at the ford had considerable trouble to get them into the stream, but succeeded at last, and they all crossed over in safety, leaving the wagons at the ferry above the ford. Then came the most difficult part of the program - run the wagons down to the ford by hand, got a rope across and hitched it to the end of the tongue; then had another rope hitched to the hind end of the wagon to keep it from going downstream and to keep it from tipping over, and several men holding onto it. When we drawed it over so the fore wheels struck the bank and left the tongue sticking out, we would then hitch the horses to it and pull it on dry land, with the box half full of water. The wheels did not touch the bottom and the wagons just floated across. When one wagon was over, we would tie the rope which we pulled by to the one they (?) by and they would pull it over and hitch it to another. In this way we crossed all the way without accident to the other side; then those who had stopped over to hitch the wagons all crossed safely over, with the Stars and Stripes floating at the main mast. It took most of the day to cross and tonight we are camped on the other side of Jordan, and are busy in repacking our wagons and preparing to go on in the morning. There was 10 wagons crossed over, and then we put our poet's sulky on one of them and ferried him over too.
Sunday, June 6:
Started early in the morning and came on till noon, when we struck the river again and thought we had to ford again, but some cowboys on the other side told us to go round the bluffs on this side and strike a dim road which went to Muddy. Camped for dinner and then took the road to Muddy; came 10 miles and camped, on account of there being no water or grass for the next l0 miles. The country we have been through today is a very curious one - the bottom being ½ to 1 mile wide and on each side is bluffs of solid rock in all shapes. The river which runs through the valley is skirted with willow and plum and several kinds of trees and bushes. Quite a nice place for the birds; I heard the robins singing, and it reminded me of my old home in Nebraska. The weather today is a little cool, on account of being near the snowy mountains, and the wind blowing directly from it makes it very cool at times. Caught some whitefish - very good-sized ones. Our poet lost his horse today, and drove his sulky a number of miles before he missed it.
Monday. June 7:
Started in the morning; pulled up a long hill to the top, where we had been directed to take a dim road leveling off to the left, striking Muddy Creek and thus avoiding crossing Ham Fork twice - which being up, it was impossible to cross with any safety. We were told that we would strike Muddy in 10 miles, but had to go long 15, when we came to it about 1:00 o'clock, and not a drop of water at all, and no grass. Camped where we struck the creek for dinner, where we found a very little grass. Came on up Muddy, where we had some hills to go up and down, which was very large and steep. Had to chain the wheels and then hold on behind the wagons to come down. Came winding along between the hills, making a very long road to get a little ways ahead on our trip, and finally camped on Muddy Creek tonight, where we found some grass and sagebrush and buffalo chips for fire. Saw a great many kinds of flowers which were new to me, and moss growing in the sand where there was no grass, which had very pretty blossoms of several different colors. Saw the hills in the distance, all covered with evergreen timber. The hills today have been regular sand hills - perfectly bare. Saw considerable game today - antelopes, lynx, wolves, jackrabbits, small rabbits, and passed on a prairie town. Can see the mountains ahead all white with snow.
Tuesday, June 8:
Rained hard in the night and hailed and rained again in the morning. Started when it was hailing; had a heavy hail storm. The roads was very bad - slippery and muddy. Came on a few miles, when we struck where the ground had not been wet Came on a few miles further, and in a big camp - the hills very high and all covered with cedars. Passed a large prairie dog town covering a number of acres. They came out and barked at us as we passed by. Traveled on until about 4 o'clock and camped for dinner on Muddy again. This Muddy is one of the crookedest streams I ever saw, winding around among the hills, then the road does not keep up the bottom but every little ways goes up the bluffs and back again on the creek, on account of the creek running close to the bluffs, having no room for wagons to pass. As we came along this afternoon, we saw a beaver dam every short distance on the creek, and a few miles above we came to a big spring and afterwards saw a large number of them, the finest kind of water. We came to a place where two large springs came out of the hill, and had got to the end of the creek (as no other run from further up the canyon). Concluded to drive on a piece further, and went about a mile, and seeing a high, long hill before us leading out of the canyon, and the horses being tired, thought we would not climb it tonight. So we pulled in and camped for the night, where there is plenty of good wood and grass. And though we have no water here, we have a snowdrift close to us, which is 6 or 8 feet deep, and that will answer all purposes. On the sides of the hills in places there is snow drifted very deep. The country today has a different appearance, and has changed from the bare sand and rock hills to hills covered with grass and timber, and from no water to good spring water. Saw some of the most curious and some of the prettiest flowers I ever saw, of which I did not know the names. Saw two magpies this morning back in the hills. The wind blowing tonight. Very cold and looks like snow.
Wednesday, June 9th:
Snowed most all night, and was quite cold this morning. Left camp late, and commenced to pull up the mountains which was over a mile to the top; crossed over a level place on the top for about a half-mile, and then came down the other side into a deep canyon, where there was a clear spring branch running. It was a very steep place to go down and about l ½ miles to the level ground. Came on down the canyon, following the creek down. Saw a great many beaver dams, and one which was about 3 rods long, and had a house built in cone shape about 6 feet high and 9 feet in diameter. Stopped for dinner on the same creek, then came on and struck the Bear River in about 6 or 7 miles. Came to a big spring, which was large enough to run a mill, with its water as clear as crystal. Traveled on and came to the Mormon Settlement. Saw several buildings, and thought we were coming to a town, but when we got there we found it was a Mormon ranch, and the houses were to accommodate his numerous family. Had a large farm fenced and irrigated and a pasture fenced with wire, which we were a long time in passing - some 4 miles. The river bottom is filled with cattle. We tried to talk to several of the men, but they did not seem to want to talk to the Gentiles. It was very late and we had to camp where we could get sagebrush, so we are I mile from the creek and have to bring our water from there. There is some trees on the river and willows in a great many places, but there is none tonight where we are camped. Has been snowing again this afternoon. Killed some small game, but nothing worth mentioning. The ground around here is dry and full of holes - where several kinds of animals live.
Thursday - June 10:
Left camp early in the morning; met some men driving a herd of cattle, 2100, to Colorado; was talking with some of them and they are getting (illegible). Saw some large bear tracks in the road at the foot of some high mountains. All along the road today we have passed ranches. The country down the river is very thickly settled, and there is a good many cattle and ponies. Came to a small place called (Cokeville?), where we found a store and laid in some supplies and laid in a large supply of firewater, which makes our camp have a lively appearance tonight. Saw some Shoshone Indians. They were in town, and their reservation is not very far from here, as near as I could find out. They are of a regular copper color, not black, as other Indians I have seen. Camped for dinner on a small spring branch near Cokeville; crossed a toll bridge at this place - price 50¢. Came on and crossed another toll bridge - price 50¢ per team, and camped near the stream. No wood to amount to much, but cow chips plenty. It's raining now, and they are getting wet. We are now in a good stream for fish, and the boys have all got their hooks set and there is some prospect of a fry. At Cokeville there is a large coal bank, and they make coke there - from which the town takes its name.
Friday, June 11:
Left camp very late in the morning, on account of the horses going back for ½ mile, and having to go back after them. Went a short distance from camp and struck into a gulch in the mountains, and found some of the nicest kinds of springs flowing from the mountains, all around in every direction. As we were passing up the canyon, three Indians came dashing past us on their ponies. Traveled on through the narrow pass, where there was only just room enough for a road, and in some places very rocky and slideing, till we came to a place where there was a high mountain directly ahead of us, and seemed to bar our onward progress; but as we neared it we found the pass turned at a right angle, and keeping along at the foot of the steep mountains, which raised their heads on both sides of us, we came to the top and then after a short level we began to wind our way down through the steep canyon on the other side. Passed through one of the steepest and roughest passes we have seen in the whole route, and after winding and twisting around we struck out in the gulch five miles from where we entered it, onto a level country and good roads. Came on a mile or two and camped for dinner near a small spring branch. Met a couple of men from Montana, who were traveling with pack ponies. Got some valuable information about our route, and one of them gave me a map. Came on to Montpelier, a Mormon town, where there is a store and a number of dwelling houses, and after stopping awhile to lay in some supplies we came into Bennington, another Mormon town four miles from Montpelier, where we found a Store and a number of dwellings. Came through the town and camped about 1 mile the other side on a small creek near the Bear River. The houses here are all built of pine logs and most of them covered with dirt. We have passed farms all this afternoon. The wheat is just up, and the gardens are just starting to grow; the trees just putting out. We bought the largest and best potatoes I ever saw for 60¢ per bushel, flour $2.25, and as we go on things are getting cheaper. There is a valley which lies only 25 miles south of here, where there is a great difference in the climate, where they raise peaches and all kinds of fruit and cotton, I am told. I think it is the Casa Valley. We are now in Idaho, and it looks different here from the mountains and desert in Wyoming. They raise from 15 to 50 bushels of wheat here to the acre, but they have to irrigate. There is Mormon towns all along the Bear River. We saw five the other side. There is lots of stock here and good stock too, and it looks as though a man could do well here.
Saturday, June 12:
Layed over today to rest. Went a-fishing down the Bear River about 3 miles; caught a few good speckled trout. Water too high to catch many fish. Saw cliffs along the river where there was thousands of swallows had their nests. Fred and George went off into the mountains and shot a deer, but they could not find him. They shot him, though, but the dogs would not follow him up. They hunted for him some time, but had to give it up. We are camped near a Steamboat Rock Hot Spring, where there is a bath house, and moat of the train have been to wash. There is a large rock of reddish color close to the bank of the river, and in the top of it is a basin, perhaps three feet across, where the water forces itself up from a hole in the bottom of the basin and sends it foaming about three feet in the air and falls back in the basin again. I was standing on the rock at its side, when it seemed to give an extra puff and sent the water up into my face. The water is just warm enough to bathe in without adding cold water. In the same rock, about 10 feet from the spring, is cracks in the rock where the water forces itself up through with a blowing as if there was a big bellows under it, and you can hear the noise the spring makes at some distance from the place. The most curious part of it is this: There is three of these cracks; two of them is hot and one is cold as ice water, and only 7 inches between the cracks. There is another boiling spring, besides the one spoken of yesterday - a soda spring near where we are camped. We have been drinking soda water all day, and find it a splendid drink, when fixed up in the following manner: Take a can of pourable lemonade, put some of its contents in a cup, turn in your soda water, which foams it, and the water from these soda springs being cold, you have a drink equal to any from a soda fountain. (I was down at the spring when there was a frost on, and the steam was rolling up like steam from an engine, and there is a sulphur smell comes out as though it was blowing directly from the Lower Regions.) The country all around here has the appearance of having been a volcano in active operation here some time. The rocks have the appearance of having been burnt some day, and there is large sink holes all around here, which looks as if the fire and lava had burnt out there sometime long ago. There is two towns here called Soda Springs - one a Mormon town and the other a Gentile town.
Monday, June 14:
Left Soda Springs very early; came down the Bear River a few miles to where it makes a big bend and flows south to Salt Lake. Bid adieu to the Bear River and turning to the right in a north direction, we struck up the valley of a small stream on the road to Fort Hall. Passed a herd of cattle going to Cheyenne, which had 2000 head in it. Game to some big springs, and were told that when we left them we would see no more water for 14 miles. Traveled on until noon, and finding no water, made a dry camp, and let the horses feed, and then came on and in a few miles came on to one of the clearest kind of creeks. Passed another herd of cattle, which contained about 200 head, a flock of sheep which contained about 2000, and 2 large herds of ponies. Came on until near sundown, and camped on the creek. Plenty of wood and good water. Saw several Indians, some 5 or 6, camped near us last night, and the boys went down to their camp to see them. Where we are camped tonight the bottom is about a mile wide and perfectly level, with good grass and mountains on each side.
Tuesday, June 15:
Started very early and soon commenced to ascend the mountains, and kept on going up until we thought we would never reach the top. Came at last to a place where the road turned into a narrow pass between the mountains. Went up a long steep place and found ourselves at the top, and then we commenced to descend as long and steep a mountain as we have seen on the whole trip. Soon came down the pass, a narrow valley, where we saw grass 3 feet high, and a kind of slough grass. Saw large snow drifts and plum trees all around them, and the mountain side all covered with snow, and a few feet below several different kinds of flowers all in bloom, among which I noticed one variety of pink, which was very fragrant and pretty. Came on and dinner time arrived, and we found no water.
Saw some green willows in the valley below, and went on ahead to where they were and found a dry creek. Began to think we was not going to strike water in time for dinner, when I saw a bunch of willows at the foot of the mountain and about ½ mile ahead. Went on and found a large spring of cool water flowing out of the foot of the mountain and dry cedar wood at the foot of the mountain side. Started after dinner and came on down the descent, and along in the afternoon came in sight of Fort Hall. Saw the flag at the flagstaff some time before we came to the post. They have some nice, clean-looking quarters here. Have a race course and target to practice shooting, and a saw run by water to saw wood, on a clear stream of water, which runs through the camp. There is a post store here, where they also sell whiskey, beer, etc. Stopped awhile and then came on and camped on the Blackfoot River, a good direct Stream of water all skirted with willows and other kinds of trees. From Fort Hall to this place we pulled over the worst piece of road we have seen on the whole trip. The sand was a foot deep and then we had some steep hills to pull up. Had to rest the horses every short distance. Weather warm tonight.
Wednesday, June 16:
Pulled through about five miles of sand, when we came to the Ferry. Crossed over and camped for dinner. Passed through Blackfoot, 1 mile, before we came to the Ferry. There is a small but very thriving town on the Utah, Northern R.R., which is a narrow-gauge road. Found that we had to make 40 miles on one road across a desert without water, or we had to take I road leading down the Snake River a piece and make 16 miles this afternoon into a spring, in order to make a drive of 25 miles across the desert tomorrow. Had plenty of water today from the river, but tomorrow we have got to drive all day without water. We are camped tonight by a big spring of cold water, which boils up out of the rocks.
Thursday, June 17:
Started from camp very early, in order to make across the desert in one day's drive. Came on six miles and found that we had 30 miles to go and had to lay over so as to start in the morning, so as to get across in one day and strike water. We are camped at what is called Donelsen's springs. There is several large springs here, which makes a big creek, and it is clear, cool water, as good as I ever saw. Went a-fishing; caught a number of large trout. Weather warm. Had considerable excitement in camp tonight; a cowboy came into camp and got some whiskey off a freight wagon and undertook to run one of our boys down and throw his lasso over him, and threaten to drag him to death. Some of the boys made for him and he got out of camp in double-quick time, yelling like an Indian, and threatening to bring a crowd of cowboys and clean us out. We told him to bring them on, but we did not see them; they did not come and he came sneaking back into camp near morning, really sore. Someone proposed to have a dance and soon the fiddlers commenced playing and another fellow called and all hands were engaged in dancing on the ground, and the way the dirt flew reminded me of a threshing machine in dry weather.
Friday, June 18:
Crossing the desert. Started early and drove onto the desert; came on 18 miles and camped for dinner in the driest kind of place - nothing but sand and sagebrush and rocks - no grass or water for the horses. Fed them oats and came on towards the Butte - a mountain which in the morning did not look five miles from us, and arrived here at the foot of the mountain, at the tags Station, late this evening, with the horses very tired and suffering from want of water, it being a very hot day. Found the water here brought n a pipe from the mountains. This desert runs down into Arizona. Our poet's sulky broke down. Packed his goods on ponies, and came on on horseback. Have had the hardest day's travel we have had yet. Hot across the desert, yet have 18 miles across the desert tomorrow, without water, where we will camp.
Nothing interesting today.
Saturday, June 19:
Wind blowing hard all night, and in the morning it blew so we could not do anything, where we were camped at the foot of the mountains. Hitched up and came on about I mile until we came behind some low hills, which broke the wind from US here. We stopped, unharnessed the horse s and let them graze, and cooked our breakfast, then started on the last 17 miles, which we had to make to strike water. Traveled on foot to the river with "Oregon Jack," an old miner who lost his pony and is traveling with us. He is known by most all the people along the road and most of the freighters we meet. We arrived at the river at l o'clock, some time ahead of the train, which soon arrived, and went into camp to lay over until tomorrow, having 15 miles to go to water, and (a few words illegible), which we are to make tomorrow, takes us off the desert and into a better country, we are told. We are camped tonight close to Lost River - quite a stream of water, which takes its name from its sinking into the ground a short distance below us, and is seen no more. This is a volcanic region for a great many miles back from here. There is lava all the way along the route from Soda Springs to here. Saw three white men and six chinamen; they were going to the mines and camped near us. I had often heard of their eating with sticks or round clubs, as we call them, and tonight I had a chance to see them go through the performance, and it was very interesting to see them make the sticks fly - getting their mouths down near the tin cup which contained rice, which they would first move, then roll it down their throats. Sometimes the stick would not (word illegible), and then they would stop and scrape and pitch it up faster than before, to make up for lost time. Some of our boys saw some of them, one day, getting meat from a cow's head, which had lain altogether too long to be good to eat. One of the boys called out to them, “No good!" One of them replied, "Good meatee - good eatee.”
Sunday, June 12:
Left camp in good season and struck out on the desert along the foot of the mountains, the sides and top all covered with snow, and on the other side was the lava beds, thus leaving a road winding along between it and the mountains. There has been a hot time here some day, by the look of things. Traveled on to where the road made a big bend. Oregon Jack and I thought we would make a cutoff, and the teams went on the road and struck water and camped for dinner, and we came on to the Stage Station and waited for them to come up. There is tents pitched here for the Station. I was talking with the agent here and he told me that there was a large cinnamon bear came close to their camp this morning. He shot at him, and he ran off into the lava, where they would not follow him on a horse. We saw his tracks on the road. Oregon Jack was telling us about having a fight with a grizzly bear and getting tore up pretty bad, and today I saw a man that knew him, and was at the head of Snake River at the time he got hurt, and saw them bringing him in. He is a regular old mountaineer, and follows trailing all through the mountains, prospecting for gold. Has several claims in the mining country we are about to pass through. Everybody we meet knows him and shakes hands with him. He and Fred have gone up the mountains to kill a deer; there is plenty of them here, and also lots of bears of several kinds. Traveled on, winding on in almost every direction. At last we reached Cottonwood Creek, a beautiful stream of pure-clear water, and camped for the night on one of the prettiest camping grounds we have seen for a long time. Nice green grass and plenty of trees to keep off the wind and mountains all around us, but on one side. Saw a great many woodchucks; the lava rocks are full of them. Weather warm and clear; roads good except in places where the lava runs across. There is also a gold and silver mine right here on the side of the mountains. They get 30 dollars of gold and 13 of silver out of a ton of quartz. There is great gold excitement ahead of us on (?) River; a great many are flocking in there already. The Chinamen are also just (?) to the diggings. Oregon Jack says he has a good $5 digging there - that is, a man can pan out $5 a day.
Monday, June 21:
Part of the train which were laying over at North Platte when we came through with Johnson (who wanted $2.50 from every man in our train to guide us through) came up last night. They had a split-up and left him without much money. He made his brag that he would pass us going down the slope, but he will not be likely to do it, as his teams are about played out. Several of us took the trail over the mountains five miles across to the road again1 but the teams had to go around 15 miles to where the trail struck the road. We had a very steep mountain to climb, and when we came near the top we came near a snowdrift which was 20 feet deep in the deepest places. Came on; struck the road and Stage Station on Dead Man's Flat, and waited for the teams to come up. We had some time to wait, on account of the roads, which were very bad around the mountain - the ridges of lava which did not run quite up to the foot before, now ran close up, leaving no place for a road between them and the mountains, so they had to drive over them, which made it very dangerous. Got into a big snowdrift and one wagon tipped over, dumping everybody in it out, and all its contents also, but as luck would have it nobody was hurt. Teams came up; camped on Dead Man's Creek for dinner - so named on account of the men being found there, hung and robbed of their money. Their graves are just here below our camp, which is on a flat piece of ground with high mountains on all sides. Saw another herd of cattle of 1200 head. Traveled on after dinner with Oregon Jack, and when we got upon the mountain side we found lots of crickets, which we got for fish bait, and we intend to stop and fish on Silver Creek, which we will strike tomorrow. Came on and camped for the night on Willow Creek, which is very high. The snow is melting in the mountains.
Tuesday. June 22:
Started early and came over a mountain and then down to the little Wood River, which we had to ford. The water ran very swift, but the river was narrow and we got over alright, then came on to Silver Creek, a small stream of the clearest water I ever saw. We could see everything in it and see trout, some of them over a foot long, swimming up the stream. Stopped and fished till after dinner, but did not catch many; they would not bite much, owing to the crickets jumping in the stream; so many of them that the trout were not hungry. Came onto the Big Wood River and there we forded one of the most dangerous streams we have crossed yet - the river was half a mile wide and very swift, and came up into our wagon boxes. It was all the horses could do to keep their feet; their ford was so crooked that we didn't know where to drive--a little off the ford and the wagon would get into deep water and go down over the falls below. We were advised not to cross without supplying a pilot, and we did so, and all crossed over safely. We are camped tonight on the other side of the river, where the bottom is covered with wagons that are going to Washington, Oregon and to the new gold mines. Saw another herd of cattle, 3500 head, from Washington and Oregon. Snow melting and the water running fast; if we had come one day later we could not have crossed at all. A herd of sheep has just arrived here from the Umatilla Valley, Oregon. They are going to Cheyenne, and take until the first of September to make the trip.
Wednesday, June 23:
Got a good start in the morning and went a short distance, when we met a herd of 2040 head of cattle. Came on through a rough rocky country where the ground was completely covered with beautiful flowers, of a great many varieties. Went on and met a pack train of perhaps 20 pack mules, going to the new gold diggings on Wood River, where there is great excitement. Passed another herd of cattle, 1500 head, on the edge of (?) Prairie, which we just struck. Came on to a place where there was two roads, and pulled on to the creek and camped for dinner. William Goldsby thought he would go on to a house which we saw on the other side of the creek, to find out which road to take. When he arrived near the house he thought it had a deserted appearance, and when coming to the door he saw a notice on the door, which read word for word, as follows:
“NOTICE: Mr. Spencer died some time in February from an accidental gunshot wound, but was not discovered until the last day of March and was buried on the 4th day of April, by (SIGNED:) William A. McKary - Sam Burt."
The house was a new one - probably built last year, and looked as though its owner had money. His bedstead, with bed on it, stood there and other things appeared to be as he left them. The thing looked very mysterious to us; we could not tell what to make of it. It looked as though there had been foul play there. Traveled on after dinner and met a herd of 1600 cattle and a herd of ponies. Most of the cattle are from Oregon and Washington. They are paying as high as $40 per (?) for a man to drive the cattle and $60 if he finds his own ponies. The country we have traveled over today is the best we have seen since leaving home; a few miles this morning was rough, but when we came to the Camas Prairie we found the ground lay in good shape and the soil was very rich and fertile. As we came along we crossed a stream of water every short distance. The valley, or prairie, as it is called, is a great many miles wide, and has the best kind of grass on it. The only objection to it is the climate is a little cool; we have not been out of sight of snow since we first saw Long's Peak, about May 16.
Thursday, June 24:
Were woke this morning by wolves howling; they were near our camp. Started early and traveled over some rough country. Crossed a great many streams and camped for dinner on a small creek where the air was full of a kind of fly; they were so thick that the water was full of them, and I saw a creek where they had drifted up so that I could have scraped up a bushel in a place. Came on and passed two large herds of cattle, but did not find out the number. Passed another herd of 1100 tonight, but the cattle have just begun to come along. We passed through some rough country this afternoon, and tonight we are among the mountains again - one hill of solid stone with names written on its side, another stands up pyramid-shape, and on its top is a large round rock. From where we are camped we can see a hole which looks about big enough to admit a man's body (Castle Rock and Creek), and an eagle has her nest in there and has her eggs laid. Any amount of deer in the mountains and can hear the hunters shooting.
Friday, June 25:
Left camp on Castle Creek, which we camped on last night, and came up a long, steep hill - saw rocks in all shapes, one that resembled an elbow to a stove pipe and was about 20 feet high. Came on and struck the toll road through the mountains, 18 miles long - toll $1 a team. As we traveled over the road we saw one continual flower garden all the way, and some of the most beautiful flowers I ever saw, among which was roses, lilies, pinks and many that I never saw before. Camped for dinner at the toll house in a narrow valley, where we saw a nice garden. Wanted a girl to do housework, and offered $20 per month and a man to do chores, and offered $40 per month. Traveled on and came out on a dry prairie, and soon struck the Southern Route from Pelton, and camped at Muddy Springs, which runs into a trough. Wood and grass scarce; did not meet but 1 herd of cattle today, as they all go the trail over the mountains. It has been very warm today.
Saturday, June 26:
Started from camp late, on account of our horses straying away, and it took some time to find them. Came on over a very hilly, crooked road. We were coming onto a bend in the road, which runs around the foot of the mountain, when a stage with six horses came suddenly upon us, and we did not see each other till we were close together. The road around the mountain is just wide enough for one wagon, but the stage pulled one wheel onto the bank and we turned out the lower side, one wheel down as far as we dared to, and the stage passed by, striking one of the hind wagons and almost upset it down the bank. Passed a large freight train going to Boise City - one had three heavy wagons and 14 mules, and another had 2 wagons and a portable steam engine coupled together, and 14 mules hitched to them. Camped for dinner in a canyon where there was a creek where there was a stone house and considerable stone wall was built. As we went on, saw the road full of large crickets, which I at first mistook for a herd of cattle. The country here is full of them, and they destroy the gardens unless they fence against them with (illegible). Saw 2 large herds of cattle, which were off the road a piece, and I could not find out the number of them. Saw another herd of 2700 and a herd of sheep with 3000 head. Came down a very steep hill with a canyon, where we found water, and camped for the night. We are 4 miles from the Boise River and 12 from Boise City. Found some ripe wild currants and another kind of berry which some of the men knew the name of. Today has been one of the warmest days we have had. A terrible accident happened today; this morning old Sounder, a hound belonging to Mr. Cole, got after a jackrabbit and ran against a sagebrush and broke his neck, and died happy in a few seconds.
Sunday. June 27:
Started from camp late and came to the toll bridge across the Boise River (toll 50¢). Here the river runs through between the mountains and on both sides they slant down into the river, but a road is cut along the side next to the river, and we traveled several miles down the stream, when all of a sudden we came out on the level country and one of the most beautiful places I ever saw. The city contains a population of 3000; all along the streets is rows of shade trees, and in the rear is apple, peach, cherry, blackberry and all kinds of fruit trees loaded with fruit. Saw the largest strawberries I ever saw in my life; then all along the streets in yards ornamented with the prettiest kinds of flowers - rose bushes that are 8 feet high and full of roses of all colors - grapevines, and in fact after crossing through so desolate a country it looks like a paradise. The land here is all irrigated from the Boise River and the water runs in clear streams through every street in the city, and everybody's dooryard and garden is irrigated. The water is taken out of the river in canals, and there is large wheels with floats, which dip in the water and turn the wheel, then there was poles which (illegible) the water into spouts - the wheels are 12 feet across, and in this way the water is carried to every part of the town. Boise City is supported by the stockraising and mining, which is carried on very extensively. Fort Boise is the name of a military post located here. Found John Cole, a Nebraska man whose father is in our train, and are camped near his house. Arrived here about 10 o'clock today.
Monday, June 28:
Layed over until today noon, and then drove a few miles and camped on the Boise River, below Boise City. John Cole and his wife packed up and are going with us; also a lady sent 2 boys along with us to Walla Walla, and paid $16 for taking them through. The (illegible) boys left us today at Boise City, and more teams have fallen in with us today. As we came down the Boise Valley today we saw the finest kind of farms - large wheat fields, corn, garden vegetables and orchards, and all kinds of small fruit. Saw them haying - "cutting their wheat hay" as they call it here. Saw the best fields of timothy and clover I have seen for years. The valley is very thickly settled and they have nice houses and barns and on looking through the country one cannot but notice that the people are well-fixed, and seem to be contented and happy, and I can say this much: I have not seen so many pleasant comfortable homes on the whole trip as I have seen thus far in this beautiful valley. The roads are very dry and dusty, so we can see the dust roll up from wagons miles ahead. Mr. Cole, our preacher, preached in the Methodist Church last night, to a large congregation. They have no regular preacher in the Baptist Church in this place. There is several churches in the place of different denominations. Two boys who have been traveling with us got a job running mowers at $50 per month.
Tuesday, June 29:
Started early in the morning and vent a few miles on the road to the Dowell Ferry, but found we had a slough to cross that would swim the horses. Headed that off and came into the road again at the grist mill, and found the river had got so high that it was impossible to get to the ferry on the Snake River at all. We then took a road which cut across to another ferry down the river. Expected to have to cross Piute River and the (illegible) ferry the former and ford the latter, which is a very bad stream to ford. Found no water until late in the afternoon, when we struck the Payette Valley and camped for the night at a ranch. Found no grass - it all being fenced in. Killed 2 jackrabbits. Bought hay at one cent per lb. Here we found out there was a ferry over the Snake down at the mouth of the Payette, 25 miles from here, which saved crossing south of these streams. The other way we had to cross them both and then cross the Snake below; this way we have only the Snake to cross and leave both rivers on this side of the Snake. We found farms all the fore part of the day in the Boise Valley and tonight we have struck another valley where it is very thickly settled. We have seen large fields of wheat and corn today and some beautiful gardens and some nice houses, and things look as though people were doing well. The fruit trees are loaded with fruit, and there is a good prospect of their having plenty. They say here that it is not a sure thing raising fruit here, as the late frost sometimes kills the apples, peaches and many other kinds of fruit. In this valley and in the Boise there is no grass growing on land that has not been irrigated, but when it is sown and the water let on, it raises the best of grass. A person, to see the land in its natural state would think it was good for nothing, but let him look over the fences on the same piece of land and see things growing, he would change his mind pretty sudden.
Wednesday, June 30:
Left camp in good season; came about 8 miles and met some teams from the Washoe Ferry, and we found out that the derrick had pulled up and that the water was so high that we could not get to the ferry without swimming the horses, so we went into camp and expect to have to lay over until the water goes down. Have seen hundreds of rabbits today, and the boys killed several with stones; go through the sagebrush in any direction and you will see them all around. There is a herd of 4000 cattle on the ground where we are camped, which makes the grass scarce. They were taking the calf down to camp, when a saloon-keeper from town (a toney?) kind of a chap, came over and was laughing at the boys for keeping out of the calf's way, and having a little fun at their expense, when he happened to look around and the calf butted the fine chap in the bread-basket, which tumbled him up, and he sneaked back to town. The Piute River is falling some now, but the Snake is rising. The weather warm, and can see no snow in the mountains now.
Thursday, July 1:
Had quite a shower last night; pulled up and came to Falk's Station, 2 miles, and camped while some of the men went to Washoe Ferry, 16 miles, to see what condition the ferry was in. They came back and reported it was in very bad condition; one of the posts which the wire rope is attached to has pulled up about 6 inches, and the water was very high. All seem to be in favor of crossing tomorrow, and we will make the trial, as we don't like to lay here too long. It will be a dangerous job, but hope to make it over in safety. There is three wagons, the owner of which lives in the Grand Ronde Valley, are going along with us. There is a lot of wagons collected all along here waiting to cross. This is the greatest place for rabbits I ever saw; the boys killed 20 the other night after we went into camp. They make quite a business of catching them here; there is a bounty of 5¢ on them here. One man, we were told, killed 400 in 2 days; they are so plentiful that we kill as many as we want to with stones. We have killed at least 40 of them today. They are the Mormon Rabbit and the Pack. The Mormon is not so large as the Pack, and has a black tail. We have cut so many of them for meat that we are almost ashamed to look a rabbit in the face. There is a skiff on the river here, and the boys are having fun a-riding on it. Met a fellow from Sterling, Neb., Arthur Black - was a clerk in Dr. Shipman's Drug Store, and is now going to Cheyenne with a herd of cattle. He is the boss and gets $100 per month. Also met another Nebraska man, he used to live 10 miles north of Tecumseh and is living near this place. (We were all in a hurry here to ferry our goods over, when Hungry Bill again proposed to get something to eat before we crossed over. Still as hungry as ever!)
Friday, July 2:
Last night some ladies and gentlemen from town visited our camp; had a good time dancing and singing. Arthur Black made us a present of a nice calf, which he got out of the herd last night, and brought him to us and we killed him this morning and eat a hearty breakfast and then moved on towards the ferry. Traveled until about the middle of the afternoon and came to a stream of water which ran around from the main river It was too high to ford, so we started out and commenced to ferry our goods over. There was a large train of us - having been joined by freighters going to the Grand Ronde Valley. As fast as one wagon was unloaded we swam the horses and hitched a rope to the end of the thing and pulled it over. The wagons did not touch the bottom, and the wagon tipped over, but it was so near the shore that we got it out all right. In this way we worked until late in the afternoon, when every wagon was landed safely on the other side of Jordan. Came on about a half a mile, when we struck another stream, and two teams went in to try it and the horses mired down so that some of the boys had to swim and let them loose from the wagon. (Here Hungry Bill got into the boat to take a load of goods down 3/4 of a mile, when some of the boys proposed he should eat his dinner or take a luncheon along, as he might get hungry before he got back.) Here one of Mr. Cole's horses went down in the mire almost out of sight. Our poet also crossed over on horseback, and before he got over his horse mired down, and we had to pull him out, and the poet had to jump off into the water. We have got to ferry tomorrow, all our goods down the stream 3/4 of a mile, in order to cross two streams which are impossible for loaded wagons. We are now within less than a mile from the Snake River ferry, but we expect it to take more than tomorrow to get across the Snake, as we have another stream and the worst of all, after we get across the ferry, which we will have to ferry as we did today, with skiffs. Wes and George and Burt Cole have gone down to the ferry to bring up a skiff; the river is so high that many people have had to move out of their houses and their crops are mostly all destroyed.
Saturday1 July 3:
Got an early start; drawed our wagons up to the stream and unharnessed the horses and swam them over. Unloaded the wagons and took their loads downstream in a skiff, 3/4 of a mile - thus going around 2 bad streams. Took some time to ferry them down. Then we hitched ropes to the wagons and swam them over and hauled them round to the place where they were landing our goods, and commenced reloading them, and soon all of them were loaded, and started and came a short distance, when we had a bad stream, which was upright the wagon bed. One team got stuck with 4 horses; then we put one span on the tongue of the next wagon which was to cross, and hitched a rope to the tongue and put another span on the other side, and in this way we all got over alright. Then we came to the ferry (crossing several bad places on the way) at which place we struck a very bad place just where we had to drive onto the ferry boat. Some of the teams along with us undertook to drive through; got stuck and their horses were about out of sight in the water and mud. We came up, unhitched our horses and turned them over and then got a rope across, as we have described before. Hitched on the horses and pulled the wagons over without accident. Crossed over the ferry. The Snake River has grown fast since we saw it at Blackfoot, and is very swift, wide and dangerous-looking. We had only come a short distance from the ferry when we struck another bad stream. It was a deep one; had to unload and ferry over in 2 skiffs. We were very lucky, and there was no accident happened to us in crossing. Our wagons loaded again, we pulled over 3 more bad streams, but not so bad as the rest. Tonight we are camped about a half-mile from the river and over all the water, and what is better yet, we are in Oregon. You can have some idea of what a hard time we had when I tell you that we have been ever since yesterday morning coming 2½ miles. They are just ferrying a large herd of cattle here at the Washoe Ferry - $1.50 per horse team.
Sunday, July 4:
We have had plenty of water for the last few days, but today it has been the other way with us. Started early and came 14 miles to (?) Springs, where we found a faint spring of poor sulphur water, and camped for dinner. Grass being very poor, we did not stop long and came on to Brush Creek, 10 miles, where we found a running stream of water and some spring water, and camped for the night. There is plenty of grass today. The roads today have been very sandy and hilly, and the dust was so thick at times we could not see the wagon ahead of us. There is not much wind here, so the dust does not blow out of the road, as it does in Nebraska. Had all the ripe wild currants we wanted to eat; they are larger than the tame ones, and not quite so sour. Today is the 4th of July, but it is a dry old day to us. We are too far from any place to celebrate, but we will make it up the next - when we are all settled down. A great many wagons was at the ferry when we crossed, and some of them came over before us, but our old train, which started from Nebraska, is by itself again (with the exception of one wagon), and tonight we are ahead of them all. We have not tried to make big drives, and have been taking it cool, but some trains have passed us in a rush, and now they are behind. Like the fable of the snail and the rabbit - the snail at last came out ahead.
Monday, July 5:
Pulled out early and came on a few miles and came to Farewell Bend, on the Snake River, where we struck a toll road - toll $1.00 - road 45 miles, and runs through the mountains all the way, following all the different passes. Struck the Burnt River and have been all day traveling up it. The toll road is a good road, considering where it runs; it goes through one of the most difficult places I ever saw for a road. We came to a steep place where the mountain run down into the river and the road winds around its side and only wide enough for one wagon. Here at this place the stage was passing, last spring, when there was a little ice on the road. He could see that the stage was bound to slide, and he pulled the horses round and jumped them off. He had on 6 horses and 2 of them were killed. He had some passengers on board - one preacher from Boise City, but none of them, nor himself, were hurt much. Took dinner on a small creek; came on this afternoon. We have been passing gold mines all day, where the miners are at work. I picked up a handful of sand at one of the mines and I could see the gold in little bright particles all through it. There is a great many Chinamen at work in the mines here. Came on and camped for the night in the creek in the narrow valley where is just room enough to camp, and the horses are on the mountains. Most of the way today the road has been so if two teams should meet they could not pass each other. Met two families going back from Oregon, and they gave it a hard name. Another is camped with us tonight, and he does not encourage us much.
Tuesday, July 6:
Started early in the morning and passed over some very dangerous road, where the road wound around the side of the mountains and some places where we would pass through narrow valleys where each side of the road was shaded with trees and several kinds of fruit - currants, cherries, sugar plums and rose bushes as high as a man's head - all in blossom, and a great many kinds of shrubs and flowers which I did not know the name of. (Baker City, Oregon, 1522 miles). Traveled on until noon and passed the toll road and camped for dinner at an irrigating ditch, where we found good water and grass. Came on after dinner and struck into a small valley where there was a number of farms and saw wheat, barley, oats, and millet and timothy, and it looked splendid. All the farms here have good homes and barns, and they have all kind of fruit growing, and their orchards are all fenced with fine lumber, which is only 12 dollars per thousand. This afternoon we have been passing the mountains, all covered with a heavy growth of pine, cedar, spruce and fir. Traveled until near night and camped within a few mites of Baker, near a ranch. The country is improving as we go. There is not much rain in this part, and they have to irrigate. It is good soil here, and every place that is watered, and the weeds and grass grow very rank. Passed several gold mines today. They are making it pay well, and are paying miners $9 per day and they have $3 per week for board. Wages here is from $30 to $35 to work on a ranch. They say a man can make money here without working as hard as in the East, and that a great many, after a year or so, will not work unless they are getting big pay.
Wednesday, July 7:
Left camp early and came down into the Ruckles River Valley, and soon came to Baker City. This town contains a population of about 1500 and is quite a pretty town, and is situated in good farming country, and is very thickly settled around town for several miles. It is a mining town and the mountains all around is covered with a heavy growth of timber. Came out of town and camped a few miles beyond for dinner; came on in the afternoon and passed over some country that had been taken up and settled, and camped tonight on Powder River at the roadside in a lane. Pitched our tents over the fence, on account of there being no room any other place. Today we have seen the best country we have seen on our journey yet. The Blue Mountains are white with snow on their tops.
Thursday, July 8:
Started from camp in good season and traveled en over some hilly country and then came down a very steep, long hill, into the Grand Ronde Valley, and camped for dinner. Came on a few miles and came to Union, a pretty little town and country seat, and is beautifully ornamented with trees and gardens. Came on a few miles from town and camped for the night. We are but in the edge of this valley, but find it best we have seen, and as we go on it keeps getting better. On all sides the mountains are covered with timber, so the people in the valley have plenty for fencing and fuel. All along is clear streams of water and the ground is as level as a floor. I would be contented to stay here if I could get land, but the biggest part of it is all taken, and nothing remains of it but what has been picked over. Mr. Cole left us here today to go to his son's at Summerville, in this valley, which is not on our road. We took the road for Walls Walla, which is about 80 miles from here, and hope soon to be at the end of our journey. We are getting tired of traveling and want to find our home and settle down once more. Weather cool this morning but warm tonight. I was up to the foot of the mountain, about ½ mile from where we camped, at a hot spring, the water of which is so hot that it would scald anyone to hold him in it. It comes out from the side of the mountain, and below it is a bath and a wash house. The water runs down into the house, with a bathroom, and then there is a tub, bowls and posts for clothes lines, and everything fixed up handy. The water in running from the spring to the bath house gets just cool enough to bathe in, and has a strong sulphur smell. Talk of stopping here one day to wash and rest up. (The poet whom I have spoken of several times in this book seems to be a man of good education, though a little light in the upper story, and as near as I could find out, he had a wife and 4 children. She got too thick with a Freemason and eloped with him. He kept 2 of the children and after a while they stole them from him, and ever since then he has been wandering all over the country, and is not content anywhere. The only thing he appears to be insane on is this: That the Freemasons are all the time following him up and keep someone watching him all the time. If he is sick he thinks the Freemasons drugged him while he was asleep, and if anything breaks about his sulky, or if his pony has a sore back, he lays it all to the Masons.)
Friday, July 9:
As there was a good place to do our washing and did not require any wood, we concluded to lay over one day for this purpose. So this morning we hitched up and moved to the Hot Spring and commenced to wash. It is the best place for that business I ever say; you can wash clothes clean and it requires no soap at all. Borrowed a washing machine, and in a short time had the work done and out to dry; but it turned into raining and we can't get them dry, so as to move on tomorrow. Had a shower last night. The old poet who has been traveling with us left us today. He took the road to Portland. He seemed sorry to leave us, but assured us that he would see us again at Walla Walla. Thought I would like to climb the mountains, and take a view of the valley, and after dinner John Goldsby and myself made up our minds to go to the top. We commenced to climb and went up to the first steep slant, when we took a rest and started up the second, which was steeper and more difficult to ascend. After a very hard climb we arrived at a level place on the side, where there was an old deserted log house in the heavy pine and fir timber. Took another rest here and went up another longer and steeper slope than any before. Climbed up this, and after going up another shorter but steep place, we were on the summit. We were about halfway up when there came up a shower and we got under a large rock. Went on and looking back we saw the most beautiful sight we ever say; there was a bright rainbow and from where we were we looked down on it, and one end seemed to bend down into our camp at the foot of the mountains. After we had been on the top a short time we saw a black cloud away down the valley, and saw it raining, so we could not see the land where it was raining, and could look over the top of the cloud. Thought it best to get out of the place where we were and commenced to descend in double-quick time, in order to reach the shelter of some pine and fir trees on the mountain side below. Had got down the first pitch, when we looked back and could not see the top we had left a short time before and saw the clouds driving along. Below, where we then were, it commenced to rain, and after stumbling, slipping and sliding for some time we at last reached the foot, wet and tired, having been several hours in reaching top and back.
Saturday, July 10:
Started from camp about noon, on account of having to wait to dry our clothing, but it commenced to rain and we had to take them in wet and run the risk of drying them on the road. Came to a boiling lake where there was a large bath house. The lake is boiling hot, and is boiling like a pot, and is quite a (illegible) lake. Came on in sight of LaGrande (quite a town) and took the right-hand road before we got to it, and in a few miles we passed through Island City, a nice little town, and camped the other side of the LaGrande River. I like the looks of this valley, but it lays high and they say it is apt to be cold here at times, and very cold in winter. It has been raining all day, by spells, and once we had some sleet. It has been cool enough today so that an overcoat was quite comfortable. There is a lot of work to do in this valley; haying is about to commence, and they pay $1.50 per day. Wheat, barley, oats, garden vegetables and timothy all look well, though very backward. We have seen some nice farms today, and all have good houses and barns, and everything round them is fixed up in good shape, and people seem to be living here contented and happy.
Sunday, July 11:
Raining all night and this morning, so we did not leave camp. Rained all day but tonight it has cleared off and bids fair to be a good day tomorrow. We are so near the end of our journey that laying over is dull business. We are hearing from several different valleys, but one tells us what a good country it is in his valley and then another will tell us the other way, so we don't know who to believe, and I think it best to look for ourselves. Flour here is only 8¢ per lb. and beef by the quarter 2½¢ per lb., bacon l0¢, potatoes 40¢, wheat 40¢ and everything raised in the country is cheap; wages are $1.50 to $2 per day and from $35 to $40 per month. Some things are high, but others are so cheap that it makes up for the high prices. Some fellows in camp tonight from the Wallowa Valley, and give us a good report of that valley. Think some of going to look at it in Oregon on the Snake River, but think we will go to Walla Walla first and see what we can strike there.
Monday, July 12:
Had to dry our clothes and did not start until about noon. Saw a flagpole in Island City which vas 10 inches through at the butt, and was 82 feet long. It was a tamarack. Came over and passed through Sumerville, a small town on the edge of the Grand Ronde.
Tuesday, July 13:
Crossing the Blue Mountains. Started in good season and commenced to ascend the mountains. Soon came to a place where we had to double up and pull up a steep hill, which was about 3 miles to the top, and then down a little and up a great deal more. (Camped for dinner in a canyon). In this way we have made 20 miles today and are not to the summit yet, but camped tonight in a little glade on the mountain side. Have been traveling all day through the heaviest and nicest timber I ever saw in my life1 and as far as the eye can see there is one continued forest of evergreen timber. John Goldsby and myself were traveling on foot ahead of the wagons and were a little over a quarter of a mile from them, when we heard the brush crack and we looked in that direction and saw a large cinnamon bear only about 20 or 30 yards from us. He was at the foot of a large fir tree, and seemed to be so busy a-rooting around the tree that he did not see us and we could not see his head. We were unarmed and thought we did not wish to encounter him in such a way; so we retreated in good order back to the wagons and all hands took their rifles and went to the place where we saw him, but Bruin had taken the hint and peeled out. There is a great many of them in these mountains and they say the cinnamon is next to the grizzly in being savage. (Quite an incident occurred which was very laughable. When we went back and told them at the wagons that we had seen a bear all hands took a rifle or anything they could get hold of and set out in search of Bruin. Hungry Bill got his rifle and set out near the place where we expected to find the bear, but there was no load in it' and he knew it. When we got near the spot he called out "Some of you take my gun and fire it!" The boys scoured all through the woods, and Hungry Bill with them, without any load in his gun). Have seen several kinds of wild fruit today - huckleberries, blueberries and strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, etc. The road was very wet in places - caused by the melting snow, which lay in s0me places four to five feet deep. A train of Erney Camp from California camped with us last night. They are going to Lewiston, Oregon. We are now making slow time, but will get to Walls Walla in less than the three months that we calculated it would take to make the journey.
Wednesday, July 14:
Left camp late this morning and passed over some wet and hilly roads and in some places drifts of snow in the road 2 or 3 feet deep. From Summerville to the Walla Walla Valley is 45 miles over the mountains and all heavy timber. Came on and passed the toll gate - toll $1.00 per wagon. There is 3 different toll roads over the Blue Mountains to Walla Walla. At the toll house I was talking with the tollman and he told me that the snow fell in the mountains from 8 to 1O feet deep in the winter and he had seen it 15 feet on the level. We saw strawberries on the mountains just in blossom, and as we came down lower we found them all ripe. Took dinner at a ranch and then came on and along in the afternoon and came out of the timber in full view of the Walla Walla Valley and camped for the night on the hills overlooking the valley. Can see Walla Walla, which is 18 miles from here, and it does not look but a short distance. Can see one solid farming country from where we are and hundreds of fields of grain - some of them ready for the harvest. On all the hills around the valley is the richest kind of soil, and nice fields of grain growing along the streams, and they have to haul their wood 15 or 20 miles in some places, but they are now putting in flues from the mountains and turning streams of water into them; then they will put logs into them and they will float down to the R.R. Cannot tell much about the valley till we go down into it, but whatever I can find out about the country, for or against, I am going to write it down. We find some grasshoppers here in small numbers, and they say it is the first they have ever been here and the only place where they are now in the whole country is in this valley. There is no land to take as homesteads, that is worth taking in this valley, but plenty in others.
Thursday, July 15:
Walla Walla, Washington Territory, 1645 miles). Left camp and came down into the valley. Found grasshoppers plenty in spots along the road. Camped for dinner by the roadside and bought wheat hay for the horses. Traveled on and early in the afternoon we arrived at Walla Walla, making the trip in 1ess than 3 months, as we had expected it would take us to go the journey. Camped outside the town and think we'll stop in this valley and work awhile. It is very dry in this valley this year, and they will have no more than a half a crop, but that will beat Nebraska. Wheat last year averaged from 35 to 40 bush. You can have some idea how it turns out when they thresh from 1500 to 2000 per day. This valley does not (illegible) no fellows as well as some we have seen. We are going to stop here awhile to work and then we are going to look for some place where we can find vacant land. Walla Walla is a very pretty place and has a population of 3500 to 4000. They have a R.R. here and everything is cheap, but there is no chance for a man to get land near here. The custom of the country here is that when a man goes out to work by the day or month, he has to sleep out of doors. I saw one man that had been out here 2½ years; had been running a header and threshing machine, and he said he had not slept in a bed since he had been in the country, and in the house only in winter. This is a very rich country here, but anyone would think by the looks of the land that it would not raise anything, but when you look at the crops they show that there is something about it that will grow them, and they show for themselves that this is a good farming country, though I don't like the looks of it as well as some other valleys I have seen. One thing: there is no grass here like there is in other places, and they have to make wheat hay. They have had a drought here this season, which gives the country a bad appearance. The country here is overrun with emigrants, as they nearly all make this their point of destination. We are going to some valley where they are not coming in so thick, and take us homes where we can get plenty of timber. Ft. Walla Walla is near here, and I have been talking with some of the soldiers. There is 500 Cavalry stationed here There is no timber in the valley and all the wood and lumber comes from the mountains some 25 miles from here. As we are going to stop here before continuing our journey, so I will quit writing and commence it again when we start once more, as my aim is to write things about this country here just as I see them, whether for or against. I see very well that the country here has been overrated in a great many things but still I think it is a good country, but not quite Heaven yet, for I think people will have to go somewhere else to find it when they die. But I think the people here are trying to obey the Scriptures (or at least to have others do so), which is to say, "Rise, take up thy bed and walk," and furthermore, "I was a stranger and you took me in." We find they will do that very thing every chance they can get. No more until we "start to seek a country."
Saturday, July 17:
Did not like the looks of the Walla Walls Valley and this afternoon we started to cross the Blue Mountains. Traveled on until night and camped on the Walla Walla River, about twelve miles from town. The weather was very warm - the thermometer 100. Saw the grasshoppers flying just as they did in Nebraska, and therefore we concluded to cross over to the Grande Ronde Valley, which we all liked the looks of best. Only 3 wagons along now - some having stopped in one place and others went on.
Sunday1 July 18:
Started in the morning; had some steep places to pull up - the road so rough and hilly - and we made slow progress today. Came on and camped on a small creek in the pine timber. Had quite a shower tonight but it is cleared off again and is quite cool.
Monday, July 19: Got the horses up to feed them before starting, when one of Mr. Goldsby's choked on barley. This delayed us so that we did not start until the middle of the forenoon. We were about ready to start in the morning, when George Goldsby took his rifle and said he was going to kill a bear, and started off on the road. We did not leave the camp for sometime afterwards, on account of the horse, and supposed he had gone down the road ahead of us. Traveled on and camped for dinner and still he did not make his appearance. Drove on and camped early in the little glade where we camped coming over, in order to give him a chance to come up. The sun was already set, and it was beginning to grow dark, and we were uneasy about him and talking of going back to hunt him (having inquired of several we met and finding out he was not ahead), when he came in, having left the road in heavy timber a short distance from camp and struck onto a couple of elk and wounded one and followed it and took no particular notice where he was going, and soon found himself lost, but struck out in the way he thought was right and found himself in a strange valley. Found a Dutchman living there; got his dinner and then he put him on a trail which would lead him to the road. Lost the trail in crossing a creek and soon came to a precipice in the forest, which he had great difficulty in climbing, but at last found the road and reached camp about dark, footsore and tired, having traveled all day. Tonight Wesley Goldsby and Henry Norton went out to look for some grass on a hill some ways from camp. Henry had a small gun along, and Wes had nothing but a revolver. They were going up the side of the hill and there was a large track ahead of them, and looking in that direction they saw a cinnamon bear. They cut loose on him and he ran into the bushes and soon disappeared over the hill. They hunted for him but could not find him. This evening a train of wagons from Missouri came up and camped with us. There was several girls with them and we had some good singing.
Tuesday. July 20:
Just about 3 months from the day we started from Nebraska. Came on; nothing of interest took place. Stopped for dinner where we camped the first night in the timber, thus making in ½ day what it took us one day to make going the other way all uphill. Hitched up after dinner and came to Summerville, through the place and camped about l mile from town on a creek, where we intend to stop until we get a house to live in. We are going to look at the Wallowa Valley, which is about 40 miles from here, in a day or two, and take claims. We will leave the families here and nobody go only those who can take the land. This valley is the best-looking place we have seen yet, and there is something about it that makes a person feel like he is at home. I will write no more until we go to the Wallowa Valley, and then I will close this book by giving a description of the country and about our trip there.
July 23:. Hitched 2 horses to the wagon and leaving the families in a house rented in Sumerville we started on a trip to the Wallowa Valley with the intention of taking claims. Left the Grande Ronde Valley and soon struck into the broken, hilly country. Soon came to the Indian Valley, passed on through rough country to Cricket Flats, when we went down a long, steep hill where we had to chain the wheels, and at the foot struck the Wallows River. Saw a man at this place with a fish trap, where he was ready for the red fish when they came up the river. Soon struck a canyon, which is the only entrance to the valley, and is eight miles through it into the valley and only room enough for the river and road to run. Came up the canyon about 2 miles and camped for the night at the side of the road on a small patch of ground. Here we found some fishermen waiting for the fish to come up, with their kits and barrels piled all around their camp. Started in the morning and went through one of the most dangerous looking places we have yet seen. On both sides the mountains rose almost perpendicular, and slanted down into the river. The road was cut around the mountains and through the rocks, only wide enough for one wagon to run, and in 8 miles there was but a few places where wagons could pass each other. And on one side ran the river - a deep swift stream far below us, and where in most places one foot out of the track would send a wagon down into the river, and in some places only from four to six inches out of the way would have been “all day" with us. Came on and struck into the lower valley and all eyes were strained to see the beautiful valley of which we had heard so much1 but as we drove out on it we found the level land all gravel and no account for farming, only in a few places. Came into the Lower Valley and found it very rough and rocky. Was talking to a man at his ranch; asked him about the Upper Valley. Said he did not like it; it was so rough. Came on through the Middle Valley, which we found about the same as the land on the Lower, and camped for the night at a ranch between the Upper and Lower Valleys. Started in the morning and 800fl came into the Upper Valley; crossed the river and came to Lake City, the only town in the valley - a store, a saloon and blacksmith shop, and 3 or 4 houses. This town is one mile from the lake. We soon arrived at the lake, chartered a skiff and went over to the upper end of it. It is about 4 miles long and one wide, and in the deepest part 270 feet. The red fish come up in large numbers to lay their eggs, and for about 2 months the stream and lake is full of them. It may look like a big story, but it is nevertheless true, that there is a stream which comes in at the head of the lake where they get so thick that a man can stand on the edge and throw out barrels of them with a pitchfork. They have a large hook on the end of the pole and hook them out in the river below the lake. The red fish weigh from 4 to 6 lbs. and there is one great curiosity about them--when they are in the river, before they get to the lake, they are a bluish color, but when they have been in the lake awhile they turn red. There is three fisheries at the head of the lake, and one cooper's shop at the lower end, where they make barrels and kits. At the fisheries they had large piles of them ready for the fish, when they arrive in the lake. We were in a hurry and could not stop to wait on them, though some had been seen in the lake the day before we left. If we had stopped a few days we could have got all we could have hauled home. The lake is between the mountains, which slant off steep into the lake on all but one end, where the water flows out. We got some fine trout and a few red fish and had all we could eat for several meals, but did not bring any home. We did not like the valley, and therefore did not take any claims. The country is too high and cold to farm much, though we saw some grain and garden truck growing, but it was late and not very good. It may, I think, be a good stock country, as they say cattle will live here in the winter without feed in among the mountains, but it is too much out of the way to ever make much of a country. Several families left there this spring, on account of the cold weather. There is six or seven months that they cannot get in or out the valley, and have to come out to the Grande Ronde Valley to mill and lay in their supplies for winter. We started back and arrived in the Grande Ronde valley on the 28th, and concluded to go to work and not look anymore for work at present, and in time we will go to seek a country, though this valley suits us well if we could get land here. I will write no more at this time, and will fill up the balance at my leisure. Met Mr. Cole going to the Wallows Valley to take a look at it, as we were coming back.
Wintered in Grande Ronde Valley. Went through haying and harvesting, which lasted until the snow commenced to fly; then built us a cabin up in the mountains, and went to making rails. Worked at that till the snow came so deep that we could do no more; then done nothing all winter. There is not much money in the valley; everything is trade; so we have to take oats and wheat for our pay. The wheat we could not sell at all, but the oats we could trade in town for store pay. We got some money but not enough to damage us much. Had a long winter, with plenty of snow and rain. In some places 10 feet of snow fell. Concluded we did not like the winter and in May, 1881 we pulled across the Blue Mountains into the Umatilla Valley, where we had to wait for the snow to get off the Cascade Mountains before we could cross. So we went to work on the R.R. which was being built up the Umatilla River. This country all along the river is very poor and sandy. There is a great many sheep kept here, but the upper portion of the valley, the Reservation of the Umatilla Indians, is a very rich and beautiful country. There is the nicest kind of bunch grass, and they have large herds of ponies, and are well fixed, and do considerable farming.
1881 - June 20:
We are now camped near a big stone cut through a high hill and are waiting for pay day. which is now at hand, to start again on our journey. 'Tis a very dangerous place here where they blast the stone; part showers down into our camp and we have to take shelter the best way we can. They are not saving at all with the powder; in one blast - what they call a pot hole - they put in 500 lbs. of powder only a few rods from where we are camped. They have a log house full of powder. I was amused the other day to see a Chinaman standing under a few weeds thrown on top of 4 sticks a little higher than his head; there he stood waiting for the blast to go, and appeared to be perfectly safe. Another Chinaman was looking up watching for the rocks to come down, when a bird came pitching down out of the air to get a chance at it, and took it to be stone, and done some tall dodging. At a camp below here we were all in the tent eating our supper, when they touched off several big blasts. The rocks came over into our camp; we could hear them striking all around the tent. Some of the men kept on eating; others jumped under the table, while a great many rushed outdoors. There was a Chinese camp a few rods from the cook tent. We heard them making an awful noise, and we found out that it was caused by a rock striking right in their bunk. One Chinaman came running around with a tin bucket over his head to protect him from the rocks. The Chinamen weighed the rock and found it weighed 100 lbs. One Chinaman the other day did not get away from the blast only a short distance before it commenced to go off. He stopped, put his coat over his head so that he could not see it, and stood still till the rocks were done falling. He was not hurt, though he ran a big risk. Mr. Jeilsen, Superintendent of the R.R., was telling us about a big blast they had on the Columbia River a few days ago. They had two tunnels under the ledge in 70 feet. Put in 200 cases of Indian Powder, 50 lbs. to the case, and touched it off by electricity. They removed at one shot 43,000 cubic yards of stone and threw it into the river. There was a Chinese camp about a mile below and they told them they had better move, but they thought they were safe and stayed. They were on a little raise of ground near the river and when so vast an amount of stone went into the river at one time it made a big wave, which rushed into their camp and swept it all away, and some of them were swept into the river. Three steamers were 2 miles below, loading with people who came up river to witness the big blast. Saw elder growing here on the banks of the river - the largest I ever saw. I measured one and found it to be 1 foot 2 inches in diameter. The river here is full of fish and we have caught lots of nice ones. In Grande Ronde Valley we lived on a small stream of clear water and we caught quite a number of salmon. This spring I weighed some of them and they weighed as follows: 74, 84, 6, 4, 34, and 11 lbs. We caught them with a pitchfork and shot some of them. They run up all the small streams in the spring and are "way up" fish. We left Mr. Weightman and family in the Grande Ronde Valley, where they settled, and Henry Norton also stopped there, and Emery Greenfield and family. Mr. Cole, our preacher, settled in the Wallowa Valley; so our party is now reduced to 2 teams - 1 horse and 2 horse team, and some loose horses and ponies. Our party now consists of the following persons: William Goldsby and wife, Fred Goldsby, Wesley Goldsby, John Goldsby, Benry Goldsby, Frank Goldsby, Marion Goldsby, George Goldsby, Frank Stevens, Willie Richardson and wife, some Nebraska folks we picked up in Grande Ronde and a young fellow by the name of Henry Overman. Fred Goldsby and myself started over the Blue Mountains the 17th of April on foot, as we wanted to work on the R.R. and could not cross over so early with teams. We crossed over 7 miles of snow from 5 to 10 feet deep and had to cross a great many streams where there was no bridges, and after getting away from the mountains, had a long distance to go over dry, sandy country where we could not get water, and arrived at the R.R. camp on the 20th, footsore and tired.
Rolled out from the R.R. and started on our Journey to Puget Sound; came down the R.R. as far as Echo and there left it and struck out on a sandy plain. Came on and camped at Butler Creek, a small stream of cold clear water with nothing but greasewood and sagebrush to burn, and not much grass for the horses. The wind blowing hard all day. We are now striking out for the Dalles.
Did not start until late, on account of all the horses straying away. Had to make a drive of 18 miles to find water. Came on about 6 miles and cane to good bunch grass, and about 2 o'clock we arrived at “The Wells.” The water was not good, but we had enough along for dinner. These wells are a great curiosity. One is on a mound where there is a basin of perhaps 20 or 30 feet. The water boils up from the bottom and there is quite a stream of greenish-looking water running from it, and all around is a dry, sandy-looking place, with nothing growing but a little sagebrush. We camped for dinner in a deserted house which stands miles from any place. The country all along here is very poor and sandy, with now and then a ranch where they keep stock, but no farms; the land is too dry for farming. Could see Mt. Hood away off in the distance, all white with snow, and another mountain away to the north, which I have not found out the name of. Came on after dinner and camped 2 miles from The Wells for the night, where we found better water, and we don't strike any more for 14 miles. Cloudy and rainy tonight.
Sunday, June 26:
Started from camp in good season, and in 12 miles came to Willow Creek; then had to travel 16 miles in order to find water, which we found one mile from the road, and camped for the night. The country today has been very rough and hilly. Saw several ranches, but it was a dry-looking place to farm in. Saw corn growing, which looked very well. Wind blowing very hard tonight.
Monday, June 27:
Started in the morning and in 4 miles came to a spring. The water not good. Came on 6 miles and came to the John Day River. Crossed over a toll bridge; toll, 4-horse team, $1.50; 2-horse team, $1.00; loose horses 25¢, saddle horses, 50¢. Swam the loose horses over and one of the boys rode after them and made it alright. Came over some very poor, dry country today. This valley where we crossed it is very narrow; the stream is quite rapid and very muddy. Came on up a canyon, which was a very hard place to pull up, and in about a mile came to a spring, but did not stop - there being no grass. Pulled up a steep, rocky hill out of the canyon and camped for dinner. Here we found good grass; the wind blowing quite cold. Came on after dinner 8 miles and camped for the night, about 6 miles off the road at a well. No wood, only what we brought with us, but water and grass plenty. Mr. Goldsby traded horses here with some fellows who camped with us.
Tuesday, June 28:
Left camp early in the morning and soon struck into a country where there was farms all along the road. Saw corn and wheat growing and found water more plenty, and some running streams. Came past a store and watered the horses at a trough where there was a nice stream of water coming from a spring. Came on down a canyon and camped for dinner on a stream where there was some good springs, about 3 miles from the Columbia River. Saw a grove fixed up for the celebration of the 4th of July, and had lots of beef hanging on the trees for the occasion. Most of the farms here are fenced with (ditch?) fences. We are coming near Mr. Hood, and can now get a plainer view of it. Another mountain off to the right is now in plain sight. Some say it is Mt. St. Helens in Washington Territory. We can see another peak still further north, all white with snow. Came down the canyon after dinner, the rocks rising on each side of the narrow pass to the height of 100 feet. Came on, winding around in every direction, over one of the roughest kinds of roads, until at last we turned a point and saw the dust rolling up the mouth of the canyon. Soon came out onto the Columbia River - the wind blowing the sand in clouds before it. Here we struck the R.R. and turned down the river. Saw the sand drifted like snow, 10 to 15 feet deep. Came down the river about 1 mile and came to the Deschutes River. Crossed over on a toll bridge; killed several fish with stones at the end of the river. The Deschutes River is a wild, swift stream, and is quite a large river. There is a great many fish in it. Toll here: 4-horse team, $1.50, 2-horse team $1.00, loose horses, l0¢, saddle horses, 50¢. There is not much valley here at all; where we are camped the hills come down to the river on both sides. The boys are out fishing as I am writing. Fruit does well here - both large and small.
Wednsday, June 29:
Left camp and pulled up a long, steep hill to the top, and came down along the Columbia on a kind of beach. Saw the steamboats on the river below. Left the river again and came down a canyon to 15-Mile Creek; then pulled up another hill and into another canyon. Crossed 3-Mile Creek and then down the canyon and struck the river again; down the river and camped for dinner about 1 mile from the Dalles, and in sight of the town. The country today is rough; saw some oak and ash trees and can see lots of timber ahead of us. The river here runs very swift, and is deep and narrow. Came on after dinner to town, which is in a bend in the river, and is a very pretty place. There is a great deal of business done here. There are a great many boats running on the river; the town is full of Indians of different tribes - mostly Warm Springs Indians. They had lots of ponies for sale. Some of the boys bought 2 - one for $6 and the other for $5. Came on through town and camped in about 5 miles on a small ranch. Grass and wood scarce. Some of the boys took the wrong road from town, but came across the country, and we are all together again tonight.
Thursday, June 30:
Started from camp and pulled up a long, steep hill and then came down to 3-Mile Creek. Passed farms all along the road, and one beer saloon, which we did not pass without beering up. Passed 2 stores, came over hills and through hollows, and then pulled up a long hill and down again, and camped on 15-Mile Creek for dinner; but we did not notice the hills and rough road after we passed that saloon; it didn't seem rough at all to us. Saw some Indians at our camp this noon. Today we hitched up a raw colt and broke him in, coming over the rough road. Started again about 4:00 and pulled up a long, gradual hill for about 7 miles and camped on a small stream about dark - two Warm Springs Indians camped with us. Saw some (illegible) Indians as we raise up towards the Mountains. We can see several different peaks - Mt. Adams, 9500 feet above the level of the sea, Mt. St. Helens, 9700 and Mt. Hood, 14,000, and another mountain to the left, which I cannot learn the name.
Friday, July 1:
Left camp and pulled up the hill and kept on for some time, and at last came to the top and then came down one of the roughest and longest and steepest hills we have seen on this part of our trip. When on the steepest part of the hill one of the boys happened to look under the wagon and found that one of the bolts which hold the brake was out; it did not lack an eighth of an inch, and if it had come out the horses could not have held the load, and would have smashed everything all to pieces. Came down into the (illegible) Valley a piece, and crossed a creek of nice, clear water and came to a store where there was some Indians, and some of the boys brought some (illegible) for 50¢ a pair. Took in some water in our kegs and then started to ascend the hill, but not so bad as the one coming into the valley, and came out on a level place on top, where we camped for dinner, with no water only what we had along with us. We are burning oak wood to cook our dinner with. What we saw of the Tygh Valley it was most all rocks and very dry and hard-looking. Came on after dinner over a more level road, crossing streams of water every short distance. In a few miles we struck into the forest. Here we saw considerable oak, and the balance was pine. Traveled on through the woods and a little before sundown camped for the night. The toll gate used to be here, but they moved it over to another part of the road. We will start in the morning towards the summit. We have plenty of grass and wood, and the best kind of water from the snow on the mountains.
Saturday, July 2:
The wind is blowing so hard, and we have found good grass, that we concluded to lay over here today and let the horses rest before pulling over the mountains. We are camped in the heavy timber, and some trees have been blown down. Every little while we can hear a tree fall. We are enjoying ourselves the best we can, under the circumstances. We caught several river mountain trout. Some men passed us here with a herd of horses.
Sunday. July 3:
Started from camp in the morning and commenced to ascend the mountains. Pulled up for a long distance, then down a very steep hill to a swift-running stream. Saw cedar, pine, tamarack and maple all growing along the creek. The oak played out as we came up higher on the mountain. Pulled up a steep hill and then down again to a clear creek; pulled up another short but very steep hill, came on some distance and then came down a long, steep hill to White River and camped for dinner. White River takes its name from the color of the water, which looks as though it was part milk. Saw white pine at our camp. Two of the boys rode on ahead this morning to try to find an elk or deer, and have not come to camp yet. We have been traveling today through the heaviest timber I ever saw; the trees are as straight as an arrow, and they stand so thick on the ground that a wagon could not get through between them. It is so cold today that it is comfortable walking. The wind is blowing very hard, and we can hear the trees falling now and then. One fell this morning, close to our camp. Came on after dinner up the river and camped early some distance from water, where we could find a little grass. We are now within 10 miles of the summit and 16 from Mt. Hood, which we can see from here, and it does not look but a short distance. It looks as if we were camped about at the foot of the peak. We intend to make it over the summit tomorrow and camp at the foot of Mt. Hood, which is 6 miles beyond the summit, where we intend to lay over and fish and hunt. Saw several kinds of timber this afternoon - 3 kinds of pine, 2 kinds of fir, tamarack, cedar and balm, and some other kinds which I had no name for. We have been coming up the mountains all day, and have made only about 15 miles. We expect to have it cool tomorrow, crossing the summit. We are camped tonight on a little grass patch, but all around us it is nothing but bare sand. We have to go half-a-mile for water to a creek, but when we get it we have it ice-cool and clear as crystal.
Monday, July 4 1881:
Left camp late in the morning and pulled up the mountain - now going up a steep hill, then down again and winding around in every direction, crossing a stream of cold, clear water every short distance, until we came to a long, steep hill, which we pulled up and found ourselves on the summit. The hill was not so bad as some we have seen on the trip, but very muddy in places, caused by the snow just melting off. Came on down a very long, steep and rocky hill, and then up and down hills until at last we came to the Summit House, where they had a store and pasture fenced off in an open spot. There is a family living there, but they only stay through the summer, as the snow gets 20 feet deep here in winter. Came on about 2 miles and struck onto a beautiful place, where we went into camp on a clear stream of water. There is an open spot here, of several acres of good grass, with mountains on one side and Mt. Hood 3 miles away on the other. It does not look far; it seems as if we were at the very foot of it. The timber runs up the side for some ways, and above that it is all bare and covered with deep snow. We are 60 miles from Portland and we are going to lay over until tomorrow and celebrate the 4th the best we can, under the circumstances. We have traveled today through the largest and thickest timber on the ground I ever saw - fir trees 8 feet in diameter and other trees in proportion. Passed between big trees where they had to notch them to let the wagon hubs through. We had a heavy frost last night, and today has been still, warm and pleasant. Did not find any snow where we expected to in crossing the summit, but it had not been off long. Saw large tracts of timber which the fire had been through, and the ground was crossed over in all directions, so that a man could hardly get through. The trees had all been sawed and burned off, to give room for the road. We have crossed over these mountains so far without any accident, and we have had very rough, bad roads - some places where it looked almost impossible for a wagon to go, and one team we had 4-yearold colts hitched in, who had never had a harness on and were perfectly wild. We worked them up the other side of the mountains and they were broke long before we got up to the summit. George Goldsby and Wes Goldsby have gone on towards Mt. Hood, but I think they will not attempt to climb it as they say here it is a difficult thing to do. Fred Goldsby and Henry Overman have just returned to camp; they have been out on a hunt but did not see anything. Mosquitoes just a-swarming around tonight and act as though they hadn't had anything to eat since the first emigrants crossed over this way. One year ago today we were camped on the Snake River and started from there in the morning and put in a dry Fourth. Today we are still on our journey, and camped on the highest mountain on this coast, and have seen enough to never regret having passed one Fourth crossing the Cascade Mountains. Saw a great many things growing here, among which was strawberries, raspberries, huckleberries, clover and a great many kinds of flowers. The boys have just returned from Mt. Hood; they went up until they struck the snow and went about one half mile on that. They could see away off into the valley, and could see a great many different peaks. One of them brought in some snowballs in his pockets. They saw some cougar tracks in the snow.
Tuesday, July 5:
Started in the morning and came on down the Mountain through heavy timber. Came up several hills and then down for some ways through timber which had been killed by fire, and then all of a sudden to the Toll Gate. Toll here - 4-horse team, $2.25, 2-horse team, $2.00, loose horses l2½¢ per head. Had a small store here for the accommodation of emigrants. Came on down the mountain over a rough stony road, the timber small and scrubby and came down into a little glade, where we found some grass, and camped for dinner. Here we found the red-and-white clover, dandelion, dewberries, strawberries all growing. Came on after dinner over a very good road most of the way. Traveled on about 5 miles and found good grass and a good place to camp. We concluded to stop here tonight. We are camped tonight in a little glade with the prettiest kind of trees all around us. As it looked like rain, we pitched our tent and have the bottom carpeted with fir boughs to sleep on. We have not seen much game in crossing the mountains but begin to see more as we get lower down. There is a ranch ½ mile below here; 4 of us went down and found a large family - lots of big girls and all the way down to a clothespin. They said they were going to have a dance 7 miles below here on the road tomorrow, and invited all hands and the cook to attend. Said they would not get there until late, as they had to go with an ox team. It put me in mind of the song:
"When I was young, and went to a ball,
I went with a team or no team at all."
Told them we had 4 fiddlers in our outfit and that seemed to please them very much, as they had nothing but scrub fiddlers to play for them. Crossed a creek where one log made the bridge; it laid lengthwise and was a very large one, and laid up on rocks so they filled out to it from both sides and hewed off the top.
Wednesday, July 6:
Raining this morning. Started from camp and soon came to the ranch. The man told us that as we passed along the road we would see a raven he had killed and stuck him up on a stump, and when we came there, if we could go into the woods close by, we would find a deer he had killed hanging on a tree. We found the deer, but the animals had eat him almost up. Came over a very rough road and struck 2 very steep, rough hills. After we left the summit we struck on to Salmon Creek and came down it till we came into Sand Creek, and are now down it. We have passed some big timber today - some of the trees 7 to 8 feet in diameter. Came past the schoolhouse, where they were having the picnic and dance. There was quite a crowd collected and some were playing croquet and some were just coming in. The ox team from the ranch where we camped last night caught up with us, just as we got to the schoolhouse, with a load of girls and boys. Came on until sometime after noon and camped for dinner at a ranch and got the horses in a pasture for 2½ ¢ per head. Saw hazel bushes from 12 to 15 feet high. Traveled after dinner about 14 miles and camped on a small creek near two stores. We found a place under some big fir trees, where they had a picnic, which sheltered us from the rain, and it rained hard during the night, but under the trees it was dry.
Thursday, July 7:
Started from camp in the rain and pulled up a long, steep hill and found a store on top. Came on and goon struck a sandy ridge and found the road better. Came through a very heavy timbered country where large trees had turned up by the roots across the road and they had cut through them wide enough for a wagon to pass - some of them laying up so we had to drive under them. In one place was a large hollow fir which had been sawed off so that a wagon could pass and was up from the ground about 5 feet. When we came along one of the boys was sitting inside the log out of the rain, as comfortable as you please, and holding the horse by the bridle. Struck into lighter timber with farms every short distance. Saw wheat, corn, beans and peas, and several kinds of garden truck growing. Came on a few miles and camped for dinner at a ranch and got the horses in a pasture for 50¢ for 19 head. It has cleared off and is pleasant again. It did not rain all the time, only in showers. Rolled out after dinner and came through where it had been heavy timber, but the trees are all blown down and are laying on the ground in every direction with their roots all turned up. Some of the roots are as high as our trees in Nebraska. The road this afternoon was most of the way corduroy. We have been passing farms every short distance and the country as far as we can see is dotted with fields and houses. They have some nice homes and farms here and we saw some good schoolhouses. Traveled on till near sundown and camped on a small creek near several farm houses. We could get no pasture for the land, and will go through town tomorrow. I like the looks of this part of the country very well, though people here tell us that this is not the best part of the valley - that there are other parts of the valley far ahead of this. Wanted to see how the people along the road looked, so the boys would strike up some lively tune on the fiddles as they were passing a house, which would bring the whole family to the door – big girls, little ones and all. We have lots of fiddlers in our crowd and never fail to bring them out to listen to the music. A young man came to our camp last night and brought a banjo and fiddle with him. Had some good music and some singing. He came from Springfield, Illinois, and is out here on a visit. Also, another man came to camp; he came from Kansas and has been here but a short time.
Friday, July 8:
Started in season and came through a section of country where we saw all kinds of fruit growing. They were raising it for the market. Saw large fields of strawberries and large patches of blackberries, and all kinds of small fruit and all kinds of garden vegetables. They employ Chinese labor here, and there is a great many Chinamen here. Came to East Portland and crossed the Willamette River in a steam ferry: toll - 40¢ for 2-horse teams. Portland is a place containing from 25 to 28,000 people and is a lively place. It is situated on the Willamette River, 15 miles from its mouth. Saw a great many ships and steamers laying in port - some coming in and some heading out. Did not stop in town but a short time, but pulled through and came up a long hill into the burnt timber again. There was farms all along the road. We took the Hills-borough Road and came a few miles over a rough road and camped by the roadside and bought hay for the horses, as we could get no pasture. Don't think we are on the right road.
Saturday, July 9:
Found we were on the wrong road. We inquired in Portland for Middletown, but no one seemed to know where the place was. We found out last night that the place goes by the name of Stringtown, and so this morning we pulled off across the country over a very rough road into the Taylor Ferry Road, and traveled on until night, when we came to Stringtown and found the place had been rightly named. Here we found a whole neighborhood of our old neighbors who used to live in Nebraska and stopped to rest over Sunday with Mr. Richardson. Found them all doing well and satisfied with the country. Were taken into a room where we were shown some bones of a mastodon, which were drug out of a canal near this place. The horn was between 6 and 7 feet long, about 6 inches in diameter at the big end, and a tooth of the same animal weighed four pounds.
Saw other bones of the animal, which were found in the same place; also an image carved out of hard, solid stone, which resembled a monkey and was done in a workmanlike manner. Some one done the job that understood the business and (it) must have been laying there for many years.
Monday, July 11:
Concluded to go up further in the valley and work through haying and harvest, and then start for the Sound. So today we started and came up into a place where we were told there was plenty of work to be done and camped tonight in good farming country where there is large fields of grass and grain, next the side of the road near a farmhouse.
Tuesday, July 12:
Laying over today, looking around. Some of the boys went to work. The folks in the house sent us down some nice apples, raised last year, and had been kept all winter in an open shed, and told us to go into the orchard and get all we wanted and into the garden and get all the currants we needed. Some went out into the country to find pasture and a house to move into and came back at night. Had found a house and pasture, and will go on tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 13:
Started in the afternoon and came to Amity, about 4 miles, and then 2 miles out of town to the house, where we arrived tonight, and took possession. First night in a house since April 16. Found a good house and everything handy, with a nice orchard on the place. Worked through haying and harvest; liked the Willamette Valley place very well, but wanted to see the Sound country, so on the 7th day of September we started on the journey. It rained all day, but we made Stringtown and camped at the Richardsons, where we found several old neighbors from Nebraska. Stopped over one day, Sunday, and the next night we arrived at Portland. Took the boat next morning and went down what is called the Willamette Slough and into the Columbia River - down the Columbia and up the Cowlitz River and landed at (illegible) 5 miles from the mouth. Went through town and camped on the mountain side. While here, one of the boys bought some fish of an Indian boy for 75¢. He soon came back and wanted his fish, and gave the money back. The father found it out and to punish him made him strip off and go swimming. It was raining and cold - just the time anyone would hate to go into the water. The old Indian gave us some fish and said he did not allow his boys to do that way. Came on in the morning and found we had to cross the mountains and did not make a long drive, and camped near the foot. The next day we pulled over the mountains, which was 8 miles across, and camped some ways on the other side. These mountains are very steep and the road was very rough. It was raining most of the time and the roads very muddy, so we could not travel very fast. Struck the N.P. Railroad, which we followed for many miles, passing small towns every short distance, now passing through heavy timber and now and then passing a small, gravelly prairie, over hills and all kinds of ground, until we reached Centralia. Here we left the R.R. and came across a small prairie, and all the rest of the way to Olympia was gravel and sand and more open country. We arrived at Tumwater, which is only l mile from Olympia, on the 27th of September, 1881, rented a house in town and moved in and went to work. It rained on us nearly all the time, and we did not have a very pleasant trip.
Wintered in Tumwater and in the spring moved to Olympia. Went to Tacoma and then to Puyallup, and went to work on a hop ranch for Ezra Meeker. He had 15 acres of hops. Worked about 2 months and then went to Seattle and went to work on a (illegible) at $40 per month. Came back to Olympia and went to work for Jacob Croll on the Black River, haying. Worked there a month and came back to Olympia to prepare for our trip back to Grand Ronde Valley. Left Olympia August 21, 1882 in the afternoon; camped near Tumwater on Bush Prairie.
August 25, 1882:
Crossed the Pomfrey Mountains August 28 - left Freeport on the steamer and arrived in Portland the same day. September 1 - camped at Governor camp at the foot of Mt. Hood. Wes, Frank and Henry Goldsby and myself went up the mountain past the timber line and struck the snow. Went on until late in the afternoon. About two miles on the snow we found grasshoppers bedded in the snow. Went on until late in the afternoon and it began to be very cold, so we came down again and got to camp about dark.
September 3: Camped at Barlow's Gate.
September 4 - Camped at Tygh Valley.
September 5 - Crossed the Deschutes River on a toll bridge and camped at a spring. September 6 - Camped at the John Day River.
September 7 - Camped at Mud Springs.
September 8 - Camped at Willow Creek.
September 9 - Camped about noon at The Wells.
September 10 - Camped at Echo on the Umatilla River.
September 11 - Camped on the river 12 miles below Pendleton.
September 12 - Camped at Pendleton.
September 13 - Camped on the Umatilla River near the bridge at Thomas and Ruckle Road.
September 14 - Camped on river about 10 miles of the summit of the Blue Mountains. September 15 - Camped at Frank Childs' in Grand Ronde Valley.
Moving into a house in the timber and going to make rails and sawing wood, and stopped there till July 25, 1883, and starting for the Rogue River in Jackson County, and camped on top of the grade on Woodard Road. Here we left on the 26th; camped at the Toll Gate. July 27, 1883 - Camped at the Wild Horse Creek. Lost the horses. Stayed there till the 30th. Started about noon and camped on Kiva Creek. July 31 - Camped on Alkali Creek.
October 1: Camped on Butter Creek; 2 - Camped on (illegible) creek, 2 miles from Heppner; 3 - camped in a canyon; 4 - camped near Lone Rock; 5 - camped on a small creek; 6 - camped I mile from (illegible) creek; 7 - forded John Day and camped on a hill at the spring; 8 - camped at Antelope at a sheep ranch; 9 - camped at a ranch; 10 - camped on the edge of the desert. No more water for 25 miles; 12 - at Farewell on the Deschutes River; 13 - on a small farm; 14 - at a sheep ranch; 15 - at Little Meadows. Laid over. 17 at Childers' Ranch. 18 - Sand Creek near Klamath. 20 - Hell's Canyon, Crater Lake. 22 - at the hill near (illegible) River. 23 - at a sheep ranch on the Royne River. 24 - at the ferry on Royne. 25 - on the river on Kingacres Ranch Got the horses in pasture and layed over I week, then went down on Myrtle Creek and back and went to work on the R.R. in October and through December of 1883.