Tales of Pioneers
Wm. Hoffman, a Conscientious Public Officer and Citizen
Who Helped Make History in the Early Days of Southern Oregon.
Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Hoffman and family, among the first and most highly respected pioneers of Southern Oregon, arrived in Jacksonville in the fall of 1853, after an arduous six-month trip across the plains by ox team. In these days of high-powered cars a chauffeur considers 200 miles a day a mere bagatelle, but the men and women who followed the star of empire westward in the '40s and '50s were well satisfied when their battered "schooners" covered a tenth part of that distance in the same time.
Mr. Hoffman and family arrived in the valley in troublous times. They were just getting nicely established on a donation land claim known as the "White House," about four miles from Jacksonville, which Mr. Hoffman had taken up, when the Indian War of 1855 broke out. In response to a night alarm the family hurried to an improvised fort, located somewhere between the Gore and VanDyke places, where, with a number of other families, they remained six months, at times in hourly expectation of an attack by the Indians. At the close of the war the family removed to Jacksonville, where they resided for many years. Following is a brief biographical sketch of Wm. Hoffman, compiled and published in the Table Rock Sentinel in 1872:
"Mr. Hoffman was born in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, September 7, 1801, and resided at different points in the state of Maryland until he attained his majority, when he became connected with a packing establishment in Cincinnati, from where he returned to Baltimore and engaged in the grocery business. Subsequently moving to the western part of Maryland, he became interested with his brother in general merchandising at Uniontown, and afterwards in the same business at Boonesborough, remaining there several years and then pushing west in 1835 to Attica, Indiana. In 1836 he was married to Miss Caroline B. Shafer of Boonesborough. Mr. Hoffman was elected recorder of Fountain County, Indiana, in 1840 and retained the position until 1853. In that year he crossed the plains with his family, coming direct to Rogue River Valley by the route leading through Modoc County. Arriving here in the fall of '53, Mr. Hoffman took a donation claim four miles east of Jacksonville, his place being known as the 'White House,' improving and tilling his farm until 1855, when he was elected auditor of Jackson County under the territorial laws. In June 1858, after the adoption of the state constitution and pending the act of Congress admitting Oregon into the Union, the state election was held, and at that time Mr. Hoffman was elected county clerk of Jackson County. He was re-elected in 1860, '62 and '64, and in 1866 was defeated by his opponent, W. H. S. Hyde. This position held so long by Mr. Hoffman was filled by remarkable ability and correctness and enabled him to become familiar with land matters in Jackson County. Repeatedly declining a nomination from his party, Mr. Hoffman retired from public life, and in 1861 went into the hardware business in Jacksonville with Henry Klippel, the co-partnership expiring by limitation in 1873. After that date and almost until the time of his death in 1885, Mr. Hoffman was occupied as Notary Public and land agent. He was a steadfast member of the Presbyterian Church and, since the war of the rebellion, had been a Republican. Among the pioneers of this county his name for integrity was for many years a 'household word.'"
That Mrs. Hoffman shared with her husband the respect and admiration of many friends is shown in the following extract from a tribute published in 1900, the year in which she died.
"It is perhaps safe to say that Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Hoffman did as much, possibly more, than any other two persons in Southern Oregon in bringing order out of chaos, molding and refining society and planting Christianity on a solid and enduring basis among the people of the valley. Mrs. Hoffman came to Jacksonville at a time when hardship and privation were the common lot of all, and it was through the trying period from '53 to '55 that her self-denial and devotion to duty marked her as a woman of sterling character and capable of any sacrifice. The world is better for the love of such as 'Grandma' Hoffman; and those who follow in her footsteps will live in the hearts of the good and be called 'blessed' among men."
Jacksonville Post, July 10, 1920, page 1
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To Millers & Farmers.
THE subscriber having established himself in the FLOUR BUSINESS, at Boonsborough, Md., will at all times pay the fair market price for FLOUR, delivered at Boonsborough or Frederick, at the option of the seller.
WM. HOFFMAN.Boonsboro, November 1.
WANTED.The Mail, Hagerstown, Maryland, November 15, 1833, page 3
FLAXSEED and CLOVERSEED.
FOR THE WABASH COURIER.
OPERATION FOR STRABISMUS,
Or squinting, commonly called cross eyes.
This delicate operation was performed in our presence, a few days since, by DR. JOHN EVANS, of our town, upon the eye of MR. WM. HOFFMAN, with the most "satisfactory result"--the whole operation did not exceed a minute, and gave but little pain. DR. EVANS, we believe, is the first to have performed this operation northwest of Louisville, Ky., where Prof. Gross has been performing the same operation for some months past.
Those laboring under this unpleasant deformity which was thought to be irremediable, may now, with little pain or hazard, have their vision made perfect.
It is but a few days until the patient can again pursue the ordinary avocations of life, and no trace of the operation will remain.
SAMUEL COLEMAN,Attica, May 28, 1841
D. K. HAYS.
Wabash Courier, Terre Haute, Indiana, June 5, 1841, page 2
SONS OF TEMPERANCE.
Fountain Division No. 25 located at Covington, Ind. was instituted by Bro. Berry a few days since. The following is a list of the officers, to wit:--
Dr. M. H. Spining, W.P.Indiana American, Brookville, Indiana, September 18, 1846, page 2
David Brier, W.A.
Wm. Hoffman, R.S.
Dr. N. Spining, A.R.S.
George S. Shanking, F.S.
T. S. Walker, T.
Rev. Saul Reed, C.
J. J. Henderson, A.C.
Samuel S. Brier, I.S.
S. H. Williams, O.S.
The steamship Hibernia sailed from New York to Liverpool on the 29th with nineteen passengers, among whom were noticed the names of E. Christ, Esq., bearer of dispatches for France, and Wm. Hoffman, Esq., bearer of dispatches for Switzerland.
Daily Banner, Madison, Indiana, October 8, 1849, page 2
The Board of County Commissioners at their March session appointed the following individuals as Trustees of the County Seminary, to wit: Wm. Foster, Albert Henderson, Wm. Lamb, Joseph Ristine, David Brier and Wm. Hoffman.
"County Seminary," The People's Friend, Covington, Indiana, April 20, 1850, page 6
S t r a y e d
FROM the subscriber, living in Attica, Logan township, Fountain Co., Ia., on or about the 18th inst., two bay colts--a 3-year-old mare colt, star in the forehead and roman nose; and a yearling horse colt, both hind feet white, and a small star in his forehead; no other mark recollected. Any persons taking up said colts, and giving information to Wm. Hoffman, Covington, or the undersigned in Attica, will be liberally rewarded.
JACOB V. HOFFMAN.April 29, 1850.
The People's Friend, Covington, Indiana, May 11, 1850, page 7
For the People's Friend.
Letter from Liberia.
MR. TURMAN: I have just received the annexed letter from Mr. W. W. Findlay, formerly of our town. Findlay and Fry with their families left here in February last for Liberia, via New Orleans. It will be gratifying to their friends and patrons to hear of their safe arrival in Africa, and that they are all well pleased with their new homes. Findlay is extensively known along the Wabash, and his testimony in favor of Liberia as the future home of the colored free man and his family will exert an extensive influence.
WM. HOFFMAN,The People's Friend, Covington, Indiana, July 6, 1850, page 6
Sec. Fountain Co. Col. Society.
GOING TO OREGON!
HAVING determined to emigrate to Oregon, it becomes necessary to arrange my affairs at an early day.
All persons indebted to me for recording or otherwise are earnestly requested to make payment without delay, and thereby save cost.
The house and lot now occupied by me will be sold at a large sacrifice--the premises are eligibly situated (being quite near the public square) and embrace many conveniences for a family. For further particulars, apply to--
WM. HOFFMAN.Covington, August 27th 1852.
The People's Friend, Covington, Indiana, October 23, 1852, page 4
MR. WM. HOFFMAN, the present worthy and efficient Recorder of Fountain County, is making arrangements to start about the middle of March, with his family, for Oregon. To St. Joseph he goes by water--thence overland.
The Recordership he vacates will be filled by appointment of the Governor. Several gentlemen are feeling for it.
The People's Friend, Covington, Indiana, February 26, 1853, page 2
Of Household and Kitchen Furniture.
THE subscriber will sell without reserve, on SATURDAY THE 5TH DAY OF MARCH, a variety of household and kitchen furniture--consisting in part of Dining and Breakfast Tables, Bureaus, Work Stands, Book Case, Lounge, Settee, Windsor Chairs, Rocking Chairs, Beds and Bedsteads, a first-rate Russia hair Mattress and Bolster, Looking Glasses, 1 Yankee Clock and 1 fancy mantle timepiece, Carpeting, Rug, Brass Andirons, Stoves, Cooking Stove, one large Washing Machine with apparatus for wringing, well adapted for bedclothing, Cupboardware and many other articles too numerous to particularize.
-- ALSO --The People's Friend, Covington, Indiana, February 26, 1853, page 3
2 first-rate Milch Cows, famous both as to quality and quantity of milk.
-- ALSO --100 volumes miscellaneous Books, Maps &c.
Sale to commence at 10 o'clock a.m., precisely.
T E R M S .Six months credit will be given on all sums over three dollars (excepting for the cows, which will be sold for cash), the purchaser giving note with approved security, waiving the benefit of valuation laws. Sums of three dollars and under, cash in hand.
WM. HOFFMAN.Covington, Feb. 22nd, 1852.
To all whom it may concern.
THE subscriber expects to leave for Oregon, about the first of March, and for the last time he earnestly calls upon all persons indebted to him to make immediate payment. Those owing for Recorder's fees are reminded that before resigning the office of Recorder, fee bills will be issued on all unpaid fees without respect of persons.
WM. HOFFMAN.Covington, Jan. 20th 1853.
The People's Friend, Covington, Indiana, March 5, 1853, page 3
April 13th 1853--Left Covington at 2 o'clk P.M. The parting of our children with their juvenile friends was exceeding touching. Many tears were shed. We arrived at Danville to tea. Called on Bro. Kingsbury and spent the night with his family. Attended the Prayer Meeting. Our company was commended to the Prayer of the brethren by Bro. K.
14th--Cold with skiff of snow. Left our Danville friends at 8 o'clk & proceeded 16 miles to feed. Arrived at Urbana to tea & remained till morning. Met with several old acquaintances. Severe Hail storm & rain at this place.
15th--Left Urbana at 8 o'clk and proceed till 2 o'clk to feed. Found ourselves out of our way 12 miles on the Bloomington road. Continued our journey on another route & spent the night with a friend's family near Marion. Cold and cloudy all day.
16th--Left at 5 o'clk and arrived at Clinton at 8 o'clk to Breakfast. Proceeded to Pulaski 20 miles. This town is the County seat of Logan County and is situated on a tremendous mound of great elevation in the midst of a Prairie. Presents a handsome appearance. We pursued our journey to Buffalo Hart grove to spend the night. Arrived at dusk and found three different houses to which we applied for entertainment. Unable to accommodate us. At the end of the grove we happily found a kind family named Lawson, with whom we remained until morning.
17th--Thought best to go on to Springfield in order that we might have the privilege of preaching in the after part of the day. Arrived about 12 o'clk & put up at the City Hotel where we are comfortably quartered. Attended preaching at 2nd Presbt. church in the evening.
18th--Left Springfield at 8½ o'clk for Rail Road for Alton, passing
Apl. 21st--Last night about 8 o'clk a fire broke out near the River which consumed a Liquor store & its contents. The adjoining building was also burnt excepting the Lower story. We are now busily engaged in making our preparations for our Journey across the Plains.
Apl. 23rd--This morning, Betsy, Mary, Julia and Florence went out to St. Charles in an Omnibus, a distance of twenty miles to see our friends John Orricks & family. We are still busily employed making arrangements for our Journey over the Plains.
Sunday, April 24th--Today I had the pleasure of keeping the Sabbath holy--in the morning I heard Dr. Rice, recently of Cincinnati, who has received and accepted a call from the 2nd Presb. church in this place. He arrived here last week & preached his introductory sermon from "Now we are ambassadors for Christ &c." At 4 o'clk P.M. I attended a Prayer meeting at the same church. In the evening I heard Doct. Anderson on the divinity of the Holy Ghost. The sermons I heard today were both excellent--both Preachers have a high reputation and are deservedly popular. "How sweet a sabbath thus to spend."
Sunday May 1st 1853--The past Week has been one of toil, anxiety and disappointment, the result of untoward circumstances unforeseen and beyond my control. This day is ushered in great beauty on account of the balmy state of the atmosphere.
Monday 2nd--After the loss of sleep for a number of nights, I enjoyed the rest of the sabbath with delight. I attended the preaching of Rev. Dr. Rice at 10½ o'clk. His subject was Justification by faith from Romans 3:28. "Therefore we concluded a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law." The sermon was decidedly able, exhibiting this canonical doctrine in a distinct and lucid manner. I was greatly blessed in listening to the truths of God's holy word and especially in the reception of the members of the broken body & shed blood of the Glorious Redeemer of men.
May 2nd 1853--I hope to close up matters here today so as to leave for Weston tonight. Our freight has already been shipped on the Martha Jewett in care of John & Payson. Much doubt hangs over our future movements. I commit all to the disposal of my Father in heaven.
Friday May 6th 1853--Left St. Louis on Monday Evening on board steamer Bluff City. Stopped at St. Charles and took on the family who has been spending the week previous with the family of John Orrick, he himself being in St. Louis and with whom I spent many pleasant hours. We had not met before for 18 years. Our Boat moves very slowly and from present indications we shall not reach Weston before next Tuesday. We have met so many detentions & mishaps as very much to discourage us in our undertaking but hope that all will be for the best. The Missouri River is high and the current strong. We have had rain more or less every day since we left St. Louis. All the principal rivers are full.
Saturday May 7th 1853--This morning about 3 o'clock we were alarmed by a noise of distress, produced by the sudden illness of the Captain's wife, whose delicate situation & being near the time of her delivery and having spasms, caused much sympathy among the passengers. Two Physicians were in requisition & the Boat returned to Glasgow 8 miles to leave the patient. The Physicians entertain but slight hope that she will live through the severe ordeal.
Monday May 9th 1853--We reached Lexington last night at which place a dispatch was recd. announcing the death of the Lady of the Capt. of this Boat. She died
Yesterday we held a Prayer Meeting in the Ladies' cabin and spent an hour very profitably. A Mormon preacher was aboard but did not hold forth. The weather is decidedly cold this morning, so much so as to be very uncomfortable indeed. The passengers, of whom there are a large number, enjoy generally [good] health, for which we feel thankful to our heavenly Father.
Tuesday May 10th 1853--The nights have been very cool, so much so as to render overcoats comfortable. We passed the mouth of the Kansas River this morning & if no unusual delay, we shall reach Weston this evening. As soon as we can purchase stock & complete our outfit, we purpose starting on our Journey across the plains. The season is backward and although numbers have gone forward, we still hope to be in good time to make our journey to the land of our destination.
Sunday May 15th 1853--On our arrival at Weston we hired a vacant house, and had our baggage & wagons & carriages removed there to perfect our arrangements. Today I attended, in the morning, the N.T. Presb. Sunday School, which I found to be large & flourishing, numbering over one hundred scholars. I was requested to address the children & teachers, which I did. At ¼ to 11 a part of our company attended divine worship at said church under charge of the Rev. Mr. Starr, who preached an excellent sermon, plain & practical, from the text "Rejoice evermore." In the afternoon I started to visit the Methodist Sunday School, but when I arrived at the church I found the school closed. I then visited the German School of the Methodist Church. I found a number of American children attending to learn to read German. The school was in much disorder. Returning homewards, I stopped at the Methodist Meeting house, where the colored people were assembling for worship, and heard two of their ministers holding forth from the text "If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" There was but little connection in the discourses, being almost entirely hortatory--and as neither preacher used Bible or
May 21st 1853 Saturday noon--Bank of the Missouri at Weston Ferry--waiting to cross over a part of our stock & wagons being already over. We hope to get all over so as to proceed a short distance & encamp for the night. The past week has been spent in purchasing Cattle, Horses & articles necessary for the journey and after a long and tedious delay, we are on the eve of our departure for the far west. After much delay proceeded to Fort Leavenworth and encamped. Here we found a beautiful stand of blue grass and clover on which our stock fed voraciously. Were up nearly all night, arranging matters. One of our young men broke a wagon tongue by running his wagon against a high stump. A thunder storm with rain came on during the night.
Sunday May 22--We are under the necessity of laying by for the purpose of getting a new wagon tongue and equalizing our loading. This is very unpleasant to me, being so different from my accustomed manner of spending the sabbath. I hope for better times yet. I had to expose myself to the rain, and being so much fatigued, brought on a severe chill & fever.
Monday May 23rd--Yesterday we proceeded yesterday to Salt Creek, five miles and encamped, found good grass, water & fuel. Another emigrating party had preceded us & were already encamped at the same place, the party consists of 7 teams with 30 men. They are going to California.
Tuesday May 24th--We traveled yesterday about 16 miles or 18 miles, stopping an hour at noon to lunch & let the cattle graze, the California train kept us company until evening when they passed us to an encampment two miles ahead. We made our encampment in the Prairie after several fruitless efforts to find water--we finally succeeded in getting to a running stream sufficient for our purposes. We set our watch at 10 o'clk in regular turns of two hours, two persons at each turn. This day brings us fully on the universal Plains--boundless indeed they are and magnificent in their beauty, being now studded with brilliant flowers. We find the grass well up and the cattle have an abundant supply.
Wednesday May 25th 1853--Journeyed yesterday 18½ miles to the 1st Branch of Grasshopper and found a very bad crossing having to double team our wagons. The grass & water abundant. The California train did not cross over and encamped on the Banks of the stream.
Thursday May 26th 1853--Traveled yesterday about 16 miles and encamped in the open Prairie, finding no water for our cattle; the cattle had fully supplied themselves at Grasshopper five miles back, so that they did not suffer for the want of water. We took the precaution to lay in a supply of Wood for supper & Breakfast. It rained
Friday May 27th 1853--Started early yesterday and arrived at a branch or creek called Nemeha; it is bridged with poles and is rather rough. We passed safely however. We find we have been mistaken in some of the streams mentioned and have really made better progress than we supposed. The distance traveled yesterday was 18 to 20 miles. Encamped in the open Prairie near a Grove of timber, where we shall perhaps find a running stream. We found plenty of water for all purposes in the Prairie. Yesterday morning I took another chill which lasted nearly all day including the fever it was very severe. Our company still enjoy good health and our young men seem to enjoy fine spirits.
Saturday May 28th 1853--The distance traveled yesterday was about 25 miles which brought us to the Vermillion, a pretty creek where we cross[ed], the whole distance traveled from Fort Leavenworth being about 105 miles. Thus far our journey has been pleasant and prosperous and I still trust in the good Providence of God for the future. An Emigrant Party with but a single wagon encamped with us last night, and being destined for Oregon, desires to keep us company for safety. We are favored with delightful weather, but this is the easy part of our journey. Our cattle fare sumptuously on the Prairie grass which we find very abundant.
Sunday May 29th 1853--We drove about 17 miles yesterday and encamped in the Prairie with plenty of Grass & Water, timber near. We are within about 5 miles of the Big Blue River. Yesterday I had a return of chill & fever, though less severe than previous. I am in hopes I shall get over it soon as I am much prostrated. We contemplate resting a part of today. We were visited with a tremendous thunder storm & rain last night. Our wagon cover resisted its power exceedingly well. It poured down rain in torrents.
Monday May 30th 1853--We traveled yesterday about 8 miles & encamped about 12 o'clk M. This morning we started after Breakfast, expecting to reach the Big Blue River before night, but were disappointed. We traveled today about 16 miles & encamped in a beautiful basin in the Prairie, with water for cattle. Today I missed my chill, for which I feel grateful.
Tuesday May 31st 1853--We started this morning about half past five without breakfasting, having no fuel & water suitable for cooking--after a few miles travel, it commenced raining and continued until we arrived at the Big Blue River about half past ten o'clk--several trains are encamped here. We encamped near the River bottom about noon, not being able to cross the ferry until tomorrow morning. Set our watch for the night & retired. Today adopted a set of rules for the government of the hands in performance of camp labor. A Party of Crow Indians were prowling about our encampment for two past nights, which induced us to double our guard last night; they succeeded in stealing some horses & cattle from another train--a party are in pursuit.
Wednesday June 1st--After breakfast, we passed on to the ferry and found several trains before us, we succeeded, after waiting some time to commence getting our train over about 12 o'clk. It commenced raining long before we got over and a dreadful muddy time we had of it. Blue River is not more than five rods wide but very deep at present and current rapid. The descent & ascent are both steep & bad. We were surprised at finding an old acquaintance here in the person of Benjamin Orrick Esq., formerly of Maryland whom I had not seen for 18 years. He is on his way to California with 9 wagons & 500 head Cattle. We started from Big Blue River at 2 o'clk--and traveled about six miles & encamped in the Prairie for the night. The Prairie Dogs gave notice of their proximity by their peculiar kind of barking.
Thursday June 2nd--Started this morning at half past 5 and drove 6 miles to breakfast & graze our cattle. Have several trains in sight today. The weather has cleared and the roads are drying off; quite cool today. Our travel today is about 16 miles, encamped in the Prairie for the night. Several droves of cattle are in our immediate vicinity, numbering about 1000 head. We commenced unyoking our cattle and omit tying them up for the first time.
Friday June 3rd 1853--Started after breakfast about 7 o'clk and traveled till 12 to lunch & graze. Started again at 1½ o'clk and traveled to Big Sandy, making our travel today about 19 miles. We had a rough broken country to travel over, with some bad hollows & gullies. We stopped about 6 o'clk for the night and rain falling. We have had an abundance of rain since we left the Missouri.
Saturday June 4th 1853--We left this morning at 7 o'clk and had proceeded but a short distance before [we] came to a bad ravine or rather series of ravines to cross. After a considerable delay we succeeded in getting over & soon came to a pretty stream which we all concluded must be the Big Sandy, which we supposed we had crossed yesterday. After proceeding a mile we halted to noon & rest & graze for an hour after which we drove until half past five & encamped for the night in the Prairie. Our travel today did not exceed 15 miles--some of our cattle seem tender footed. We find our teams [at] full light.
Sunday June 5th 1853--Started at Nine o'clk and traveled about 4 miles to Little Sandy Creek, to spend the sabbath. This is a pretty little stream of water. According to my calculations we have now traveled about 223 miles from the Missouri River and thus far Providence has blessed us with general health in our Company & we have been freed from any serious accidents. The Sabbath on the Plains is not such as my heart desires, nevertheless, it has its sacred enjoyments, the more appreciated in the absence of sanctuary privileges. At 6 o'clk P.M. we started for a new camping ground & traveled about 3 miles where we found good grass on the open Prairie, but no water for our cattle.
Monday June 6th 1853--Commenced our Journey this morning about half past 7 and arrived at little Blue at noon--remained two hours and continued our Journey along the River until 5½ o'clk and encamped for the night, having traveled about 20 miles. The day was remarkably pleasant and our cattle traveled well. I tried to catch fish in the River, but could not get so much as a nibble. Several trains in sight today. The country is considerably broken, our road crossing numerous ravines, but being, sandy, we had no difficulty in crossing then.
Tuesday June 7th 1853--We traveled
Wednesday June 8th 1853--Our travel today was 14 or 16 miles, roads very much as yesterday. Our route was along the River, grass rather short compared with what we have had heretofore. At half past 5 o'clk we encamped for the night near the River--tried fishing again, but no success.
Thursday June 9th 1853--We laid by today for the purpose of Washing, Baking and arranging our Wagons. The sun comes out very warm this morning and it promises to be uncomfortably hot. Thermometer stood 100°. We were belated getting ready to change our encampment and the mosquitoes being very numerous rendered our cattle almost frantic. We did not get them quieted until near midnight.
Friday June 10th 1853--We started this morning at 5½ o'clk and encamped for breakfast about nine. Started again at 11 o'clk. Here we leave the little Blue and cross over to the Platte, a distance of 25 miles without wood & but little water. We arrived at 12 Mile Creek about half past three o'clk. The water is quite muddy, not fit even for cattle. Traveled about three miles farther and encamped for the night, having traveled 18 to 20 miles today. A severe storm of wind & Rain came on soon after we encamped. There is almost constant wind on the Plains which modifies the heat, which would otherwise be almost unbearable.
Saturday June 11th 1853--We got an early start this morning for the Platte River and being cool our cattle will travel fast. Our travel today is about 18 miles and encamped on the flat in sight of the timber of the Platte River; we shall not get to the River until we reach Fort Kearny, being some eight miles distant. The day has been pleasant and with the exception that water was not to be had fit for drinking, we got along very comfortably. Another train about a mile back, encamped.
Sunday June 12 1853--Day fair but exceedingly windy. We started at 9 o'clk and arrived opposite Fort Kearny at one o'clk P.M. intending to spend the remainder of the Sabbath near the fort. We were permitted by Capt. Wharton to encamp near the Fort and were supplied with fuel & good water, set our watch and rested for the night. 8 miles.
Monday June 13th 1853--There being a Post Office at the Fort, our Company availed themselves of the opportunity to write letters home. We were surprised to meet Mr. John Hawkins here. He is an officer at this station. Our travel today is about 17 miles to the Platte. The River is quite high--good grass.
Tuesday June 14th 1853--Started this morning at half past Seven and drove until half past twelve to noon & graze our cattle. We found fair grass but no water for our stock. We are within a mile of the River at the nearest point. It is only occasionally that the road touches the River. Two wagons belonging to a Mr. Gray bound for Oregon joined us yesterday, adding to our force three men. Last night we remodeled our guards, so that each individual will have to watch but two hours every other night. Two men herd the cattle morning & evening until the watch is set and are exempt from watch duty.
Wednesday June 15th--Difficulty of procuring fuel &c. delayed our getting off until quarter after eight this morning. Yesterday we traveled 24 miles to crossing of Plum Creek where we encamped for the night. We had the luxury of cool spring water in the creek proceeding from the creek bluff. Set our watch for the night & retired to rest. Traveled today until half past 12 & stopped to graze our cattle & lunch. Set forward again & traveled until Six o'clk & encamped. Our travel today was 18 or 20 miles.
Thursday June 16th 1853--Last evening two Buffalo appeared within two miles of camp, two of our young men set off in pursuit but did not get a shot at them. Game of every description has been very scarce during all our journey thus far. Started on our journey at seven o'clk and stopped at half past 11 to noon & graze, grass not very good. The road runs along the Platte Bottom which appears to be from 5 to 8 miles from bluff to bluff. The River is full & seems to be about 3 miles wide, there are numerous Islands in the River. The scenery is beautiful and contrasts finely with the monotony of the Plains through which we have passed. We had a sight of 4 or 5
Friday June 17th 1853--We got a start this morning at half past Six o'clk and traveled till near 12 to noon at a deep ravine in which we found plenty of clear water, of which our Cattle drank freely, being thirsty from having none since last evening. The River and Bluffs approximated nearer to each other than usual to day. These bluffs are nothing else than sand, presenting a very picturesque appearance, some of them very high and adorned with wild roses, & occasionally some trees. Our travel today is supposed to be 25 miles.
Saturday June 18 1853--Our encampment last night was at a slough, water clear but not very good, grass plenty. We started at half past 7 and traveled till noon, and then put forward until 6 o'clk reaching the vicinity of the south fork where we encamped, having cool spring water & tolerably good grass. After our arrival, through the carelessness of one of our drivers, the tongue of one of our wagons was broken, though in such a manner as to be repaired sufficiently to proceed. We traveled yesterday 18 or 20 miles.
Sunday June 19th 1853--We remained in Camp today to rest and so far as is practicable "Keep the Sabbath." We traveled last week nearly 130 miles.
Monday June 20 1853--We remained in camp until this morning and proceeded to the South fork of the Platte preparatory to fording the River. The water will reach some 2 to 4 inches in the wagon bed so that we will have to change our loading or raise the wagon beds. We engaged a ferry Boat to take over our Provisions & part of the women & children & forded with the wagons without difficulty, It took the entire day to accomplish the work, not being able to get the boat until 7 o'clk P.M. & having our loading to replace in the wagons. A large number of teams, cattle & sheep crossed over today. Here we overtook Doct. Gray & his company, they being detained several days to get their Sheep across. The River here is about ¾ of a mile wide & from 1½ to 4 feet deep, excepting in holes where it is still deeper. The ford is not bad. The current of this fork as well as the main Platte and the big & little Blue Rivers is very rapid which seems strange in a country apparently so level. There is however a continual elevation toward the mountains.
Tuesday June 21st 1853--We hitched up this morning and drove a short distance to find grass for our Cattle & to breakfast & also to reload our wagons. We remained until half past 5 when we started for the north fork of the Platte which we reached in 3½ miles & continued 1½ miles farther & encamped within half a mile of the River--fine grass but no wood.
Wednesday June 22nd--We got off this morning about four o'clk and traveled ten or eleven miles and encamped near the River (North fork) to graze and breakfast. Our cattle appear to [be] some what tender footed owing, no doubt, to fording the south fork so often, by which their hoofs became softened. The road on the North Fork is more gravelly than that on the south fork. Game continues scarce. We resumed our journey at half past two and traveled about 8 miles, making in all 18 or 19 miles today, and encamped for the night within half [a] mile of the River. Grass pretty good. Yesterday the weather was suffocatingly hot. Today it is cold, requiring winter clothing and fire would be pleasant. Two of our company are out hunting. As usual, no game.
Thursday June 23rd--Started this morning at 8 o'clk. The Road took us from the River and led us on to the Bluffs, which we traveled for 15 miles before we struck the River again. The scenery was grand in the extreme, some of the Bluffs being literally covered with yellow flowers--we found no grass nor water for our cattle. We passed to the River Bottom, but spent two or three hours in finding suitable grass and at last did not get as good as we desired. Through the carelessness of one of our hands, one of our horses became near drowning. Two more hunters returned without game. Our travel today is about 17 miles today.
Friday June 24th 1853--We got up this morning about 5 o'clk and traveled two hours to breakfast & procure grass for our cattle, in which they stood in great need. We encamped on the edge of the Bluff near the River where we found good grass. Traveled about 16 miles.
Saturday June 25th 1853--We remained in Camp until 3 o'clk for the purpose of enabling the women to wash & bake. We then traveled until 8 o'clk P.M. before we could encamp. The mosquitoes were exceedingly bad causing our cattle to leave the encampment unperceived, which caused no little excitement & there was a general rush for horses to go in pursuit. The cattle, finding their tormentors everywhere, returned into camp in half an hour. We were compelled to chain up our cattle for the night. The Road traveled this afternoon was exceedingly heavy--traveled about 5 miles.
Sunday June 26th--We started this morning at half past 5 o'clk and traveled about 7 miles over a horribly sandy road to Breakfast, our cattle being in a bad plight for so severe a trial of their strength. Started again at One P.M. and traveled until half past two when we encamped for the balance of the day. We found a creek & Spring near us. The boys caught a mess of fish. We have been unfortunate in being compelled to travel farther on the Sabbath since we have been on the Plains than we either desired or intended. Wishing merely to change our encampments. The weather has been oppressively hot during the day, the nights cool & pleasant. Mosquitoes very numerous & hungry. In our travels for the last week we have been along the north fork of the Platte. The Bluffs along the River are frequently quite high & present a highly picturesque appearance. Many of them are mere sand hills, which others are marl & limestone formation. I saw one on Saturday quite high & overhanging, under which the Swallows had built their mud nests and their number was legion. We are not approaching many of the curiosities of the Route which
Monday June 27th 1853--We got off this morning at half past seven & traveled over a heavy sandy road until 12 o'clk when we stopped to noon near the River. The Wind soon raised to a gale from the west and blew so fiercely that it was deemed impracticable to go forward on account of the clouds of dust & sand. We came about 10 miles at noon. The wind storm continued so severe until night that we were compelled to remain in camp until next morning. Fortunately our cattle had pretty fair grazing in the River bottom.
Tuesday June 28th 1853--Winter clothing feels comfortable this morning, the wind is still quite high and decidedly cold. We got off at 8 o'clk to pursue our journey & traveled until half past 12. Started again at 2 & traveled until 6½ making the day's travel 20 miles. We encamped 1 mile from the River in sight of the Court House Rock & Chimney Rock, both being remarkable formations. The former at the distance of 7 miles looks very much like a huge building. Good grass, no fuel, have a supply we hauled 50 miles.
Wednesday June 29th--Morning very cold, started our train at 7 o'clk and traveled until half past 11 to lunch, after which we continued our journey until we passed the Chimney Rock about a mile and encamped. Mosquitoes plenty. Chimney Rock is greatly exaggerated both as to its appearance & dimensions. It is an uncouth mass of sand rock, with a peak (which is split) and although at a distance presents a rather interesting scene, yet when approached it is altogether unsightly. "Distance lends enchantment to the scene." Our travel today was over excellent roads, crossing Court House Creek, a fine stream--we made 25 miles. In our encampment we have good grass 1 mile from the River.
Thursday June 30th 1853--Got under way this morning from opposite Chimney Rock at at ¼ past seven o'clk and traveled about 3 miles when a heavy Shower came up from the South. It was deemed prudent to unhitch our cattle until the storm had passed over--the showers continued for several hours and as there is said that the necks of the cattle become sore by traveling in the rain, we let them graze until 12 o'clk, when we resumed our Journey. Several of our oxen are lame, without apparent cause. For some time past, we have been hoping to reach Fort Laramie by the 4th of July, but it now seems improbable, which we much regret. We continued our journey until we arrived within two miles of Scott's Bluffs having traveled about 26 or 27 miles over good road. We have no water for our cattle having failed to find a Spring said to be in the vicinity of our encampment. The scenery here is highly picturesque, some of the Bluffs beautiful at a distance. I am decidedly tired with the duties of the day & am on guard for two hours.
Friday July 1st--Last night we had well nigh met with a serious accident in having our family wagon set on fire;
We started this morning at 6½ o'clk--at 10 we arrived at the upper end of the valley of Scotts Bluffs here, the scenery is of unsurpassed loveliness, the valley being surrounded nearly on all sides by very high bluffs displaying all sorts of fantastic shapes & figures, which with the aid of the imagination may be towers & edifices & fortifications. It is worth a great deal of toil to witness so beautiful a picture. We continued our journey until 6 o'clk having traveled about 20 miles. After encamping we were visited by an Indian Chief & his family consisting of himself,
Saturday July 2nd--We commenced our journey today at 4 o'clk A.M. and traveled until 10, when we stopped for breakfast on Buffalo steaks, which we enjoyed very much. Our encampment was near a beautiful creek of clear cool water, grass moderately good. We let our cattle rest & graze until 3 o'clk & then proceeded about 5 miles farther and encamped for the night, making our days Journey about 20 miles. We are on the River bottom, grass not very good. We are about 17 miles from Fort Laramie, which we expect to reach on Monday Morning to spend the 4th July.
Sunday July 3rd 1853--Started this morning at 8½ o'clk and traveled over a barren region over sand bluffs until 2 o'clk before we could procure grass for our cattle. We stopped a short time at a trading establishment, to take in spring Water for drinking & cooking. These trading concerns are kept by White men who have taken Indian women for wives. They usually have several large Buffalo tents and a log house daubed with mud. The articles for sale are flour, Sugar, coffee &c. also moccasins, Buffalo meat &c. There is also a blacksmith shop connected with the establishment. Our encampment last night was on the River bottom at a Prairie dog town. These little animals burrow in the ground, throwing out around their holes small hillocks; these hills are from ten to twenty feet apart and are very numerous, covering many acres of ground. It is said that there are subterranean avenues running from one den to another. There is always one sentinel on watch, who on the least alarm gives warning by a peculiar barking, when all retreat to their dens except the sentinel, who remains at his post until the last moment to secure his safety. In consequence of not finding a sufficiency of grass for our cattle, we were compelled to travel all day, after resting 2 hours from 2 till 4 o'clk. We arrived at Fort Laramie near sunset & receiving permission from Lieut. Garnett, we encamped near the Fort on good grass, set our watch & retired for the night.
Monday July 4th 1853--Contrary to our expectations a week ago, we are at Fort Laramie to celebrate the ever memorable fourth of July. It is true we have no reading of the Declaration nor an Oration, but we have a Picnic of the best our supplies would permit us to have. My thoughts naturally revert to the probable Sabbath School Celebration in Covington, in which it would give me great pleasure to participate. I have not heard of anything like a celebrating the 4th at the Fort. We have now accomplished about one third of our journey quite prosperously & if favored by divine Providence the remainder of [our] journey we may reasonably hope to get through to Oregon in due season, say 1st Octr. We expect to remain here today & tomorrow to recruit our cattle and have some work done, At 12 o'clk M. a national salute was fired from the Fort, which we returned with our small arms.
Tuesday July 5th
Wednesday July 6th--Remained in camp to recruit our cattle and for the purpose of washing, Baking &c. Caught some fine fish in the Laramie River.
Thursday July 7th 1853--Left our encampment near the Fort and proceeded to the Ferry where we forded the River without difficulty and proceeded about 9 miles & encamped on rather poor grass for the night.
Friday July 8th 1853--Started this morning at 4 o'clk and drove 3 or 4 miles to graze and take breakfast, near the River. At 10 o'clk we proceeded on our journey, leaving the Platte bottom & rising into the Bluffs; found a very high & rugged hill to ascend after which the Road proved to be excellent. We passed the warm spring about noon and continued our journey until five o'clk when we arrived at Bitter Cottonwood Creek, where we encamped for the night, having traveled about 23 miles. We found a good camping place plenty of good grass, wood and water.
Saturday July 9th 1853--Commenced our journey this morning at half past seven, expecting to arrive to a good place to noon, but did not find it; about 11 o'clk we saw six Buffaloes on the Bluffs and six of our young men went in pursuit of them. A number of Indians came to our Wagons during the absence of our men, leaving us destitute of sufficient number of firearms. We proceeded however, and about 2 o'clk, four of the men returned. Up to near Eight o'clk the other two have not come in, causing us serious apprehensions for their safety, as Indians were numerous. In consequence of suspicious movements on the part of the Indians, we thought best to tie up our cattle and double our watch tonight. We traveled about 18 miles. Our two young men came into camp before we retired for the night.
Sunday July 10th 1853--This morning we simply removed our encampment about a mile for Breakfast, but the grass not being sufficient for the cattle until tomorrow, we proceeded on our way in hope of getting a better supply & to rest during the remainder of the day. This we accomplished about 2 o'clk in a fine bottom with small running stream. In the evening we changed our encampment onto the high ground and remained until after breakfast.Several of our cattle are tenderfooted. Our travel today is about 10 miles.
Monday July 11th--Traveled today about 15 miles over a very hilly road with sharp gravel, severe on the feet of our cattle. Encamped at a creek 4 miles west of La Boute Creek for the night.
Tuesday July 12th--Traveled today 14 miles to La Prele Creek, a fine stream with fair grass. Did not get off this morning till 11 o'clk having our Cattle to attend to in consequence of tender feet. Our road today is considerably better than yesterday. We passed some curious Bluffs today.
Wednesday July 13--Started this morning at 9¼ o'clk and traveled till one to noon--grass very poor;. The stream we are on is called Fourche Boise River, being nine miles from our encampment of last night. We had to make a temporary tongue to supply the place of one broken. We are now about one third of Journey and a merciful Providence has graciously preserved us up to the present time. Humbly trusting in His continued care over us, we continue our toilsome journey, hoping to see the end thereof in due time. We continued our travel 4 or 5 miles further and encamped for the night in the River (Platte) bottom glad to leave the hills. Our day's travel is consequently 13 or 14 miles.
Thursday July 14th 1853--Traveled today over a good road about 17 miles, being within a mile of Mud Creek. Our encampment is on the River Bottom, excellent grass. We saw several lots of Buffaloes yesterday. Our boys went in pursuit & shot one down. One of the men went up to him to contemplate the beast in his dying agonies, when to the astonishment & chagrin of all, he jumped up & made off--no Buffalo meat for supper! We bought a ham of an Antelope for which we paid one dollar. It was very large; the hunter gave us a large portion of the forequarters. A large Oregon train are on the opposite side of the River, waiting for more company to come up.
Friday July 15th 1853--Started this morning at 8 o'clk and traveled till one to noon. Started again at 3 and traveled on until we came opposite the Bridge across the Platte River, making about 16 miles travel today. We shall cross over
Saturday July 16th--We crossed the Bridge over the Platte River yesterday about 10 o'clk and traveled 10 or 12 miles, taking the River road. The grass is very poor indeed, barely sufficient to sustain our cattle. We encamped about 7 o'clk for the night. Mosquitoes very bad. The Price of toll for crossing the Bridge is $5.00 for 1 Wagon & 5 yoke of Oxen, loose cattle 12½ each. We however got ours taken over for $3.00 & 8½.
Sunday July 17th--Started this morning at 9 o'clk and traveled until one before we could get grass even tolerable. We are opposite the Red Buttes, being very high Bluffs a portion of which is very red. We are in proximity to alkali water. We are encamped for the remainder of the day on the Bank of the River, but expect to leave in the morning for the last time--7 miles.
Monday July 18th--Started this morning at 8 o'clk and traveled till one to noon--poor grass. Started again at 2½ o'clk and traveled to Willow Spring & encamped for the night--poor grass again. Our cattle have fared badly for several days. Some Rain today, the first for some time past. Our travel today about 18 miles.
Tuesday July 19th 1853--We left the Willow Springs at half past 4 o'clk and traveled about 7 miles before finding any grass on which our cattle could feed. We found tolerably good grass over a second bluff from the road. It was a natural basin, between two bluffs, well covered with grass about the size of an 80-acre lot, one half of which was covered with a pond of sweet water & tall grass. We let the Cattle graze several hours & continued our journey. Our entire travel today is about 14 miles. Last evening 3 of our drivers returned to camp, well laden with Buffalo meat which one of them had succeeded in killing. We also had an opportunity of taking some from the carcass of one killed a short time before, notice of which was written on a paper & put on a stick by the Road side--it was yet warm. We have on hand some 200 lbs meat.
Wednesday July 20th--Our encampment last night was on Greasewood Creek, a delightful spot with good grass on which our Cattle feed finely. We started this morning at ¼ before 8 o'clk and traveled to Independence Rock to noon. This is a stupendous mass of Granite Rock lying in the open Plain, the Sweetwater River coming near its southern base. Nearly all of our company, large & small, climbed to the top to view the surrounding country--at 3 o'clk we continued our journey & at 5 o'clk arrived at the Sweetwater Cañon (strangely called "Devil's Gate"). This is one of the most sublime views I have ever had--the rocks of granite tower perpendicular some 400 or 500 feet above the rushing waters, which have made a passage through the mountains at this place. The gorge is barely sufficient at the entrance, but enlarges towards the outlet. A more wild, picturesque & sublime scene I never witnessed. We proceeded at nearly sun setting a mile & a half to the bottom of the Sweetwater, a beautiful spot, to encamp for the night, where our cattle regaled themselves with excellent grass. Our travel today is 16½ miles.
Thursday July 21--We remained in Camp until noon for the purpose of exchanging a lame Ox & Heifer for a yoke of Cows which we effected by giving 50 lbs. Sugar [to] boot. We then proceeded about 10 miles and encamped on the bank of Sweetwater River--good grass and pleasant encampment. We saw a little snow on the distant mountains, where it is said to remain all the year. We are in the vicinity of Alkali Lake. Note--while at Independence Rock, I made search for the grave of Mrs. Elizabeth Campbell, at the urgent request of her Brother, Mr. P. P. Ellis of St. Louis. From the description given me, I doubt not the grave has been washed away by the River as I could not find it.
Friday July 22nd--We traveled today about 11 miles over the heaviest road we have yet had and encamped within 1½ miles of Bitter Cottonwood Creek. In jumping across a Creek I sprained my right ankle severely so as nearly to disable me from walking. It is gratifying to be able to say that the health of our Company continues good.
Saturday July 23--We remained in Camp until 12½ o'clk for the purpose of getting our Horses shod and the extensions of our Wagon Beds braced & do up some other chores. We then proceeded on our journey until we arrived at three fordings of Sweetwater, at the latter of which we encamped for the night, grass tolerably good on the opposite side of the River. Near the encampment we saw a Lake of considerable size--supposed to be Alkali. The scenery about it very fine. We are in the midst of immense Masses of Granite Rock all along the River course. We passed a considerable number of dead Oxen doubtless killed by drinking Alkali water which is very plentiful in all this region. We have to exercise great care & prudence with our stock. Found Red & Black Currants, the former too sweet to be palatable.
Sunday July 24th--Left this morning at 9 o'clk & traveled 6 miles and encamped on the Bank or Bottom of the Sweetwater for the purpose of spending the day. I enjoyed a religious season on a rocky eminence, before the rising of the Sun. A beautiful Lake & green grass plat were in view and the rising Sun all conspired to produce devout feelings. We had a thunder storm after we encamped. The earth appears to be mix[ed] with some kinds of alkaline salts, of which our cattle in some way partook so as to make several of them sick. The scenery around us is still very fine.
Monday July 25th 1853--The morning is cold, though no appearance of frost. Our cattle all seem better of the alkali and we are in hopes no bad consequences may ensue. We started this morning at 7¼ o'clk, expecting to have a long drive today, being desirous of making Pacific Springs by Wednesday night. We traveled till one o'clk to noon but no grass for our cattle. We resumed our journey until 6 o'clk when we reached the River Sweetwater again, having traveled 18 miles over the most desolate Country we have yet seen--roads sandy & heavy. Our cattle seem quite wearied and the supply of grass tonight is rather limited. We are in the Alkali region and many cattle have died in consequence of drinking the water. The weather is cool, sufficiently so for frost. Our altitude must be near 7000 above the ocean.
Tuesday July 26th 53--We started this morning a qr. after 8 o'clk and traveled about six miles to noon, started again at one o'clk and traveled seven miles farther to a point where the road leaves the River and not being able to get to grass & water if we left the River, we concluded to encamp for the night, having traveled 13 miles. We are nearly surrounded by lofty bluffs and the scenery is grand & picturesque.
Wednesday July 27 1853--Started this morning at 7½ o'clk & drove among the Bluffs & spurs of the Wind River Range of the Rocky Mountains until 12½ o'clk to noon in a lovely little valley covered with fresh green grass on which our cattle luxuriated finely. After [having] taken our lunch, we again proceeded on our journey. We have a most glorious sight before us--the Wind River chain of the Rocky Mountains--with abundance of Snow upon them. We continued our journey until evening and encamped on Willow Creek, a beautiful Mountain stream of cold water. Grass rather short, though fresh & green. Tonight we expect to encamp in Oregon Territory, through which we shall have to travel a thousand miles to reach our destination. A merciful Providence has kindly watch[ed] over us. May we be grateful! 18 or 20 miles travel to day.
Thursday July 28th--Beautiful morning--we got off at 8 o'clk and traveled 5 miles to the last Ford of the Sweetwater River being within 10 miles of the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains, thence seven miles and left the Road one mile to the Sweetwater River to graze our cattle. Learning that there was no grass at the Pacific Springs, where we intended to encamp tonight, we concluded to remain at this place, having pretty fair grass. Here we have the most magnificent view of the snow-clad Rocky Mountains which we have yet had. I should delight to make a visit to those far-famed Mountains and get, if I could, to the Snow Region. Our travel today is but 12 miles direct.
Friday July 29th--After yoking our Cattle this morning, we learned that the "Missionary Train" composing [sic] several Ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was withing a few miles of our encampment. We remained stationary, until its arrival, with a view of joining them. The train consists of Nine Wagons with 5 families. The Proprietors have consented to take us in as also Rev. Mr. Gray, who has traveled with us from Fort Kearny. Mr. Ducker, who has also traveled with us for a long time, is desirous of getting into the same train, but the result is as yet unknown. We shall continue encamped on the Sweetwater, until morning. We are within 3 miles of the Pass or summit.
Saturday July 30th--Started this morning at 8 o'clk and traveled in Company with the "Missionary Train" and traveled until 1½ o'clk when we rested a half hour (having no grass for our cattle) to lunch after which we proceeded until 6 o'clk. Having reached Dry Sandy Creek we turned to the right and pursued the Road 5 miles, being informed we should find good grass but were sadly disappointed and our Cattle had nothing but Sage to feed on during the night. At early dawn we yoked our Cattle & tied them up to prevent their wandering away until we could find grass, if to be found. Finally we did find grass 3 miles from our Camp whither our stock was driven.
Sunday July 31st 1853--Having succeeded in procuring feed for our Cattle as stated above, we remained stationary to rest on the Sabbath and enjoy the privilege of hearing a sermon preached by one of the Ministers of the Missionary Train. We are now on the Pacific Side of the Rocky Mountains, with the Wind River Chain fully in view, the perpetual snow Banks glittering in the sunbeams & seeming to be some 10 or 15 miles distant, whilst in reality, the mountains are said to be 40 miles distant. It is reported that a couple of young Men once set off from this point to go to the Mountains to get some snow & to return in a few hours--on they traveled, mile after mile, encamped out at night & returned without the snow, the mountains the meanwhile appearing as far off as ever. Sacrament of the Lord's Supper on the Plains!
The Ministers of the Missionary Train appointed a Communion Season for this day, being the first Sabbath in Oregon. At one o'clk services commenced, Sermon by Rev. Mr. Gray from Matth. 10 32 & 33 vs. "Whosoever confesseth me before men, him will I confess before My Father in heaven--Whosoever denieth me &c. &c. A plain, practical discourse, at the conclusion of which the services of the communion were attended to by Rev. Mr. Royal Senr. assisted by the other Ministers--some twenty or more united in celebrating the dying love of our adorable Redeemer, and much we needed the refreshing influences of divine grace upon our hearts, the better to prepare us to meet the many annoyances and perplexities of this toilsome Journey, so trying to both body & mind & soul. Ardently do I pray that as my day and trial may be, so may God's grace be apportioned unto me. I have much lament & mourn over since I left my peaceful quiet home in Indiana and I have vowed unto the Lord, that if He will bring us all safely to our far-off destination I will endeavor to be more faithful in his service and more exemplary in my Christian deportment than I have been. Oblivion for the Past--Amendment for the Future!
This closes my Journal up to the 1st day of August.
----Powder, Lead, percussion Caps, Spirits Turpentine--1 Gall. to each Black lead & Tar
1 Pint Flaxseed Oil----
2 oz. bee's wax
2 oz. Spirits Turpentine
½ oz. Burgundy pitch
Rope--Pins for lariats--
Ox Shoes--Leather & shoe nails to fasten it--
Camp Kettle, Tea Kettle, Coffee Pot (Tin Chamber Mug), Tin Pan, a small Iron Pot, brass kettle, Tin Basins & Plates, Spoons & Knives & forks, Dutch Oven & Skillet--
Axe, Spade, Lantern--Match Safe--
Medicines--Powell's Tincture--Mustard--1 Syringe--
125 lbs. Flour
100 lbs. Meat
Vinegar, Mustard, pepper
Molasses, Saleratus, Yeast Powders
Dried Beef, Honey
Matches, Candles, Whip lash
----[Written in a different hand] From Green River to Bear River, a distance of 75 miles, the road mountainous and only one or two places where grass is scarce, for the first two or three days after you leave Green River. The 40 mile desert which you strike on the old road, 40 miles before you reach Green River, we avoided and crossed what is called the 17 mile desert, on which we found plenty of grass. To avoid the 40 mile desert, you take the salt Lake road and travel it some 25 miles, and then turn to the right hand. This new route is as direct as the other & lately discovered. From where you take the salt lake road until you arrive at Green River, there is plenty of grass off the Road a short distance.
18 personsSouthern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS 323, part 6
5 wagons & 1 carriage
36 head Oxen & Cows
4 head Horses
Monday August 1st 1853--Resumed our journey at 9 o'clk having driven our cattle seven miles off the direct road to get them grass. We traveled on main road 10 miles to Little Sandy passing the junction of the Salt Lake & Fort Hall Roads. We took the former to travel on it some 20 to 25 miles & then strike north in order to arrive at 49 mile desert. After traveling about 5 miles down the Little Sandy we encamped for the night. Grass poor our actual travel today is about 22 miles, though in a direct line on our journey but about 18 miles.
1 Ox near Antelope Spring
2 yoke on Desert
2 Ox October 6th
2 Yoke October 15th or 16th per day
$1.00 per yoke
6 to 9 Bigler Kennedy
9 - 11 Hoffman & McKinnell
11 - 1 Payson Rand
1 - 3 Van & Howard
Tuesday Aug. 2nd--Our cattle fared better than we had hoped for, our companions in travel could not drive their cattle to grass last night having let them scatter. We left at 10 o'clk and proceeded towards Big Sandy which we reached in 5 or 6 miles and continued on the Main Route 7 miles farther, where we left the road a mile & encamped on the Big Sandy for the night. Our Cattle were driven off from the Creek 1½ miles to get grass. The Road from the South Pass to this point is of superior excellence, being nearly level and quite smooth, differing totally from the Idea I had formed of the Rocky Mountains. The Big Sandy here is approached from high Bluffs on either side and makes it somewhat difficult to reach water.
Wednesday Aug. 3rd--We left this morning at 9 o'clk and traveled until 2 o'clk when we arrived at Big Sandy where we rested an hour to lunch and then proceeded towards Green River about 5 miles and encamped about 1 mile off the Road where we found pretty good bunchgrass but had no water for our Cattle. Our travel today has been exceedingly dusty, the wind being very high. This is indeed a most desolate region--the soil in many places being too sterile to produce even the universal artemisia. Our travel today is about 17 miles.
Thursday Aug. 4th--Our journey commenced today at 8 o'clk and we proceeded towards Green River where we arrived about 1½ o'clk and crossed over at the Ferry for which we had to pay $5.00 per Wagon & Carriage amounting to $30--for 1½ hours work. Our Cattle & Horses we swam a cross the River. One of our hands who
Friday Aug. 5th--Got under way at 6¾ o'clk and traveled until 2 o'clk and watered our cattle at a small branch from 2 to 3 feet deep and from 3 to 4 feet wide. We could not find grass for our cattle although I had traveled some 10 miles over the most desolate region I ever saw. Took a lunch and proceeded until 6 o'clk & encamped for the night--having some grass but no water. In a valley contiguous to our camp, we have some Artemisia 8 feet high & 8 inches through. Our travel today is about 18 miles on the Kinney Cut-Off. We are at a loss to know when we shall get Water again. 18 miles.
Saturday August 6th--Started from our unpleasant encampment this morning at 8¼ o'clk and traveled until half past ten to a spring at the foot of a mountain & watered our Cattle and nooned. Proceeded at 12 o'clk and traveled over several high Mountains & in deep valleys until 6 o'clk when we encamped for the night about 1½ miles from the road at the foot of a Mountain in a beautiful succession of Valleys, covered with fine green grass on which our Cattle fed voraciously, not having had good grass for some time back. Our travel today was but 10 or 12 miles--the ascent and descent of the Mountains being very steep.
Sunday Aug. 7th 1853--We remain in Camp today to rest & keep holy time. Our encampment is in sight of a lofty range of Mountains, one rising above the other, with Masses of Snow towards the top. We are near a Mountain Spring of the purest coldest water imaginable, boiling up from the Earth and passing off in a considerable stream. The Missionary Train did not get up with us and we are out of reach of preaching so far as we know. The wind is strong today & quite cool; Mornings and evenings are sometimes cold & always cool, so that we can confortably use a winter's supply of bed-clothing at night. The middle of the day is rather warm for comfort. At the close of the day the wind was high and cold. Our hands took a ramble to the Mountains & brought a bucket of snow ice which with the addition of Cream & Sugar gave us the luxury of Ice Cream, on the Rocky Mountains. Note--
Monday Aug. 8th--Started about the usual hour and ascended some very high Mountains and crossed some bad sloughs or small creeks, the descent of the Mountains leading to the Valley of Harris Fork of Green River, was the most difficult of any we have had. We arrived at our encampment on the bottom of Harris fork at 6 o'clk where we had pretty good grass. The "Missionary Train" also came up late & encamped a half mile below us. We made but about 12 miles, but found it a hard day's travel for our Cattle.
Tuesday Aug. 9th--We were late getting off this morning about 8 o'clk and traveled until two finding no water. We took a lunch & proceeded until [blank] o'clk & encamped in the Valley
Wednesday Aug. 10th--Let our Cattle graze this morning until 10 o'clk when we proceeded until
Thursday Aug. 11--We started on our journey this morning at half past Seven and proceeded until half past 12 having crossed Thomas Fork of Bear River where we lunched. Continued until 6 o'clk on the summit of a Mountain 2 miles from Brookharts Creek [Clover Creek?] having ascended the mountain without difficulty. Made 18 miles today. On the summit of the Mountain we found some of the tallest bunchgrass I ever saw, on which our cattle fed to their full satisfaction.
Friday Augt. 12th 1953--We started this morning at 7½ o'clk and soon commenced descending the most difficult mountain road we have had; it was not only very steep in places but exceedingly rough, severely trying the strength of our Wagons. We descended safely into Bear River Valley and drove to the River to Water our cattle, after which we continued our journey until one o'clk and nooned. We proceeded onward till 7 o'clk and encamped near a spring branch having an abundance of Bunchgrass which abounds all over this region and is particularly nutritious for cattle. 20 miles today.
Saturday Aug. 13th--After breakfast we started for Indian Creek 3 miles and encamped on Bear River 1½ miles to remain until Monday morning for the purpose of washing and overhauling & cleaning our wagons, which employed us until night. Most of the young men spent a portion of the day in fishing and caught a mess of a kind unknown to me, somewhat resembling suckers, though a better fish. The river also abounds in Salmon Trout, some of which were taken. The day was uncomfortably warm but the nights are generally cold. We are within 20 miles of the famed Soda Springs, which we expect to reach on Monday.
Sunday Aug. 14th--We remain in camp today. We are surrounded with immense qualities of Bunchgrass. Indian Creek quite near; its water delightfully cold & pleasant.
We had hoped that the Missionary Train would have come up to us, that we might have enjoyed the privilege of hearing the Gospel dispensed by some of the Ministers connected with the Train, of whom there are five; We left a Card at the junction of the Roads, to inform them of our whereabouts, but they did not come and we must employ the sacred hours (those at least who are conscientious) in the best manner we can. The Mountains on either side of the River are grand & picturesque in appearance, the River on the western range running close to its base. Here we have the wild flax, bearing a pretty blue flower.
Monday Aug. 15th--About the usual hour we commenced our Journey and traveled until noon to lunch & graze our cattle & proceeded to within a mile of the far-famed Soda or Beer Springs, without being aware of their exact locality. Finding no good water, I attempted to find the Bear River, which I succeeded in doing after traveling over a country of remarkable features. The earth in places being covered with innumerable rocks giving unmistakable evidence of volcanic action. The earth itself appeared exceedingly hard and places sounded as if hollow. I did not reach our train until after dark and being too late to drive to the River, we encamped near the Road without water for our stock. 19 miles.
Tuesday Aug. 16th--This morning we were stirring by daybreak and yoked our cattle to drive to Sugar Creek to water them. We had not proceeded more than two miles when we reached it and after watering, we proceeded back to the Soda Springs & breakfasted. These Springs are numerous, the water breaking out on the top & sides of two mounds, the water is constantly bubbling up, caused by the escaping Gas, some of the water runs over & soon forms a crust of a reddish yellow appearance some of the spring holes formed a small hillock on the top of which is a natural basin filled with Water and through which the Gas escapes. The Springs near Sugar Creek are said to be poisonous, an emigrant having died from the effect of drinking the water freely. There is a noble Soda Spring about a mile from the creek on the Road side and immediately on the Bank of Bear River--the water boils constantly and is said to be pure Soda Water--with Sugar & tartaric acid it made a pleasant drink. About half a mile farther on, a short distance from the Road to the left on the Bank of the River is the famous Steam Boat Spring. The water is in a constant agitation, as much so as can be conceived of, a portion of which runs into the River. I did not recognize the Puffing in imitation of steam escaping from a steam boat as has been represented. No sound but the bubbling of the water was heard. We traveled a short distance, leaving Bear River, which changed its course, and nooned, then proceeded until 6 o'clk & encamped
Wednesday Aug. 17th--Started early this morning and proceeded 8 miles to the Mountain over which we proceeded most of the day. We stopped to noon at Cady's Creek, a fine mountain stream of pure & cold water, proceeded over Mountains & through Ravines & Valleys until 6 o'clk & encamped near a fine stream of Water supposed to be Dennison's Creek, having an abundance of Mountain Trout in it. We were fortunate in finding a good supply of excellent grass for our stock. In descending the Mountains, one of our Oxen overstrained himself so much that the blood gushed from his nostrils & there is danger of losing him. After due deliberation & prayerful seeking for divine direction we concluded to take the Southern route via the Humboldt River & Goose lake to Rogue River Valley, fearing that we were to late to venture on the northern route on account of Snow on the Cascade Mountains. We are now traveling near two other trains, one owned by Owen & Smith, sheep & Cattle and the other by the Missionary Company. 20 miles today.
Thursday Aug. 18th--Started this morning at 7 o'clk and proceeded on our way until we arrived at a swamp 8 miles to noon & proceeded on our way until about 3 o'clk when a terrific storm arrested our progress for a while. The wind was very strong & the rain fell in torrents, it was at the base of a mountain, after the rain had measurably ceased we continued 4 miles farther & encamped near the Mountain on excellent grass, but no water. The sick ox died before we left our encampment in the morning, having ruptured a vessel by excessive holding back in descending a Mountain. Travel today 18 miles.
Friday Aug. 19th--Started at 7½ o'clk and traveled until 1½ o'clk to noon on a creek, proceeded on until 5½ o'clk & encamped for the night. Our travel for a few days has been emphatically in the mountains--the scenery in many instances, being truly magnificent. After the storm yesterday, we had a splendid Rain Bow, spanning the entire heavens and even below the mountain sides. The clouds appeared far below the tops of the Mountains & were altogether exceedingly beautiful. After riding to Spring run I ascertained that no grass could be had near, I returned & stopped the train 2½ miles back where we had excellent grass
Saturday Aug. 20th--Started early this morning and traveled to Spring Run 2 miles, thence over a mountain, through a Kanyon to the summit 9 miles, thence down a miserably steep & rough descent, by hitching some Oxen back of each Wagon,
Sunday Aug. 21st--This is the Lord's day and we are encamped with the Missionary train and another, in hopes of enjoying the privilege of hearing the Gospel preached. About 2 o'clk this morning we drove our cattle to the little mountain stream to water, but our cattle did not fare very well as the little water there was soon became muddied so as to prevent them from drinking freely. Our traveling last week amounted to 100 miles.
We have been fortunate in finding good supplies of grass and our present encampment is surrounded by the finest bunchgrass I ever saw and in great abundance too. At noon some of our hands drove our stock about 3 miles to water. At about 4 o'clk Rev. Mr. Gray preached from 1 Peter 4-18. If the Righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly & the Sinner appear.
Monday Aug. 22nd--Started this morning after early breakfast and traveled until 1 o'clk to noon, rested an hour and proceeded until Six o'clk and encamped in a Kanyon on the Mountain, where we had water from a spring Branch and grass on the Mountain side. Although the Prospect was by no means flattering for the welfare of our cattle, nevertheless they fared very well. We made about 16 miles today.
Tuesday Aug. 23rd--Started this morning at 7 o'clk (we put our time 30 minutes forward) and traveled until 1 o'clk to noon on Sinking Creek 12½ miles--started at half past two and traveled till 5 and encamped near the same Creek, making our travel today 16½ miles. Plenty of grass & Sage.
Wednesday Aug. 24--Our travel today is 18 miles over a good road and encamped on the W. branch of Raft River at the junction of the Fort Hall & California Roads. We had an abundance of Grass
Thursday Aug. 25th--Left the West Branch of Raft River at 7 o'clk and proceeded 10 miles to noon and then onward to Rock Creek 8 miles farther, making a distance of 18 miles for this day's travel over a tolerably good road, crossing several streams of water. We are encamped about 2 miles ahead of the other two trains in whose company we have traveled for some time past. A Comet has appeared in the West for a week past, having a considerably long tail; at times it appears very brilliant.
Friday Aug. 26th--Commenced our travel today at 7 o'clk and proceeded until 11½ o'clk to "Pyramid Circle" about 8 miles to noon having found some excellent bunchgrass for our cattle. The "circle" is a great natural curiosity, being about 5 miles long and 3 miles broad, in which are isolated masses of rock of a great variety of shapes & forms, some like a dome, others pyramidal, some overhanging, covering a considerable space like a canopy; the formation I first supposed to be pure granite, but upon close examination I found a conglomerate, in which was a considerable portion of pure Isinglass the particles did not adhere firmly yet were hard separately. The soil around is good, being overgrown with bunchgrass and Artemisia. We proceeded at 1 o'clk to a small creek 3 miles beyond the junction of the Great Salt Lake road & the California road 9 miles where we encamped for the night near the Missionary & Owen Trains. Several Trains came up on the Salt Lake Road and are encamped within a mile or two of us. Grass fair.
Saturday Aug. 27th--Started this morning at 7 o'clk and traveled nearly 6 miles rising a mountain, the descent of which was exceedingly steep with deep jogs, but not rocky. We continued our journey until 4 o'clk to Goose Creek two miles beyond our encampment making our travel about 17 miles in all, though but 15 miles on our direct route, having to go 2 miles from camp this morning to the main road. We are now on the main California road and find many Trains by way of the Salt Lake. We find the Grass near the Road grazed off, so that we are under the necessity of sending our cattle off 1½ to 2 miles to find good grass for them. Next week we expect to reach the Humboldt River, along which our route leads us until within 80 miles of the sink of that River, where we turn northward towards the Rogue River valley.
Sunday Morning Aug. 28--Today we remain in Camp with Missionary & Owen & Smith Trains and shall again enjoy the privilege of hearing the Gospel preached by some of the Ministers connected with the Missionary Train. Our encampment today is pleasantly situated on the bottom land adjoining Goose Creek, along which we expect to travel some 15 miles farther. At 12 o'clk Rev. Mr. Taylor held service in his large tent & preached a plain practical discourse from Romans 5 ch. 1 & 2 V3--"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God" &c. A number of California Trains with some 1800 head of Cattle passed us today.
Monday Aug. 29th--In consequence of a dense fog this morning, we got a late start and traveled until 12 o'clk to noon on the Banks of Goose Creek. After which we proceeded until half past 4 o'clk and encamped again on Goose Creek, having traveled all day along [it]. Our travel today is but about 14 miles.
Tuesday Aug. 30th--We commenced our journey today at about 7 o'clk and traveled to a creek 8 miles to noon, found no grass. Watered our cattle & continued till evening along a barren region, still finding no grass, although I rode all the afternoon in search of it, encamped at a very large Spring in 1000 Spring Valley for the night. Travel today about 20 miles.
Wednesday Aug. 31st--Took our breakfast before daylight so as to get an early start to get grass for our Cattle, for which they stand in great need, being 24 hours without food--got off by 4 o'clk and proceeded until half past Eight & stopped to graze our cattle, rested 3 hours & proceeded until 5 and encamped near a creek, grass poor. Travel today about 14 miles.
Thursday Sept. 1st--We traveled but 2 or 3 miles & encamped in a long bottom on which there has been the finest grass but is now much grazed off. It was concluded however that our cattle could fill themselves during the day & rest. We are busily engaged overhauling our wagons; the women are baking, washing &c.
Friday Sept. 2nd--We turned our cattle out to grass at daylight and kept them on it about 3 hours and proceeded onward
Saturday Sept. 3rd--Today we traveled about 13 miles to a mountain Spring, where we have pretty good grazing for our cattle and where we intend to spend the Sabbath in company with the Missionary Train & Owen & Smith's train. I have kept [to] my Wagon all day in consequence of indisposition--fever abated and feel better.
Sunday Sept. 4th--Continued in camp today to spend the Sabbath. Rev. Mr. Royal Sen. Preached from Gal. 5 part 22v "The fruit of the Spirit is love." In the afternoon a "speaking meeting" was held; it is very pleasant thus to spend our Sabbaths in this wilderness region. My health nearly restored by the use of Homeopathy Medicines.
Monday Sept. 5th--Traveled today about 15 miles & encamped near a Mountain with quantities of grass all about us & a fine spring of good water "hard by." We stopped at 1½ o'clk to noon, by the Road side with a running stream at hand. We are now approaching the Humboldt River, along which we expect to travel for some distance before we direct our faces towards the Rogue River Valley of Oregon. We find this portion of our journey very trying to our cattle and especially to our Horses, which latter have failed very much in the last two weeks--hence our short drives latterly. A large number of dead cattle are daily met with. Some cases of sickness have recently shown themselves in our train.
Tuesday Sept. 6th--We left this morning at 7½ o'clk and traveled continuously until near 3 o'clk and encamped for the remainder of the day & the night. We suppose ourselves to be 5 or 6 miles only, from the Humboldt River, on which we have to travel some three hundred miles. We have good grass and first-rate water for our stock. Travel today about 15 miles.
Wednesday Sept. 7th--This is the 52nd Anniversary of my birth. I feel grateful to the giver of every good gift for prolonging my life thus far, and sincerely pray that the remaining portion of it, if spared, may be fully consecrated to his service.
Our travel today is about 12 miles and we are encamped early in the day on the bank of the Humboldt, where it is a mere creek. A number of Indians of the Shoshone tribe were in camp--they are nearly naked, the younger ones quite so, and appear to be very poor & shiftless. They are numerous on the Humboldt, & appear to be harmless.
Thursday Sept. 8th--We are now making short drives to recruit our cattle, some of which are lame. Our Horses also have been failing much within the last few weeks. Our drive today is about 12 miles & our camp is again on the Humboldt, grass excellent & abundant. Days warm, nights decidedly cold.
Friday Sept. 9th--We started this morning about 6 o'clk and in a few miles came to the termination of the valley of the River on which we had found so abundant [a] supply of good grass, the mountain hemming in the River so as to afford a very narrow passage. The River after winding through kanyons in the mountains for several miles, again passes through a broad valley covered with excellent grass--where we encamped for the night, having traveled about 14 miles. The River afforded us the luxury of Salmon Trout for supper.
Saturday Sept. 10th--Left this morning at 6 o'clk and traveled until 10 o'clk & stopped to graze our cattle, being uncertain about getting a supply of good grass within reasonable distance so as to stop at noon. The mountains appearing to contract the valley, leaving but little room for grass. We proceeded about 4 miles and encamped for the night. 10 miles.
Sunday Sept. 11th--We remained encamped to spend the Sabbath, having crossed the River last evening to secure a good camp. We have a super abundance of the best quality of grass. At 11 o'clk Rev. T. F. Royal (Missionary) preached from 1st John 5th Chapter and 3rd verse "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments and his commandments are not grievous." It is very pleasant to enjoy the preaching of the Gospel during our toilsome journey, now becoming more & more in irksome from the fact that as we approach its termination, our anxiety to see the end, increases.
Monday Sept. 12th--Left our encampment this morning at 7 o'clk and traveled until 11, eight miles, to noon & rested till 2, then proceeded a short distance and entered a kanyon through the mountains following the River until we arrived in an open Valley 10 miles, making our drive today 18 miles and encamped after dusk on the bank of the River where we found capital grass & plenty of it. Our cattle are considerably wearied from their labors.
The works of God in nature are manifested in this region among other things, in remarkable boiling or hot springs, some of which are very large reservoirs in which the gas is constantly escaping. Some are natural wells of great depth, the temperature of the water nearly boiling point. One I saw was precisely of the character of the far-famed "Soda Springs." It is perhaps owing to these springs that the waters of the Humboldt deteriorate in quality towards the sink of the River, where it is scarcely fit for use. The Scenery of the Mountains today is very picturesque.
Tuesday Sept. 13th--Our drive today was but 5 miles in consequence of the Road leaving the River bottom and passing over Mountains for 17 miles before coming to the River again. We concluded best to let our cattle have the benefit of grass on the bottom as it was feared none could be had on the Mountains.
Wednesday Sept. 14th--Last night a number of the Cattle of the different trains were severely affected with being bloated or swollen to almost suffocation. We had two of ours thus affected for which we administered Powell's Tincture with decided advantage. We commenced our travel at 7 and soon commenced ascending the Mountains and continued until 12 o'clk to noon, but had no grass for cattle. After resting a short time to lunch, we continued our journey until 5 o'clk, having reached the River bottom, up which we proceeded about 2 miles & encamped for the night on a rather scanty supply of Grass. Our travel today was 19 or 20 miles, part of the road being exceedingly rough.
Thursday Sept. 15th--Commenced our travel today at 7 o'clk and proceeded about 8 miles and encamped on the River bottom to noon on good grass & remained until 2 o'clk when we continued our journey until 5 o'clk when we encamped for the night on the River bottom making the day's travel 14 to 15 miles. Met with a Gentleman who had traveled the route we contemplate going over, who furnished us with a guide of the route making the distance yet to travel to the settlements of Rogue River valley upwards of 400 miles--100 of which will be along the Humboldt River.
Friday Sept. 16th--Started this morning about 7 and traveled 7 miles to noon and proceeded until 5 o'clk and encamped for the night on the River bottom, having first-rate grass. We are in the immediate vicinity of the Digger Indians, who are exceedingly prone to steal & will not hesitate to kill a man if they can't plunder otherwise. Our party (about 40 men) is so formidable, that they do not molest us. We sincerely hope we may reach our journey's end without difficulty from them. Our travel today is about 15 or 16 miles.
Saturday Sept. 17th--Our journey commenced this morning at half past six o'clk and we proceeded until Eleven making about 10 miles. Started again at one and continued until 3 o'clk making our travel today about 16 miles. The day is very fine and we have had excellent roads thus far. We have good grass for our stock & a fair camp. About a dozen Digger Indians came into camp this afternoon, having no arms & peaceably departing again. These Indians have committed some outrages besides stealing stock by robbing individuals caught alone, stripping them of all their clothing and other effects. They are a miserable & degraded race of beings, many of them naked and but few of them having clothing enough to cover their bodies.
Sunday Sept. 18th--The sun rose gloriously this morning, dispelling the severe hoar-frost of the last night. As usual we remain in camp today to observe the claims of religion, at least as to those who have respect to the Sabbath. At 12 o'clk Rev. Mr. Taylor preached in his commodious Tent where religious services are usually held, from Job 19th chap. & 25 verse--"For I know that my Redeemer liveth." Mr. Taylor has the talent of expressing his views in a forcible & expressive manner and although he makes no pretension to oratory; his discourses are usually profitable.
Monday Sept. 19th--We started this morning in due time and traveled about 12 miles to noon. Continued our journey until 5 o'clk, making our travel about 17 miles for the day. Last night one of our Oxen died having been alkalied some time back. Another was missing when we yoked up & could not be found, making our loss severe in one night. Our travel for the month ending today is 393 miles.
Tuesday Sept. 20th--Commenced our journey this morning at 6½ o'clk and traveled through a very barren mountain Region (Kanyon) until 1 o'clk making the distance about 14 or 15 miles and encamped on the River Bottom, having good grass & remained during the reminder of the day. We expect to leave the Humboldt on Saturday next, turning northward on Lassen's cut-off toward the Rogue River Valley. Several families in the train are short of Provisions especially of flour. We expect to have a sufficiency to last us through provided we are not detained beyond the 10th to 12th October. Flour is selling at the trading posts at 50 cts. per lb.
Wednesday Sept. 21st--Set off this morning at 6 o'clk and traveled over a barren region with numerous sloughs, one of which detained the Train about an hour. We encamped on the bank of the Humboldt at 1 o'clk, to noon, having traveled about 12 miles. The River appears to be losing its volume of water. Continued our journey at 2½ o'clk and proceeded until 6½ o'clk making the journey 18 to 20 miles. Our Camp tonight is rather poor, having but little grass for our cattle. Traders give us unfavorable accounts of grass on the Lassen cut-off.
Thursday Sept. 22nd--Started this morning at 6 o'clk and traveled until nearly 11 over barren sandy region with but little appearance of grass on the route. Our nooning place is grazed off very much but the cattle need water & rest for a couple hours. Today we met with the first abandonment of any considerable amount of outfit in the shape of sundry large Tin Kettles & boilers, spade, Tub, chair &c. &c. doubtless left by someone whose cattle were failing.
This is the 17th Anniversary of my marriage, during all of which time I have enjoyed uninterrupted happiness with her who has been to me all that a man can desire in the partner of his joys & sorrows. My children have all been spared to me & I feel grateful to the Giver of all good for all his manifold mercies vouchsafed to me in my family relations. At 3 o'clk we continued our journey until near 6 when we encamped for the night on only tolerably good grass on the River bottom, making our drive today but about 12 miles.
Friday Sept. 23rd--We got under way about 7 o'clk and traveled over heavy sandy roads until nearly noon & stopped on the River Bottom, with but little grass for our Cattle, rested a couple hours and proceeded until 5 o'clk and encamped having
Saturday Sept. 24th--Today we remain in Camp with a view of finding grass suitable to cut for hay to last us over the desert which we are compelled to pass in a few days. Having found some patches of coarse grass, all hands and [sic] busily engaged in making hay. The females are busy in their appropriate employments.
Sunday Sept. 25th--In the judgment of a large majority of the heads of families of the Train, it was deemed necessary & proper to travel today. A number of families are nearly out of Provisions & all have barely sufficient to last through. Two families could not reconcile it to their consciences to travel on the sabbath and remained behind. We started at 8 o'clk and traveled about 8 miles to River Bottom where we stopped to noon and water the cattle, finding no grass for our cattle. Rested until 2 o'clk and proceeded until 6 & encamped on Lassen Meadow--drove our cattle across the river where they had fair grazing. Travel about 17 miles.
Monday Sept. 26th--Started at 8½ o'clk and traveled 2 miles to the junction of the California & Rogue River roads & took the latter, glad to leave the swampy Humboldt--which we bade goodbye to at 9½ o'clk turning our faces towards the Antelope Springs, where we arrived at about 4 o'clk and watered our cattle, then proceeded three miles & encamped without water or grass. 15 miles.
Tuesday Sept. 27th--Started this morning after early breakfast (Sun rising) and traveled steadily for 5 hours over a desolate region until 1½ o'clk, when we reached the Rabbithole Springs--these springs are invaluable to the emigrants, furnishing at least an adequate supply of good water for cooking & drinking and also for some stock. After filling water casks, cans &c. and resting our stock about 2 hours, we proceeded on our journey over a perfect desert, of 24 miles drive, until 6 o'clk when we encamped
Wednesday Sept. 28th--Started this morning at 2½ o'clk and traveled on towards the Black Rock Springs, which we reached about 8 o'clk, having traveled about 10 miles, remained until 3 o'clk and proceeded about 3½ miles & encamped for the night. Our journey since we left the Humboldt has been over what is usually termed the "Desert" & such it proved to be indeed (we lost 2 head of Cattle by exhaustion & several others are in a critical condition, so as to render it doubtful whether they can be driven much farther). In this vicinity, there are numerous Hot & Luke-warm Springs of water, some of them of great depth; they smell strongly of Sulphur. The soil near the springs, seems to be improved so as to afford some grass, doubtless owing to the moisture produced by the springs as well as by the warmth of the water.
Thursday September 29th--We remained in camp until 2 o'clk and proceeded until dusk (being separated from the train) and finding a patch of dry grass, we halted for supper. Here we abandoned one of our wagons to favor our teams. Several of our Oxen gave out, three of which were left behind, being unable to travel farther. Our losses have been severe, but we have cause for great thankfulness of the Giver of all our mercies, that our lives have thus far been spared. We hope now, to be our of our difficulties so far as regards the Desert, so much to be dreaded. Our travel today is 10 or 12 miles.
Friday Sept. 30th--We traveled about 4 miles & finding good grass & water in abundance, we encamped to remain until tomorrow, to recruit our wearied animals. Our time is busily employed rearranging our wagons--the women in baking, washing &c. Several families now subsist on fresh meat & coffee.
Saturday Oct. 1--We started this morning at 7 o'clk and soon got into heavy sandy roads, very fatiguing to the Cattle, we had no grass or water until evening; several of our weak cattle gave out, two of them we left on the road, expecting to get them in, in the morning. Our drive today was 12 or 14 miles--a day of toil to man & beast.
Sunday Oct. 2nd--Necessity compels us to travel again today, we got off at 7 o'clk
Monday Oct. 3rd--Started this morning at the usual hour and continued our journey through the Kanyon in which we had encamped last night. The road was generally excellent and our cattle traveled without being much distressed. We traveled until dusk and encamped two miles west of the 12 Mile Kanyon making the whole distance traveled 12 to 14 miles. Two of our weak cattle for which we had sent back could not be found and are consequently a total loss to us. It became necessary for me to drive our loose cattle today--a day of toil to me, so much so, that I was completely exhausted on arriving in camp after dark.
Tuesday Oct. 4th--We did not start today until 2 o'clk, so as to regulate our drive for a 15 mile dry drive day after tomorrow. We have pretty good grass & water. Continued our journey 4 miles and encamped for the night at the end of Little Rock Kanyon, where we found good grass & water.
Wednesday Oct. 5th--Left this morning at 7 o'clk and drive six miles to noon & graze our cattle, having good bunchgrass and water. Two of Owen & Smith's train have gone on to the settlement to procure provisions, their company now & for some time back, subsisting on fresh beef and coffee; several families are compelled to confine themselves to a similar diet. Three of our young men (John H. Hoffman, Day & Tabor) contemplate leaving us to go on afoot. At 2 o'clk we continued our journey on a part of the dry drive of 15 miles and proceeded 6 miles and then encamped for the night. One of our small oxen gave out about a mile from camp and [we] had to leave him to rest. Drive today 11 miles.
Thursday October 6th--We started this morning at 8 o'clk and proceeded about 7 miles to Mud Lake, watered our cattle and traveled 3 miles further to encamp for the night, making our drive today 10 miles. One of our best lead oxen was discovered to be sick this morning and was left a-dying. Another small ox which had given out yesterday had to be left back 4 miles; we have no hope of getting him through. The Country begins to present a better appearance--some timber on the Mountains & less desert country. The wife of Rev. T. F. Royal, Missionary to Oregon, was brought to Child bed some ten miles back from our encampment of last night & a Messenger sent for Doct. Owens to attend upon her. We now have more encouragement to get our Cattle through & although our losses have been great, if we are once safely in, we shall be thankful indeed.
Friday Oct. 7th--Put out this morning about 7 o'clk and traveled without intermission to the Hot Springs, a distance of 17 miles. Our cattle stood the drive very well--one of our weak & sickly oxen gave out a few miles back, efforts will be made to get him into camp this evening. Our encampment is not very desirable, but is unavoidable. We are now within 13 miles of the Sierra Nevada mountain, where we cross it tomorrow or next day.
Saturday Oct. 8th--Started at the usual hour this morning & drove about 2 miles & let our Cattle graze, as we did not let them go out to graze before starting, owing to the swampy condition of this encampment, then proceeded 7 miles farther on the Margins of a Lake where we found excellent bunchgrass--nooned & grazed our cattle. Last night we had two weakly cows to mire down in a swamp, and had to draw them out by ropes. One of them could not travel so that we were compelled to leave her--the Ox that gave out yesterday was brought into Camp last night and traveled about 8 miles when he again gave out & was left within a short distance of the Lake. Indian fires were very numerous all around us on the Mountains last night, supposed to be signals; We are now in that part of the Country usually considered dangerous on account of the hostility of these Indians. We exercise unusual care & prudence to avoid difficulties with them, at 3 o'clk we continued our Journey and traveled until sunset and encamped at the base of the Sierra Nevada for the night. Our system of guarding the stock of the whole train has been re-modeled so as to secure it more effectually from the depredations of the Indians. Our travel today was about 13 miles.
Sunday Oct. 9th--The necessity which compelled [us] to travel for the last few sabbaths still exists and consequently we commenced our journey at the usual hour and in 6 miles reached the base of the Mountain
Monday Oct. 10th--Started early this morning and commenced ascending the Sierra Nevada Mountain. We were compelled to double our teams the principal part of the way, the ascent being steep and toilsome to our teams. The Morning threatened rain & on our arrival at the summit, we found the air decidedly cold--the prospect from the summit is very beautiful. A Lake being on either side of the Mountain with intervening groves of Pine timber. We found wild Plums growing on very low bushes--they were not very good; most of them unripe. After descending the Mountain we continued our journey about 2 miles and encamped for the night in a beautiful Valley, the mountain on one side being covered with groves of Pine trees, presenting enchanting scenery. Distance traveled being according to the "Guide" 10 miles, though not so in reality.
Tuesday Oct. 11th--Started this morning at 7½ o'clk and traveled about 5 or 6 miles to a steep ascent, requiring double teams--the principal part of the Train kept on & we remained on the summit to noon, having excellent grass--continued our journey until 5 o'clk and encamped for the night, having traveled 12 to 14 miles.
Wednesday Oct. 12th--Started late this morning in a snow storm, near the Mountain, and proceeded towards Goose
Thursday Oct. 13th--Last night we had a severe frost and discovered at Daylight that the Indians had made a descent upon our camp and stole from us two of our horses and five belonging to Rev. Mr. Taylor; no traces of their track could be seen and it was deemed fruitless to pursue them. This is a severe loss. Our travel today was very unpleasant, being over a Rocky road, travel about 12 miles. Toward evening we met a company of
Friday Oct. 14th--We got safely through the perils of the night and started about the usual hour on our journey--in about 3 miles we struck a Kanyon full of pools of water, some of these so close together as to leave barely room enough for a wagon to pass. One of our wagons was nearly capsized in one of them, the Cattle being nearly drowned before they could be rescued. The relief party proceeded on to Goose Lake and found our friends Royals & Larkin safely on their way. A portion of the Rangers remained with them and the others overtook us in the Kanyon and will accompany us through. We expect to lie by until the Co. back get up with us. About 3 o'clk we encamped in an eligible situation for the night, having traveled about 10 miles. We feel grateful to an over-ruling providence which has interfered for our relief & Safety, and hope soon to be on our way towards our destined homes. Since writing the foregoing another Party of Rangers numbering about 20 have come in with Provisions for the use of the emigrants. These Oregon People have noble & generous hearts & well do they merit our unbounded gratitude.
Saturday Oct. 15th--Started this morning at the usual hour. Rev. Messrs. Royal & Mr. Larkin came in about 9 o'clk last night under an escort of Rangers and accompanied us today--We traveled until noon & rested a short time to lunch; then proceeded to the Willow Springs and encamped for the night. We left another Cow behind us, being unable to travel, making our loss of Cattle 10 head of our own and 3 head belonging to two of our drivers. Also two horses costing altogether $900. Our travel today is about 12 miles.
Sunday Oct. 16th--The destitute condition of many indeed most of the Drivers of the different Companies of the Train, with regard to clothing, especially Boots & Shoes, rendered it necessary to travel today. The Messrs. Royal and Mr. Larkin who had caught up with us, again laid by, in consequence of the wife of the Missionary Royal being unable to travel. Another family of our train remained with them, also 4 Rangers.
We started about 7 o'clk & traveled over a very rough stony road with occasional sloughs, all day, making but about 12 miles. The body of a Man, dead about 3 weeks, had been disinterred by the Indians for his clothing and left exposed near the grave; A large portion of the Train having passed, those behind could not delay to bury the body. There is a state of open warfare between the Whites & Indians along this region and the emigrants are considered in constant danger unless in large force or protected by Rangers. Each Kills the other, giving no quarter. The Indians in Rogue River Valley have been subdued.
Monday Oct. 17th--Our travel today has been exceedingly unpleasant, in consequence of the numerous deep sloughs we had to cross over. Several of our cattle & horses mired down and our ox had to be drawn out twice. Our journey amounted to about ten or 12 miles and we encamped for the night near "Clear Lake," a pretty sheet of water. The water in all the Lakes of this region, so far as I have had opportunity to examine, is brackish & muddy. There abound in myriads of Geese & white Brant. Their noise at night is like the roaring of the Ocean at a distance. Our anxiety increases as the place of destination is approached.
Tuesday Oct. 18th--Started this morning at the usual time and traveled about 10 miles & stopped to noon & graze our cattle--a portion of the road was rocky. About 2 o'clk continued our journey to Lost River, where we arrived and hour after dark. Our cattle were too tired to drive out to graze & remained in corral until morning. Our drive today was 20 miles.
Wednesday Oct. 19th--We traveled five miles up the Lost River (which appears to empty its waters in Tule Lake) to the Natural Bridge--this is a ford from 20 to 30 feet wide, good bottom, on either side, the water is said to be 20 feet deep, on the Bridge it is about 2½ feet. After passing over safely we drove a mile or two and stopped to noon & graze our Cattle. We remained an hour and continued our journey 8 miles to the vicinity of Klamath Lake, making the journey 14 miles. The Roads today were level & good. For several days we have had a scarcity of Wood, being compelled to use Sage & greasewood. Several attempts have been made to Kill wild geese by some of our hands, but without success, thus far. The country still abounds with most excellent grass, from hence to the settlements, some 70 miles, we are considered out of great danger from the Indians.
of Mr. Larkin 10¾ lbs. Beef
No. 1 - 900
2 - 1100
3 - 900
4 - 900
5 - 300 exclusive of hay
Beef of Doct. Owens 34½
Mutton Dr. 12
of St. Taylor
14 lbs. Mutton
17 lbs. Beef
RemarksSouthern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS 323, part 7
2½ miles from Black Rock Spring is the best place to camp. Good grass, water 4 to 10 miles left of the road. Good camping places nearly all the way through Big RockKanyon. Also on the other side of Little Rock canyon. No grass on Mud Lake. Camp on the first Brook at the foot of [ Sierra?] Nevada Mountain (Plums ¼ mile up stream). Rocky road between Goose Lake & the Kanyon 15 miles) also between the Kanyon & Willow Spring (28) also between Rushing spring & Clear Lake (4) Pass over the "Divide" to Tule Lake there is a good level road to Natural Bridge, thence to forks of Road somewhat hilly & rough.
Thursday October 20th 1853--We started this morning in good season and traveled towards Klamath Lake, where we arrived at 9 O'Clock; part of the Train had preceded us, to enable Dr. Owens' Company to kill a Beef at the Lake, as their subsistence is wholly upon that diet; other families are in the same circumstances; we still have some flour and groceries, sufficient as we hope, to carry us through; we hope to reach the settlements in about six days time. After spending some two hours time in grazing our stock, we continued our journey eight miles farther, or two miles beyond the forks of the road, the one leading to Shasta valley, and the other to Rogue River Valley, and encamped for the night in the vicinity of the Mountain, having good grass, but no water. Our travel today was in the vicinity of Klamath Lake, though seldom on its border. This region has heretofore been the scene of Indian Hostilities, but the excursions of the Rangers have kept them at a distance this Season. After leaving the Lake Country, we are considered to be out of danger, from Indians. Our desire to reach the settlements is intense and with the blessing of Providence, a few more days will bring us there.
Friday October 21st 1853--We left our encampment this morning at the usual hour of starting and proceeded toward the head of Klamath Lake to noon and graze our Cattle; Our route lay off from the Lake until we approached it at noon; in a short time we shall leave it entirely and proceed towards Klamath River distant 20 miles; Three of the Rangers came up this Morning from Royal's Train, which we expect to be up with us at the River or perhaps sooner. We proceeded some distance beyond the head of the Lake, after watering our stock and taking in Spring water; the water of the Lake is not good. Our travel today is 14 or 16 miles.
Saturday October 22nd 1853--Today we traveled about 12 miles to Klamath River, being the out-let of the Lake, the waters of which flow to the Pacific Ocean. We found the water in the River better than that in the Lake. Salmon are said to abound in the River. We encamped on its bank for the night. One of our best Oxen mired near the River and dislocated his hip joint, rendering it necessary to butcher him. Our friends Royals and Larkin came up with us late at night; an Ox of the former got drowned in the River. Two men of the Train belonging to Doct. Owens, who had gone to the Valley for supplies, returned today and brought favorable accounts from Rogue River Valley, except in the price of provisions. Flour 18 to 20 per lb., Potatoes 10¢ pr lb. &c. Clothing Comparatively low, Boots $5 to $8 and Shoes $3, &c.
Sunday October 23rd--We remained in camp today, Dr. Owens and partners are hauling their sheep across the River in Wagons, which will occupy a good portion of the day. At one o'clock P.M. Rev. T. F. Royal preached on the subject of faith, from the words "By grace ye are saved, through faith &c." The audience was small in consequence of Most of the Men of the train being engaged in crossing the Sheep over the River, 1700 in number, some in Wagons and some by swimming.
Monday October 24th--We crossed the Klamath River this morning with our wagons and got over without difficulty, except that one of our loose Oxen got mired at the margin of the River and detained us some time before we could get him out. We proceeded to the Mountain near by and had a succession of steep ascents, requiring double teams to accomplish the ascent. After driving some ten miles, near dusk, one of our wagons broke down, the fore wheel on the near side being smashed; we were compelled to encamp in the Mountains among the Pines, rather an unpleasant situation, a snow storm having set in during the night. We were unmolested by the Indians and feel thankful to God for his protecting care over us. Our Wagon is a total loss to us.
Tuesday October 25th 1853--We did not get our wagons repacked until noon, having to put the loading in the broken wagon in the others; we then proceeded on our journey 8 Miles and encamped for the night. The Company with which we have been traveling (except a part of Mr. Burts family) are some 13 miles ahead of us and it is doubtful whether we shall see all of them again until we arrive in the valley. At our present encampment we have good water and fair grazing; One yoke of hired oxen escaped from us while unhitching, last night, and one of our Cows also strayed off. We are in hopes that the yoke of Cattle may have followed after the train ahead of us.
Wednesday October 26th--We did not get under way until 8 O'Clock; soon after starting, it commenced snowing and raining and continued raining until we arrived in Camp; the roads were slippery in consequence of the rain and traveling disagreeable. Two of our work cattle gave out and one of them had to be left a mile and a half from camp but was brought in at night. We found here, a written Message from our friends ahead of us, who were compelled to proceed some ten or twelve miles; We had a most uncomfortable day's travel; distance some 12 or 13 miles over the Mountains with one very steep descent to a creek, which we crossed safely.
Thursday October 27th--It did not rain during the Night, but was nevertheless very uncomfortable on account of the ground being very wet; Our cattle were tied up and the regular guard set; Nothing disturbed us during the night, except the falling of a tree which had been set on fire; it fell in the direction of our camp but did no harm. If favored by Divine Providence we hope to reach the head of Rogue River Valley tonight, thence to the first settlements six miles. We started this morning at half past 7 and had proceeded but a short distance before we unhitched our cattle to graze on some excellent green grass by the side of the road; Our Cattle had fared poorly at our last encampment and we were loath to pass so good an opportunity to feed then. There was dense fog this morning, but it was speedily dispelled by the bursting out of bright sunshine; the air is however hazy and there is a prospect of the winter rains setting in before long, we continued our journey until evening and encamped on the finest green grass we have had for a long time, on which our Cattle fed voraciously and to their full satisfaction. We had two exceedingly steep and slippery hills to descend, but got down safely. Several of [the] work Oxen failed and had to be turned out; we got them into Camp and hope to get them through to the Valley. Our days travel was about ten miles.
Friday October 28th 1853--We let our stock run at large last night and found them safely this morning, being well filled from their choice repast of the night. All hands being exceedingly tired our need a full night's rest and it was greatly enjoyed. As we all slept late, we did not get off until 9 O'Clock and proceeded towards the Valley, the commencement of which is four miles distant, thence to Jacksonville 26 miles, the vicinity of which we expect to reach on Saturday evening or Sunday Morning. A number of the relief train overtook us on their return to the Valley and furnished provisions to some of our Company. Our oldest daughter got separated from us several days ago and is with her young friends in the train from which we ourselves became separated by the delay occasioned by the breaking down of our Wagon on the Mountain. We hope to meet again this evening or tomorrow. We proceeded on our journey until half past One O'Clock and stopped to lunch and graze our Cattle, the grass being abundant everywhere and quite green; here we were in the commencement of Rogue River Valley, the object of many desires and anxieties. At 3 O'Clock we continued our journey towards the settlements and drove until dusk and came up with the encampment of Doct. Owens & Company, where we also encamped for the night.
Saturday October 29th 1853--Our Cattle had wandered so much as to detain us until noon before we got off; we traveled a short distance and stopped to lunch; just before starting, two men of the pack train brought in the yoke of Oxen which had escaped from us on the night our Wagon broke down; also the Cow which had strayed the same Night. The Valley where we entered it is quite narrow and at the point where I write it seems but a little over a Mile wide; We passed several farms, at one of which we procured some vegetables; Potatoes & Onions 10 Cabbages 12½ to 25 per head &c. As we descend the valley the Country improves in appearance.
Sunday October 30th--We encamped last night in the Vicinity of a Saw Mill on Mill Creek (Ashland) where there are many advantages for a settlement; the land is of good quality and nearly all claimed under the donation law of Congress; Our intention was to have remained in Camp to spend the Sabbath, but learning that there would be preaching 4 miles on our way, we proceeded on down the Valley until we reached the encampment of our friends Gray & Royal and learned that we were too late for preaching. We procured a sack of flour of the relief train. We have been feasting ourselves on Vegetables after being deprived of them for so long a time.
Monday October 31st--We continued our journey towards Jacksonville this morning, designing to find a suitable place to graze our cattle until we can find a shelter for our families; At noon we stopped at Mr. Van Dyke's to graze our cattle and lunch; we then proceeded 4 miles across the Prairie to Mr. Tucker's where we encamped to look about for a location.
Tuesday November 1st 1853--We remained in camp today and examined several claims offered for sale; we have not yet decided on one; we shall probably have to build Cabins for our families. Tomorrow I expect to go to Jacksonville to see if there is any prospect of getting into business of any kind that would suit me. The prospect for the winter is rather gloomy; the nights are very frosty and cold, the days however are pleasant.
Saturday November 5th--We have been to Jacksonville twice and also examined a number of claims, from which however we have made no selection, as yet. We expect to look at some More Claims today, hoping soon to be "at home." At present we are occupying an old Cabin belonging to Mr. Tucker, who has shown us much kindness in supplying us with vegetables from his garden &c.
Monday November 7th--Yesterday Afternoon I attended public Worship at the House of Mr. Hoxie on Stewarts (Bear) Creek and heard a sermon by Mr. James Royal on Romans 6 & 23. "For the wages of Sin is death" &c. There were about 40 persons present, who gave exemplary attention to the truths of the Gospel. We expect to go to see a Mill site today in the Mountains, 2½ miles from Mr. Tucker's with a view of erecting a saw mill upon it, if there shall be sufficient water. Mr. Larkin, who is a practical Millwright, would be connected in the enterprise. I feel disheartened at the gloomy prospect for the sustenance of my family this winter and as I write, my mind recurs to the admonition "Have faith in God'. I trust all will yet be well, notwithstanding the forbidding aspect of my position.
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS 323, folder 1 The third original volume of Hoffman's overland diary is lost; entries after October 19, 1853 are transcribed from Hoffman's 1865 ink copy of his pencil diary. This transcription carefully compares the RVGS transcription with the original manuscripts, correcting hundreds of errors and omissions, many of them grievous.
Note.The rainy season set in, in 1853, on the 9th of November. Dr. McK. and myself contracted with Mr. Tucker and his partners for three quarter sections of land for the sum of Four thousand and five hundred dollars; on which we paid down twelve hundred dollars and the balance in payments with Interest at 3% per Month; we also contracted with them to plow and sow forty acres of wheat, for which we were to pay ten dollars for wheat & ten dollars pr acre for plowing. The season was so wet that less than half the number of acres were sown and the yield next harvest after scarcely enough to pay expenses; after trying Farming a couple of years with like results, and being unable to pay off our indebtedness on the land, we gave it up to the former owners, losing all that we had paid as a forfeiture, besides improvements we had made amounting to two thousand dollars including the amount first paid. I continued to reside on the claim until I could secure the title under the donation law and convey the land back to Mr. Tucker.
After struggling with difficulties until the summer of 1855, I was elected County Auditor & Recorder and likewise Justice of the Peace and have held various offices ever since and from that time forward have been greatly prospered in my temporal matters.
After a lapse of over eleven years (when the note is written) I have no regrets in having cast my lot in this Valley, but on the contrary have much cause for thankfulness to a kind and beneficent Father who has graciously sustained me under my severest trials and who has truly "crowned my life with loving kindness and tender Mercies."
Wm. HoffmanJacksonville March 24th 1865
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS 323, folder 1
Life Sketches.I was born in the City of Baltimore Md. September 7th 1801; My recollection extends back to my early childhood and I well remember my first experience at School; my oldest brother carried me to the School kept by a Mrs. Waterson, not far from my father's residence; I was too bashful or too much scared, so that I refused to say my lesson and neither coaxing or threats were of any avail, but after awhile, through the kindness of the teacher, I was willing to obey and became fond of going to School. At about the age of nine years, I met with a serious accident, running with my little wagon, on the pavement near my home, I stumbled, fell and broke my left arm near the elbow joint; this kept me confined to the house a long time. I also remember being vaccinated by our family physician Dr. Roberts who also set my arm, and presented him with the vaccine scab, a very fine one. It was about this time 1811-12 that a serious riot occurred in the City about the War with England; the Printing Office of a Federal paper (opposed to the war) was entirely destroyed by the mob; the house was torn down and the material of the office destroyed. Some time after the paper again started in a building nearly opposite my father's dwelling and about two blocks distant; this building was also attacked by the Mob which was fired upon by the inmates of the Printing office, from the 2nd story of the building and General Lingan a Revolutionary Soldier was killed; I distinctly heard the report of the Guns or Pistols fired.
When I was 11 or 12 years old, I was sent to a Lancastrian School kept by a Mr. John Creery, a noble man. His brother, who assisted, had lost nearly the whole of both hands, by the premature explosion of a cannon, leaving him his two thumbs; He could write an excellent hand by placing the quill pen (no other kind used in those days) between his thumbs and adjusting the pen with his teeth. It was at this School that I obtained the principal part of my school education. I had also attended a German School (my parents being of German descent) kept by a Mr. Hartwick; the School was opened with the Lord's Prayer and scripture verses by some of the Scholars. My recitation was the 16th Verse of the 3rd chapter of the Gospel of St. John, which I have not forgotten to this day and is as follows in German: "Also hat Gott die welt geliebet, das er sein eingebornen son gab, auf das alle die an ihn glauben, nicht ver loren werden son dern das ewige leben haben."
Mr. Hartwig was the organist and leader of the singing in the German Reformed Church, of which my father was a prominent Member and officer; the School was a denominational School and adjoining the Church. The children of the church members were regularly catechized on Sunday afternoon by the Pastor in the German language (No Sunday Schools as at present in those days).
In July 1814, I went with oldest Sister to Boonsborough in Washington County, Md. on a visit to relatives and entered into the Store of my cousin George Stonebraker; here my German stood me in good hand, as the population of that region were descendants of Germans and generally spoke what was usually called "Pennsylvania Dutch"; it was not pure German, than which there is no more beautiful language so far as I know and have heard others more capable than I say. I
soon learned the German names for all kinds of merchandise and could sell goods in German, first rate. It was during my residence here that the battle of North Point 14 miles from Baltimore occurred; I had a Brother in the battle, who came off unhurt, though he made a narrow escape, having his bayonet scabbard shot away, but for the loss ofit, he brought away one of the enemy's muskets.
I well remember, that some soldiers from Boonsborough and vicinity were in the battle at Bladensburg from which they made good their retreat, nor did they stop "running" until they arrived home!
In 1816, I went to live with my brother Jacob at Middletown, Md., who had formed a copartnership with my cousin George Stonebraker in a country store at that place; here I remained until 1820; During my residence at Middletown, I contracted some bad habits, attending Taverns of evenings, where card playing and profanity and drinking were practiced; of course the bad example had its influence upon me. My brother faithfully warned me of my danger and I resolved to amend my ways. Having been religiously trained and my conscience severely rebuking
me, I felt the importance of leading a religious life. About 1817, Rev. Jonathan Helfenstein of the German Reformed Church, commenced a series of catechetical lecturing, the young people being indoctrinated in the principles of the Christian religion, in the use of the Catechism of that church. I attended with the view of membership; Under the faithful teaching of the good man, I became deeply impressed and resorted to secret prayer to be guided in the right way. In the spring of 1817, I was received into the church by the rite of confirmation and endeavored to lead a Christian life, though had to lament over sad declensions. I have no doubt that I was renewed in the spirit of my mind, notwithstanding my failures under temptations; I had my ups and downs in my Christian course, but never felt like giving up the contest against the wiles of the enemy.
In 1820, I was induced by my sister and her husband to go with them to the State of Ohio. My brother in law had a brother in business in Urbana, Ohio, with whom I was employed as a Clerk in his store; Judge Reynolds was one of the purest of Men and in his excellent family where the practice of religious duties were faithfully attended to, I was greatly strengthened in my religious enjoyments and privileges.
In 1821, I went to Cincinnati, where my brother in law and another brother of his, were engaged in mercantile business and here I was received as a clerk in the establishment and have good reason to know that I gave entire satisfaction. I was entrusted with very responsible duties and was sent as supercargo to New Orleans, with a large amount of Bacon, Barreled Pork and Lard and discharged my duties faithfully and to the satisfaction of my employers. Afterwards I was taken in as a Partner and continued as such until the spring of 1824. At the solication of my
relatives in Maryland, I returned; My brother Jacob was very anxious to have me go into business with him, he having been for many years engaged in mercantile pursuits and it was finally arranged that I should take the stock of Merchandise to Uniontown in Frederick County, Maryland; after remaining in that place for a year or more, I did not find the business as prosperous as I had hoped for and my brother consented to release me and take the stock of Merchandise back to Middletown. I then went to Baltimore. I was elected one of the Trustees of the German Reformed Church, in the city, then under the pastoral care of the Rev. Albert Helfenstein, brother of Rev. Jonathan Helfenstein by whom I was received as a Member of the church. The services of the Church in Baltimore had been conducted in the German Language previous to Rev. Mr. A. Helfenstein taking charge of it. Doctor Becker had been the Pastor for many years, but being unable to preach in the English language, and the children of the Members preferring to attend English services, were drawn away and after much opposition and contention, it was determined to have services in German and English, which was accomplished and Mr. Helfenstein called. With this change the church soon prospered greatly. Young as I was, as a Trustee I determined to do my duty faithfully and having withstood one of the old and influential members of the Board of Trustees on some church matters, I was gratified in receiving the commendation of the Pastor. I was also connected with the Sabbath School of the Church and a regular attendant on the Prayer Meeting. Sometime in 1830, I was employed as a clerk in the store of D. & J. Ruddach, wholesale and retail Grocers, in Baltimore; these Brothers had a falling out about business matters and I was mutually chosen to settle up their business having full power given me to manage the concern, which I did satisfactorily to the Parties. Previous to this, the Ruddachs proposed to me to take a stock of goods to Boonsborough, Md. We entered into copartnership; the enterprise did not prove profitable owing to the fact that the competition with the old business house of years standing was too severe for us and after a couple years, was abandoned. My Father died in Boonsborough in 1832 and my Mother followed him two years after. About 1834 I was engaged in purchasing Flour for a Baltimore House, which furnished the capital. The commission was only six cents a barrel, so that a large amount of flour had to be purchased to make it pay.
In 1835, a young man having some capital and I concluded an arrangement to go West and seek a location for Mercantile business; We visited several places on the Wabash River, and determined to settle at Attica in Fountain County, Indiana. Attica was an inconsiderable village, but was surrounded by a fine agricultural country and well to do farmers; returning to Maryland, We purchased a stock of merchandise in the summer of 1835 and shipped them to Chicago, then a small Town, and had to haul them in wagons 120 miles; We opened in the fall and had a good run of business for a couple of years. In 1836, I returned to Maryland and purchased Goods in Philadelphia and New York and in September 1836 was married and in Company with my brother-in-law E. Uhler and his family, came on to Attica; We took Mr. U. in as a Partner in the business. We bought some of our stock on time and in the financial crises of 1838, we with a multitude of Western Merchants had to succumb. Afterwards I was connected with a Mr. John Morford in business at Attica for a year or two.
In 1840, I was put in nomination for County Recorder and run against the then incumbent and was elected for [a] six years term and reelected for six years more
in 1846 which office I held until 1853.
I moved my family to Covington the county seat in 1841 my wife and two children having gone on a Visit to her relatives in the winter of 1840. When I moved to Covington my friends had elected me Superintendent of the Sunday School in which position I continued until 1853.
In 1837, We organized a German Reformed Church in Attica of which I was one of the Ruling Elders and on my removal to Covington I and my wife connected ourselves with the New School Presbyterian Church in which I was also a Ruling Elder; We build a neat Church Edifice and were greatly prospered.
My Wife's health having failed and suffering greatly with the Asthma, the matter of coming to the Pacific Coast was considered by my Brother in law Doct. McKinnell and myself and the arrangements entered into, and in April 1853, we left Covington for the long journey across the Plains. We had a complete outfit and after the usual hardships attendant on a six months journey, we arrived in Southern Oregon, Arriving in Rogue River Valley in October. When we started
from Indiana, our intention was to go to Oregon City by the Northern route via Fort Hall and winter there and then go to Washington Territory the following spring to engage in the Lumber business and Merchandising, but being late in the Season and our force of men too small, we concluded to take the Southern Route into Southern Oregon. "Man proposes, but God disposes."
For two years after we arrived in Rouge River Valley, Dr. McKinnell and I tried farming, having purchased three quarter sections of land, this enterprise was a failure. In 1855 I was nominated for the Office of County Auditor under the Territorial Government and also as Justice of the Peace. I held these Offices until Oregon was organized as a State and then I was elected as County Clerk, and held the office by several reelections until 1866, when I was defeated by W. H. S. Hyde.
In 1866 I received, without solicitation, the appointment of Notary Public from the Governor of Oregon, which office I have held until the present (Feb. 1879). I have also held the position of U.S. Commissioner by appointment of Hon. M. P. Deady, U.S. Circuit Judge and have had the Agency of Insurance Companies and acted as Land Agent for several years. In 1868, I founded a co-partnership with Mr. Henry Klippel in the Tin Ware and Hardware business in Jacksonville, which was continued by limitations five years, when we sold out to Mr. Kaspar Kubli. Our children, six daughters, are all living, five of them in Jacksonville and One in Eugene City. Our Grandchildren number 23 of whom one is dead. Our oldest daughter lost her husband by the wrecking of the Steamer Pacific from Puget Sound bound for San Francisco. Her Husband Geroge T. Vining had a large quantity of Hops on board not insured and a total loss of about $8000. This loss nearly impoverished the family and after a year from the time, the family moved to Jacksonville.
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS 323, folder 1
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.Was born in the city of Baltimore, in September, 1801, and is now in his 78th year. After attaining his majority Mr. Hoffman became connected with a packing establishment in Cincinnati, from where he returned to Baltimore and engaged in the grocery business. Subsequently moving to the western part of Maryland he became interested with his brother in general merchandising at Uniontown, Md. and subsequently in the same business at Boonesboro, Md., remaining there several years and then pushing west in 1835, to Attica, Ind. In 1836 he was married to Miss Caroline B. Shafer, of Boonesboro, Md., who still cheers his declning years. In 1840 Mr. Hoffman was elected Recorder of Fountain County, Ind., removing to Covington and retaining the position until 1853. In that year he crossed the plains with his family, coming direct to Rogue River Valley by the route leading through the Modoc country. Arriving here in the fall of '53, Mr. H. took a donation claim four miles east of Jacksonville, his place being known as the "White House," improving and tilling his farm until 1855, when he was elected Auditor of Jackson County under the territorial laws. In June, 1858, after the adoption of the state constitution, and pending the Act of Congress admitting Oregon into the Union, the state election was held and at that time Mr. Hoffman was elected County Clerk of Jackson County. He was reelected in 1860-62 and '64, and in 1866 was defeated by W. H. S. Hyde. This position, held so long by Mr. Hoffman, was filled with remarkable ability and correctness, and enabled him to become familiar with the details of land matters in this county. Repeatedly declining a nomination from his party, Mr. Hoffman retired from public life, and in 1868 went into the hardware business in Jacksonville with Mr. Henry Klippel, the copartnership expiring by limitation in 1873. Since that date Mr. Hoffman has been notary public and land agent, a business which he is at present engaged in. Mr. Hoffman has raised an interesting family of six girls; he is a steadfast member of the Presbyterian Church, has since the war of the rebellion been a Republican, and in this county, where his name for integrity is a household word, it is unnecessary to speak of his high character, of which his whole life bears witness.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, February 19, 1879, page 2
September 7th 1880By the good providence of my heavenly Father, my life has been spared to complete my 79th birthday, still in the enjoyment of good health and intellect and capable of transacting business. Our six children and grandchildren as previously mentioned have also been spared.
"Praise God from whom all blessings flow."
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS 323, folder 1
PAINFUL ACCIDENT.--Wm. Hoffman, Esq., met with an accident last Friday morning, which came near being a serious one. It seems that he was in the act of carrying some potatoes in a barrel from the cellar of his residence, when, upon nearing the top, the upper hoop of the barrel slipped off and caused him to fall backward, down the entire flight of stairs, rendering him senseless for three-quarters of an hour. The 'Squire received an ugly gash on the back of his head and some other bruises. We are pleased to learn that he is now recovering and will soon be able to be about again.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 4, 1881, page 3
September 7th 1882Another Milestone in the my [sic] journey of life has been reached and [I] have now attained to my 81st year and I desire to express my gratitude to the Giver of every good and perfect gift, for sparing my life thus far and for permitting me to enjoy a reasonable measure of health and unimpaired intellect since my note of my 79th birthday. Our children and grandchildren are still spared in life and I can still say:
"Praise God from whom all blessings flow."
Wm. HoffmanSouthern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS 323, folder 1
Jacksonville Ogn. September 7th 1883Today I have attained the age of 82 years, in the enjoyment of fair health and strength, for which I feel truly grateful to my heavenly Father, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift.
I am still able to attend to business, with but little abatement of mental force; How long this may remain can only be known by Him who ordereth all things well.
Wm. Hoffmanthern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS 323, folder 1
Jacksonville September 7th 1885At the 83rd anniversary of my birthday, I was in poor health and no entry of the event was made; during the year since, on account of failing health and increasing infirmities, I have almost entirely ceased from active business. Now at this date I am recovering from a severe attack of illness and am thus admonished that the end of my earthly existence must now come. With sincere gratitude to God, I now record my 84th anniversary.
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS 323, folder 1