A TRIP ACROSS THE PLAINS IN 1857
by William Clark
[This account of a trip to Salt Lake City and California was written by William Clark, originally in the form of notes made during the journey. Years later these notes were rewritten and the original scraps of paper were destroyed. The footnotes have been added by the editor, and occasional alterations have been made in capitalization and in the spelling of words and place names. The manuscript was secured and presented to the Society by Mrs. Louis Bernard Schmidt of Ames, Iowa. Mr. Clark died in February, 1920, in Ames, Iowa. He had been twice Mayor of that city.--THE EDITOR, Iowa Journal of History and Politics]
I started from Freeport, Ill., about the middle of June for St. Louis, Mo., not knowing where I would finally make a stop for any length of time, as I was undecided what I would do. The first night in St. Louis, by chance, I fell in company with three young men: one from Peoria, Ill., by the name of Edwin Leach, a bright young man of about twenty-one years of age, and George Tuttle and Martin Sherwood from Oshkosh, Wis. These two were chums and had come down the Mississippi from the pinery on a raft and were very agreeable young men. We started together to "take in" the city. In the morning we strolled along the levee and went aboard several boats--one soon to start up river to Leavenworth City.
It was suggested by some one that we all go up to Leavenworth on this boat, which was agreed to at once, and we gathered up our baggage, got aboard of her, and paid our fare to Leavenworth.
On this boat were bills posted stating that Majors, Russel & Waddel*1* wanted several hundred young men to drive ox <p.164> teams across the plains to Utah, and would pay $30 per month for the round trip or $40 and take our discharge at Salt Lake City.
We all concluded we would hire out to them and make the trip.
After landing in Leavenworth, we disposed of our luggage and started out to get what information we could in regard to the trip we were about to undertake.
We learned that the government was going to establish three military posts in Utah Territory and that Majors, Russel & Waddel*2* had a large contract to deliver their beef cattle and soldiers' supplies to these posts. That Col. Vanvliet*3* had gone on ahead with an escort of twenty men to hunt out and locate them and be ready to receive the soldiers and supplies when they arrived; and that Majors, Russel & Waddel's*4* contract would require twenty-six trains of twenty-six wagons each and require six yoke of cattle to each wagon. The cattle were nearly all wild steers, four and five years old and each team would be allowed only two yoke of gentle cattle. The men would have to load their own trains, would have to stand guard half of every other night, and do their own cooking; and it was rumored that we would be made to drive Sundays.<p.165> We concluded to go to one of the contractors, William Russel,*5* to make our bargain, and not trust to an agent. We made our bargain with him and enrolled ourselves for the trip, with the express understanding that we should not be asked to drive Sundays, unless for the want of grass or water. We pledged ourselves together to stand by our bargain, and not to be run over by our train boss, as we had learned that they would undertake to force us when out on the plains, so as to make extra time and give them notoriety for making a quick trip.
We learned that most of the men, or teamsters, and all of the train bosses were southern men and most of them were hired in the south to come to Kansas to drive the free state people from the polls and carry the election in the interest of slavery. Most of the teamsters in our train had their expenses paid and were armed, and some paid as high as one hundred and sixty dollars in cash for this purpose. This was shortly after the Jim Lane*6* trouble in Kansas, so there was not the best of feeling between themselves and the "Yanks" as they called us.
It was, I think, about the 24th of June  that we commenced our work of loading our wagons for the trip. Our loading was done at the Fort, a short distance out. We carried one hundred pound sacks of bacon, sugar, and rice and loaded up the wagons. When night came, we were a dirty greasy looking set of "tender feet" as we had handled one hundred pound sacks all day on the run for we worked as though every thing had to be done in one dap. In the morning we got up sore and lame from our work <p.166> the day before, as we had not been used to work for some time. But they sent us to the corral to help brand a lot of cattle. After the buccaro had roped the cattle we would have to help hold them to be branded with a hot iron used for that purpose. It was no easy job, as we were jerked about unmercifully which did not help to rest us much.
We ate our meals at the outfit house--bacon, saleratus bread, and stewed apples, all cooked by a man who, I do not think, ever cooked many meals before and did not care whether he ever cooked many more.
The next day was Sunday, and we were to start on our trip Monday.
We were a sick and sore set of fellows, but determined not to give up the trip before us, as we had an eye on California.
We passed the day as best we could, getting things ready to take with us. As we were not allowed to take our trunks, we concluded to take what clothing we needed in a grain sack. I sent my trunk with my best clothes to an uncle at Lawrence, Kan., to care for till I called for them, which I did ten years later.
We went to bed at the outfit house and Monday morning at three o'clock, they called two of us to get up and go to the Company's store to get our guns and blankets that the Company furnished and charged to us, as every man had to be armed with a rifle at least.
We all four got up but the boss said they needed only two of us. We told him we all went in that train or none of us went, as that was our bargain with Russel.*7* So when they found we were determined, they gave in.
Then we were taken in a wagon four miles out to Salt Creek, from which place we were to start. We got there at day break. <p.167>
Our cattle were soon driven into corral for us to yoke. Our train crew of a wagon boss, by the name of Chatham Rennick--a big, six foot two inch man, an assistant wagon boss, twenty-six teamsters, and two extra hands, making thirty men in all. But we had ten extra men to help us get the train started.
We went into the corral with three lasso ropes to catch our cattle and fasten them to a wagon wheel to put their yokes on, as they were so wild it was the only way we could get them yoked. We would then chain this one to a wheel till we got another and so on till each team was yoked. Then to get them hitched to a wagon tongue was another big job, but at two o'clock in the afternoon we succeeded in getting them all hitched on and started to break corral, and a lively time we had. Now the fun began, not for the teamsters, but for the lookers on. It was life work for us to keep our wagons right side up. Twenty-six teams of nearly all wild cattle going in every direction--three hundred and twelve head oŁ crazy steers pitching and bellowing and trying to get loose or get away from the wagon, and teamsters working for dear life to herd them and keep from upsetting or breaking their wagons; and every now and then a wagon upsetting, tongues breaking, and teams getting loose on the prairie.
It kept every extra man on the jump to keep the cattle moving in the right direction.
Fourteen men on horseback and twenty-six teamsters had a lively experience that afternoon and evening, and finally, at nine o'clock that night had succeeded in getting nine wagons two miles from starting point and getting the cattle loose from the wagons in a demoralized condition. Some of the teams had one or two steers loose from the yoke, and the others were dragging the yokes. Everything was in confusion. <p.168>
The rest of the train was strung over the prairie--some wagons tipped over, some with broken wheels, and some with the tongues broken; and, in fact, were in rather bad condition for a journey of twelve hundred miles in a wilderness.
The men had had nothing to eat since four o'clock in the morning, and were all nearly. played out; but we went to work to get some "grub", as we called it, to stay our stomachs. I could hardly wait for it to be cooked. I found a settler that lived close to where we were and asked him to bring me some milk and bread for which I gladly paid him, and we four chums made our supper of bread and milk.
We were ordered on guard the first part of the night. Chat Rennick, our wagon boss, stationed each man on guard. It fell my lot to go down the valley and keep the cattle from a piece of timber. Tuttle was stationed on the west to keep them from going over the hill, and was furnished a mule to ride, as his beat was considered to be the hardest. Ed Leach on the east near the wagon and Mart Sherwood on the north had little to do, as the cattle were determined to go to the timber or over the hill.
It kept me on the run as hard as I could to keep them from the timber, and Tuttle was worked equally hard to keep them in from the west.
About midnight Tuttle came over on the run as fast as his mule could go, met me, and turned back on the jump up the hill, and his saddle girth broke and let him off, saddle and all. His mule got away and ran off and he had to take it on foot. We both worked as hard as we could to keep the cattle until our relief came, which did not come till two o'clock in the morning. As the men did not go to bed till about eleven o'clock that night, the boss concluded he would divide the time with us. <p.169>
When Rennick came with the men to relieve us, I had just reached the spot where Tuttle's saddle lay, and I was so exhausted and completely tired out, that I fell to the ground, and dropped to sleep in a moment. It was with difficulty that Rennick and Tuttle could awaken me and get me to the wagon to bed, as I would drop as soon as they let go of me. I would beg of them to let me sleep where I was, but they got me to camp, and I knew "no more till seven or eight in the morning.
This was a fine morning, and Rennick had sent back to Leavenworth for more wagons, wheels, tongues, etc. to repair what was broken the day before, and also a lot of teamsters as over half of his men had skipped out, and left only eight or ten out of twenty-six teamsters.
Those of us who were on guard the night before were allowed to take it easy that day and rest up.
Rennick succeeded in getting more men and extra help, and gathered up the balance of the train and got it up to camp that night and ready for another start.
The next morning we commenced another day's work and succeeded in getting four miles that day and getting all the wagons into camp; although several wagons had been upset and some breakages. But we were prepared with several extra wagon tongues and some other repairs and a kit of tools to mend any ordinary breakage.
We pulled out the next morning and worked hard all day with the usual mishaps, and made five or six miles, and, in six days we reached Grasshopper,*8* forty miles from Leavenworth. There was not a day without some mishaps or breakages.
The next day was Sunday, and, I think, the Fourth of July.
After breakfast, we changed our clothes, cleaned up, and <p.170> washed our clothes, and were lying around to rest ourselves as best we could, after our hard weeks work, as we were nearly worn out, when the boss concluded it was "time to hitch up" and snake a short drive. We four Yanks told him the rest could drive if they wished but that we would not. We had done enough for one week.
The rest seemed willing to go, but, as we would not, he did not urge very hard.
That day I ate my first frogs' legs. "Old man" Clark from Cape Jerdo,*9* was in our mess. He was fond of fried frogs' legs and he caught. and cooked some, and gave me some, but I can not say that I liked them very much; although they are considered a very choice dish by some people. But I had not much of an appetite then for any thing that was in reach, for the overwork and poor "grub" began to tell on me, as I was not used to the kind of food we had--bacon, saleratus bread, boiled rice, and dried apples. As none of us were cooks, we would take turns in cooking. Our bread would be black and solid, not fit to eat. I began to get so I could not eat half a meal.
We rested all. that day and in the morning made another start and drove all day with but one or two upsets and a broken tongue or two.
We went on with the usual mishaps all of that week and camped Saturday night on the Big Blue, near where Crete, Neb., now stands.
We had fine weather all the week and we traveled over a beautiful country, mostly prairie with an occasional belt of timber along the streams, and now and then a claim shanty which was a welcome sight along these prairies.
The shanties were particularly welcome to me for I was starving with a train loaded with provisions, such as they were; but I had got so that the sight of this kind of food <p.171> was sickening to me. It was with the greatest difficulty that I could swallow any thing except a little coffee, and my chums would go a mile to get me a little milk, sweet or sour, as that was all we could find that I could relish. Any. thing we did not have I craved, but what we had to eat my stomach revolted at sight of, and I had become very weak, so much so that my chums would yoke my oxen and hitch them on for me, and each would favor me all he could by letting me ride and they keeping my cattle in the road. As Tuttle was ahead of me and Sherwood and Leach behind, on fair roads they could herd my cattle along, but it was so hard for them to run back and forth to look after my team that I would sit on the tongue and do all I could to keep them up. All this time I went on guard every other night for half of the night, as the boss was rather cranky; but my chums would not allow me to do any herding--only sit on my beat, and they would do the running for me.
There were two claim shanties near so that I got my supper of milk and also my breakfast Sunday morning, which strengthened me and gave me new life, and I felt quite well, only very weak.
My chums did the usual Sunday chores and we four went up the creek a short distance to see if we could not get a fish or two for me.
After a short time Rennick sent a man to call us to go and drive up the cattle and hitch up as he was going to make a drive the rest of the day. But we told him that they could drive as far as they liked, but we did not drive on a single rod, and that, if we thought he was going to ask us to drive every Sunday, we would unload our traps and stop right here, as this country suited us very well, and we didn't hire to drive Sundays nor be dogged about by any body. We were willing to do our duty but drive Sunday we would not and that we might as well settle that <p.172> question today for the rest of the trip, as we rather liked the looks of this place to stop. He gave us to understand that he would not ask us to drive on Sundays any more, unless actually compelled to for the want of grass or water, and this settled the question for the time.
But we heard occasional remarks from some of the men, stating what they would do with the "Yanks" when out on the plains but paid no attention to them, concluding to do our duty as men, and trust to luck, as trouble would come fast enough without borrowing any. We thought Chat Rennick had sense enough to know who of his men did their work the best; for nearly all of his Missourians were a low, shiftless, and quarrelsome set, always in a jangle among themselves, and kept him scolding them half of the time. We concluded the remarks of such men would have no weight with him. The assistant boss was little better than the rest.
The next day we drove all day without anything of interest happening, as by this time our cattle were fairly well broke in.
I missed the claim shanties, the last one being at Big Blue.
I had eaten nothing since morning, but I tried hard to eat down a little supper, but could force down very little. Nothing exciting occurred for several days.
I could not gain my appetite and consequently grew weaker all the time. My chums had the most of my work to do. Although very hard for them, they did it cheerfully. There were two extra hands for the purpose of driving when needed, but their time was occupied, either in favoring some of their kind or feigning sickness.
I had told Rennick that I was not able to drive and he could not have helped knowing it, for I had fallen away thirty or forty pounds, and was a mere skeleton, just able <p.173>to crawl. Finally, Bill Eads, one of the extras came and drove my team part of the time for two or three days, and my chums would do the rest. They were willing to do all they could and the others were willing they should.
The day we reached Rock Creek, I was scarcely able to walk and had ridden all day.
That night the boys fixed me a bed on the ground near the camp fire. Then they got supper and begged me to eat a little, but the very sight of it made me sick and it seemed to me I would break in two in the middle.
Here Mr. Rennick began to show a little sympathy for me. He said I must eat something. I told him I couldn't. He said I would not live till morning if I did not eat something.
They handed me some bread and coffee. I took a swallow of coffee and a bite of bread, chewed it and tried to swallow it, but could not do it any more than I could swallow an ox team.
I craved cold water. We had bad water all the way. They commenced to hunt through the train for something I could eat, and finally found some corn meal which a fellow by the name of Albert Frank had. He brought it to me and asked me if I could not eat a little gruel. They made some and I drank it. It tasted good to me. In ten minutes' l felt better. It stopped the pain in the small of my back. They gave me a little several times during the night. In the morning I felt quite smart, only very weak. The boys made more gruel to take along in the wagon and I took a little quite often during the day.
That night we camped close to a spring of good cold water. I slid out of the wagon, cup in hand, and managed to get to the spring before Rennick saw me. He came running up, telling me to stop drinking or I would kill myself, but before he got to me I had swallowed two or three <p.174> cups of water. I never had water taste so good before, and I told him I would like to die feeling as good as that water made me feel. Rennick led me back to the wagon and they let me have a little water often, which, with my gruel, made me feel quite cheerful.
In the morning I was considerable better, and Rennick let me have his individual two-gallon keg which the boys filled with this cold spring water. Then they wet a blanket, wrapped the keg in it and put it in the wagon for me. It kept cool all day. I drank my porridge often and by night I had a little appetite for bread and coffee.
The nest morning I felt better. My appetite began to come to me, and I could eat a fair allowance of bread and bacon.
The boys had improved in bread making and made quite good bread by this time.
In a day or two I got so I could drive my team and eat a square meal of such food as we had. In fact, I thought it good enough for anyone, as, by this time I had a wolfish appetite and could eat six times a day and relish my food.
Everything went nicely till we reached the sand hills, eight or nine miles from Fort Kearny. Here were about three thousand Sioux Indians, camped a short distance from the road.
The Sioux and Cheyennes were not on very good terms. The Sioux had gathered near the Fort and would send their warriors out from here to plunder and steal from the Cheyennes.
They were friendly to the whites while near the Fort, but forty or fifty of them came and met us and begged tobacco and anything they could get, bothering us considerably. They would try to get into our wagons--would climb in behind to steal what they could. We had to watch them, and pulled them out of the wagons often. They <p.175> followed us till near the Fort, where we camped for the night, then we made them leave.
Here I succeeded in buying some bottled pickles and a few beans of the soldiers. After getting them I went straight to camp and put on a kettle of beans to stew, and had a fine supper that night. I got enough for two or three messes, so I had a little change from bacon and bread, but anything tasted good now.
In the morning we started on and, after going five or six miles, we came across a few scattering buffalo.
Mr. Rennick and the mounted men--four in all--started after them, running them a while, but did not get any. At noon we camped near a large herd. As soon as we had unyoked our cattle, Ed Leach. took his gun and started out after one. He succeeded in getting near enough to one to get a shot. The buffalo was pawing and throwing the dirt in a buffalo wallow when he shot him. He fell but got up again. Leach loaded again and gave him another shot and run for camp very much excited and told what he had done. Three or four of our mess went back and found the buffalo badly wounded. They shot him two or three times before he fell. He was a large old bull and some distance in advance of the herd.
Several of the men now started out for more, but did not succeed in killing any.
We dressed this fellow and divided it up with the train crew. We had a fine feast of buffalo meat the first taste of fresh meat we had had since we left Leavenworth. We all decided it was the best and sweetest meat we had ever eaten.
We had just got into the buffalo range. The grass was nearly knee high before we struck this range, but here it was quite well fed down. <p.176>
That afternoon we saw several large herds some distance off along the sand hills.
The next morning was fine, and we were in sight of thousands of buffalo.
There was one large herd after another all along the sand hills as far as the eye could reach.
This range of sand hills extends along the south side of the Platte River, from one to four miles from the river. Every now and then a big herd of buffalo, moving north, crossed the river, and we could see large herds across the river.
As the atmosphere is clear and dry here, we could see many miles. It was a beautiful sight. I had never dreamed there were as many buffalo in America as we saw that day. We were not out of sight of thousands of them half an hour at a time all day long. We killed several and were loaded down with buffalo meat, and we had some salted down for future use.
The next day was the same--drove after drove all day long. We thought best not to kill any more as we could not use them.
Every little while a big herd would start down toward the river to drink, two or three miles ahead or behind our train. They went on the run and would make the earth tremble several miles away.
That night we camped near the Platte River. The men on guard were cautioned to keep a good lookout and not let our cattle get near the buffalo, there being several large herds in sight but none nearer than half a mile. Rennick had planned our camp so as not to be too near for fear of losing some of our cattle among the buffalo. An extra guard was placed to herd the cattle.
About midnight the whole crew was aroused. There was a big herd of buffalo moving towards our cattle, going to <p.177> the river. We all got around our cattle and, while some drove the cattle out of the way, others went to turn the course of the buffalo and by shooting into the herd, we finally succeeded in changing their course and driving them around our cattle.
There bad been several instances where parties, crossing the plains in the season of the great buffalo move, lost their cattle by the buffaloes' getting in contact with the cattle and stampeding them.
It seems that we were in the great move north, as trains a week ahead of us or two weeks behind us, saw very few buffalo.
The next morning we started on our journey and drove to Plum Creek and camped. We were still in the same buffalo range. We had a fine camp ground.
Nothing unusual occurred that night. The next day was Sunday. We got our breakfast and did our washing. Then we ran some bullets, cleaned our guns, and put them in good condition for use.
Frank McCarthy, the assistant wagon boss, came riding up on his mule and ordered us to put up our traps and go and help drive the cattle up, and yoke up, for they were going to make a drive. We told him we would not. He then said, "You can consider yourselves discharged".
We told him he had better send some one around that had authority to discharge us. Then he rode off after the cattle.
Albert Frank now came over to where we were with his gun and clothes and said that if we were discharged, he would go with us.
It was evident that they intended to show us right here what they would do with the "Yanks when out on the plains" as we were seventy miles from the nearest settlement which was Fort Kearny. <p.178>
An agent of the Company's, Mr. McCann, had come up and camped with us the night before.
Soon the cattle were driven into the corral. Mr. McCann was at the entrance of the corral guarding that gap while the men were yoking the cattle.
They all grabbed their yokes to yoke their cattle except us five.
As we were in the front mess of one wing of the corral, it brought us close to where McCann stood.
Chat Rennick came and ordered us to go and yoke our cattle.
We told him we would not yoke an ox that day.
He said we could consider ourselves discharged from the train.
We told him all right, that we would as soon have our pay and go back from here as to go the whole trip. He said that we could never get back, that the Indians would kill us.
We told him we would take our chances on that. Then he said he would not let us take our guns along. We plainly told him that we had them and before they got them from us, they would be liable to get the charge that was in them, and that they were loaded for buffalo too.
Mr. McCann spoke up and said that there were men enough to make us drive.
At this George Tuttle told him to repeat those words again and there would be one less Missourian, and drew his rifle. We all had our guns in our hands.
Rennick now spoke up and said "Hold on there, I don't want any of that kind of work".
Then we told him what brags had been made by his men; that now was a good time to settle it, as they had us out on the plains. There were men enough to massacre us but not enough in that train to make us drive a single rod, and <p.179> we meant just what we said. Then we told them that they might as well begin quickly and get the job off their hands as soon as possible, as they might have another that would need their immediate attention.
Rennick said he did not want any trouble with us, but wished we would drive, as the other men found no fault about driving Sundays.
We told him that he could go on as fast as he wished, as these Yanks wouldn't bother him. We would go our way and they could go theirs. That we were discharged and did not belong to his train any longer. Then we proceeded to pack up our things and put them in shape for our homeward trip.
Rennick now began to urge us to put our things back into the wagon and go along and they would make but a short drive.
We told him he had discharged us without a cause, and asked him if he had any men in his train that did their work any better than we had.
He said, "No not as well, only you will not drive Sundays ".
We said we were glad to hear that, and that there was a law in regard to a train boss discharging a man over twenty-five miles from a settlement, and that the Company was responsible for the acts of a train boss. We had a more paying job than to drive a team for him any longer. As he had acknowledged that we had done our duty better than any other men he had, for we had hired to William Russel*10* with the understanding that we were not to drive Sundays.
Then he began to get real good natured, and, I think, a little uneasy; for, if five men left, there was no show to get anyone to drive our teams through. McCann was going on <p.180> the neat day to catch up with the train ahead. Even if the two bosses and the two extra men drove, it would leave one team without a driver and no one to look up camping grounds.
Rennick now began to argue the case with us for a compromise of this difficulty. We spent an hour or two before a settlement was reached. He made several propositions to us before we accepted. Finally he asked us if we would put our things back into the wagon and get in and ride to camp and McCann, himself, and the extra men would tie their mules behind the wagons and drive our teams that afternoon, and we should not be asked to drive again on Sunday unless actually necessary for want of grass or water.
We accepted this proposition.
As we had lost a couple of hours since the cattle were yoked, we could not get far.
We all got into our wagons and rode to camp, except Tuttle.
Soon after starting, I was taken quite sick with a violent chill. Tuttle went to Mr. Rennick to get some medicine for me, as the company had sent a chest of such medicines as thought necessary on such a trip, in care of the train boss. Tuttle took Rennick's whip, and he came to my wagon, found the condition I was in, and went and got me some quinine and such other medicine as he thought I needed.
Tuttle then told Rennick to get on his mule, and he would drive the rest of the day. Mr. Rennick did so and went ahead to hunt a camping place, and in a short time we camped.
Mr. Rennick showed considerable sympathy for me, coming often to my wagon to see how I was getting along, and began to take quite an interest in us. In fact, he was <p.181> naturally a good man, although he had listened a little too much to some of his worthless men. I think he began to see his mistake, and, from this time on, I would not wish a better boss. He worked hard for the interest of his Company and began to appreciate his best men.
In a short time he came into our mess and stayed with us all the way through.
Monday I was not able to drive and he furnished a man to drive for me.
We travelled all day in sight of large herds of buffalo. In the afternoon we saw a very large herd, reaching more than a mile, coming directly towards us, and as we could not drive past before they came upon us, we doubled up our train in as small space as we could and as quickly as possible. We were none too soon for by the time the men got their guns out the leaders were within ten rods of our wagons and still coming. The men fired at them, killing nine in their tracks and wounding many more. Some of them still acted as though they would not be driven off, and Martin Sherwood ran to my wagon, put a cap on my gun, and, pointing to a big buffalo which stood defiantly not more than ten rods from my wagon, said, "Clark, shoot that big fellow."
As I had not shot a buffalo yet, I turned over, put my gun out of the wagon and fired. I did not even hit him. I was so sick I did not see my gun barrel--only the buffalo.
Albert Frank had his gun reloaded by this time and shot him just back of the fore leg. He bellowed, then turned and ran back into the herd. By this time the other men had reloaded and fired into them again. The wounded turned and ran back into the herd, parting them, and they charged by before and behind us.
We were here some time before they all passed. There were thousands in this herd.<p.182>
After they had passed the men took their knives, and, cutting a strip along the back bone, cut out the tender loin of a few of those lying nearest us and left the rest, as we had more buffalo meat than we could use.
Nothing particular occurred during the rest of the day. I began to get better and the next day drove part of the time.
We were still in the buffalo range, but they were not as plenty as before.
We camped that night about six miles from the crossing of the Platte, and drove in the next morning, camped, got an early dinner, and prepared for crossing.
We hitched on to about one-third of our wagons with fifteen yoke of cattle to each wagon, but started into the river with only three wagons.
Mr. Rennick had ridden across the river to see how the ford was, and found the river was full of holes, some a foot deep and others seven or eight feet deep. Unless we zigzagged from one sand drift to another, it would be impossible to cross, as the whole bed of the river was a shifting bed of sand.
We had driven but a few rods before we stalled, with our wagons in four or five feet of water. We swung our cattle up and down several times and tried to make a start, but it was of no use, as the sand began to settle around our wagon wheels. So we sent out and got six yoke of cattle more for each wagon. By the time we got them hitched on for another pull, the sand had drifted around our wagons till they were hub deep in the sand, and the cattle were knee deep. The men would have been in the same fix had they not kept stepping around.
We swung our cattle and made a pull but we were fast and could not move. We had to get our shovels and shovel around the wheels and oxen. Then we took another pull <p.183> and this time got the wagons on the move, but only for a short distance, when we stalled again. It was such hard pulling, the cattle could go but a little way at a time. Every stop the sand would gather as before, and it was almost impossible to get another start. Occasionally a chain would break and we would have to get another or repair it with a link made on purpose. It was impossible to get more than eight or ten rods in an hour. Some of our cattle began to get discouraged which made it still worse. The river is about eighty rods wide at this point.
We finally succeeded in getting three wagons across and our cattle back to the balance of the train by nine o'clock that night. You can guess we were a tired and wet lot of teamsters, after being in the water ten hours, part of the time waist deep.
After changing our clothes and having our supper we were glad to go to bed, except those who had to stand guard.
We left three men on the other side of the river and Rennick sent three more over on mules to stay with them. In the morning we drove all our cattle into the corral and yoked three teams of eighteen yoke each, of the oldest and best cattle and started across.
As we had zigzagged across the river for several rods up and down in crossing the day before, we had learned the best route.
We got across with these wagons without much difficulty. In the course of the day we got the balance of the train across and made a short drive and camped.
We had not been molested by Indians so far. We had met parties of twenty or thirty at different times, but had been cautious. When they came riding near us, we would double up our train and prepare for them, and they would soon ride away apparently friendly. <p.184>
This day, after crossing the Platte, we met an Indian trader with quite a train, loaded with buffalo hides that he had bought of the Indians and was taking to Leavenworth to sell.
He told us that the Indians had attacked the train which was two days ahead of us at Ash Hollow, our next camping place.
Having had no trouble with the Indians, the boss had become careless and had allowed his train to string along, the wagons being some distance apart.
At Ash Hollow there is a steep hill, and, as the head teams were going down this hill, the Indians ran in and cut off the three hind wagons from the rest of the train and stampeded the cattle, upsetting two of the wagons. They killed the two teamsters and plundered the wagons. The third teamster got his gun and jumped behind his wagon, and succeeded in keeping the Indians off till the front teamsters came up and drove them away, wounding several.
This made us a little nervous and still more careful.
In the morning we drove to the top of the hill and closed our train up as close together as we could, and while going down the hill at Ash Hollow, kept a good guard out, for we could take only two or three wagons down at a time. It was a very bad hill to get down with such heavy wagons, and took us some time to get our train down, but we finally got down all right, and camped near the North Platte.
Here William McCarthy, a brother of Frank McCarthy, our assistant boss, met us.
He had been sent out by Majors, Russel & Waddell*11* in charge of a herd of eight hundred beef cattle to drive them to Salt Lake. He had eight men, and a team and wagon to haul their supplies. <p.185>
At Plum Creek, where we had our mutiny a week before, while they were getting their dinner a party of Indians, apparently friendly, came into camp, stayed a short time, and went away. Soon after they left, McCarthy, fearing some mischief, got on his mule and started to go out around his cattle. Another party of Indians came charging towards his cattle. McCarthy put spurs to his mule but they got between him and the cattle and stampeded them.
As soon as McCarthy had got a little way off the other Indians fired into camp, wounding two of the men. They returned the fire, wounding several Indians, then ran towards the herd to meet McCarthy who, by this time, was making toward camp as fast as his mule could run, with several Indians in hot pursuit, one quite close. As he came to a little slough, his mule stopped. The Indian fired and shot his collar off on one side. He then wheeled in his saddle and shot the Indian, and got his mule started again.
As the other men were coming to his rescue, the other Indians turned and started toward the cattle, and the men went back to the wagon.
The two men at camp were only slightly wounded, one through the leg and the other in the side.
They dressed the wounds and concluded to stay here over night, as their cattle were gone. About sundown they were made glad by the arrival of one of the Company's trains.
Majors and Russel*12* by this time had their twenty-six trains on the road only a day or two apart.
In the morning McCarthy put his outfit in charge of this train, then got on his mule and started on ahead, going from one train to another till he reached ours where his brother was, and stayed with us till we reached Fort Laramie. <p.186>
These two Indian scares made us more cautious. We kept good guard around our wagons at night. We were now in the worst Indian country on the route, and we kept close together.
The next day was Sunday and we did our usual chores, but were not asked to drive.
Monday morning we moved on. In the afternoon we saw quite a large party of Indians riding toward us. The boss stopped the head team and commenced to corral. The extra men came charging back, ordering us to corral as quickly as possible, for the Indians were coming upon us.
Every man hurried his team up, and we got them corralled with the cattle inside. Then every man got his gun, and got inside the corral, ready for them, except Rennick and the mounted men.
But before the Indians got to us they began to slow up. They came up and appeared friendly. Whether it was because we were so well prepared for them or not, we never knew. They chatted awhile with the boss and rode off.
We strung out our teams and moved on for the rest of the day without further trouble.
About noon the next day we came in sight of Chimney Rock. It looked but a short distance from the road, but we traveled the rest of that day and till noon the next, and camped right opposite of it.
As soon as we had our dinner, three or four of the boys took their guns and started out, saying they were going to climb Chimney Rock, as we were going to rest here an hour or two.
They started out and traveled till the middle of the afternoon before reaching the rock. It being so late, they did not climb the rock but made tracks for camp, fearing the boss would be after them. It was just dark when they reached camp, so we had to stay here till morning. <p.187>
We heard afterward that it was seven miles out to Chimney Rock from where we camped, but it did not look to be over a mile. The atmosphere here being so dry and clear that it made objects in the distance look very much nearer than they were, and travelers were often badly deceived.
This country was quite different from that we had passed over. From Leavenworth across to where we struck the Platte River near Fort Kearny, it was a fine, beautiful country mostly prairie, with an occasional belt of timber along the streams. But up the South Platte it was comparatively a level, grassy plain from the river back to the sand hills, with no timber, and here we had to substitute buffalo chips for fuel. After reaching Ash Hollow we began to get some scrubby wood.
The whole appearance of the country had changed. It began to be more wavy and rocky, and occasionally there were some scrub cedars, scattered among the rocky hills. The tops of the waves were covered with rock in all the shapes the imagination of man can picture.
After leaving our camp near Chimney Rock, we traveled in the midst of this grand and beautiful scenery a few days, undisturbed by Indians, much to our relief. We now came to Fort Laramie.
The country along the North Platte was nearly the same all the way, although it changed a little as we neared the Laramie range of mountains. There were more of the scrub cedars on the rocky bluffs.
The Laramie Mountains were quite bald, there being little timber except in the canyons.
From Laramie we moved on up the river without any excitement, and, arriving at Horse Shoe Creek, camped close to the Laramie Mountains at Horse Shoe Bend. Here the creek runs in the shape of a horse shoe, and we camped at the mouth of the bend, turning our cattle down in the <p.188> bend--a nice place to herd. At the lower end of the bend was some timber.
George Washington, Tuttle, Sherwood, and myself were on guard the first part of the night.
After Rennick had come out, as was his custom, to see if every man was on duty before he went to bed, and had gone back, we told Tuttle and Sherwood to go to camp and to bed, as they were not feeling well. As we had so far had no use for our guns while on guard, we sent them to camp by the boys. We were not allowed to fire a gun at night unless at Indians.
After the boys had been gone a short time, George Washington fell asleep. He was on the side next the timber. The cattle started into the timber and I ran around to head them off and wake him up. We drove back what we could find, and as we were standing by George's camp fire, we heard more tramping around in the timber. I went into the timber for them while George watched those we had. It was very dark in there. Just as I reached the cattle a pack of wolves set up an unearthly yell close behind me. The cattle jumped and ran as fast as they could, and I was as close behind them as I could keep. The wolves ran after us, yelping at every jump. The cattle ran into the bed of the creek, it being dry, and up toward our camp, leaving the creek opposite my camp fire and running into the herd. I stopped at my fire badly scared. The wolves stopped within a rod or two of the fire, keeping up their howling.
I stuck close to my fire, occasionally throwing a fire brand at them, as they came near, when they would run off a few rods only to return again. I kept them off in this way till our relief came. They were the big gray timber wolves, and there were ten or fifteen in this pack. While standing by my fire, I wished I had my gun. I should have <p.189> fired it, even though I disobeyed orders in doing so. After this I kept my gun when on guard.
We had not got out of sight of camp in the morning before ten or fifteen of these ravenous beasts came into our camp ground to pick up our crumbs.
We moved on for several days around the Laramie Mountains to where Fort Fetterman*13* now stands, with but little change in the scenery. Occasionally w e met an Indian trader with his train of furs and buffalo hides going toward the States.
Our course took us through near where Fort Casper*14* now is. Here the country is different. Occasionally a strip of sand, then some sage brush and alkali spots.
We left the river here for Pacific Springs.*15* The boss told every mess to fill their water kegs before leaving the river, as we would have a dry camp before reaching the Springs. Our mess and some of the others obeyed, but there were two messes who were always short. Each man was afraid he would do more than the others. They did not get any water. We told them that we wouldn't go dry to furnish them water and that they had better fill their kegs, but they did not.
Before we had gone far they were begging water. We gave them water to drink all day, but when night came and supper to get, the whole train was short of water, and only those who had filled their kegs had any for cooking. When these poor fellows came for water to cook with, they were <p.190> refused. But they would not take "no" for an answer, and came in a body and were going to get it by force, when the muzzles of several rifles were leveled at them. They went away, after receiving some good advice from Rennick.
They went back to their messes, and to bed hungry, but wiser men. They were very thirsty before reaching Pacific Springs*16* the next day.
Here we had the worst thunderstorm I ever saw. The wind blew a perfect gale and the rain came down in sheets. The first storm we had had on our trip. In the morning we had quite a job to find our cattle, as they had stampeded in the storm. This was in a sage brush country.
We traveled for some days through a rough hilly country to the Sweetwater River. Here we drove down a long hill into the bed of the river and traveled some distance down the river close to Independence Rock.
This rock was covered as high as men could climb with names of men who had crossed before us--some as early as 1848.
It was rough rocky traveling in the bed of the river and we were glad to strike a dry road again.
Not far from here we came to Soda Lake. This "lake" was a bed of soda or alkali, white as snow, four or five inches deep. We tested the quality of this soda in bread making and it took the place of saleratus very nicely.
Here was the largest sage brush that I ever saw--five or six feet tall. We saw our first elk here and tried to shoot him but failed. We had seen very little game except buffalo and a few antelope which were very shy.
We traveled up the Sweetwater some distance, and camped by the river one day, and, finding plenty of fish, we improvised a seine by taking a wagon cover and attaching an ox chain to it for a sinker. We seined the river <p.191> awhile, catching nearly a bushel of fish--mountain shiners--and had a grand feast. We passed the Rattlesnake Hills and Sweetwater Mountains and crossed the Rockies at South Pass.
We drove on the west slope of the mountains till we reached Dry Sandy Creek. Here we had poor water and heavy, sandy roads, and our cattle were getting weak from the long journey. It was slow traveling down this stream, and we would have to double our teams to get through the sandy streaks.
We went from here on down Big Sandy Creek, and across to Green River near where Granger now is.
We had quite a hard time in crossing this stream.
Here we found a sort of trading post, and they had farmed a little. Rennick found some potatoes here and bought some. They were the first vegetables we had had since leaving Leavenworth, and it was a treat to us all.
Here we laid over, as we were in no hurry now. Colonel Vanvliet*17* had gone into Salt Lake City, and Brigham Young refused to allow the soldiers and their supply trains to enter the city. The Mormons had an armed force stationed along the road out, nearly to old Fort Bridger, one hundred miles from Salt Lake City, and they were building fortifications to keep the government trains out. There were twenty-five hundred armed Mormons stationed along this road.
Colonel Vanvliet*18* came back, and when he met the first train, ordered them to turn back to Ham's Fork and stop till further orders. He left part of his escort with them, exchanged part of his mules, and rode back to Fort Laramie as fast as he could, changing mules at each train and ordering each train to stop at Ham's Fork. <p.192>
We were twenty-six miles from the Fork when he met us.
We rested here a while, then drove in and camped near the other trains. There were four trains ahead of us. This was about the last of September.
There was a fine camping place with plenty of good water and fine grass for our cattle.
Other trains kept coming in every day or two.
After we had been here about a week, Oct. 4, I think it was, Lot Smith, a Mormon captain with two hundred mounted men came riding into camp, stopped awhile, then rode off toward Green River. About seven miles out, he met one of the Company's trains. He stopped them and ordered them to go back. The boss, seeing that they had the advantage of him, said that his cattle were nearly worn out, and that he would have to rest them before he could go far. Smith allowed them to camp and rest up, and then he and his men rode on. When he was out of sight they yoked up and came on to Ham's Fork.
Smith reached Green River just as another train had unyoked, and drew their guns and demanded their arms. The boss, seeing they had no show, surrendered. Smith's men set fire to their train.*19* The boss plead for their private property--clothing, bedding, guns--and the mess wagon with their provisions which they finally allowed them, but burned the twenty-five wagons of government goods before their eyes. Smith then ordered the men to take good care of the cattle till he came back after them.
He and his men went from here to the Sandy and came <p.193> upon two trains close together, camped for dinner, the next day, and burned the wagons, allowing the men their private property and mess wagons and cattle to haul them back to the States. They drove the rest of the cattle back to Green River, where the others were, and left them there.
The boss of the Green River train, with his assistant, came to Ham's Fork the next day.
In a couple of days Rennick and four or five men from each train, with ten soldiers that Vanvliet*20* left, went to Green River, got these cattle, and drove them to Ham's Fork. Then we moved up the Fork two or three miles to shift camp as our herd was now so large and trains were still coming in. We stayed here a few days and moved again.
Rip Van Winkle, boss of one of the trains that was burned, was in charge of the cattle while moving this time. As they were driving the herd along about a half mile behind the wagons, Lot Smith came charging up, took all the men prisoners, and drove off the whole herd of thirteen hundred cattle. He turned the prisoners all loose that day except Rip Van Winkle. They kept him two days before turning him loose.
We now moved camp every day or two on account of grass.
In about two weeks Colonel Alexander*21* came up with one thousand soldiers, but with no. orders.
The Mormons burned the grass ahead of us for several miles.
After the teams had all arrived, Colonel Alexander concluded, as the Mormons had Echo Canyon route so well fortified, he would have to take the Soda Springs route, <p.194> down Bear River and in by the northern settlements. So he ordered us to move up to Soda Springs, eighty miles north.
The Mormons had, before this, captured four teamsters and escorted them into Salt Lake City.
While preparing to move, and after tying up my bed which had been under some willows, I stepped back for my gun which had been under the bed. I took hold of the muzzle, and, as I raised it, the hammer caught on a twig and I got the charge all in my hand which made an ugly wound, disabling me for driving.
We moved on, and in a few days reached Soda Springs. It was now quite cold, and we had some snow before reaching the Springs. In a day or two after eight or ten inches of snow fell and it was very cold weather.
After we had been there about a week an express messenger from Colonel Albert Sydney Johnston came riding into camp with orders for us to move back to the crossing on Ham's Fork, and stay there till he arrived.
We started back. It was very cold and our cattle were weak. We could make but eight or ten miles a day. We left some of our poorest cattle at each camp, they not being able to travel. We arrived at the crossing in eight days. Two days afterwards Colonel Johnston came in with his men.
Some of them rode out to old Fort Bridger, and, after looking it over, came back and ordered us to move on to Bridger, and they would go into winter quarters there.
By this time several mountaineers had fallen in with us and traveled in our company for protection, as the Mormons had killed one or two already.
These mountaineers all had squaws for wives, some of them quite nice looking. The men had some of the finest buckskin suits I ever saw, made by their squaws. The <p.195> seams were welted and fringed and the coats were trimmed with otter fur around the collars and cuffs, down the front, and around the bottom. Across the shoulders and on the sleeves were patterns wrought in beads of various colors. The pants and vests were also trimmed with beads in fine taste.
A company of Dragoons came up to camp before we started. This made about two thousand five hundred men--soldiers and teamsters.
It was a bitter cold day that we started. The train was six miles long. The last of the train did not leave camp till noon, and it was dark when they got into camp that night.
It was a very cold night and the herders could not stay with the cattle. In the morning we found we had lost one hundred and sixty head which had strayed off in the storm, and sixty head of government mules had died in camp. This weakened our teams so that we could move only a part of our train at a time, many of the cattle left being too weak to work. We were six days getting this train twenty-six miles to Ford Bridger.
Here Charley Morehead, Major & Russel's*22* pay master, came in to pay off the teamsters that wanted to stop here. Many of them tool: their pay and volunteered to go into the army. Others went back to the States, being fitted out with teams by the Company.
It was two weeks before our loads had been turned over to the government officers.
Then my comrades and myself took our pay.
Sherwood, Leach, and myself had decided to try to go through Salt Lake City and on to California.
George Tuttle had found a brother here among the Dragoons that had run away from home and enlisted. He was <p.196> under age, and George said he would stop here and try to get him out.
A PRISONER BY THE MORMONS
Utah was under martial law. The troops had captured four Mormon prisoners, among them "Doc" Hickman, a brother of "Bill" Hickman's.*23*
The Mormons had plotted to kill Hurt,*24* an Indian agent that was stationed near Spanish Fork, south of Salt Lake. He had taken to the mountains and came to the soldiers' camp for protection. He brought the news of the Mountain Meadows Massacre*25* and the Parish*26* murder, also that the Mormons had the Aikin*27* brothers and comrades in prison.
Chat Rennick had long before this got to be a warm friend of ours. He tried to persuade me to go back to Leavenworth with him and said he would guarantee me a train in the spring at one hundred dollars a month if I would go. But I was determined to try to get to California.
Colonel Johnston had forbidden any one going into Salt Lake City, and had his pickets out five miles. <p.197>
The Mormons had twenty-five hundred soldiers stationed between here and the City. There was no other way of going except through the Mormon camps.
We each bought an Indian pony. Leach and Sherwood got saddles also, but I could not get one, so I had to use my blankets for a saddle and had rope stirrups.
We went to Colonel Johnston for a pass to go through their lines, but he refused us, and also forbid our going. We asked him what we should do. He told us we could either volunteer or go back to the States. He would give us fifteen days' rations to take us to Laramie where we could get another supply.
This was about the middle of November and very cold weather.
We were not the kind of boys that turned back. We did not care to be soldiers and winter here on quarter rations as it was evident they would have to do. Seventy-five wagon loads of provisions had been burned, we had lost twenty-five hundred head of cattle by the Indians and Mormons and those that strayed off. Colonel Johnston had sent Colonel Marcy across the country to Mexico with pack mules for supplies.
We concluded to take the fifteen days' rations and make sure of that, and then try for California. As Rennick had crossed to California the year before, we concluded to make a confidant of him, tell him our plans, and ask his advice. He tried to discourage us, saying the Mormons would never let us go through. If they did not kill us themselves they would put the Indians on us.
But as he could not discourage us, he gave us what information he could as to how we could get around the pickets, and helped us to some provisions on the sly. Then we started, as was supposed, for the States.
We went fifteen miles toward the States, then struck <p.198> across the bench to a stream called the Muddy,*28* and got down the bluff just at night. It was a very cold night, but we found wood and very good brass on the hill sides, and hobbled our horses for the night.
Then we made some coffee and thawed out our frozen bread and ate supper.
The neat day we traveled down the stream, keeping close under the bluff, till night, and camped close to thirty head of our cattle that had run off the night we left Ham's Fork. Here we felt easy.
We built a good fire, mixed some bread in the top of the sack, and baked it in the ashes, as our cooking utensils consisted only of a coffee pot and three tin cups.
After supper we concluded we could make a little stake by driving these cattle back to the soldiers' camp. The soldiers were so short of food that we thought we would be well paid for them. So the next morning we mounted our ponies and drove the cattle to camp and turned them over to Rennick. He said that we should get good pay for that work. Rennick delivered the cattle to the quartermaster who said he would settle with us the next day.
He came with several wagon bosses the next day to decide on a fair price to pay us. Most of the men thought that two dollars a day would be enough, but Rennick told them that we ought to have big pay, no wages about it; that we had taken big chances, lost three days in the dead of winter and our provisions; and these cattle were fifteen hundred dollars clear to the government, and the soldiers needed them badly, but the cheap men prevailed. They concluded to pay us fifteen dollars apiece. Mr. Rennick was so provoked at this that he gave us more provisions and got a pass for us to go and hunt more cattle. He went <p.199> with us out past the pickets and got us into our camp that night, then went back to the fort.
We traveled all next day and reached the crossing of the Bridger road, thirteen miles from Bridger, just at dark. Here we camped.
Soon it began to snow. We stuck up some sticks and stretched a wagon cover which we had brought with us, to shield us from the storm.
After supper Captain Maxwell, a Mormon officer, with twenty-eight men came riding up, and ordered us to saddle up and go with them, and be quick about it too. We had footed it all day through a foot of snow to save our ponies, and were very tired. We asked permission to stay where we were till morning. He said he didn't want any back talk. So we packed our ponies, mounted, and rode six miles as fast as our ponies could go, with about half of the men in front and the others behind us, to the Mormon camp where there were two or three hundred more men.
They took our ponies for the night and in the morning sent us with an escort of five men to Bear River. Here Leach and Sherwood traded horses with the Mormons and gave their guns to boot, as guns were of no use to us now. They got good strong ponies.
Here they amused us for some time by asking questions. We answered them as we thought best. Finally, when bed time came, they sang some of their Mormon songs and had prayer. But such a prayer I never heard before. They prayed for the destruction of Johnston's army and for the torture of all Gentiles--not excepting present company even. Although hard to listen to we stood it like majors, as we knew there was no other way, and kept as cheerful as we could. We joked with them and made ourselves quite at home, although, I confess, we were very badly scared. Below is a sample of their songs--one verse only: <p.200>
Squaw killer Harney's on the way,
Duda duda day,
The Mormon boys for to slay.
Duda duda day.
Come let us be on hand,
By Brigham Young to stand,
And if our enemies do appear,
We'll sweep them from the land.
Next morning they sent five men with us to their big camp at the entrance of Echo Canyon. There were nine hundred soldiers here. This is a very deep canon. The road ran close to the rocks and wound along the stream. The Mormons had stone fortifications all along on top of the mountains. They could get behind these and shoot the soldiers as they passed through. It was a very strong position.
The Mormons were armed with every conceivable kind of guns from a toy pistol up.
They had prayer here also before retiring.
These were the poorest specimens of humanity that I had ever seen together, nearly all English, Danes, and Welsh. And such clothing! It was impossible to tell what the original goods were.
Remnants of old bed quilts and blankets served, as overcoats. They were a set of bigots--claimed that they could whip the whole world, and that Johnston's army would not be a breakfast spell for them, as they had the Lord on their side to help fight their battles.
We agreed with them in everything and were very anxious to find what settlement would be the best place for us to stop at and make our home.
Next morning they brought up our ponies and we prepared to start with an escort of seven men, Bill Hickman,*29* their "destroying angel", in charge. <p.201>
As we started he asked each of us our names. Sherwood and Leach gave their names first. He turned to me.
I said, "They call me Bill Clark."
"Well, I can recollect that, for my name is Bill Hickman", said he. "I suppose you have heard. of me. You heard Doc Hurt*30* speak of me, didn't you?"
I said that I believed I had.
"I reckon he gives me a hard name."
"I didn't hear him say much of anything. Hurt stayed at the soldiers camp and I was with the freighters", said I.
"I'd like to get in reach of him with my old rifle, he wouldn't tell any more tales, and I'll get him yet", said Hickman.
Then he said to me, "Ain't you afraid of me?"
"No", said I, "why should I be afraid of you any more than anybody else."
"Haven't you heard I was a mighty bad man?"
I told him that I had heard lots of things I didn't believe.
"Why are you not afraid to go with me?" "Because", said I, "I never was anywhere yet, but that if I behaved myself I was treated like a gentleman, and for that reason expect to be with you, and among the Mormons. If we were very much afraid, we wouldn't have traveled three days to get around the pickets to get in here." I lied a little.
Hickman laughed and said, "Well I guess you will be."
Then I said, "Mr. Hickman, how will you trade horses?"
"I can't spare this one," said he, "I have rode him from Bridger to the City, one hundred and sixteen miles, in fourteen hours ".
"He would just suit me, and you would look pretty well on my pony, and I would look lots better on yours." <p.202>
He laughed and said, "You'd look better on that 'ere little pack mule ahead".
I told him I thought he'd feel bad to have such a good looking prisoner on top of that little mule, and top of that load too. Then I never did like a pack saddle to ride on. He said that he would take me into the City on it.
I said that it would look lots better if lie would put me on that big mule he had loose.
"At the next stop you may get on him and ride to Weber Canyon. I'm going to leave him there."
In a few miles we came to a camp and I put my things on him and rode ten miles to Weber Canyon.
We had kept up a lively conversation and Hickman got quite jolly.
It was just noon when we got there, and he asked us into the cook-house to get dinner with hint, saying we need not go hungry while with him, and told us to leave our provisions here, as we did not need any while we were with him.
After dinner I got on my pony, and Hickman said I could ride him a few miles, or till he gave out, then he would pack me on the little pack mule.
I said, "Not much. You don't know the kind of stuff that pony is made of. He's not one that will get his master on a pack saddle." We rode on to Little's camp. This was on top of the mountain, and their last camp before reaching the City. We got here just before dark. There were two of Brigham's sons here, Joseph and Brigham, Jr. These Mormons were a more surly and sarcastic set, full of stinging remarks to us. We kept as cheerful as we could and did not pretend to take their slurs, although hard to bear.
Here they sang several of their Mormon songs. They had board seats to seat the whole camp. They invited (?) <p.203> us to take seats near the middle with Mormons surrounding us. Then a tall, slim, hatchet faced man by the name of Little knelt in front of us and commenced to pray.
He prayed for a full hour, and asked the Lord to bring death and destruction to the United States officials, to Johnston's whole army and every sympathizer, and every Gentile living. He prayed that they should all be tortured in the most horrible manner.
I think it must have taken the whole combined talent of the heads of the Mormon Church to invent this prayer. It was a hard thing to listen to and keep our nerves quiet and hands off. But to look crooked would have been death to us, so we bore it with all the grace we could command. This was a long night to us, after this prayer.
There were about two hundred Mormons in this camp. After breakfast in the morning we gave our wagon cover to the Mormons, as we had no more use for it, and started out. Hickman said I might ride my pony a ways, then he would put me on the pack mule. I told him my pony was all right.
We had a good deal of rough road, and going over the mountain, I would jump off and walk, and rest my pony, every chance I got.
Every little while Hickman would ask if my pony was give out.
I would tell him "No, nor he wasn't going to either". Then he would start off on the jump for a while.
We traveled on till noon, when we came to a station and got dinner and fed our horses well. It being very cold, we rested a good hour, then started on. It began to get warmer, and in a few miles it was muddy. Every little hill that we went over, I would walk and rest my pony. As we turned out of Emigration Canyon there was quite a hill, and I was leading my pony. <p.204>
Hickman called, "Is the pony give out?" "No", said I.
We were now nine miles from the City.
"Well, come on then", said he, and we went on the jump as fast as my pony could run, clear to the City, without ever letting up for a moment.
I was eight or ten rods behind, doing my best to keep up, when we went down the bench into the suburbs of the City, and every Mormon woman and child was out to see Hickman and his prisoners.
They could tell a Gentile as far as they could see him by their hair and dress. The Mormons all had long hair. Every house we passed, they would rush out to see us. I didn't blame them much for looking at me. I think I would have made a good picture for a comic almanac. I was six feet and an inch and slim. My pony weighed about seven hundred pounds. With my blankets roped around him and rope stirrups, gun slung across my back, my sack of clothing in front of me, and a Scotch cap with a shiny visor on my head, I didn't wonder that they stared at me. But we kept on the jump and when the others reached Main Street they halted till I came up, then we rode down Main Street.
I rode up beside Hickman and said, "You look dry. Can't we get something to warm us up?" I had sized him up.
"No", said he, "they are not allowed to sell a drop in the Territory, but you might inquire at Kimbal's there". "Hold on, I'll see". I got off and went in and said, "Give me a little good stuff--Valley tan if you have it ." They said, "We are not allowed to sell a drop in the Territory."
I laid a five dollar gold piece on the counter and told him to give me a quart in an old tin.
He took the gold piece, put it in the drawer, handed me <p.205> three dollars, took a two-quart pail, went into the back room, then came back and gave it to me. I took it out and told Hickman, as we were namesakes, we would test it first, and, if it did not kill us, we would give the others some.
I drunk and passed it to him. We concluded that it would not kill us and passed it around. There was a little left, so Hickman and I finished it. Then we went to Townsend's Hotel.
Hickman introduced us to the landlord as "three Gentile prisoners he had captured in the mountains", adding, "They are pretty good boys. Take good care of them, and I will be in in the morning."
I persuaded Hickman to stop and take supper with us. He consented, and the rest of the escort went their way. He got to be very sociable and said he had a "fool Gentile brother" and he would bring him in and introduce him to us, and that he would come tomorrow and take us up to Brigham's and get us a pass to travel where we wished in the Territory, as after a while we would join the Church. We told him we liked it here very much and would try to enjoy ourselves the best we could.
He had begun, by this time, to think we were just about green enough for good Mormon converts, and we were willing that he should.
A great many came in to see the prisoners, among them Hyrum Smith, Kimball,*31* and others at the head of the Church. They asked us all sorts of questions regarding Johnston's army. We were very ignorant, knew but little about it. We were ox, teamsters; all we knew about them was that their supplies were short, and they would be on short rations. This pleased the Mormons, and they would say, "The Lord will take care of us and fight our battles", <p.206>and that Colonel Johnston's army could never come into Salt Lake City.
We agreed with them in every thing that seemed to please them.
Griff Williams, the mail carrier from San Bernadino, was also there that night.
In the evening before going to bed, the office being clear except Williams and us boys, Williams moved over to where we were sitting and said in a whisper, "Be very careful what you say in this house. These walls have ears. I know what I am talking about. The man who keeps this house is a villain, an one wrong statement from one of you might put you all out of the way."
He said that he had just come in from San Bernardino with the mail. He had hard work to get through, both from Indians and Mormons. A cousin of his, living at Redfield, had hard work to save his life while in her own house. Finally on account of his having the U. S. mail they concluded to let him pass and told his cousin that they would "fix" him on his return. But he had had another man to take the mail back and he was waiting here for Amasy Lyman,*32* one of the twelve apostles, from California, that he was acquainted with, and expected him here in a day or two, and he would go south with him for protection. He said Lyman did not approve of the Mountain Meadows Massacre or any of the murders that had been committed in Utah. He had charge of the San Bernardino Mormons, and, after the Mountain Meadows Massacre, Brigham had ordered him and his flock home to Utah. He had just come into the southern settlements with one train and part of his wives, and was going to send a train from Johnson's Fork back to California for the rest of his family, and help others to come that were not able. <p.207> Williams was going to California with this train. A Mr. Savage was to take charge of the train. He was a good man, and Williams thought that, if we could reach his place, we might get him to intercede for us. Although, if the Mormons let us pass, the Indians would hardly let us, for the Mormons had them completely under their control, and a wink from a Mormon would settle us. The Mormons had missionaries among them to keep them stirred up all the time. These missionaries claimed that they had to promise the Indians more scalps when Williams came back in order to let him pass.
Williams also said that the Mormons had had the Aikins*33* brothers and comrades--six in all--in prison for two months on one charge or another, and had just sent them out the south route with an escort with Porter Rockwell in charge, and, if we ever heard of them again, we would probably hear that the Indians had killed them.
Porter Rockwell and Bill Hickman were the leading Danites, or "Destroying Angels", and with Porter Rockwell in charge was proof that they would never reach California.
I will state here the condition of the Mormon Church at that time.
Brigham Young and his officials had a death grasp on every man in the Church--or out of it in Utah. He made every Mormon consecrate all of his property to the Church, which was really a deed subject to the dictation of the church. They could not take any property out of the Territory, except with Brigham's Permission.
Brigham also had a revelation that every Mormon must confess all of his sins and crimes to the bishops and high priest of their settlement, and they did so.
He had a set of officers called Danites scattered through <p.208> the Territory, for the purpose of putting any of their brethren out of the way when they became dissatisfied with the Church, also to take care of any Gentiles they could find. Hence the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the Aikins' murder, the Parish*34* murder, the Potter murder, and a hundred others.
There were many Mormons who did not sanction these butcheries, but dare not say a word against it for fear that their turn would come next, but they dare not disobey an order said to come from Brigham.
Brigham Young would preach inflammatory sermons, and almost order a murder by saying, "You must make a settlement" with such and such people "or I will turn the Indians loose upon them". The bishops and apostles would do the same. It was difficult for a man not in full sympathy with all of their doings to escape their vengeance. To disobey an order from Brigham was almost certain death, and, in the outer settlements, to disobey an order from a bishop was the same.
But to return to the Townsend Hotel.
About ten o'clock in the morning Bill Hickman came in with his "fool Gentile brother", introduced him to us and was quite jolly. As I found that "medicine" which we had the night before at Kimbal's did Hickman so much good, I asked him if we hadn't better go and get another dose. He thought we had. So we went to Kimbal's store and said we would like to go into his back room. He opened the door, handed me a cup, and pointed to a barrel. We went in, drew some, and all drank a little. I paid the bill, and then we went for a walk.
After awhile we went to Kimbal's again. Then Hickman said that he would take us up to Brigham's, introduce us to him, and see what he could do for us there. <p.209> We went to Brigham's office, and Hickman introduced us as "three Gentile prisoners," and said, "They are pretty good boys too, and are going to stay with us. They want a pass to travel around to find a good place to stop this winter".
Brigham gave us a pass and we chatted awhile, then went back to Kimbal's, as we had learned how to treat Hickman's case. Hickman then invited us to come out to his place and stay over night. He told us that, if we couldn't get anything to do to make a living for the winter, he would donate us a fat ox and twenty bushels of wheat and we could get through on that. Then he shook hands, bade us goodbye and rode away.
FROM SALT LAKE TO CALIFORNIA
The next day a man by the name of Brown came in from the soldiers' camp with a fine horse.
I tried to trade a gold watch that I had for his horse, but, as he lived at Fillmore, one hundred and fifty miles south, he said that he couldn't trade, as he would have no way of getting home. I told him that we intended to go down that way in about a week, and, if I wanted the horse, I would call and see him. He said that I could have him then if I wanted him.
One day we got on our ponies and went out to Hickman's place, eight miles from the City, as we had agreed. He was not at home, but we stayed all night. We came back to the City the next morning.
We started south the next day, saying that we were going to Cottonwood, but we went on south. In the afternoon we fell in company with a young man by the name of Gid Finley from Salt Creek, one hundred and ten miles south of Salt Lake. <p.210>
He had been out to the Mormon camp with some supplies for the soldiers.
We rode along in company with him for some time, and, as our luggage was burdensome, he said that we might put it in his wagon, which we did. I put my gun in also.
He was quite a nice young man. He wanted my rifle. I told him that I would like to trade my pony and rifle for a larger horse. He said that he had a good horse at home that would suit me.
That night we stayed at American Fork with the bishop. In the morning we started on, intending to go home with Gid Finley and make a trade. We began to place a little confidence in him. When we got to Springville, he told us to stop at Bishop Redfield's for dinner, and he would go to an acquaintance's of his, and if he started before we did, we would find him at Payson at the bishop's that night. We stopped at Bishop Redfield's, and they were very nice people. They got us a fine dinner, and we stayed two hours. We told them that we were going to Johnson's Fort to try to go through to California with Savage's train. The bishop said, "You better not try it. The Indians are very bad."
We said that we would be careful in going from one settlement to another, and that we were in company with Mr. Finley.
He said, `You can trust him. He is a good young man. But he can't keep you from the Indians. They are very bad. I know what I am talking about."
His wife tried to persuade us to stop with them for a while, for it would be impossible for us to get through. But, as our baggage was with Finley, we thought that we would take our chances, and catch up with him.
The bishop said, "From the bottom of my heart I wish you no harm". Then, throwing his head back, "The In-<p.211>dians are mighty bad, and not altogether the Indians". As he said this, the tears rolled down his cheeks.
But we saddled up, and he and his wife came out, and, with tears rolling down their cheeks, gave each of us a hearty shake of the hand, saying, "May the Lord bless you' .
We started, badly scared inside if we did not show it outside, and rode on to overtake Finley.
As we had lost two hours, we rode to Spanish Fork without coming up with him. Here we inquired about him and learned that he was half an hour ahead. We pushed on out of town and across the creek, then about a mile to the top of a hill which sloped down to the bottom which we had to cross to go to Payson.
At the top of the hill we met a man coming with his horse on the lope. As he came up to us, he halted and said he had been watching for us all the afternoon, as Jack Brown had told him to be sure to tell us to go through from Spanish Fork in the night, or the Indians would kill us. I asked him who Brown was.
"Why, he is the man that was talking about trading his horse to you for a gold watch".
I said that I remembered him.
"He said that he rode through from Salt Lake to Fillmore in three days, and the Indians had heard that you were coming before he got home, and were on the lookout for you.
"You see that smoke there on the flat near Doc Hurt's*35* old place?"
"Well, fifteen or twenty Indians have just camped there. They described you three and inquired of me if I had seen <p.212> you. I told them that I had not. They are on the look out for you".
We asked if he had met Finley.
He said that we could just see him. "He can travel anywhere. The Indians never trouble us Mormons. We all can talk their language and go where we please".
I said that Finley had our clothes and my gun.
"Let him go with them", said he, and you go back to Spanish Fork and stay a day or two, for it is impossible for you to pass that Indian camp".
I asked him if he would go back and get our things.
He said that he would for five dollars. I told him that I would give it.
He said that he would be back to the bishop's by eight o'clock that night, and for us to go there to stay.
We went back and stayed with the bishop that night, but our clothes and gun did not come.
When bed time came they had prayer, and all knelt down but me. When they arose, the bishop took me to task for it, but I told him that I had too much respect for their religion to make a mock of it; that I did not belong to any church, and did not wish to insult them on religious matters. He accepted my apology, but it left Sherwood and Leach in a fix, and he turned to them for an explanation of their actions.
But Sherwood was equal to the occasion, although a little embarrassed. He spoke right up and said that he and Leach were different from Clark as they were both brought up under religious influences and were used to kneeling with church people, and since they came to Utah the Mormons seemed near to them, and they deemed it a privilege to kneel with them in worship.
This explanation satisfied him.
The next day about ten o'clock the man came in with our <p.213> clothing but no gun. He said that his horse got scared and he dropped the gun and could not find it, and as he had lost the gun, he would not charge us anything for bringing the rest and seemed sorry that the gun was lost.
That day a Mormon claimed Mart Sherwood's horse that he had got in trade from a Mormon soldier, proved that it was his, and took it away.
Now that his horse was gone, Sherwood concluded that he would stay here and join the Church.
He had that day found a Mormon that came from near where he did in Wisconsin. Sherwood joined the Church, and, in the spring got out.
I bought his saddle, and in a couple of days, as the Indians had moved their camp about half a mile from the road, Leach and myself determined to go through if possible.
So we started just at dark and rode to Payson, twelve miles and put up with the bishop.
The next day we reached Salt Creek and stopped with the Finleys. The young man was sorry that I had lost my rifle.
They were clever people and seemed very much alarmed for our safety. That night the sister of the young man's, an old maid, made one of the most pathetic prayers that I ever listened to. She prayed especially for our safety on the trip, asking the Lord to protect us from the Indians or any harm that might come to us, and that we might reach our destination in safety.
Six days before this the Aikins brothers and comrades, who left Salt Lake City the day we arrived under an escort with Porter Rockwell in charge, had, four of them, been killed on the Sevier River, sixteen miles from here, and the other two were wounded and ran back here and went to the bishop's for protection. He kept them four days, then <p.214> there was an official meeting called, and orders given for them to be taken out to Willow Creek and killed. This creek we crossed four miles from here.
It was at this time reported to us as having been done by the Indians.
In the morning we rode out into the foot hills with Finley to find his pony. We drove him up and I traded with him, giving him twenty dollars to boot.
We got our dinner and it was two o'clock before we started. We learned that Amasa Lyman and Griff Williams, the mail carrier, had passed. We mounted our ponies and started to overtake them.
There was no settlement for thirty miles, and we rode hard, determined to overtake them before camping, which we did about dark on the Sevier River and camped close to where the Aikins boys were killed a week before.
The snow was a foot deep and it was a very cold night. We had no shelter but plenty of wood.
We moved our fire and when the ground got cool enough, we spread our blankets down on the warm place and went to bed and to sleep, but about midnight woke up nearly frozen. We got up shivering and moved our fire again, and soon had another warm bed. But before daylight we froze out again. After this we made our bed on the snow and slept more comfortable.
The nest day we arrived at Johnson's Fort where Savage was getting ready to start for California.
Here we stopped, and Griff Williams went on with Lyman to Cedar City. Before going they spoke a good word to Savage for us.
There were two buildings here, and they were forted in with a high adobe wall for protection against Indians. This was five miles south of Fillmore and fourteen south <p.215> of Corn Creek Reservation where there was quite a tribe of Indians.
Savage went to Fillmore to complete getting ready to start, and Leach and myself went with him. Here I met Jack Brown, the man who sent word for us to come through in the night. He told us that we would have to be very careful, as the Indians were very anxious about us. He said he would do all that he could for us, and thought Savage could keep them off.
When we got back to the Fort that night, there were a dozen or more Indians there. Mrs. Johnson told us they were planning to steal our horses and saddles. She had overheard their plans. They had picked out our horses and saddles and looked them over, and, unless we guarded them closely, they would have them.
She told Savage about it, and he called the Indians and told them that he had bought our horses and saddles. He gave them a big talk in their own language and they went off.
In the morning we made a bargain with Mr. Savage to take us through. We gave him our horses and saddles and twenty dollars apiece, besides driving and taking care of a four mule team, and he was to do the best that lie could to get us through to San Bernardino--a good one hundred and twenty-five dollars apiece besides our work, for our grub and his influence.
We now started for California. There was another Gentile by the name of Dickey that had come in from California with Amasa Lyman with goods to sell in the Territory. He went with us.
Lyman had gone ahead to Santa Clara, the southern settlement, and made arrangements as he went along to have all the Indians on the route from Johnson's Fort to Santa Clara pacified to let us pass, and sent word for all <p.216> of the Indians to come into Santa Clara the day that we were there. He also sent for Ira Hatch, their best Indian interpreter.
We got to Fillmore the first day. Here a train joined us. Our train was made up of teams from each settlement along the road to Cedar City. When we arrived at Cedar City we were joined by Lyman and Griff Williams.
We took the Mountain Meadows route and camped by a spring, four miles from the Meadows. Next day we went over the ground of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, *36* the most brutal and barbarous massacre ever committed on the American continent--and this plotted and planned by Mormon officials. Bishop Higbee and President Haight of Cedar City, and John D. Lee *37* of Harmony were leaders of this massacre. There were one hundred and thirty-two emigrants killed, and they saved seventeen children. This was said to be the richest train that had ever crossed the plains.
The Mormons and Indians got $80,000, over three hundred head of stock, and the outfits from this massacre, the Indians getting but a small share. Joel White, one of the Mountain Meadows police, was with our train. We were the first train that ever passed over this ground after that wholesale murder, and we Gentiles were ordered to stay close to our wagons and not be looking around, as it would not be safe for us if we did. But I counted eighteen skeletons close to the road, mostly of women and children with the hair still on their skulls. It was enough to make a man's blood run cold, and to know that some of the perpetrators of that deed were in our train! <p.217> It will be remembered by the readers of the trial of John D. Lee, a few years later, that Joel White, though not actively engaged in the killing of any, was on police duty, and reported the progress of the massacre to the settlements, it being nearly a week after they were attacked before they surrendered and the massacre took place.
That night we camped near Hamlin's ranch, just over the divide. It was quite cold here.
The next day w e rolled down to the Santa Clara.*38* Here it was warm summer weather. We had come from cold winter, in one day, into a fine warm climate. We stayed here the next day, and the Indians came in from some distance around to meet the great apostle, Amasa Lyman and receive instructions from him.
He preached to them for some time and Ira Hatch, the interpreter, repeated his sermon to them. Lyman instructed them to let this train and us four Gentiles pass through their country unharmed, and requested the chief of this tribe to send a messenger from one tribe to another for our protection.
This chief sent an under chief to the next tribe on the Rio Virgin, and from there the chief sent a messenger to the Muddy *39* where the big camp of the [Paiutes]*40* was. Here the Mormons had two missionaries, *41* McConnel and Liston. This was the place where they had the Indians worked up to kill Griff Williams on his way down. But <p.218> after Dickey had gone through with Lyman's train, they thought best to let Williams pass and they would be sure of them both when they came back.
So they had hard work to get him through this time. The under chief got in here half a day in advance of us and had the Indians quieted down before we arrived. They seemed quite friendly, although some of them acted rather surly.
After dinner, as I was seated on my wagon seat mending some clothing and Williams sitting beside me, McConnell, one of the missionaries, came up to the forward wheel of the wagon and began to tell Williams what hard work he had to keep the Indians from killing him when he went through before. After he had explained how hard he had worked to save his life, a big young buck stepped up to the wagon, climbed up, put his arm around Williams' neck, and said, "Poshupe, McConnel lies. McConnel say Poshupe Americuts, cots wino (bad) and to kill Poshupe". As he said this he stuck his finger into McConnel's face.
"Poshupe always give Piute tobac (tobacco) and shotcup (food). Piute like Poshupe but McConnel say Poshupe was Americuts, c-o-ts w in o Americuts, and to kill Poshupe".
McConnel did not know what to say, and did not say a word, but went away.
Poshupe was the name that the Indians gave Williams on account of his long heavy eyebrows.
Here we left the Muddy and went up a long ravine nine miles, out on the descent to the Vegas Springs about sixty miles.
About two weeks before, a large train from the States had passed through Utah, the first train after the Mountain Meadows Massacre. This was Crooks, Cooper, and Collins's train. They had been very careful not to arouse the Mormons, and had hired Ira Hatch and another interpreter, <p.219> the two best in Utah, to guide them through and pacify the Indians. They piloted thus train through by way of Old Harmony, instead of over the massacre ground.
While that train was moving up this ravine the Indians charged down on them and drove off all of their loose stock, about one hundred head. The men were going to protect themselves, and their property, and there were enough to have done so, there being sixty in the train, but the interpreters ordered them not to or they would all be killed; but let the Indians have their stock and not get into a fight with them, and they would go and get the stock back. They took their advice and Hatch and the other man went off after the cattle, but never returned. The Company paid the interpreters one hundred dollars apiece in advance, and now they had lost their stock in the bargain.
We went on to the Vegas Springs *42* without any trouble. This desert is covered in many places with desert brush, and along the road was a great variety of cactus.
The bayonet cactus grows out of the ground like a mass of bayonets to the height of four feet. The cactus tree, which was plentiful, grows to be twenty feet high, and the trunks of some were a foot through. The top branches were covered with bayonet like leaves. The body was a mass of wiry fibers woven through and through, filled in with a light punky substance. When dead, a man could carry quite a large tree. These dead trees made a beautiful fire, and in the night, when crossing this desert, we would set fire to them as we went along, just to see them burn.
We were nearly two days and one night in crossing this desert to the Vegas. Here was a nice camping place.
We arrived at the Vegas Springs on January first, 1858.
Three or four of us took a bath in this spring on New Year's Day. Although out of the bathing season, we enjoyed it very much.
There was quite a party of Indians here, but they appeared friendly.
Our next camping place was at Cottonwood Springs, a nice place to camp. There was some cottonwood timber here.
There is a little history connected with this camp. Early in the fifties a man by the name of Pomroy crossed the plains to Utah with a train of merchandise, eight or ten loads. He went to Salt Lake City, sold his goods, and started across to California.
After he had got out on the desert, he found that his men were planning to steal his money, and he feared they would kill him to get it. So, when within a day's travel of Cottonwood Springs, Pomroy took a mule and some provisions, and started for San Bernardino, leaving his train and money in charge of his wagon boss. The night that he reached San Bernardino he dreamed that he saw his saddle bags, containing his money, move from his wagon into a bank about twenty rods from camp.
He got up wild with excitement over his dream, as he had over $10,000. He hunted up a man by the name of C. L. Kingston who had carried the mail across to Utah, told him of his trouble, and hired him to go back with him to hunt his money. They each packed a pack mule and started. It was two hundred and fifty miles to Cottonwood, where he dreamed that his money was.
They went out to the Mojave and met the train. His wagon boss told him that the money was stolen the night they camped at Cottonwood. Pomroy and Kingston pushed on. When they got to Mountain Spring, *43* twenty-five miles <p.221> from Cottonwood, they camped for the night. In the morning Pomroy said that he had had another dream. He saw his money move out of the bank where it was hid and out of sight. He was discouraged now and wanted to turn back, but Kingston would not now, and said they would go on to the place.
He had hard work to get Pomroy to go. Pomroy said it was useless, as the money was gone. But, as Kingston insisted, they rode on to the place, and Pomroy pointing to a bank, said, "It was right over there in the side of that bank, but it is not there now."
Kingston got off of his horse, went to the place, and found fresh dirt. He looked around and found a string. Then he called Pomroy, who said that it was the string which fastened his saddle bags. It was greasy, having been covered up with bacon in the mess wagon.
They went down the "wash", as they could see that the gravel had been disturbed. They followed the wash about twenty rods and came upon his money, all spilled out on the gravel, and picked up every dollar, $10,300.
The wolves had smelled the greasy saddle bag, dug it out, dragged it along by one corner, and spilled the money out in a pile.
I knew this man Kingston from '58 to '64, and have heard him tell this story several times, and believe it to be true.
Our neat camp was at Mountain Spring. There were some Indians here, but we had no trouble with them. All of the Indians, after leaving the Mormon settlements, are Piutes. They are not very strong. Scarcely any of these little tribes could muster over fifty warriors. They never had any horses. If they get one, they kill it for food. They are a sort of Digger Indian, living mostly on roots and lizards, and in the season when there is no travel they <p.222> get very poor. In the winter, when there is considerable travel, they fat up like pigs. Everyone that crosses expects to feed them and they seldom attack a train, but often pick off a man if they can catch him away from camp. They will hide in the brush and shoot down a horse or mule in a team, then they get it for food. They never have been known to attack much of a train, unless helped by the Mormons.
From here we went to Kingston Spring, forty-five miles. This spring was discovered by C. L. Kingston and Pomroy on their return, after finding Pomroy's money, who gave it this name.
Before that the route had been by the Resting Springs. We left the Kingston Spring and crossed the next desert of forty-five miles to Bitter Springs. At these two desert springs the water is very poor, having a bitter taste, but travelers have to put up with it. We seldom saw Indians here.
Our next drive brought us to the foot of the Mojave. Here we found better water and very good grass.
This stream sinks out of sight and there is no water along it, except in holes, for thirty miles.
At the end of the next day's drive we camped at the head of this stream.
From here we drove into San Bernardino, arriving there on the thirteenth day of January, 1858. It was warm and delightful weather and the grass was green.
Here we found Crooks, Cooper, and Collins. When they found out what Mr. Savage charged us to let us work our passage through, they were determined that he should give us back our horses and saddles. But we told them that the ship that landed us safely out of Utah, no matter what the cost, was welcome to all it got, for now we could breathe easy. <p.223>
I will go back to my friends--Tuttle, whom I left at Bridger to get his brother out of the army, and Sherwood at Spanish Fork among the Mormons.
Sherwood, I afterward learned, joined the Church, and worked around and got enough money to make a payment on a house and lot. He gained the good graces of a prominent Mormon's daughter, and got Brigham's consent to marry her. Then he got an outfit to go back to the States after a threshing machine, and, when spring opened so that he could cross the mountains, Brigham gave him a pass to go after his machine, and he started.
When two days out, he met a man with a few wagons loaded with merchandise. This man had come out and wintered at Bridger, and was going into the city to sell his goods. Tuttle, having succeeded in getting his brother out of the army, was with him.
This man feared that Brigham would not allow him to sell them in the Territory and offered Sherwood and Tuttle a good commission if Sherwood would get a permit from Brigham and help sell them.
Sherwood went back to Salt Lake City and told Brigham that this man was owing him, and his only show to get his pay was out of these goods.
Brigham gave him a permit and he went back, and they bought the goods, and sold them at a big commission, making quite a little stake out of it.
Then Sherwood with Tuttle and his brother went back to Wisconsin.
In 1863 I was in Spanish Fork, but Sherwood had not got back with his threshing machine, nor to claim his Mormon girl.
--Iowa Journal of History and Politics, v. 20, April, 1922, p. 163-223.
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1 The name of this firm is usually written Russell, Majors, and Waddell. Alexander Majors began freighting across the plains in 1818. It is said that he never drank nor swore and that he made his employees sign a contract not to drink, gamble, or swear. In 1855 he combined with another freighting firm under the name Majors and Russell, but in 1858 the firm name became Russell, Majors, and Waddell. This was the largest of the freighting companies, using in the year 1858 some 3500 wagons, 40,000 oxen, and 1000 mules. Over 4000 men were employed. The business was extended to include passenger and express service and in 1860 at the suggestion of William H. Russell, one of the partners, the Pony Express was established.--Hartman's The California and Oregon Trail, a thesis in the possession of the library of the State University of Iowa; Visscher's The Pony Express, pp. 18, 20, 22; Coman's Economic Beginnings of the Far West, Vol. II, p. 355; Rhodes's History of the United States, 1850-1877, Vol. III, p. 237.
2 See above, note 1.
3 This was Captain Stewart Van Vliet.--House Executive Documents, 35th Congress, 1st Session, Vol. X, Doc. No. 71, p. 26.
4 See above, note 1.
5 William H. Russell.--Visscher's The Pony Express, p. 29.
6 James Henry Lane was president of the Topeka constitutional convention in 1855, was second in command of the free state forces in the so-called Wakarusa War, and was chosen United States Senator from Kansas in 1856 under the Topeka constitution, but his election was not recognized by the Senate.--Spring's Kansas, pp. 70, 92, 272.
7 See above, note 5.
8 The Grasshopper River flows into the Kansas River from the north.
9 Possibly this is Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
10 See above, note 5.
11 See above, note 1.
12 See above, note 1.
13 Fort Fetterman was established in 1867 at the point where La Prele Creek empties into the North Platte.
14 This fort was located near the site of the present town of Casper, Wyoming. C. G. Coutant says the spelling should be Caspar and that it was named is honor of Lieutenant Caspar Collins who was killed by the Indians in 1865.--Coutant's The History of Wyoming, pp. 477, 473.
15 This is apparently an error. Pacific Springs was on the other side of South Pass beyond the Sweetwater River. The writer may mean Willow Springs.
16 See above, note 15.
17 See above, note 3.
18 See above, note 3.
19 Various authorities differ as to the burning of these wagon trains. H. H. Bancroft gives three on Green River; Colonel E. B. Alexander, commander of the advance guard, and William A. Linn both give the number as one on the Big Sandy and two on Green River.--Linn's The Story of the Mormons, pp. 489, 490; Bancroft's History of Utah, pp. 515, 518; House Executive Documents, 35th Congress, 1st Session, Vol. X, Doc. No. 71, pp. 31, 63.
20 See above, note 3.
21 Colonel E. B. Alexander was in command of the advance guard of United States soldiers.
22 See above, note 1.
23 Bill Hickman, one of the leaders of the radical group of Mormons, had been implicated in the murder of the Aikin party of six men in the spring of 1857.--Linn's The Story of the Mormons, p. 450.
24 Garland Hurt. For his reports on the troubles with the Indians and Mormons see House Executive Documents, 35th Congress, 1st Session, Vol. X, Doc. No. 71.
25 The Mountain Meadows Massacre occurred in September, 1857, in the southwestern part of Utah. Over one hundred and twenty emigrants, who had been persuaded by the Mormons to leave their camp where they were defending themselves with difficulty from the Indians, were killed by the Mormons who had promised to save them from their Indian enemies. Seventeen small children were kept until their release was demanded by the government.--Linn's The Story of the Mormons, pp. 517-534.
26 This was probably William R. Parrish, a Mormon who, it was believed, had become dissatisfied with the administration of Brigham Young. He and one of his sons were assassinated by the Mormons.--Linn's The Story of the Mormons, pp. 448-450.
27 This was the incident referred to above in note 23.--Linn's The Story of the Mormons, p. 450.
28 Probably Muddy Creek, a stream a short distance north of the camp at Fort Bridger.
29 See above, note 23.
30 See above, note 24.
31 Probably Heber C. Kimball, a prominent Mormon leader.
32 Amasa W. Lyman.
33 See above, note 23.
34 See above, note 26.
35 See above, note 24.
36 See above, note 25.
37 John D. Lee was the man who persuaded the emigrants at Mountain Meadows to leave their camp. He was later tried on the charge of murder and executed by shooting on the scene of the massacre in March, 1875.
38 The Santa Clara River is in the southwestern corner of Utah and flows into the Virgin River.
39 This is probably a small stream flowing into the Virgin River, west of the larger stream.
40 This name has been supplied. There was a reservation of these Indians at this place.--Hodge's Handbook of American Indians, Vol. II, p. 187.
41 For an account of the difficulties of the Indian agents with the Mormon missionaries, see Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1857, pp. 305-308. Brigham Young, at this time was Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Utah Territory by virtue of his position as Governor of the Territory.
42 The springs mentioned here and on the following pages are difficult to locate. Vegas Springs was evidently in southern Nevada.
43 Mountain Spring is in southern Nevada southwest of Las Vegas.