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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 12, No. 2
June, 1934
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN LOWERY BROWN, OF THE CHEROKEE NATION EN ROUTE TO CALIFORNIA IN 1850

Transcribed from the Original and annotated
By Muriel H. Wright


Page 177

Foreword

Yellowed and crumbling with the passing of eighty-four years, the pages of a small, leather bound notebook reveal the story of the overland journey of a party of Cherokees who set out from the Grand Saline, Cherokee Nation, for California in 1850. This journal was kept by a young Cherokee, John Lowery Brown, who recorded the progress of the emigrants day by day. It tells the difficulties encountered along a wilderness trail through the Rocky Mountains; the perils of travel over vast stretches of desert without water and food; the danger of attack by hostile Indians living in those regions; and the terrible epidemic of cholera that swept the West, causing the deaths of thousands of emigrants along all the thoroughfares to the Pacific coast in 1850. Something in the flourish of the faded words "Off for California" at the top of the first page of this old journal still imparts the enthusiasm and high courage that fired the spirits of the adventurers to leave their nation in view of such hazards. Lured by the discovery of gold in California, several parties of Cherokees, other than Brown's, set out about the same time. Many of them were young men who never returned home.

The journal was written in ink, an entry being made every day from the time Brown left a point near present Stillwell, Adair County, Oklahoma, on April 20, until reaching the gold fields in California on September 28, a total of 161 days. Intermittent entries were set down in the journal up to December 11, 1850. The writing, spelling and punctuation compare well with other early records, kept in the midst of the excitement and the hardships attending life on an overland trail. The pages are not numbered, all entries having been set down consecutively on the right hand page up to and including page forty-four, after which regular

Page 178

entries were made on both sides of the leaf. There are seventy-five pages of entries, additional notes appearing in the date margins and on several pages to the left up to page forty-four.

The publication of this journal for the first time and its presentation herewith to readers of Chronicles of Oklahoma were made possible through the loan of the original by its present owner, Mrs. E. W. Gist, of Oklahoma City, a granddaughter of John Lowery Brown.1 The transcript which follows is an exact copy of the original, including spelling, punctuation, position of the entries on the page, marginal notes, and left hand page notes. However, in some places where no punctuation appears in the original, spaces have been left in the transcript to make the reading less confusing. In all instances, annotations by the editor, in the text, are designated by small figures. Numbers of the pages, counted and indicated by the editor, appear in brackets.

The party of gold seekers, of which John Lowery Brown was a member, was captained by Clement Vann McNair from the Grand Saline, Cherokee Nation, as far as the Cache La Poudre River, Colorado, were he resigned the command, Thomas Fog


1John Lowery Brown was the son of David and Rachel (Lowery) Orr Brown. Rachel Brown was the fifth child and youngest daughter of George and Lucy Benge Lowery. George Lowery born about 1770, was one half Cherokee and Scotch. He was town chief of Willstown in the Cherokee Nation East and also a leading citizen after the immigration to the West. He died in 1852.

David Brown was three-fourths Cherokee, the son of John and Sarah Webber Brown. David's sister, Catherine Brown, noted for her beautiful character and personality, was the first Christian convert among the Cherokees, at Brainerd Mission, Tennessee, in 1818. After her death, a book "Memoir of Catherine Brown" was published in her memory by the American Board at Boston in 1824. David attended both Cornwall Mission School, in Connecticut, and Andover Theological Seminary, in Massachusetts. After his return to the Cherokee Nation East, he was prominent in religious and educational work among his people. For a time he lived among the Western Cherokees in Arkansas and clerked in the store of his half brother, Walter Webber, who later moved up the Arkansas River and settled what is now known as Webber Falls, in Muskogee County. Just before Sequoyah made known his invention of the Cherokee alphabet, David Brown and his father-in-law, George Lowery, completed a Cherokee spelling book in English characters. In 1826, they were both appointed by the General Council of the Cherokee Nation to make the first translation of the Cherokee laws and the New Testament in the Cherokee language using Sequoyah's alphabet.

After John Lowery Brown returned to the Cherokee Nation from California, he and his wife. Ann E. (Schrimsher) Brown, made their home at Fort Gibson. Their second son, Martin R. Brown, was born in 1858. In 1887, Martin R. Brown married Miss Nannie Adair. He was a successful business man and prominent in educational circles in his nation, elected clerk of Illinois District in 1881, member of the National Board of Education in 1886, and superintendent of the Male Seminary in 1894. Mr. and Mrs. Brown were the parents of Mrs. Gist who is the namesake of her great-aunt, Catherine Brown. She was married to Mr. Emmet W. Gist, of Oklahoma City, in 1915. They are the parents of one daughter, Dorothy, who graduates from Classen Highschool, Oklahoma City, this year (1934).

Page 179

Taylor taking his place. The route followed through Oklahoma lay northwest from the crossing of the Grand River, near the Grand Saline, across Pryor Creek to the Verdigris, fording that stream near Coody's Bluff, thence up California and Caney creeks and across to the Arkansas Valley near the present northern boundary of Oklahoma. Proceeding north, the party struck the Santa Fe Trail about eight miles east of Turkey Creek, in present Kansas, and followed this trail to Bent's Fort in Southeastern Colorado. The route then led by way of Pueblo, Cherry Creek (Colorado) and Bridger's Fort (Wyoming) to Salt Lake City; thence across the Salt Lake Desert and the mountains of Eastern Nevada to the Humboldt River, following that stream and the Carson River on up to Carson's Pass over the Sierra Nevada Mountains and down to Weaverville (Weberville), a mining camp or town in Eastern California at that time.

That the parties of gold seekers from the Cherokee Nation had an important part in the history of immigration to California, beginning with 1849, is shown by the fact that the name "Cherokee" can be found in the records and on the maps of that period, clear across the western half of the continent. The trail from Pueblo, Colorado, to Fort Bridger, Wyoming, via Bridger's Pass, followed by the famous Overland Mail in 1862, was well known as the "Cherokee Trail."2 This was approximately the same route followed by the Cherokees of Brown's party. The former town of Latham, Colorado, on the Cache La Poudre River, an important point on the Overland Mail Route, was first called " Cherokee City." Present day maps still carry the name of "Cherokee Park" in Northern Colorado, while those of Western Wyoming show the town of "Cherokee" on the Union Pacific Railroad. Both of these places were in the vicinity of the old Cherokee Trail. In 1850, there was the "Cherokee Cutoff," a short route from the Upper Humboldt River to the Feather River country in North



Page 180

Central California.3 There was also the mining camp or town of "Cherokee" in the northern gold field near the Feather River.4

Thus, the journal of John Lowery Brown is valuable and interesting as an original record both in the history of immigration to California and in the history of the Cherokees. It is a rare document that helps to tell Oklahoma's part in the story of the mirage of the Golden West, the great gold rush of more than three quarters of a century ago.

—Muriel H. Wright.

[Flyleaf ]                  
JOURNAL KEPT BY J. L. BROWN OF THE
  
CHEROKEE NATION
  
ROUTE
  
FROM GRAND SALINE (C. N.) TO
  
CALIFORNIA JUNE 3d, 1850


Off for California
April, 1850

[Page 1]

20 April       Left Mrs Packs & came to Mrs Gilbreaths—12 miles5
21   " Lay by all day—
22   " Brought the waggon to Lewis Meltons. Staid at Grandfathers—10 miles
23   " Came on by to Tahlequah and on to Mothers—1 mile
24   " Lay by all day
25   " Started with the waggon and left it & came on to Grand River—25 miles [?]6









Page 181

26   "         the waggon came on with Adairs. I staid at Clarks [word illegible, faded]
27   " Crossed the waggon [corner Journal worn, writing faded]
    [2]  
April 28
15 miles
Left Grand River in company with T. F. Taylors7 & D. J. Bells8 waggons. Camped on the first prong of Pryors creek, which shall be called—Camp 1st9


7Thomas Fox Taylor, born in East Tennessee, in 1818, was the eldest son of Richard and Ellen McDaniel Taylor. Richard Taylor, in his turn eldest son of Charles Fox and Jennie Walker Taylor, was a prominent leader among his people, serving as assistant chief of the Cherokee Nation with John Ross from 1851-55. According to a tradition in the family, Charles Fox Taylor was the second son of an English noble by the name of Fox and his wife, Jennie Taylor, a Scotch woman. The parents separated, the eldest son remaining with the father and being vested, by right of primogeniture, with the Fox estate. The second son remained with his mother and was known as Charles Fox Taylor. The mother married a second time, immigrated to America, bringing Charles with her, and settled near the Cherokee Nation East. Charles made friends among the Cherokee people and married Jennie Walker, a granddaughter of Ghigau or Beloved Woman of the Cherokees. The Ghigau (also known by the English name of Nancy Ward) was conferred great power by the Cherokee Council for her bravery in a battle with the Creeks. She has been described as a woman "of queenly and commanding presence and manners" her house being "furnished in a style suitable to her high dignity."

Thomas Fox Taylor attended the mission schools in his nation and the Nashville and Knoxville colleges of Tennessee. He became well known as a politician in the Cherokee Nation even as a young man, and was especially noted as an orator, fluent in both the English and the Cherokee. His first public office was that of clerk and interpreter of the Cherokee Council. Later when elected member of the Cherokee National Committee from Going Snake District, he was also elected president of the Committee. In the organization of Colonel Stand Watie's Cherokee Mounted Rifle Regiment, near Fort Wayne on July 12, 1861, for the Confederate service, Thomas Fox Taylor was elected lieutenant colonel of the regiment. Colonel Taylor and several of his command were killed in a skirmish between Confederate and Federal troops on Bayou Menard the morning of July 27, 1862.

That he took an active and leading part in the Cherokee parties to California in 1850 is shown by frequent mention of his name in Brown's journal, which bears out statements appearing in an old biography (O'Beirne, The Indian Territory: Its Chiefs, Legislators and Leading Men. pp. 460-1): "Thomas Fox Taylor was not only a natural orator, but a brilliant wit, and the center of attraction wherever he went. He was a dashing officer, and invariably the leader when any adventure or enterprise was to be undertaken. Thomas Fox Taylor's name will be long remembered among his people."





Page 182

"   29           
18 miles
Camp 2.  Camped on Salt creek near Mrs. Coodeys
"    30
8 miles
Crossed Verdigrice River and camped on the west Bank (Camp 3d)—10
May 1st Lay by all day—
"    2 Traveled 15 miles. 10 waggns alltogather. camped on a small creek (camp 4)11
"    3d Traveled 8 miles. 12 waggons [?] alltogather (Camp 5th
"    4th Travelled 15 miles   [corner Journal worn]
camped in two hollows   "        "         "
the gap of the                "       "         "
    [3]  
May 5th
(Camp 7)
Traveled 15 miles and caught up with the company commanded by Clem McNair. a war party of Osages came into camp, causing great excitement12






12Captain Clement Vann McNair's party had been at this point for some days awaiting the arrival of other emigrating companies expected up the trail from the Grand Saline. (Information from Dr. Grant Foreman)

Clement Vann McNair was the youngest child of David and Delilah Amelia Vann McNair. Mr. Benjamin Gold, the father of Mrs. Elias Boudinot, in writing his brother in New England (1829), told of visiting the home of David McNair when traveling through the Cherokee Nation now within the boundaries of the State of Georgia (Emmet Starr, Early History of the Cherokees, p. 109). Mr. Gold wrote, "We then traveled twenty miles and came to a Mr. McNair's, a white man who had married a Cherokee Indian woman, sister of Mr. Joseph Vann, another Cherokee chief. (Mr. Vann was not a chief, this was a common error with people that did not know.—Starr's note.) He [McNair] had a beautiful white house, and about six or seven hundred acres of the best land you ever saw, and Negroes enough to tend it and clear as much more as he pleased. He raised this year about five thousand bushels of corn, and it would make you feel small to see his situation."

Clement Vann McNair was elected solicitor, or attorney, of Saline District by the Cherokee National Council in 1841-2. He was elected member of the Senate from Saline District for the term 1845-7. He served as delegate from the Cherokee Nation to Washington in 1846. His first wife was Susannah Martin, daughter of Judge John Martin, who was the first treasurer and later the first chief justice of the Cherokee Nation. His second wife was Mrs. Martha Ann (Childers) Smith whom he married in California. He never returned to the Cherokee Nation.

Page 183

"    6              our crowd of 12 waggons Joined and were numbered into McNairs Company the company numbering 32 waggons travelled 10 miles. Left Tom Taylor and 5 men to wait for another crowd  Camp 8—
"    7 Lay By all day—
"    8 Traveled 10 miles. camped [?] By a spring of very cold [?]  Camp 9th
    [4]  
May 9th Traveled 20 miles Camp 10th on what was supposed to be waters of Arkansas River—
"    10 Started after dinner and Traveled five miles  Camp 11th—
"    11 Traveled 18 miles. Crossed a creek about 12 oclock and camped at night on a large Creek, the Bottom of which was covered with walnut growth.  Camp 12—
"    9
Capt C [?]
regimen
The Company was joined on Thursday by, five waggons and 21 men, which [corner Journal worn]  sed the number of grew [corner Journal worn]
    [5]  
  to 105 men, 15 negroes and 12 females all under the command of Clem McNair—
May 12 Lay By (Sunday)
"    13 Lay By
"    14 Traveled about 15 miles crossed two creeks and camped at night on Shoavs's Creek   Camp 13th—
"    15 Traveled all day without any timber in sight 20 miles and without any water until night [corner Journal worn] Camped at Evans old camp ground13



Page 184

    [6]             used Buffalo Chips for wood. this is the place that Capt Evans called Buffalo Chip Camp  Camp 14—
May 16th
still using
Buffalo chips
for wood
Great excite-
ment in camp
danger of
dividing
Traveled all day No timber in sight yet. Made 15 miles Camped on a sluggish stream of very cold water the same place that Evans camped at Camp 1514
"    17 Today at 12 oclock Traveled 10 miles and came to the Santa fee Trail to Independence15
    [7]  
18 miles to-
day
Traveled about 8 miles after entering the Trace and camped on a small stream of water, Turkey creek. still using Buffalo chips for wood Camp 16th This morning the company devided. part of the company, 19 waggons, started ahead, independent of Clem McNairs. we passed them this evening about 2 miles it is said to be 175 miles from this place to Independence & five hundred and fifty miles to Santa fee—
    [8]  
May 18
Camp 17th
Traveled 15 miles and camped on Little Arks. in sight of the other company, which is now commanded by J. H. Wolff16 Evans calls it 125 miles from this place to Fort Mann and 390 miles to Peueblo—







Page 185

"    19            Sunday. Lay Bye—
"   20th
Camp 18
Traveled 18 miles and camped on Cow Creek two waggons from the other train joined us this morning we number 20 waggons & one Carryall. Large heard of Buffalo in sight today. the other train passed on ahead
    [9]  
May 21st Lay Bye all day17
"   22
Arks. River
Traveled about 20 miles & camped on Wallnut creek  Camp 19
"    23 Lay Bye all day. Large heard of Buffalo & grass scarce
"    24
Camp 20
Traveled 20 miles. passed pawnee Rock18 and
"    25 camped on ash cr. grass bad—
Traveled 18 miles, crossed Pawnee fork. quite a large stream with high Banks. camped on Arks River.  Camp 21
"   26 (Sunday) Lay Bye all day. Captain T. F. Taylors company consisting of eight horse waggons came up with us today with the intention of joining us—
[Note on left hand page, opposite page 9]
Untill the awakening Trump of the Archangel Shall Summon them from a sleeping oblivion into the bright presence of our heavenly father—
    [10]  
May 27
according to
Lay Bye all day a Train of ox waggons, 20 waggons, came up this evening. A comp [?] were





Page 186

Evans 3         visited by 9 Arapahoes Indians who camped in sight—
"   28 Traveled 15 miles and camped on the Ark-Riv.  Camp 22—
"    29 T. F. Taylors company was admited into McNairs co this morning an election was held for Lieutenants T. F. Taylor was elected first, and J. M. Reace second Lieutenant today we traveled 18 mile camped on the River  Camp 23—
    [11]  
May 30th Traveled 25 miles. passed the Ruins of Ft. Mann19 and camped 2 miles above on the Bank of the River  Camp 24th—
May 31
Camp 25
Traveled 25 miles. came to the crossing of the Santa fee Road Maj. FitzPatrick, Indian Agent,20 was there paying out annuities to the different tribes—




20The meeting with Major Fitzpatrick occurred at the Lower Crossing of the Arkansas, near the present town of Cimarron, Gray County, Kansas. Here the Santa Fe Trail forked, one branch crossing the river and leading to the Southwest across the Panhandle of Oklahoma. This was known as the Cimarron route of the Santa Fe Trail. Brown's party took the other branch of the Trail, following the Arkansas River on the north side to Bent's Fort.

Major Thomas Fitzpatrick was U. S. Indian Agent for the tribes living in the region of the Upper Platt and the Upper Arkansas rivers. In February, 1850, he set out from Fort Laramie (Wyoming) to hold a series of councils with the Indians. In May, he arrived at a point on the Arkansas, called the "Big Timber," where he met up with a large gathering of Indians, representatives from nearly every tribe of the Upper Arkansas, accompanied by a party of traders. Remaining here about a month, he then proceeded to the Lower Crossing of the Arkansas, where he held the council referred to in Brown's journal. Mention of this meeting appears in Major Fitzpatrick's report to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, dated September 24, 1850, from St. Louis, as follows: "I then continued down the Arkansas river [from the 'Big Timber'] by slow and easy marches, in company with the traders and all the Indians, until we arrived at the crossing of the great Santa Fe thoroughfare. Here we made another halt until the 10th of June, on which day, after disbanding the Indians, and re-commending each band to proceed to their own proper hunting grounds, I took my departure for this place. * * * The following are the names of the different tribes which assembled with me at the crossing of the Arkansas, all of whom seemingly entertain the best and most friendly feelings toward us: the Sioux, Cheyennes, Arripahoes, Kiawas, and Apaches. The Apaches here mentioned are not those of New Mexico which have been ravaging the country for years; they are a band of fifty lodges, that have for many years lived with the Kiawas and Comanches, and have aided them in all their wars against both Mexicans and Americans. Those tribes herein mentioned are very formidable, and the most warlike on this continent, and occupy, indiscriminately, the country [including what is now Western Oklahoma], for several hundred miles, through which all the great thoroughfares to New Mexico, Oregon, and California pass." The Comanches had not attended the meeting, sending word that they feared the cholera raging the country at the time, and forwarding their expressions of friendship and good feeling toward the Americans.—Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for 1850, pp. 52-3.

Thomas Fitzpatrick's career ccvered the period from the opening of the rich fur region west of the Rocky Mountains in the early 1820's to the beginning of regular settlement of the Kansas-Nebraska country. A native of Ireland, born in 1799, he came to the United States at about the age of seventeen. One of a good family, with thorough schooling up to the time of his leaving home, together with a strong physique, an alert mind, and a talent for swiftly appraising a situation, distinguished him among the "Mountain Men" of his time. As a trapper, trader, Indian fighter, head of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, guide, explorer, and Indian agent, his name may be counted among the first of the roster that listed such men as Kit Carson and James Bridger. From an accident with a rifle, Fitzpatrick's left hand was maimed when still a young man. Afterward he was known on the frontier and among the Indians as "Broken Hand." In 1845, he was the official guide of the expedition sent out by the Government, under the command of Lieutenant James William Abert, to explore the country now included in the Panhandle of Oklahoma. This expedition is notable in Oklahoma history for being the first to travel overland from Bent's Fort to the Canadian, thence down that stream to Fort Gibson with a train of wagons. The life of Thomas Fitzpatrick has been recounted in the biographical volume Broken Hand, by LeRoy R. Hafen and W. J. Ghent (The Old West Publishing Company, Denver, 1931).

Page 187

June 1st        Started at 12 oclock and Traveled 10 miles. Camped on the Bank of the River  Camp 26—
"    2nd
Sunday
Traveled about 25 miles Camped on the River  Camp 27—
Today at noon T. J. Mims & Co. Caught up with the crowd 12 days from home
    [12]  
June 3d Lay Bye (Monday)21
"    4 Traveled about 20 miles and camped on Bank of the River in a cottonwood grove. very hard rain  Camp 28—
"    5 Traveled 18 miles camped on the Bank of River  Camp 29—
"    6 Traveled 25 miles camped on the River.  Camp 30th—
"    7 Traveled 20 miles and camped on Bank of River  Camp 31st—



Page 188

"    8                
Camp 32
Traveled about 20 miles today. about 10 oclock passed a grave of Indians who fell in Battle sign posted ¾ miles to the Right of the Road
    [13]  
June 9th Sunday  Lay Bye part of the day. Started 12 oclock and traveled 15 miles. Camped on the Bank of the River.  Camp 33—
"    10th
the snow
mountains
that we saw
today proved
to be the
Spanish
Peak
this morning saw mountains at a great distance covered with snow supposed to be a spur of the Rocky Mountains. at noon reached Bents Port. Traveled on until night. Made 25 miles. Camped on the River. Camp 34—22
"    11 Traveled 25 miles  Camped on the River  Camp 35—
"    12 Today made 20 miles Camped on Bank of River high mountains to the left covered with snow  Camp 36—
    [14]  
June 13
Camp 37
today snow toped mountains in view plainly. Traveled 12 miles and at noon reached Peueblo found J. H. Woolfs company there preparing to "Pack"—
"    14 Lay Bye all day. The ox Train consisting of 33 waggons came up and camped near. at night had a big Dance—
"    15 Traveled North along the north Bank of a large Creek23 which emptys into Ark R Below Peueblo. Left the Pack company preparing for Packing. Made 15 miles.  Camp 38—





Page 189

"    16                
today J. J.
May of Cane
Hill, Arks
quitt the
pack Co—and
joined my
mess
Traveled along the creek 15 miles. Camp 39—No buffalo since the 30th of May. Bear sign Plenty.  one killed today

[Notes on left hand page, opposite page 14]

from     Grand R             674          to Peueblo
" Peueblo         499 to Green River
   


 
         1,173       
" Green R         158 to Mormon City
   


 
         1,331  
            331  
   


 
          1,662  

   [15]               
June 17 Traveled north, leaving the Creek. Traveled over Sand hills, pine Timber. passed Pikes Peak which is covered with snow. camped at cold spring of water-made today about 20 miles Camp 40th—24
"    18
today we
crossed the
dividing
ridge be-
tween the
Arks & Platt
Traveled 25 miles. Camped on a Bold Running, Clear stream of water. waters of the Platt. Good grass & wood Camp 41—25
"    19
very hard
storm this
evening hale
from the size
of a Birds
to a hens egg
Continued down the above mentioned Creek 20 miles Good Grass, water & timber  Camp 42—





Page 190

    [16]              
June 20th
ten miles to-
day
Took a left hand trail down the Creek, which was made by Capt Edmonson about two weeks ago. about 10 oclock came to the South fork of Platt River. Made a Raft and commenced crossing the waggons. camped on the Bank of Platt.  Camp 43—26
"    21
we called
this Ralstons
Creek be-
cause a man
of that name
found gold
here
finished crossing at 2 oclock left the Platt and traveled 6 miles to Creek Good water grass & timber  Camp 44—27
"    22 Lay Bye. Gold found.
"    23 this morning all except 3 messes who traveled on concluded to stay and examine the Gold. Bell, Dobkins & R. J. Meigs traveled on
    [17]  
June 24th
only 14
waggons
snow toped
mountains in
view today
Left Ralstons Creek and made 26 miles. Rainy & very mudy. Camped on creek plenty water, wood, & grass  Camp 45—
"    25 Traveled 16 miles and camped on a Creek. plenty good water, wood & grass  Camp 46—
"    26
Black Tailed
Deer killed
today Cashla
poodra
Traveled 15 miles and came to a large Creek where we found the ox train and the horse wagons that had left us preparing to "Raft." good water, wood & grass  Camp 47—





Page 191

    [18]  
June 27           Lay Bye all day. finished a Raft
"    28
Cashe La
Poudra.
this morning Both Trains united and "Rafted" togather. finished, and Camped on north Bank of River Clem McNair having resigned, T. F. Taylor the Lieutenant took command of the Co as Captain  Camp 48—
"    29 Early start. Traveled up north Bank of the Cashe La Poudra River 3 miles, when we left the River turned north into a Pass through the hills. 12 miles since morning and we came to a small creek the first water since Leaving the River. This evening passed [19] over rough Road. Camped28 half a mile to the right of the road on a hill by the side of a large, steep Red Mt. after leaving the Road to Camp, we crossed Evans old Trace, which had just been passed over by Capt Olivers ox train, whom we left at the River Platt, and who had continued down that stream on Evans Trace. & we making a Cutoff being delayed at the Cashe La Poudra in crossing, he had got ahead of us. Made today 20 miles  Camp 49
[Notes on left hand pages opposite pages 18 &19.]
    Sayings of the Boys while wrafting the Platt—
 


  No one speak but the Captain— Will you hold your tongue you scoundrel— hold on, pitch on to that raft fellows a dozen or two of you—push it off—now she rides— Let her swing— hold to the rope to the right you Rogues—Run out to the right with the rope— Cordelle there on the Left Rope. pitch ashore my lads— all Right— Let her come —now she Rides— Get off the Rope there Behind —I cant pull the Raft and you on the Rope. Get away Bill from behind, you'r so short, you pull



Page 192

                          down instead of along— who did that? There now the rope is Broke— Back she goes— pull her up— stop— that fellows mouth and hear what the Captain says— I'll spill you into the River the first thing you know— Look out I'll see if I can throw a rock over. who saw a Kan Kaven he did? who killed a deer with a Black tail oh it was a sheep— no it was a Goat— No it was a Donkey"— That was a good one by Gum— George pull my finger why didn't they marry. now is the time to hold your tater— Into it Dugan— &c & c
    [20]  
June 30th
wild sage
Sunday. Traveled West today over tolerably good Road plenty Water. Camped on a small Running stream foot of hills. high winds & cold. Made today 20 miles  Camp 50—
July 1st Entered the Larrima Plain. Left Evans Trace & followed the Trace made by Edmonsons Co. which runs to the left of Evan's— passed a large Lake, full of fish. Traveled across the L. Plains and Camped in a hollow, at a good spring— the ox Co's near. Made today 25  Camp 51—
    [21]  
July 2
today we
cross the wa-
ters of west
Platt. Many
cold springs
Crossed Larrima River. Struck into the hills. Pine & better Cottonwood timber. the Road had been opened by Edmonsons Co. hilly Country. Muddy, Boggy Road in the timber, which was very hard pulling for the Mules. Camped at foot of hill in a hollow. the ox Company's near. plenty timber and water. Grass scarce. Made miles 16  Camp 52—
"    3
wild sage
today there
Traveled to the left through a pass. Entered a plain & turned to the Right down the North fork of the [22] Platt. Came to the crossing at noon.29



Page 193

was a R. M.                
Goat killed.
Ten miles to-
day
found 2 small rafts which had been left by Edmonsons Co. & the Pack Co. Home's Co. took the rafts and commenced crossing. Capt's Taylor & Oliver Joined their forces togather and built a Raft. we all camped on the River.Camp 53—
"    4th Crossed the River and traveled 6 miles. Camped on small Branch. Water & grass. wild sage for fuel. Capt holmes Co. 4 miles ahead on creek. good water, grass, & wood about ten oclock
    [23]  
I lost one
horse & one
mule
tonight about 25 head of horses & mules, were stolen from our Co. by Indians, and 4 or 5 head from homes Co making 30 alltogather  Camp 54—
"    5
a Spanish
Boy was mis-
taken for an
Indian to-
night and
shot by one
of the
guards. his
life is dis-
paired of
a Co of men under Capt Taylor went in pursuit of the stolen horses. Our Train & that of Capt Olivers which came up this morning moved on 4 miles to the creek where Capt homes company were.  Camp 55—
"    6 The Train Lay By all day
"    7
Bad Travel-
ing on ac-
count of wild
sage
today the Train moved [24] on assisted by the Ox Co and camped on the first large creek, which was called Eagle Creek. 20 miles. this evening Capt Taylors Co. returned without overtaking the "Rogues." they found one horse, belonging to Capt Taylor, having been left or lost by the Indians.  Camp 56—
July 8
very Bad
Road
Today the two ox Co. and our Train move on togather. only ten horse teams, the rest ox, ours & Olivers train & traveled 20 miles, and Camped on small Branch ½ mile to the rite of the Road good water, grass & wood Capt homes Co moved father on ahead—  Camp 57—

Page 194

    [25]  
July 9             
very Bad
Traveling on
account of
Bad Road &
wild sage
today at 10 oclock we crossed the dividing Ridge30 between the waters of the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans. Bad Road Traveled 20 miles. crossed Elk head creek, and camped on small branch tolerable good grass  Camp 58—
"    10 Traveled 25 miles today without finding water untill night, when we camped on a Branch of Elk head creek.31 Very Bad Road. Grass scarce & water not good.  Camp 59—
    [26]  
July 11th Today we had very good Road for a few miles and then the rest of the way, the worst Road that we have Traveled over since we left home. No water or Grass or Timber. The Road Dry & Dusty & pached. No game, Sage Grass scarce. at Sun down we reached the dry Bed of a large Creek where we got water by digging holes. the water tasted of Salaratas & salt. Grass scarce. Made today 20 miles—  Camp 60—

[Notes on left hand pages opposite pages 25 & 26]

                       Graves we have passed since Intersecting the Independence Route
1. C. McDaniel — July 25, 1850
2. J. A. Drake  Died at this place July 15, 1850





Page 195

                     3. Horatio Morse  July 17, 1850  Marcy Co. Mo. 4. M. Harris  died July 18, 1850, Franklin Co Dublin Ohio 5. A Grave on the left side of the road with some writing on the head board, stating that he had been found by the road so [word illegible] that they could not ascertain who he was or where he was from— dated 19th July, 1850 & signed  An Emigrating Company—
    [27]  
July 12
Camp 61
We traveled 5 miles and came to where Capt Home's Co. were camped which was 1½ miles from the Yamper River.32 A great many Indians were coming into camp as we got there which caused great excitement. They came up Friendly. The proved to be the Snake Indians. Capt Homes reported that he had been 8 or 10 miles and could find no water or grass, so we all concluded to stay where we were we carelled togather. [word illegible] carried our stock to the R to graze and packed water from the same place 1½ miles
    [28]  
July 13
horses & ox-
en failing
Traveled today 25 miles very Rough Road. No grass wood or water. Traveled untill sometime in the night when we came to Sulphur Springs. Not fit for man or Beast to drink. No grass
"    14 Camp 62—
"    15 Traveled 5 miles and came to Salt water with little grass. Camped. Camp 63 Man & Beast sick. Caused by drinking the water that we have been drinking for several days Traveled today 20 miles and came to a narrow swift33 Branch of good cold water with tolerable good grass  Camp 64—





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    [29]             
July 16 Lay Bye—
"    17 Traveled 20 miles over tolerable good Road. Camped in deep hollow on little Branch. Good grass. Sage for fuel Snow mountains in view on ahead  Camp 65—
"   18 Several cases of sickness in the Co. Very Rough Road  Camp on Branch of Green River, one mile from the River Made today 20 miles wild sage as usual  Camp 66—
    [30]  
July 19
2 miles to-
day lay Bye
Home's Co moved 3 miles to the crossing of Green River. Olivers & taylors Co. Camped along the River. Great many preparing to "pack" from this place  Camp 67
499 miles from Peueblo to Green R This is the most desolate looking country that I ever saw. Since we crossed the deviding Ridge on the 9th the Ground has been dry & parched & very dusty. Salt water
    [31]  
  Except now and then you find good water Grass very scarce. No game. Nothing much Except wild sage growing in this part of the Country Wild and Rugged hills (very Bad Roads)—
"    20
we lay Bye
Today Capt Home's Co Rafted their waggons across the River. R. J. Meigs drowned one of his mules. —
"    21
lay Bye
Capt Olivers Co— Rafted over the River. Taylors Co. not crossed but preparing to pack—
    [32]  
"    22
lay Bye
This morning Capts Oliver & Home's Comps Traveled on. Capt. Taylors Co. here yet. Expect to cross the River tomorrow
"    23
lay Bye
This morning we commenced crossing the River By Riding our horses and Carrying the Packs on our shoulders as the water was very deep. by 12 oclock we were all safe across and camped on the west bank of Green River  Camp 68—

Page 197

[Note on left hand page opposite page 32]

                      March 8, 1851
I owe J. B. Hunter $50
    [33]  
  Green River is about [blank] yards wide, with numerous Islands upon which Good Grass Grows into which we drove our horses & mules  The Timber is cottonwood & willow. The water of the River is good, though not so cold as that of the Platt or other Mountain Streams which we crossed. The country along the Banks of the River is very rugged, looks Dreary & Desolate, with high Bold Bluffs on the west Bank—
    [34]  
"    24
Snow topped
Mountains
near by
This morning about 10 oclock the Pack Co. left Green River and Traveled Due west over very desolate looking country, Destitute of vegitation of any kind & water. After Traveling about 25 miles, we came to and camped on a small stream of Muddy & very Bad tasting water.  Camp 69—
"    25 Today we traveled over country the same as before Rugged & Rough. No grass Bad water. after Traveling about 12 miles [35] we came to a large creek of good water, with plenty good grass. We stopped for the day, Clem McNair being sick.  Camp 70—
"    26 Today we lay Bye  McNair being unable to travel light showers, every day since we came to Green River
"    27
113 miles
from this
place to the
Salt Lake

Snow moun-
tains to the
Left many of
springs of
cold water
After Traveling this morning about 8 miles we came to Bridgers Ft. on Black Fork of Green River.34 At this place [36] the Trace from Independence to the Salt Lake passes. a large Train of waggons were in sight bound for California. we were told by the Inhabitants at this place & also by Emegrants, that Thousands of persons were dying on the upper Rout which leads by Ft Hall the Colara. we were also told that about 8 miles ahead, Olivers Co had camped & one of the Cherokees belonging to the Train had died, they

Page 198

12 miles          
from Bridger
could not recollect his name. we traveled on, came to the grave [37] By the side of Road & found, by some writing on a board, that it was Charles McDaniel who had died. we traveled on a few miles father & camped ½ mile to the left of the left of the Road. good water & grass Made today 20 miles  Camp 71—
we find this Trace to be crowded with Emegrants to the Gold diggins. We are har [d] ly ever out of sight of waggons
"    28
grave on the
Bank J. A.
Drake
Traveled 30 miles today crossed Bear Creek at noon. Camped ½ mile to [38] Right of the Road. Good water & grass.  Camp 72—
"    29 we pass Graves, Dead cattle & horses almost every half mile—
today we struck into a Narrow valley, with high Rockey Bluffs on the right of the Road and high hills on the left. Plenty of grass along the valley. Many springs of very cold water. we Traveled along the bank of a creek which runs through the valley, crossing it a Great many times35
    [39]  
the Mormons
have a toll
bridge on
this road
at evening we came to Webbers River, quite a large stream, good water & timber, grass scarce. At this place the Road Forks. The left hand is a cutoff to Salt Lake. We took the right hand which leads down the River, 2 miles & camped having made 30 miles  Camp 73—
July 30th



    [40]
This morning we traveled down the River 1 mile & a half, when the Road crosses Turns to the left into a narrow valley. at noon we came to a large creek along the [word illegible] which we Traveled crossing very often. Late in the evening we reached the very steep top of a very high ridge we traveled a few miles father and campe[d] ½ mile





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                      to the left of the Road in a hollow. Good water, Timber & grass. Made today 30 miles Camp 74—
"    31 Traveled through deep winding hollow36 at 12 oclock we reached the "Mormon City." 11 miles today to the City. we passed through the city, crossed the River Jordon one mile from town and camped on the River.  Camp 75—
    [41]  
Aug 1st
from this
place we
took the
cuttoff Rout
Traveled 13 miles to the first water which is a large spring of water, which tastes a little salty, but is very good. plenty good grass, no timber.  Camp 76—
"    2 Lay Bye
"    3 Traveled by the edge of the Lake. passed many salt Springs, at noon, 12 miles. we passed a mill belonging to the Mormons. at 3 oclock we came to good water & grass

[Notes on left hand page opposite page 41]

                     at this place [refer to note on Aug. 1] there are two Routs to the diggins, one called the Northern Rout, down the Humbolt River, another called the "Cutoff heretofore traveled only with Pack animals but this Season, the Emegrants are going it with their waggons.37 about 80 miles from the city, there is said to be a Desert Destitute of water or grass 75 miles wide, and which is covered with hard crust of Saleratus, which a shower of ten min[u]tes duration will render it impassable, though it never rains





Page 200

    [42]          
Willow
Spring
where we camped Olivers & Homes, ox Trains camped near  Made today 27 miles  Camp 77—
"    4 This morning a man died in Capt Olivers Train (Palmer)  We lay Bye today
"    5
Elbow
Spring
Traveled today 35 miles to good water and grass. found a great many emegrants here resting their horses & cattle, before entering the desert, also cutting grass to carry to feed their stock with  Camp 78—
    [43]  
Aug 6 Lay Bye. Resting stock today about 2 oclock Mr. R. J. Meigs was taken sick with the colera, and about 9 oclock same evening he died—38
"    7 this morning we Buried Meigs, Runaway Tuff & Russell, the two last having died this morning. we moved two miles back among the hills and Lay Bye. Meigses waggon & other effects were taken charge of by Mr. John Clark, which was the request of the (Deceased)  Camp 79—

[Notes on left hand page opposite page 43]

                    Aug. 6.—Dr. Barker of Missouri with eight men


38Return Jonathon Meigs (5th) was the son of Timothy and Elizabeth Holt Meigs, daughter of a.wealthy farmer from Virginia, who settled near Athens, Tennessee. Timothy Meigs was, private secretary and confidential clerk to his father, Colonel Return Jonathon Meigs, soldier of the American Revolution and well known agent to the Cherokees from 1801-23. Timothy Meigs' family lived on a farm near Charleston, Tennessee. It was there that Return Jonathon Meigs (5th) was born on April 3, 1812. He married Jane Ross, daughter of Chief John Ross, at Cleveland, Tennessee, and came to the Indian Territory with the chief's family in 1839. After arriving in their new home Mr. Meigs occupied a handsome brick home on the east side of the Illinois River not far from Park Hill. During the disorders in the Cherokee Nation that approached civil war, a party of Cherokees disguised as bandits came to his home November 2, 1845 and tried to kill him. Mr. Meigs and his family escaped but the attackers plundered and burned his home.

Mr. and Mrs. Meigs's son, the venerable Return Robert, still lives at Park Hill. He remembers the morning his father set out from home for California. During the family prayer, just before his departure, Return Jonathon Meigs read the Thirty-seventh Psalm, his favorite scripture. Today, his son and his family love that Psalm and read it often. On the morning of August 6, 1850, when the emigrating party were "laying by" at the Elbow Springs, they spent some time cutting grass to feed their stock in the desert. Mr. Meigs complained of not feeling well and asked the men to let him help with the work among the first. After cutting his share of grass, he raked it up and carried into camp. By that time, he was very ill and lay down on the heap of grass to rest. Within a few minutes, he passed away, saying that all was well with him.—Information from Mrs. Jennie Mathews, of Park Hill, Oklahoma, daughter of Return Robert Meigs.

photo

Page 201

                     Joined our company which now consists of 53 persons—Dr. Barker attended Messers Meigs, Russell and Tuff during their sickness—
Deaths Charles McDaniel—July 25
R. J. Meigs—August 6
Runaway Tough & Russell—Aug 7
Henry Street & Davis—Aug 17
G. M. Martin—Aug 17
Tolbert Bean—Sept 6th

[Notes on left hand page opposite page 44]

                     Aug. (Aug. 8 at this place we enter the desert) it is 70 miles across it without Grass or water and persons crossing it will have to travel day and night to get across. Many persons have perished with their animals while crossing. perhaps we may find water sooner than we expect, as we have had several showers of rain for the last two or three days
    [44]  
Aug 8


Sulphur
Spring
the company started this morning. we cut grass and filled our canteens with good water, which is said to be all the good water we would get untill we crossed the Desert. We traveled untill Noon 15 miles when we came to Sulphur Spring, where we stoped we found no grass here Jack Hilldebrand was taken very sick with the cholera. The company were detained waiting on him, and in consequence of the Sickness pervading in the company & apprehending more the Company deemed it proper [45] to engage the Medical services of Dr. Barker though it was therefore agreed & stipulated that each member of the Company should pay the said Doct. on their arrival in the diggins or as soon after as possible the. Sum of Five Dollars & he the said Doct. is to attend to all cases of sickness that may occur in the Company  Camp 80—
Aug 9 This morning Hildebrand was better though unable to travel on horseback. we therefore made [46] arrangements with J. M. Estell to haul him

Page 202

                     to California also to haul B. F. Trott (who was also sick) across the Desert.39 at this place the Desert commences it is 85 miles from this S— Spring to where good water and grass is to be found. after making Suitable arrangements for the Sick of our Co— at four oclock A. M. [P. M.] we started  the Road passed over hills & through winding hollows for a few miles when it entered the Desert
    [47] we traveled at the rate of four miles an hour. Good Road firm and hard. at two oelock in the morning we stopped to rest, & fed to the horses the grass which we had cut and packed since the morning of the 8th Slept, having made 40 miles.  Camp 81
Aug 10 Started by sun rise having stopped about 3 hours to rest. We found (by daylight) the Desert to be covered with a hard crust resembling Salaratus, no grass or groath of any kind except wild sage now & then
    [48]
A great many
Dead horses,
Cattle &
dogs which
died for
want of wa-
ter. These
springs are
called Re-
lief Springs
we Traveled Steadily. within 25 miles of the spring we came to where some Emegrants had waggons loaded with water which they had brought from the spring to sell to folks, as they came up they sold it for one dollar per gallon at four oclocli this evening we reached the Springs having Traveled 45 miles since morning without stopping & without water for our horses. Good water & Grass.  Camp 82  this evening a young man of Dr Barkers mess died of the Diarear



Page 203

    [49]          
Aug 11
Davis a
white man &
Henry Street
a Seneca
today we lay Bye resting our horses. this morning G. M. Martin was taken very sick. about 12 oclock two men belonging to Capt Olivers train Died within a few minutes of each other and were both buried in one Grave  today about 2 oclock G. M. Martin died.40  after burying him the Co— removed up on to one of the Kanyons of the mountain about 3 miles distance. Good water & Grass.  Camp 83—
B. F. Trott came to us last evening quite unwell
    50  
Aug 12 today we lay Bye, waiting on C. V. McNair, B. F. Trott & others who were too unwell to travel—
Aug 13


35 miles
since morn-
ing
This morning several of our men being to weak to travel Dr. Barker and part of the Co— remained with them. and myself and the rest of the Co— traveled on about ten miles to a Spring of Good water. at this place, another Desert commences, which we had to travel During the night  we remained at this place untill late in the evening when we started and [51] traveled on about 25


40George M. Martin was the son of Samuel Martin, a half-brother of Judge John Martin, first chief justice of the Cherokee Nation. Among the Cherokees of the emigrating party, in 1850, who helped to bury every person who died on the way to California, was Dennis W. Bushyhead. He remained in California until 1867. After returning to his old home, he was elected and served as chief of the Cherokee Nation (1879-86). His brother, Edward W., or Ned, Bushyhead had gone to California in 1849, settling finally at San Diego and never returning to live in the Cherokee Nation. He served at one time as chief of police in San Diego and also was elected sheriff of San Diego County. Mr. A. Taylor, of Muskogee, tells of visiting Ned Bushyhead at his home in San Diego, in 1892. One day while watching a review of the U. S. fleet in San Diego Bay, Mr. Taylor remarked that the sight was the most wonderful he had ever witnessed. During the course of the conversation, Mr. Bushyhead said the most wonderful sight that he himself had ever witnessed had been during his journey overland to California in 1849. One day his party was traveling over a great desert when a terrible storm arose. It grew so dark and the wind blew such a hurricane that the train was forced to stop. It seemed as if the emigrants and their horses and wagons would be buried in the sand that whirled into drifts about them. In the midst of the storm an old Cherokee woman knelt down and began to pray in Cherokee. Ned Bushyhead listened closely, impressed with the fervor of her words seeking Divine aid in the danger that threatened. Suddenly the wind ceased. Then the darkness lifted as a shaft of light broke through the clouds and rested upon the bent shoulders of the old Cherokee woman kneeling on the desert. In a little while, the sand and dust in the air settled and the emigrants began their journey again over the trail to California.

Page 204

                  miles when we came to water where we stopped untill morning. No Grass  Camp 84—
Aug 14 Early start this morning Traveled about 15 miles and campe[d] on the side of the mountains Good water, very good Grass.  Camp 85—
"    15 Lay Bye all day
"    16


branch run-
ing east
Started this morning and Traveled down the valley.41 at noon we came to tolerable good water & grass 18 miles. we stopped two hours & then [52] Traveled due west. after traveling about 20 miles we came to wells of water which had been dug in a wet marshy Spot of ground. Bunch Grass. 38 miles since morning  Camp 86—
"    17 Early start. Traveled twenty miles due west Camped on a large Spring of Good water at the foot of the Mountain. Good Grass on the Branch  Camp 87—
Since Leaving the Elbow Spring the country is a perfect Desert. Except the places where we camped where we found water & grass
    [53]  
Aug 18 This morning our course was South for a few miles Then due west. at 2 ocloek we came to good water and grass at the foot of the Mountains 20 miles. we stoped at this place for the night  Camp 88—
"    19


    [54]
after Traveling about two miles we passed a great many springs of hot water. We traveled along the foot of the mountains the sides of which were covered with green grass & the top with snow. Crossed many Branches of good, cold water continually & the valey covered with green grass, which to us is quite a "God-Send." Camped on a bold Running Branch." Large Cottonwood trees. Made today 25 miles.  Camp 89—



Page 205

"    20        This morning a Seperation took place in the Company C. V. McNairs, May's & Martins' messes accompanied by Dr. Barker & his men seperated themselves from Capt Taylors Co— Capt Taylors Co —was joined by Dr Palmer & Eleven men, 33 persons altogather
    [55]  
  we continued down the valley 25 miles. Many springs of good water and plenty good grass.  Camp 90—
1,662 miles from this place to Grand River Cherokee Nation— Lay by today 21st of August the Company being scarce of provisions, purchased 342 lbs of beef for which they had to pay 20 cts pr pound. Capt Oliver Camped near waiting on Arch Henry who is very unwell—
Aug 22 proceeded on & came to a creek about noon where there was some white Emigrants who had lost their horses the night before stolen by Indians. thos. [Taylor's?]
    [56]  

[Note top of page]

                    continued down this creek Northwest
 


                Company being informed of the fact six of our Company volunteered to go with the whites in pursuit of the Indians— The Company consisted of nineteen persons the command was given to our Captain—, the ballance of our Company proceeded & the volunteer Company to which I then belonged— took to the Mountains & after going some Eight miles found the Indians Encampment we succeeded in driving off five horses— the Indians numbered about one hundred—but our Company Escaped unhurt—not withstanding the
    [57]  

[Note at top of page]

                     Camp 91  to a fork of Ms R
 


  Indians fired at us several times & shot at us with

Page 206

                  

30 miles
arrows as we made off with the horses the Company came on 11 miles & encamped on the same Creek those of us that pursued the Indians overtook the Main Company today at noon & the whole Co came on to this place 25 miles today on the same Creek— passed by dead body lying by the road side Emeg's killed by the Indians Camp 92—
Aug 24
continued
down the
fork of M's
R
Continued down the same creek at noon we came [58] to a large stream of water. Good grass this stream is a tributary of St Marys River.42 we traveled down this stream to St Marys River down which the Road from Ft Hall passes. The last ten miles of our road passes through a narrow pass high bluffs on each side of the way very Rough & rugged 35 miles since morning  Camp 93—
"    25 Traveled down the Valley of St Marys R— This R. is about 30 yrds wide. No timber except willow, bold rugged & steep hills [59] grass scarce on account of the Great emegration which has passed on ahead of us Camped on the River Made 20 miles today  Camp 94—
"    26 Continued down the River 25 miles.  Camp 95—
"    27 Made 30 miles today Camped on the River  Camp 96—
"    28 Camped on the River  Made 25 miles today  Camp 97—
"    29 Camped on the River.  Made today 25 miles.  Camp 98—
"    30th Lay Bye part of the day. Started at 11 oclock and made 20 miles. passed a dead Indian this evening [60] killed, as we heard, by some emegrant while attempting to steal horses. Camped on the River.  Camp 99—
"    31st traveled 25 miles & camp on the River.  Camp 100d—



photo

Page 207

Sept. 1st      Traveled 6 miles. Camped on the River.  Camp 101 —
"    2 Traveled 30 miles today Camped on the River.  Camp 102—
"    3
No Bread
Traveled 30 miles today  Camped on the River.  Camp 102—43
"    4th Traveled 20 miles (to the Sink of the River)—camped at a well.44  Campe 103—
"    5 This morning we lay Bye grazing our horses as it is said to be 75 miles to the next grass. We have had no bread since Aug 28th. hardly any meat provisions scarce among the [61] Emegrants. No flour to be had for love or money we cut grass & packed it on our horses to feed to them on the Desert at four oclock this Evening we started. Continued down the waters of Marys River which at this place spreads out and resembles a large mill pond.45 we crossed the River and traveled untill midnight when we stopped untill morning where we fed the grass to our horses which we had been packing for them. 25 miles—Camp 104—
"    6 Early start this morning we found at daylight that we were near [62] the last waters of the River fairly out on the Desert which is sandy plain for which reason traveling over it is very slow. We suffered more crossing this Desert, than we had since leaving home, and we saw more







Page 208

                     property destroyed on this plain, Waggons, horses, mules, and cattle, than we had yet seen in crossing over the same number of miles about noon we passed C. V. McNair and Co. Talbert Bean was taken very sick early this morning and died this evening. Men dying almost every hour of the cholera about four oclock we reached Carsons Creek, where we found a great many traders from Sacramento City, with Flour [63] Bacon &c &c to sell to emegrants Great many folks here.45 great many dying.  Camp 105—
Sept 7
Carsons
creek is
about 15 or
20 yds wide
with
today traveled up Carsons creek 12 miles and camped. T. F. Taylor drunk and not come to camp  Camp 106—
"    8
good grass in
the Bottoms.
Large cot-
tonwood
trees and
small willow
on the Banks
Today Traveled 5 miles and camped on the creek waiting for Taylor & others, who have not come in yet.  Camp 107—
"    9 traveled 8 miles, and camped on the creek Several of our Co— sick. heard of Taylor and others being on ahead sick  Camp 108—



Page 209

    [64]             
Sept 10 Traveled 10 miles to where we found Taylor. our sick all Better  Camped on the bank of the creek  Camp 109—
"    11
Rugged hills
destitute of
any growth
whatever
Jonas (a black Boy) in my mess very sick also several of the Co— Traveled today 3 miles & camped on the creek  Camp 110
"    12 Lay Bye on account of Sickness. A Peak of the Siera Nevada Mountains covered with Snow in view—
"    13 Lay Bye. Jonas not expected to live—
    [65]  
Sept 14 This morning about 10 oclock Jonas died & was buried about 12 oclock  we started and traveled 8 miles up the creek.  Camp 111—
"    15 Continued up the Creek 30 miles today  camped on a Spring branch, running from the mountains & emptying into the creek.  Camp 112—
"    16 today we entered Carsons Valley. traveled along the foot of mountains on our right, the sides of which are covered with pine trees, & the tops spotted with snow
    [66]  
twenty miles
today
very many springs of good water running from the mountains into the creek, also basins of warm & hot water the valley covered with good grass. we camped at the foot of the mountain on a bold & swift running stream of water.  Camp 113—
At this place, & up this Stream, there is a "pack Rout" across the mountains which is said to be the nearest though the roughest way, than the waggon Road
    [67]  
Sept 17th continued along the foot of the Mountains 10 miles camped in bunch of timber to the left of the road  Camp 114—
"    18 This morning after Traveling eight miles we came to a large "Kanyon" very narrow rough, Rockey

Page 210

                     

115 Camp
the moun-
tains are cov-
ered with
large Pine
trees.
road. very rough for waggons. Steep rocky Mountains on each side. we traveled along up a clear, bold running Stream called "Kanyon creek." we passed through the Kanyon, seven miles and camped at the foot of the hills ½ mile [68] to the right of the Road Grass very good. This evening T. F. Taylor & Mess, myself and Mess camped at this place waiting for Perry Brewer47 who is with J. M. Estill being too unwell to ride horseback. Estill not being expected to get through the kanyon untill tomorrow. Mays, Adair & Fields with their mess's traveled on. Made today 15 miles Large Pine trees all up this Kanyon. Snow Peaks near on ahead—
"    19 after traveling Seven miles this morning we reached the Base of the mountain. we reached the Summit of the first Ridge [69] over the worst Road that I ever traveled. Pack animals can hardly get up, much Less Loaded waggons. after reaching the Summit, we descended gradually, still over very rough road, a few miles, when we reach into a valley with a Lake in it. Many streams of water running from the Snows of the mountains into the Lake. we crossed the valley which is ½ a mile across and then began the ascent of the last Ridge. this mountain is higher than the other, though not so steep, nor the Road so Rockey. we had to pass over Snow, near the Summit. on reaching the Summit we caught up with Mays, Adair, & others. [70] immediately after reaching the Summit, we began to descend.48 we traveled a left hand Pack Rout, which here leaves the waggon Road running round fifteen miles, and





Page 211

                   very rough road. camped on the side of the Mt.  a Lake below. Good grass Made today 25 miles  Camp 116—
"    20 Passed down by and partly around the Lake and up a very steep hill, when we intersected the waggon road. passed on a few miles father an camped [71] two miles to the left of the road. Made today 10 miles  Camp 117—
Sept 21st this morning it began to rain, and rained all day and night. we traveled slowly. Passed the Leak49 Springs and came to "Camp Creek" where we camped, having made 15 miles today  Camp 118—
"    22 Cloudy & Rainy. we traveled down Camp creek half a mile, when we took to the hills again came to the Fork of the road.50 Made today 15 miles [72] Camped 2 miles to to the right of the road  Camp 119—
"    23 this morning we found that four of my horses & one of Brewers had been stolen during the night. My packs were carried on by Mays & Adair, and we all walked. Came to Pleasant Valley Made today 10 miles  Camp 120—
"    24 we all walked to Ringgold & Weavervill51, made today 10 miles  Camp 121—
"    25 Lay Bye
    [73]  
"    26 walked on to Lynches' Trading house. Made today 10 miles  Camp 122—
"    27 Walked on to "Leapers Trading Post" 2 miles  Camp 123—







Page 212

"    28         Moved up on to the head of Dead Mans Hollow.52  5 miles.  Camp 124—
Oct. 10 My Mess moved to the Arkansas Log Cabbin the Cherokees here are G. W. Adair & Mays and their Mess's53 we commenced building Cabbins for the Winter
    [74]  
Nov 2 I and my mess moved into our Cabbins which was the first time that I slept in a house since the night of the 27th of April—
"    11 Adair & Mays & others commenced "throwing up" dirt so as to be ready for the rainy season
"    14 My mess commenced throwing up dirt at the same place with Adair & Mays—
John A. Huffaker was taken sick with the Diarier [75] and died Dec. 1154




53George Washington Adair was the son of Walter and Rachel Thompson Adair. He was a signer of the Treaty of New Echota in 1835, providing for the removal of his nation to the Indian Territory. Again in 1846, he signed the Cherokee treaty concluded at Washington, as a delegate of the "Treaty Party." In 1861, he was elected quartermaster of Colonel Stand Watie's Cherokee Mounted Rifle Regiment. He died on April 22, 1862, and was succeeded by his son, Brice Martin Adair. Mr. G. W. Adair had married Martha Martin, oldest daughter of Judge John Martin, of the Cherokee Nation. Their oldest son was the brilliant William Penn Adair, colonel of the Second Cherokee Mounted Rifles and delegate from the Cherokee Nation to the Confederate Congress.

Samuel Houston Mayes, Sr., was of English-Welsh descent and a native of Tennessee. His wife, Nancy Adair, was a sister of George W. Adair. Mr. Mayes was accompanied by his four oldest sons (George W., Sr., John, Frank, and James) to California in 1850, but remained only a few months. In the spring of 1851, he went back over the Cherokee Trail to California, taking with him a herd of two hundred cattle. He sold the most of them before he returned to the Cherokee Nation and left the rest with his son Frank to be sold. After selling his father's cattle, the young man set out for home, but was robbed and killed on the way. Mr. S. Mayes' oldest son, George W. Sr., had married Charlotte Bushyhead, sister of Dennis W. Bushyhead who went to California in 1850 (see footnote 40). It is to Mr. George W. Mayes, Jr., now of Oklahoma City, who was two years old when his father (George W. Sr.,) set out for the gold fields, that acknowledgment is due for much of the reminiscent and geneological material used in the footnotes of this article.



Page 213

February 12, 1851

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