continued from the previous post …
“On the morning of June 3rd I was up before my neighbors, making ready to move on. I had fed my cattle and was greasing my carriage, when one of my neighbors came around and asked, ‘How often do you grease your wagon?’ ‘I grease every other day; I travel about twenty-five miles a day, making about fifty miles between each greasing. Can I make some coffee by your fire?’ I asked. ‘Oh, yes; you can make your breakfast by our fire.’ Soon all in the camp were up and around.
“I went to milk the cow and while doing so, one of the dogs came too near the cow. She made a plunge at the dog, upsetting me and the milk. I cared but little for the milk, but the strangers seemed to feel bad about it. The poor dog had to take it on all sides. I told them I did not care for the milk, but felt sorry on their part. I finished milking and there was enough for the coffee of the whole camp.
“After breakfast, on leaving the camp, I wished the company success on their long journey. They answered, ‘Friend, stranger, we all feel anxious for you, being alone; if you were in company with someone it would seem different, and when in a tight place [you] would have someone to help you. Goodbye; success to you, stranger.’ We parted and I went on. It was a pleasant and grand morning.
“To my right are lofty mountains, covered with snow, which appear but a short distance away, but are many miles. High elevations give light and air, and the eye, a long range of vision. About nine o’clock I met a long train, but made no stop, merely asking where they were from and where going. ‘We are from Kansas and going to Washington Territory. Where are you from and where going?’ was answered. ‘I am from California, going east, to Massachusetts,’ I answered. ‘You are from there, and have you brought that cow from there, stranger?’ ‘We have come from California just as you see us.’ I left them and at twelve o’clock met another train, who were at dinner. Having my feed ready for the cattle, I stopped and fed them, and ate my own dinner. This company was also from Kansas, bound for Oregon. There were ten teams, twenty-four horses, twelve men, sixteen women, and thirty-eight children, sixty-six persons in all. I left this company about half-past one o’clock. My road was not good, being badly cut up by the many teams.
“About three o’clock, we met another train of six teams; they were also from Kansas, bound for Oregon, comprising eight men, eight women, and nineteen children. Only a short distance farther I came to another train of four teams; ten horses, four men, four women, and thirteen children, from the same state. About five o’clock I met another band of emigrants of nine teams, eleven men, ten women, and twenty-nine children, all for the state of Oregon. I asked the captain of the train the cause of so many leaving Kansas. It looked as though they were abandoning the state. … ‘I will tell you the cause, stranger. Where we come from we have hot wind that cuts corn and many other things; we can’t stand it, and it is very unhealthy. It is not so in other sections of the state. We made up our minds to leave the state and go to the West and see what we can do there.’ ‘Strangers, success to you,’ I said and went on.
“About half-past six o’clock I saw smoke in the distance and journeyed toward it, and came to a small creek and grass and gave my cattle water. Here, my first thoughts were to go into camp, then I thought I would go to where I saw the smoke. However, there being excellent water and grass at this creek, I concluded to camp here, so we left the trail to the right, went down the creek a short distance and pitched my camp, and turned the cattle loose so that they could have their fill of grass. I concluded to build no fire, but take my supper cold. …”
To be continued …