Appendix

 Diary of William Henry Engels, Aqe 23

This is a transcription by Beulah Jane Smith of the diary carried by William Henry Engels on his cattle drive to California in 1854.  It is taken from Flashback, published by the Washington County (Arkansas) Historical Society, February, 1977.  pp. 31-47.

Thursday, April 20, 1854

This day we started for (California) the land of gold. We only traveled a few miles (7). Fort Smith was the point from which we took our departure. 30 men in company.

Friday, April 21

We only traveled a few miles today, having to cross the Poteau river. Camped on Scullyville Prairie. All pretty tired, not being used to that sport of driving cattle. All tolerably well.

Saturday, April 22

Our drive was quite short‑‑5 m., having to stop to brand cattle at Scullyville Choctaw Agency.   Camped in the prairie West of said place. Good grass & plenty of water.

Sunday, April 23

Sunday as it is, we resoomed branding cattle and increased our drove 130 more. Did not move camp today. All well and in fine spirits.

Monday, April 24                                18

We made the best days move today of any since we started‑-15 m. Tolerably good road and plenty of grass and water.  Camp on east side of Sam Boy (Sanbois) Creek.

Tuesday, April 25                                33
This morning we crossed Sam Boy Creek‑‑a bad bank on either side and a rapid stream when up.  12 m. was the distance of our travel today.   Initiated to stand guard 1st time.

 

Wednesday, April  26                          45
After a long seige hunting oxen (lost a spy glass) we at last found them & drove 12 m. Good road, plenty of wood and water and grass. All seem to be in good health.  Cool for the season.

Thursday, April 27                                 57
A rough road today and a big mountain. 12 miles is all the distance we traveled. Cold as Christmas. Our cattle took a stampede at night and scattered considerably on account of the cold.

Friday, April 28                                   69

Today we crossed the Canadian and North Fork of Do., both bad streams to cross.  Quicksand on the former and bad banks on the latter and muddy bottom.  11 miles today. 

Saturday, April 29                               80

A fine prairie road lay along our course today, between North Fork and the Creek Agency.  Traveled about 15 m.  Still cold but no rain.  Plenty of water and grass. 

Sunday, April 30                                 95

Only traveled about 10 miles today over good prairie road.  Passed Chimney Mountain--can be seen at considerable distance.  8 m. from Creek Agency. 

Monday, May 1                                  105

This morning we passed the Creek Agency and into the Arkansas River bottom; thence across, an awful time getting across the cattle.  6 m.  Camped on north side of river.

 

Tuesday, May 2, 1854                          111

Today we only traveled a few miles as it was raining.  Camped on bank of Verdigris River, south side.  Cold, and raining a little as well.  5 m. today. 

Wednesday, May 3                               116

This morning it is still raining a little but we proceeded to cross the Verdigris River.  A good ford but bad banks.  6 m. today. 

Thursday, May 4                                  122

It is still raining but we again resume our journey.  A good prairie road.  Camped at Bull Creek.  Bad banks on the creek; plenty of grass and water.  10 m. 

Friday, May 5                                       132

A rolling prairie road - plenty of grass, wood & water.  Camped on another creek.  Still raining.  All is well.  Lost a fine horse at other creek.  Worth $150 good. Gone. 20 m.

Saturday, May 6                                   152

This morning it is still raining, but soon cleared off and a pretty day.  Heavy road today.  Hunted all day for the lost horse and not to be found.  Plenty of wood, grass, and water.  15 m. 

Sunday, May 7                                     167

Camped at the Mormon Camp last night.  This morning 2 mules and two horses gone.  All day spent in hunting them. Found them 10 m. from camp.  The road is tolerably rough.  Camped near Coodys (Coody’s Bluff).  16 m. today. 

Monday, May 8                                   183
This morning we crossed the Verdigris River the last time. Our road takes a winding course, sometimes nearly east. Plenty of grass and water and tolerable plenty of wood. 20 m. today.

Wednesday, May 10                          223
This morning we pass over a mountain prairie and strike a level road, traveled a good day's travel. Wood scarce, plenty of grass and water.  All well. 18 m. today.

Friday, May 12                                  253
This day we call Northern Friday, for of all the winds & rains we had it today. Pass some rugged road today and camped without any wood & like to froze to death. Never had such a time before. 10 m. today.

Saturday, May 13                             263
All wet this morning. We start for timber not knowing when we will find it. Camped about 2 o'clock on this branch to dry up. Water plenty after the (fresh ?) rains. 8 m. today.

Sunday, May 14, 1854                      271
Trail in mountain land in the wood. Plenty of grass & water. 25 m. today to get to wood. After dark getting to camp. Grey Steele (?) just behind us. Talk of Indians at Walker Camp. All well.

Monday, May 15                              296
The road has been very uphill to plenty of wood on the top. Came through Sink Hole prairie. Crossed Little Walnut Creek and camped on Humphrey's Mudhole. Defeat came to the (?) before the night (?). 15 m.

Tuesday, May 16                              311
After starting this morning we came to So. (?) by Walnut Creek. After crossing there came up a northern and blew as cold as Christmas. Camped at Horse Shoe Creek. Plenty of grass, wood, & water. 15 m.

Wednesday, May 17                         326
This day we lay at our camp on H. Shoe Creek to rest, dry up, and wash up generally. Plenty of good grass, wood & water and some Indians skulking about. All well.

 

Thursday, May 18                           326
We took our departure this morning. The first creek we came to was Cottonwood; then we launched out on the wide & almost boundless prairie. No wood in sight, only the hot dry land in the way. 15 m.

Friday, May 19                                 341

A fine prairie road today.  Plenty of grass & water, but no wood. We came about 18 m. today, and no timber in sight. Said to be 60 m. from Cottonwood to the first timber (Grand Prairie).

Saturday, May 20                             359
This morning after an hour or two rain we left our prairie camp. No wood yet in sight. Good road. We struck the supposed Santa Fe Road after traveling a short distance. We see timber to our left.  Buffalo signs, Elk, antelope seen by our company. 15 m.

Sunday, May 21                                374
Leaving Turkey Creek this morning we have good road.  See plenty of Buffalo. KBS killed one. Tracked Little Ark. River (or creek). Some wood such as it is. See today where a train has been destroyed long since. 15 m.

Monday, May 22                               389
Taking our leave from Little Arkansas we have a beautiful road. We traveled 15 m. and came to Cow Creek, a deep muddy stream. Very little wood, water, or grass. Ten legion of Buffalo on all sides.

Tuesday, May 23                                404
Leaving Cow Creek we again have some pretty road. We traveled 10 m. and camped in the open prairie at Land Mound. No wood & grass & water very scarce only for stock. Buffalo driven away to camp.

 

Wednesday, May 24                           414
After an hour or two chasing Buffalo to keep them out from among the cattle we made a start from Sand Bank Camp, taking              a the Arkansas River about 10 m. Plenty of grass (for stock).

Thursday, May 25, 1854                    424
This morning we left our Ark River camp and about 6 m. we came to Walnut Creek. Crossing it we traveled up Ark. River.       No wood on north side. 15 m.

Friday, May 26                                  
439 Leaving Clear Creek Camp, which can be known by its running parallel with Ark. River, and the only wood found on this side of the river. Came to Ash Creek about 8 m. & (Pawnee ?) fork 6 m. farther. No grass. 3 m. We camped on a little creek.

Sunday, May 28                                 471
Our Camp near Coon Creek has been returned (to) today as it has been raining near all day. Have to get wood from south side of river. Good grass near the river but short off  the river.

Tuesday, May 30                                489
After leaving our camp 2 or 3 m. this morning we came to a very fine bluff spring, the first bluff you find after you strike the river. The road has been rolling. The cutoff road came in & we camped at the forks. 15 m. today.

Wednesday, May 31                           504
After leaving our camp at the juncture of the two roads in about 8 m. we came to old Fort Man (deserted). Curiosity Rock after passing to the right of the road 2 or 3 m.  18 m.   No wood on north side of river.

Thursday, June 1                               522
Our road this morning stayed closer to the river but soon turns out on a high dry ridge. Grass short. After coming on a river again bitter grass but still no wood. 18m. Antelope for supper tonight.

Friday, June 2                                    540
Was raining this morning, and on examination we found 7 horses & 2 mules gone. But found them 8 m. distant. Only came 8 m. today. 3 m. from camp we crossed a deep dry creek, a bluff to the left after crossing the road (one word illegible).

Sunday, June 4                                   568
16 m. Today we have had a good road and passed the only wood on the north side of river. Timber may be seen up to the right on Sandy Creek that puts into the Ark. Indians came to camp.

Monday, June 5                                 584
The Arapahooes tribe came. We pass this morning. Cattle took a fright. Had good road today. Timber on north side of river. Camp at dry branch. First timber close on the road to the right. 10 m. today.

Wednesday, June 7                            622
No description of our camp last night, but after we left camp about 8 m. we came to a creek which we will call Young Cotton- wood from the amount of that growth in and around the creek. Came 20 m. today. Camped at Cottonwood Bend.

Thursday, June 8                               642
Cottonwood Bend was left this morning at the usual hour for starting. 5 m. we came to Brints (?) Trading Post. Some wood on the river. Prairie more rolling. 15 m. from camp to Stormy Bluffs. After passing can be seen by looking back to the left.

Friday, June 9                                    657
Rolling prairie road. Purgatory Creek comes in on south side of river. Crossed two dry cottonwood runs 1/2 mile apart and then camped. 14 m. is all we have traveled. Late start. All well.

Saturday, June 10                             671
After leaving our camp 6 m. this morning, we came to Fort Bent (deserted).  After passing that we came to the Black Ridges. Came 22 m. and camped on very poor grass. No good on this part of the road.

Sunday, June 11                                 693
Leaving our bare camp we still pass the Black Hills (?) to our right except when we turn. Hove in sight of the Rocky Mts. Plenty of snow to be seen on the peaks. 15 M. Brown & Humphrey 2 days out came in at 11 o'clock p. m.

Tuesday, June 13                               723
Today 3 m. is all we have traveled.      Stopped at a blacksmith shop to have some repairing done. Some hail about the size of a hen's egg. Pike's peak in sight capped with snow.

Wednesday, June 14                          726
Leaving our camp blacksmith shop about 5 m. we crossed the first running water since Cook Creek, Sap Creek. 5 m. farther on we leave the river.   15 m. we strike another creek.  24 m. today. An awful muddy camp. 1 m. from creek (three illegible words) Hailstorm.

Thursday, June 15                             750
One m. from camp we strike on Fontane Boilicia. Our road keeps up east side of said stream, steep banks.     12 m. is our days travel. We crossed a deep ravine, bad banks & mirey. Camped on said bank. Close Snow Mt.

 

Friday, June 16                                  762
This morning we proceeded up (we will call it) Piny. We see the first pine since we started.    Thence we leave the creek. Cross rolling & high prairie.    Camped at a spring 20 m. from camp. 12 m. from Piny to spring opposite Pike's Peak.

Saturday, June 17                              782
Leaving the springs we proceeded again across rolling prairie. Came to pine grove creek 15 m.  Thence we cross the dividing line between Ark. & Mo. Rivers.   Pine on ledge. 20 m. camped on prairie branch. Valley stony point.

Sunday, June 18                                802
Leaving Stony Point we have rolling prairie road.  Cross some running prairie branches in the morning. 15 m. said place we strike on Chiny Creek. 3/4 mi. down said creek good spring to the right. Pine wood lots. 2 m. after coming in the creek we camped. 17 m. today.

 

Monday, June 19                               819
Clearing our camp this morning we take down Chiny Creek, a good road in any weather. Traveled 20 m. today and camped at the first watering place that (was) easy come at. Call it Camp No. 2 on Chiny Creek. Pretty good grass, plenty of wood.

Tuesday, June 20                               839
Leaving Chiny Camp No.2 we take the ridge for a short distance coming on the creek again. It soon sinks. 8 m. from where it sinks we come to S. Platte, a deeper stream. 12 m. today, having been detained crossing said Platte.

Wednesday, June 21                          857
After leaving S.Platte 4 m. we came to Crooked Creek. Rolling prairie road.  12 m. further we cross a dry branch (standing holes) said to be alkali.    2 m. farther good running water, grass, & wood. 18 m. today (all well).

Thursday, June 22                            869
Leaving camp 4m. this morning we came to a rapid stream called Pole Cat. 5 m. came to more running water. No name. 5m. farther came to camp on Thomson's Creek, a cold rapid stream. 14 m. close to the mountain. Good grass.

Friday, June 23                                   883
5 m. from Pole Cat Creek we cross a bold stream. 8 m. farther we came to a larger stream. Had to prop up wagons.  Rolling prairie road ‑ the awfullest place for mosquitoes that I ever saw. I killed an antelope.

Saturday, June 24                              896
Leaving Musquitoes Camp we had rolling road close to the mountain. Cross a small running branch. 14 m. from camp we came to Cash Laboody (Cache La Poudre) the swiftest stream that I ever saw. Grass little short. Plenty of mosquitoes.

Sunday, June 25                                 910
Lay by today at Cache La Poudrie (Musquitoe Town). We have a beautiful scene from the mountain. There is a temporary blacksmith shop here. Swapped some cattle. All well.

Tuesday, June 27                               925
Again leaving the creek we take a meandering course across the mts. (some rough road).   Valleys narrow and but little grass. 18 m. came again on the same creek & camp. Numerous names cut on trees. A. Engels among names. (He came in 1852‑‑brother of William Henry. Settled in Oregon.)

Wednesday, June 28                          943
After leaving camp 1 m. we strike the rolling prairie again. Soon cross the Ser Posa (?) ridge between the northern (?) Cache La Poudrie & Larimie River. Beautiful scenery. 22 m. today. Some grass, some running water.

Thursday, June 29                            965
12 m. after leaving Camp over falling road we came to Cafferty Creek, North Fork of Larimie.      5 m. further we came to        more running water. No wood on the road. 22 m. today. Last camp on Laramie.

Saturday, July 1                              1002
Some rough road today. Cross running water.  No wood on the road.  Plenty of sage bushes.  12 m. today.  Camped 1 m. from Hell Creek (Brushy). Good grass, water & wood. Snow close by. (Some hail.)

Sunday, July 2                                 1014
14 m.  Starting this morning we take Hell Creek bottom; it is awful.  Pass over some as rough road today as we have had. Pass through a canian (canyon) & come down on canian creek.

Monday, July 3                               1014
Lay by at our camp on canian creek. Only grass & water for 14 M. North Platte.

Tuesday, July 4                               1028
Our last camp was where the road leaves canian creek. Rolling road today. No water or grass for 14 m. North Platte where we camped. Grass somewhat short, only in places. A ferry kept here. Can ford it.

Wednesday, July 5                         1042
Taking our departure from N. Platte we have a rolling road. No grass, water, or wood for 12 m. When we camped good water & a narrow valley of grass. Sage, so cook with sage brushes. Good spring 3/4 m. up the branch.

Friday, July 7                                 1066
Cross several weak streams this morning, grass short.  5 m. from camp cross a mountain stream, large hills on either        side. Short grass here.  1 m. good spring to the left. Grass still short. 7 m. farther good water & grass and sage brush. Some weak seeps between the two latter creeks. 12 m. today.

Sunday, July 9                               1100
Leaving Muddy Creek this morning we have rolling road & dusty do. Cross what was supposed to be the Divide Pass down a Back Bone. Thence our rolling road to Salt Creek, 25 m. No grass, but salty (?), salt water.   5 m. farther Elk H. River.  35 m. today.

Monday, July 10                            1135
Lay by on Elk H. River after a day & nights drive, although the grass is not very good.   Some alkali.  Water in pools in the bottom. The face of the ground looks like there had been lime sifted over it.

Wednesday, July 12                        1139
Leaving the river this morning the first part of our road is sandy. 16 m. over rolling road came to Rock Springs. Water scarce. Said to be grass 1 m. up to the right. 10 m. farther to Salt Creek. No grass. Water up to the right.    10 m. farther to Deep Creek ‑ salt water. No grass. 36 m. today.

Thursday, July 13                           1175
Leaving Deep Creek 10 m. we came to good running water & a good spring. Grass not good. Some alkali here. 4 m. farther to camp on said running branch. Grass some better. 14 m. today.

 

Saturday, July 15                             1194
Leaving camp 2 m. crossed a running branch‑‑good water & grass. 5 m. farther came to a valley of good grass. Spring to the right. Bad swamp to the (right) also. Road passes close by. Only 7 m. today. (Resting)

Sunday, July 16                          1121
(?) Lay at our camp as it is good grass & water to recruit our stock after crossing the desert, as this is the first place when the two rare products are to be found.

Monday, July 17                             1121
Suppose we came 10 m. today. Pass plenty of stock water. Road mountainous. Coming down a steep hill to a branch, we camp as this is the last grass that is good for some distance, where there is water.

Tuesday, July 18                                1131
1 m. from camp cross a branch, bad crossing. Grass not very good. 2 m. farther a weak branch, not much grass. This branch is at the foot of the longest & steepest mt. we have come to yet. 12 m. from this branch to camp.  1 m. after we came to the next running water. Grass very undependent. 15 m.

Wednesday, July 19                          1146
2 m. from camp to Green River. Ferry here. 12 m. we come to Black Fork of Green River; grass not good. 8 m. farther we come on it again. Grass short at our camp, although some spots it is good. 22 m. today.

Friday, July 21                                 1182
One m. from camp we cross branch fork; thence 1 m. and we came into the Independence Road. Thence 4 m. cross Black Fork again. The roads fork here; we take the left hand before crossing said fork & camp. 8 m. today. 

 

Saturday, July 22                             1190
Leaving Black Fork (over good road) we again came on it 10 m. & camp. No other water. Pass Court House Rock as it is called.

2 m. before coming on the creek. There is some good hill grass before coming on the creek. 3 cows dieing. 10 m. today.

Sunday, July 23                               1192
Our road does not leave the creek very far today.  Cross it twice this morning.  Good grass along the creek ever since we came on it.  Bit off to Fort Bridger & some grass.         Bit off here, water plenty. 16 m. today.

Tuesday, July 25                              1208
Taking the right hand this morning 8 m. came (to) fork of Muddy. 12 m. farther Big Muddy. Grass short on both creeks, but good hill grass.  21 m. today.    2 days drive in one.  Steep bank on Muddy.

Wednesday, July 26                          1228
Our road keeps up Muddy 5 m. We cross it, leave it, come on it again in 6 m. Find good grass here; water good. 11 m. today. Suppose we are in Oregon tonight.

Friday, July 28                                 1257
Leaving our mountain camp we take down the hollow‑‑fine grass. Come into Bear River Valley, beautiful valley of grass. 10 m. we come to Bear River.  As fine grass as we have on the road. 10 m.

Saturday, July 29                             1267
Lay at our camp on Bear River today resting our stock.  Our cattle are dying very fast from bloody marrian (?) Splendid grass here.

Monday, July 31                              1282
About two m. from camp this morning we cross fork of Bear  River. Toll bridge here, but can ford it up to the right.  Came 15 m. today and came to another fork of Bear River with  toll bridge, but can ford. Good grass.

Tuesday, August 1                            1297
We swam the river this morning & have some of the worst road since we left. Bear River Mts. will call them. 12 m. we           came on the river again.  Grass bit off.  5 m. after leaving the river came to water, short grass.

Wednesday, August 2                      1309
Leave our camp late. We only came 5 m.       having a wagon to fix at the shop. Shop where we came on the river. Camped on first branch from the river.

Friday, August 4                              1334
10 m. from camp we came to Soda Springs (curiosity) also Beer Spring; 3 m. leave river. Across the valley camp without water.

Monday, August 7                            1384
Leaving swamp creek. 3 m. came to water, grass scarce.  Thence cross a ridge; soon come to water again. Valley narrow‑‑plenty of water all the way down & hill grass. Thence opens out beautiful ridges of grass. 12 m. today.

Tuesday, August 8                             1396
3 m. from camp to the Tridad.  Here the Salt Lake Road & the road we left 2 days ago comes in. Thence 16 m. to the next water. No grass. 1 m. & off the road to the right some grass. 10 m. today. Rough mt. today to come down.

Thursday, August 10                        1337
Our road keeps down the valley after leaving the spring. 8 m. we cross the creek, grass plenty, water plenty. Thence 10 m. we come to last fork Raft River. Bad crossing. Some grass, 18 m. today.

Friday, August 11                            1455
Leaving east fork of Raft River 6 m. we came to west fork of Raft River. Good crossing. Some grass, some fuel, and water is good. Junction Fort Hall & California road.

Saturday, August 12                        1461
Our road keeps up west fork Raft River. 8 m. Thence to a weak spring branch. 5 m. hill grass‑‑water very good. Grass,  best up the creek about I m. from the road. 17 m. today.

Monday, August 14                          1494
Leaving camp, passing up a canian (canyon) 4 m. we came to a spring on the left.   No grass. Cross dividing ridge. 6m. came to water, grass short. 4 m. to Goose Creek.         Grass bit off. 14 m. today.

Tuesday, August 15                          1508
Leaving camp we proceeded up Goose Creek 18 m. Grass short all the way up. Camp when the road turns main fork of Goose Creek as this is the last grass for some distance. 18 m. today.

Thursday, August 17                        1546
Splendid road today.  2 m. alkali springs. Traveled 6 m. up alkali creek. 10 m. to alkali spring. 8 m. to Thousand Spring Valley. As cold spring here as ever flowed. No grass until near hot spring. 26 m.

Friday, August 18                            1572
We traveled up a creek 8 m. to a spring (at) mouth of canian. Grass short. Thence 8 m. over dividing ridge to Red Fork of Mary's River. Grass some better here. 16 m. today.    Ridge not much to cross. Roads fork. Took left hand.

Saturday, August 19                        1588

Leaving camp we proceed down Red Fork through a canian (rough road) 6 m. through the Canian.  Warm springs in the canian. Grass good in early part of the season.          

Water not good to drink after passing warm spring. 

Sunday, August 20                           1594   
The Humbolt presents a beautiful valley road. Good grass, but very dusty. 15 m. today. Water to our left all the (way) down. Left hand road comes in today. We also passed a sulphur spring about 4 m. from camp to the left.

Monday, August 21                          1609
The road is beautiful, grass good & water plenty. 15 m. from camp we cross main fork of Humbolt. 7 m. farther to camp. Had a fine rain today.  Don't often happen.  Fish plenty in the river. 12 m. today.

Wednesday, August 23                      1636
4 m. from camp we cross fork of river. Thence pass over ridge 1 m. to right again. Thence cross another ridge 3 m. to river again. 8 m. farther camp. Good grass 17 m. today.  Rain again.

Friday, August 25                              1661
6 m. from camp this morning we cross the river. Thence through a canian, crossing the river 3 times more. 8 m. through canian. Thence across a ridge to river. 2 m. to camp. Grass bit off. 16 m. today.

Sunday, August 27                            1702
Only moved 5 m. today, our stock wanting rest. We are now on the south side of river.   Grass good.  Road proceeds down the valley. (Writer of this diary was 24 years old on this date.)

 

Tuesday, August 29                           1727
Found on examination this morning that 13 horses & mules have been stolen overnight. Lay at camp today. Men in pursuit of the thieves. 1 horse recovered.

Wednesday, August 30                     1727
We again lay at camp today. Men still in pursuit. Some have returned, horses given out. No chance to get horses.

Thursday, August 31                         1727
Moved down the valley 10 m. & camped opposite Stony Point... No road that is regularly traveled ... comes across to this point. Bad sloughs to cross.

Friday, September 1                         1737
The train I learn left Stony Point crossing the river here to north side of river. Very good crossing here. Grass gone on South side.   I have missed the train & it seems that I can't find it. 15 m. today.

Monday, September 4                      1786
We cross the river to south side this morning. Traveled 16 m. today.  Road part sandy.    Grass good near the river, all dry. (Cold and frosty night.)

Tuesday, September 5                      1802
We have traveled 16 m. today. 8m. of the distance sandy, good grass. Still on south side of river.

Wednesday, September 6                 1818
12 m. from camp this morning we cross to north side. There we leave the river, passing over a ridge. 12 m. to the river. No grass, road heavy. 24 m. today.


Thursday, September 7                    1842
Have traveled 10 m. today to Lawson Meadows. Some sand rivers to pass over.

Still on north side. Grass good on south side. Good crossings for stock. Cut grass here.

Friday, September 8                         1852
North side of river.  Have at last overtaken the train at 11 today in the morning at Lawson's Meadows.  Resting the stock for a tramp of 60 m. without grass.  Camps were not moved today. Grass good on some parts of the meadows.

Saturday, September 9                     1852
This morning at a late hour we made a start. Cattle look fine. Suppose we traveled 20 m. today, and expect to do the same tonight. We passed down the river but not very close to it. Lay in water.

Sunday, September 10                    1872
This morning finds (us) about 40 m. from where we were yesterday morning, having traveled all night. Came to the river early this morning by taking a left hand  No grass. 20 m. farther today & we came to Big Meadows (Calif.)

Monday, September 11                   1912
The grass being short when we first came to the meadows we move 6 m. down this morning & rest the cattle. The river spreads out over the whole bottom. Willows very thick; danger of losing stock. Cut grass for desert.

Tuesday, September 12                   1918
We lay at our camp until 3 o'clock this evening; thence travel all night. Stop next morning near the sink.  No grass. The river here is nothing more than a lake. 20 m. from meadows to sink.

Wednesday, September 13               1938
Leaving the sink we take the right hand to avoid crossing the slough.  10 m. we take the left hand passing around the lake; thence we take the desert, leaving the last water at dark, and traveled all night.

Thursday, September 14                  1948
This morning finds us 8 m. from Carson River. 4 m. in the deep sand. 12 m. across the sand. No grass here on desert; no grass on the river. 50 m. across the desert to lake (on) right hand; 40 m. left hand.

Friday, September 15                      1983
We leave our camp this  morning 1 m. from Rag Town and proceed up Carson's river on north side (no grass) 14 m.

Saturday, September 16                  2002
Leaving our camp we leave the river. Then 8 m. come to river again. Thence proceed up the river to Big Bend. Here we find some grass & not till we come here. 14 m. today.

Sunday, September 17                     2016
Lay at our camp today. Cattle dying at a rapid rate. Grass good in the Big Bend.

Monday, September 18                    2016
Have traveled around up the Bend 10 m. today.  Grass good all the way up. Cattle still dying. 15 left at camp this morning.

Tuesday, September 19                    2026
Lay at our camp today waiting for the horses to come up. Cattle dying. Grass fine here. All anxious to be traveling.

Thursday, September 21                   2038
2 m. from camp this morning we came to a canian.  Rough road through it.   No pass to depend on. Thence good road to camp (dusty).   15 m. today.   Have to depend on the willow for the cattle.


Friday, September 22                        2053
3 m. from camp this morning we leave the river (pass Gold Canian) 10 m. come to the river again.  No grass here. Thence 5 m. to Eagle Ranch. Good grass & water. Turn to right leaving river. 18 m. today.

Saturday, September 23                   2071
Lay at our camp today resting for the mountains as cattle are still dying off pretty fast. Think by resting they will stop dying. Timber on mtn. pine.

Sunday, September 24                   2071      
Still stay at Eagle Ranch taking good rest.       6 m. north of said ranch is one of the most beautiful valleys I ever beheld (with) a lake in it & the finest fishing in the world.

Monday, September 25                    2071
We take our leave of Eagle Ranch & soon come to Carson's Valley; this is a pretty place not near the river (not close) but plenty of water. Good grass. 12 m. today. Lots of timber on the mts. Looks like some pine.

Wednesday, September 27                2098
2 m. from camp this morning we leave the grass in canian valley. 6 m. & come to canian. 6 m. through this is the roughest road we have had. Cross creek 3 times on bridges. Good grass 1 mile to the right after getting through canian. 14 m. today.

Thursday, September 28                   2112
I said 14 m. yesterday. The wagons did not     get through; the cattle did. We lay at our camp today to let the cattle rest. Plenty of snow in sight. Plenty of good pine wood, good water.

Friday, September 29                       2112
This morning we pass up Hope Valley, a small valley.  No feed in winter. 10m. we come to the first range of mts. Some rough road before taking the mt. 5 m. across the mountain the roughest road I ever saw. 15 m. today. Red Lake.

Saturday, September 30                    2127
2 m. to the right of Red Lake is splendid grass. Got in last night. Lay here today. Wagons over the mt. today at 3 oclock.

Sunday, October 1                            2127
Still lay at our camp to the right of Red Lake Valley. Wagons gone over the last summit today.    No grass in the valley this late in the season.

Monday, October 2                           2127
We proceed to cross the last summit with the cattle. 5 m. to the top of summit‑‑steep & rough drive. Thence 14 m. to Tragedy Springs. No grass. The road very rough. Leave beautiful Silver Lake to the right from summit. 19 m. today.

Tuesday, October 3                           2145
All proceed to move today from Tragedy Springs 4 & 1/2 m. to junction of Volcano and Harytown road. Take the Volcano road

l & 1/2 m. to camp. Not much grass. I return to Tragedy Springs to hunt for cattle.

Wednesday, October 4                      2152
Have been hunting cattle near Tragedy Springs & have had the luck to find them, but had to leave them and get help to drive them out, as it is impossible for one man to drive out of such a place.

Thursday, October 5                             
This morning I got help and proceeded to drive up the cattle which I found yesterday. The remainder of the day I helped the party that helped me. Drove l & 1/2 m. below the junction of road.


Friday, October 6                              2152
I find a note at my stopping place informing me that 8 head of cattle have been lost here. I proceed to hunt today, but cannot find any. Train is 3 days ahead of me now.

Saturday, October 7                         2152
Nothing today.

Sunday, October 8                            2152
32 m. from forks of road to Volcano. Hill road & pretty good; grass very scarce. May find some on the hills. Water is also very scarce. 2 m. from volcano to grass valley ‑ some grass & water.

Monday, October 9                          2184
You are now in the settlements. Here I will  leave you as there are so many changes that I cannot write so that you can tell anything about it.

Tuesday, October 10                         2184
Traveled toward Stockton today.  30 m. It is called 60 m. to Stockton.

Wednesday, October 11                    2244
Today I make the way and get to Bradford within 3 m. of Stockton.

Final Entry

Make a start for Cal. 1st April. Wages continue to 20th Nov., 1854. 7 months & 20 days.

Memoranda in back of diary:

Inquire for a letter at Stockton for John L. Johnson, and forward to Eclington's Ranch, Dry Creek, Cal.

Sacramento Co.

Montgomery & Butler Ranch, 2 m. above stables on Maclamie River. Will find H. S. Rogers with horses.

Inquire at B. W. Owens corner of Mann & Hum for Peter Cook.

There are markings and figures in the back of the diary that may indicate that they lost 294 cattle on the drive.