Diary of George Edwin Bushnell
TRIP ACROSS THE PLAINS IN 1864
May 5th (Thurs.) Started for Cal. from Kirksville, Adair Co. Missouri with 2 wagons, 1 hack, 4 mares, 1 stable horse, 28 heard of mules, camped that night 3 miles east of Green Castle, at Mr. Fords.
May 6th (Fri.) Went on through Green Castle, camped at an old house.
May 7th (Sat.) Camped on Big Locust.
May 8th (Sun.) Went through Chilocothe, and camped on Grand River Bottom, close to the bridge, and the water was up and we stayed there until the 13th. Then we crossed the river and struck out for Kingston in Caldwell Co. the 14th. There I left the wagons and went to Lexington after some mules of the Tandy estate) I had left there. Was gone until the 17th. Got 21 mules and 2 mares, and bought 1 on Grand River, which makes 49 mules, 7 mares and 1 horse, and started from there for Nebraska City.
May 18th (Wed.) Passed through Whitesville, Decalo Co. and Marysville, Page (?) Co. from there to Sidney Co., Iowa, 15 miles from Nebraska City, and there were about 100 wagons waiting to cross so we went back on the bottom and camped. Next day we got over and got some shoeing done, and drove out 3 miles, and that night 3 mules got away, and we stayed until the 30th.
May 30th (Mon.) We started for the plains and got 14 mi. to the first stage station.
May 31st (Tues.) Traveled 25 mi. to a good camping ground 10 mi. east of Salt Creek, from Nebraska City, here is a rolling prairie country, with scarcely any timber, but good grass and water.
June 1st (Wed.) Crossed Salt Creek quite a nice little stream, and camped on a high prairie, about a mile from water.
June 2nd (Thurs.) Stayed in camp, our mare Kit. got her foot in halter, and hurt so bad, expect we will have to leave her on this vast prairie wilderness. Today about 40 wagons passed us.
June 3rd (Fri.) Left Kit., a man by the name of Brown, offered me $25.00 for her, but did not have the money, so I sent Julius home with for the money, but Julius came back at night with $15.00, all he would pay. Traveled 28 mi. and camped on Beaver Creek, near a stage station.
June 4th (Sat.) Passed Beaver Creek, and traveled 25 mi. We passed 67 wagons today, and got 4 more to our train, camped on a prairie ½ mi. from wood and water, went through a Prairie Dog Town, today, ½ mi. long and ¼ wide, I should suppose there was 1000 dogs there, day before yesterday, met a train of Mormons going to Nebraska City.
June 5th. (Sun.) Saw 2 Antelopes, and yesterday morning saw an Elk. Passed three ranches to-day, passed 47 wagons, and traveled 40 mi. and camped on The Platte bottom, 40 mi. from Ft. Kearney.
June 6th. (Mon.) The houses fences, and stables are all made out of sod, and the river is out of its banks. Saw an elk this morning. Passed 60 wagons, and camped 14 mi. from Ft. Kearney. Saw a buffalo, dead by the roadside.
June 7th. (Tues.) Passed by the Ft. and stopped at Kearney City, and met and passed 175 wagons today, and come through Dog-town 10 mi. east of Kearney and the junction of the roads, from Nebraska City, and Atchison.
June 8th. (Wed.) Passed Hopeville P.O. 17 mi. from Kearney. Met a train of Mormons, and camped near Smiths ranch.
June 9th. (Thurs.) Passed Spread Eagle P.O. 35 mi. from Ft. Kearney, and here was a toll bridge, over a stream I could step across, and charged 10¢ a wagon. Passed 140 wagons, and saw a few Indians, the first we have saw on the plains. We have camped tonight near Frenchs ranch -- mi. below Cottonwood Springs.
June 10th (Fri.) We are laying by and have our stock on the Island, where there is plenty of grass, and the boys are gone hunting buffalo, and antelope, 4 passed us this morning.
June 11th (Sat.) Met a train of 65 wagons from Salt Lake and Larime, and camped near Smiths ranch, 25 mi. from Cottonwood Springs.
June 12th (Sun.) Came to the springs where there is a Fort, and the soldiers demanded our pistols, but did not get them. The road is full of wagons and dust this afternoon, in the forenoon it was muddy, we camped 2 or 4 miles above Cottonwood Springs.
June 13th (Mon.) Passed 5 Indian graves, about 7 ft. from the ground on scaffolds. Near the Junction House, we passed 262 wagons today.
June 14th (Tues.) Came up a storm last night, rained nearly all night, and today the road Is wet and muddy. Passed the 0 Fallen Bluff trading post 55 mi. below the Julesburg upper crossing of the South Platt. Saw 2 Indian villages, and camped near Alkali Springs.
June 15th (Wed,) It rained hard all night last night, and we were all wet this morning, and lay by till 10 oclock. Met a long train of Mormon wagons. There is 300 on their way to Nebraska City for goods. Camped 2 mi. below Lone Tree crossing 35 mi. below Julesburg.
June 16th (Thurs.) Passed 255 wagons and camped 12 mi. below Julesburg.
June 17th (Fri.) Came to Julesburg, to see about crossing found so many teams there and the river so high we concluded to go farther up the river.
June 18th (Sat.) Came on up to Buffalo Spring Ranch 16 mi. from Julesburg, and camped. Tonight, there is about 50 wagons near us.
June 19th (Sun.) We are laying by today, at Buffalo Springs, and opposite the Devils Pier, a huge pile of rock on the opposite side of the river and this evening there is to be preaching in the camp of neighbors, there is three ministers in the train. Our dutch company are about leaving us, and we dont care. Went to hear Mr. Compton preach in their camp at 6 oclock.
June 20th (Mon.) We passed the Lillian Springs today, the best water we have found on the Platt.
June 21st (Tues.) Camped 80 miles below the crossing.
June 22nd (Wed,) Saw the peaks of the Rocky Mountains 130 mi. distant. Camped 4 mi. below the Junction ranch, from here to Denver Is 80 ml. and to Lathan 50 miles.
June 23rd (Thurs.) We can see the mountains this morning and from the appearance, I should think they were about 20 mi. off, but found out by inquiring, they were 150. One of the highest peaks was Longs and another Pikes. In the snowy range today, we passed an encampment of U.S. soldiers, stationed on the bank of the Platt, for protection of Emigrants, I suppose, and encamped on the Bluff without water, wood, or grass.
June 24th (Fri.) Started this morning at daylight and drove about 6 mi. and found grass and stopped to breakfast, and graze, and come on to the Station. Went down to the ferry and they charged me $10.00 a wagon, and $8.00 for the hack, and 75¢ a head for the stock. Camped on the bluff 3 mi. from the river. The mountains look like they were 5 or 6 mi. off but the foot of them is over 30 miles off.
June 25th (Sat.) Geared up this morning, and drove down to the ferry and got one wagon across the river, and 6 miles, and come back and put on one wagon and about 12 mules, and got nearly across, when the rope broke and we drifted back to this side again, and here we are waiting for them to fit It up.
June 26th (Sun) Stayed In camp all day waiting for them to get the boat ready.
June 27th (Mon.) Got our wagons over today, and swam 40 head of stock. And drove over to the Cache-le-Powdre, pronounced, Casg-le-Pool, a mountain stream about 40 yds. wide, 10 ft. deep, 3 mi. from the Platt, and the water clear, and cold, and had to swim the stock over that, and camped on the bluff.
June 28th (Tues.) Today we have been traveling up the stream. Passed a camp of Indians, and camped on the bank of the Cache-le-Powdre, and under the mountain last night the stock took a stampede, but we got them all back again without much trouble.
June 29th (Wed.) Passed through Laport, at the foot of the mountains. There Is also a camp of U.S. soldiers, and then got in the mountains and camped on the creek.
June 30th (Thurs.) Today we have been in, around, and over the mountains, traveling 25 mi. and camped on the Larime Plains 16 mi. from Big Larime. Plenty of cold water, wood, and grass.
July 1st (Fri.) Got up this morning and found a big frost, and grass frost stiff and ice and plenty of snow in sight. Drove to Big Larime and camped on the bank.
July 2nd (Sat.) Drove 21 mi. and camped, on a creek bottom, where the misquitos liked to have eat us up.
July 3rd (Sun.) The mosquitos were so bad we had to travel away from them. Drove on to Rock Creek 20 mi. from Ft. Halleck, there was a toll bridge here and they wanted 50¢ a wagon and we forded It and camped a mile from it.
July 4th (Mon.) Come on to a creek, and a stage station, and another toll bridge, but we forded it.
July 5th (Tues.) Came on to Ft. Halleck, a new fort in the mountains, 30 mi. from the crossing of the North Platte. So far we have had good grass and water, and stock look well. We are camped on the bank of Pass Creek, 18 mi. from North Platt, and 282 yet from Fort Bridges. The boys killed an antelope. The first one on the trip. Here is a Stage Station.
July 6th (Wed.) Come on to North Platte, and they wanted $5.00 a wagon for ferrying, but we hunted a ford and crossed ourselves. This morning one of my mules was so lame could not travel, and I went up to the station and traded it for a $75.00 gun. We are camped on the bank of Sage Creek, 4 mi. from the Platt, with scarcely any grass, and the leaves had dammed up the creek.
July 7th (Thurs.) Traveled 24 mi. and no grass, camped in thick sage brush, by the side of road.
July 8th (Fri.) Today we have had a rough road, down a deep canyon, and creek. Passed through Park and Sulphur Stations, and camped 4 ml. from it. Saw a bear there, and came through the Bridger Pass, and now on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains.
July 9th (Sat.) Drove 7 mi. today, and camped on Mud Creek, the head waters of the Snake River, the engineers are here surveying the route for the Pacific Rail Road, and 30 soldiers with them as an escort. We are yet 190 miles from Fort Bridger, and 120 from Green River.
July 10th (Sun.) Lay by and wrote a letter to Edwin and one to Will Baird.
July 11th (Mon.) Traveled 20 miles and camped by the Barrel Springs, and drove our stock to the mountains, and stayed all night.
July 12th (Tues.) Come on to Bitter Creek, a nice stream but strong with alkali, we go down this to Green River. Poor grass and water all the way.
July 12th (Wed.) Saw 11 elk, and 7 antelopes this morning, and drove 38 mi. without water but once and camped at the point of rocks and Sulpher Springs, all the water we have.
July 14th (Thurs.) Traveled 30 ml. without water, or grass, through a poor barren desert country, down Bitter Creek, and camped near another Sulphur Spring, but found grass 2 mi. from camp, and Mary and I stayed out all night with the stock.
July 15th (Fri.) Traveled 18 ml. to Green River, here we have plenty of good water, wood and grass, and here we will stay awhile and rest ourselves and stock. We forded the river here altho, they told us we would have to ferry. It is rough looking country. Mountains all around us.
July 16th (Sat.) Jim went out this morning and shot 2 deer, and the boys went and helped bring them in, when he convinced them of the killing.
July 17th (Sun.) In camp on Green River, there was preaching by Rv. Mr. Dobbins.
July 18th (Mon.) Here yet.
July 19th (Tues.) still waiting for my mule to come, that we left on South Platt. Cris and Latta left us for the Oregon Trail. The reason Cris left, was, I overheard he and Alma planning to run off and get married so I discharged him, he had been driving the team to one of the wagons, Alma riding with him, Adda with Jim Andrews, who drove the other team. We had a saddle mare, which the girls rode for a change when they wanted to, they did not have to only as it pleased them, I believe Mary rode more than the other girls.
July 20th (Wed.) We are still here on Green River.
July 21st (Thurs.) The mule has not come yet, and we will wait today I sold one of the mules I got from J. T. Smith, this morning for $140.00. I gave the man $5.00 (he having one drowned this morning.)
July 22nd (Fri.) We are still in camp, and no mule yet.
July 23rd (Sat.) We are here yet, and no mule has come, and I dont know how much longer we will have to stay. Charley Huff is with us on his way to Salt Lake.
July 24th (Sun.) Left Green River, and no mule. Drove to Black Fork 14 mi. and stopped for dinner, and drove on to Hams Fork Station, 18 mi. farther. Today, and night we had a heavy rain that raised the streams.
July 25th (Mon.) Today we came in to Larimie Road and crossed the Hams Fork twice, and camped on the bank of it, 10 mi. from Ft. Bridger.
July 26th (Tues.) We are laying by again today.
July 27th (Wed.) Passed through Fort Bridger, and a nice place, there is 6 mountain streams running down the valley, and come on 8 mi. from it.
July 28th(Thurs.) Come on to Bear River, traveled 20 ml. plenty of wood, water, and grass here.
July 29th (Fri.) Traveled 27 ml. and camped In Echo Canyon.
July 30th (Sat.) Come on to Weber River, at a home station, 30 mi. from Salt Lake and traveled up it about 7 mi. and camped by a Stone Mill. All along here It is thickly settled by Mormons.
July 31st (Sun) Today, we have had a bad road through a canyon, and on the side of a mountain, traveled about 15 mi. and camped 27 mi. from the Celestial City, between the mountains in what they call the Park.
Aug. 1st (Mon.) Passed over the summit and traveled down a canyon to within 12 mi. of a city and camped on Little Mountain, 10 mi. from the City.
Aug. 2nd (Tues.) Went up to the top of the mountain. Got into Emigrant Mountain, and got to the City, stayed long enough to go in the P.O. and get my letters, and drove on 15 mi. We crossed the river Jordan, about 2 mi. from the City. Tonight we are camped by a Salt Spring, at the point of the mountain.
Aug. 3rd (Wed.) Layed by and went back to the City, and paid $8.00 for shoeing a mare and 24¢ for flour, and $1.00 a pound for sugar, and saw the foundation of the Temple. It Is 190 ft. by 127 walled in with a wall 14 ft. high.
Aug. 4th (Thurs.) Drove 28 mi. to Stockton. The new silver mines they are building, 2 furnaces, and putting up a quartz mill. About 50 men at work there, we had plenty of wood, and water and the finest grass on the trip.
Aug. 5th (Fri.) Three months today, since we left home, went up to the Silver Mines this morning and got a specimen of the ore, and traveled 20 mi. up Rush Valley.
Aug. 6th (Sat.) Drove to Government Springs 28 mi.
Aug. 7th (Sun.) Drove to a spring in the mountains 2 mi. of the desert.
Aug. 8th (Mon.) Are laying by, or over today plenty of wood, water, and grass of the best quality. It is 1 1/2 mi. to the Indian Springs.
Aug. 9th (Tues.) Drove over the mountain to the springs, and stopped there a while, and then started across the desert. It looks from the mountain like a lake frozen over.
Aug. 10 (Wed.) Got across the desert this morning about 8 oclock traveled in about 20 hours, 50 mi. without water or grass, except what we took with us. Stayed till 3 oclock, and drove up to the spring 4 mi. and camped.
Aug. 11 (Thurs.) Traveled today 21 mi. to Willow Springs, good water and grass, and holes here said to be 250 ft. deep, and fish in them.
Aug. 12th (Fri.) Drove 28 mi. to Deep Creek Station, good water and grass.
Aug. 13th (Sat.) Drove up the creek 4 mi. and cut grass to cross the desert and came on 2 mi. and camped, to stay over today, good water, but poor grass.
Aug. 14th (Sun.) Today, we traveled 28 mi. to Antelope Springs, and found good grass, 3½ mi. to the right of the road, and good water. Today, we fell in company with Dr. Coger, and Mr. Baker, cousins of Mrs. Thatcher.
Aug, 15th (Mon.) Come on to Spring Valley, 18 mi. and stopped for dinner, plenty of water, and grass, and Indians too. Drove to a spring in the mountains, 8 mi. plenty of wood and grass. 26 miles today.
Aug. 16th (Tues.) Stayed in camp till evening and drove over the mountain to Shell Creek. 4 mi. and camped. Plenty of wood, water, and grass.
Aug. 17th (Wed.) Traveled 18 mi. and camped In Egan Canyon, 2 ml. above Steptoe City, at the silver and gold mines.
Aug. 18th (Thurs.) Traveled 18 mi. to Pony Springs, good water, wood, and grass, but a rough place to camp on the side of a rough, rocky mountain.
Aug. 19th (Fri.) Traveled 14 mi. to a mountain spring water, but poor grass.
Aug. 20th (Sat.) Traveled 12 mi. today, to Ruby Valley got a piece of bacon and paid $1.36 a pound.
Aug. 21st (Sun.) Drove 19 mi. to a spring to the right of the road about 3 mi. and found plenty of water and grass.
Aug. 22nd (Mon.) Drove 12 mi. over Diamond Mountain to Diamond Springs.
Aug. 23rd (Tues.) Drove 14 mi. to Sulpher Springs, plenty water and grass.
Aug. 24th (Wed.) Drove 16 mi. to Roberts Creek, a small spring branch but plenty of water and grass 2 mi. to the right on the mountain.
Aug. 25th (Thurs.) Drove 16 mi. to Grubbs Wells, good water but not very good grass.
Aug. 26th (Fri.) Drove to Dry Creek, 20 ml. plenty of water but poor grass.
Aug. 27th (Sat.) Drove to Simpsons Park and left old Puss, and drove up to the valley, 4 mi. good water and grass, a good place to lay over awhile. 20 miles today.
Aug. 28th (Sun.) Went to Austin and found Edwin there.
Aug. 29th (Mon.) We left Austin late in the afternoon and found our road leading through sage brush plains and flats for almost indefinite number of miles. We have found plenty of grass along the road and passed one attempt at civilization in the shape of a grocery, where we found a man who owned a ranch, and knew there was no grass anywhere but at his ranch. But as we had travelers, we concluded to "Trust to luck and stand fate in the face" and so we did, and find realize, that even luck is more worthy of trust than any man who owns a ranch on the Emigrant Trail. We are now in camp near Big Creek. We found plenty of fine water and possible feed. Nearby is a stream sawmill manufacturing a vast amount of lumber, getting the logs franchiseally from Smoky Valley; and in another direction nearby we find a beautiful garden having flume and power pump with which to irrigate. It was quite late when we got here.
Aug. 30th (Tues.) We encamped this evening in a beautiful flat or valley through the beautiful Reese River runs. The events of the days journey were not peculiarly striking. We left our camp at Big Creek at about a half hour after 7 oclock. After travelling 1 mile we found ourselves travelling the main street which, by the way, Is the principal street of Lander City, noted for its want of supplies of any description, not having a full box of matches. A short distance above this, however, is an extensive flume and overshot wheel by the bow of which receiving the entire stream, a large number of entrances under which are furnaces for heating the rock, at the same time it is being crushed. One mi. from Lander City we passed through a small portion of Canyon City, a small but flourishing mining town having one or two quartz mills In operation and others are now being built. There seems to be considerable activity here. Turning to the right from this place we passed over rough sage brush hills and traveled over plains of pretty much. the same composition until we were convinced we were on the wrong road, when we turned immediately west and traveled 5 mi. without a road and found ourselves at Reese River again. After travelling 15 mi. without water or grass. We experienced but very little difficulty in crossing the above mentioned noted stream. A stream from which the richest silver mines known in the world derive their misappropriate names. After a brisk drive of 5 mi. we reached the camp mentioned at first of the date. Saw about 30 Indians. Traveled nearly to Washington and made in actual travel towards our destination, 25 mi.
Aug. 31st (Wed.) Camped near Ione. Our road has continued all day along the river sometimes through open fields and sage brush finding much of the country populated by stake and brush fences, and occasionally a house. Late in the evening left the Reese River Valley and entered a canyon which brought us to our present camp. We find plenty of good bunch grass 1½ mi. from camp through a deep mountain pass. The water is not abundant in quantity but excellent in quality. Plenty of wood and abundant need for fire.
Sept. 1st (Thurs.) We are camped this evening near the road among rocks and sage brush. A dreary waste is spread out above, beneath and all around us. We left our encampment this morning as early as circumstances would allow. Our camp might justly be styled a Grand encampment for the rocks, the hills, a large rock cave into which we could not gain admittance, and indeed everything, except the little spring and the unfinished walls of wooded buildings was grand. The former were beautiful and the latter wonderous. We left our camp this morning and passed through Ione, the capitol of Nye County, this, I mean, the town is a small cluster of houses situated in a canyon or mountain gorge, like most of the mining towns. And would be a great place if it were not for a few wants under which the builders struggle. 1st. they want a better country upon which to build a town, 2nd. something out of which to build and 3rd. an object in building. After leaving this place we traveled in somewhat of a western direction, first over a rocky country of sage brush and then through a beautiful plat In which was superb grass, and near this an effort to dig a well which effort has been abandoned. After this we passed through a deep mountain pass, or a Westor, and then through a deeper one which was grand. At Westor we found good water though scarce. At the next springs we had good water and more abundant. Ranch man tried to collect toll but failed. We have traveled 20 mi. today and are with out water but having good grass as before stated.
Sept. 2nd (Fri.) Traveled 20½ mi. I through canyon we at foot of a grade 80 ft. deep and but little water. Found good grass In valley. Traveled over and near the ocean bed varigated pebbles scattered In profusion over the earth, vegetation scarce and scattering. Country undulating and sands just to the right, and left to immense chains of mountains composed of black apparently volcanic rock. The one to the right up to an immense hight, and the two converge near the immense alkali flat that lies in front only seen through the low gap and pass way that lies between their points. The road leads the traveler over the loose rock through this gap, and we find ourselves in a rocky flat just scenting the alkali desert eluded to above. The prospect is dreary and cheerless. Abundance of alkali water in well. Emegrants encamped. Hot springs to the south 3 mi., salty grass. No feed nearer than 31/2 mi. over drifts of sand. Boys gone with stock.
Sept. 3rd (Sat.) Boys traveled until midnight lost 3 head of stock but found no feed they returned and slept near us. Rancher kindly offers to show us grass, offer accepted. Lost stock recovered, and plenty of feed found. Doleful day around the desert sands. The same picture as presented yesterday. Not traveling. Stock doing well. Sleepless nights among greesewood and sand hills.
Sept. 4th (Sun.) Started early over alkali flat singular appearance. 15 mi. to an excellent well of water. Met moovers suffering. Passed by the and stopped for supper and feed. Sand hills 5 mi. west. No water but plenty of fine feed. We remained about 2 hours and commenced our toilsome march across a wilderness of sand. Our general direction is west and south of west. The country for 6 or 8 mi. gently ascending and then gradually sloping off over drifting sand to Walker Lake and river. We reached Walker River bridge about 4 A.M. having traveled all night. Some of the stock very much jaded but we are through without serious inconvenience and are now encamped west side of Walker River having traveled 15 mi. In 24 hours. We are now encamped near Walker River bridge in the Pierce Indian Reservation.
Sept. 5th (Mon.) Arrived here about oclock. This Morning Indians in great numbers gathered around us, many of them having fish to sell, and all of them asking for biscuits, crackers, tobacco, etc. They ask us enormous, exorbant prices for everything they offer to sell, and even willing to pay a fair price for what they want when they have the money. They asked us 25¢ per head for grazing stock. We find bunches grass 3 mi. from the bridge north side of road among sand hills. The day has been spent in sleeping, eating, etc. Women folks very much alarmed for fear of Indians. Moved up the river about 5 mi. and encamped on the bluff and found fine feed near the mountains. Cooked up the last flour we had at noon today, and must fast now until we get to settlements. As we advance up the river we find the most delightful valley stretching out for several hundred yards on each side of the river covered with luxurant grass and underbrush offering a magnificent place to camp, but then that wretched Reservation prevents, and the boys have gone to the mountains and I must go awhile to dreamland and explore the lights of vision, somewhere in its hidden caves.
Sept. 6th (Tues.) At a very early date this morning the mules returned to the river and by a little white lie, we managed to gain them greater grazing on good green grass, for about 2 hrs. and at an early hr. we were on the move. We traveled at some distance from the river for a considerable time over deep sand with but a dim road but an abundance of excellent bunch grass, to the right of the road. After passing this slope were suddenly discovered by Indians, traveling along the beautiful valley to which allusion has been made. Oh, what meadows of untouched grass waves In the gentle breezes that stir also the rich green foliage of the cottonwood, and willos trees that skirt the Alkali stream. About 2 oclock we reached the "Reserve House", whose keeper, as subsequent information proved to be a cousin of my mother, and hence a second cousin of my brothers and sisters, and myself. He has proved himself worthy of the name he bears, (Bligh). From him we have procured 4 lb. of flour, nearly ¼ of all he had, 4 lbs. beans, ½ of all he had, and through his generosity, we were presented this evening with a fine veal quarter, and a nice bucket of milk. We are now encamped just above his place at a ford of the river. We pay him, in behalf of the government, $10.00 for pasturing the stock tonight for the present we have everything that emegrants need except money.
Sept. 8th (Wed.) Accompanied by our friends (D.R.H. Bligh) we left camp this morning and have slowly moved along the serpentine way that leads the weary traveler who follow it to the Carmon River. The country over which we have passed today is not entirely without its due amount of interest, but never-the-less, is somewhat mountainous and is really more noted for this than anything else. For a distance of 10 mi. we traveled near the river, with sage brush and sand plains to the right as we circle to the westward around meandering stream. Feed seems to be entirely out of the question. After the above drive we move in a north-western direction for 5 mi. over Alkali flat with low volcanic hills to the right and front. 5 mi. from the river we halted near a spring water hot enough to scald the fingers. In this vicinity we found a great deal of salt and Alkali, no grass. Seeing this untilable spot we moved on north and north west with but little change, In the country until we reached the Mason Road, we turned our course northward and moved directly down an incline canyon road toward Fort Churchill. The hills on either side are decidedly volcanic In their appearance. Immense sage brush forming a minature forest. We found no prospect of feed along the road until late this evening we traveled through little flats that are covered with alkali grass and near by the road are plenty of sloughs filled with Alkali water. Near the hour of sunset we found a very delightful spring issuing from a mountain side. Plenty of wood and water, but no grass that is worthy of the name, but we are now encamped near the springs having traveled 27 mi. since morning. To the right of the canyon is an immense pile of rock forming a mountain of considerable altitude and magnitude.
Sept. 9th (Fri.) We are now encamped on the farm of T. Terford Esq. 9 mi. below Dayton. Our jog today is almost without Interest. 3 mi. drive brought us to the crossing of Carson River, near which is situated the neat little garrison Fort Church-hill. Near the Fort, we had the privilege of looking at some specimans of the game tribe, in the shape of dromadaries. I paused at the Fort with some friends, and accepted from them an invitation to dine after having witnessed a grand review of the troops. The train continued traveling up Carson River. We had a heavy wind during the entire day and the dust has been almost intolerable. There are a number of settlements along the river but little feed. Traveled 20 mi.
Sept. 10th (Sat.) We are encamped tonight at Penrods farm on Clear Creek 3 mi. from Carson City, Capitol of Territory, having traveled 23 ml. over rough roads. Passed through Daytons thriving town. Capitol of Lyon Co. Quartz mills etc. and etc. From Dayton to Carson City 12 mi. mostly rough. Carson City a beautiful little city. Territorial prison opposite side of valley. We have good feed tonight, barely stubble, (costing $10.00) Lost a mule at Dayton.
Sept. 11th (Sun.) Train remained in camp until Monday. I went back for mule. Road enters the edge of Carson Valley and follows it for a number of miles. 10 mi. to Geneva. Over-took train 2 ½ mi. above Genoa traveled 45 mi. arrived at 9 oclock.
Sept. 12th (Mon.) Resumed our march traveled through a beautiful country to the south of Carson canyon and we are now encamped at Woodfords where we received many kindnesses from my friend, Mr. Bryant. Among which I must mention, the privilege of turning our mules Into the pine woods to feed on leaves at 10¢ per head, and the 2½¢ paid for grass hay, etc. etc.
Sept. 13th (Tues.) Continued our journey, that is, we commenced ascending the canyon in all its romantic beauty, and found ourselves at a toll gate. At this gate we were called upon for $5.00 toll. We plead poverty, agreed to call on the president of Turn-Pike Co. and passed on. We found the road very well graded and passable, with high mountains of rock looming up like great castles into the clear cold heavens. Pines of various sizes are scattered at different intervales along the mountains sunny side and base, The thundering cateract of Carson goes bounding down the gloomy gorge at a speed and without noise that is terrific. 6 mi. from Woodfords we entered Hog Valley, a romantic valley or flat in the mountains extending about 3 mi. and offering excellent feed the water also is excellent. We passed through or over this valley, and left It taking the abandoned wagon road. To the right and in advance of us are immense patches of snow which the warmest summer sun has failed to dislodge. 4 mi. from Greens in Hog Valley we entered a lovely valley, which seemed too inviting to be so easily passed through but 3 oclock, we yielded to temptation and turned loose in a rich pasture at 10¢ per head. We find the natives very kind and obliging indeed, they are so much so, as to sell us boiling beef at 10¢ lb. How fine it is to have friends especially if you have money. Traveled 10 miles.
Sept. 14th (wed.) We experienced some very cold weather last night, icicles 10 in. in length hanging on a water spout and heavy frost. We are now encamped several mi. west of Carsons Peak, on a little valley of grass which we turned into without charge as it is one of the few grass plats or valley in these mountains which has not been fenced. We stopped here at 2 o'clock, and have only traveled 16 mi. today, but the country through which we have traveled is not without its interest. Leaving our encampment at Mr. Stephens we wound slowly around the beautiful to the right continuely ascending until we reached Toll Gate No. 1 where we told that $6.00 was to pay. This $6.00 was discharged by means of so much "Greenback" a little to the dissatisfaction of Mr. Gate Keeper. We passed through the gate and commenced slowly to ascend the first summet of the dark green Sierras. The grade was fine and we were not long in reaching the wished for summet. But as we circled around the deep chasm, that seemed to be suspended from the rocks far, far, below us we were In full view of what is called by some Mud, and by others Raid Lake, but I prefer to blend the two names and form a compromise which I imagine is more expressive than either by itself. I prefer to call It "Red Mud Lake." It has but little water surface. The mud is the predominant surface, and that mud is red. Some green glass slightly tinged with the yellow foot prints of "Jack Frost" covers this dreary or rather muddy looking expanse. The Lake itself is a romatic picture with all of its red mud. When Its surroundings are taken into consideration, The road has been selected to lead the traveler among beautiful trees that almost over-reach it. As we scaled the summet a beautiful valley burst in the view in front and a long chain of rocky peaks jutted over immense banks of snow greeted the gaze to the left and south, Of course we did not remain a great while upon the bleak summet more than 6000 feet above the sea-level, but commenced a descent as gradual and easy as the ascent had been on the other side. We reached the beautiful little valley at about 12 mi. where we found another house and then commenced ascending the steep grade to the second summet. In making this ascent we witnessed some of the most singular country it has been my lot to witness in any other part of the world. The road is graded along a mountain site for 5 mi. through a formulation having the consistency of rock but the appearance of immense layers and beds of gravel and sand a strata of which seems with red streaks running through it is distinctly defined at about the same general attitude. Between white stemed strattas are strattas of course dark sand and gravel. By some gigantic chemical process of nature this immense ocean bed has been chained together into a solid mass arid requires heavy blasting to remove the power that locks the conglomerated mass together. On Circular hill to the left and above us reaching the above named formation the entire mountain seems to have been torn up by ten thousand blasts and the volcanic rock intermingled with sand and dirt seemed to compose the immense mountain. This entire mass seemed to threaten you with sudden burial for it seemed to be entirely unconfined except by its base. This formation continues for mile more or less. Then the gradually formation appears above and also below the road. Not only in the hills itself but in rises in momental columes to an indescribable height. Near one of these monental piles called Carsons Peak, has been found a pine tree of considerable size which has been completely and now appears to be quartz rock, but the wood growth and fibers areas distinctly visible as any tree I have ever seen. Having crossed this singular mountain we made the journey down with less difficulty than we had wound around the circular grade on the opposite side and reached our present encampment where we find an extensive valley covered with short grass and thick clusters of willow, interpassed with bogs, and marshes, and the whole enlivened by beautiful streams of water.
Sept. 15th (Thurs.) I am found gathering our team and all ready to start. We found the most valuable horse of the herd swamped and lifeless in a deep cold pool. We obtained an early start and traveled through mountain forests occasionally passing a neat hotel or a little valley, passing two toll gates and are now encamped at Charley Steadmans. We get hay at 3½ ¢ per pound.
Sept. 16th (Fri.)Traveled from Steadmans to Whitakers. Passed through "Fiddle Town" a neat little mining town, situated in a canyon. One half the town is populated by Chinese. Several nice orchards and homes. Arrived at Richs. Found Emma a girl about Marys age having "Beaus" while Mary seemed nothing but a child. Mary borrowed a pair of Emmas shoes so she could go to church. Lost Valley, Mr. Rich went with us to Sacramento and treating all to beer but Nancy, she took buttermilk. Mr. Rich went back (about 40 miles)
We went on.
Edwin had a place rented for us before we came. We went to Mr. Hoberts (a wine maker) and stayed all night. Nancy taking mountain fever. Lived in Sonoma County about 1 year, then moved to Napa county, where Bob was born. Lived there until came to Oregon in 1866 (23d Nov.)
Arrived at our stopping place in Cal. Sept. 23d 1864.
Recopied from Xeroxed copy made by Helen Feary Wayte, 4819 N. Thorne, Fresno, Calif. 93705 by Alice B. Forrester, 1968. Ms. Wayte is the Gt. Granddaughter of George Edwin Bushnell.
(Note by ABF; Sam Bond has told me a story that happened on their way across
the plains that does not appear in this diary. Have been unable to find it
in writing, but add it in order to keep it in the record. Am sure it is true
and cant understand why it was left out of the diary.
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