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Crossing the Plains, the journal of Harriett Bidwell Shaw

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Journal of Harriet Bidwell Shaw  the only white woman on the train


Crossing the plains


[xx] New Mexico in 1861


Sept 18th  Bade adieu to our dear friends at Shawnee Mission with whom we spent a week most delightfully & started on our long journey across the plains.  Br Barker accompanying us a few miles to direct us aright.  The train had left a few days previous when he left we pursued our journey alone, but soon met an Indian of whom we inquired for the train.  He said “2 miles” & pointed us to the sun from which we learned that the train [xxxxxx] their camp 2 miles ahead of us at sunrise.  So on we went our little mules seeming very well pleased to be on the road to their native land.  We passed through a very pleasant portion of country covered with flowers, found a good road & about ½ past 10 a cloud of dust on the distant horison showed us in what direction the train was moving  Stopped a short time at Indian Creek to water mules & eat our lunch-This was the commencement of our plain life - but we  went on in good spirits - soon after met a man who I supposed claimed to belong to the Eropean race-but which from his looks one might feel inclined to doubt - soon met a train returning from Santa Fe by wagons drawn by oxen.  Had been a month & 18 days on the road.  Said we should find plenty of water all the way but that the buffaloes had eaten up all the grass on the big Arkansas- also said our train was about 3 miles ahead & soon another cloud of dust informed us that we were not far distant & about 1 oclock came up with them & found them stuck in a mud hole.  They said they were waiting for us & had been at every mud hole  [above this line was inserted:  “2 Germans in company with train going to Taos”] company of Indians passed us here on horseback.  Soon however we moved along- had a fine day for traveling & went as far as Cedar Creek  & camped 20 miles from the mission.  Milton gathered some sticks & made our


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tea – while I prepared our bed in the carriage & committing ourselves to the care of our Heavenly Father felt safe & tried to sleep but could not much on account of mosquitoes which annoyed me constantly, & we also watched mules some although they were picketed near by we felt some fears lest the Indians might steal them - but I think had the mosquitoes behaved decently – we should have rested very well.  – 3 head of cattle strayed away & probably found a home among the Indians – they were not found –


Sept 19th  This morning just before day experienced a severe thunderstorm such as we have heard of on the plains – it was very heavy & [xx] rain poured down in torrents, but we were safe in bed in our carriage & after it was over we got up – had crackers & coffee for breakfast.  Waited till about 10 oclock & went on – I slept some during the day – we went about 8 or 10 miles & caped at 1 oclock at Bull Creek to wait for more wagons from Independence – here a company of Indians & some squaws passed us on horseback & also an Indian team with watermelons on which we feasted – the train bought some & gave us one – spent the remainder of the day in the carriage thinking of friends & wishing for work – had our crackers & tea – went to bed & slept very well –


Sept 20th  Got our breakfast of potatoes (we took about a dozen from the [xxxxxx] [xxxxxxx] bread & coffee & I went to work arranging our provisions we built a fire & boiled a ham.  At least that part that was not alive – for me began to feel that we could never cross the plains on crackers – I went to the spring & washed my corn-[xxxxx] calico dress that had been greased thoroughly by the cheese – also a few smaller things – the train found that 13 head of cattle had strayed away during the night – but were lucky enough to find them again.  Towards night 5 ox teams & one 6 mule tream came up – went to bed & slept very well


Sept 21st  Awakened this morning by the noise of men & cattle & found they were joking, so we got up & got our breakfast of cold ham,


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tomato ketchup, crackers & tea – washed my dished & prepared to leave at half past seven.  Very pleasant day but no Sabbath for us as we are to go when the train goes – met 3 men on horseback – we moved slow [xx] oxen walk our train consisting of 15 wagons – covered & each drawn by 6 or 7 yoke of oxen – One 6 mule team & our carriage make 17 in all.  today met another Indian – went about 10 miles & camped at Black Jack Point not much like Sunday – men swearing & - one house at this place from which a white man came to us to get 2 letter envelopes, for which he would pay us 5 cts – He then asked if we had any little book we would sell him – said he wanted something to read – We gave him a  Testament hoping it might do him good – He seemed very glad of it & wished to pay for it – we lifted our hearts in prayer that the blessing of God might [ something illegible written above this]


Sept 22nd  Got up not feeling very well & felt much the need of a good warm breakfast & thought it rather hard living on the plains  as usual got our tea (only we forgot to put in the tea) & crackers & went on about 19 miles to Willow Spring where we stopped for dinner about ½ past 1 – Made a cake of water and salaratus – ate cake, ham - & coffee & went on [above written:  at 4 oclock] much refreshed & in good spirits – went about 3 miles & camped – I soon made our bed & laid me down to rest – I was soon asleep.  Shortly however Milton came & said a train was coming so I roused myself & looked out to see them pass.  there were 2 trains together numbering 50 wagons – they went on to Willow Spring to camp so I laid down again & was soon asleep & slept well till morning----


Sept 23rd    This morning quite rainy – got our coffee, ham & crackers & the remainder of our cake & made a breakfast.  Put our tent cloth over the carriage so no wet could reach us – M. dressed in rubber from cap to shoes, looking withal  like anything but a minister.  We felt some lonely & realized what we had left.  soon another small train came along – also a carriage with a lady that had just crossed the plains.  It was cheering to see a lady as I was the only one in our train – the rain


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[xxxxx] & we started about ½ past 10 & went to Rock creek – just before night & while I was baking our cake for supper  the mail came along & after a while we learned that it had stopped a short distance from us – so we lit a candle & sat up quite late in our carriage to write to our dear friends & let them know how we were prospering ------


Sept 24  Got up very early expecting to read our letters – but found to our great disappointment that the mail only stopped for supper & went on.  We waiting till afternoon for the wagon master (who was behind hunting lost cattle) to come, then went on about 3 miles & camped again at Rock Spring where we first saw wolves------


Sept 25th  Started about 8 oclock & went 13 miles to a place called Hundred & ten, being called that distance from the [xxxxx] – Two white men live there who have married squaws – we ate our lunch & went on 6 or 8 miles & camped at [xxxx] creek – here we found steep banks on either side but no water where we crossed – M. [xxxx] the wheel & I walked across.  Passed a miserable night with swarms of mosquitoes.  I thought I had as [xxxx] be devoured by wolves as by them.


Sept 26th  Started about 9 oclock – met an Indian with several squaws & children some on foot & some on horses.  We with the mule team took a shorter but very hilly road – sometimes being 2 or 3 miles from the train – passed 2 clear streams with gravel bottoms – went about 18 or 20 miles & camped near timber at a place called [xxx] dried & forty.  Our carriage was some little distance from the train & nearer the timer & I felt some little fear lest Indians might be lurking there to steal mules – which they frequently do if possible, but our mules were always picketed near by or tied with long ropes to the carriage wheels – I slept very well however – but was awakened twice by howling  [written beside:  “* barking of wolves   cold chilly night”]


Sept 27th  Breakfasted on coffee, sage tea, rice, ham, cake, cabbage, butter much as it was, & ketchup.  All this would have been very nice at home but here we had to get along as we could –


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Sometimes made a fire & sometimes cooked with alcohol & when one thing was cooked, had to wait for another, but we get used to these things on the plains & glad to get it half cooked.  Started at ½ past 8 & went ahead of trains.  A large wolf seated in the grass near by looked wishfully at us as we passed – about noon met 5 men on horseback – just come from Santa Fe – said they saw no Indians except at Council Grove – but saw the trail of their camp holes across the road – but met a train that the day before had met 5 hundred Indians – also said we should find water in holes but very little in running streams & none in the big Arkansas.  Also said grass was very poor in some places.  we went on 8 miles to Bluff Creek & camped – while getting our supper an Indian came with a very fine looking horse – which he offered for $25 & take his pay in pork – but none wished to purchase of him – This often consisted of pants and a blanket thrown over his shoulders.  his head was mostly shaven only a braid on top like the pictures we have seen – He came & stood near our carriage but we took no notice of him for the men told us if we have him any thing others would soon come as they are constantly annoying the trains by begging – M took out his gun & laid on top of the carriage & the Indian [xxxx] off to where the men were getting supper – held out his hand & pointed to his mouth – they gave him a piece of bread  he wanted more & pointed away over the plains.  they gave him another piece & he jumped upon his horse & away he bounded out of sight & we saw no more of him till we reached Council Grove.  I watched mules some during the night lest they should come & steal them.  One of the mules got loose in the night & I imagined Indians – I awoke Milton & told him one of his mules was going off & he got up & secured him     cold night but we slept tolerably [xxxxxx] with wolves howling around us constantly ------


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Sept 28th  Another Sabbath but none for us – Started about 8 oclock.  soon met 4 Indians who wanted something but we could not understand.  M pointed to the train behind us & they went to meet them.  It is a constant practice for them as soon as they find out a train is [xxxxx] to go out several miles to meet them for the purpose of begging - & as we neared Council Grove they were very thick.  [xxxxx] within a few miles of Council Grove we came to a [xxxxx] steep hill which led down to a creek where was considerable [xxxxx] of trees.  The train was behind us out of sight, and when we reached the top of the hill we saw a company of Indians coming from the other side and as we did not care to meet them alone in such a place we waited some time till the train came up before we went down.  They had come to cut wood & I presume would not have molested us but I don’t like Indians much & just as well keep out of their way – Passed a village of wigwams which looked like the hay stacks – reached Council Grove about 4 oclock – a little dirty looking place - 2 stores – a blacksmith shop & several dwellings of the plainest kind.  Just before reaching it passed through a little piece of woods or grove where it is said the Indians formerly met in council & through a stream of water, up a hill & we were in the famous place – found 6 or 8 hundred Indians just returned from hunting & collected here to receive their monies from the government.  some were painted red – some had enormous bunches of lead in their ears from the top to the bottom of the ear – we went to the Methodist Mission & staid over night.  Our mules, carriage and things were left out in the yard & were not molested although the Indians were thick as bees around – They think the mission is somehow connected with government & dare not meddle [written above:  “much”] with things there.  Mr. [xxxxx] allows no Indians to stay after dark & they all left at that time – he has a large dog which he turns out at night – We went to bed feeling [xxxxxx] safe  but did not rest as well in a house as in our carriage.


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Sept 29th  Ate a hearty breakfast of beef, biscuits & good butter.  which was a great treat to us poor wanderers & before leaving drank 3 tumblers full of the best milk I ever tasted although M would insist that it was nearly sour – but I never tasted any thing better – left letters here for our friends & went on westward about 10 oclock feeling that we were now indeed fairly on the great Santa Fe road – Soon an Indian came to the train to sell a horse which he offered for 5 doll. But no one in the train had the change as the wagon master was behind – no they gave him a 10 doll. gold piece & took the horse for a sick man to ride.  Soon another Indian came with a horse to sell.  offered him for $15 & finally took $5- a much better looking horse, but was soon sent for as the Indian had stolen him.  Went on 8 miles & camped at Elm creek – no [xxxx] – could hardly be [xxxxxxx] to such short drives---


Sept 30th  Awakened at daybreak by the noise of yoking & while Milton harnessed & made coffee I arranged household affairs such as taking care of bed, stowing away things [xx] – Started between 6 & 7.  Mule train went back to the grove to take back a sick man – went about 7 miles to Diamond Spring (excelled water) for dinner which we reached about 11 oclock – roads some hilly though not as much so as before reaching Council Grove & climate much more healthy – began to feel quite well.  Started again about 8 oclock – Milton shot 8 prairie hens, which look some like guinea hens & went about 6 miles & camped on the plains - dressed my chickens partly by moonlight & washed them in what water we could spare [written above:  “& called them clean”] & went to bed thinking of our good breakfast in the morning----


Oct 1st  Breakfast on prairie hen of which homemade broth & put in rice & I assure you it whisked well while [xxxxx] on broth & thought of home where my dear mother had so often prepared it for us when sick.  Here the eye stretches hundreds of miles & not a tree to be seen.  M. began to enjoy our journey much as we began to improve in health & the weather much warmer although some wind.  Stopped at Lost Spring 10 miles for dinner - water in holes & full of lime – went on 8 miles to


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to mud creek where we camped - we traveled some time by moonlight - the mule team & wagon master went on ahead & we followed & as our mules traveled farther than oxen we soon left the train behind – we intended to keep in view the team ahead & the train behind but as it grew dark we lost sight of both and as we could only just discern the road till the moon rose I must acknowledge that I felt some fear as we traveled in this way as fast as we could for about 8 miles before we came up to the camp ground – saw plains on fire by moon light – [xxxx] [xxxxx]


Oct 2nd  Did not start till some time after train but soon overtook them.  It was a delightful day & we enjoyed our ride much through a beautiful portion of country to cottonwood – 6 miles – cottonwood trees scattered along the banks of a little winding stream & the beautiful plains – gently undulating, stretching away as far as the eye could reach.  Twas really delightful & I wanted to wander along its banks but dared not as Indians sometimes lurk here.  So I gathered a few flowers, filled our water tank as we were told there was no more good water in 50 miles & went on 6 miles farther & camped at 6 mile creek – no [xxxxxx]-----


Oct 3rd  Awakened by men calling out “Mr Shaw” & “wondering how any one could sleep in such a noise” – got up & found they were nearly ready to start so we concluded to get up & go along too.  took a cold bite & started at ½ past 6 – drove 19 miles to Turkey creek for dinner.  Whenever we started at 6 or 8 oclock we took a cold bite for our breakfast unless we had time to warm coffee – today for first time saw buffaloes far in the distance – took our telescope, but they were too far off to be plainly discerned – Stopped 8 hours for dinner – while there 5 men came up on  horseback – sent on an express to the states.  while getting dinner one of the men accidentally set the grass on fire & nine of them worked lively to put it out but did not succeed & when we left it was spreading far & wide – drove 8 miles to Plum creek & camped – no water – just before we


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camped one of the teams broke an axletree – but they had another along which was put in during the night – Found a returning train camped near us – they were entirely out of provisions & lived on buffalo meat – which was cut into strips & hanging around their wagons to dry – One man came to us to beg a piece of bread – said he had not tasted bread in 10 days­.  I watched mules some during the night although they were tied to our carriage – for there are many in the returning trains that prefer riding if the could steal mules, especially when out of provisions & anxious to get to  [xxxxxxxx]


Oct. 4th  Waited for breakfast & did not start till 9 oclock – saw thousands of buffaloes scampering over the plains in all directions, sometimes only a short distance from us – but ran off on our approach.  They are great clumsy awkward-looking creatures – seldom run but walk or canter – you would laugh to see them galloping off on all sides as we approached – it takes a swift horse to catch one – though to look at them one would suppose the could hardly get out of the way of a snail – Nine of them were in the road a short distance before us – some lying down - & as we came along they got up & walked leisurely along – M said we were driving our oxen to Santa Fe – We drove them along quite a little distance – when one of the men came along & shot at them.  They started off a short distance, but soon one staggered & fell on his hind legs – the man came along & buffalo tried to get out of his way but could only turn part way round.  He shot again & over buffalo tumbled.  I felt sorry for him thought & wanted some of his meat.  I went & took a view of him before the train came up – he was larger than the largest ox I ever say – head, shoulders, & forelegs very shaggy – We all took as much meat as we wanted and left the rest for wolves – plains covered with buffaloes as [written above:  “far as”] the eye can reach & their chips furnish us with wood – Used all our water in the morning & had none through the day – towards night a thunder storm arose – we were ahead of the train & stopped at a little creek & took off the mules as they were some frightened & tied them to the carriage to let them eat the good grass – but the train some came along


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and we found that we were only about a mile & half from Little Arkansas and as the storm was subsiding, we hitched up & went on.  Camped at Little Arkansas where we found water but very poor grass – 16 [xxxx]  the Little Arkansas is quite a small stream here – not more than 3 ft across with steep banks on either side – made a little better by constant crossing of trains----


Oct 5th  Quite rainy this morning but soon cleared off – pleasant- I remained in the carriage while M. put on his rubber coat & cooked our buffalo meat which was delicious – Some like beef -  just as it was ready we heard the cry of “buffalo” & getting out we saw a herd of many thousands coming over the hill directly towards us.  The men all ran with their guns & turned off in the direction of the cattle just before reaching our camp part of the cattle went off after them & the men had to go nearly 2 miles to get them back – killed one buffalo, but they were soon out of sight, no doubt chased by Indians, although we saw none – it was a sight worth seeing & one which we enjoyed much – we forgot the danger in the pleasure of seeing such a herd on full speed – The water in the Little Arkansas was low & the bottom & banks – very slippery on account of the recent rain – we waited till noon to cross & then it was so slippery that our little mules could hardly pull up the bank – train doubled their teams to get up – went 3 miles & camped where we found good grass – also a fresh Indian trail  [written below:  “slept well”]


Oct 6th  While preparing to start between 6 & 7 oclock several men on [xxxx] passed & we soon net a large mule train & inquired about water, grass, Indians.  M. said they saw no Indians & we should find water & grass sufficient but said our train ought to go ahead faster if we expected to get to Santa Few this fall – so we thought as it was rather trying to our patience to go so slow – drove 6 miles & stopped for dinner at Chavis Creek – a wealthy Mexican of that name was here murdered for his money as he was going to the States for goods – Saw buffaloes here with calves – went on with the mule team ahead of train to little low creek – where we got out & looked around.  There


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was no water in the creek but it was lined with trees & bushes which hung over till their branches intermingled & under these in the bed of the creek was a path which Milton had the curiosity to follow a short distance while I stood by the mules.  We had concluded to go on with the mule to the next creek 3 miles distance for water – as the mules had had none since we left the Little Arkansas & seemed very thirsty.  I did not think it safe but the train went so slow – that we ventured & went on.  Met a train who thought we were most too far ahead of our train – went to the Big Cow Creek where we camped – I went down to the creek & washed in cold water my traveling dress which was very dirty & some smaller articles before the train came which was 2 or 3 hours behind us.  About 8 in the evening the mule train which we had thought of going on with overtook & passed us & camped on the other side of creek but did not like the appearance of them very much & was smaller than ours – only 12 wagons, so we concluded to remain where we were if we did move a little slower – as our train was very kind to us .  Another returning train also camped near – belong to the same man as ours—


Oct 7th  Waited for breakfast as we did not intent to stop again till we reached the Great Bend of the big Arkansas – 18 or 20 miles distant – started about 7 – very windy day – roads quite level but clouds of dust constantly – went on with mule team ahead of train & reached the Great Bend about 3 oclock & camped – Found the mule team there but they soon left – M unharnessed the mules & took them off to find water as we found the river a bed of sand instead of water – he was gone a long time before he found any – When the train came the camped about ½ a mile from us & M had to harness again as did also the mule team & drive up to them – so much for camping first – the country here is very level and this bend is the great rendesvous where all the Indian tribes meet in council – but we saw none -- It was a beautiful moonlight evening & M felt very much in a hunting mood as wolves were very thick – I protested against it but


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he felt so much inclined to go that he took his gun & went off – saying that he would not be gone long – I felt very uneasy about him – but he soon returned, his hunting mood I suppose having left him after leaving the train – during the evening a large white wolf came to appear very near but distances are very deceiving on the plains & as soon as M shot as him he [xxxx] off --  This evening the driver of the mule train gave us an account of his adventures on the southern route through Texas – said they were once 8 days without provisions & found a bag of dried grasshoppers in a deserted Indian camp & ate them.  also killed an old blind mule & made mule head soup without salt – [xxxxxxx] it delicious?  Oh horrible!!! --  during the night a heavy thunder storm arose with high wind & M got up & moved our carriage close up to train – after a while we heard a noise about the camp & found the men were all getting up – We were some alarmed M got up again & went to see if his mules were safe as he had picketed them at some distance with the cattle.  Found all safe so we tried to sleep till morning & did sleep some.  M did not stand guard at all – train said they did not wish him to although he offered – the men took turns 2 hours apiece in standing guard around the cattle – usually about 8 on guard at a time – we had no guard in camp but the cattle & guard were not usually far off – sometimes half a mile—


Oct 8th  Train started soon after 5 – we lingered a little for coffee & I wandered out in the Arkansas – picked a few flowers & reeds & we [xxx] on soon overtook the train which was not out of sight & went 6 miles to Walnut Creek for dinner – This is a beautiful stream of clear running water with gravel bottom – much as we do not often find on these plains.  Saw several graves here disinterred by wolves – before M could get his mules taken care of a severe thunder storm arose & we had to wait till it was over to get our dinner although we were very hungry-- went on about 6 miles & camped on the plains – country very level & beautiful—


Oct 9th  Started soon after 5 expecting a good days drive – passed a large rock called Pawnee rock – drove about 15 miles to the mouth of Pawnee


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Fork where we stopped for our daily meal & I washed some towels & a bout dark we started again & drove through the sand in the Arkansas up to the hubbs of wheels around the mouth of Pawnee Fork – which was bad to cross & camped on the other side – it took double teams to draw the big wagons through & it was quite dark when we got through – A steep bank to go down into the Arkansas & some water on that side and as we went down thought we should have pitched in head first but we soon came up straight & went on & camped between Pawnee Fork & Arkansas – cold windy night—


Oct 10th   Very cold morning – wrapped in two shawls & went8 miles [written above line:  “part of the way”] through sand which had blown from the river – too Coon Creek where one of the wagons broke down a hind wheel & we camped for the remainder of the day for the train to unload the broken wagon & put the contents in others—


Oct 11th  Started about 6 oclock & went 8 miles & stopped for dinner on the same creek – after dinner I made a wrapper of the flannel I bought at Council Grove as the weather was becoming very cold – went about 8 miles farther & camped near the Arkansas – we follow this river some 50 or 60 miles before crossing – Our road to day lay very near the river & was very sandy in places – after supper was over several of the men went off on a buffalo hunt & killed 2 – M would have gone but did not like to leave me alone –


Oct 12th  This morning very early drove out to where a buffalo had been killed, hoping to get some meat, but found the wolves & ravens had devoured it all.  Train started about 6 oclock.  We as usual took a cold bite but as I had some headache felt very much the need of a warm breakfast – drove till about 2 oclock then got our dinner – met a train 4 weeks from Santa Fe with Maj. Waitman’s family – ladies & children in company – we camped on the Arkansas near a lime ridge – having traveled about 15 miles – good grass & water – We thought of dear friends at home gathering for worship & felt some lonely –


Oct 13th  Started about 6 oclock – met a train with a gentleman & lady in company – drove about 8 miles & stopped for dinner – towards evening [written above line:  “started again &”] went about 9 miles farther & camped – It was a beautiful moonlight evening


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but the ground was so full of the holes of little animals called prairie dogs that we were in constant fear of the mules stepping in them – but they seemed to understand their danger as well as we – Prairie dogs look very much like our chipmucks only 3 times as large – train killed them to eat.


Oct 14th  This morning discovered several soldiers tents about a mile from us – They were out from the ft. getting in hay for winter – had we discovered them the night before, we should have taken them for Indian.  We started about 7 oclock, drove about 8 miles & reached the Fort,  usually called by travelers Ft. Mackey, but has different names as Ft. Mann, Ft. Arkansas.  Here we met [xxxx] [xxxxxx] & wife in camping with the mail & sent letters with them to our friends – We saw them but a few moments as the mail was just leaving as we came up as we came up – We staid at the ft. about 8 hours waiting for the train to unload corn which they had brought for the [xxxxx].  The commanding officer invited us to stay & take dinner with him & I very much wished to, but the train was just starting so we declined – but regretted afterward that we did not accept as the train went only about a mile & stopped for dinner -  while there met another train – Ft. Mackey is only a few lone houses – a store and a pole with the American flag – [xxxxx] a [xxxxx] looking place – but we were glad to see any thing in shape of habitations.  IT is soon to be removed to the mouth of Pawnee fork – towards night went about a mile farther & camped – very pleasant & warm


Oct 15th  Started about 7 oclock & in about 6 or 7 miles [xxxxx] to Maj Carlton’s camp – his troops about 50 in number patrol the road back & forth from Ft. Macky to Ft. Union about 70 miles this side of Santa Fe – for  protection against Indians – depredations – we halted awhile & soon some of the trooms came up with 2 buffaloes which they had killed & which they gave us a bountiful piece of steak – went about 2 miles & dined on buffalo, tomatoes & a few potatoes which we had left – about 8 oclock went on – road winding along the Arkansas – plenty of prickly pear growing wild by the side of the road – went about 8 miles & came to the lower crossing of the Arkansas – intending to [xx]


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immediately – but the mule team tried it & sank so deep in the sands – part of the mules stopping & kicking – that they were obliged to put on 2 or 3 yoke of oxen & draw them out again – the train all went down to the river & I held the mules on the top of the hill while M went down to find a place for the night as the train concluded not to cross tull morning as it was then nearly dark – soon we also went down to the river side & camped & had a good nights rest.  Indeed I think I could have slept any where – even rolled in a blanket on the ground like the rest – M turned his mules out to feed with the cattle before tying them for the night & while he was gone to get them again – I caught a mule which I supposed to be ours & tied to the carriage – it was so dark that I could not see very well but M soon came with both his mules & conclueded he would not keep the mule * had hooked – it was very much the color of one of ours—


Oct 16th  This morning got up – pounded my buffalo steak & prepared breakfast & prepared to cross the dread Arkansas – The first team that went in was not loaded & went through safely – but all the others with 12 & 13 yoke of oxen apiece got stuck in the sand more or less – the mule team with 2 yoke of oxen & one [xxxx] of mules went through – the water was not more than a foot deep in the deepest place but the bottom was quicksand which was constantly moving some of the men that waded through to drive the teams sand in nearly up to their bodies – train offered us two yoke of oxen to put before out mules, but M was afraid they might break the carriage & thought our mules could take us through – he rode over first on a mule to find the best place – then we tried it & had got more than half was across when we came to the current of the river & a sand bank just covered over with water on the other side of it.  Mules tugged & pulled but could get no foothold on this sand [xxxx] & the more they tried the deeper we sank – it seemed as though the carriage was going sideways down stream with a noise like going over stones – althought we were not moving at all only sinking in the sand up to the hubbs of wheels.  M had pulled off his boots & socks & rolled up his pant before starting that if necessary he could jump out - & when we could get no father


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he [xxxxx] out on the sand bar – water just above his ankles though he soone sank in sand nearly up to his knees – but ‘twas of no avail – mules could not stir the carriage at all although they pulled so hard that they brok an [xxxx] – the train saw our predicament & soon 2 men came to our assistance, told M to get in & drive & they would lift on the hind wheels & soon we got out & went across without farther difficulty.  I know there was not much danger of upsetting – still it seemed rather odd to be in the middle of the Arkansas & not able to move – the only trouble in crossing this river is the quicksand bottom, if teams stop a moment it sinks so deep in the sand that it is difficult to get out – but we had good gentle mules & at half past twelve were all safely across – sometimes it take a train 2 or 3 days to cross – especially when the river is high – went about 4 or 5 miles & camped [written above: “good grass”] – warm day-- 


Oct 17th  Worked until 3 oclock before we started cattle to be [xxxxxxx] & preparations [above the word “started”:  “One of the Germans quite sick—“]  to be made for crossing the Tornado (pronounced Hornatha – is a Spanish word signifying a journey) 60 miles where there is neither wood, water or grass – We cooked the rest of our buffalo meat to eat cold, made bread – bread we made of flour [xxxxx] & yeast powder – sometimes obliged to [xxxx] water from holes where all animals went to drink & which was not always the most agreeable – train killed another buffalo here & gave us the tongue & a piece of liver – the tongue is excellent – at 8 oclock we were ready to start again – went on up the Arkansas a few miles – then left it & commensed our journey across the Tornado – went about 6 miles and met a train belonging to the same man as ours here we camped as wagon master wanted to exchange some poor cattle for better ones – he went back to the Arkansas with the train we met – which consisted of 32 wagons – a battle was here fought between the Mexicans & Texians ----


Oct 18th  Got our breakfast & started about 7 oclock – Wagon master overtook us [xxxx] noon with the cattle – stopped a few minutes to eat a lunch & went on but after awile discovered a black object at some distance behind us – [xxxxx] the telescope discovered it to be a man – [xxxx] him lie down & throw up his arms as if in great distress – drove on immediately to the train who were some distance ahead of us & found the sick German was missing – he had got out of the wagon in which he rode when the train stopped & they not knowing it had left him – We drove back immediately – not thinking


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of danger when a fellow being was in danger of perishing - & found him on the ground so faint & sick that he had scarcely strenth enough to get into the carriage – (We went backl about 8 miles for him) – I gave him camphor & cologne & he began to revive – It was enough to bring tears to see him as soon as he could speak – try to express his gratitude – “Me brother ”Yaos” was about all the English he could say – meaning that his brother who is a wealthy merchant of Taos would reward us – but we had our reward in saving him for he would inevitably have perished had we not discovered & gone back for him – We drove as fast as we could & overtook the train which had stopped for refreshments – about 4 oclock – we shared ours with the sick man – about 6 oclock went on & drove till midnight then let cattle lie down in their yokes & rested only 4 hours – the only night that I did not undress & go to bed as I would at home – had some headache – did not rest much –


Oct 19th  Warmed some coffee & started at 4 oclock – a bitter cold morning – No Sundays on the plains – as we were obliged to travel when the train does – at one oclock reached Sand creek the termination of this dreary Tornado - & glad were we as well as our animals to find water & grass again – Just before reaching it discovered an Indian by side of our train – he was telling them by signs that a party of them were coming to camp at that creek & we soon saw them coming in all directions with their camp poles fastened to the sides of their horses & dragging behond them – they belonged to the Kiowa tribe & had just returned from making a treaty with the whites – They had their women & children along so we did not fear them much.  Their treaties are worth nothing as they will break them soon as they get a change – It was quite a curiosity to see them put up their tents – they first tied 3 poles together at the top & set them up – then put up the rest & wound buffalo skins around them.  They wore deer skin pants & blankets or buffalo skins – some of them had buffalo hair fastened to theirs till it reached their feet & ornaments of tin fastened on it.  Some had large brass rings around their arms – shells around their necks [xxx] – While


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getting our dinner my red sisters came to pay me a visit – seated themselves on the ground & seemed to regard me as a great curiosity – they cannot divine how an American lady can make her skin so white – one old Indian came to shake hands with me & made a great parade over my hand – turned it over & looked at & whined like a child – probably he wished to own it – The squaws seemed very much pleased that I noticed their children.  One of the little ones was afraid of me at which they all laughed heartily – after we had eaten [not sure if there’s a small word on right side of page] gave them bread & buffalo meat – also a piece of cheese which they all tasted but could not make out what it was – one noble looking boy of about 10 years - nearly naked – came up with his bow & arrows – I made signs for him to shoot & away went the arrow almost out of sight on the other side of the creek & he after it – seemed much pleased to show me his dexterity in shooting – we had to watch every thing – I caught an Indian with a very friendly look trying to steal our hatchet out of the carriage – so I got in as sentinel – one of them wished to exchange a buffalo robe for a tin pan but we thought not best to trade with them – some of their children were entirely naked – most of them took dinner with the train – they were very anxious for me to go with them & I would have visited their camp on the other side of the creek if M could have gone with me – but we could not both leave the carriage - & I dared not go alone -- We did not intent to go farther that night but did not care to camp so near neighbors – so about 6 oclock went on & in about half mile train broke a wheel & we were obliged to camp, but were not molested – only one Indian came to us & he wanted to see the Captain.  [above line:  “”slept well”]


Oct 20th  Started about 6 oclock – ate a cold bite on the road reached the [inserted above: “river”] Cimarron in the county of Comanche about ½ past 11 – where M shot a nice fat duck which made us an excellent meal – camped for the remainder of the day -----


Oct 21st  Learned from the guard that a white made on horseback visited the camp about 4 oclock this morning – rode around the camp & went off but soon came again – guard called out “who’s there” & he answered “a friend” – made some inquiries about the Arkansas [xxx] & went [xxx] as fast as his horse would cary him – We surmised from his dress that he might have been a soldier who had deserted – but none [xxxxx] [xxxxx]


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he was or where from – Started soon after day break & had gone only a few miles when we saw some object far distant on the plains  took our telescope & found it to be a fine horse – one of the men immediately went off in pursuit but after going 6 or 8 miles gave it up & came back – said it was a noble horse with a piece of rope around his [written above:  “but he could not catch him”] neck & had probably strayed from some train – went 10 miles & stopped for dinner about 4 oclock wnt on a few miles father & camped – but did not rest very well –


Oct 22nd  Got breakfast & started about 7 – after going 9 or 10 miles discovered several black objects in the distance &


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Oct 25th  This morning M fount that during the night the wolves had [the rest of this page is too light to read]


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2 miles & stopped again near Cold spring – almost impatient at our [xxxxx] stoppings – troops camped at the spring & were just leaving as we came up [rest of page difficult to read]


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Oct 31st  Started about 7 - in about a mile & a half came to a little pond of water – drove out & watered mules but it was so muddy we could not drink [rest of page difficult to read]


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mules to escape train – We went on 12 miles & stopped for dinner [rest of page difficult to read]


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[this page too difficult to read on scanning]


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[xxx] four mile to [xxxx] creek.  Mule team was ahead & we went next  &had gone some distance ahead when we saw the train turn off from the road [xxxx] they were going to camp.  M called to the mule drive [rest of page too light to read]


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[xxxx] of the [xxxx] of our traim though he would take a ride but [xxxxx] [xxxx] & [xxxx] kicked up & threw him off [rest of page too light to read]


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