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Joseph Trego's diary, 1857-1858

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Sept 1857 started

I did not get ready to leave Rock Isld untill near sun set. The Packet had gone over to Davenport more than an hour before & was waiting for the Galena packet to come down. So I bid my little wife good-bye, with a heavier heart than I had felt for many a day before, and crossed over on the ferry boat. After I got all on board & we had started down the river I inquired if they had the baggage on all right, when we discovered that the medicine trunk was left in the office of the R. I. House. There was no way to do but get the Express agent, who was on board, to bring it down to Keokuk the next trip, & forward from there to St. Louis.

Do not know that business will require our stay in St Louis so long but there was no other way.

10 Thursday – Nothing particular occurred during the forenoon only that we got aground and did not get off again for 2 ½ hours Went round the rapids in the cars, and boarded the ‘Quincy’ one of the Packet Company’s boats. Full of passengers –

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To Kansas

At the time we left Keokuk a shower was approaching us from down the river and very soon it came upon us with a violence quite unexpected. The wind turned the boat around in short order, carried away the hurricane-deck which projects over the guard aft the cabin making an opening into the ladies department where the rain & wind came in with such fury that the occupants all fled toward the bow. It lasted but a very short time however and the danger being over the passengers had a good chance to talk about it, each one telling – as often as he could get a listener – what he saw, what he thot about them times, & what might have been the consequences if the wind had continued long enough or had blown harder while it did last.

11 th Friday. Fine day and arrived in St. Louis at 12 O’clock, m. – Stopped at the Barnum Hotel called at Gaty & McCune’s machine shop to see about mill business – Kept employed untill evening – After supper went to a theatre & concluded when we returned that we would

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Sept 1857

go some where else next time.

12 Saturday. Called to see Mr Lansing, bot our groceries of him & made out a list of what we want in the hardware line which we left at

13 Sunday. Clear but sultry a. m. We crossed over to the Illinois side where there is a wood, but found nothing attractive there so we returned to our Hotel for dinner. In the afternoon it was rainy and we passed most of the time in our room.

14. Monday. fair Arranged our business as soon as possible after breakfast & moved to a Missouri river boat – the I H Oglesby – to stop expenses at the hotel which was $2.50 pr day. Looked anxiously for my trunk all day, untill it arrived as the boat on which it was expected was due yesterday noon. She proved to have got aground and did not get in before 3 o’clock p.m. to-day. I obtained the med. chest, with the Colts revolver & ammunition all right but some of the bottles containing medicine were broken. But little damage done however

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To Kansas

and I feel satisfied such being in fear of loosing the whole pile. Did not get off this evening as was promised. Nothing strange about that however and we dont care so much since the costs are not piled on.

15. Tuesday. fine. Felt disposed to take things easy this morning so remained on boat which left the levee at 10 ½ O’clock a.m. Nothing of any interest what ever after we entered the Missouri river more than the interest we felt in getting safely along among the innumerable snags & sand bars which were constantly threatening us. Tied up at St Charles untill daylight.

16. Wednesday. Had a good day & got along very well untill after sunset. A shower cloud with considerable wind passed over us at dark so they were obliged to tie up but after it blew over they put out again and were knocking about over bars & snags untill those who were in a mood for dancing had got tired of the amusement and retired to rest, lookers on ditto. How much longer the boat was kept puddling about I know not, as I was not kept awake by

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Sept 1857

mosquitos as had been the case the two preceding nights.

17 Thursday. Have a good deal of difficulty this morning on account of low water. Did not make good our time to-day but it made but little difference to me as I was absorbed in a novel of Mrs. Southworth’s (Curse of Clifton). Passed the Capital at 1 o’clock p.m. was kind of entertained after night, by an exhibition of dancing. Had some severe bumps against snags in the forepart of the night by which the lar-board wheel was broken, I do not know to what extent, but the carpenters were at work repairing when we “turned in”—

18. Friday. Dull day, occasional showers of light rain or mist and cold autumnal air which made it necessary that a stove should be set in the social hall and doors were kept closed. Yesterday and last night it was quite warm and in the boat it was uncomfortable hot, in fact it has been sultry since we arrived in St Louis – Last night a heavy shower lay to the westward at bed time

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To Kansas

It was attended with a great display of “fireworks” which seems to have wrought a change in the state of the weather which is rather favourable at this season, especially so to us while we have to live over so much fire. Did not feel near well enough to-day to enjoy anything so I layed in my birth a good portion of the time.

19 Saturday. Was morbidly sleepy this morning and did not get out untill the last chance for breakfast. Felt much better after partaking of a light meal. Passed the day by the stove chiefly. A considerable accession of passengers from different points to-day. Passed by a nice prairie on the north side which was well improved, several expensive dwellings, large fields of hemp &c. The river is now cutting into this prairie; is expected to wash it all away to the bluffs which border it about five miles distant from the current now. Those who have been acquainted with its opperations for many spans say it may not be over three years in washing it all away. At Lexington soon

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Sept 1857

after dark, stopt a good while but we had but little chance in the dark to see anything of the town. Retired early & had a good sleep altho’ the boat run all night; for the first time.

20 Sunday. Fair. Made good our time to-day and arrived at Kansas at sunset. Wrote a letter to wife this afternoon ready for the mail, not expecting to have an opportunity to write again for many days. Took lodging at the American Hotel –

21 Monday. Rainy. Rained during the night and this morning it was very muddy. Trudged around to see sawmills, get some necessaries to take along with us, &c. We find the American Hotel much below what it was in June last. The house is dirty, the eatables unclean and very scanty & the house so crowded that we cant get enough of that kind without waiting long at the table for a turn with the waiter.

Retired quite early to rest our acheing muscles after the unusual exertion of tramping thro’ the mud all day.

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In Kansas

22 Tuesday – Made ready as soon as possible to start to ‘Sugar Mound.’ Had hired a teamster yesterday to take us down for $20.00 but he became dissatisfied with the bargain before we reached Westport. We compromised the matter by giving him a V and proceeded on our way, after laying in a stock of bread & cheese to fall back on when we cannot get any meals on the road. Camped out to-night & had to ‘fall back’ on the bread & cheese both at dinner and supper. Being out on the open prairie we had no light to read by, so we turned in early. A gentleman camped with us who was on his way to northern Illinois, his former home, to get his family. Had a team which he expected to leave near Kansas City untill his return with family.

[mistake – the evening of the 23

This eve we camped close by a wood --]

23 Wednesday – We turned in so early last night that we tired out before morning, consequently we were up and off early. Nothing of interest all day. No breakfast but our bread & cheese. Got dinner 35 miles from Kansas City at an old Missourian’s

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Sept 1857

and a good dinner it was too, if it was fat pork, greasy beans & corn bread. We were hungry and no mistake. Topped off with peach pie & milk. The last, gave some a head ache. Bread & cheese for supper again. Camped with the Illinoisian to-night.

24 Thursday – Began to see something more interesting toward noon. Dined at West point, in Mo. The afternoon brought us into a fine country with mounds the same as the Sugar Creek country. Passed the Old Indian trading post; the Osage river, and within about 5 miles of our destination. Camped under a bluff where there was a lot of hay cocked up. We anticipate a good sleep on the hay. Had plenty of melons which we bot on the road. Clear & moon light. Thinking a great deal of home this evening.

25 Friday. Had a good time sleeping and started early, without breakfast, for Sugar Mound. Got into our house by 9 o’clock a.m. having made a breakfast of sweet crackers

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which we bot at Barnes’ store. Engaged boarding at a neighbors, Mr Osborne’s and then ‘fixed up’ our room. We had no light in the evening so we turned in about three or four hours before we could get to sleep

26 Saturday fine weather. Tramped around thro’ the woods and over the hills looking about pretty much all day. Shooting squirrels toward evening

27 Sunday To creek Mill seat, Mr Cannon watermellon patch &c. Day closed without anything of particular moment to register.

28 Monday. fine – Ed & self went to-day to see some men about setting the mill, when we get on the ground. Ell & Madison visited several claims that were supposed to be for sale. They had a long walk and found nothing worth purchasing at the prices asked. Madison concluded this afternoon to take an interest in the Mill business and also determined on starting back home tomorrow. In company with me. I go with a teamster to get our goods from St Louis and also to buy a stove & other &cs—

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October 1857

29 Tuesday. Started in morning for Kansas City with a man by the name of Wright, who drove a pair of horses with a very limited supply of flesh-fat was out of the question – but which he kept constantly stimulated with an outside application of what is commonly called raw-hide but I was doubtful of the aforesaid article having so just a claim to the name as the hide to which it was applied however, we got along finely and encamped several miles north of West Point.

30 Wed. Slept comfortably in the wagon last night and were off early this morning. The roads are very good and we made excellent speed to-day, reaching the point, where the road separates in two tracks – going Southward, to come together again about 8 miles South of the “Big Blue”

October Thursday fair, quite warm enough. Drove into Kansas by 10 O’clock a.m. proceeded to make purchases at once and had got nearly thro’ at noon when a R. Road

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boat came down and I. M. went aboard in time for his dinner. He was very soon on his way to St Louis, and I soon after began to load in our plunder, having bot a stove, flour, meal, hardware, dry-goods medicines &c. When ready we drove three miles out from town and encamped for the night. I had purchased some fresh beef, bakers bread &c so we had a right good supper bread & butter and steak with capital coffee.

2 Friday – Our load proved to be too heavy & we put off sugar & molasses in West Port. We then proceeded on our journey homeward. Had a good day and good roads but are in fear it will not continue so but a short time. Camped on the top of the hill south of ”Big Blue” Cloudy with an east wind. Horses got off and we put out about one O’clock to bring them in. Soon found them and turned in again for another snooze.

3 Saturday Began to sprinkle by daylight -

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October 1857

We jogged along without feeling much if any inconvenience from the rain untill near noon when it came down so as to wet. The roads soon got muddy and when we stopped for dinner in a wood 20 miles North of West Port we deferred starting on account of the rain, untill we finally concluded to stay there untill the next day, because it was well sheltered by large trees in between two hills. I opened a box and got out a candle by the light of which I read at a novel untill near midnight, the rain pouring down on the cover of the wagon all the while.

4 Sunday. Another teamster of Sugar Mound came up with us yesterday while in Camp & we proceeded on together thro the rain – some times and mud all the time, doubling teams up the hills and worrying along as best we could. I was heartily tired of the trip but knew of no alternative but to plod along with the wagons. Wet boots are making my feet very sore & I have to walk all the time, travelling at the rate of 12 miles per

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day. This evening we made out to get across the “Big Prairie” between W. Point” & “Big blue” in time only to get things righted before dark. Commenced raining an hour before sunset and increased untill it rained awfully hard with a gale of wind away on in the night, untill I went to sleep after reading untill I was tired. The rain beat thro the cover so much that I had to fix an extra cover over the candle. Got considerably wetted this time& think d—n a few.

5 Monday – Dull yet. Hurried on at the rate of two miles per hour when we did’nt have hills to climb – which was considerably more than half the time – and actually waded to W. Point by noon – It was in sight this morning when we started – Got our dinners there and the drivers bought some feed for their teams to last untill they can get to the next farm. After dinner we decended to the valleys and found a good road all the afternoon. The sun too shone out and enabled us to dry our fixings by

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Oct 1857

spreading them out on the wagon cover and wherever we could hitch them on. Camped within two miles of the Marias Des Cygnes, in a log cabin that has recently been constructed but no one living in it yet Not much rain this evening only a heavy kind of mist.

6 Tuesday. Dull and some rain. Crossed the Mairias Des Cygnes with some difficulty chiefly in pulling up the bank which is very steep, some washed & quite slippery. The river is belly-deep to a horse in the ford and rising rapidly. The road to-day was over black earth and was so soft that the horses all fagged out & the drivers were obliged to get oxen to finish out the journey. I took a horse from a wagon and went on, while the oxen were being brot, and got my dinner by 1 ½ o’clock by 3 the Ox team was here with the goods and we proceeded to discharge the freight. To night I had the inexpressible satisfaction of sleeping at home on a bed

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of buffalo skins spread on the floor after laying rolled up in a robe in the wagon of nights.

7 Wednesday. Does not clear up yet. Put up the stove and moved our boarding from Mr Osborn’s to our Cabin by paying up, and not going back there any more. We made a table, book case, (nailed a trunk against the wall perpendicularly, which left a door with a lock to fasten it) a cupboard out of a goods box, which was also nailed up to the logs, drove a pound or two of nails in the logs around the room to hang up everything on, & lines to hang the rest on. Cut some timbers preparatory to making some kind of rack to sleep on.

8 Thursday. Helping all day at the raising of a log cabin of a neighbors. A dozen or so of hands were employed. Done all but the roofing, very warm p.m. [Letter from wife]

9 Friday. Done our washing and lots of other things of a kindred nature which kept us in doors all day. We did not get up in the laundry business, farther than handkerchiefs and socks. Ell went

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October 1857

to a neighbors after dinner and made arrangements for having the balance washed and all that may appear during the winter. It consumes to much time to “pay” anything when we have our mill business on hand. It scarcely does it now. Fixed up guns ready for a hunt to-morrow with a regular old pioneer Mr Wayne –

10 Saturday. fair. Went out for a hunt. Mr Wayne was called away unexpectedly and we hunted alone had no luck in finding game. Returned at sunset with a turkey – which we bot of a hunter for 50 cents. Think we can get them for ourselves now that we know where to look for them.

11 Sunday. Working indoors at various things in the way of preparation for comfortable living got time to read a little before dark

12 Monday. Made a swinging hammock, of poles 12 ft long to make our beds on. Tied it up with ropes to prevent bed-bugs of which the house is full, -- from getting to us when asleep. Got some material for making [ax shelves?] of & done something at getting them out The weather keeps very fair, the nights,

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however, are cold and the days hot.

13 th Tuesday. Made a grind-stone frame, hung the stone. Ground the new spade – which was a tedious job – Made a shaving horse; dug a well and walled it up with two larger gums, each one over three feet long, and cut some grass which we fill our ticks with when it was sufficiently dried.

14 Wed. Some cloudy. Done but little to-day, that would count. Read papers &c.

15 Th – Cloudy, cold & very windy. Ell & Ed went to work on roads. I intended to fire up the cross-cut and make axe handles, but Ell soon returned saying that a flock of turkeys were close by so off we went with guns. They had left when we went up into the wood again and by the time I got back to work again a good part of the day had left too.

16 F – clear and warm enough. Last night made Frost for the first time this season. Making axe handle dressing saws, going to post office &c &c –

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October 1857

17 Saturday. Fair, signs of rain in evening. Ed & Ell went after turkeys. I went to Post Office with a package of letters, and to make inquiry for a wagon large enough to haul our boiler down on. Suppose it is now in Kansas but have had no notice from that place tho we have from St Louis. I was away nearly all day, boys untill after dark. Saml Baldwin in this evening and was paid two hundred and twelve and a half dollars, making in all five hundred – half the price of the claim.

18 Sunday. Some rain early. Hired a horse to ride around to-day on the lookout for teams to haul the mill down. Before I could get ready to start it had got to raining so hard that I was obliged to give it up for to-day the rain continuing all the remainder of the day. We had a – what would have been—dull old time but for something exciting to read when we began to feel the blues coming on.

19 Monday. Ell went to Post Office. Ed and I made a different disposition of our cabin fixins. Took stove out of fire-place and set it up in the other end of cabin, and

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made up a fire on the hearth. That is the way to have a fire to sit by; better than any stove.

20 Tuesday. Went out and cut up some tree-tops for fire-wood. I was engaged part of the day in making myself a chair after the Cot-bed fashion. toward evening went up to prairie to look for a yoke of oxen to draw wood with Did’nt find any, but saw the prairie, & mound at a distance. look as fine as I ever desire to see them. Osborn’s were cutting grass with a Danford machine, had a yoke of oxen to it. They did not do good work, too slow a motion to shave it close.

21 Wed. Some rain, too much to be out in afternoon. We drove up some oxen of the prairie, and selected a pair which we hitched on to a wagon & proceeded to draw in our wood. Had up five loads at noon. After dinner we went out & cut some for the Bishop who drove the team while getting our own up. By three O’clock it rained quite lively and we enjoyed a sitting in the Chimney Corner to rest of the day. Talked

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October 1857

some about the mill affair but thought more about how long it would be untill spring or something else involved in the one idea or subject matter of thought day, &night especy

22 Th. Dull & rainy – After getting thro’ with the morning work I began on a new chair which I design keeping as a memento of the present pioneer life in this country. It is made of hickory saplings with the bark on. Intend giving it a coat of varnish to keep worms from getting under the bark. Did not stir out any to-day as it continues wet and sometimes pretty hard rain. Got some beef at Osborne’s

23 F. A clear up. Went to Post Office & to a neighbors for butter which occupied the afternoon, some time after dark before I could make my way back to the cabin, tired enough with my long walk. Got a package from the House of Gaty McCune & Co containing a notice of the shipment of mill together with the entire order. Hope to hear of it in Kansas City very soon.

24 S. Fair. Went down to creek to look about

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some. The groves are looking beautiful now and where the sugar Maple abounds, there bright colors of various shades, from bright red to bright yellow the scene presented is gorgeous & beautiful beyond discription. The Little Sugar, above the falls, is like a canal, several feet deep and 4 to 6 rods wide, for near a mile up the stream. We shot some ducks and squirrils on the way. Looked out a place to build our houses and returned home by way of Mr Cannon’s mellon field where we found some right good mellon which went off well while the sun shone hot enough for a day in June.

25 S. Used up the day in reading, writing, picturing &c.

26 M. Started off pretty early in morning to have a hunt with Mr Wayne. About the time we reached the hunting ground and got some turkeys to stirring and every prospect of getting some game it commenced raining and most of the time during the rest of the day. We hurried home and got in by 11 ½ O’clock wet enough. We enjoyed ourselves as much as we could by the fire side after getting some dry clothes

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Oct 1857

on and laying up a pile of logs in the fire place. Ed received a letter from Eugenes who had just arrived in Kansas- stating that our mill was there.

27 Tu. Some rain - saw some of the neighbors about going after the mill. Several persons called in and we were about home most of the day.

28 W. Ell & Ed went off in morning to engage teams. Returned about 3 or 4 o’clock. I commenced with an inflamation of the [XXX] which was very painful.

29 Th. rainy again most of day – I am not able to stir around. Feel somewhat discouraged because of ailment and the weather continues wet enough to keep the roads bad so that it will be difficult I fear, getting teams together and getting the mill home.

30 F. To-day we had a new kind of weather. A mixture of fine, warm sunshine, thundershowers & cold, gusty winds. Have got teams enough to bring all but the boiler and have made some arrangements for that also. I had a poor night of it, very, and not much better today. Have concluded however to do the best I can, and let the rest take chance.

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31. S. Fair – Occupied my time reading sketches of life in the early times, chiefly of Indian warfare about the time of the Revolution. Most of the scenes were on the frontiers in Kentucky and on the Mississippi and lakes of the north. There were numerous anecdotes of Great daring by backwoodsmen, boatmen and trappers. A book very well calculated to make me forgetful, for a time, of my situation.

Nov. S. We all passed the day indoors. Had numerous visitors, one, near sunset, on an unexpected errand. He called in to get an addition to his party, of about a dozen freestate men who were on their way to the sham court of Bourbon – Ft Scott – to liberate some men who were imprisoned at that place a few days since by bogus officers Boys both going to Kansas in morning and myself unable to go out, we mearly supplied them with more arms and ammunition.

2 M. Fine morning – Teams generally got off by 9 o’clock – I now have the Cabin all to myself. The first day’s experience comes fully up to my expectations, which were, that it would be a gloomy time enough batching it alone

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Nov 1857

and unable to even cook a meal, so I done without eating today and the Shoemaker came in at night and made up a fire that would last untill morning, engaging to make a fire mornings and evenings untill I could do it.

3 Tu. Indoors reading all day.

4 W very rain like all day. High wind from southward. So warm all day that I needed no fire to keep warm. After dark a thundershower came up, but appeared to pass to the northward of us. It rained pretty hard for a short time and the lightning was almost incessant.

5 Th clear, no wind and quite warm. Feel much better. Went up on the bluff, after my breakfast of bread and molasses, and remained there a long time, under the shade of a tree, looking around The falling of the leaves to some extent has opened out a much more extended view of the county westward than we had had an opportunity of seeing before. In afternoon I wrote some in a letter to Father.

6. F. fine day but not so warm as yesterday. Felt so much better that I took a long walk first thro’ the woods to the west side of our lot

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and from there to the S. W. corner & back Easturn looking the claim all over to see if any one had been putting up anything like a cabin to enable them to jump the claim, having heard a report to that effect. Saw nothing of the kind however, but saw something else which made me wish I had a gun along. Getting tired, I set down to rest awhile & thot I would practice on my ‘turkey call’ never having tried in the woods yet. In one minute I had about a dozen turkey within gunshot. I would have gone to the cabin for a gun but was unable to stand so much exertion.

7. S. Foggy, misty, rainy & after dark there fell snow to a very small amount. The night was awful dark and I went to bed with a comfortable kind of feeling of security from the storm. Probably led to feel it more sensibly, from thinking of the boys, who are no doubt encamped in some timbered bottom between here & Kansas. I went out early in morning to look after

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Nov 1857

the turkeys but the air was cold and the mist soon began to wet the leaves so I turned back again to the comfort of a chimney fire

8. S. Dull morning and a cold wind. The murcury is at 29º only, but the cabin is so open that it feels like a cold winter day. Wind fell in eve, more comfortable, I was in the cabin all day, part of the time pasting some oddities which I had cut from time to time, from papers, into an old account book. One of the ‘rescuers’ came in with the rifle and pistol lent him last Sunday. Some of the prisoners were released with giving bail, and others without. General opinion is that there will never be anything further done in the matter.

9. M. fair, nearly. Had some wood chopped, helped some at sawing. Feel much better than I have done anytime since I’ve been ailing.

10. Tu. Cloudy, snow, rain. Went out in woods in morning to look for turkeys. Soon began to storm and toddled back to cabin. In doors the rest of the day. Cut some pumpkin & stewed

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it up for sauce. Have been starving rather for some days past, but feel so well to-day that I concluded to feast so roasted some potatoes and broiled some ham, but made no coffee. Ell came home after dark. Had bot a horse yesterday on the road, so rode on to-day in advance of the teams.

11. W. rainy. Ell went down to mill lot & found teams there, saw to the unloading of machinery, boat, a lot of flour here & stowed it away under the beds, together with sugar, molasses, &c in barrels. I was occupied all the forenoon washing up the greasy dishes used in the camp. The dirty pots, pans, dishes of all kinds that had accumulated at home, p.m. Reading some fresh news just came in.

12 Th. dull and some rain. Wrote to Father, Ma. & Walt.

13 F. fair. I was occupied several hours daubing up the cabin on the north side. Ed returned in afternoon. After sunset I went out to look for turkeys. Found some on the roost and when nearly dark I succeeded in getting one.

14 S. fair. Ed & I went to the Mill seat to meet

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Nov 1857

the boiler wagon which was detained from getting in last night because the Teamsters could not find their cattle in the morning. They had arrived on the ground an hour or so before we got there, and had gone away again so we made the rest of the day out in hunting for turkeys thro’ the woods as we returned to the cabin. Dark when we got in.

15. S. cloudy in morning. We worked an hour fixing the well. The walnut gum which was in it made the water quite dark and was useless for cooking with or washing anything but dishes. Before we got the gum out with the bottom above the water, it began to snow and the ground was white in a few minutes. It fell just about enough to make easy tracking so we went out to look for Turkeys but found no Tracks. Did not start soon enough it being near sunset, but we had quite a long job getting our dinner of roast turkey, griddle cakes & coffee.

16. M. cloudy, rather cold & the roads muddy. We all went to the creek to see after the machinery. Hunted around for a mason to build the arch

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for the boiler but found none in the neighborhood.

17. Tu. fair. Could get no one to burn lime for us so we hired some hands and went at it on our own hook, getting logs together and laying them up ready for the stone.

18. W. cloudy a little while in morning, fine untill about sunset again. After dark it was right cloudy, a little sprinkle of rain, warm and a very high wind remarkably strong wind sometimes. Today we got the stone piled up & the kiln fired. Went all the way to creek & put the boiler off a wagon so that a wagoner might have it to go after the engine – 34 miles back – his wagon having broke down on the way. Before coming in we cut down a tree, to make foundation for engine, that will square 2 ft at the butt.

19. Th. The wind blew a gale last night and this morning the wood in the lime kiln was burned up & the stone not burned thro’ in consequence of the wind blowing so strong thro’ the pile. It was pretty cold all day. We cut timber enough for the mill and then came in. Feels very cold and Murcury is down to 20º with a high wind yet.

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Nov 1857

20. F. cold morning. Mur 15º - at evening 44º - cloudy most of the day. Had several hands to work at the timbers. Found it a very heavy job. Spoiled several axe-helves in splitting out ‘juggles’ from the 2 feet timbers. Hope to see better weather and the stuff all on the ground ready to begin operations at the creek by Monday. Recd a letter from Barclay Lyons.

21 S. some cloudy. early in morning it was stormlike but warm, and by seven o’clock quite clear. By noon clouds & wind again. Hueing timbers & scoring all day. Was unwell p.m. hardly able to keep going untill night. We got done the hueing.

22 S. Cold, windy cloudy. Some snow in the air p.m., threatning a storm, but it held up. I kept quiet all day and eat nothing scarcely.

23 M. clear after a very windy night and the Murcury was at 10º this morning. Did not moderate much untill p.m. We had timbers hauled to the creek, I chopped wood & helped load the timbers in the grove while the rest were at the creek to work.

24. Tu. Clear most of the day. Not very cold. Could lay up wall if we had all things in readiness. Had several small timbers hauled to creek

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and two hands in woods getting out his to lay the Track on. Made a futile attempt to get the two feet-square timbers hauled down. I rode to the high prairie, north of Moneka, to get a stone mason to lay up the arch and was engaged most of the day helping about hauling timber. After supper I squared up the accounts for the Mill Company and then done some writing of which this is a part. I have feelings to-night, and have had for a week past, which I may, in the future, look back and reflect upon with wonder, perhaps, that I should ever experience such. Do not wish to retain (do not cherish) them any longer than I must and cannot therefore, and for other reasons give them [XXX] substance which writing would do. I write this much to recall them to mind at future periods, out of curiosity to know in what light I may at such times regard them.

25. W. fine. At the mill a.m. Rode around p.m. to find teams to draw stone and get another Mason to work at the wall. Mr Gibbons commenced in afternoon. Wilson has proved himself, to me, to be

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Nov 1857

a worthless fellow, and I fear, his influence over the hands will be of more injury than his own work, if he does any, will do good.

26 Th. fair. I staid in the Cabin and was very busy getting things righted up. Washed up a lot of towels, socks &c and would have filled our beds with dry leaves but Ell came in and wanted help to get up some rocks on the hills. I am fearful it will rain soon.

27 F. dull, some rain. We all went to the hills to dig up stone. Worked till noon, p.m. The hands went to Mill to work. We were engaged about home.

28 S. Began raining lightly in morning, and increased to a hard rain which was continued without cessation untill after night. I started out after turkeys in morning, got wet and so kept on all day. Had a devil of a time and did not get home untill long after dark, shoot two turkeys, saw many of them, and one deer.

29. S cloudy and a rather cold wind tho’

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not sufficiently cold to freeze. Was occupied in reading a novel to-day, an exciting one.

30. M. fine day. At the mill all day, with several hands. I went with a hand to get up some more rock, working at it all day.

Dec – Tu fine day. Working on the mill chiefly in building the arch. I was engaged p.m. in looking out a rock-quarry nearer to mill than where we were yesterday. Found a passably good quarry of sand rock, and shot several rabbits while strolling ‘round.

2 – W. fine. Quarrying stone a.m. and made another miserable attempt to get the huge timbers hauled down from the woods. There were five of us with three yoke of cattle all p.m. getting one loaded and drawn half a mile, when we gave it up for the night, which was just on hand. Recd a letter from wife –

3 Th – fine day. Hired a man to haul the remaining timbers who got them to the mill without us having to work with 6 or 8 hands all day helping to load & unload, but with very little

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Dec 1857

assistance from any one. Quarryed out a considerable lot of stone p.m.

4 F. Continues fair - Were nearly all day getting the boiler up. Framing, a part of the day. Baldwin arrived last evening and Ell got ready for a start to Kansas & St Louis to-morrow.

5 S. Foggy nearly all day. Put in the heavy timbers for the engine to rest on. Two working at the wall Ell started to St Louis this morning – Received another letter from wife last evening wrote home, this morning, before breakfast & sent the letter by Ell, as far as he may go.

6 S Fine warm, cleared up, a beautiful day. We were up late and a long job putting things out of the way made our breakfast late and some “callers” put us to 12 o’clock m. without having accomplished any more than clearing up and breakfasting, p.m. I fixed up accounts and filled up my diary from Dec 3 rd to the present moment 1 ¼ o’clock p.m. and am about to go out and try for a turkey. Went out after Turkeys but saw none. Saw four deer however and

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had a fine chance for a shot but having a shot-gun I could do nothing.

7. M. some rain – Worked away at the mill all day.

8. Tu. dull a.m. Cloudy but a north wind and prospect for a cold clearup p.m. We worked at mill and quarrying out stone. Discharged Wilson

9. W. Murcury at 25º Clear and no wind. Continued fine all day. Going on with the work as usual. Had some hints that warlike movements were afoot. So engaged with our affairs that we scarcely give a thought to the affairs of the nation at the present time.

10. Th. M. at 23º clear. Putting in our best licks to get stone to the mill and boiler walled in. Think we have got quarried out about enough stone to finish the job. We have been quarrying rock untill we are quite sick of the job and want to get away from the bluffs.

11 F. Clear. M 36º a.m. 64º M. Of course it has been a very fine day. Ed went to the mill. I stopped in Cabin to salt down the half of a beef and kind of clear up two jobs – the clearing up consisted of a hundred or so of small jobs – which

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Dec 1857

kept me busy enough all day. Ell returned about sunset. Could’nt go to St Louis – Recd letter from home. Wrote part of a letter to wife before retiring –

12 S. very fine. Got the logs of a corncrib drawed down to creek to make a house for tools &c. Attended a meeting of the Town Company p.m.

13 S. very fine – Went out west of the heads of Little Sugar Creek to look for deer and to see the country. We walked all day, on unknown ground after we were out of sight of our settlement and when night came on we were yet Ten miles from Sugar Mound. Stopped at the cabin of a settler all night and learned from him of our whereabouts. We had set out fine which got to be considerable before night.

14. M. fine. Started home across the prairie again and saw several deer on the way. Arrived at home by noon. McGrew, the lawyer who engaged to set our sawmill fixings was not on hand so we could only go on with the boiler and engine work. Commenced Cabin at mill.

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15. Tu. fine – Working at the mill all day. We hear of considerable doings between the Free state and Proslavery parties down on the Little Osage. Parties of twenty to thirty are passing by the Mound occasionally, raised our Cabin at mill.

16. W. fair. Finished walling in boiler. Done some work at foundation for engine which occupied us all day. The hands drawed stone p.m.

17. Th. fair. Got the Engine up in its place. Roofed the cabin and got some daubing done. This morning we saw the Free-state army. They had a battle yesterday on the Little Osage and retreated to the Mound to await reinforcements. The Free-state party were victorious but being only 56 in number they did not consider themselves able to cope with what might easily be raised against them at Ft Scott. The party of ruffians they put to flight numbered about 150. Three were wounded. F. S. party came off unscathed.

18. F. fair working at the mill all day.

19. S. fair. Engaged at the mill all day. Got the saw frame set and saws on 3 part of the way laid. Went to the Camp and remained there

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Dec 1857

all night, a messenger having, in the evening come in with a report that the ruffians were coming up to the mound, 400 strong, to-night.

20. S. fair quite warm a.m. Returned home from the Camp at day-light – No disturbance occurred during the night. The band moved down to the Osage to-day. Gen Lane was expected to arrive to-day with considerable reinforcements and we went to the Point to see them come in. Several small parties passed on down to join the army. We waited untill near sunset and Lane not coming up to that time we returned home.

21 M. snowing all day. Commenced snowing in the night and continued untill on untill bed time to-night The F. S. party learned that the U.S. dragoons had gone to the Fort yesterday so they returned to the Mound and divided around to obtain shelter during the storm. It is not cold enough to freeze yet.

22 Tu. fair. A little snow on the ground and Murcury down to 22º in morning. The snow mostly disappeared during the day. We could do nothing at the mill so we moved our things down to mill and commenced housekeeping in a Cabin

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eight by Twelve. I was astonished to see the amount of plunder we could, by fixing things, stow away in our retreat. Our bed was set up so high that we have room to sit under – and have barrels and trunks underneath it beside.

23. W. Clear & fine but rather chilly to what we have been accustomed to for three weeks past. I was engaged most of the day in putting up shelves in the cabin and arranging everything as conveniently as possible in there crowded state. The weather, for three weeks previous to the snowstorm, was so mild that the ground was not frozen and the days were like spring weather, grass grew enough to look quite green under the old crop. Since the snow the murcury has ranged from 20º to 24 of mornings and from 37º to 44º at from one o’clock to three o’clock p.m. After to-day I shall keep a record of the weather as carefully as possible.

24 Th. cloudy a.m. clear p.m. Temperature before sunrise and afternoon, in the shade a.m. 22º p.m. 39º Moved some more things down to creek, hung up meat to dry and done house work about all day. The Army left for parts unknown to us, this morning. Christmas eve. Very fine and moonlight

25 F. clear early in morning. Clouded up and was a raw kind of day. 20º - 42 Went to Danford’s mill to get some

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Dec 1857

scantling sawed for the log-way and to a Cooper’s, further up the creek, to get tank made and from there to the post office near Big Sugar, to see a man about getting a corn mill that is at Mr Rus’es –

26. S. clear all day. 19 – 43 Got the saw part of the mill pretty much ready to run. We find a great many things to do which requires a good deal of time since we thot we were about ready to fire up. Will only make calculations getting her to going within the present year.

27. S. cloudy, high wind from S.W. 38 – 52 In doors untill 3 o’clock p.m. when we mixed up some mud and finished daubing up the cabin. Got it all completed at dark -

28. M. cloudy a.m. rainy p.m. 37 – 46 Made all ready to raise the smoke-pipe in afternoon and the hands came on but it set in to rain before we could get it up so we left it at an angle of 45º to await the clearing up of the weather.

29. Tu. cloudy and plenty of mud to tramp around in all day 39 – 47 ½ Done nothing toward raising the smoke-pipe. I busyed myself cutting a bearing bar which was to full to admit the door frames.

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January 1858

30. W. clear. 29-45. Rode around early in morning, and got a good lot of hands together and put our smoke pipe to its place before noon. Working at pumps and water tank, filing saws, putting on bands, and fastening guy rods p.m. also making wheel barrow The town survey is part of it being done. Bought some apples from a wagoner at $1.25 per bushel

31. Th. clear, pretty high wind 33-59 Fastened guy rods and got the engine ready to run. Pumped up some water into the boiler intending to steam up a little this New Year’s eve, but could not quite make it go off, chiefly on account of the boiler leaking at the hand-hole. Had a very busy day of it to-be-sure.


Jan 1 st Friday – clear. 28-38 Tryed hard to get the engine ready to start to-day. The pumps worked so slowly that we were unable to get the boiler full and had to defer the fireing-up untill another day. No war news of any interest as yet.

2 - S. clear. 19-44 We succeeded in getting the boiler filled and steam raised by a little afternoon. Run the engine enough to round the

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Jan 1858

saw, ready for filing and done considerable towards fileing it up. The pump which throws water into the boiler was not in proper trim otherwise it went off very well.

3. clear. 23-52 Was occupied in making a wheel-barrow part of the day. Indulging in the luxury of idleness rest of the time.

4 M. clear 30-50 Got the force pump cleaned out and started the machinery after dinner. Did not run long before the pump got out of order again and we stopped everything and went down to the polls to vote “Against the Constitution framed at LeCompton.” There had been a debate between the parties who were opposed to voting for the Free State candidates, - nominated in the Herald of Freedom office, by a dozen men – and those who were doubtful on the subject and other who were opposed, which resulted in the distruction of the ballot-box which contained votes for said candidates. The votes polled against the Constitution were deposited in another box. No voting for candidates was done after the box was distroyed. 128 votes against and

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none for the Lecompton Constitution.

5. Tu. clear most of the day. 32º 54º Had some dogs made and fastened all the timbers together which the engine rests upon. Did not get ready to start again untill after noon some time. Sawed some, but the force pump stopped work again and we had to die out steam without accomplishing anything.

6. W. clear 26º 42º Cleaned the pump again. The trouble has been that the casting sand was never thoroughly cleaned out of the steam chest and passages from thence to the heater. This sand was forced into the force pump and lodging in the pipe which leads into the boiler it prevented the valves from shutting down closely and the water would follow the plunger so that no gain could be effected. Started again immediately after dinner and kept her going untill after sunset.

7. Th. clear. 20 31 North wind and pretty chilly. Another forenoon was used up tinkering with both saw and engine. p.m. we done some sawing. Selected some trees to be cut for frame for the mill-house. Design having them drawed to the mill and squared, and the framing

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January 1858

going on lively next week. It will take to-day & to-morrow to finish up log-car rail-road, and make the car. There is considerable work to be done making rollers for the belt trough for belt to run in to prevent the action of wind and make a safe place to put the slabs over it which are only fit for fire wood.

8. F. cloudy. 28 47 Have such a cold that I don’t do much. Got along with the sawing very well in afternoon.

9 S. very fine early in morning. 25 49 Had steam up before sunrise. Began to be foggy and the day grew more gloomy untill night when it set in rain. Sawed all day. Attended a meeting of the Town Association in afternoon. Sent a letter to wife --

10 S. rainy all day - 51º - 51º All day occupied in sighting our accounts and transcribing to account books rained enough to raise the creek considerably

11 M. clear, some wind -- 28º - 52º Sawing all day. Nothing occurred worthy of note

12 Tu. 37. 58. Got rather a late start but done very well after we did get steam up. Sawing about 3500 ft before dark. Sawed plank for bridges up the bottom --

13 W. fair 20 47 - Done a fair business untill near

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sunset when there was a sudden break of the engine which bids fair to stop the work for some weeks – Hope that we can get it mended here.

14 Th. cloudy, rain like. 30. 50 The part which was broken yesterday was the cast iron plate which holds the packing of the piston-head and the sawyers were both engaged in helping the blacksmith mend it. Worked all day at it but did not get it done. I embraced the opportunity to do some washing. The rest of the day I helped the engineer rub down the engine. Six teams engaged in drawing logs and two teams drawing frame stuff for the mill.

15. F. cloudy. 38 46 The effort to mend the brake was a failure and it was tried to-day after another plan which was successful and to-morrow we expect to be going again. Kept ourselves busy in the log yard.

16. S. foggy untill 9 or 10 o’clock when it cleared off. 25 44 Got steam up and set the engine in motion but found other injury done to it, which could not be discovered untill I moved some, so

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Jan 1858

we let the fire go down again and proceeded to repair the newly discovered injury. The Directors of the town company should have met to-day but the people were called to Paris to nominate delegates to a convention to nominate a candidate for Councilman to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr Staniford

17. clear and fine. 26 Went up to Grove and marked trees enough to make frame for our stables. Did not return untill near sunset. The day has been very much like spring and the grass near the roots, are green and nice for pasture.

18. M. Fine - I rode around to-day to make arrangements to have our framing sticks cut and drawn to the mill and to get subscribing to three road petitions for the benefit of this township and of Mound City in particular. They tinkered away at the Engine but did not get it to going.

19 Tu. – fine – Got the mill started about noon. All at work about the mill to-day --

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20. W. fine – Went to timber and had our framing timbers cut and engaged teams to draw them, helping to load and chop untill after noon.

21. Th. fine - Drawing framing timbers all day. I used Wright’s team. The saw cut up one log to-day, making 240 feet in ten minutes. At a rate of 7200 feet per day allowing half the time for rolling on logs and other necessary delays.

22 F. hazzy, cloudy – Drawed a load of wood. Had two loads of logs hauled. Made preparations for a rainy night.

23. S. rain during the night. Dull all day and occasional showers. Did not try to saw any to-day. Attended a town meeting at the Post Office. p.m.

24. S. A very rainy day. Rained about all last night and the creek this evening is higher than I’ve seen it before. In the cabin all day, reading and writing.

25 M. clear – Everything is out of fix. Sawpit full of water, log-way and saw frame out of level and nothing done at sawing untill after noon.

26. Tu. fair – Carpenters commenced work on mill. An election held at Mound to choose a Council Man – Done a fair business sawing.

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Jan. 1858

27. W. fair. Have three carpenters at work on mill Done a good business to-day sawing. I went ‘round awhile in morning to get signatures to a remonstrance against having the County seat removed to Moneka. p.m. I took the list to Paris to be sent with Election returns to Lawrence. Returning I rode up the creek bottom that I might see the timber Found what I consider a plenty of good timber I also visited the saw-mill at Paris and Hobson’s on this creek. Came home well satisfied with what we have obtained both in the mill and its situation. --

28. Th. fair. Done all we could at sawing - Ed went to Grove and selected some more trees for the mill frame and employed some teams to haul the logs to mill.

29. F. fair – Started the saw this morning and in half an hour broke the saw-guider – a sliver in the end of log was the cause – and no more was done untill 3 o’clock p.m. Danford’s met with the same accident this morning and were at the shop a few minutes ahead of

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Mr McGrew otherwise we could have been sawing directly after noon. There was a town meeting held here, on a board pile, this afternoon. Among the important acts of that body was the donation of four blocks in Mound City to Messrs Smith, Trego & Co. Have had no mail from the east this week untill to-day. Creeks were to much up for fording.

30. S. some cloudy – Sawing untill about 3 o’clock when we blew off preparatory to a general clean up and fix up on Monday – Some of us went up to help raise the first frame in Mound City this afternoon. It is Chas Barnes store house.

31 cloudy. The air was raw and disagreeable so we remained indoors all day. Near sunset Major Montgomery came in to get the loan of firearms again. They purpose going down to Fort Scott and make another attempt to annihilate the place which I sincerely hope they may be able to do, as the ruffians who are harbored there have been committing more depredations among the free state settlers in and around the Fort.

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Feb 1858


1 M Snowed about all day. held up a little before sundown. Melted as it fell. We worked out all day. Filled boiler, fixed up engine, began the building of a stable with slabs and about 4 o’clock p.m. we started the saw, cutting some more of our mill lumber.

2 Tu. cloudy a.m. fair p.m. Sawing stuff for mill all day.

3. W. cloudy very cold and disagreeable working out. We have had such warm weather for the most part that hands could hardly stand it to work tho’ the murcury was scarcely below freezing point a good part of the day.

4 Th. cloudy. Saw worked very badly all the forenoon, During the afternoon we done tolerably well. Very cold this morning but the wind did not blow so raw and it was not so unpleasant working out.

5. F. cloudy. Warm enough after 9 o’clock a.m. Saw done well untill near night when it again began to run crooked thro’ the log. We succeeded in making a pretty fair run before the saw became bewithed again

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6. S. Fair a.m. Some squally after 3 O’clock p.m. and turned colder. I went to woods this morning to get some underpinning for the Mill-house. Remained there Chopping untill the team came after the second load. Mill run during the forenoon to cut some brace stuff to finish the framing with. p.m. The worked was stopped and preparations for raising on Monday were commenced.

7. Clear. Rather cold and we remained in the cabin about all day.

8. M. cloudy, dull p.m. Worked at the foundation for Mill house made ready for the sills and would have succeeded in placing them but for rain which came on about the middle of afternoon.

9 Tu. Sleet this morning from last night’s rain. Cloudy all day and pretty cold wind from N.W. Went to grove and chopped down several large trees for sawlogs and small trees to finish out the frames for houses.

10 W. Clear all day and but little air stirring yet it was so cold that we could do nothing, timbers and every thing covered with ice. Today as a general day for loafing. Sharp and I

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Feb 1858

worked some at the lumber car. Got it ready for opperation as soon as the track is laid for it.

11 Th. very little sunshine. Worked about half the day putting down sills and putting vents together. Did not get all the vents ready for raising.

12 F. cloudy and cold. Wind east – Rode around in morning and got some hands to come and raise the Mill house. Got it up by four oclock p.m. all to some of rafter plates. Snowed furiously by that time or we could easily have finished it up.

13 S. fair and not very cold. Went out p.m. to look for Turkeys. Got nothing but very cold feet, saw not signs of turkeys anywhere. Think hunting here on the mound is poor business enough --

14 S. Dreary in the cabin and not much better out tho we had some sunshine. Done nothing all day but try to keep warm. Ell shot some grouse

15 M. cloudy most of day, some sunshine – Went to timber and sawed up a lot of logs ready for drawing to mill

16 Tu. cloudy. Boys were off to a church meeting a.m.

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In afternoon we were shooting some – Plenty of grouse around since the snow fell.

17. W. cloudy. I went to Paris to attend to some road business before the County Court. Returned by way of Turkey Creek, saw plenty of turkeys but no deer. Was not prepared for shooting turkeys so came home empty.

18. Th. cloudy – Thought it was going to be warm & went at the building again. Done but little however at that. We took the cast iron pipe from under the boiler, which was discovered to be bursted by the frost, and hauled it to the shop to try and repair it. It will take several days to get things ready for work again so Ed Sharp and self concluded to go to Neosho to-morrow

19 F. fair. We were all the forenoon getting ready for a start and only reached the Little Osage today. Camped in a shingle makers hut where there was a fine large fire already made in the hearth by which we cooked our supper. Shot a wild-cat in the vicinity of the hut. The moon was high and I placed myself so that the cat, as he sat on a limb, was between me and the moon.

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Feb 1858

That is the way wild turkeys are shot by moonlight.

20. S. fine – very warm sunshine p.m. Snow left in a very great hurry. Crossed a very large prairie and arrived within three miles of Cofachique at dark. Intended to go in but the roads were too muddy, so we encamped on the prairie.

21 S – Snowstorm, very windy and cold. A storm came on in the night, commencing with rain and much wind. Soon grew cold and sleeted and before day it was snowing furiously with a gale of wind from the north driven it into everything that wind could penetrate. Hitched on the horses as soon as it was light enough to see and started for the town to warm up having nearly frozen in the wagon. Too cold to sleep after midnight – stopped at Mr Case’s and stayed by his fire all day and had a good place to sleep at night. Some Indians came in during the day who seemed to be suffering very much from the extreme change in the weather.

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22. M. fair, clear cold air this morning when we started down the Neosho. Our road led us near the river all day and gave us an opportunity to see how much timber there is along that stream. We stopped awhile at Thurston’s Steam saw mill at Humboldt. All the timber along the Neosho seems to grow on flat land The meadows coming up to the grove without the intervention of scrub trees and grubs. It was very cold all day and the evening was clear and still. Snow deep enough for sleighing after we got down within about eight miles of Godfrey’s Trading post, where we arrived about 9 O’clock in the evening & put up for the night. We saw a buffalo herd. It belonged to a halfbreed who was keeping a kind of tavern for the accommodation of Ar Kansas teamsters who are in the way of carting provisions into the territory on this road. There is a village of Osages – several hundred – nearby and some of them were about the post when we came in.

23 Tu. fair 0/4 After a good feast of fried venison, coffee cakes &c we started for the Osage Mission stopped a few minutes at the Indian village to see how they looked and saw they were

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Feb 1858

a very filthy tribe of Indians, not near so respectable as the Chippewa and Sioux – we arrived at the Mission about 3 o’clock p.m. and satisfied ourselves that we could get no ponies as the Indians will not sell at any price untill they are fattened on grass in the spring. Had a distance of 70 miles to travel to reach home. Made about nine miles of that before camping. Our camping ground was in a fine country for making claims of the treaty – now talked of – is made with the Osage this spring –

24 W. fair. Made the best of our way toward Fort Scott. Intended to stop there to-night but could not get along soon enough to see our way before dark so we encamped in the woods by the Marmiton. Made out to cook up a supper.

25 Th. fair Hitched on as soon as we could after crawling out, and drove into Ft. Scott to breakfast. Looked about for some time before starting for home again. Went to see a mill of the same pattern as ours, which was just started. They do not work it any better than

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we did ours. The town of Fort Scott is the best got up of anything in Kansas. The houses are all large, large stable, machine shop &c all arranged in a hollow square. Inside the square are trees of over a dozen years growth. A large well under the shade of a clump of trees, with a very tasteful structure over it supported by six large round pillars. On our way home we stopped a few minutes at the scene of the last battle, enacted on the Osage. We saw the mounds much after leaving the Osage untill we got back to Fort Scott. From Ft S. home the country is beautiful with broad valleys above the stream and Mounds on each side. We did not reach home untill late as the weather was warm and the mud got very deep.

26. F. fair worked all day getting the mill ready for a start to-morrow. Made track for the lumber car, as far as we had material for its construction.

27 S. fair Started the saw in morning and it run off first rate. We cut our own logs that we had on the ground and now we can go on with building again on Monday. Near sunset there

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March 1858

came up a cloud and cold N.E. wind which by dark, let down snow, very much like last Saturday. A lively meeting was held at Paris today for the purpose of appointing delegates to a constitutional convention. Ell went over –

28 S. cloudy a.m. fair p.m. There was only a light sprinkle of snow last night, not very cold this morning. I was some unwell and did not stir out any.

March M fair. We had the saw going by 10 o’clock a.m. Done a very fair business in afternoon Carpenters working to-day –

2 Tu. fair. Working at mill all day.

3. W. “ Cutting lumber now at the rate of 3500 pr day. Getting some more logs down for the mill

4 Th. fair Nothing occurred of particular note. Ripping out lumber as fast as possible. Had our lots surveyed off, ready for moving house frames and raising

5 F. fair a.m. shower p.m. Went to woods to cut off some logs to be hauled for the Mill. Had a wolf chase on the way home. Rained so much after 2 o’clock p.m. that we could not saw.

6. S. dull. [XXXXX] fixing engine. We raised our

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houses and done some toward siding up. Cold wind from the N. and very disagreeable working. The creek was high this morning, some 3 inches of water having fallen in the night.

7 S Dull. So wet and cold we done nothing

8 M. cloudy cold. Went to Moneka to see some men who are making shingles. Engaged of them 9000, half payable in lumber. Went from there to Post Office. Expected to get letter from wife certain but was disappointed. No mail on account of high water. Had a good run with the mill p.m.

9 Tu. fair. Good while getting thawed out again this morning but not near so long as yesterday. Looking around for a chance to go Kansas & settling with some whose names are on our books. Mail came in today no letter for me. Cut nearly four thousand ft lumber today -

10. W. fair. Another batch of mail matter – left behind yesterday, was to come in this morning, so I repaired to the office again, to be again disappointed. Saw some men in camp at the Mound who I learned were bound for Indiana, having got sick of the Osage, sold out their

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March 1858

claim and were on the way back to their former home. I concluded that this was my chance to get to Kansas City and called on them to see what I could do. Made arrangement for starting with them tomorrow morning. Went back to cabin and was occupied the rest of the day in getting ready.

11. Th. fair – Started early to Mound and got my plunder into the wagon, but not untill I had a pretty severe trial of bottom in my effort to overtake them they having given up my coming and got the start of me half a mile. We camped to-night five miles North of West point. The name of the men with whom I have taken passage is Wyatt.

12. F. fair – The roads have dried off so that the going is good. We drove to Big blue had two miles to drive however after it was about dark. Passed rather an uncomfortable night on the ground. Slept too long and let the fire go out.

13. S. cloudy, rain like. Arrived in Kansas about 11 o’clock. Boat happened down


in an hour. The Isabella. Got aboard and was on the way at dinner time. The gentleman who rooms with me is from Shawnee. Dr Morgan – who is engaged in the Merchantile business and is now on his way to St Louis to lay in a stock of goods.

14. S. cloudy, some squalls of rain. I begin to think it is a general thing on this river. The day was spent as is usual on board of boats where there are no novels to read. Had a good opportunity to see Lexington. It is a very respectable town in appearance.

15 M – dull, some rain – Making the best of our way down the river, stop again to-night

16 Tu. dull and some rain again – Reached St Chas. before dark, dropped down to a wood –yard & tied up --

17 – W – very rainy a.m. A kind of clear up p.m. In St Louis before noon. After the rain ceased I went out and attended to some business in the town, having first taken passage to Quincy on the New S. B. Hannibal City – Left St Louis a 3 ½ o’clock p.m. Band of music on board

Note [now goes to page 107]

[Page 107]

end of it. Paid 25 cts for the use of it. Camped in the woods to-night. Cool weather.

26. W. clear, sultry. Had to drive very slowly on account of mud and heat. In Paris at 3 o’clk Camped in woods again to-night. Frog pond – camp

27. Th. fair. Not so sultry as yesterday. Started early and drove to Milton by noon, where we bot some provisions & horse feed, and took dinner under the trees. p.m. we passed thro’ Huntsville and came down three miles on the plank road, where we have camped under trees, but there is no stream of water near & have to do with but little. Paris is 45 miles from Hannibal and Huntsville 31 from Paris and we 3 miles from the latter place making 79 miles from Hannibal, ten or fifteen more from Quincy perhaps. We are now distant 23 miles from Glasgow, where we expect to be by 2 o’clk p.m. to-morrow if weather will permit. This evening is cloudy and wind is S.E.

28. F. fair. Drove down on the plank road to-day passing thro’ a finely improved timbered country with large plantations and fine and large

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May 1858

dwellings, tobacco factories, barns &c and in most places the Negro houses were good, frequently ten or twelve in number. Mules are the chief object of attention forty miles or so from the river, Wheat and tobacco within twenty or thirty and hemp, with wheat & corn, a distance of fifteen or twenty miles from the river. Arrived in Glasgow at about four o’clock. Made inquiry about a steam-boat, an agent said it would probably cost us forty dols to go to Kansas City so we concluded to bring some more provisions and cross the river and be ready for a start across the country to morrow.

29. S. fair. Travelled untill 9 o’clock at night for the purpose of reaching Marshall. Came by way of Cambridge and had a very bad road after we left the Lexington road, it being over sod part of the way and but little travelled any of the way.

30. S. rainy this morning. Waited at the Hotel untill the heavy shower was over and then proceed onward. The wind was very high all day and near sunset we met a very severe storm, one that would have driven right thro the wagon if it had not upset it at once, but for our

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good fortune to get into a thicket of young oaks which afforded us a very good protection, this was at Brownville and as soon as the storm was over we crossed the Black water and camped about two miles further on the road where we had excellent pasture for the team.

31. M. fair. Had some bad road a.m. Took our dinner in a wood near Knob Noster, had a good road after we left the village and we drove on within 5 or 6 miles of Warrensburg before Camping.

June Tu. fair. Had a pretty good drive to-day. Met with Mr Fox of Paris, in the afternoon, who told us that he had been, with about fifty other pro-slavery men and their families, driven out of the Territory. That Cpt Montgomery had the control of Linn County and he considered it a very unsafe place for any man who was not with Montgomery or his political views. That their purpose was, so far as he knew, only to plunder. This Fox was Commander in Chief of the invading army in Linn Co. in 1856. No doubt he has good cause to fear the ‘boys’ as they have to wish to benefit society by purging it of

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June 1858

his evil influence. After we left Fox I noticed that the company were decidedly down and remained very thoughtful, during the remainder of the days. Passed thro’ a village called “Rose Hill” near the close of the day and soon after encamped for the night by a tributary of the Marias des Cygnes.

2. W. fair Hurried on as fast as possible all day the roads good generally, mud-holes excepted. In Harrisonville at 11 o’clock, continue to hear a good deal of the fighting and killing in Kansas. This afternoon saw a man who advised us to avoid West Point by crossing over to the old military road. Concluded to do so and we encamped in a nice grove where there was and old Indian field which was covered with blue-grass, first rate fare for the horses.

3. Th. fair but very windy. We fairly drove matters to-day and made a point on the Military road opposite West Point by noon, and were forced to pull up, just at sunset, in a small thicket of hickory, miles from M.C., by a severe storm of wind and rain the latter continuing untill near one o’clock. We were in a bad fix but could do no better. I sat up in the wagon untill the moon rose

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which was about 2 o’clock this morning, the

4. F. which was dull enough tho’ no rain fell, when I started for Mound City, women & children asleep in the wagon. We arrived here at our journey’s end before the folks were up yet. Boys had gone east and nothing doing. Moved our things into Ed’s house – the only one near enough to completion and was occupied the balance of day in arranging matters for convenience.

5. S. fair. quite warm. Busy as possible all day. Made a journey to the Cabin in the woods for something we had left there, to get flour &c – News came up from the “Post” that assistance was deemed highly necessary as a body of sixty armed Missourians had been seen advancing toward that point – six men were murdered there on the 19 th of May, taken from their work and marched into a grove and shot down. – A respectable number of citizens here about immediately mounted horses and proceed to the Post. There is so much excitement that no business is carried on at present --

6. S. fair, cool and windy – Amusing ourselves resting, writing,

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reading, holding ourselves in readiness for interesting news from the Post, &c &c

7. M. fair. Working around the house. Every body in arms this evening, anticipating an outbreak of the results of the meeting at West Point for the settlement of differences should not prove satisfactory to the Missourians. Had intelligence that four hundred had mustered at W. P. for that purpose

8. Tu. fair sultry. Mail came in to-day with the letters from east, full compliment of papers and the guard which had been stationed in the line also came in together with those who had been in attendance at W.P. the result of the meeting having been to the effect that no more hostilities would be engaged in on either side by any responsible parties. The territory concluded to keep a standing army to guard the line from depridations of Hamilton, Brackett & Co’s banditti

9. W. Rainy – Expected to start the mill to-day but were unable to do anything on account of rain, very heavy after night

10. Th. Foggy in morning , heavy mist and then rain which continued all day with wind in N. W. all the while. Done nothing to day.

11. F. fair. Run the mill. Drawed rails to make a calf pen, having bot a cow & calf this morning

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12. S. fair – Sawing – I was engaged to-day in making cheap furniture. Drawing fire wood. Getting some hams and two hens with broods of chickens from Mr Cannon’s &c &c. rainlike this evening --

13. S. rainy last night and dull this morning – Been no mail since the rain of Wednesday, the creeks being so high, but I kept myself busy raking over books, papers, medicine &c putting them some where. Went up to claim in afternoon.

14. M. fair Was busy about mill a.m. To Smith-shop to get wagon top repaired p.m. ready for a start to Kansas City. Running the mill to-day Had a hand hired to draw material for stable and build a pen for cow and calf. Brot the cow and calf home this evening.

15. Tu. fair. Had the mill running to-day. I was engaged in making and repairing, fixing and unfixing about the house.

16. W. fair. Running the mill.

17 Th. “ “ untill noon. Started this morning for Kansas. Camped this evening on Pottowottomie, close by Ossawattamie. The streams are just fordable to-day

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June 1858

18. F. fair. Covered the creek in morning and stopped in Osawattamie untill 9 a.m. O’clock.

At Paola by noon. Encamped on prairie 3 or 4 miles from Squiresville, toward the river camp

19. S. rainy – very hard rain before we left camp in morning. Had to hold up several hours in consequence of rain and the high water in Indian Creek. Drove to Creek which was yet too high for fording and encamped in the edge of a nice thicket of young oaks.

20. S. fair. Drove on in morning to within a few miles of Westport where we stopped to let the stock feed on grass untill evening when we started onward again and encamped to-night on the wooded bottoms about Kansas City where we stopped with our team a year ago. The Santa Fe trains are loading now and the prairie is covered with their mules & oxen and corralled wagons. Our stock have now grass this evening and we are about to retire early expecting to be doing in the morning as soon as stores are

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open so that we may get away to-morrow in time to make the pasture before night.

21. M. fine and warm. Pitched into the trading as early as we could after coffee and got thro’ with all but the loading by 10 o’clck a.m. The Santa Fe wagons were so much in the way that we could’nt get to load all in before dinner time and were obliged to wait a long time after before we could finish the loading. We finally got off however and drove a little way past Westport before encamping.

22. Tu. fair. Drove to Big Blue in forenoon, and to some place this side in afternoon. Found the roads good with the exception of very deep and difficult mud holes to navigate.

23. W. fair. Drove untill near sunset when we stopped to feed stock and get some coffee. After dark we drove about ten miles & encamped for the night five miles N. of West point.

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June 1858

in afternoon. Came on when stopping for dinner and rain so much that when we arrived at the Marais des Cygnes it was so muddy we had to lay there the half of the afternoon and not over yet.

25. F. rain shower frequently. We were unable to get up the bank of the river on this so I went off and hired two yoke of cattle to pull us up off the boat. took all the forenoon clear up and cost us several dollars beside – we arrived in Mound City by six o’clock p.m. in a shower, found the Penn ians here they having left Kansas City on the day we arrived there.

26. S. some rain. Worked at home. Mill not running now.

27. S.

28. M. dull. Yet working about house. Some effort made to get mill in readiness to saw again will be ready to-morrow if it don’t rain &c

29. Tu. fair. Ed Gibbons & McGrw at work in mill Rest of us at home to work. Hired a hand to work for me this summer. Finished up the job of fitting in windows and

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of putting in glass which I have been working at these three or four days. Also of unpacking goods and hanging out to dry those that were wetted by the rains that occurred on our way from Kansas City.

30. W. fair. [Twining] and self working in mill

July Th. “ same as yesterday. Logs continue to come in but we are not fixed yet for giving all our time to mill and beside we want to get ready a little for the Great Celebration on Saturday next. So we stopped mill for the rest of week

N 2. F. fair. Hauling slabs and other stuff for stable roof. Finished putting it on and draw a load of wood for the barbecue to-morrow.

3. S. fair At the grounds early in morning and came back to get the fixaps on about nine o’clock. The coocking, and dressing of feminines kept us until near 2 o’clk p.m. Got there in time to see the forward ones eat dinner and had our dishes gathered to-gether again in time to start home after the meeting was over. Heard

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July 1858

part of one speech, while engaged in hunting up some knives and forks, could hear the tune but could not distinguish the words that was the amt of my percentage on the dividind of pleasure.

4. S. fair making some shelves for loose articles during the forenoon. In afternoon we hitch horses to wagon and went up to claim to see how matters were up there.

5. M. fair. Been very sultry now for a week with the exception of Saturday. The forenoon of that day was some cloudy and there was a cool breeze from E’ward. Running the mill, twining helping. I worked at house.

6. Tu. fair. Continues sultry. We went to grove in morning to cut some logs for joist for the mill. Mill idle a.m. I was in [words] all day. Had a very poor time getting logs, got only two to the mill.

7. W. fair. some cumuli. Very sultry yet Mur. 99º in shade. Running the mill. One of the hands sick. I took his place

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most of the time, chopping slabs and wheeling away saw dust, think I can do something else to more profit here after. The men who were digging our well came to rock at a depth of about fifteen feet, and as there was a plenty of water for the present, quitted the job at noon.

8. Th. cloudy morning. Running the mill. Twining and self in mill – stopped this evening for a thorough repairing of mill and rigging up of shingle machine --

9. F. fair a.m. very sultry. Twining not able to work, poisoned with p. ivy -- Working about the mill clearing away slabs and board piles &c untill the Kansas teams came in which was about noon. Engaged in unloading untill after dinner when we returned to mill again. Cloudy p.m. and strong indication of rain. At sunset there were clouds stretching from the south around east and to W. of N attended with a great deal of lightning. By nine o’clock it came on from some unknown direction, a very severe blow followed by rain [The Blow]

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July 1858

We expected that the house would be capsized but were agreeably disappointed. After the severity of the storm was over we crawled back to bed again and slept snugly untill morning.

10. S. cloudy all day. On looking around this morning we discovered that things had been blown about considerably. Some frames were moved on their foundations, fences thrown down and we heard also of a new house in Moneka being blown to pieces. It was without windows We put down a temporary floor in the mill and set the shingle machine up. Attended a town meeting toward evening.

11. S. fair. Was engaged all day in looking over mill accounts and making out a bill of what will be necessary for us to send for to Cincinati to accompany the flouring mill which we purpose ordering from that place.

12. M. fair most of the day, nice shower in afternoon. Engaged parties to cut and draw to mill a lot of logs, finished getting

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up the Shingle Machine. Some U. S. troops passed thro’ to-day on their way from Ft Scott to Ft Leavenworth.

13. Tu. fair. Made a wooden band wheel to go on the main shaft by which to run the jointer and

rigged up a belt to run the shingle [?] saw.

14. W. fair. sultry A meeting was held at Paris to-day; Ex Gov Stanton made speech, some others, most of folks from here about were in attendance. I did not go but worked to-day in getting a bit made to run the jointer.

15. Th. fair. sultry Sawed some shingles but did not make any headway at it. Think the saw is not filed rightly for hard wood. Had the wooden drum turned down and run the jointer.

16. F. fair. sultry Sawed some shingles, works a little better, but does not give satisfaction yet. The repairs in mill are going along very slowly, weather is too hot for working.

17. S. fair. sultry Tryed the machine again and made much better progress but failed make it go off in oak timber. what we have on hand is very tough, think that if we

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July 1858

have green walnut we can do a good business, tho’ I conclude that the teeth must be filed less phleming. Have them less phleming now that what they were used in pine. To the raising of Mr Ellis’ stable in Mound City p.m.

18. S. fair. very sultry. Too warm to do anything but go into the creek swimming. We explored apart of the pond about the ford, and tried a good deal to shoot fish. Accomplished but little in that line.

19. M. fair. no cooler. I fortunately got the saw in the right shape to-day for cutting and was able to run the machine right lively for several hours – as long as material to work on lasted and without being obliged to file up too. Feel dicidly pleased the apparatus & have no doubt any more, but that it will succeed in hard wood. Went fishing with a seine this evening. Had what is often termed “fisherman’s luck”

20. Tu. fair. Still at work fixing up mill. Put in the new pipe to conduct water from creek

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into reservoir. Have to blast the rock in digging a cut from the creek to saw-pit.

21. W. fair a.m. shower about noon and a heavy shower to the W.N.W. N & N.E. with a strong wind from the Southward. Got pretty well along with the mill to-day. think some of sawing out some flooring to-morrow. Cut some shingles in afternoon the saw took a notion to “run” and I was a good while running off the points of the overlong teeth and filing up again. Went off nice after the “rounding” heavy rain set in afternoon

22. Th. fair – not so sultry. Went to work with all the available hands belonging to the establishment at shingling the mill.

23 F. fair. Pleasant day. I was unwell this morning to took a party after blackberries, no better this evening after the trip. The [XXX] was started this afternoon.

24. S. fair. Have a touch of Quinsy and have been keeping pretty quiet all day. Mill running some and a town meeting was held p.m. at which, it is believed, several important items of business were passed upon.


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