Elijah William Dragoo's Journal

The original of the following journal resides in Guilford, Connecticut with Stephen Brown and his wife, Nancy .  Elijah William Dragoo was my great grandfather on my father's side and Stephen's great grandfather on his mother's side.  He was born on January 24, 1842 and died on March 19, 1903.  Elijah was 22 years old in 1864 when he and five others left Auburn, Indiana, for Virginia City in the Idaho Territory (now Montana) to look for gold.  Fortunately, the journal was passed from Elijah to his son, Clyde, who in turn passed it on to Stephen's mother, Florence Dragoo Brown.

Elijah William DragooThe journal is very difficult to read with the naked eye.  Stephen's wife, Nancy, and I spent many hours transcribing the document with the help of a strong magnifying glass and an old computer.  Credit must be given also to Hannah--Stephen and Nancy 's daughter--for hand transcribing the beginning of the journal through the entry for April 21, 1864.  I have typed this portion of the journal just as it is written, misspelled words and all.  In the remainder of the journal I have attempted to make the entries more readable by correcting grammar, punctuation, and occasionally spelling.  Unfortunately, there are several entries with words which we could not read.

I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to read and transcribe for others the record Elijah William left of his journey to the Idaho Territory.  I hope that you will enjoy reading it and come away with a new understanding of and admiration for our ancestors.  

Donna Dragoo Barnickol

William Dragoo


February 22nd, 1864

We left Auburn Ind. & started for the land of Idaho.  We took train at Kendalville, passed through Chicago.  Crossed the Mississippi River at Fulton Ill. Went to Lin Co. Ioway.  Here we bought some cattle and a waggon & riged up generaly.  One of our Co. got sick and that circumstance delayed us until the 5th of April.  Then we all rolled out for the west in good earnest.  Our Co. Now No. Six Boys.  During the time we layed over nothing importance ocured.

    Remember me when this you see
    Though absent from your sight
    And I will do the same by you
    With pleasure and delight.


Tuesday, April 5th 1864

Our Company left Denisons Bottom in Linn Co. Ioway for the purpus of trying our fortune in the gold digins of Idaho.  The name of each of the Co. is as follows G. Mathews, Westly Denison, Colonel Morgan, Holms Link, Washington Link, & E. W. Dragoo.  About noon we bid adieu to the friends & the wagon rolled out.  The weather was fine & every-thing looked like the opening of Spring but we were disappointed in the weather afterwards.  We traveled about 12 miles & camped on the banks of a creek near the Cedar River for the first night.  This mode of traveling being something new to most of us we had quite a time pitching our tent and getting in order, but we soon got every-thing aranged to suit.  Got supper and some music on the voilin, and then retired for the night.


Wednesday April 6th 1864

Found us all well except slight colds we caught laying on the ground.  The weather being cold & windy.  To day we left camp early in the morning passed through Winton got some flour & blanket at the above named place.  Travled through the prairie all day.  Camped on Prairie Creek at night.  We got some prairie chickens.  The weather was so stormy that we did not have a very agreable time but we got a splendid supper & put the stove in the tent so we slept as snug as kittens.


Thursday April 7th 1864

Left the camp early.  Traveld over a very hilly country.  The weather being very fine quite the reverse of yesterday.  Crossed the river of Ioway passed through Costia.  This town is not a very thriving place.  It is an inland town & has no timber of any consequence around it.  Camped on the open prairie about four miles out from Costia.


Friday April 8th 1864

Left in the morning the weather being stormy.  Went about 5 miles when the rain began to fall in torrents & the wind came down over the prairie as if to sweep every-thing before it.  We drove down in the hills whare the wind could not halve such a fair sweep at us & pitched our tent.  Here we stayed that day.  It rained all day & night but we did not feel it much in our tent so we call'ed that Camp the hill Camp.


Saturday April 9th (10th) 1864

Left camp early.  The weather is fine to day.  Passed through Gernell (Grinnell).  This is quite a city.  The Iowa City Road runs to this place but is not finished any further than Gernell.  Here we stoped & cooked our dinners on the open prairie.  We travled 26 miles to day & camped on a small creek the name of it not known but we called it Washingtons Retreat on account of a little adventure one of the party had during the evening.  We shot some prairie chickens.


Saturday April 10th (9th) 1864

Still raining.  Broke away about noon & we started.  Crossed a long stretch of uncultivated land no settlement for 8 or 10 miles.  Got to Brooklin in the evening.  Camped on the north side of town.  This town is a very thriving town for a prairie country.  The Cedar Rapids Rail road runs through this place. Here we saw quite a no. of wagons bound for the gold mines.  Here we rote some letters.  Had a good place to camp.


Monday April 11th 1864

Weather is stormy & raining some but we are on the moove.  Come to Skunk River & campt till the storm was over.  Got our dinner & then moved.  Went about 10 miles & camped on a small creek called Squaw Creek.  We had a good place to camp.  There was plenty of timber on this creek & a very good sugar camp.  Here we shot some squirrels.  We halve had as much game as we wanted all the way.


Tuesday April 12th 1864

Left early.  Passed through a town called Newton, the County seat of Jasper County.  Newton is a large & thriving villige.  Found some bad roades between Newton & the South Skunk river.  Skunk River is about 50 paces wide at the point where we crossed.  The bottom for two miles is low ground & mud.  Stopped for dinner.  Trailed about 10 miles.  Camped for the night on a little Creek called Emagrants Creek.  Here we found a train camped of 10 wagons all from Ft. Wayne, Ind. but was not acquainted with them.


Wedesday April 13th 1864

Left camp early.  Thought we would make good time & get to Desmoins. Pass'ed through a town call'ed rising sun & I fell in with a drove of horse's & got to ride to Desmoins.  Found a place to camp by the time (the time) the boys come out there.  There is coal mines here.  We went in one of them about 20 rods the boys came up & we are camped here on the bottom close to the Desmoins.  Heare we laid over one day & To Nights.  Desmoins is the Capitol of the State of Iowa.  It is a fine thriving town.  We went over it the town is on both sides of the river.  The State house Brick with a flat roof.  The river is about 200 yards wide.


Saturday April 16th 1864

Left camp early.  Travled on the open prairie all day.  Pass'ed through a town call'ed WinterSett.  This is quite a town we saw a foot rose (race) & a good many fast folks.  Here we fell in with another party going our way so travled together.  Camp'ed for the night 7 miles out from WinterSett on the open prairie.  The weather being fine to day.  We halve plenty of room for a camp. Supper is over and the work is all done up.


Sunday April 17th 1864

Laid over at the camp on the prairie.  We call'ed this camp the 7 Miles Camp.  We changed clothes & occupied our time as best we could.  I got an old Rooster & we had one of the best Potpie golly O for Dinner.  Here I found some folks of Kendalville and I took supper with them.  The wind has been a perfect hericane all day.  We thought it would blow our tent to the four winds certain but we staked it down Extra & the wind fell about Sun Down.  So if it dont come up again to night I think we will find our selves here on the Prairie in the morning.  Another wagon was added to our little town to night.  So we will have quite a little army in the train in the morning.  Here we found plenty of hay & corn for our teams.


Monday April 18th 1864

Packed our traps & travled about 10 miles.  Found a good place to camp in the timber.  the wind blue a perfect little Minycane (?) so we concluded to lag over till the wind went down rather than run the risk of camping on the open prairie.  Here we found plenty of hay & corn for our cattle & plenty of squirrels.  We got 13 large fox squirrels & had a fine mess of game for supper.  We are on the banks of Middle River.


Tuesday April 20th (?) 1864

Left camp early.  Travled 14 miles.  Stoped for dinner on Elk River.  Kept on across the country.  Saw no house till about night.  Came to a Stage Office & camped for the night on the prairie.  Supper over we are all ready to go to bed.


Tuesday April 19th (?) 1864

Left camp early.  Cross'ed the river & struck across the priarie.  We could not see a bush or a swich or eaven a house for half a day.  Pass'ed through Green-field.  Stop-ed for dinner at the above named place.  Camp'ed for the night on a beautiful little creek call'ed Beck Creek.  The weather is very fine & warm to day so we have a good time.


Thursday April 21st 1864

Left camp & pass'ed over a large extent of broken & unsettled priarie.  Halted for dinner on the banks of a creek call'ed Elk Horn.  Here the wind blue a suden blast & fill'ed our dinner with sand but we scraped off the most of it & eat our dinner.  Pass'ed on saw no more settlement till we got to a Town call'ed Louis (Lewis).  This place is a small town situated on East North Botany River.  This Stream is 50 yards across.  Here we met some of our old friends from Lin Co. had a dance & had a gay time.  The boys had quite an adventure with two Rattle Snakes.  They found them on the priairie & had to take off their boots & kill them with the heel.  There not being a stick in many Miles Big Enough to kill a snake. 


Friday, April 22nd, l864

Here we laid in our flour, got a late start. halted for dinner on the prairie.  Cooked dinner on a stove, in the house (?) of an Indian, traveled 23 miles.  Camped for the night on west Bottony.  Here we found lots of immigrants camped for the nght.  This river is about 90 paces wide and the water is good and pure here.  It is just (?) miles to the bluffs.  The country is very hilly here, the weather is very warm and pleasant today but rather windy.


Saturday, April 23rd, 1864

Left camp rather late.  Passed over prairie, rather hilly.  Stoppd for dinner at a grove of timber we called Taylors Ranch.  Passed on and camped for the night on a beautiful creek on the prairie where we had good water.  But wood was scarce.  Got supper over and all ready to go to bed.  Here we had to stand guard all night.  Just 10 miles to the bluffs.  The weather is pleasant.


Sunday, April 24th, 1864

The weather is pleasant and finds us on our road.  About 2 o'clock we came in sight of the bluffs.  The bluffs is a large town situatd 4 miles back from the river.  Here we travel down a ravine for 2 miles where we could not see 100 yards any one way but up for the hills.  You will come right on the town before you see it. Then a grand scene presents itself to view.  Here is the bluffs towering almost as high as the sky.  You can climb one of them and before you rolls the broad waters of the Missouri.  On the opposite shore is Omaha City on the opposite shore in Nebraska Territory.  And behind you will see thousands of acres of prairie land unbroken by the farmers plow.


Monday, April 25th, 1864

We are camped at what is called California Hollow.  Here there is 300 wagons camped.  All bound for the same place as ourselves.  This is a grand place for camps.  You cannot see but up for the bluffs here.  Wood and water is scarce.  I climbed the bluffs and took a look around.  You can look as far as you please and see the rolling prairie on both sides of the river.  Omaha is the capital of Nebraska.  Here we all laying over for a few days to lay in our stock and rest and look around.  The boys are all writing letters and fixing for to start and I acting the cook generally.


Tuesday, April 26th, 1864

We are still in the hollow fitting out and fixing everything ready for a final start.  Nothing of any importance occurred today.  The weather is pleasant.  We are enjoying ourselves very well.


Wednesday, April 27th, 1864

Still in camp, weather fine, but feed scarce and no grass of any account.  Produce very high.


Thursday, April 28th, 1864

Bought our outfit, took the wagon down town and loaded it.  About noon we had a fire in our tent that came near resulting seriously but fortunately we got it put out before any serious damage was done.


Friday, April 29th, 1864

I wrote some letters and we are all ready for a start.  Last night it rained very hard and gave the grass a good start.


Saturday, April 30th, 1864

Left camp early.  Crossed over the Missouri River to Omaha.  Here we stopped for dinner.  Omaha is the capital of Nebraska Territory.  Omaha is a large thriving and a good traveling post.  We stopping and camped for the night on a creek.  Wood was scarce but other ways we had a good place to camp.  Here we paid for corn a $100 per bushel and hay a $150 per hundred.  The country here is very hilly with little or no timber for many miles.


Sunday, May 1st, 1864

We left camp early having 22 miles to go to find a good camping place.  Here we struck across the open prairie, the wind began to raise about noon and it blew a perfect hurricane (hericane) so we could hardly travel.  We came at last to Elk Horn City.  A few houses is all we found for a city.  Then it was one mile and a quarter to the Elk River.  This river is a beautiful stream about 50 yards and runs very swift whch I had a chance to try for the wind gave my cap a lift and it went down the river about half a mile before it came to either shore, but I recovered it.  At last the wagon drove down in the brush and had a fire lit by the time I got my cap out of the river. We soon got supper and felt much refreshed.


Monday, May 2nd, 1864

Found us all well but Holms, he is some sick, but nothing serious.  Here we concluded to lay over today.  The day was spent in fishing and hunting.  We shot a good lot of fish.  Fish seems to abound in great abundance in this river.  There is a tribe Pawnees here in the bottom but they show no signs of hostility.  They appear to subsist on fish and game and are very poorly dressed having only a buffalo or some other kind of skin wrapped around them.  The weather is fine but very windy.


Tuesday, May 3rd, 1864

We left.  Got up rather late, got ready and started.  Past Rawhide Creek and struck the plains.  Here we left the timber for certain.  We came to a ranch here and we took off our cattle and let them graze awhile.  Passed through Fremont, a small settlement with one or two stores in it.  Came on about 3 miles and camped in a small grove of cottonwoods.  Here we found the grass rather scarce and wood the same but plenty of water.  The weather is fine but awfully windy.  Distance 15 miles from the camp of the Pawnee.


Wednsday, May 4th, 1864

Got up late and traveled on.  Camped at North Platte. Here the Platte River strikes the road.  The river is one mile wide.  The weather is fine and warm.  Lots of Indians here.


Thursday, May 5th, 1864

Left camp late, stopped for dinner on Shell Creek.  Traveled to the (?) Mils House and camped for the night.  Here wood was scarce and water the same.


Friday, May 6th, 1864

Layed in camp, the weather being very rainy all day.  So we layed still for the day.  Nothing of any importance occurred.


Saturday, May 7th, 1864

Left about 8 o'clock.  Traveled 13 miles and passed through a small town called Columbus.  Went 1 mile further and camped at the Loop Fork (?).  Here we was camped to lay over until Sunday afternoon, there being about 400 teams at the ferry.  The river being about 400 yards wide at the ferry, we camped as close as we could get to the ferry, which was not very close.


Sunday, May 8th, 1864

Here for the first time in my life the Sabbath passed almost away without my knowing it was Sunday.  This ferry is a rope ferry and it lands the wagons about half way across the river, there only being deep water that far.  We had to roll our pants up and wade the rest of the way.  The teams had hard work to draw the load, the bottom being quicksand. If the wagon stopped five moments, the wheels would sink into the hubs.  But we pulled through and camped about 2 miles out on the open plains.  Good place to camp and weather fine.


Monday, May 9th, 1864

Here I discovered I left a hand trunk at Columbus and had to go across the ferry for it.  I caught up with the train before night, the weather being fine and warm.  We camped at Prairie Creek Ranch.  Here we had a chance to try our nerves holding our tent down all through the (?). The weather was fine and warm.

(Then) the sky was suddenly overcast with clouds and before we could think, the storm was upon us.  We all sprang to the tent and held with all our mights but the wind was too strong, it blew our tent to the ground and spilled our supper, overturning the stove and everything that was not tied down.  We made a corral of our wagons and staked them down and built our tent up again.  The storm raged with unabatted fury all through the night.


Tuesday, May 10th, 1864

We pass a restless night.  The storm of the previous day was at its highest all night.  It got more calm by morning, but it was extremely cold.  We could hardly get our breakfast.  We had to put on our overcoats and blankets, to boot.  And then we could hardly stand the extreme cold.  The ice froze on the (?) one fourth of an inch thick.  Camped on the banks of the Plot (Platte).  Here there is several islands in the river with beautiful cedar trees growing on them.  We had to wade over to the islands for wood.


Wednesday, May 11th, 1864

Left camp early, the weather being windy and cold.  We stopped for dinner and to graze our cattle.  Tramped on and stopped for the night at a ranch called Beavers Ranch.  Here we found plenty of water but grass rather scarce, a good place to camp.


Thursday, May 12th, 1864

Left camp early, part of us went hunting.  Here we saw what was to the most of us our first antelope.  There is an abundance of these animals on these hills.  To the north of the road we killed two of them.  The meat is the best kind, being superior to the deer of our timbered states.  Camped for the night at long island, good place to camp--plenty of wood and river water.


Friday, May 13th, 1864

We left early passed Llizugh Grand Island City.  This place is a post offce and one store.  Stopped for dinner on the road.  Camped for the night on the banks of the Platte.  Here we had plenty of wood and good camping.  The weather is very fine and warm.


Saturday, May 14th, 1864

Left camp early.  Here we saw some town of (?) prairie (rest of page is blank).


Sunday, May 15th, 1864

Layed over, washed our clothes and rested, having a good place to camp.  The day was spent in writing letters and so on. Weather fine and warm.


Monday, May 16th, 1864

Left camp early, traveled to the river opposite Fort Carney.  Here the river is two miles wide, it is fordable here at low water but difficult in high water.  Here there is a ranch on the north side of the river, Boyd and Company.  This is the last ranch between here and Fort Laramie.  Camped for the night on the Platte, good place to camp.  Some wood and river water plenty but muddy.  There is about 50 men and 12 wagons in the train.  The weather is fine and warm.


Tuesday, May 17th, 1864

Left camp early, passed by the grave of a murdered man killed by his own partner.  His name is A.R. Stuart.  The fray was caused on account of the wife of Stuart.  The murderer is under arrest.  The thing happened on the evening before we came up.  The inscription on the rude board that marked the last resting place of the murderd man ran as follows ... "A.  R. Stuart, killed by emigrant.  Husband of Mary Stuart, this 15th day of May, 1864." Passed Elm Creek, camped for the night on a deep creek but very little water and no wood, but some willow brush.  Weather fine and warm.


Wednesday, May 18th, 1864

Left camp early, I went hunting buffalo in the hills.  Did not get any.  Caught up with the train, crossed Buffalo Creek and camped for the night on Sand Creek.  Good place to camp.  Weather fine and warm.  Here we done some baking.


Thursday, May 19th, 1864

Left camp early and traveled 11 miles.  Stopped for dinner at some timber close by the river.  Left and went 7 miles.  Camped for the night on Willow Lake, grass and water plenty but had to burn willow brush for cooking, green at that.  Weather fine and warm, pretty place to camp.  Here there Is about 50 teams in the train.  We are all tired tonight.


Tuesday, May 24th, 1864

Left camp early, passed foot of Sandy Bluffs.  Passed some springs of cool water.  The day was extremely warm.  About three o'clock came to the bluffs again, here it took all our united strength of men and teams to get through. The wagon went in half-hub deep in the sand.  Camped for the night on a small creek, grass plenty but no wood, good water.


Wednesday, May 25th, 1864

Left camp late, saw a company of Sioux. Camped, stopped for dinner on Rattlesnake Creek.  Left and camped for the night on the banks of the Platte.  We are on the lookout for the Redskins.  Good place to camp, but no wood, grass and water plenty.


Thursday, May 26th, 1864

Left camp early, passed the Sandy Bluffs.  Had to double team.  Camped for the night on Watch Creek, here we are camped right among the Indians, 700 in number.  We are on our guard. The cattle got frightened at the Reds and stampeded. We got the horses and took after them and caught up with in about two miles, weather good.


Friday, May 27th, 1864

Left camp at daylight, traveled 6 miles, found good grass and stopped for breakfast.  Left and went 25 miles and camped for the night on the banks of the Platte.  Grass scarce, no wood but buffalo chips plenty.  Indians.  Weather fine and warm.


Saturday, May 28th, 1864

Left camp early, passed some huge bluffs.  Ascended the highest one of them and had a splendid view of the surrounding country.  Saw clearly back 30 miles distant.  Camped for the night on the river.  Indians plenty.  Wood out of the question, used buffalo chips for fuel.  Grass plenty, good place to camp.  All very tired, the day being extremely hot.  The buffalo nats (gnats) give us fits.


Sunday, May 29th, 1864

Left camp, traveled 12 miles.  Camped at noon on the banks of the Platte opposite Courthouse Rock.  Here we seceded from the train that we was with and joined another.  Layed over.  Boiled coffee with some weeds, had no wood.  Weather good.


Monday May 30th, 1864

Left camp early.  Halted for dinner opposite Chimbly (Chimney) Rock.  Traveled 19 miles further and camped for the night on the river.  Wood scarce, grass good, and good place to camp. Train numbers 45 wagons and 150 men.


Tuesday, May 31st, 1864

Left camp early.  Camped for dinner opposite Scotts Bluff.  Traveled 12 miles further, camped for the night on the bottom.  Raining hard and wind cold here.  We got some willow brush for fuel.  The bluffs look like ruins of old castles.  Forty miles from Laramie, Indians very plenty.


Wednesday, June 1st, 1864

Raining very hard.  Left camp late and traveled 12 miles.  Camped about 9 miles into the territory of Idaho. (?) miles from the Fort.  Still raining, we stayed here the rest of the day.  Grass good, some wood.


Thursday, June 2nd, 1864

Still raining hard.  Slacked up, left about 8 o'clock, passed some traders camped for the night near Rawhide Creek.  Here the land is sandy, grass scarce, but wood and water plenty. 100 of Indians. 19 miles from Fort Laramie, the timber is cottonwood but serves a much better purpose than chips.


Friday, June 3rd, 1864

Left early and traveled to the Fort.  Here there is a rope ferry across the Platte.  The Fort is a military post, very pretty place.  Garrisoned by Ohio troops.  Indians very near.  Went over to the Fort and got some letters.  Came up and camped for the night, bottom opposite.  There came up a very heavy rain storm for the night.


Saturday, June 4th, 1864 

Went over to the Fort again.  Came back and left camp about noon.  Traveled 10 miles, camped and layed over.  The weather being rainy.  Here we have summer and can see snow on Laramie Peak at the same time.  We are now in the Black Hills.


Sunday, June 5th, 1864

Layed over.  In the morning saw men come pell mell in the corral and reported Indians killing stock a mile down the river.  Guns and pistols was got ready for in a very SHORT TIME.  Some of the party went in search of the red devils. But failed to overtake them.  They got off with 17 head of horses and mules.  One of them they could not get and they shot it with an arrow. They seem to be determined to get the whole flock.


Monday, June 6th, 1864

Left camp early, traveled north, Black Hills, stopped for grub on the river at noon.  Went on and camped for the night in the hills.  No water, grass scarce, plenty of pine wood for fuel.  Weather very cold this time of year.


Tuesday, June 7th, 1864

Left camp early, had no breakfast on account of having no water.  The road being very mountainous we made slow progress.  Got some slough water, camped for the night in the hills, no water for stock, grass scarce but plenty of pine wood for fuel.  Weather warm through the day but cold at night.


Wednesday, June 8, 1864

Left camp early, traveled in the hills.  The weather being very warm we made slow progress.  Stopped for dinner on the bottom.  Camped for the night on a very pretty space of bottom land on the Platte. Grass good, as well as wood and water.  All very tired.


Thursday, June 8th, 1864

Left camp early.  Passed some very high peaks and ascended one of the highest.  Had a fine view of the surrounding country. Stopped for dinner on the banks of the river.  Camped for the night in a little valley.  Plenty of wood, water, and grass.  Good place to camp.


Friday, June 9th, 1864

Left camp early.  Camped for the night on the banks at a cottonwood grove.  Good place to camp.  Nothing of any importance occurred during the day.


Saturday, June 10th, 1864

Left camp early.  Went out hunting antelope.  Came to the road ahead of the train and waited.  Missed my dinner.  Train came up, went five miles, camped for the night at Deer Creek.  Here there is 40 soldiers on the other side of the river.  Here there is plenty of redskins.  Good place to camp.


Sunday, June 12th (sic), 1864 (from here the dates may be wrong)

Layed over.  The day was spent in washing and fishing.  The weather is very windy.  I spent the day in reading some novels which serve to while away the hours, which otherwise would have been very dull.  This a very beautiful place, high bluffs and deep ravines.


Monday, June 13th, 1864

Left camp early.  Stopped for dinner on the banks of the Platte, traveled 23 miles.  Camped for the night at the bridge over the Platte.  Here there are some soldiers at a post on the south side of the river.  Poor grass and no wood, use sage brush for fuel.  Indians plenty.


Tuesday, June 14th, 1864

Layed over.  The captain and some others went across some hills to hunt out a road as we intend to leave the main road at this point.  The weather being fine and warm.  The day was spent in various ways but lay dull on my hands. Night and the captain haint returned yet.  Here we can see plenty of snow on the mountains to the south, while it is very warm in the valley.


Wednesday, June 15th, 1864

Layed over again. Went about 3 miles and got some wood.  Cooked and baked.  We intend to leave the road in the morning.  The weather fine and warm all day but threatens a storm at night.  The day was generally spent by the boys in playing cards that being the first thing in order now.  Passed a train that had a battle with the Indians about 7 miles here but we haven't heard the results yet.


Thursday, June 16th, 1864

Left camp early, 20 rods above the Platte Bridge we left the road.  Corralled for dinner, in the hills there I killed an antelope.  Camped for the night on a creek that was very strong with alkali.  No wood but chaparral brush.


Friday, June 17th, 1864

Left camp early.  Came to some water before dinner, camped for the night on a dry fork of the Powder River. Here we had plenty of wood and tolerable good water and grass.


Saturday, June 18th, 1864

Left camp early.  Went down the fork.  Camped for dinner in a deep gulch.  Here the bluffs rise hundreds of feet and many deep caverns and ruins.  Camped for the night in a small valley.  Saw some grizzly bear tracks.  Here we have good water but use sage brush for fuel.  Camped early, we are all very tired tonight.


Sunday, June 19th, 1864

Left camp early.  Kept down the fork.  Camped for dinner in a hollow we called (?).  The day was very warm and pleasant, but all at once there came a blast of wind known only in the mountains, that skeered wash and he stampeeded for the bluffs and the rest of us clung to the wagon wheels, but it ceased almost as quick as it come, so that no other harm was done. Our tent blew down which we had pitched to keep off the hot sun.  Camped on the same fork for the night.  The water being very strong with alkali, we suffered some for water.


Monday, June 19th (?) 1864

Left camp in good time.  The captain gave orders for every man to be prepared for any sudden attack of the red skins-which we did but have not yet been molested.  Found an Indian dog with a noose over his head, the boys mistook him for a bear and shot some 20 balls through him.


Tuesday, June 20th, 1864

Left camp early.  Came to Powder River about 9 o'clock, crossed, stopped for dinner on the river.  Camped for the night on a stream of name unknown.  Wood, water and grass.


Wednesday, June 21st, 1864

Left camp early, traveled 18 miles.  Camped for the night on a small stream of pure water from the mountains.  During the day there was 10 antelope brought in, our boys brought in one so we have plenty of venison.


Thursday, June 22nd, 1864

Traveled 4 miles, corraled.  The captain gave orders for one man out of each mefs (mess) to go prospecting.  Then prepared two days rations and started up the mountain. We see lots of buffalo and bear, game here is very plenty.  Here there is good water and grass.  The boys have not yet returned.


Friday, June 23rd, 1864

Layed in the beautiful valley that we campted in the previous day. The day was spend in playing cards and hunting. The buffalo and bear is very plenty here.  The prospecting party has not yet returned.  The weather is fine and warm.


Saturday, June 24th, 1864 (changed "s" from correct to backwards)

Still laying over at the camp of the previous day.  Some of the prospecting party came back about noon.  They killed a bear and several buffalo and elk.  The day was spent by the boys generally in playing cards.  I took a trip up the mountain to see the country.  The mountains are a fine place for one to pay a visit.  The weather is fine and warm in valley, but plenty of snow on the mountains.


Sunday, June 25th, 1864

Left camp and traveled 5 miles.  Camped on a beautiful creek or rather river.  This river is about (?) feet wide and very clear and cold and abounds in fish.  Here we stayed all day.  Some of the boys went to the mountains to pass off the day but I stayed at camp and done some mending and washing.


Monday, June 26th, 1864

Left camp early bound for the Big Horn Mountains.  Traveled 20 miles today, stopped for dinner on a creek.  Here the water is very cold. It runs off the snow mountains.  Game of all kinds abound in this region.  We have plenty of bear meat and buffalo.  Today weather fine, camped in the hills, good spring water.


Tuesday, June 28th, (?) 1864

Left camp early, crossed Rosebud River about 9 o'clock.  This river is about 40 feet and (?) feet deep, runs very swift.  Corraled for dinner in a beautiful bottom.  Here we killed an antelope.  We count the antelope by the hundreds here.  The boys killed a buffalo, it came running close to the corral and the boys got some ponies and caught up with him and brought him to the ground.  We passed a beautiful lake today which I shall call "Love Lake". The country here affords beautiful scenery. The snow capped mountains to the south, while stretching away to the north a low range of hills, with here or there a creek or lake.  We are camped on a small creek, name unknown.


Wednesday, June 29th, 1864

Left camp early, came to Little Horn River, stoppd a while to look out a ford, here an accident occurred.  We had a battle with a huge grizzly bear.  He caught 2 of the men, one was slightly wounded.  The bear chased in with a second man and tore him very badly, he may recover.  After shooting 25 balls in him some of them while the struggle was going on, they finally killed him.  When he rolled off they took the man out from him.  We killed a large buffalo also which fought desperate.  But the boys being mounted on ponies, they had no difficulty in keeping out of his way.  Left after dinner.  Camped for the night on a creek in the hills.  Here we killed another huge grizzly but it did not get hold on any of us as the first one did.


Thursday, June 30th, 1864

Left camp early, stopped for dinner on a creek I called Elder Creek.  Saw a bear but did not kill him.  Camped for the night on a creek 2 miles east of the Big Horn River.  The weather is very cold, we had a severe hail storm this evening.


Friday, July 1st, 1864

Left camp, crossed Stink Water River.  This river is 50 yards wide. Here we found an Indian town that had been deserted on our approach.  Stopped for dinner on a fork of Stink Water.  Camped for the night on the same fork.  Near the Big Horn Mountain, some of the boys went for water and found a grizzly.  We took the guns and killed him, he was a very nice and fat animal but going on weighing about 700 pounds.


Saturday, July 2nd, 1864

Left camp, came 5 miles, corraled for the purpose of prospecting here.  We found a beautiful creek of cold water, plenty of wood.  We saw more than 50 buffalo, some of them running close by the corral.  The cattle did not know what to make of them.  Some of them ran after the herd but we got them back.  We are all ready to go to the mountains in the morning to prospecting.


Sunday, July 3rd, 1864

Layed still, it being Sunday.  We spent the day in jerking antelope and buffalo beef of which we have an abundance.  We see herds of buffalo go by the corral every day.  We are going over the mountain tomorrow, we will spend the 4th of July prospecting if nothing happens.  I will call this "Camp Buffalo".

July, 4th 1864, Monday

A company of 60 of us left camp for the Big Horn Mountain.  Got to based by noon.  Shot an elk, got dinner. Climbed up and got to the top by 4 o'clock. Here we found plenty of snow so we took a Balling Spree being as it was something new to find snow on the 4th of July.  We camped on a little prairie surrounded by pine and fir trees.  We shot another elk and deer. The wild beasts howled around all night but did not molest us.


Tuesday, July 5th, 1864

Traveled all day over crags and steep cliffs but found no prospects of gold.  Saw some grizzly and black bear.  Camped for the night in the pine timber.  Saw a mountain buffalo, shot him but did not get him.  Had a severe wind storm in the night.


Wednesday, July 6th, 1864

Left camp early.  Crossed gulch and snow capped mountain.  Kept down Boulder River.  Camped for dinner in the woods.  Shot some large elk in the evening.  Found some colors of gold in some quartz leed, but not good enough to pay.  Camped for the night on a river, one of the tributaries of Big Horn River.


Thursday, July 7th, 1864

Here the company parted, some for the corral and some of the company went on after winding around we at last got down in the valley.  About noon, got some grub and started for the camp, distance of 6 miles.  Shot a deer and got home and foot sore about 5 o'clock.  Rather glad to get home in as good condition as we did.


Friday, July 8th, 1864

Left the old camp, went 4 miles and waited for some of the prospectors that had not yet returned.  Got dinner and put out.  Camped for the night on a small creek.  Here we saw about 500 buffalo, killed 3 of them.  Had a severe hail storm today.


Saturday, July 9th, 1864

Left camp early.  Crossed several streams.  Killed 2 buffalo close to the train.  Camped for the night on a small creek.  Here we had a grizzly fight, we got 2 in some brush.  One of them came bounding out and caught the captains horse and threw him and the rider to the ground.  Seeming satisfied with the mischief he had done, he bounded back in the brush and got a dozen balls in his hide that soon killed him.  We killed 5 today.


Sunday night, July 10th, 1864

Left camp.  Traveled all day, had very hilly roads, nothing of any note occured today.  Camped for the night on a small creek 4 miles east of the Big Horn River.  Days very warm and nights very cold.  Here we have good water and plenty of wood and grass for the stock.


Monday, July 11th, 1864

Left camp early.  Traveled 6 miles, came to the Big Horn River.  This stream is 200 yards in width and about 5 feet deep, current very swift.  We corraled here for the rest of the day.  We can only cross the river in the morning, it raises in the day and falls in the night.  This is occasioned by the snow melting on the mountains.  We went prospecting and found gold but not in sufficient quantities to pay.


Tuesday, July 12th, 1864

Commenced crossing the river early.  Corraled on the opposite shore and stayed till after dinner.  The river was difficult to cross, the current being very swift.  Many of us was washed down and had to swim out. We at last got over.  Then the captain told all that did not want to prospect here to go on Virginia City.  So 22 wagons of the train took the road to the city and 70 wagons of us, including ours, volunteered to stay by the captain and give the Big Horn a thorough prospecting.  We moved 5 miles up the river and camped for the night on the banks.  This is a beautiful place to the south, the mountains rear their loft heads far up and the river comes foaming and gushing down.


Wednesday, July 13th, 1864

Sent out a party of prospectors on horseback to stay 4 days.  We spent our time at the corral, lonesome enough.  The weather being very hot, we catch many fish.  The rest of the boys put all day in playing cards as that is their favorite pastime.


Friday, July 15th, 1864

Got up early.  Went about 5 miles up the river to gather berries.  Killed a deer and found plenty of berries.  Got back to camp at 2 o'clock.  Weather very warm here, there comes up a storm every evening and threatens a rain, but never rains in the summer.  We are all very restless lying around dull camp.  Time hangs heavy on my hands having no news of any kind as we have not heard from the states for a month.


Saturday, July 16th, 1864

Still at the old camp.  The time begins to hang heavy on our hands, the boys not having yet returned.  We fish and spend our time as best we can.  Caught an Indian dog.  Put my name on some of the cliffs.  Nothing of any note happened.  The scenery here is beautiful, high cliffs and deep.


Big Horn Mountain, July 17th, 1864

This being Sunday, it is a very lonely day.  I spent the day in reading and occasionally thinking of the folks at home.  The boys spent theirs in playing cards.  The party of prospectors came in this evening and did not find the gold in paying (quantity).  We will probably leave our old (camp) for Galatine or Virginia City tomorrow.


Monday, July 18th, 1864

Left camp early, bound for Galatin City.  Camped for dinner on small creek in afternoon.  We traveled over broken and barren lands, passed several soda springs, found scarcely any water and what we did was so mixed with soda that we could hardly use it.  Camped for the night on a flat after a long day's tramp of about 25 miles.  The water very poor.


Tuesday, July 19th, 1864

Left camp early.  Camped for dinner at a large spring.  Traveled 7 miles, camped for night on "Nespearces" (Nez Perce Indians?) fork river.  Here we found plenty wood and good water, good place to camp.  Here some of our mess went on to overtake a squad of our company that had gone ahead.


Wednesday, July 20th, 1864

Here we was already for breakfast and the first we knew we was attacked by body of about 30 redskins all mounted.  This being our first fight, we managed to drive them off without any killed on our side.  Everything was hurry blurry.  The Indians got 10 head of mules and horses.  Only one of the Reds got shot off his pony but his comrades helped him on again and we did not have the pleasure of taking his scalp.  Our men mounted and went in pursuit of them but failed to overtake them.  They came back a little while ago. The loss of the mules is quite heavy.  I was after the Redskins but did not get a fair shot which spited me for I wanted to kill one of them anyway.


Thursday, July 21st, 1864

Left camp early.  Got to the Low Stone River at noon.  We saw some hilly roads, got dinner at the river.  Camped for the night in the hills about 10 o'clock.  Traveled late in hopes of finding water but had to camp without wood, water, or grass.  We went supperless.


Friday, July 22nd, 1864

Left camp early, went 3 miles, corraled and got breakfast.  Got dinner on a fork we will call Clarks Fork.  Good water and grass.  Camped at night on the same fork, this fork, is about 100 yards wide at the fork but only 2 (or 9) feet deep.  The weather is exceeding warm rather warmer than it is in the states.


Saturday, July 23rd, 1864

Left early, had good roads.  Struck Bridges route.  Camped for dinner on a fork of the Yellow Stone.  Broke a wagon down and had a corral for the night and camped.  Here we saw 2 Indians. They came riding past us, they was friendly but I think we ought to have shot them for they are all as trecherous as the devil.


Sunday, July 24, 1864

Left camp early.  Crossed a small creek.  Camped for dinner on the same creek.  Traveled over very hilly roads, came to a fork, crossed and camped for the night on the last fork of the Yellow Stone river.  Here the river is 42 yards wide and very swift and about 3 feet deep.  We are close to the Snow Mountains.  We can see snow while the weather in the valley is extremely warm.


Monday, July 25th, 1864

Left camp early.  Crossed the river and it proves a mistake, about those forks, the main river being Yellow Stone.  The name is unknown to me.  Camped for dinner on the west side of a swift river about 50 yards wide.  There Capt. Bridger passed us on his road to home.  He had 30 freight teams and lots of the boys on the stampede for the states.  We met one of our old acquaintence that left home the same time we did but nothing daunted by the bad news, we are on the road to Virginia City.  Camped tonight on a spring 10 miles from the yellow Stone river.  Good water and grass.


July 26th, 1864, Tuesday

Left camp early.  Traveled 10 miles, got to the main river, the yellow stone about 3 o'clock.  Camped and stayed overnight.  This river is 150 yards wide.  Killed some game.  Nothing of any note occured today.  Weather cool and looks like rain but did not here.  It never rains this time of year.


Wednesday, July 27th

Left, crossed the river.  Kept up the valley.  Camped for dinner on another fork of the yellow Stone.  Traveled 22 miles, camped for the night on the other main fork of the river.  Here we are between two snow capped mountains.  Good grass and wood and water.  The scenery here is splendid, weather cool.  We have summer weather in valley and not 8 miles distant we have plenty of snow the year round.  To the left of us is the Wind River range mountains and on the right is the Little Horn range of mountains.


Thursday, July 28th, 1864

Left camp.  Came 6 miles to the main fork of the yellow stone.  Here we found a company of men building a flat boat to go home in.  Some four of our train got discouraged and homesick and went back with the crew.  Camped for the night on the same river 8 miles further up, good place to camp.  100 miles to Virginia City.  This stream is 200 yards wide.


Friday, July 29th, 1864

The train layed over but 5 of us went on, having got tired of laying over all summer.  Went 7 or 8 miles.  Heard a rumor that diggings had been found 30 miles up the river and that teams had also gone in so we followed after them.  Found them and camped by the river.  Sent out 10 men ahead to learn the truth.  We will remain here until the boys come back.  Indians are thick here.


Saturday, July 30th, 1864

yellow Stone mountain.  Moved 2 miles further up the canyon.  Here we corraled with part of the old train.  The scenery here presents a subject fit for a painter.  The rocks on either rises hundred of feet high while here in the valley there is a thick growth of tall trees with a luxuriant growth of grass for the cattle, while the river and springs afford us abundance of good cold water.  Indians are plenty but appear friendly.  Prospects pretty good.


Sunday, July 31, 1864

Still laying over in the gulch watching for our men to come in now and report that all (is) right and our claims all ready staked off.  I suppose we will move the trains up in the morning if nothing happens.


Monday, August 1st, 1864 

Still at camp.  The cattle got stampeeded and the day was spent in bringing them back.  I found some of them 8 miles from camp after swimming the river, I got back about 5 o'clock. Some of our boys came back and report halving staked off claims for us but I don't think we'll ever work them for the boys say they won't pay.  So in the morning we will make another move for some place.  The weather is fine but the future prospects look rather uncertain.


Tuesday, August 2nd, 1864

Got up our teams and went four miles down the valley to get good grass for the stock.  Our boys all came back today and they have determined to go to the City.  Our boys came back very weak having run out of grub they had nothing to eat for two days but they are alright now, a good supper set them alright again.  The weather is fine and pleasant.


Wednesday, August 3rd, 1864

I concluded that I had prospected about long enough and the rest of our mess being in favor of following Captain Hulbert to Prickly Pear Mines.  I packed up my traps and concluded to go to Virginia City.  I got in with another team but did not leave till the next day.  Killed some antelope and got a good supper, the last one we expect to eat together very soon.


Thursday, August 4th, 1864

Got breakfast quite early and I left the boys all well and started for the City.  Our wagon traveled fast so we made good time.  Camped for dinner on a small creek, killed an antelope.  The country here is mountainous and covered with pine and cedar trees.  Crossed two creeks.  Camped for (on) the second one.  Here we killed another antelope.  Here there is a ranch started for a stage station.


Friday, August 5th, 1864

Left camp early. Traveled ten miles, came to Galatin River.  This is a large and swift stream.  Camped for dinner on the west side of the river, went 12 miles.  Camped for the night on a creek, the first water we found since leaving the river.  Weather fine and warm but cool nights.


Saturday, August 6th, 1864

Traveled three miles, came to Madison Fork.  This fork is about 100 yards wide but not deep here.  We stopped for dinner, crossed and went 5 miles.  Camped for the night at an old log cabin in the hills.  The first house that we seen in over 2 months.  Weather fine and warm.


Sunday, August 7th, 1864

Left camp early.  Passed some ranches, camped for dinner at Cold Springs.  Camped for the night on Meadow Creek.  Good water, wood scarce here, it looks more like civilization. They have a house and vegetables growing in the garden.  This is the first thing that looks like living that we have seen this summer.


Monday, August 8th, 1864

Left camp early.  Crossed some very hilly country.  Camped for the night one mile and a half from Virginia City.  Good water but no grass.


Tuesday, August 9, 1864

Left early.  Went down to the City.  Camped on the outskirts of the town.  We looked round, found several of my old acquaintances.  Had a big time, stayed overnight with them.


Wednesday, August 10, 1864

I and some of the boys went up the gulch to pine grove.  Here I met Bill Carr and Billy Mc (?).  Concluded to stay with them a day or two.


Thursday, August 11th, 1864

Got a job.  Put up a shanty of pine boughs and got to mining.


Friday, August 12th, 1864

Worked all day.


Saturday, August 13th, 1864



Sunday, August 14th, 1864

I and Bill Carr and Bill Mc (?) went down to Virginia.  Got my traps (luggage, etc.)  Packed them up to pine grove and I went to looking for myself that being the cheapest way of bording.

List of prices of goods - 1864 at Virginia City, August 10th

75 butter retail and wholsale 70
20 flour per pound            18
60 bacon per pound           55
40 beans per pound           35
18 beef per pound            --
60 cents coffee per pound    --
2.00 tea per pound            --
75 honey per pound
2.00 molasses per gallon
60 potatoes per pound
40 onions per pound


September 10, 1864  

Salt Lake Apples green

2.00 per dz.

12 and a half cents potatoes

25 cents flour


September 19th, 1864  

Had a fine snow, begin to think of building a house.  Clothing about the same as in the states.


September 21st, 1864

Weather gloomy and raining some.  I have a very sore hand that keeps me from work.  Bil Mc (?) has gone to the Yellow Stone River.  Prices of vegetables are much lower than at the time I arrived here.

Potatoes 10 cents    Turnips 8 cents

Cabbage 35 cents per pound.

New diggings reported on the Yellow Stone.


September 24th, 1864, Saturday

Weather fine.  We had no mail from home since leaving Fort Laramie.  My hand is getting better.  Mc(?) has not yet returned.


September 25th, 1864

Pine Grove Mt. Montana


November 17, 1864

Snow fell to the depth of 20 inches.  Work played out for the present.


November 18th, 1864

Set in the house all day the snow being so deep we could not get round to amount to anything.


November 19th, 1864 Montana Territory

16 (?) Flour per hundred

10 potatoes per hundred

1.25 butter per pound

10.25 onions per pound

70 sugar per pound

20 cents for apples, 20 cents for one

(?) molasses per gallon


November 20th, 1864

Weather fine but snow deep.


Christmas Day 1864

Cold day and one of the dullest days I ever spent.


January 1, 1865 - New Years Day

Dull day to me.


Left Helena City    August 6th

Left Benton on the 13th of August

Passed Fort Hully (?) 17th of August

Passed Union 25th (?)

Passed Fort Butler   August 29th

Got to Fort Rice on 30th of August

Got on board a steamer at Fort Rice

Passed Fort (?)     September 1

Passed Fort R(K)a September 2

Passed Junction City, capitol of Dakota, September 5th, 1865

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