[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

19 20

19 20

1742 1762

[blocks in formation]


running water. Dry bunch grass; cedars; no water. Good grass; timber; running water. Fine grass; large timber; springs.

running water.

[blocks in formation]



Published in the National Intelligencer (Washington), Nov. 7, 1853.

FORT MASSACHUSETTS (N. M.), Aug. 28, 1853. Hon. T. H. BENTON:

DEAR SIR: Knowing that you feel interested in the middle route for the great Pacific Railroad, and believing that any information in regard to it would be acceptable, no matter how humble the source from which it comes, I have determined to state what I know about it. This information is from travelling the route just behind Captain Gunnison. I left Virginia the first of April, went to Missouri and Illinois to purchase sheep for the California market. After purchasing, I started to take them by Salt Lake, the Humboldt River, &c., feeling assured that I would have to winter at Salt Lake. I had gotten the sheep as far as St. Joseph's, (Mo.) Having some business in St. Louis, I met with Captain Gunnison, and learned from him that there was a better route by way of Utah Lake, and that he was going to open it, and that, from what he knew about it, it would be much better for me to take it. After thinking a good deal over it, I determined to take it, as there was a very large number of stock on the old route, and a good prospect of getting to California this season. I read your address with a great deal of interest; and, feeling assured these staterients about the route could be relied on, I left Missouri at Westport, on the 18th of June, with a large number of sheep and some cows—Mr. Crockett, of Virginia, a partner with me. At Westport, I met with the two Mr. Ross's, of Iowa, with their families, going the old route; they also determined to accompany me the new route. After travelling a few days, I fell in with the two Mr. Burwells, of Franklin City, Virginia, with a

large number of cattle, who also were persuaded to join me. We travelled the Santa Fé road twenty-five miles above Fort Atkinson, keeping on the well-beaten track to thirty miles above Bent's Old Fort, and crossed the Arkansas River at the mouth of Apispah Creek, crossed over to the Huerfano, up that stream about twenty miles, and crossed the Sierra Blanca Mountains through Captain Gunnison's Pass, about twelve miles south of Leroux's Pass to this fort. The distance given by Captain Gunnison is 693 miles from Westport, Missouri.

I have travelled over the mountains of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, over several of the passes of the Sierra Nevada in California, and I have never seen a better or more easy Pass for carriages and wagons than the one found by Captain Gunnison, through the Sierra Blanca (Sangre de Cristo] just opposite to Fort Massachusetts, and distant from it fifteen miles. I travelled the old route to California in 1849, and can speak of the two routes from actual experience, having gone over both with wagons. I look upon this route as far superior, and feel confident that as soon as it is known it will and must be the great thoroughfare from the Atlantic to the Pacific. On this route, there is an abundance of grass and water, so much that stock will travel and keep fat; the large majority of our sheep are as fat as any mutton in the Philadelphia or Baltimore market, and a very large number of Mr. Burwell's cattle are fine beef; and I have never seen any stock, after having travelled so far, look half as well. Both of the Mr. Ross's have carriages, and as yet nothing has in the least given way. I can say without fear of contradiction that this is one of the finest natural roads in the world, combining everything necessary to sustain stock; and I am confident that, if its advantages are fully made known to Congress, it will be adopted for the great Pacific Railroad. On this line, almost the entire route can be settled; as all the land from Missouri to Bent's Fort is rich and very fertile, equal to the best lands of Missouri and Illinois, and no land can beat the Sierra Blanca [Sangre de Cristo ?] for grass; even to the very summit it stands as thick as the best meadows; many acres would mow at least four tons per acre. Then comes the large and beautiful valley of San Luis, said to be one of the most fertile in New Mexico; indeed, fine land is upon the whole route, and the climate such that stock

can live all winter


I will here state the route I think best for emigrants to travel: Leave Westport, Missouri, take the road to Uniontown, then to Fort Centre, then take Captain Gunnison's trail, which leads from the Kansas to the Arkansas, near the mouth of Walnut Creek, up the Arkansas above Bent's Old Fort, thirty-two miles; then up the Huerfano, through Captain Gunnison's Pass to Fort Massachusetts; then to Little Salt Lake, Walker's Pass, Sierra Nevada; then down the valley of the San Joaquin to Stockton or San Francisco. There are settlements at different points all along this route, where emigrants can get supplies, none farther apart than two hundred miles. After leaving Missouri, you pass first Council Grove, next the Fort on Walnut Creek, next Green Horn, next Fort Massachusetts, Little Salt Lake, Santa Clara, Vegas de Santa Clara; at each of these supplies can be had. I feel confident, when Captain Gunnison makes out his report, that this route will be adopted. The pass through the Sierra Blanca [Sangre de Cristo?] is so low and gradual that a railroad can be made over it, and the grade will not exceed fifty feet to the mile. Captain Gunnison is doing his whole duty, and well deserves the thanks of the whole country, for the very well laid out road through this almost unexplored country. I will write you again after getting through to California, and describe the rest of the way.

Yours respectfully,



Published in the Missouri Democrat.

Don FERNANDEZ DE Taos, New Mexico, October 22, 1853. EDITOR MISSOURI DEMOCRAT:

Having passed several years in the mountains and in this country, and having some knowledge of the same, I propose giving, through your valuable columns, to the emigrants, some information as regards the Central Route to California. During the last year, I have taken a drove of sheep from this place

to California, over the route Colonel Frémont intended to have gone in the winter of '48, '49, at the time of his disaster. I made the trip through to California in ninety days, arriving there with my sheep in good order, having passed through some of the finest country I ever saw, had good camps, and plenty of wood, water, and grass every night during the whole trip. This route is at least 450 miles nearer than the route by Fort Laramie and South Pass. I recommend to emigrants by all means to take this route in preference to any other. Start from Kansas or any town on the western frontier of Missouri, come up the north side of the Arkansas River to the mouth of the Huerfano River, about forty-five miles above Bent's Fort, up the Huerfano River to Roubideau's Pass, or the Pass El Sangre de Cristo, either of them, practicable for wagons, the ascent and descent being narrow valleys made by small mountain streams, and so gradual as to offer no obstruction to wagons. Both these passes lead into the valley of San Luis, one of the finest valleys in the world; follow up the valley to the Coochatope Pass, in the Grand River Mountain; down the Coochatope River, to the valleys of Grand and Green Rivers, until you strike the Great Spanish trail; then follow the trail to the Little Salt Lake and to the St. Clara Springs; at both of these places there are flourishing towns built by the Mormons, where emigrants can procure such things as they want at fair prices. I was offered flour at $250 per 100 pounds, and groceries at fair prices. From St. Clara Springs to San Francisco, by Walker's Pass, there is a good wagon-road, and settlements all the way. Captain Gunnison with his party left the Pass El Sangre de Cristo about the 16th August, and made the journey through to Green River in twenty-four days, with twenty wagons.

A few days behind Captain Gunnison was a party of emigrants, who had made up their minds to pass the winter at Salt Lake, in consequence of being so late in the season; after being informed of this route, they determined to try the road; the party was conducted by Captain McClanahan, of Virginia ; with the party was Colonel Ross and brother, from Iowa, with their families, with several other gentlemen. They had 2,000 sheep, and from 3 to 400 head of cattle. Mr. Leroux, the guide of Captain Gunnison, met the emigrants on his return to this place on Grand River, and reports that they were very much pleased

« 前へ次へ »