« 前へ次へ »
the Osage and Neosho. From Fort Atkinson, our course was up the left bank of the Arkansas, as far as the River Huerfano, which joins the Arkansas about forty-five miles above Bent's Fort; thence up the Huerfano to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and through them to Fort Massachusetts on Utah Creek, in the north of New Mexico. After leaving Fort Massachusetts, we were to proceed up the valley of San Luis, lying between the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Sierra Mojada on the east, the Sierras Blanca and Sahwatch on the north, and the Sierra de San Juan on the west. Up this valley to the Sahwatch Valley, through the Coochatope Pass in the Sahwatch Mountains, and down the River Uncompagre to the Grand River Fork of the Great Colorado, in Utah Territory. Thence across the River Avonkaria and the Green River Fork of the Colorado, through the Wahsatch Mountains to the Mormon settlements near Little Salt Lake and the Vegas de Santa Clara. From this point we would travel on the old Spanish trail leading from A biquiú, across the desert, to the River Mohaveh, where we intended to leave it, and enter into the Tulare Valley in California, through Walker's Pass, in the Sierra Nevada.
We left Washington on the 20th of April, and arrived at St. Louis the 2d, Kanzas the 5th, and Westport the 6th of May.
Westport is a thriving place, situated four miles from Kan. zas; and emigrants from Missouri to California and Oregon make either this place or Independence their starting-point. At both towns all necessary supplies can be obtained at reasonable rates, and their merchants and mechanics being constantly required to supply the wants of travellers on the plains, keep on hand such articles as are best adapted for an overland journey. Kanzas, a newer place, is also thriving, and a fine riverlanding. At Westport, I had the pleasure of meeting with a very courteous gentleman, Count Cypriani, ex-governor of Leghorn. He was preparing for an expedition to California, via Fort Laramie, the South Pass, Great Salt Lake, and Carson's Valley. His party consisted of eleven persons of education and science, and an escort of mountain men; and his outfit was in every respect well appointed and complete. If the observations of this accomplished gentleman should be given to the public, they will be a valuable addition to the scanty knowledge we possess of the interior of our country. He has had much experience as a traveller, having already visited the greater portion of both the continents of the western hemisphere, as well as those of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
JOURNEY FROM WESTPORT TO THE RIVER HUERFAVO.
OUR party was composed of twelve persons, viz:-
May 10, 1853. The train started from Westport in the afternoon, with directions to proceed to Council Grove, and await our arrival there. Mr. Beale accompanied it a few miles into the prairie, and returned after dark.
With a view to making a rapid trip, we had dispensed with everything that was not absolutely necessary for our wants; and our outfit, therefore, was of the simplest description.
May 15. All our arrangements being completed, we started from Westport at 3 P.M. A party of ladies and gentlemen accompanied us a few miles into the prairie, and drank a “stirrup cup” of champagne to the success of our journey. The weather was bright and clear, and, after a pleasant ride of twelve miles over prairies enamelled with flowers, we encamped at thirty minutes after six P. M. on Indian Creek, a tributary of the Kanzas, fringed with a thick growth of cottonwoods and willows. Day's march, 12 miles.
May 16. Moved camp at 5 A.M. The morning was cloudy. George Simms, who superintended the culinary department, procured milk from a neighboring Caw Indian's hut, which, with dried buffalo tongue, enabled us to make a hearty breakfast. An excellent and well-beaten road, as broad and smooth as a turnpike, led us through a green rolling prairie. Although we saw many prairie hens and plovers, we were too impatient to overtake our train to waste time in shooting them. Arrived at 9 hours 30 min. A. M. at Bull Creek, twenty-three miles, where we found two log-huts, good water and grass, and some cottonwood and willow trees.
After a short rest, we continued on to Garfish Camp, twentytwo miles, over a rolling prairie, covered with rich herbagebut noticed little timber. Passed many water-holes. The weather was cool, with a pleasant southerly wind. Around our encampment the grass was knee-high, but no wood was found nearer than half a mile; a few dry bushes, eked out with “ buffalo chips," sufficed to prepare our supper. The Santa Fe mail stage was stopping here when we arrived, and proceeded on its way to Independence shortly after. Day's march, 45 miles; total distance from Westport, 57 miles.
May 17. The morning was ushered in with the wind from the southward, ladened with heavy clouds, and accompanied by occasional showers of rain. Mr. Beale went in search of a mule; which had drawn her picket-pins in the night, and taken the " back track” towards Westport; but, after a ride of seven miles he was compelled to relinquish the pursuit. Numerous prairie wolves surrounded the camp all night. Arrived at "One Hundred and Ten" at 45 minutes after 10 A. M. The wind veered to southeast, still accompanied by rain, and the weather was cold and unpleasant. “One Hundred and Ten" is so named from its being at that distance from Fort Leavenworth. This hamlet is composed of a few log-houses situated in a hollow, near a small stream shaded by cottonwoods. The inhabitants are Shawnees, but at this time nearly all the men were absent; the women appeared neat and respectable. Prairie hens and plovers were numerous; but we were still too near the settlements for nobler game. Continued our route at 1 P. M.; the road still led over a beautiful rolling country, the grass good, and occasional pools of water. At 4 P. M. encamped at Dragoon Creek, after a ride of twelve miles. It is a small brook, well shaded by cottonwoods and oaks, and grass grows luxuriantly on its banks. A few Caw Indians at this place came into our camp hoping to exchange horses with us, and were quite disappointed at our refusal to trade. They were fine-looking men, well proportioned, and athletic. The chief, whose portrait I offered to sketch, seemed delighted with the idea, and hastened to his camp for his rifle, which he was more anxious to have correctly represented than himself. He presented us a paper with a very complacent air, evidently think. ing that it contained strong recommendations of his tribe, and himself in particular. It was written by some mischievous emigrant, who advised all travellers to beware of this great chief, who was none other than a great rascal, and great beggar. We did not undeceive him as to its contents, and he left us, seeming perfectly satisfied with the impression he had created. Day's travel, 35 miles; distance from Westport, 92 miles.
May 18. We had a severe thunder and rain storm, which lasted all night; the wind blew strong from the southward, and the lightning was incessant and vivid. One of those balls of fire which sometimes descend to the earth during violent thunderstorms, fell and exploded in our midst. The mules, already terrified by the constant peals of thunder, became frantic with fear; and when this vivid light was seen, accompanied with a report like the crack of a rifle, neither picket-pins nor hobbles could hold them; they rushed through the camp overturning everything in their course—their ropes and halters lashing right and left, and increasing their panic. They were stopped by an elbow of the creek, where they were found a few minutes after, huddled together, and quivering with fear. It was fortunate for us that they did not take to the open prairie, as we would have had much difficulty in recovering them. This was our first experience in a stampede, and to prevent a recurrence of such accidents we after this placed the animals in the centre, and, dividing our party into twos and threes, slept in a circle around them. By using such precautions we were never subjected to this annoyance again, except once, after entering the country of the Utahs. At dawn, the wind veered to the westward, and blew very cold. Before sunrise, we resumed our journey, and in twelve miles crossed a fine clear stream, and in