Philip Condit Trail Diary of 1854
Background of the Condit family
taken from "Book Of Remembrance"
by Steeves p.286-289
Abstract of (Remembrance by Mary Condit, Turner, Oregon 1927)
"..........Among those of the Presbyterian faith coming to Oregon in the early days was the Rev. Phillip Condit, of Ohio. Sylvanus, a son of Rev. Phillip Condit, had come to Oregon in 1851, driving an ox team across the plains for Hiram Smith...... During this journey he had learned many things about the camping places, how to manage for fuel and knew something about how to treat the Indians to get best results.
Sylvanus took the western journey in search of health. Fever and augue, so prevalent in Ohio at that time, had afflicted him so seriously that a change of climate seemed the only cure in sight. An uncle, Alva Condit St., had already gone to Oregon and had settled on the Clatsop plains. This location is now midway between Warrenton and Seaside, in Clatsop county, on the main highway. This uncle had sent back word that they were free of this scourge in Oregon
Sylvanus said that the very day their caravan arrived in the village of Portland, or where Portland is today, he had one of the worst chills he had ever experienced and was so discouraged over this that had he been possessed with sufficient funds for the return trip, he would have started back to Ohio right away, he was so homesick and disappointed. Hoever, he went down the Columbia river to visit his uncle Alva and in a short time he felt much better and again went to Portland, where he worked as a carpenter for two years, and in 1853 returned to Ohio, a well man. By this time he was so enthusiastic over the beauties of the Willamette Valley and its health-giving climate, that he readily induced his father and brothers to join the western exodus. His mother's health was very poor and it was in hopes of her complete recovery that the decision was made.
In the early spring of 1854 we find Rev. Phillip Condit, his wife, with their two eldest sons, already married, four minor children and an adopted daughter, Nancy, and three young, unmarried hired men to attend to their stock, headed for the Oregon country.
This small company was comprised of only fourteen souls, and must have set out with great faith, in the face of experiences suffered by others. Sabbath observance was one of the cardinal tenets of the Presbyterian church, and as the three Condit families were all of one "persuasion", they made it a rule not to travel on Sunday but would rest by the way and listen to the Rev. Phillip expound on the scriptures best suited to their needs.
Always before starting out in the early morning, these faithful men and women had family worship. The record says that only a very few Sundays did they break this rule and that was to find food and water for themselves and their animals. In their case, "virtue seemed to have its reward," for they had no trouble with the Indians whatever. Many came to their camp, but these good folk had laid in a goodly supply of trinkets and a present of a little tobacco or a few beads seemed to satisfy the redskins and they were not molested. The only ill that befell the party was the death of the adopted daughter, Nancy, of camp fever and the loss of the stock as they wore out along the way.
Because of his previous experience, Sylvanus was chosen captain of this little company, and they finally arrived in Marion county and made a settlement near Aumsville, where the father and his two sons took of land adjoining.
Just as they crossed over the Cascade mountains, provisions ran low, so one of the younger boys was sent on ahead for food supplies. The only thing he could get was a sack of potatoes and a little salt. For some time the stock of potatoes they had laid in before starting west had been consumed and they said these potatoes tasted the best of anything they had eaten for a long time.
So many of their oxen had died along the way that by the time they arrived at Aumsville the only team Sylvanus had was one horse and a cow, but these were industrious, sturdy folk, and it was but a short time until a home was built for each family and stock was accumulated. Their farms yielded well and in time these families were considered among the most prosperous in Marion county. When houses were built for the three families, shelter for stock and the farms had been put in shape to produce crops, these good folk began to consider a house of worship, where those of the Presbyterian faith could meet together. Up to this time there was but one church of that denomination in the territory, and that was organized and a little church building erected on Clatsop plains, near Warrenton, Oregon, by Alva Condit, a brother of Phillip, who had come to Oregon at an earlier date.
The first action upon the part of Rev. Phillip and his two sons was to organize a church of nine charter members. The names on this register are: Mrs. Nancy Condit, Cyrenius Condit and his wife Rebecca, Sylvanus Condit and his wife Sarah, Samuel Condit, Mrs. Pira Rudolph, Mrs. Alcy Neal and Mrs. Elizabeth Thomas.
Rev. Phillip Condit was assisted in the launching of this church by the Rev. J.A. Hanna, in September 1856, and died two months afterward. They called the church Pleasant Grove. His sons took up the work started by the father and with their own hands helped in the construction of the building, every board of which was planed by hand and the furniture all handmade." [Rev. Phillip Condit died November 21, 1856 and is buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery.] See Emigration of 1854 for listing of Condit family
The following diary abstract was printed in the Forest Grove News-Times in July and August 1959 in honor of the Oregon statehood centennial. The newspaper article was donated by L. Jane Gray of Gleneden Beach, OR
Forest Grove News-Times, July 30, 1959 p. 5
"Oregon Pioneer's Journal Tells of Trip To Oregon-- (Editor's Note: In the July 16 issue of the News-times, two letters belonging to the C.C. Condit family and written by a great-great-uncle in 1853 and 1854 were published. The letters concerned his planned trip to Oregon. This week we are printing the first of four installments taken from the journal of Philip Condit as he and his family crossed the plains on their way to the then far off land of Oregon.)
Across the Plains--
We left our home in Wood county, Ohio, on the 19th of March, 1854--with all our families, 3 wagons, 1 buggy and 5 horses. We crossed the Maumee at Miltonville, for which we paid for the whole train one dollar. The roads were very bad and our loads heavy so we had to buy another team and lighten our loads so that we got along better. When we got to Illinois, we found the road better, the land being sandy and rolling, which enabled us to travel at a fair rate. We crossed the Mississippi at Rock Island into Iowa, from thence to Iowa City, Fort Des Moines and Council Bluffs. At the fort we sold part of our horses and put our oxen which we had bought, to our four wagons. At Council Bluffs we made an estimate of the distance we had traveled and found it about 900 miles. Here we rested a few days and laid in our stock of provisions for the journey and bought some more cattle and another horse. Then we heard some frightful stories of the Indians killing emigrants and driving off their cattle, etc., some of which stories we found to be true, which made us more cautious and watchful. Accordingly we armed ourselves with such weapons as we thought necessary and passed over the Missouri on the afternoon of the 5th of May, and here two young men from Ohio joined us, which formed a train of 14 persons, 4 wagons drawn by 34 oxen, 1 buggy drawn by 2 horses, 36 hear of loose cattle and 5 horses. We paid from 65 to 100 dollars for cows, so you see we paid high prices. We camped the first night on Mosquito Creek, about 5 miles from Kanesville. Here we found grass plenty but the cattle were very restless on account of some cows from which we had taken their calves that morning. They were continually wanting to go back, which kept some of the boys running nearly all night, but no Indians troubled us at this place. We found they were plenty and very bold but they did us no harm.
Saturday, May 6th All up early, rested well and in the enjoyment of good health. The sun rose in great splendor over the eastern hills and seemed to call on us all to praise God for all his wonderful works. Breakfast was now ready and after asking the blessing of God on our food, we all partook of it as cheerfully and with as good an appetite as ever we did on a good table at home. Then we hitched up and marched in a western direction over green hills and valleys about 10 miles to a very deep slough, where we grazed, watered and dined on a cold chunk of bread, meat, milk, butter, and dried fruit. Then we went about 3 miles farther to Papoose Creek, which was the only water we could reach that night. So we pitched our tents and drove our cattle into a natural enclosure formed by deep and almost impassable gulf, ate our supper and committed ourselves by prayer to the care of our Heavenly Father. We retired to rest and were soon wrapped in slumber and were not disturbed by anything except an occasional fowl, or dog like bark of the prairie wolf, which was rather amusing on account of the novelty of it.
Sabbath, May 7th Rested all the day, only what time we spent in looking after our animals and after commending ourselves into the hands of God, we retired to rest and were only disturbed by thunder without rain. Thus passed the first Sabbath on the plains.
Monday, May 8th All well and refreshed with our Sabbath's rest and ready to proceed on our journey with pleasure. Morning cool and windy, but very pleasant. Started early and traveled about 14 miles to the ferry on Elkhorn river, where we paid 2 dollars a wagon to get over. Then went up a small creek about 4 miles and camped on Fish Lake, where the boy's caught some nice pickerel which made a nice dish for breakfast next morning.
Tuesday, May 9th Ate our breakfast and were soon ready to march. Morning cool. Wind rose very high and blew the sand in our eyes so that we could scarcely see, which made it uncomfortable. However, we marched about 8 miles and came to the Platte river at a place called Liberty Hill. Here we rested and grazed our stock an hour or so and joined another company who were very much alarmed about the Indians. We then passed several other small lakes and went about 10 miles and camped at a pond about 1-2 miles from the road, which we called Eagle Lake because the boys caught a young gray eagle, which excited our curiousity very much, having never seen the like before. Traveled about 18 miles today.
Wednesday, May 10th Left Eagle Lake at 1-2 past 7 with various conjectures in our minds with regard to a singular kind of noise we all heard the night before resembling the bleating of sheep. Some of us thought it was the bleating of sheep that had been left near the road. Some that it was a wild animal and other that it was Indians bawling like a calf in distress in order to attract our cattle and cause them to run away from us so that they could get them. In fact, all our cattle were very uneasy all night and kept our boys constantly running to keep them together, but they were all right when we drove them in the morning. As to the noise, I think it was a young calf that had been left by some train as this is often done on the plains. Traveled about 5 miles to the north bend of the Platte and 8 from that to Shell Creek bridge and a very poor thing of the name. Then one mile up the creek to a very good camping ground, only wood was very scarce. At the bridge, we saw the Indian agent drive some cattle out of a drove that had been stolen or taken up by the Indians. Here we enjoyed a peaceful night, as no Indians came to trouble us.
Thursday, May 11th All up early, but as we were getting ready to start we saw 8 Indians coming toward us. We felt a little shy of them but we did not let them know that we had any fear of them. They came up and bid us how-do-you-do in a very friendly manner and begged for this thing and that and almost everything they saw they wanted and as we were about ready to start, in order to get clear of them as easily as possible, we told them there was a calf that they might have if they would catch it as we wanted if off the cow at any rate. Then the sport began. The entire number started after it and such another scampering I suppose it's scarcely ever seen. Their blankets, moccasins and nearly everything else about them flew in every direction till they were nearly naked. Then, midst shouts from the train, they succeeded in getting the calf from the train and keeping it away till we were of of sight of them. However, they had shot several arrows into it and it still ran with them sticking in it, we were sorry that we had not taken one of our rifles and shot it for them. We, however, saw no more of them, but we heard afterwards that they caught it and went to another train of emigrants and borrowed a camp kettle and boiled it and had a feast on it. This day we traveled over a very nice, dry road to a watering place on the Platte and after watering the train we went on about 7 miles to a little lake where we had plenty of wood and water. That night it rained a little, but not enough to annoy us.
Friday, May 12th The morning being still rainy, we were compelled to stay in camp till near noon, when we started and went 6 miles to the ferry on Loop Fork of the Platte. Here we had to pay two dollars per wagon and 50 cents for 2 horses to cross over. Then went 2 miles up the fork to a camping place, where we had but little grass. Here we saw the skull and horns of a buffalo which were the first we had seen and they caused no little excitement in camp. From the wrinkles on the horns, it appeared to have been upwards of 20 years of age. After this, however, they became very common.
Saturday, May 13th No little excitement prevailed this morning on account of a little calf that came into our drove during the night and which was nearly starved, so I told one of the boys to shoot it and put it out of misery. Here we parted from the company that we had joined for the reason that it was harder and more tedious to travel in a large train then to go by ourselves. So we parted all in good humor. Passed over 16 miles of rolling prairie today where wood and water were very scarce, then went 2 miles to the place where the road comes to the river. Here we pitched our tent for the night. The grass was very short on account of the recent fires, yet not withstanding the scarcity of it we determined to spend the Sabbath here, believing that in keeping of God's commandments there is great reward, and after arranging things for the night, we went to rest about 9 o'clock.
Sabbath, May 14th Rose early and found our horses and cattle all safe. And we all gave thanks to God for his goodness to us, his unworthy creatures and also makes us think of the thousands who will meet in the house of God for prayer and praise and to hear his joyful tidings of salvation while we are spending our Sabbath on heathen ground hundreds of miles distant from any house erected to the worship of God. Today we had a meeting of the whole company and organized ourselves into a Bible class and social prayer meeting with the hope that uder the blessing of God it may be useful to ourselves and others though they may be far away from us and in this exercise we found great delight for even here in this desert we find that we can be admitted to a throne of grace through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Monday, May 15th The dogs made some fuss in the night, which made us more watchful. Morning cold and cloudy. All eager to go on and no one thinks of turning back. Traveled 16 miles today over bluffs and rolling prairies, part of which is fit for nothing but the habitation of wild beasts, while other parts are good. In the afternoon came to another point on the Loop Fork where we pitched our tents. Water good, but fuel and grass scarce.
Tuesday, May 16th This day it stormed and rained so hard that the water was driven into all our bedrooms, so much that it made us think seriously of our old homes. All, however, were enabled to be, or at least appeared to be, cheerful, as it was hard to tell under such circumstances what feelings anyone had in his heart, for it seemed unanimous resolution of each one of that company to say nothing that would render the rest unhappy, therefore, all appeared to be cheerful and even more merry than if it had been clear and pleasant. We remained in camp until 9 1-2 o'clock, when it ceased to rain and we started, but it soon commenced to rain again and we only made 5 miles to another point on the Loop Fork where we could get wood. It was a good camping place, so we stopped to dry our clothing after the rain ceased.
Wednesday, May 17th All up early and well rested and thankful to our Heavenly Father for the many comforts we enjoy at his hand. As we were starting we saw a wolf which generally comes to the camp to get any bits of meat that may be left and (as) a single one is not considered dangerous, we left him unmolested. We traveled 18 miles today over a very poor sandy country that appears to be fit for nothing as not even the grasses common in this part of the country appear to grow here and in evening reached a good camping ground at Duck Lake, where we had plenty of grass, some water, but very little wood. All the water between Loop Fork and the main Platte is highly impregnated with alkali. The mail carrier camped with us this evening and afforded us an opportunity to send back letters to our friends, which we cheerfully embraced.
Thursday, May 18th Started early and after going 4 miles came to a small creek suitable for camping but no wood. We then went 7 miles to the crossing of Prairie Creek which has very steep banks. After some time we got across and went 4 miles to another point on the same creek where there was a good camping ground with plenty of wood and water. During this day Mrs. Condit and myself became so tired and impatient of the journey that we both had the horrors pretty bad, but when evening came the young folks seemed to be so happy that we partly forgot our troubles and recovered the balance of mind we had so nearly lost. During the day we crossed some very bad sloughs which detained us considerably.
Friday, May 19th During last night we were considerably annoyed with the wolves howling around our camp, but as they did us no harm, we did the same with them. Traveled 18 miles today and camped 2 miles above the bridge on Wood river. The road has been very good all day, except one slough which in crossing we broke a singletree. At the river we found a blacksmith who charged us one dollar a shoe for driving. James Donahue, one of our company, was very sick today but our medicine chest being examined we found a remedy that by the next morning set him all right and able to go again. (continued next week)"
Forest Grove News-Times, August 6, 1959 p.5
"Pioneers Battle Wind and Rain, River, Indians to Cross Plains--
Saturday, May 20th This morning it rained a little but soon cleared off and we had a fine day. Left camp at 8 o'clock. Traveled 20 miles over one of the most beautiful and extensive prairies I ever saw and in the evening reached the main Platte where we found good grass for our stock, but the water is very muddy, but not unpleasant except the alkali with which it is impregnated. Saw several wolves, antelope, and elk today, but at a distance. Our camp was in a beautiful, green valley near the bank of the river where we made preparation for the Sabbath, after which we went to bed and slept soundly till morning except when the wolves would howl loud enough to annoy us, but this was becoming so common that we did not mind it much.
Sabbath, May 21st All in good health, some herding the cattle, the rest in tent or wagon reading their books and refreshing their minds with useful knowledge and resting their weary bodies. Even here in this lonely place we can enjoy a season of rest. All apparently enjoyed ourselves well in the Bible class and social exercise of God's worship.
Monday, May 22nd This morning looked very much like rain, but cleared off soon. Started and traveled 20 miles over a very bad road full of chuck holes to Elm Creek, thence to Buffalo Creek where we camped. Here we found some wood and good water.
Tuesday, May 23rd Started early this morning and traveled up the creek 12 miles to the crossing, then 13 miles without any water to Willow Lake. Went into camp about dark. All very tired and nearly ready to wish ourselves back again with civilization. From here to Buffalo Creek we found no good water.
Wednesday, May 24th On our route today we passed Deep Creek which by the way is nothing but a dry creek, except in very wet weather. In the afternoon we passed a new made grave where a Mr. Wilson had been buried a few days before. Advanced about 14 miles today and camped near the river opposite Deer Island where some of the boys shot at some deer but did not get any.
Thursday, May 25th Morning fine and all gave thanks to our God for his preserving us through the night and reviving our drooping spirits and preserving our health. Traveled 15 miles today to the crossing of Skunk Creek, where we again went into camp and all are in high glee gathering buffalo chips for the first time to cook our supper with, but they are better than nothing at all.
Friday, May 26th Morning set in rainy, but still our spirits flagged not, but started towards the setting sun. After going 6 or 7 miles we came to a spring which boiled up out of the ground like a great, seething cauldron, clear, crystal and cold, from which we filled our vessels with good water, which is a rare thing as all the water is highly impregnated with alkali. We made 21 miles today over a broken country and in the evening went into camp on the banks of the Platte. Here we found the grave of a man that had been shot, but for what we never learned.
Saturday, May 27th Still rainy, but not enough to make us stay in camp. Soon after starting we passed a company stuck fast in Black Mud Creek. We go across with great difficulty and passed several other companies that had experienced the same difficulty we had in crossing this, the worst of all sloughs since we started on our journey. This day we went about ten miles and then went into camp and made preparation for the Sabbath, washing and baking and such like.
Sabbath, May 28th Rained nearly all day, but not very hard. Held our usual Sabbath exercises, Bible class and prayer meeting. Still some of our company were very down hearted, seeing everything wet and no wood to dry them.
Monday, May 29th Rainy, which caused us to stay in camp till 11 a.m., when it cleared off and at 1 p.m. we started and crossed North Bluff Creek, then over the bluffs and camped west of them on the river.
Tuesday, May 30th Traveled about 20 miles today over a very rough country cut up by streams though small yet difficult to cross which made it wearisome to travel, but still we pressed on and camped that evening on a small creek where the grass was good but wood scarce. Still we made the best of our situation and tried to be cheerful.
Wednesday, May 31st Traveled all day over a wet, level prairie and stopped on Camp Creek, making 15 miles. Found plenty of grass here for our cattle. A man by the name of Roice joined us today with two yoke of oxen and one of cows. For several days we had not been troubled with wolves, but here they swarmed around us, make the night hideous with their howls. Still they passed around us at a respectable distance and did not offer to attack any of the stock.
Thursday, June 1st This day we traveled 22 miles having crossed numerous streams, some small and some large and also the hardest sandy bluff we have yet tried and camped on the bank of the Platte.
Friday, June 2nd Traveled 20 miles today over a prairie country. Did not cross any streams, but found several good watering places on the river. The road was very sandy, which made it heavy traveling. It also made me a good deal homesick, but had no disposition to turn back. Went into camp on the bank of the river where we found good grazing ground for the stock which is a great blessing.
Saturday, June 3rd Today we traveled 22 miles, having passed ancient ruins, or, as some call them, Ruins Bluff, which present to the eye of the beholder something very much like the ruins of ancient towers, fortifications, battlements, etc. Then we went up the river and camped in sight of McFarland's Castle and Chimney Rock, which are truly objects of curiosity to the weary traveler while crossing over some of these long stretches of prairie.
Sabbath, June 4th Rested today and attended with pleasure and, I trust, with profit, to our religious exercises. But Roice, who had joined our company a few days before, left us, thinking he had not time to rest on the Sabbath. So we bid him goodby, but still not with a glad heart, as we though he was violating one of God's commands.
Monday, June 5th Traveled 25 miles today over a very good road when we again came to the Platte opposite the far famed Chimney Rock. It stands on the south side of the river about 2 miles from it and though we were so far away, we had a tolerably clear view of it by the aid of a good glass and it did not seem to us to be very wonderful. It presents to the eye of the beholder a curious form, but it is only a mass of granite, thrown up without much regularity. Still it serves to attract the attention of the weary traveler and diverts his mind from more melancholy subjects.
Tuesday, June 6th Traveled 22 miles today, having passed a cluster of bluffs south of the river which had the appearance of very ancient ruins, but upon examination we could find nothing that the hand of man had done and we had to look to nature and to nature's God to solve the mystery of their formation.
Wednesday, June 7th Rained a little this morning but we moved out of camp and made 11 miles over a very rough road. At noon we were very much alarmed at one of the children going off without leave and, as there was a band of Indians roving about, it caused us to move on in haste, but we found her all right on the side of the road gathering posies.
Thursday, June 8th Last night we had a very hard squall of wind which tried our tents, but they stood up against the shock and we received no harm. This day we traveled over a very rough, sandy road and camped on the west side of Rawhide Creek. This day has been cold enough for October. We also found plenty of wood here, which is the first for over two weeks, or about 200 miles.
Friday, June 9th Today we reached Fort Laramie where we mailed a number of letters to our friends in the east. Here we also found a large village of Indians. Then we passed on 3 miles up the Platte and stuck our stakes on as pretty a flat of land as can be found in this region, hemmed in by high bluffs on the west. The road today was very sandy and very heavy to travel on.
Saturday, June 10th Entered the Black Hills this morning and after going 7 or 8 miles we came to a cold spring and then about 8 miles farther we came to the river, but finding no grass, we filled our vessels with water and went back among the bluffs where we found grass and a dry camping ground. This day one of our boys was taken sick with the fever, but a timely application of calomel and pills relieved him.
Sunday, June 11th Our sick boy is better this morning and for want of water for our stock, we were compelled to go about 8 miles when we came to some springs of good water but no grass. So we went about 5 miles farther to little Spring Creek, where we went into camp making about 13 miles of a Sabbath day's journey.
Monday, June 12th Left Spring Creek and went 16 miles up the river and went into camp where we had not much grass. This day we heard there were 500 Indians stationed on the road to compel emigrants to pay toll for passing a certain point. We judged, however, that it was for the purpose of inducing us to cross at their ferry and our judgment proved to be correct, for the Indians we found to be peaceable and permitted us to pass through without doing any harm. However, that night we set a double guard, but were not disturbed.
Tuesday, June 13th All in tolerable health, except some of the children who have a slight attack of the diarrhea. No Indians harmed us today. Morning cool and cloudy. Made about 16 miles today and camped on a small creek 2 miles above Deep Bluff Creek. Thundered and rained very hard this evening, which made us a little melancholy. Saw a great many Indians today, but they all seemed to be perfectly peaceable and friendly.
Wednesday, June 14th Two of our children sick this morning, but not so bad as to stop us from going forward. Gave them some medicine which broke the fever. We had a hard thunder and hail storm today and as we came to the foot of the last of the Black Hills, we came to the bed of a stream which was nearly dry when the first of the train approached it, but on looking up the stream, we saw the water rushing down in a torrent as if a mill dam had broke loose. And before the last of the train was over it was nearly impassable.
Thursday, June 15th Last night it rained and hailed very hard, but this morning is pleasant. Crossed several small streams in going 5 miles. At the last one we found a large cottonwood canoe. We pitched our tent here and the canoe being split up, we soon had a fire to dry our clothes and cook and bake. Here we found a young gopher, the first we have seen and a little kind of squirrel which is different from any we have seen.
Friday, June 16th Our sick ones better. Morning cool but pleasant. All rested and in better spirit than we were yesterday. Traveled 20 miles over a rough road and camped at a small creek near the river. Road crowded with men and cattle today.
Saturday, June 17th This morning we started early being well rested and our sick ones being better. Road full of trains, but we passed a great many of them as we were not so much encumbered as they were. We made about 20 miles and went into camp on the bluffs above the ford near McKenzie's. We were all tired and willing to rest over the Sabbath.
Sabbath, June 18th Our sick all better and disposed to rest. Attended to Bible class and prayer meeting with interest and I think, profit to our needy souls. Rained a little today. From our camp we can see snow on the mountains south of the river.
Monday, June 19th All well and thankful to our Heavenly Father for all his benefits bestowed on us. Day very cold and some rain. Passed some very rugged hills today and went 7 miles to the last watering place on the Platte, where we dined, and then bid farewell to that river and hope never to see it again. Then passed 15 miles over a very pleasant road. Passed the Rocky Avenue and Alkali Swamp and camped near Willow Springs.
Tuesday, June 20th This day we crossed over Parapet Hill where a small stream was to the left of the road called Grease Creek. Then passed Alkali Swamp and on to Sweetwater river near to Independence Rock where we found good grass and water. In all 20 miles.
Wednesday, June 21th Left camp at an early hour to see Independence Rock, which is something of a curiousity to Emigrants as it is separated from the mountains by the river on the north side. And here are thousands of names of emigrants who have visited it with the dates of the time they passed this way. And 5 miles up the stream we passed the Devil's Gate, a much more curious object to the weary traveler. This is an opening through the mountains through which the river flows with perpendicular rock on each side. Said to be 700 feet high, still I think it is exaggerated. Then we passed several small streams and one spring near the Gate and made about 18 miles today.
Thursday, June 22nd Travled about 14 miles today over and sandy road and camped near where the road leaves the river.
Forest Grove New-Times, August 13, 1959 p.5
Oxen Die Along Trail, Other Hazards Arise--
Friday, June 23rd Left camp at 8 a.m. and moved up the river 6 miles to the ford and then crossed it twice within a miles among the rocky bluffs where we had to raise our wagon beds to keep them dry. Then we went on, passing several curious rocky bluffs of various descriptions and camped near the 4th ford on Sweetwater, having traveled about 15 miles today.
Saturday, June 24th Traveled 6 miles to Ice Spring or Swamp, where it is said that ice can be had almost at any time, but we could not find any. We then passed over 11 miles of good road to the 5th ford on Sweetwater and tired and willing to rest.
Sabbath, June 25th Spent this day as usual. Day very windy and a little rain. Our tent was blown down, but we soon had it all right. One of our family a little sick.
Monday, June 26th All well rested, the sick better. Traveled 12 miles and camped near where the road leaves the river.
Tuesday, June 27th Traveled today about 20 miles, first crossing a small creek and lake, then over a pleasant road passing Strawberry Creek, 2 or 3 spring creeks, Sweetwater Creek and Willow Creek and pitched our tent near the 6th ford of the Sweetwater.
Wednesday, June 28th Morning clear and cold. Crossed the last ford of Sweetwater river. I sold a lame ox for 12 dollars. We then went 7 miles to Twin Mountains, so called because they stand, as it were, isolated from the rest and the road passes between them. Here we encountered a heavy gale of wind which raised a heavy cloud of sand and dust such as we had not seen before. Then about 3 miles more brought us to the summit of the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains. This pass is not remarkable for anything except its gentle and easy ascent and descent. The road is perfectly good on both sides. Then in 3 miles more we came to the crossing of the Pacific Creek; so called because it runs west into the Pacific ocean. Here one of the boys brought us a snowball, which was to all of us quite a curiosity on the 28th of June. Here the air seems to be perfectly dry and cold enough to wear mittens and overcoats. Traveled 15 miles today and camped 2 miles below the ford on a dry sandbank. Here we found a little grass, but we had to drive our stock into a swamp to get it.
Thursday, June 29th Day cool and pleasant for our teams. Traveled 9 miles to Dry Sandy. Water bad for stock. Then we passed 6 miles to the junction of the Oregon and California roads. Then over good roads to Little Sandy, and down the stream 2 miles where we camped on a barren sand ridge with little grass, but plenty of wood and water. Made about 25 miles today.
Friday, June 30th Left camp at Little Sandy and went 5 miles to the ford of Big Sandy and then over a hilly road to a small creek, making 22 or 23 miles. Day cool and windy.
Saturday, July 1st Traveled 22 miles today without water and part of the way over alkali roads and camped late at night between or near the middle ferry on Green river. No grass to be found.
Sabbath, July 2nd We left camp early for want of grass. Crossed the river. Paid 25 dollars for ferrying our wagons and swam our stock and wend down the river about 3/4th of a mile and camped, having performed what we thought a sufficiently long journey for the day. Witnessed a great amount of profanity today at the ferry. O that men would learn to fear the Lord and depart from evil.
Monday, July 3rd Shod several cattle this morning. Left camp at 11 o'clock and traveled up the river 15 miles and camped on a small creek in the bluffs above where we struck it.
Tuesday, July 4th Traveled about 15 miles today and camped at an early hour on Mr. Freedom, where the boys killed a sagehen, which with a variety of other good things constituted our 4th of July supper. Even here in Deserette the principles of Freedom begin to be enjoyed. Excellent water and grass.
Wednesday, July 5th Day cool and pleasant. Traveled......... and camped in a beautiful valley near a spring run where the grass was good and wood and grass plenty.
Thursday, July 6th Traveled 4 miles to Hines fork of Bear river and then up the end of the backbone to the top, where we had an ox to die at noon and then about 8 miles over a good road to Summit Spring where we found good grass, so we went into camp.
Friday, July 7th Passed Fir Grove, a long and steep mountain, to Muddy Creek, then 1 mile up a steep hill to a good spring on the summit, then over the rocks down into the valley of Bear river and camped west of a good spring run. All tired and disconsolate, having made about 13 miles today.
Saturday, July 8th Traveled 3 miles to Smith's fork of Bear river where we paid $1.50 per wagon for crossing a bridge and thence 10 miles down to the bend of the river and the 3 miles to a fine spring creek where we put up for the Sabbath, all weary and tired and willing to rest.
Sabbath, July 9th Ice frozen in camp this and the two preceeding mornings. Day pleasant but the horseflies very bad here. We enjoyed our Bible class and social exercises very well.
Monday, July 10th We traveled 20 miles today over some very hilly road and camped on Telluk fork where we had good feed for stock. Flies very bad today.
Tuesday, July 11th Traveled 22 miles today over an excellent road, crossing 6 or 8 beautiful spring runs which afforded us abundance of the best water. One of our oxen took sick today.
Wednesday, July 12th Day pleasant. We traveled 8 miles to a small creek and dined. And 2 miles more brought us to a soda spring which boils out of the banks of Bear river at the edge of a cedar grove. This, with a number of curious springs in the neighborhood, is an object worthy of attention, especially to scientific travelers. A little farther on you will find the far famed Steamboat Spring which is also a curiosity. It, however, will probably soon be lost, for its alternate ebbings and flowings are not so powerful as when first discovered by Emigrant. I observed some other places where, no doubt to my mind, there had been similar springs, but had ceased to flow. I might also state that there seemed to be a curious formation of crust over the surface of the earth and as you ride or walk over it, a deep hollow sound is produced as if you might break through at every step.
Thursday, July 13th Left camp on Bear river and went down 2 miles to the junction of.............former down the river. We took the Grasshopper Valley where we witnessed one of the most remarkable flights of grasshoppers we ever saw or read of. The day was warm and the wind blew moderately but steadily from the Southwest and for about 15 or 20 minutes there seemed to be a perfect cloud of them all going with the wind and in a few minutes after there was scarcely any to be seen. It seemed as if with one consent they had all moved off in a body. Today we found a remarkable arched cave which some call the Devil's Bake Oven. Passed Broom Springs (another cluster of soda springs) and a little further on we found a cluster of springsof excellent pure water. Made 21 miles today and camped near the bluffs 2 or 3 miles west of Grasshopper Creek.
Friday, July 14th Went 7 miles to a ford and bridge on Portner's Creek. Crossed at the ford, went 2 miles more to a spring at the foot of the bluffs where we dined and then crossing several excellent spring runs, up 7 miles bottom, over the summit, then 8 miles to Best Springs. Here we camped for the night on the headwaters of the Columbia.
Saturday, July 15th Traveled down the foot of the mountains on the left, crossing several remarkable spring runs to Row Creek and a remarkable gap where the creek passes through the mountains 7 miles and then down the creek 8 miles to a little flat between the creek and the road and went into camp for the Sabbath. Wood, water and grass plenty.
Sabbath, July 16th Day pleasant and we enjoyed it well only for one of our oxen which had been sick for several days and still getting worse every day.
Monday, July 17th Our ox died this morning and as we moved our of camp we became more sensible of our dependence on God. Rained a little this morning, but not enough to lay the dust. Traveled 22 miles today; viz, 2 to fork of road, 11 to Fort Neaffbridge, and 9 across the bluffs and camped on the bluffs near the river. Here we found plenty of mosquitoes.
Tuesday, July 18th Another ox nearly died so that we had to leave him and go on. We went on 3 miles to Prairie Creek and left another ox dead of alkali, and passed on 10 miles and camped at a spring near to Snake River Valley.
Wednesday, July 19th Traveled down the river 5 miles to the American Falls and 12 miles to Rocky Pass and 1 mile to camp near Black Bluffs. Saw some things today that were very interesting to us.
Thursday, July 20th Left another ox dead. The Lord seems to be taking our oxen very fast to feed his fowls on, but he has right to them, therefore we will not complain. Passed Stony and Fall Creeks and camped on Raft river. Part of the road was stony and rough. Made 17 miles today.
Friday, July 21st Left Raft river at 7 1/2 a.m. and traveled 19 miles over sand, sage and stones, without water till we came to Swamp Creek where we found good water and plenty of grass, but not much wood.
Saturday, July 22nd Traveled 8 miles down Swamp Creek to its crossing and then in 6 miles more the road strikes the river and then 9 miles more to Goose Creek where we found water but no grass. It was all eaten off close.
Sabbath, July 23rd We thought we could not stay here on account of feed for our stock. Therefore we hitched up and went 7 miles over sand and sage to the river, thence down the river over hills and rocks 5 miles to Horseshoe Bend. A long Sabbath's day journey, but we could not help.
Monday, July 24th Started early, left the Bend and the last watering place on this part of the river and went 9 miles over a tolerable road to Crooked Creek and 11 miles over a good road to camp on Snake River. Grass and water plenty.
Tuesday, July 25th Went 10 miles down the river to ford it and then 7 miles more brought us to our camp on a high bank where we had to drive our animals down a very steep bank into the ditch for grass.
Wednesday, July 26th Drove 8 miles over sage and sand, to a steep watering place on Snake River and then over heavy sand roads to a watering place in the valley, but not much grass.
Thursday, July 27th Traveled 3 miles to the mouth of a small creek and then 3 miles to Salmon Falls Creek, then 2 miles farther down and went into camp opposite the great Shoshone Falls, or falling springs. Here some of us near wishing we had not gone down to see them.
Friday, July 28th Drove down the river to Salmon Falls where we watered and then 16 miles over the White Hills without water to a bend in Snake river where we camped. But little grass.
Saturday, July 29th Traveled 11 miles over a dry, sandy road to Logchain Valley. A very good place to water here. Some of our folks found a very good spring. Then 4 miles farther to the old ford on Snake river. Here we found good grass.
Sabbath, July 30th A very pleasant day and we all rested and enjoyed, I hope.....the Bible class and prayer meeting.
Monday, July 31st Drove over rocks and along the side of bluffs down to a bend in river where we found grass in abundance, where we went into camp at 3 p.m. There are several camping places in the distance. Made 12 miles.
Tuesday, August 1 Traveled down the river touching it in several places. Left another ox dead at noon today and camped early near an Indian Island when some Indians came to us, but all peaceable. Made 12 miles today.
Wednesday, August 2 Traveled 18 miles across the bluffs of Catherine or Sunflower Creek. Here we found plenty of Indians, but they were all peaceable and friendly, wanting to trade fish and ponies, etc. Here we had another sick ox, so we only went 2 miles down the creek and camped on its bank where our ox died and we tried to say, the will of the Lord be done.
Forest Grove News-Times, August 20, 1959 p.5
Condits End Journey in Willamette Valley "Promised Land"---
Thursday, August 3th Went over the bluffs 5 miles to the river and then down the river 10 miles to the only lot of grass we could find and camped on Rattlesnake Bank, so called because we killed a large rattlesnake here. Here we met some Indians that were as impudent as we could well bear, but did us no harm.
Friday, August 4th Traveled over sand and sage 11 miles to Black Bluff Creek and then 9 miles to Volcanic Creek where we found but little grass. Another ox died today.
Saturday, August 5th Ascended a very steep hill and went on over hot sand and sage 20 miles without water. Camped on a little plat near the river. Here we had a cow and ox die.
Sabbath, August 6th Rested ib a beautiful plat of grass today. Enjoyed our Bible class and prayer meeting well and were much refreshed and strengthened for our journey.
Monday, August 7th Went 5 miles to Snake Creek and waited for another ox to die. Went on somewhat sad, not knowing what situation we may be left in at this rate of loss, but try still to say "They will be done." We made 12 miles today and camped near an island.
Tuesday, August 8th Went on til 1/2 pas 9 and stopped for another ox to die and then we went on about 12 miles and camped on the bluff where we all rested well.
Wednesday, August 9th Traveled about 20 miles around South Bend and camped 3 miles below the bend in a flat where we were in the vicinity of Fort Boise near to where the great murder was committed a week ago. After we passed the place our minds rested easy.
Thursday, August 10th Traveled 3 miles, then passed Gravelly river, then went 20 miles over a sandy road to Malheur river and camped after dark close by a hot spring.
Friday, August 11th Traveled about 12 miles to Sulphur Spring and 8 more to Birch Creek and went into camp some time after dark. All tired, hungry and thirsty and some of our horses nearly worn out.
Saturday, August 12th Went 4 miles to the point of Snake river and 4 more to Burnt river where we put up for the Sabbath as grass and water were plenty.
Sabbath, August 13th Rested as we thought both body and soul without disturbance during the day. Some emigrants came to see us.
Monday, August 14th Left 2 dead cows in camp this morning and went a few miles and left a horse dead on a side of a hill. Went 16 miles up Burnt river and camped at a short bend in the river. Grass good.
Tuesday, August 15th Went on up the river 5 miles, then followed Spring Creek about 7 miles and camped at a spring run on the right of the road. Here we met Gen'l Gaines, going to Fort Boise.
Wednesay, August 16th Left an ox dead in camp, then went 2 miles to the river and up the river and its branches 13 miles and camped at a good spring, the head of one of the branches of the river. Road very dusty.
Thursday, August 17th Traveled 20 miles over good road and camped at some streams of water near Powder river.
Friday, August 18th Left 1 ox and 1 cow dead in camp. Traveled 18 miles today, passing a slough and Idedo river to a spring and camped for night.
Saturday, August 19th Traveled 17 miles. Passed several good springs. Left another cow dead and went into camp for the Sabbath in the edge of Grand Round Valley. Here we bought some potatoes for the first time.
Sabbath, August 20th Rested all day and much refreshed.
Monday, August 21st Broke an axle of one of the wagons and went into camp on Grand Round river. Made 18 miles today.
Tuesday, August 22nd Laid by all day to mend our wagon.
Wednesday, August 23rd Traveled 20 miles over hills and hollows. Rained in the evening. This day we lost our dog. Camped in the neighborhood of Lee's encampment.
Thursday, August 24th Went 15 miles to Umatilla river. This is beautiful but is narrow and but little timber.
Friday, August 25th Traveled 15 miles to McCoy's Camp.
Saturday, August 26th Went 16 miles over a good road without water and camped for the Sabbath on the Umatilla river. Today the express passed us for help against the Indians.
Sabbath, August 27th Rested all day. Some Indians came into camp during the time of worship but behaved themselves very well.
Monday, August 28th Went 6 miles down the river to the last ford on the Umatilla, at the Indian Agency. here we met Gen'l Gaines going back to enlist the emigrants the Indians at Fort Boise. (...?) Nearly all one company had been killed. We passed over a sandy road 18 miles to Butler Creek and camped. Water and grass good, but wood scarce.
Tuesday, August 29th Traveled 19 miles over good road to a small spring called Well Spring at the left of the road. Here we saw the Cascade mountains for the first time.
Wednesday, August 30th Travled over a pleasant but hilly road 16 miles to Willow Creek. Here we found both grass and water.
Thursday, August 31st Traveled 18 miles over a good but dusty road to camp at Cedar Spring. Wind high which raised the dust like a cloud.
Friday, September 1st Cold and windy. Traveled 6 miles to John Day river, then up a canyon over the worse piece of road we had yet encountered and over the hills 8 miles to camp without waterh. Here some of us felt a little homesick.
Saturday, September 2nd Traveled 18 miles to the Columbia river and 2 miles down the river to our camping place on its banks where we stopped and made preparations for the Sabbath. Here we were very disconsolate and wanted patience to hear each other's burdens.
Sabbath, September 3rd Rested and enjoyed our religious exercises very well and by this means we hope that we obtained grace to help us in time of need. Thus the first Sabbath was passed on the Columbia river, although in the wilderness.
Monday, September 4th Went two miles to the mouth of the Des Chutes river. Ferried over our wagons. Paid 4 dollars a piece for them and swam our horses and cattle across, which took us till 10 a.m. Then we ascended a very steep hill and 5 miles more brought us to Five Mile Creek, a beautiful mountain stream a few rods wide. Thence over hills and valleys 8 miles more brought us to the second of the same creek. Went into camp, having made 15 miles today. We passed a sick woman today who we heard, died, when we passed her.
Tuesday, September 5th Rained some this morning so we stayed in camp till 9 o'clock. Then traveled up the creek about 7 miles and went into camp under a large fir tree on the bank of the creek.
Wednesday, September 6th Left Fir Camp and went up the creek 2 miles and then over the mountains to Indian Creek 15 miles, then up a long, steep hill and camped for the night. Very tired and more homesick than ever.
Thursday, September 7th Traveled over some good and some bad road today, crossing several mountain streams. Made 14 miles today, which brought us to 9 Mile Creek where formerly a gate was kept for the purpose of making emigrants pay toll who had crossed the mountains the worst part of the road. The gate, however, is not kept now.
Friday, September 8th We entered the Cascades today and went 18 miles over very bad roads to Des Chutes river where we had to stick our stakes without any grass for our stock. This seemed hard, but we were here and must make the best of it. So we penned up the stock to prevent them from straying away, then committing ourselves by prayer into the hands of Him, whose eyes never sleep, we retired to our resting place with sad hearts.
Saturday, September 9th Rose early, got our breakfast and drove on as fast as possible, hoping to find some grass for our animals, but did not till we had traveled 5 miles and crossed it 5 times and then had to cut browse for them and let them pick a little. We then went on, hoping to reach Summit Prairie but several of our oxen got so weak we had to stop 2 miles short of the summit and 5 miles from the Prairie right in the thick woods where there was nothing but a little ferm for our cattle. Saturday night overtook us, so we turned our cattle into the woods to get what they could, placing a watch over them, and went to rest as best we could.
Sabbath, September 10th All up early and full of anxiety about the animals. Got breakfast at an early hour and committed ourselves into the hands of our Heavenly Father. Looked after the stock and found them somewhat refreshed with the little they had gathered. So we concluded to start and if possible gain the Summit Prairie. Therefore we started and went over the worst roads we had ever seen 7 miles which brought us to the Prairie, where we stopped for we can scarcely say we rested, as we had to watch over our animals to keep them out of a swamp which was nearby. They were so nearly starved they would jump at anything they could see that was green. But grass was plenty and from the road a short distance, so they got well fed and rested so that some of the oxen laid down in the brush and we did not find them till nearly noon next day.
Monday, September 11th Started about noon and traveled 5 miles to the first corall that we found where there was good grass for our stock.
Tuesday, September 12th Traveled about 10 miles over a very rough road. Had a spendid view of Mount Hood. Could see the smoke rising off it, for it is ascertained that it is a burning mountain. We camped near Gypsy river. Today we crossed Laurel Hill, the worst of the Cascades on the road.
Wednesday, September 13th Traveled 8 miles down Gypsy river and broke an axle. Stopped and mended our wagon and then went into camp.
Thursday, September 14th Traveled down Sandy river 15 miles over some good and some bad road. Upset a wagon and went into camp away from water. This was the only wagon we upset on the whole road and that was the driver's carelessness.
Friday, September 15th Traveled over a very long and high mountain called the Backbone 15 miles to the last crossing of the Sandy. Here we found a family living on or among the mountains. here we heard the chickens crow, the dogs bark with great delight for it seemed so much like civilization that it made our hearts bound for joy.
Saturday, September 16th Traveled
very slowly for some of our cattle were almost dead with fatigue and hunger
7 miles over and down the mountains to Fosters in the Willamette valley, where
we arrived about 2 p.m. And here ends the history of our wild goose chase
of 6 months traveling over what used to be called the Great American Desert.
And our hearts rise to God in grateful emotions for his kind preserving
care, which has kept us through all our journey and has landed us all in good
health safely in the borders of the promised land.
(signed) Philip Condit
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