People and places on the trail mentioned in the Reminiscences:
During the winter of 1849, my father caught the "California Gold Fever" and started with his family [from Clermont County, Ohio], consisting of mother,
four sons and four daughters - of which I was the third in age (of the children, I mean) for the new Eldorado.
Loss of stock from the turrain necessitated his stopping in Iowa, from whence my two elder brothers went up the Mississippi to "try their luck",
steam boating and lead-mining. (pg. 3)[elder brothers presumably John and Mathias -AP]
. . .
In the spring of 1852 my father rigged up two teams of six yoke of cattle each, and we started across the plains for Oregon, driving a dozen cows
along. (pg. 3)
A young man named John Haligan, an Irishman, who had been educated for the priesthood, but on account of ill health had abandoned that intention and
become a country school teacher, "engaged passage" with us, thinking that the trip would be beneficial to him. He was small and delicate, and one of
the best men I ever knew. (pg. 4)
. . .
At Kanesville, near Council Bluffs, on the Missouri river, we joined an emigrant train of about fifty wagons, loaded with men, women and children,
and the necessary outfit of arms, ammunition, clothing, provisions, etc., for the tedious seven-months journey over the parched plains, burning sands,
and arid wastes intervening between us and the "promised land,", which journey is now accomplished in a palace-car in ninety-six hours.
. . .
[we chose] one Smith, of Bonaparte, Iowa, as captain of the train (pg. 4)[Captain Smith died on the trail near the Platte river. -AP]
. . .
In our train was a family named Kent, consisting of a man, wife, son ["Ben"]and several daughters . . . "Ben" was a burly, red-headed scamp, two years
older than myself and equal to two of me in size. He was the most disagreeable fellow it was ever my ill luck to meet with. (pg 7)
[This sounds like the Lewis and Nancy Kent family listed on your site -AP]
(.) our train "split up" near Ft. Laramie. Passing on, we found ourselves in company with a family named McFarland who were also from Iowa. This
family consisted of a sprightly girl of about fifteen summers, named Helen; her father a good-natured fellow, and her stepmother who was a "holy
terror". (pg 8-9)
. . .
[George Hunter and Mr. Halligan left the wagons sometime after Fort Hall and there is no further information about "the train", apparently the William
Hunter family found themselves alone by the time they had reached John Day mountain -AP]
. . .
(.) my father and struggled along till he found himself and family on the top of the John Day mountain at 10 o'clock at night with only one yoke of
poor steers, and mother very sick. Here one of the remaining cattle fell dead in the yoke. My older brother having left them on account of scarcity
of food; my father and oldest sister rolled the dead ox out of the road, and he taking one end of the yoke, my sister took the steer by the horns, and
thus they managed to roll the wagon down the long, steep, and rocky hill to the John Days river. The reader my form a faint idea of the trials of that
family when he pictures himself a worn out man with his 15 year-old daughter, being pulled, pushed, jerked and dragged, bruised and bleeding,
down a two-mile hill in the dark; steering a wagon, in which lies a sick mother and small children that are crying for bread.
. . .
The next day a Mr.Belkanp came along with a team of fat cattle; he had started to meet some friends, that he expected that season, but learned they
had not started that year. Father hired him and his team to take the wagon and family across the Cascade mountains and into Willamette valley, which
they reached in safety, and finally settled near Corvallis which was then called "Marzoville". (pg. 11-12)
My name is Stephenie Flora. Thanks for stopping by. Return to [ Home Page ] All [ Comments and Inquiries ] are welcome.