By: Bears Butt

Bears Butt can find some interesting things when he goes looking.  He found this excerpt from a diary from one of the companies that crossed the plains into the Utah Territory.  You too might find it interesting.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Wood, Lyman Stephen, Autobiographical sketch 1901, 55-58.
Read Trail Excerpt:
It was the 16th day of May 1848, my father with his family and that of Milo Andrus, together with many others again left their homes to proceed on their journey to the rocky mountainsWe continued our travels from day to day nothing of special note other than the usual camp duties, until one night while we were encamped along side of the Platte river, our wagons forming one side, the river the other, with several hundred acres in the enclosure thus made, Our stock were all placed in there, so as to secure them from any attacks that might be made on them by the indians.

The guards or sentinels were placed along outside the line of wagons, with orders to walk their beat first one way then the other until they would meet a fellow guard and report to him of any occurence note worthy. It was orders for guard no 1 to cry out the time of night, every half hour, then no 2 and no 3 and so on until the report that all was well went the entire length of the line every half hour. Each successive guard repeating what the former one had reported. The writer of this happened to be near guard quarters where sentinel no 1 was placed and close to sentinel no 2 who passing on his beat came near a wagon where the owner and his family were supposed to be sleeping as most all the wagons were slept in, one nearby was occupied by a man by the name of Gates, who it seems at this particular moment was indulging in a very fierce dispute with his wife, sentinel no 1 called the time like this, half past ten o, clock and all is well, sentinel no 2 who was very near to Mr. Gates wagon, heard the conversation in there, cried out, half past 10 o, clock, and all is well, “except Gates and his wife are quarreling like hell. Sentinel no 3 reported and so on all down the line which was nearly a mile in length. This publicity was heard by the entire camp who were not already asleep, and didn’t hear the cries of the sentinels. This affair caused a considerable amount of amusement for the next few days. Our camp was large there being something over six hundred wagons and when strung out in line of march would reach something like three or four miles.

While travelling up the Platt[e] river when it was thought feasible, in many places we formed two lines for better protection from assault by the indians.

Our travel was necessarily very slow many days not covering more than from five to ten miles.

One of the greatest difficulties we had to contend with, was the great scarcity of wood, we were compelled to resort to the use of the dried droppings of the buffalo, (that had recently passed along) commonly called, “Buffa[lo] chips”

We encountered many very severe electrical storms, thunder and such sharp lightning, every few days at which time the “buffa[lo] chips” became so wet, we had great difficulty in starting fires to cook our food.

It was truly a novel as well as an amusing sight many times when our captain would give orders for all to prepare for camping for the night.

To see women and children leaving their wagons, scattering in every direction to gather the indispensable buffalo chips, some getting baskets full and some sacks full.

Some of the women would gather their aprons full, some in their arms, as long as they could be piled on, many times holding the last piece in place with their chin.

Nothing of special importance transpiring other than the usual routine.


Bears Butt

May 31, 2012

Written on May 31st, 2012 , Uncategorized

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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.