Posts Tagged ‘E.B. Atherton’

The Milan Company Arrives in Gold Country

April 29, 2009
Placerville, CA (Image from http://bancroft.library.ca.gov)

Placerville, CA (Image from http://bancroft.library.ca.gov)

According to an article I will be posting at a later date, the Milan Company consisted of the following men:

Ebenezer B. Atherton, (Captain), Martin Smith, Harvey C. Page, Robert Smith, Samuel Wickham, Jno. G. Norton, Hiram Allen, Snow Edison, Geo. C. Choate, Chas. Goodrich, J. Gregory and Wm. Jennings.

Good News.

We have been favored with the following interesting letter from E.B. ATHERTON, Esq., the Captain of the Milan Company of California emigrants, which conveys the gratifying intelligence that they had all nearly arrived at the end of their journey, in good health and spirits: — Milan Tribune.

SACRAMENTO CITY, Aug. 25th, 1849.
MESSRS. H. CHASE & Co., — Dear Sirs:

I arrived here on the 23d, in advance of the Company, who are perhaps five or six days behind. They thought best that I should come through in advance of them, and examine the different mines, means of operating, and get such other information as would be of advantage to the company. I left them on Carson river, and made the journey here in eight days, with a small Indian pony, (distance, 242 miles,) packing my provisions, one pair of blankets, one buffalo robe and cooking utensils, over the California mountains. The distance over the mountains is about 70 miles. The road is difficult. There are several places to ascend, where a good team cannot more than draw up an empty wagon, and going down require the wheels all “locked” and the utmost caution, to prevent accidents. This route is a new one, and is called the Southern or Left-hand route, which is taken three miles west of the sink of Mary’s river; it strikes the Carson river 45 miles from that point, and 20 miles above the sink of Carson river. —

Carson River

Carson River (Image from http://nevada.usgs.gov)

This route is preferred to the northern one, on account of the pass over the mountains; the emigrant being obliged to pack his goods and wagon some seven miles over the summit, on the northern route. In descending the mountains, I struck Pleasant Valley, which I followed about 60 miles, and struck the American river 10 miles above this city.

When I arrived here I found myself and horse nearly “used up,” he having traveled several days without food, except weeds or browse, Grass may be found in the valleys, by going away from the road, from one to three miles. I was obliged to descend into one of these valleys on one occasion, after 10 o’clock at night, having traveled 34 miles over the worst portion of the mountains without grass, and sixteen miles without water. —

The whole distance from St. Joseph’s, Missouri, to Sacramento City, 2,000 miles. The teams will make the journey within four months’ time. We have found much on the route that has been interesting and pleasant to us while the whole journey is one of continual hardships and privations. Our company have enjoyed good health generally, except slight attacks from colds, and excessive fatigue, being in several instances obliged to travel all night to pass long stretches of sand without grass or water — a distance of from 20 to 45 miles. I have seen the men so much worn down with fatigue and loss of sleep, that they would sink down on the road and fall asleep.

These were hard times, but none murmured. Fording and ferrying the streams, is both hard work and dangerous; the water being generally cold, deep and rapid, requiring the utmost care, and frequently getting wet, beside the trouble and risk of swimming our mules and horses over these streams, there being no other mode of getting them over, the ferry boats being made expressly for wagons and packs.

Fording a River (Image from www.journal.forces.gc.ca)

Fording a River (Image from http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca)

We made the journey up to the time I left he company, without accident, except breaking a wagon hound, which did not hinder us more than two hours to repair.

The Indians have killed and stolen many horses, mules and cattle on the route; but we have lost none, our mules and horses have been strictly guarded to prevent such difficulties.

I have visited some portions of the mine, and think they fully meet my expectations. An industrious man can dig an ounce per day, ($16) and sometimes much more. I think it safe to say that a man can average from $10 to $20 per day, by working hard. The wet “diggings” are thought to be the best until the wet season, say until the 1st of December next; when the miners will go further into the mountains.

This city is on the Sacramento river, about 100 miles from its mouth. It has come into existence within the last three months, and now contains about 7,000 inhabitants. The buildings are principally built of canvass or cotton cloth, which is drawn over stakes and poles. In many instances common tents are used for stores and dwelling houses; the goods being mostly outside. Lots sell from $500 to $10,000 each.

These canvass houses are filled with the choicest goods, while the sides of the streets and river banks are covered with every variety of goods that our eastern cities can furnish. The utmost order and regularity prevail here; crime and thefts are punished with the rifle, pistol or bowie knife. Common labor is $10 per day; mechanics get $16. Flour is worth $16 per bbl.; Mess pork $40; fresh beef 25 cents per lb.; lumber $450 to $500 per M.; sugar 16 cts per lb.; baker’s bread 50 cts. per loaf; horses, cattle and mules are comparatively cheap. Money is plenty; any one can have it by digging after it.

Gold Rush Town (Image from www.buyteachercreated.com)

Gold Rush Town (Image from http://www.buyteachercreated.com)

I think our company will be here in time for us to commence operations within eight days, after which I will try to give you a less confused, and more particular description of matters and things here.

The Scipio and Norwalk companies will be here within two days; I passed them on the mountains; they were all well. Mr. J.V. Vredenburgh and son are some distance behind; they travelled in company with Captain Newton, of Norwalk, as far as Bear river. Dr. Thompson, (Dentist,) from Mansfield, Ohio, is here. Mr. Baker, of Monroeville, Cook, of Bellevue, and George Goodhue, will be here to-morrow.

The Milan company wished Mr. Waggoner to publish, for the benefit of their friends, the fact of their good health and highest expectations of success. I shall be glad to hear from you, and all others who will be kind enough to write to me, and will answer such letters with pleasure. You will please to remember me to your families, my friends in Greenfield, and others generally. We wish all letters sent to any member or members of our company, to be directed to Sacramento City. The next steamer sails from San Francisco on the 1st Sept. I am obliged to send this letter to that place by messenger, to be mailed in time, which gives me twenty minutes to write what I don’t believe you can read.

Yours sincerely,
E.B. ATHERTON.

P.S. Don’t fail to write often, and send papers frequently. Recollect I am a great distance from you — and bound to make some money before I see you again. I will try to give you a more full description of our route, and of this country in my next letter. I hardly know what I have written in this. E.B.A.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Oct 30, 1849

**For more articles about the Gold Rush and some of the men mentioned here, click on my “Gold Rush” category on the right.

Buckeyes Prevail, Brook the Trail, Send Loved Ones Gold Dust in the Mail

April 7, 2009

gold-rush-emigrant-train-1849

THE CALIFORNIA ADVENTURERS.

A letter has been received in town from a member of the xenia company, dated June 7, which was brought to the settlements by a returned emigrant. It states that they expect to reach California in 40 days — that grass is abundant, and the country most beautiful. The Sanduskians are ahead, all doing well — no cholera — Indians friendly.
Sandusky Mirror, 7th.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jul 17, 1849

squiggle1

Latest from California.

By the politeness of C.L. Latimer, Esq., of this place, we are permitted to make some interesting extracts from a letter received by him from Mr. T.B. Sturges, written since his arrival at the Gold Region. It is postmarked San Francisco, Sept. 1. Respecting his passage over the plains, Mr. Sturges says:

“My journey has been a long, tedious, and somewhat dangerous one. Often have I felt that with the exhausted team that I have had, I could go no further; and once I turned my mules waiting for some one to come along and to see if I could not get assistance through.

40 Mile Desert

40 Mile Desert

“When I approached the Desert, it looked very discouraging indeed. There was a distance of 85 miles, composed of a barren sandy plain, with the sand 18 inches deep and scarcely a particle of wood, water, or feed of any kind. So too of the mountains. It required 6 or 7 span of mules and 20 men to force up the steep mountains, sometimes three miles in length, an empty wagon. A man who starts upon this journey in charge of a team, with the expectation of finding an easy time of it, will be greatly disappointed. I have, however, borne the journey very well, and my health is now better than it has been for the last ten years. All who see me are surprised at the change in appearance. It has not, however, been so fortunate with those who are behind. I am informed by Packers, who started late, that the emigrants are dying off by hundreds, and many are returning to the States. There must necessarily be much suffering on the route.

Sacramento 1850 (image from worldmapsonline.com)

Sacramento 1850 (image from worldmapsonline.com)

I arrived here (Sacramento city,) on yesterday, 25th of August. This place is two miles above Sutter’s Fort. It has sprung up within the last six months, and contains from 4 to 6,000 inhabitants. Most of the buildings are merely posts put in the ground, with rafters and covered with drilling or other cloth, to keep out the sun. Rain is a thing unknown here in the summer season.

“As to the prospects of the Gold Region, about 15 miles from here, opinions of course, vary much. There is, however, no doubt, that with industry, any man may acquire from sixteen to twenty-five dollars per day; and sometimes he will find a spot that will give him daily, one to two hundred dollars. No man who retains his health can fail to do well. The weather is very hot and requires great prudence in new comers. Provisions are high. Flour $9 per cwt.; pork, 25 cents per pound; — Sugar 20 cents, and other things in proportion. Common labor brings $10 per day. I found here, Mr. McKnight, (formerly of Sandusky City,) who pays his help at the rate of $3,500 a year. He keeps a boarding house. The state of society is much better than I anticipated. Formerly murders and thefts were frequent; but a number of executions have struck terror to the evil doers. — Upon the whole I do not regret my journey, and think I shall do well.”

We understand that a letter has been received by Mr. Chase, of Milan, from E.B. Atherton, of the Milan Company, who had passed on a day or two in advance of his company, to make arrangements, which states that they had arrived at Sacramento City, all well.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Oct 23, 1849

Letters from the Norwalk Californians.

By the kindness of Mr. S. Patrick of this place, we are permitted to publish the following letter received the past week from his son, Delano R. Patrick, who left here last April for the Gold Region. Letters have also been received from Messrs. T.B. Sturges, John S. Vredenburgh, S.C. Wickham and George Whyler, who are well; also one from Josiah Roop, of Republic, dated as late as the 18th of October.

Specimens of the California staple, consisting of small lumps and spangles of gold, in the condition in which they were found, were enclosed in the letters.

The intelligence received has served to augment the interest here, and we learn that some of our most respectable and esteemed citizens are preparing for a visit to the Pacific.

Cold Spring Valley, Sept. 11, 1849.

Dear Father: — We arrived in the Gold Region the 23d of last month, in good health. Coming the new Mormon road, we struck what are called the “dry diggings,” situated on Weaver’s Creek, about 50 miles from Sacramento City. From these diggings we proceeded to the City for the purpose of purchasing a supply of provisions, selling our teams, and selecting a location for winter quarters. Sparks‘ and my team, which was reduced to three mules and a half worn wagon, we sold for $500 before reaching the City. Our mules were said to be in the best condition of any that had crossed the plains during the season.

Sutter's Fort (image from www.fourth-millennium.net)

Sutter's Fort (image from http://www.fourth-millennium.net)

Sacramento is a City of mushroom growth — sixty days ago containing only two or three dwellings — now a population of 3000 people. It is situated on Sacramento river, about two miles from Sutter’s Fort. There are but 15 or 20 framed houses in the city; the majority of the dwellings consisting of tents, and canvas stretched over frames of house-like form. The business of the city is immense — provisions and goods are stacked up in large heaps throughout the city, there being no place to store them. Of thieves there is little fear, as trials are short, and sentences quickly executed; ropes are plenty, and oak trees convenient.

We purchased flour at $8 per hundred, bacon 40 cts. per lb., sugar 16, rice 8, coffee 16, molasses $1 per gal., pork $10 per bbl. Our provisions not having arrived, we purchased a supply sufficient for 3 or 4 months, and arrived at our present location the first of this month. We selected this place not from its being the best mining region, but because it is a pleasant and healthy location, and first rate water convenient. It is called Big Spring Valley, is situated 5 miles east from Sutter’s Mill and 5 west from Weaverville, in the dry diggings.

But I presume you are impatient to learn what amount per day can be made in the gold region. In this vicinity the gold is found in small scales or particles very equally distributed in the bed of the stream, or in fact any where in the valley, which is at this season nearly dry. Every man who is able and willing, can by hard labor dig and wash from $8 to $16 per day. In the Weaver dry diggings some have dug two or three hundred in one day, while others have worked days without obtaining  any amount. But here, when a man commences work in the morning, he is sure of from $8 to $16 by night, ready pay — no bank rags. Gold digging here is very much like stone quarrying with you — very much like work, you may be assured. I find that the wages of the gold digger here, as compared with the wages of the mechanic, are substantially the same as at home; that is, a mechanic here can earn more per day than the gold digger can possibly average, although there are some cases where a gold digger may by what we call good luck, make much more than a mechanic could possibly earn. We expect, if we continue healthy, to average the above mentioned amounts, viz. from $8 to $16 per day.

The extensive immigration has so completely crowded the best diggings, that many are obliged to carry their dirt a considerable distance for the purpose of washing it, although this difficulty will be obviated when the rainy season commences.

We have provisions sufficient for four months, mining tools, a tent, and clothing for one year, all of which I purchased here (with the exception of clothing,) at California prices. The tools with which we started, we were obliged to throw out by the way to lighten our load.

The majority at this place are Ohioans. The Findlay, Bellevue and Milan Companies, and a company from Southern Ohio are settled here. T.B. Sturges and son are here as well. Vredenburgh and son came into the gold region about one week since. I have not seen them. We passed them on the road near Green river and arrived here sixteen days in advance. We passed the Milan boys this side of Fort Hall. Direct letters to Sacramento City until you hear again. Enclosed you will find a small portion of gold dust, which I dug and washed.
Yours,
D.R. PATRICK

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio)Dec 18, 1849

Sacramento City 1849 (image from www.geog.ucsb.edu)

Sacramento City 1849 (image from http://www.geog.ucsb.edu)

From Our California Friends.

The Sanduskian publishes a letter from J.H. Drake, dated Sacramento City, February 17, 1850. He states that T.B. Sturges, Esq., and son, and Mr. Patrick’s sons, of this place, were well, and at the springs, on Weaver’s Creek. The mines there were not as good as in other places, and it was probable they would look for better mining. He had dug there himself until January 1st. and had averaged almost $16 per day. He then removed to Sacramento City, where, in partnership with E.B. Atherton, of the Milan Co., he was keeping a public house, known as the “Buckeye House” — board $21 per week, lodging $1, single meals $1, liquor from 2’s to 4’s per drink “according to quality.”

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Apr 16, 1850

Feather River (image from http://thelanterninn.com)

Feather River (image from http://thelanterninn.com)

Sacramento and Yuba Cities — The Great Freshet.

Mr. J.H. Drake, in his letter, from which we quoted in our last, Yuba city, &c., “On the 9th of January, the water rose and overflowed the banks of the river, so you could pass through the principal streets of the city with boats, with 6 and 8 feet of water. The rise was owing to the very warm weather and the snow melting in the mountains, and so sudden was the rise that within one hour after the water broke over the banks the city was one sea of water. Luckily for me I had just completed a boat 26 feet long, in company with some others, for a trip up Feather river, and luckily it launched itself. On the night I speak of a person not present, could hardly imagine the distress and confusion it created. Every house in the city was flooded to the first floor, and hundreds to the second story, and all was cry for help. Our boat soon got to work in transferring the inhabitants to places which they considered safe. 30 or 40 ships laid in the river, and very many went on board for safety. The city was full of stock of every description, and the greater part of it was drowned — say 2,000 head. The portion that was saved, swam to the higher bank about 2 miles distant, near Sutter’s Fort. The fort is built of doby bricks, and is a very pleasant place. I am of opinion that the City of Sacramento is the richest city of its size, in the whole world, lay coin and uncoined gold and property at its current rates.

This city is situated in the valley of the Sacramento, 190 miles above San Francisco, at the junction of the Sacramento and the American Fork rivers. Uber City, situated on the Uber river, near Feather river, about 100 miles above, has a population of about 4,000. It is situated in the vicinity of very rich mines in the mountains, and all the streams afford excellent mining facilities. Here miners have made their 50 and $100 per day. — The last season some of them have returned with wealth, and others poorer than when first in the mines. I saw a lump of gold from Uber river, that sold for $6,000 another piece found at the Georgetown cannon by Dr. Davis of Virginia, that weighed 49 pounds, another piece found on the McCallama weighed something over 93 pounds, however, this last piece contained some quartz, which does not hurt its value in the least, as undoubtedly it will be kept as a speciman; and a thousand smaller pieces which are an every day occurrence.”

Overland Route (image from http://zimmer.csufresno.edu)

Overland Route (image from http://zimmer.csufresno.edu)

The Overland Route. Mr. Drake gives the following sketch of the Overland Route to California:

“From the time I left Independence, Missouri, until I arrived at this city was 100 days — a very extraordinary short trip; and without any serious accidents, save having some mules and horses stolen by emigrant foot-pads. We crossed the deserts of sands with safety, mostly in the night time. All those emigrants that undertook to cross them in the day time lost their stock and necessarily all they had. —

We crossed the Sierra Nevada mountains in July and found plenty of snow. The boys took a frolic of snow balling — they were very steep, rocky, sideling and high, and in all instances the higher peaks were destitute of trees and plants, and exhibited to the traveler a vast pile of gray granite rocks, thrown together by some convulsion of the earth. At first view it appeared almost impassable for a footman, however, we surmounted all our difficulties by industry, prudence and patience.

One word for the emigrants that arrived last fall: The government officers employed men, purchased mules, horses and provisions and returned on the route and relieved all suffering emigrants. The mountains were deep with snow; and many, very many you could see forcing their way, men women and children packing their whole stock of provisions, (as for clothing they had none,) on an old broken down mule, horse, ox, or even a cow, and still a great many were found without any stock, and some got through on foot — doing pretty well at that.

I am of the opinion that not more than one quarter of the wagons that left the frontier last spring arrived in the gold district. Some were left from necessity by falling, by breaking, shrinking, and some abandoned for the want of teams, and thousands would abandon their wagons, goods and every thing except a small stock of provisions and their fire arms, and thus force their way through, worn out and miserable, and not having made better time than those who clung to their wagons, &c.; enough of that, it’s gone by.

The whole distance from Independence by Sublet’s Cutoff, and the southern route, i.e. “Carson’s river route,” to Sacramento City, by measurement, (roadometer,) is 2,188 3/4 miles.”

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Apr 16, 1850

**Click on the “Gold Rush” category for more California Gold Rush posts.

The first part of T.B. Sturges’ journal is HERE.

Impelled by the Spirit of Adventure and the Temptations of Gain

April 3, 2009
St. Louis circa 1850 (image from /www.usgennet.org)

St. Louis circa 1850 (image from /www.usgennet.org)

Letter from a California Emigrant.
Correspondence of the Huron Reflector.

CALIFORNIA ENCAMPMENT,}
Indian Territory, April 28th, 1849.}

Mr. Editor: — Being one of the many thousands who, impelled by a spirit of adventure or the temptations of gain, have left their homes, their friends and acquaintances, all the blessing of civilization and the sweets of the domestic circle, for the distant shores of the Pacific, I propose through the columns of your paper to give our friends and your readers a brief account of what is passing before us from day to day, and what we have seen since leaving the Buckeye State.

With eleven of my travelling companions I left the village of Milan, March 29th. We reached Cincinnati Saturday of the same week; here we remained a few days to complete our outfits. Some 250 Californians from different parts of the country, chartered the steamer Albatross to take us direct to St. Joseph, and on Thursday, April 5th, at 6 P.M., amid the roar of cannon and the cheers of the multitude, we left the city.

Wm Henry Harrison Tomb (image from www.ohiohistorycentral.org)

Wm Henry Harrison Tomb (image from http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org)

We passed North Bend about two hours after leaving Cincinnati. It was a lovely evening. The moon seemed to shine with unusual splendor; the musicians of our company were on deck with their instruments. — What thoughts filled my mind as we passed this still, quiet, hallowed spot, under the soft rays of the full moon, and gazed upon the plantation and tomb of WM. HENRY HARRISON. His tomb is near the river, on the summit of a small hill, surrounded by a beautiful fence. The privilege of gazing upon this spot paid me well for my journey so far, and inspired me with an awe and reverence for all that is good and ennobling in man, that will last me to California at least. But to return to our boat.

Every soul on board was bound for California — not a female among us — and if this was a fair sample of what society is to be in California, we shall need no Revolvers or Bowie knives. There were a few noisy, lawless fellows, who, being away from the restraining influence of the ladies, were inclined to make a little too much noise at times; but we had, on the whole, a very quiet, gentlemanly, peacable set. Our passengers were mostly business men, of good information and principles, generally middle aged, but here and there the grey head might be seen, not yet satisfied with the riches of this world.

The passage down the Ohio was one of the pleasantest steamboat trips I ever experienced. The evening of the day after we left was particularly interesting. Not a cloud dimmed the sky. The moon was profuse with her soft pale light, as if conscious of her importance, and the effect she gave to the scene. The soft mild breeze from off the hills came over the waters laden with mixed odors from the blossoms of Spring. Our music is on deck, and what need we more? Nothing but a few of the fair sex, and hearts tuned in unison with all this that can offer acceptable praise to God the creator and giver.

We sometimes found ourselves pent up among the hills, seemingly in a small lake, with no apparent way of escape, but a passage soon opened for us and we found plenty of sailing ahead. Again we could trace the windings of the river until it disappeared far away among the hills which in the distance were hardly discernable from the dim, blue sky. Saturday P.M. we were nearing the mouth of the river; it is much broader than above, with here and there a small island which adds much to the beauty of the scenery. Viewed from a distance, these islands are really beautiful; they are conical shaped masses of green foliage, which seem to rest quietly upon the smooth surface of the waters. The scenery of the Ohio is the most fascinating I ever saw. But what gave zest and charm to all this, was the sudden transition from the cold, chilling embrace of the unyielding winter, to the opening, blooming Spring — the warmth and mildness of Summer. Everything was dressed in living green. The hills seemed to have put on their best uniform to cheer and gladden our descent upon the waters they seem appointed to guard, and deliver safe into the bosom of the great Mississippi. But I must hurry out of the Ohio. Saturday evening we reached Cairo. This place is in Illinois, at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi; it is the most sunken, God-forsaken place I ever was in. Everything gave evidence of a recent inundation, which frequently occurs here. A very respectable house built for a Hotel with two or three disabled steamboats, used as wharf boats, complete the village. The idea of living in Cairo is revolting in the extreme. At 7 o’clock we bid adieu to the Ohio and entered the Mississippi. We reached St. Louis Monday, April 9th. We had barely time to go to the Post office. Here we unexpectedly met two of our company who had preceded us through Illinois to purchase mules for our journey. They had 16 mules, which added to our present stock made 172 mules on board.

With the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers I had not much sympathy, though some portions are very interesting; but their shores, except about here, are devoid of that soft, beautiful scenery of the Ohio. The ascension of the rapid, muddy Missouri was slow and tedious; its navigation is dangerous in the night — being full of drift and snags; we were frequently obliged to lay over all night. Safely and without accident we reached St. Joseph Monday, April 16th, seven days from St. Louis, 500 miles — and eleven days from Cincinnati, 1250 miles. The mules, after being closely confined upon the boat, were almost unmanageable when on shore, and they created much merriment in some and anger and impatience in others more particularly interested; but matters soon became settled, and we went into camp immediately, pitching our tent near the river. After securing our mules we adjourned to a Hotel for tea, and returned to our tent to lodge. The next morning we breakfasted in our tent. Never shall I forget our first meal; there were no dainty ones among us.

St. Joseph is a fine place of about 2,000 inhabitants. It is situated upon an elevation, and makes a fine appearance as approached from below; it is the center of trade for a large, populous and productive country.

There are about 2500 encamped here bound for California. The many estimates which have been made of the numbers that would pass over to California have all been too high; 6000 will probably include all emigrants from the different points on the Missouri. Saturday, April 20th, we struck our tent, packed our waggons, and prepared for crossing the river. We passed up the river 4 miles to a ferry; crossed, and passing down the river two miles encamped about 1 1/2 miles from the river at the foot of the bluffs which rise upon either side of the Missouri, where we now are. As we were to remain here until the grass would warrant our final departure for the west, we immediately commenced preparations for housekeeping. One of our number takes charge of the culinary department, some of the mules, and others of other matters. Our living is first rate: — Ham, Bacon, Potatoes, Bread, and Tea and Coffee, are the principal articles of food, which we devour with a relish and appetites which can only be enjoyed by persons in our situation. The potatoes and bread we obtain here, and must leave them here. When upon the plains it will be hard bread and bacon for breakfast, bacon and hard bread for dinner, and smoked pork and sea biscuit for tea; quite a variety. Beans are an article of food we take with us. We buy good beans in St. Joseph for 40 cents per bushel.

There are 12 of us, — (E.B. Atherton, Robert Smith, Samuel C. Wickham, John Norton, H. Allen, Snow Edison, M. Smith, Harry Page, G.C. Choate, Charles Goodrich, J. Gregory, and Wm. Jennings,) — 3 waggons and 16 mules.

Six lodge in the waggons, the remainder in the tent. We sleep upon mattrasses on the ground, with blankets for a covering. The weather is delightful — warm days but cool nights. Never did I enjoy the Spring season so much. I sleep so sound, rise early and feel invigorated by the fresh morning air. Oh, this is rural life in reality! There’s much of romance in all this. Leaving home and friends for a distant almost unknown country — dreams of wealth, of future ease and opulence — this camp life — these western wilds; — yes, this is full of beautiful romance, fascinating in the extreme; but for the stern realities, the coming results, the chagrin and disappointment, we need to nerve our hearts in preparation.

The flats of the Missouri and the bluffs nearest the river are covered with a stunted growth of timber, principally oak, standing very scattering, and the fire which the Indians are careful shall pass over their territory annually, sweeps the ground of leaves and everything like underbrush, and in this season springs up a luxuriant growth of grass. The land is very loose, rich and mellow. What a pity that land so rich and easily tilled, should remain uncultivated.

Last Tuesday two of my traveling companions with myself mounted our mules to reconnoiter for three or four miles, the road w were so soon to pass over. We passed along the foot of the bluffs by which we are encamped, and when we came to their termination, passing around we soon found ourselves ascending to the other side. We soon reached the summit, and such a view as lay spread out before us defies all description. I have read many accounts of these western plains and prairies, but never got a correct idea of them. We stood upon an eminence, and the whole world seemed spread out before us at one view. An almost endless succession of beautiful undulations, hill succeeding hill without limits, — bounded only by the walls of the clear blue sky. Such perfect uniformity of hill after hill which stretched far away in the distance until they seemed merged with the clear blue heavens. Oh what a scene! — it would challenge the admiration of the most unobserving. He that cannot love, admire and enjoy this, must be out with the world and himself. In the ravines a small shrub oak grows, but standing where we did, not a tree or a shrub marred the surface of this vast expanse. No plow ever disturbed this virgin soil — no harvest fields on these sunny slopes — no rolling of carriages — no hum and busy din of the city is to be heard here. The sun rises and sets upon these hills to cheer and gladden the savage as he follows his narrow winding trail from point to point in the peaceful possession of his princely domain, was well as upon the cities and haunts of civilization. What a pity that such a country should remain unenjoyed by civilized beings. I have seen much fine scenery in different mountainous portions of the United States, but this. There is such a uniformity in the hight of the hills, that the eye has an almost unbounded scope. Far, far away in the distance, might be seen here and there the curling column of smoke as it rose from the burning prairie beyond. After looking and looking and looking again, I returned to camp, reconciled only with the thought that this was but a foretaste of what I was soon to see and experience. Do you think, as some predicted before I left home, that I regret the step I have taken? Far otherwise. I long to be wending my way over this beautiful country which lays spread out so temptingly before me. How many there are, who, spending their lives in their village homes, know nothing of the beauties and glories of the west.

In our rambles about here, we have observed many Indian graves. These graves are covered with bits of wood about 2 feet long, one end resting upon the ground and meeting over the center of the grave, forming a steep roof. A grave we discovered yesterday is really an object of curiosity; it was covered as were all the others; at the head waved a white flag from a peeled pole about ten feet high. One foot from this pole is a round peeled post, six inches in diameter, 2 1/2 feet high. Upon this post are painted five figures of men — four without heads, arms extended, one of them holding a gun in one hand; these four figures probably represent the number of person the deceased has beheaded. The fifth figure, (probably representing the deceased person himself,) has a head, arms extended, bow and arrow in one hand, and a handful of scalps in the other. Behind the last figure are 18 straight lines, which we suppose represent the number of scalps the deceased has taken. Upon the flag is a cross. This is undoubtedly the resting place of some important personage. The grave is upon the summit of a hill under a fine oak tree; a circle of green sod about ten feet in diameter surrounds the grave; within this circle the ground is made smooth and hard; upon the covering of the grave was a tin can with fruit preserved in molasses. Some not enjoying these luxuries in a camp life, were inclined to pilfer this preserved fruit. — This I could not but rebuke. Ye passing strangers, touch not, disturb not the repose of the savage! let him rest quietly ‘neath the shade of the forest tree where his father placed him, that the roving mourners as they return annually to strew the flowers or spring over the graves of their loved ones, may not go away cursing the white man who had thus ruthlessly disturbed the resting place of their dead. Everything of this kind indicating the character, manners and customs of the Indian, is interesting to me, and I observe them closely. We shall soon see much more of the Indians. Their first village on our route is 14 miles from here. The Indians are now mostly off hunting the Buffalo.

gold-rush-camp

The feed we think sufficiently good to warrant our departure, and we have determined to leave next Monday, (April 30th.) There will be about 50 waggons in our trail, and 200 persons. Some have preceded us, and others will follow for some time to come. But I will no longer trespass upon your patience, and the room which might be devoted to a better purpose. Should I be so fortunate as to reach the end of my journey, you may again hear from A CALIFORNIA GOLD HUNTER.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) May 22, 1849