By William Smedley
Ebook by way of Smedley, William
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Extra resources for Across the Plains: An 1862 Journey from Omaha to Oregon
Crossed Shoal creek in the night. June 13. A drove of antelope were seen across the river and two were seen upon our road. , when a heavy thunderstorm, accompanied with rain and hail, compelled us to camp. June 14. Found ourselves this morning camped opposite Court House Rock, a peculiar formation of rock which in the distance so closely resembles the court house in St. Louis that emigrants from that place gave it the name it bears. Nooned opposite Chimney Rock, a noted landmark to ancient travelers on the plains, which so nearly resembles an immense chimney as to suggest the appropriate name it bears.
And drove nine miles to Big Sandy. July 9. Finding the river unfordable, we went a half mile above and found portions of a bridge that had been used by a train about a week before, as we learned from the names and dates posted on trees, a usual custom with emigrants. A notice was kindly left upon a tree for us to bring boat timber from here to Green River, as our informants were obliged to return thirty miles for theirs. Afternoon spent in cutting logs and sawing out plank with a "whipsaw," a novel mode to some of us, Page 34 which was done by erecting skids on a side hill, rolling the log upon them, one man standing on the log and the other in the pit beneath, and working the saw up and down, which was rather laborious exercise, particularly for long backs, but a determined purpose and vigorous health defied fatigue.
Bright and beautiful. Started about seven, passed Elkhart near evening. Country rolling, hilly, picturesque. Numerous emigrants thronged the way with various styles of outfits, teams of horses, mules, oxen and cows. Many of the wagons had written upon their cover their place of destination in characters uncouth and spelled amiss. " Some of the wagons were attended by men alone, bound for some Eldorado where their dreaming fancies pictured their future fortunes, but most were attended with men and their families, women and children, starting out to seek new homes in the inviting states of the Pacific.