Crossing the Plains, Day of '57: A Narrative of Early Emigrant Travel to California by the Ox-team Method

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Sunset publishing house, 1915 - Overland journeys to the Pacific - 179 pages

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Page 9 - Mexico, as any other natural impossibility. California and New Mexico are Asiatic in their formation and scenery. They are composed of vast ridges of mountains of enormous height, with broken ridges and deep valleys. The sides of these mountains are barren, entirely barren, their tops capped by perennial snow. There may be in California, now made free by its Constitution, and no doubt there are, some tracts of valuable land. But it is not so in New Mexico. Pray, what is the evidence which...
Page 83 - ... and were spread on the smoothest spots of sand or grass. Eager hands gathered such fuel as was available, and the campfire blazed. Buckets of water were brought from the spring or stream; and in an incredibly short time the scene of animation had wrought full preparation for the night, while the odor of steaming coffee and frying bacon rendered the astonished air redolent of appetizing cookery. Some families used a folding table, on which to serve meals; but more spread an oilcloth on the ground...
Page 56 - There were along the line of travel many bare, bleached bones of animals that had died in previous years, many of them doubtless the animals of earlier emigrants. Some of these, as for example, the frontal or the jaw-bone, whitened by the elements, and having some plain, smooth surface, were excellent tablets for pencil writing. An emigrant desiring to communicate with another, or with a company, to the rear...
Page 76 - Piker," much used in the West in early days, synonymous of "Missourian," had its origin on these plains. At first it was applied to a particular type of Missourian, but later came to be used generally. There was among the emigrants a considerable number of persons from Pike County, Missouri. Some of these had the sign, "From Pike Co., Mo." painted on their wagon covers. Others, when asked whence they came, promptly answered, "From Pike County, Missouri, by gosh, sir...
Page 164 - As if inclosed in a great moving pavilion, on we went, guided only by the tracks of those who had gone before. In the after part of the night the loose cattle, having been for two nights and a day without water, and instinctively expecting an opportunity to drink, quickened their pace, passing the wagons; the stronger ones outgoing the weaker, till the drove was strung out two or three miles in length along the sandy trail.
Page 22 - ... approached him, carefully. Then we dressed him, or as much of him as we could carry in two bags that we had strapped behind our saddles, and rejoined the train after our people had gone into camp for the night.
Page 157 - You can have your choice, to be shot, or hanged to the uplifted tongue of a wagon.
Page 164 - Sierras other members of our party were in the wagons, and they, except the drivers, slept soundly; rocked gently, very gently, by the slow grinding of the wheels in the soft, deep sand. But Luke and I, on our little mules, must keep awake, and alert as possible, in readiness to hold...
Page 145 - ... and stones. We were there in the last week of August. Fresh water was not to be had except at a place a half-mile from our camp, where there was a seepage spring.
Page 129 - I believe that man was with the Indians who killed my wife and child.

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