JOHN MURRAY MICKEY'S DIARY
John Murray Mickey (1834-1924) immigrated with his parents from Illinois
to Iowa in 1835. His Mickey ancestors were Scotsmen transplanted to
northern Ireland and then to America in 1719 where they settled first in
Delaware and then in Pennsylvania.
The original diary was hand-written with pen and ink in a ledger-type, clothbound
black volume, about 9’ by 13” and ¾” thick, consisting of 150 pages
of which 79 were used. It seems he compiled the diary in his later
years, probably beginning about 1905. However, it is reasonable to
assume there was an earlier diary to which he referred for the years 1854-1859.
This covers the time he left home in Iowa shortly before his twentieth birthday
for the gold fields of the West until he returned via ship from San Francisco
to New York, then by train to Iowa.
The diary is in the possession of Mrs. Harold B. (Edith) Mickey of McMinnville,
Oregon. In making the present copy I left out some lines that were
solely concerned with John’s religious views. Spelling, grammar, capitalization
and punctuation are pretty much as he wrote; however, since he made no paragraph
divisions and seldom used periods to end sentences--preferring dashes--I
ended sentences with periods and divided the narrative into paragraphs.
The items in brackets are my additions for clarification.
John submitted many items for publication in his hometown newspapers and
in religious newspapers as evidenced by the scrapbook of newspaper clippings
he kept. Because I believe he would be gratified to see his work disseminated
to a larger audience, I am making this copy to submit to the internet for
the use of historians and genealogists.
Sharon (Mickey) Norton
Great-granddaughter of John M. Mickey
3121 SW Evelyn St
Portland, OR 97219
JOHN MURRAY MICKEY’S DIARY
I was born on the 20th day of April A.D. 1834. My parents were
born in Pennsylvania. My Father’s Father were Irish, my mother was
Germatic and Irish. Father’s mother was a niece of Bishop Robert R.
Roberts. I am some kin to the Methodist Church…[He expresses concern
about the lack of spirituality in religious sects]
My parents moved to Iowa the day I was one year old crossed the Mississippi
River at Burlington. The town consisted of five Houses 4 round log
and one hewed log House. A man by the name of Phelps owned the Hewed
log House. My parents lived one year and a half in Desmoines Co then
moved to Louisa County at the head of the Virginia Grove one mile west of
Morning Sun now. I drove ox team for Thomson Brown to brake up the
sod in what is now Browns Addision of Morning Sun--that was in 1840.
I was a young ox driver but my Father was an ox driver before me. There
were plenty of Indians camped in the Virginia Grove for three years after
we went there. I have heard my Father and Mother tell about old Blackhawk
Chief being at our House. They said he was a Portly Indian.
Some of you may think it strange but I have seen wagon tiers riveted on a
wheel not knowing that iron would expand when hot and shrink when cold--I
recollect one time a young man came over to my Fathers after he had built
a Hewed log House and covered it with Clapboards and nailed them on The young
man says to me how does them Boards stay up there without weight poles not
knowing they were nailed on.
The Old Franklin School House
My schooling consisted of going to school to annoy the Teacher, log school
Houses with the Bark on, subscription schools, then go three miles to school,
our books were few the Elemenary Speller and the western Calculator: a arithmetic
of hard Problems, any one could teach that could use the Birch. The
rudiments or first principals were overlooked. The first few times I would
get over to Baker then the teacher would turn me back and I wore and tore
the front part of my speller out and I finally got beyond Baker; grammer
was not in it. Writing was done with a goose quill whittled down to
a point by the Teacher; my mother had no geese and I had to take a
Turkey quill. Our school furniture consisted of long benches made out
of split logs and Hewn down with some smoothness and sticks inserted for
legs. There would be eight and ten Boys on a Bench--we had greased
paper for window lights--and a big Fireplace in one end of the House.
Marys little Lamb was not born then.
I was well acquainted with the woman that made the Brown jeans for Abe Lincoln.
Mr and Mrs Miller came to Iowa the same year my Parents and I came from Illinois--Nancy
Miller was a relative of Abe Lincolns mother. Their maiden names were
Hanks. I well recollect the drive Mr. And Mrs. Miller had one day.
They were driving two Horses in a wagon through some stumpy ground and the
Horses got frightened at something and began to run and the old Lady thought
she would help the old man hold the Horses and grabed the lines and began
to yank back and the lines broke and the old man went out backward on his
head. As he got up on his knees he looked up and saw his wife still
in the wagon and the Horses going at full speed. He says throw yourself
out Nancy. Throw yourself out Nancy yonder comes a stump.
There are many laughable incidents that happened in the early days--my head
is full of them but I forbear. In early days milling was quite an object.
My Father had a hand mill for grinding corn and Buckwheat. My uncle
H Mickey came to my Fathers one day very hungry He says to my Mother
I am very hungry. She says Harrison there is no meal in the House.
Harrison went to the Buckwheat bin and got some Buckwheat and ground it and
my Mother made him some Buckwheat Pancakes with honey and Butter and to see
him relish the Pancakes I wanted some.
I used to drive oxen with a long whiplash on a long stalk sometimes four
and five yoke to a big Plow Breaking up the Prairie sod--and all the dress
I wore was a Buckskin shirt--and in finishing up a land we ran on to many
big snakes some of them Rattlesnakes and I barefoot--and at last I got bit
on the heel by a ratteler I just thought I would die before Breakfast--for
a little Boy had just been bitten and died. I got a long all Right
for a man by the name of Elie Marshal cut in to my heel and sucked the Poison
When a Boy I often wanted to go west. I cried to go to Oregon in forty
seven. One of my neighbors went to Oregon that year by the name of
Hackelman and settled near now Albany. The Indians use to come to my
Fathers House and tell of the big game out west--and I use to play with the
Indian boys as Boys and we use to throw the Tomahalk at stumps and trees
and wrestle and jumped and some times fight. How often I have
seen Indians on their Trails all going in a Tandom form--those old Trails
could be seen long after the whites had crowded the Indians back from the
Prairie. One of those Trails ran through my Fathers farm it ran from
Peoria Illinois to Council Bluffs Iowa. Council Bluffs use to be a
great resort for the Indians. When we went to Iowa there were no Roads
and if we wanted to go any place across those Prairies we would stear for
some timber or run by the compass. It was woe unto the man that got
lost on those Prairies, especially in the winter time or in the fall of the
year when the grass is dry and the fires got started. Few generations
from now will know nothing of the early settlement of those Prairies.
The first settlers squated near or in the timber and had rail fences around
their farms and sometimes the Prairie grass would get on fire and the wind
would raise and here would come the fire and clean out fences and all.
The fire would run as fast as a Horse could run if the wind was blowing a
In 1849 my Father died and I being the oldest of eight Boys (my sister being
older than I) left me with all the care of the Farm and to see after the
younger. My father died with the Typhoid fever and after he died seven
of us took sick with the same disease and our Dr Bill ran up and our neighbors
came near eating us out of grubb and Home. No one knows the hardships
we went through. We had a few sheep and Mother would spin wool and
make clothes for us in the winter--and oh how I wanted to go to California
but I could not leave my Mother and little Brothers. In the year fifty
two Mother married again. Then I counted myself free but I had no money
and still I wanted to go west. My Mothers Brothers said if I would
wait one more year they would go with me. The next year came and I
got no one to go west with me. So I went to my old trade Braking Prairie
sod. I had one yoke of cattle and my neighbors let me have young steers
to Brake to the yoke. So the next spring I sold my steers and expected
to run away and go to California. It was the gold mines I was after.
I had been fooled so often. So one Sunday while Mother and the Boys
were at Church I packed up my things. I had a chum he came to Church
and found me not there he came on over to our House and wanted to know what
was up. I said nothing he said he knew there was something up and if
I was going to run away he wanted to go along with me. I told him I
was going to California. He wanted me to wait two weeks for him.
We were together almost every day and his Brother older began to suspect
that there was something up with us. He came down to see me and says
John if there is anything up with you and Henry and if you are going to California
I want to go along. I says all right then. He says we must not
run off but come out and let our folks know that we are going. He said
he wanted two weeks to get ready. So it was all fixed up and we were
to have the consent of our parents. The boys Parents never gave their
consent for them to go but worked all sorts of schemes to stop them from
going with me. But on the 27th of March 1854 we left the Virginia Grove
Louisa County Iowa for California.
We started out from home with big hearts for the gold fields. We expected
to cross the state of Iowa a foot with thirty five Pounds on our backs.
It was a cold cloudy day. We had made engagements to meet a man by
the name Jacob Rhinirson at Kanesville or Council Bluffs and drive a drove
of cattle across the plains for Him. He was going around by the way
of St Louis from Burlington Iowa and bring us up some gum clothes--for the
The first day we went through Crofordsville [Crawfordsville] on to Washington.
That night we slept in an odd fellows Hall. We boys were so green and
bashful that we had to draw cuts and see who should ask to stay over night
with the people.
March 28 Went on to Sigourney that evening it snowed about one foot
deep. We found the Town a very rough place. That night we Boys
slept with our Revolvers under our heads for safety.
March 29 Crossed the Skunk River on to our old friend Hartmans at Rose
Hill. The Hartman Boys and I use to be school mates in Louisa County.
It was very wet and muddy all day. We stopped at the middle of the
day and staid with the Boys.
[March] 30 Next morning started for Oskaloosa. One of the Hartman
Boys went with us to Oskaloosa. Oskaloosa is a beautiful town in a
fertile country. Crossed the Demoines River at Bell Fountain fifteen
miles below the forks--thence on to Edward Stones. Henry Owens fell
in love with a pretty young girl.
[March] 31 Next day went on through Knoxville. The afternoon
we crossed a 16 mile prairie rode in a wagon part of the way. Staid
all night at E. Cones.
April 1st Went through Indian oly [Indianola] on to Abraham Blacks.
[April] 2 Lay over today it being Sunday. Mr Blacks were Kentuckyan--here we got rid of some Kentucky paper money.
[April] 3 Went through Winterset. Saw two Buffalo this country
is hard to beat for its good qualities. We eat dinner at a tavern.
The landlady was one of those primpers her Biscuit was as big as small walnuts.
Thence on to Adar [Adair] County. This was Election day. Nine
voting men in the County.
[April] 4 The timber is very scarse in those Counties. Traveled
all day without seeing any timber at all till just at night we came to a
small grove of timber called Sargents Grove. Here we had some fun.
The old man was a little good natured old soul. The old woman was some
for scold--she had sore eyes that made it worse. Her oldest son had
just got married the day before and brought home his wife and the young wife
undertook to get Breakfast but before she could get at the meal in the meal
Barrel she run seven cats out of the Barrel. If she had sifted the
meal it would have went down much better. Our appetite had left us.
[April] 5 Crossed an other Prairie of 17 miles and came to a
small grove of timber. Here we took dinner after the cat meal Breakfast.
Crossed an other big Prairie and came to Nishnabotny [Nishnabotna] River
and staid the night.
[April] 6 On through Indian town. Rode in a wagon the fore part
of the day. Took dinner at Owens grove crossed the Nishnabotny River
at some Mills. Thence on to a Peddlers Ranch staid all night.
[April] 7 Got to Kanesville or Council Bluffs. This is a rough
place. The town stands under a Bluff. It is two miles from the
Missouri River. Everything was very high here in the way of grub--50
cents per meal. While we were waiting for Rhinerson we cut cord wood on the
River Bottom land at a dollar and a half a day. We were scarse of money.
While we were cutting wood Henry Owings [John sometimes write Owens and sometimes
Owings] borrowed ten dollars of me to go up Town to Buy an ax.
He said he lost the money and came back without the ax.
We waited for Rhinerson to come till the twenty seventh of April. He
was to have been here on the fifteenth of April. We made arrangements
to cross the Plains with an old man and his family by the name of Charles
Miller. He had two sons and three daughters and one son inlaw
He had two young men and one man and wife. He had three wagons and
eight yoke of oxen two cows under yoke. We had to Pay forty dollars
a Piece and drive Team one half of the time and he found everything .
We felt sorrow for Jacob Rhinerson but he did not come to time. Afterwards
some of the Boys saw him in Oregon.
April 28 We started from Council Bluffs for California the very same
day Rhinerson came to the Bluffs but it was all too late. He said he
had had two horses stolen out of his heard and that delayed him. We
went down the river twelve miles to cross the Missouri River. We were
all in a big glee.
April 29 We crossed the River. Just about twelve oclock the last
wagon went over on the west side. Ready to role out on the Plains.
Some of the Boys were very full of old rye. We traveled 15 miles that
afternoon and Past an Indian grave yard. We find no Ranches or houses west
of the Missouri River. Some Omaha Indians camped under the Bluff opposite
Council Bluffs. Plenty of nice country but no one to occupy it.
April 30 Crossed the Elk Horn River. This is a small River that
Puts into the Platt River on the north side much grass here.
May 1st Camped on the north bank of the Platt River. The Pawnee
Indians were very saucy. Our Horses ran back to the Elk Horn River.
We had some suspicion of the Indians stampeding them. We formed ourselves
into a compy and Elected a Captain and a Lieutenant Capt. Mr Nash was
our Captain. We had forty two able bodied men besides that many women
and Children. When we go into camp we formed our wagons into a sort
of Hollow square. Put a man on gard and sometimes two men--one to guard
the stock that may be off at a distance.
May 2 Crossed Mud Creek on an old Emigrant Bridge. The Indians
made us pay toll. We gave them some bread but they wanted more and
some money. I was driver that day and the Captain ordered me to take
the lead in crossing the Bridge with my team. Some 6 Indians stood
on the Bridge to resist. I had a Revolver in one hand and the whip
in the other besides others had shooting irons--and the Indians Backed down
but the next Emigrant trane came a long the Indians made them give a cow.
This Mud Creek was a long deep miry stream. I was told that the Mormons
Built the Bridge. The timber in the Bridge must have been hauled a
hundred miles. This is on the Plains and no timber in sight.
May 3, 4, 4,6 Lay by part of the day camped on the Plains no timber.
Came Loop Fork--the Ferry was very Poor so we went up Loop Fork some three
days travel. The land up along here is grand level and nice.
We past an old mission that had rotted down it lay on the south side of a
May 7 Crossed the Loop Fork the ford was deep we had to Prop our wagon
Boxes or wagon Beds up on the top of the standards. The River Bottom
was full of quick sand and we had to go with a rush as we would sink in the
May 8 Crossed over some very sandy Hills. It was a very windy
day. The sand Blew in our Eyes and cut like everything. Camped
on Prairie creek here. Here was our first introduction to Buffalo chips.
The women and girls did not like them at first but before two weeks past
over you could have seen them out just before a rain finding Buffalo chips.
May 9 Traveled six miles before Breakfast to get wood to cook with.
It was very cold wet morning. After Breakfast went a head and camped
on mud creek. This is another mud creek.
May 10 No wood nothing but Prairie and it was the Plains indeed and
truth. Here we could see emigrant wagons as far as the Eye could see
west or East.
May 11 Camped on the Platt. Rained hard half of the night and no wood and the Buffalo chips wet.
May 12 Traveled half the day rain the other half and we laid over.
May 13 Pulled up on higher ground and lay over all day and it just
rained till it was a foot deep on the Bottom land on the Platt.
May 14 Going up Platt and it raining and hailing then more rain and it Blew--it Blowed it was windy.
May 15 Camped on Platt in a low spot or place of ground it rained all
night thundered and lighning it Blew all the tents over and upset some wagons.
May 16 We were like drownded rats and no wood to make a fire we traveled
till noon without our Breakfast. Plenty of Coyotes but few deer.
Some antelope no Buffalo as yet.
May 17 Camped on North Bluff creek. This is the last trace of
wild turkeys. It was strange how the wild turkeys got up the Platt
[May]18 Going up the Platt the country is all a like only more so.
[May]19 Struck camp creek and camped. More Coyotes and wolf and dead Buffalo.
May 20 Camped on castle creek in places the sand hills are larger.
[May]21 It just rains and it rains as we go up the Platt River.
[May]22 Past Bluff ruins camped opposite Court House Rock. Court House Rock is on the south side of the Platt River.
[May]23 Camped opposite Chimney Rock my but she is a beauty standing out
on the Bluffs hundreds of feet high. Some Fertile land here if the
farmer had water on it.
[May]24 Past a great many graves--the Cholera in 1852 was very bad along
here. Quite a number of the Morgans from Louisa County slept here.
Camped on spring creek.
[May[25 and still going up Platt.
[May]26 Camped 4 miles below Fort Larima.
[May]27 Lay by cattle took a stampeed. There were quite a number of
Indians Buryed up in some big cottonwood trees. They were wrapped up
in blankets and laid away to dry--for the Resurrection morn.
May 28 Came up opposite Fort Laramie two of our men had a fight.
One had a Hatchet the other had a club. Fort Laramie is two miles from
the Emigrant Road up the Laramie River. Camped in the Black hills.
Here is the first Pine timber we came too.
[May]29 The mountains very rough and much cobble stone hard on cattles feet camped in the Hills.
[May]30 Camped on the west side of the Black Hills.
[May]31 Camped near an old volcano quite a scenery to us Boys. We were back from the River in the hills.
June 1st Camped between sandy hills and the Platt River--a mysterious Country this.
June 2 Camped near a Cheyenne village two miles east of the village
and one mile west of the village an other train camped called the milk train.
They had some twenty five or thirty cows and there were seven girls in the
train. In the evening Henry Owings a Dutchman and I went up past the
Indian village to the milk train to see the Girls. We staid there till
bed time and started back to our camp and as we were going past the Indian
village the Indians got after us. They intended to run us in to their
village but we broke ranks and ran out in to the sand hills. We were
wearing moccasins and we got in to the Cactus and the Cactus got in our feet
but we got away from the Indians. But we did not get to camp till next
June 3 Our last night on the Platt River--after coming over some sandy hills and bad Roads.
[June]4 Past the willow springs. Here is another grave yard of the unfortunate emigrants Cholera in 1852.
[June]5 Here we came to Sweetwater--past Independence Rock--a Rock that lays
out in the valley covering some five acres with quite a reservoir on top
of it. This is the real Rockey Mountains.
June 6 Past the Devils Gate. This is a deep cut through the spur
of the mountain. It is four hundred feet deep. Sweetwater runs
through this cut.
[June]7 Camped on Sweetwater the Boys went fishing.
[June]8 At times we are crowded back from the River by sand hills and rough canyons. So we camped on a sand Bank.
[June]9 Going up Sweetwater--the mountains very high and no grass. The land is sandy and gravely.
[June]10 Camped on the head of Sweetwater. Some of our cattle got alkalied.
I was chief Doctor. I put down several sides of fat Bacon to counter
act the Poison.
June11 Past over the divide Between the waters of the two great Oceans.
Along the Divide are a great many Red Rubys. The old Rockeys are full
[June]12 Camped on little sandy--grass poor.
[June]13 Camped on Big Sandy grass no better. This is a Barren Country sandy and sage Brush.
[June]14 Camped on Green River after crossing it on a Mormon Ferry. We swam the cattle a cross the current was very swift.
[June]15 Camped on Hams Fork--Road very uneven sage Brush.
[June]16 Camped on Black Fork.
[June]17 Camped near Fort Bridger. Here we got some grizly Bear meat. Country no good.
[June]18 Camped in the utaugh[Utah?] mountains.
[June]19 Camped near a stone coal Bank.
[June]20 Camped on Echo Creek.
[June]21 Going through Echo Canyon this is a narrow pass through the mountains--and the mountains are very high on either side.
June 22 Crossed weber River. This is a rapped running stream.
[June]23 Traveled up a Creek twelve miles. We crossed it fifty three
times--and the further up the deeper it got. We left the Creek and
crossed over a high mountain that had snow on it. We went down the
mountain four miles and camped. Part of the mountain was that steep
we had to lock all the wheels then hold down the hind end of the wagon.
[June]24 After traveling all day down the mountain we came to the edge of the great Salt
Lake valley and camped.
[June]25 We went in to the City of Brigham Young. This is a Beautiful
City. It is a Beautiful location for a City. There is water as
clear as Crystal runing on all sides of the streets. The mountains
are very high north and East of the City. There is snow in sight the
year round. The City is some distance from the Lake. Beautiful
landscape--the soil very Prolific wheat and all kind of garden stuff and
June 26 We camped in the edge of Town close by some hot springs.
The water was quite hot and it run quite a stream of water. The Boys
went to Church. The wall round the City is not worth mutch. Part
of it is of Rock--the other part is of Doby [adobe]. The City is all
Doby Houses except the temple and it is being made of granite. The
walls were up ten feet for the temple.
[June]27 We left the City. Traveled twenty three miles up the valley--Past
near the Lake. We met a great many people going into the City to a
big meeting two women to one man and Children by the score. I did or
we did not see old Brigham Young he was out of Town down in Jordan.
[June]28 Past a number of small Towns walled in to keep the Indians out in
hostile times. Crossed the weber River again this time near its mouth.
There was a Ferry.
[June]29 Past two small Towns which had stone walls around them. Crossed Ogdon River.
[June]30 Camped 14 miles from Bear River--out in a nice valley.
July 1st Lay over and Killed a fat cow we got of the Mormons--eat Beef
Potatoes and other good things. This is the upper end of the valley.
We are 80 miles from the City of Salt Lake.
[July]2 Crossed Bear River. This is the third River we have crossed
since we left the City---all of which Puts into the great Salt Lake.
There is two more that puts in on the south.
[july]3 Traveled all day long. Had but little water. Camped on
some salt springs--the water quite Brakish--some sage Brush.
4th of July We all shot off our guns in the morning gave a few cheers
and went a head. We traveled 28 miles that day without water the road
dry and dusty. This is one of the Fourths I can never forget.
Some of the Boys nearly Famished for water.
July 5th Camped on sink Creek. This part of the Country has no streams.
There is springs start up in the mountains and sink in the sands.
[July]6 Camped at a spring 20 miles from sink Creek. This Country is a kind of a desert.
[July]7 Camped on blamsood[?] Creek.
[July]8 Camped on the side of Goose Creek mountains [Grouse Creek Mountains?].
Here we had a time about the cattle where we should heard them. Some
wanted them taken down the mountain to graze.
[July]9 In the morning we went down a very steep mountain. Some emigrants had to let their wagons down with Ropes.
[July]10 Traveled 20 miles and past one spring and camped on bad water too Bad.
[July]11 Camped in Thousand Spring valley. This valley has a thousand
or more springs in it. They are deep round holes from four feet to
ten feet a cross and ten feet deep and full of fish.
[July]12 Camped on the head waters of the Humbolt River. Had a row in camp about greasing wagons.
[July13 Camped on the Humbolt River.
[July]14 Crossed the Humbolt River and went down on the south side some two
hundred miles. This River has a great quantity of alkalye in it which
makes the water very unhealthy for man and Beast. The grass is good
all the way down. Every days travel was just a like to me on this River.
Our train split up back at Green River some went by the way of old Fort Hall
ten wagons of us went by Salt Lake. We stood gard every night
so far and had no trouble with the Indians. I got alkalyed on the Humbolt
and had bowel complaint--one week. We had no sickness on the Pl.
July 26 We crossed back over on the north side of the River. We crossed
the River in a wagon Box or Bed. Here we left the River 70 miles from
July 27 I will give you the following description of the Country and
roads from Humbolt River to the Sacramento valley by Honey Lake valley and
Nobles Pass. From the Humbolt to Cold Springs 14 miles--course west
roads level water sufficient for one hundred head of Cattle or stalk [stock?]
at a time good Bunch grass on the hillsides and heads of canyons.
July 28 Thence to Rabbit hole springs 18 miles course north and west--road
ascending about two miles through a low gap of mountain range--then descending
slightly eight miles the rest nearly level to Rabbit hole--Bunch grass south
east and south west for three miles. Here we had very poor water.
The cattle lay dead all round.
July 29 Thence to Granite creek 32 miles. Course West Road for the
first six miles has a few gulches the remainder is then an entire desert
and as smooth as a planed floor--and nearly as hard and not a vestige of
vegetation on it for twenty six miles. Granite creek comes out of a
notch in the mountains on the right hand pretty well at the end. Leave
the desert by turning in to this gap half a mile to camp.
[July]30 Bunch grass on the foot hills. Lie over one day. Thence
to hot spring point 3 miles course south of south west--road level distance
three miles. Gras good all along on the Boiling springs scattered all
through which makes it dangerous to let stock range out.
[July]31 Thence to Deep springs 7 miles course north west Road level--grass
and water in abundance of the very Best quality. 4 head of cattle died
from the effect of alkaly here to fore. Thence on to Buffalo springs
10 [or 16] miles course north west and west--Road level. Directly after
leaving the springs you enter a desert after passing over an arm of it of
eight miles. Then eight miles through sage you come to the Bed of a
large dry creek its Banks covered with dry grass for some distance.
One half mile from this and about two hundred paces on the right hand are
August 1st Thence to Smoke creek meadows 13 miles course west six miles
level ground. Then four miles over lava hills to the creek. Thence
up the creek along the canyon three miles to camp.
August 2 Here is an extensive valley from three hundred yards to three miles
wide its length is not ascertained. This valley Produces Clover Bunch
grass of most luxurient growth. Thence to Mud springs 9 miles course
west. You travel up Smoke Creek meadows 2 miles then over the point
of a low ridge into Rush valley. This valley is two miles long by half
a mile wide. Excellent grass and water. The Road here is on Table
land fifty to seventy feet above the level of the Plains or Desert and is
[August]3-5 Thence to Susan River 9 miles course west six miles. Emigrants
should start early from Mud Springs as the Road is covered with Cobble stone
which makes it slow and tedious. It is nearly level till you decend
slightly to the valley of the stream known as Honey Lake valley. This is
a delightful valley. Its soil is of the most Productive kind and is
from five to seven miles wide and a Bout twenty five in length and covered
with clover--Blue joint--Red top--Bunch grass in great abunance. The
stream abounds in mountain trout which are easily taken with hook and line.
[August]6 Here we lie over one day.
[August]7-8 Thence to the head of the valley 14 miles--course west.
We cross willow creek two miles after leaving camp on Susan River.
This stream rises in the west runs east out of the Sierra Nevada mountains
into the valley and about twenty five miles down it to Honey Lake.
August 9-11 Thence to summit 18 miles. Immediately after leaving the
valley we enter open but heavy pine and cedar woods--not unwelcome to the
sun scorched emigrants-- and here we commence ascending the Sierra Nevada
gradually. The Road some what stony in places. The ascent is
so gradual it seems as much down grade as up. In fact a great part
is level and enough of timber on one mile on each side of the Road from the
valley to the summit to Build a double Railway track to the Missouri River.
Course west--grass and water. Thence to Pine Creek course north west
to avoid a cluster of Buttes--road level grass and water good. Thence
to Black Butte Creek 12 miles course northwest four miles then turning west
to south west--grass and water--Road level. Here we heard the California
Lion Roar as if they were about to take us in. The Country here and
for twenty miles back must be considered the summit as it is impossible to
ascertain the precise place owing to the flatness of the country. The
small streams that arise on the Buttes and run down their sides and sink
or form small lakes and marshes--their not being slope sufficient to
run of[f] the water. Thence to Black Butte 6 miles course south west road
heavy sand. This Butte has been a live volcano one day. It is
a bout one mile high and as round as a tea cup upside down. It has
a hole in top some four hundred feet deep. This Butte is all composed
of loose sand and Burnt cinders. Henry Owens and I went to the top
of this Butte on our all fours--and in coming down we just slid__________.
Thence to Pine meadows 4 miles west--Road level and good. Thence to
Hat Creek 4 miles north west. Road gradually sloping only about one
hundred feet where a wagon wheel need be locked. Bears very plenty
August 12 We find all sorts of Berries in those mountains Straw Berries--Rasp
Berries--thimble Berries--Salal Berries--goose Berries--whortle Berries--Grapes--salmon
Berries and munsanuter[?] Berries. Thence to Lost Creek 2 miles course
west. Thence to Deer Flat 14 miles course west. The two first
miles slightly up hill. After a distance of forty miles embracing the
entire western slope of the Sierra Nevada it is almost a perfect grade to
the Sacramento River. Deer Flats is quite a little valley. Here
were two Ranches or farms. Emigrants stoped here to Recruit their stock.
Here the old man Miller came to a halt for two weeks. We lie over eight
days. In the meantime Mr. Miller and Bradford Owens went to Shasty
City and Back 52 miles distance. Henry Owens was sick. I put
the time in hunting Deer. I killed a very large Buck the meat was worth 14
cts a pound drest he weighed two hundred pounds drest a Blacktail Deer.
I sold the half for ten dollars and Barbacued the other half--some call it
jurk. Deer Flats here we left Mr. Miller and family it was a trying
time to leave the old man he was so good to us all the way a cross the Plains.
It was more so to leave the girls especially the oldest one--the one I took
all over the Devils Gate. We carved our names on the highest Rocks
at the Devils Mountain--also on Independence Rock--we left our names one
over the other--and now we must part for good A Dieu poor Kate.
August 20 Brad and Henry Owens and I took a notion to go over to Humbolt
Bay--distance three hundred miles from Deer Flat. We got in with some
emigrants that was going over with loose stock. Brad and Henry Owens
made arrangements to drive stock for the old man Wilson for their Board.
I went over on the same terms with one Mr. Dobyns. I left one day before
Brad and Owens. In the first place Mr. Dobyns put me to driving Cattle.
Mr. Dobyns nephew lead an ox with a Pack on (his the ox) had three hundred
and fifty pounds on his Back. The nephew could not lead the ox to suit
the old man so I had to lead him three hundred miles over mountains of the
worst sort. On the 20 day of August I bid the Miller family a Dieu--thence
from Deer Flats to McCumbers Mills 8 miles. Here I saw a water wheel
sixty feet in diamiter overshot. Thence to Shingle Town 3 miles--Charls
Ranch 4 miles--Page & Smiths 6 miles Dr. Blacks on Bear Creek 7 miles
Fort Reading on Cow Creek 4 miles Sacramento River 3 miles. Then went
down the river to Cotton wood Creek 20 miles. The valley here is very poorly
settled on the account of much sickness. It is very sickly in the fall
of the year--Ague or chills and fever. The land is very level in the
valley. It is covered with large oak trees--but very scattern.
It has many small stones that makes it bad to Farm. The Roads good
in the fall of the year but very sticky in the rainy season.
Crossed over thence up Cotton wood Creek 8 miles. Some very good farms
on the this Creek. This Creek Runs East. We went up Cotton wood
20 miles to what is called the Arbuckle mines. Here is the first mining
I saw. Those diggings is what is called surface digins. There
was over five acres of Earth sluiced off clean to the ledge Rock in one place.
It was a great curiosity to me to see the ditches on the sides of the mountains
they took the water out of Cotton wood Creek to those mines five miles distance.
It looked to as though the water run up hill in those ditches. I longed
to try my hand at mining.
Thence on to Hay Fork of the Trinity River. We went over very high
mountain going over to hay fork.. This is a great place for making hay and
packing it on mules to the Sacramento River distance 35 miles over mountains.
There is some mining going on here but not very extensive. Thence to
Trinity River over a large mountain 16 miles. There was no mining on
the River where we crossed it but the mines was very extensive down the River
30 miles below. Thence on to the top of the coast range of mountains.
We started early in the morning and traveled all day and then we did not
get to the summit. We camped in one mile of the summit.
August 28 That night a big grizzly Bear came in to camp and was going
to take in my pack ox for his supper. We all out and after him with
fire Brands till he left camp. Bear is very plenty here. We saw
three or four going about camp that night. Next morning we started
on by daylight for we thought it best to get out of there. We soon
came to the summit. We found some snow on top of the mountain.
Here we had a good view of all the Country round for we were on the highest
mountain a round a bout there. It was a nice clear day. Here
was the first glimps I got of the great Pacific Ocean. I could look
a way over the mountains west and see the great waters and you must know
we are one hundred and twenty five miles from the coast--and yet we could
see it distinctly. On we went over some Bald mountains gradually decending
toward the coast the Indians very numerous and very saucy. Brad and
Henry Owings came a long here three days after and the Ingins shot arrows
into the camp but did not hit any one but shot a cow.
August 29 Next day we traveled on a decending ridge all day.
Saw plenty of game of all sorts. We came on to some sqaws picking grass
seeds. When they saw us they droped every thing and run for life.
We camped in the edge of the big Redwood timber--that is a very large
kind of timber. It looks very much like cedar timber. It grows
very thick on the ground. The avrage size is about ten feet through
and a bout three hundred feet long high. We saw some trees thirty and
forty feet through--four hundred feet high. The Bark is over one foot
thick. The Bark is very hard to chop. It gums up an ax.
We traveled 32 miles through this timber. It was so dence and thick
that we only got one glimps of the sun the whole way through. As we
went through the redwoods we had to wind a bout some on the account of the
big logs that lie in the way. The land has a gradual slope all the
way towards the coast. When we got out so that we could see the sun
we found ourselves in the head of Eel River valley. This valley is
thickly settled in 1854. We went down the valley 7 miles. Here
we came to the old man Dobyns Farm. Dobyns crossed the plains in company
with Millers and us and now he had got home to his farm once more.
He is keeping Batch. There were near one hundred farms in this valley
and only one that had a white wife. There were a great many that had
Indian women or Squaws for wives even some that had wives in the states.
Eel River valley is a Beautiful Place. Soil is of the most productive
Kind. It lies ten miles from the coast. I saw fifty two Bushels
of wheat to the acre. This valley is 20 miles in length from 4 to 8
miles wide. I lay over here two days to rest my self after leading
an ox three hundred miles over the worst mountains I ever saw a trail on.
September 1 The ox I lead Packed three hundred Pounds. The reader
ought to have seen me climbing the mountains and leading an ox after me.
Poor old Buck he got fat in this valley and then went to the Butchers to
get his throat cut. Brad and Henry was to land up on the Humbolt Bay
some twenty five miles north of here. I thought I must go on and see
the Boys and see the great ocean. I put my hand into my Pocket and
not a cent was there. So I thought I would try and get work and earn
some money. I started out to hunt work. I hunted up and down
the valley two day and not a lick of work could I get to do for money.
All had no money. They were just living with out money. Now I
was getting in a bad fix in debt ten dollars and had no clothes--only them
that was on my Back. They were ragged and very lousey--lice there was
not a stich but what had a louse on. So I struck out for the Bay 15
miles distance. I went beging my way and going down to the Bay my shirt
naturally crawled off of me. I went a head. The first man I saw
I wanted to know if he wanted to hire any help. He looked at me and
then said no Sir. I told him what sort of a fix I was in. He
then wanted to know if I was a farmer. I told him I was. So we
struck up a trade. He was to pay me fifty dollars per month.
I told him I wanted a new suit of clothes. So he took me down to Fort
Buxport and I got a suit of clothes. They cost me nine dollars.
That Put me in debt nineteen dollars. So I went to working on a Farm.
This man was an old Batchelor. He was off on buisness most of the time
so I had to Boss the farm--milk the cows and churn cook and mak e Butter.
This farm lay one mile from the Bay up on a bench of the mountain.
Here I had a good view of the Bay and the inlet or entrance of the Bay--very
small amount of farming done here.
September 5th This is a great Lumbering Country--six saw mills on the Bay--one
at Buxport--one at Union Town and four at Eureka. There was one hundred
saws running in one mill at Eureka. The most of them are up and down
saws or gang saws--fifteen Circle saws and a big Plaining machine all under
one roof. Humbolt Bay is 25 miles long and one and a half wide.
It is surrounded on two sides with heavy timber Principally Red wood and
spruce and fir timber. I had a beautiful view of the ocean and Bay
where I worked. It was a Beautiful sight to see nine and ten ships
cruising a round the enterance of the Bay waiting for the little Tug to bring
them in to the Bay. It is a great Buck wheat country. I thrashed Buck
wheat with a Flail the biger part of the time I was here. The old man
was very crabbie. He and I would fall out nearly every day. I
worked here one month and a half and all I got for it was nine dollars worth
of Clothes and a gun worth twelve dollars.
While I was at work here Brad and Henry came to see me. I had not seen
or heard of them since I left them at the Camp on Deer Flats. They
came over three days after I came. The man they started over with run
out of provisions so the Boys left him 85 miles Back on the mountains.
The old man was bringing over cattle and they came slow. The Boys got
lost in the mountains and were out three days without eating. When
they found them selves they were close to Union Town on the head of the Bay--35
miles up the coast from Eel River. As soon as they got to Union Town
they came across a man that wanted to hire some hands to go up to Gold Bluffs
with him to mine. The Boys were to get seventy five dollars per month
each. They worked one month and quit the Gold Bluffs. They came back
down to the Bay to where I was working. They were in good circumstances
by this time. They had a good suit of Clothes and fifty dollars besides.
We were happy to see each other for it had been near two months since we
saw each other.
Just at the time the Boys came down to see me the People of Humbolt
County held an Election for the County Seat. They had a great time
of it. Union Town wanted it. Eureka wanted it and so did Buxport.
Each Town had called in all the men they could rake up and the thing was
hot every thing free for all hands--eat and drink as you pleased. We
got a little too full of Liquors such as brandy and wine. I did not
know that Brandy and wine would cause drunkenness so easy. I must confess
I got drunk and as I began to loose my Eqilebrium I started for home.
I got home but I hardly know how. Some of the Boys said I went three
Roads for home. A sicker Child never was. This is the first time
and I hope it will be the last time.
After I got sobered up the Boys and I left. The Boys went up the coast
to Trinidad Bay. There is a great deal of goods Packed from this Town
to the mines on Trinity and Salmon Rivers. The Boys and I got in to work
here getting out lath timber for a mill Company . We could make sixty
five dollars per month. I worked here two months in the Red woods.
The largest tree we cut down was eight feet through. There were only
three farms near Trinidad and one of them was made from one tree--House Barn
and fences and half the tree left. It was twelve foot through and two
hundred feet to the first limb and it split like a ribbin. I got lost
in the red wood timber fell over a Precipice into an alder tree top 30 feet
and if I had went any further I would have fell two hundred feet. Here
Brad Owens found me. My fall was on account of a big loose Rock I steped
on and it slid down the mountain.
The Boys and I and an old Salor went out on the Ocean one day in a little
Roe Boat as a pleasure trip and while we were out we run on to a whale and
the whale began to play with us. He would stand on its head and try
to lash us with its tail. Then it would dive down under the Boat and
come up on the other side and a little closer. The old Salor turned
white and he said Boys we must get out of here. We all got to the oars
and began to pull for the shore. If Mr. Whale had hit our Boat
it would have been all day with us.
While we were at Trinidad there was a big whale came a shore and died.
The mill man sent the Boys and I down with Kettles and Barrels to render
up the Blubber but by the time we got ready to render the Indians came on
to us and claimed the whale. They said the Great Spirit had sent that
whale to them and they were ready to fight for it. In less than 24 hours
there were 75 Indians around that whale. So we gave it up to them but
before we gave it up they had their knives out ready to fight. The
whale was a big one about sixty feet long and eight or nine feet through.
After this I left Trinidad. It was the 23 of December I started for
Jacksonville O.T. I left the Boys at Trinidad. They stayed there
till the next spring and then went up on the Klamath River to mine.
When I left Trinidad I had one hundred and thirty dollars. I got on
a steamship at Trinidad and went up to Crescent City distance 60 miles.
This was the first ship I was ever on. The name of it was The Southerner.
She was a large ship but very old and shaky. They run her on a sand
Bar and left her. It cost me17 dollars to Crescent City and 13 to Jacksonville.
I was seasick all night for we were out all night on the old tug or tub.
Crescent City is quite a Town. It sits on the Beach just in the edge
of the Redwood timber. She is in California close to the Oregon line.
It is one hundred fifteen miles from here to Jacksonville Oregon over very
bad mountains--only a Pack trail when I came out, but in 1857 they made a
wagon Road. I left Crescent City the day I landed. I had two
Pair of Blankets and a sachel of clothes on my back. I got out of Town
three or four miles and got stuck in the mud. Good luck would have
it a pack train came along and took me in. They packed my Blankets
and I helped drive the mules. On Christmas day of 1854 I can always
remember we were crossing over Smiths River mountain. This is a very
long and high mountain. It rained it snowed it hailed and froze.
There was not a dry stick on me at night. There houses were far a part
from five to ten miles one strech twenty miles. We came over to Illinois
valley every little Creek was up and full of water. We lie over at
one two days waiting for the water to fall. It was raining all the
time and it got higher all the time. We fell a tree across and Packed
our cargo over on a foot log and swam the mules over. This was working
my passage. I got to Jacksonville the last day of December 1854 and
that night it snowed.
January 1st Jacksonville is quite a Town. There are seven stores
two fire proof Buildings. She is in the edge of Rogue River valley.
The mines is just in the edge of Town or from Town Back two and three miles.
On new years day I went hunting with my uncle H K Wasson. The snow
on the mountains was four feet deep. We had very poor luck saw no deer
or Bear. My uncle has been mining here two years. He came here
in the fall of 1852. I went to work with him in the gold mines about
one mile from Jacksonville on what is called Jackson Flats. I worked
twenty two days for an interest with him in some old claims and I bought
out his old Pardner gave him ten dollars. So I came in full Pardner
with my uncle in his mines. The first thing I done was to lay in plenty
of provisions for the rest of the winter--flour was eight dollars per hundred--Bacon
forty--Beef twenty five--coffee 331/3 a pound sugar the same--mining Boots
eight and ten dollars per pair. Every thing in proportion.
I thought this were some for high Prices. It took the last cent I had
to Buy my winters Provisions. I went to work on the 25 of January 1855.
When I first set in to mining we used a long tom. This is a machine
that takes a great deal of work to tend it. The long tom and the Cradle
was the go. But I claim to be the first man to start sluices in the
Jackson mines. I saw some sluices as I went through California and
took particular notice of them how they were made and how they were set.
I got some lumber sawed to order and made some sluices and went using them.
We could make pay with sluices where we would starve with a long tom.
The gold lay in pockets around Jacksonville mines. Some days we would
make [more] and some we would make less. Rogue River valley is hard
to beat for Beauty and fertility.
June 1st Jacksonville is in the southwest corner of the valley. There
is Sterlingville nine miles south Jacksonville. In the fall and winter
of 1855 there were over six hundred miners in Sterlingville. One day
I went over to Sterlingville to see the mines and as I was looking around
I came on to F.F. Curran. He was mining down the Creek four miles from
Sterlingville at a little Town called Bunkamville. I staid all night
with him then went back to Jacksonville. I mined here with my uncle
H K Wasson till the first of June. The water run down in the ditches
that we could not work for the lack of water. Up to this time I had
cleared two hundred and fifty dollars so I had three hundred and fifty dollars
clear of expenses.
5th of June W.D. Wasson came over from Yreka to see us. He took
sick and had to stay. So I took his Horse Back to Yreka for him.
Yreka is 55 miles from Jacksonville south. I started on the 7th went
up Bear Creek valley 18 miles from Jackson. There I found my old friends
the Grubbs living on a nice and beautiful farm. I was happy to see
them. From Samuel Grubbs I went on to Yreka. I crossed the Syskyou
mountains on through Cottonwood Town. This is quite a mining place.
Next crossed the Klamath River on through Shasta valley a cross Shasta River
three miles further on I came to Yreka. This is a large mining Town.
The mines are very extensive a bout Yreka.
I was at Yreka on Sunday. This is a day miners do all their trading.
I saw over five thousand people in Town that day. From here I went
over to Humbug Creek ten miles from Yreka. Here I Found my old Friend
Wm K Dryden. He was mining on this Creek. He was drest in miners
clothes out and out. He had on a Pair of Buckskin Pants some what worn
an old wool Hat and a woolen shirt off up at the elbows--a pair of moccasins
and he was all Kar Dryden. Humbug Creek is a very rich mining Creek.
It is a bout twelve miles long and mining all a long. From here I went
back to Jacksonville. Wm D had got well. So we three went to
work together Prospecting after gold up in the mountains four miles west
from Jackson. We Prospected together till the fourth of July.
Wm D went out to the valley to harvest. All this time we had not made
a dollar. We were spending money all the time. On the 6th of
July uncle and I struck it rich as a Pocket. We called it the mountain
diggins. Wm came back to us in the mountains. We made some money here.
Uncle Hiram left us on the 25 August. He went to the Willamette Valley.
Wm and I worked two weeks by ourselves then F F Curran came over from Bunkamville
and went to work with us. We made three and four dollars per day for
a bout a month.
In August 1855 some of the Rogue River Indians went over on the Klamath River
and killed some of the whites. So that raised the California People
to arms. There was five hundred armed men came over to Rogue River
valley from the Klamath and Yreka and Humbug Creek to kill the ingins that
done the murdering. Those Indians that done the murdering ran back
to Table Rock Fort. When the Californians came over here to the Fort
the Head officer would not let them do anything to the Ingins. He said
he was put there to protect the Indians. So they all went back home
like mad men. So when the Indians found out that they were protected
by the Fort (or Uncle Sam) they broke out hostile all over Oregon and Washington
killing People where ever they could get a chance. They Burned houses
women and Children and this is while we were up in the mountains not knowing
anything of the affair.
One Sunday morning the Boys and I went down to Jacksonville to see what was
going on for we had heard a great deal of shooting off in the valley.
The first thing we saw was the gard around the Town. The cry was Ingins
all over Town. The Indians had killed a man in a half a mile of us
and we did not know any thing of it. We thought best to move down out
of the mountains. The next day we moved down on the flats a bove town
one mile. Three days after F F Curran and two other men were out hunting
deer up close by where we had been all summer. One of the men got shot
by the Indians. Curran and the other came in safe. The People
out in the valley all Forted up--put up Forts by sitting up logs on end in
the ground. Each Fort kept a gard out. F F Curran and I went
out in the valley to see our old friend Grubbs. We found them all Forted
up. There were four or five familys that had gathered together and
Built a Fort--Grubbs with the rest. We were out here ten days--having
a good time. Sometimes the Children were fighting--sometimes the dogs
were fighting. Then there were two girls that appeared very sociable.
They wanted us to stay close by them to keep the Indians of[f]. By
the by the youngest one got married while we were there. She was a
few months over twelve years old. So you see it was not all Ingins
after all. We went back to Jacksonville and went to work on the flats
again. We were drifting and throwing up dirt for the rainy season.
We worked on this way till water came to wash up. It was not very safe
to mine. Someone had to be on the out look for Ingins.
December 1855 It was at this time Kar Dryden came over to see us.
He staid two days then went back to Humbug Creek. I went over with
him to Yreka to Check some money home to my mother. I sent 200 dollars
back to the States. When we started out it was nice and clear but before
we got ten miles out it commenced to rain. We went over the Siskyous
Mountains that day and it rained and snowed all day. At night
I was almost ded. Kar Dryden only would laff at me. Next morning
we went on to Yreka. It was that cold I could not keep warm walking.
I was sick all day. We staid all night in Yreka. The next day
we went over to Humbug Creek. Here I lie over for one week with chills
and fever. As soon as I got better I went back to Jacksonville.
When I got back I had one hundred and thirty dollars left . From June
1855 to the first of January 1856 I just held my own on the money line.
I would make some thirty or forty dollars then I would Prospect and run a
bout till it was all gone.
On Christmas day we Boys Played Cards all day then at night there were some
thirty miners I amonst the rest--we all Belted on our revolvers and went
down to Jacksonville to a big Ball. There were over seventy couple.
Some of the women and girls wore very low necked dresses. We miners
stood and looked on till near midnight. Some of the Ladys turned up
their noses at our miner suit of Cloths. Between Christmas and new years
we were playing cards. At the end of the week I was five dollars looser.
That was my last playing cards for money.
After new years day we went to work ground sluicing. We made
some little money before the water gave out. We three worked on till
the first of March. Then Wm Wasson left and went out to fight Ingins.
He inlisted during the war. The war lasted two months after he inlisted.
F F and I worked on till the last of March. I Bought a mule gave eighty
dollars for it and four dollars for a Packsaddle. F F Curran and I
packed up and left Jacksonville for California. After I Bought the
mule and Pack saddle I had one hundred and fifty eight dollars. We
went from Jackson over to Cotton wood Town. Here I left FF Curran to
make his pile. Here I bought a Riding Saddle gave thirty five dollars
for it. Then I went on to Yreka. Here I got my mule shod.
That cost me four dollars--thence on to Dead wood Town. Here I found
Isaac Shaver a relative of my mother. He was mining on McAdams Creek.
From there I went to Scotts River on Scotts Bar thence down Scotts to the
mouth where it puts into the Klamath River. Went down the Klamath through
Happy Camp thence down eight miles to clear Creek. Here I found Brad
and Henry Owens. They were mining on woods[?] Bar on the Klamath.
When I got here I had one hundred and three dollars left. So I went
to work with the Boys on the Bar. The first thing we did was to cut
through some bed Rock. We were one month cutting Bed Rock. We
had to Blast the most of it. After we got through in to the old channel
we made sixty five dollars a peace. Then the Boys sold out for one
hundred each. Here I Bought a gun. Gave twenty five dollars for
Henry and I left here. Brad went to work out by the mouth a few miles
blow [below?] at eighty dollars a month. Henry and I went up to Yreka
thence on to Cotton wood thence Back to Jacksonville Oregon.
July 1856 We found Wm D Wasson in the hospitle at Jackson. I
had left him to take care of my mining Claims but he had got sick and some
men jumped my mountain Claims so I had arbitration before I could get them
to leave. This cost me twenty five dollars to treat the crowd.
Uncle Hiram Wasson got back from the Willamette Valley the day after I got
back to Jacksonville so uncle and Henry and I went to work on the mountain
Claim. We worked three weeks and made fifteen dollars each. Henry
went to work in the valley harvesting. This was the first of July.
Uncle and I went to prospecting. Prospected two weeks and could not
strike it so we went down to Town to see what was going on there.
There was a great talk a bout good diggings down Rogue River--the meadows
is the place where the soldiers had a fight with the Indians and the volunteers
came in and saved the U.S. army. Wm Wasson was in the fight on hungry
hill. I was on hungry hill after the war was over. It was a poor
place to fight Ingins. Our men were on open ground and the Indians
had timber for shelter. As we went by the way of Leland we came on
down grave Creek. Then we left it and over a very high mountain called
Mt. Rubin--thence down to Whisky Creek and camped. We saw no white
mans sign--nothing but Indian tracks. We thought the best thing we
could do was to go back for there was too much Indian sign for us.
So Back we went next morning as fast as we could and near night we met 18
more Prospectors. We all camped together that night. Next day
we all started for the big meadows again. There was 21 of us.
The Indians were the last of our fear now. We got to the meadows in
three days travel. After we met the 18 when we came to the meadows
we expected to see quite a Town of miners but to our great surprise there
was not a man a bout not even a track--Town or anything. We Prospected
some but could not find any gold so you see the meadows as a mining place
was a Humbug
Back we went to Whisky Creek. Here we met some sixty more Prospectors
going to the meadows. We told our tale they went no further. We thought
we would stop and Prospect Whisky Creek. We found some gold but not
Plenty. We were camped at the mouth of Whisky Creek on the Banks of
Rogue River. So one day we built a raft and crossed the River on the
south side. We Prospected and found some gold on a Bar just opposite
Whisk[y] Creek. We thought it would pay to work. We moved over
and went to work.
August 1856 The first thing we done were to get a whipsaw and saw out
some sluices. We got a saw by paying 2 dollars a day for the use of it.
There were two men by names of R S Vickery and Wm Millard. They had
taken up the water privilege that we were going to use--so we all went in
full Partner. R S Vickery and I went to sawing. Henry Owing--Millard
and uncle went to cutting out troughs for to put some water on a Bar.
We had 6 hundred feet to take the water on the Bar. We got to sluicing
in side of three weeks from the time we commenced sawing it being 12 day
of August 1856. About the time we got the water on the Bar our Provisions
run out. Henry Owings got the ague. The Devil was to pay.
Henry thought he would go over to the Klamath after his Brother Brad.
I took him out to Jacksonville. He got better and went on after Brad.
I got some Provisions and came Back with Wm Wasson. By this time I
had not a cent of mone[y] left. I was just one week gone. The
Boys had not made anything as yet and the ditch was all the time breaking
and letting the water out. We worked on for three weeks and did not
make wages. Henry and Brad got back. Now there were 7 in company.
We all went to work the harder. The mine got to paying better.
Brad Owings and I went out to Rose Burg after mining tools and Provisions--distance
75 miles. Our Pack train were three Indian Ponys and one mule. We had
an awful time. Two of our horses got sick. They got some poison
weeds I think for they never were well afterwards but they would eat as good
as ever. The mule stood it very well. We left the horses on the
Road. We had them loaded with Bacon and a grind stone. We got
back with one horse and the mule. The Boys made fun of us.
By this time the mine was paying from ten to twenty dollars per day to the
hand. My uncle struck a new lead of gold. He got 80 dollars to
the Pan. This was on the Bar that we all had put water on. When
he found this gold he was not willing to let the Boys work on the Bar.
All this time we were in full Partners on the claim--and partners in all
we could find. Just when we wanted money he wanted to act the Hog--and
so he did--but not as much as he thought he could. The Boys had went
to Building houses. We all had come to the conclusion to stop here
for the winter.
They sent me out to get some winters Provision. I went to the valley
and Chartered a Pack train to Pack in Provisions. The first load I
brought in was 18 hundred lbs of flour a hundred of Potatoes--2 hundred of
onions. The next time I went to Rose Burg after grocerys I got six
hundred dollars worth of grocerys. Two hundred of Potatoes--one of
onions--2 hundred of Bacon--one hundred of Butter--22 dz of eggs--mining
boots and clothes--axes saw augurs and Plains--draw knife--Picks and shovels
all came to 1,400 dollars. The merchants thought I was a store keeper.
All the money the Boys made in a bout two months time besides Building three
December 23, 1856 We all had ten months Provisions laid in--and out
of Debt--happy miners we were. We had been Prospecting a Bar down the
River just one mile from the other Bar that we worked on. We thought
it would pay to put water on. This we call Tyee Bar. The upper
Bar was not large enough for us all. So on the 24 of December we commenced
our work on the Tyee Bar ditch or flume one mile long. None of us had
made any flumes. We seven in company went in to it blind as it were--not
one of us had a cent of money to go on only as we diged it out of the ground.
We Bought a whipsaw and two went to sawing lumber for the flume. We
cut our logs 16 feet long. Our flume was eighteen inches on the Bottom
and fourteen inches high. There you see our Bottom Plank was 18 inches
wide and sixteen feet long. The side planks were 14 inches wide and
16 feet long. Brad and Wm Wasson tried the sawing the first--then Henry
and Brad--then Brad and R.S. Vickery went to work and sawed 8 months without
doing any thing else. The Boys put me on the flume as head man.
I had to over see it all. Two kept on mining. It paid them very
well for a time.
April Then the pay got less every day so they quit on the first of
April. From this [time] out we were getting into Debt. Up to
this time we had taken out 2,200 two thousand two hundred dollars.
We were ten months Building the flume and getting ready to mine on Tyee Bar.
We had two and three hands hired the most of the time. Henry Owings
and John Brown were sawing and the saw pit fell down and broke John Browns
Back. We had to Pack him down the mountain on a litter. He was
three months before he got well. We run two saws Part of the time.
Uncle Hiram and Wm Millard run one. Times has been very good so far
with us. We all work hard. The mountain side slid and took off
part of our flume. This cost us three hundred dollars to repair the
damage. F F Curran came over from Cotton wood to Tyee Bar. He
went to work for us packing lumber or flume planks. It was quite a
trick to carry a green plank 18 inches Broad and sixteen feet long around
the mountain. We carried them a half mile some places. The flume
crossed canyons and stuck up on poles twenty five feet high and part of the
way it was on the mountainside and it was that steep we had to lash ourselves
to a tree by a rope to keep us from falling down the mountain. We had
to contend with yellow jacket and Snakes. Our flume was a quarter of
an inch fall to the Rod and at the lower end it was 40 feet above the water
in the River. Tyee Bar is a half mile long by three hundred feet across--from
five to thirty feet deep and mostly round Bolders from a hens egg up to a
ton. The ledge rock runs back level and the gold on the Bed Rock.
July 2 We got the water on the Bar today after a great deal of hard
work. We had an offer for our claim or mine. The man was going
to buy it for the Chinamen. We all set our prices that was eighteen
hundred dollars each--twelve thousand six hundred dollars in all. This
was Judge Snerling from Yreka California. He was to give it in twelve
days but he never came back. Some of the old Indian fighters said the
Chinaman should not come into these parts. There were two men that
let the Chinaman know all about the matters so they backed out on fear of
the Indian fighters.
We all went to work again. We all had been living in the three Houses
on the upper Bar. We sold the Houses on the upper Bar and built a new
house on Tyee Bar. Then we all moved in together and all eat from the
same table. We had a very good miners House. We had a good floor
and glass windows--the first Best of Bunks--a good kitchen and fireplace.
We have a Cook hired at fifty dollars per month. We have a hydraulic--it
cost us one hundred fifty dollars. After we got to mining on Tyee Bar
the Indians broke out here and Robed two miners houses. The miners
went out after the Indians over the worst of mountains but could not catch
them. Henry Owings R S Vickery went. They were almost wore out
when they got back. To our great surprise the mines did not pay as
well as we expected it to. By this time we had got in Debt some seventy
five dollar a pease. After we could not make our Piles on the Bar we
thought we would go into the River so at it we went. Some of us worked
on the Bar. The rest went to work turning the River. We got it turned
but found very little pay. We worked in the River Bed till the 15 of
November. Then we had to get our winters supplys in. We went on credit.
It was nothing to get credit in the mines. I will give you some of
our supplys of Provisions--
Thirty four hundred pounds of flour--at ten cents a pound--four hundred of sugar at
30 cents a pound--one hundred of coffee at
28 cents a pound--Beans seventy five lbs at
20 cents a pound--Bacon three hundred lbs at
30 cents a pound--Butter one hundred lbs at
62 ½ cents a pound--Dried apples 50 lbs at
25 cents a pound--Dried peaches 50 lbs at
30 cents a pound--tea 24 lbs
80 cents a pound--candles 40 lbs at
60 cents a pound--Potatoes 800 lbs
8 cents a pound--lard 50 lbs
30 cents a pound--soap 20 lbs
80 cents a pound--onions 300 lbs
10 cents a pound.
We have many little things too tedious to mention--Paper--salt--salaratus--alspice--ginger--and
nutmeggs. All these things we got on credit besides our own private
things such as Boots--shoes--gumboots--gumcoats. We are not making
any thing just now. There are nine of us staying in one house.
We all mess together. We have a stag dance once and a while.
Isaac Shaver is our Fiddler. I play the Bones--all hands round Bill
go down the middle.
R S Vickery lies out on the mountain all night. He was packing a Jackass
over the mountains. The snow was too deep for him to make it over in
one day. He lie on the snow all night in the morning came on down.
Wm Wasson fell in a shaft 35 feet deep. It was half full of water--he
came out all wet.
November We bought out one of our Pardners. We gave him eight
hundred dollars. He got to drinking too much. He got behind on
his time (we had a law if one of us did not work he had to pay into the companys
purse three dollars per day unless he was sick) one hundred fifty dollars
and got in debt to the company two hundred besides. We bought him out
to get rid of him. I have no use for a drunk man.
The daming of the River did not pay wages--about two dollars per day 420
dollars in all. Now all hands at work on the Bar. We are Prospecting
in the Back part of the Bar. We are running a large cut from the River
back to the mountain. This cut is forty feet wide on the top--thirty
feet on the bottom-- it is thirty feet deep--three hundred feet long.
We were three months running this cut. We got six hundred dollars out
of it. That was the small sum of two dollars a day. Our Board
and expenses were one dollar a day.
December the 25th 1857 The Boys had a jolly time of it. There
were 18 of us. We had two fiddlers and danced till twelve oclock at
night. We had no women to dance with. Half of the Boys got tight.
Next day they were heaving up [Jonah?] all over the House and sick Oh--they
felt bad. I know from experience. We done no work for a week.
That was after new years--new years night was dull.
January 2, 1858 We all went to work as hard as ever for time was getting
pretty tight with us. The storekeepers were coming on to us for Pay.
We just got to making money when the River raised and the water came over
our diggings so we could not work for two weeks. The River was up very
high. It was up within three feet of our house. It raised fifteen
feet one night. We could not get out to the Post Office and it was
a long time that we Boys did not get any letters. We went to the Post
Office once every month. It was 22 miles to the office. It was
a joy to get a letter from home.
May 1858 Time Rolls on. We are still in Debt. My uncle
H K Wasson [dropped?] out of the company and went to work by his self on
the head of the Bar. He could not agree with the Company. On
the 18th of May Henry Owings and W D Wasson got discouraged and left for
the Willamette Valley. The company were in debt two hundred and forty
dollars when they left. Brad Owings R S Vickery and myself was all
that was left of the Co. So we went to work. We made eight dollars
a day from the time they left to the last of August. We Paid up all
the Companys Debts and our own Debts. Our private Debts were one hundred
and forty six dollars a peace. After paying up all then we bought out
Henry and Wm Wasson at one hundred a peace for all their [intrusts?] in Tyee
Bar. On we worked till the October 16th. We made three and four
dollars a day till Oct 16. Bradford Owings left us to day. F
F Curran bought him out for one hundred dollars. Bradford went down
in the valley where Henry was. He had four hundred and fifty dollars
when he left here. After Curran came in to the company we [drifted?]
in the Bar two weeks and made two hundred dollars. Then we went to
getting in our winters provisions. We had to get a new Hydraulic.
The old one is wore out. Then we went to ground sluicing. We
calculate to sluice all winter and clean up in the summer. We are not
making any money when we are ground sluicing.
December Our neighbors are twelve miles distance. The last of
December very cold down to zero. Christmas was dull with us.
[I was [alone?] all day. Fred Curran went to the Post office on Christmas.
He was gone five days. He brought home five letters for me --two from
Joshua Mickey one from Cunniham Dryden--one from Brad one from Wm Wasson.
Next day we all went hunting. I killed two Deer. Deer and Bear
are very plenty--some Elk--wild cats are very Plentiful. New years
has come and it find us all well and harty. The year 1858 I wrote over
forty letters. I wrote thirty five back to old Iowa. I have received
27 from the Virginia Grove Post Office. I redgister all my letters
that I write and get and there is quite a diference.
On new years day I went hunting. Killed one very large Buck Deer.
We have no white tail Deer here. We call them the Black tail Deer.
Every now and then there is some excitement raised a bout new diggings but
it all turns out a failure. There was a man got lost in these
mountains and froze to death and the next spring they found him. He
was out hunting and fell over dead from some cause or other. Bradford
Owings writes that he and Henry has taken two hundred cows to keep.
They get one third the increase. They have to take them for five years.
Uncle Hiram is working on the Head of Tyee Bar mining. He has not made
any thing yet. A miner is always looking a head for a strike.
January 23 I came out to the Post office to day. I got one letter
from Joshua M. Mickey. I get to go out to the Post office every three
months. We have got considerable ground sluiced off to clean up next
January 24, 1859 We intend to ground sluice two months yet then clean
up. It will take till the fourth of July to clean up what we will have
sluiced off. The Hydraulic is a great invention in getting off dirt
and gravel. It will do the work of twenty men. Then it is not
half the danger with Hydraulic as with pick and shovel. You can stand
back and play the water under the Bank till she caves in. Then you
can play the water on it from the pipe till you wash all off--then play the
water under the Bank again and down she comes. If one watches the Bank
he can always get out of the way of the rocks and gravel. I was the
one that held the nuzzle and uncle Hiram said I would get killed. At
that very instant the Bank came down and caught him but did not cover him
up. I came out all right. It is wonderful what a power there
is in water confined. If the Rogue River had fall enough we could run
it through a cannon--that is if the cannon was big enough.
February The high waters delayed us some. The River did not have
to raise very much till it would be up on the Bar but we got off piles of
dirt and gravel. As we sluiced it into the River the River water would
carry it off. Black sand was very plentiful. It would fill the
sluice Riffles and cause the fine gold to slip over and we would loose it.
And we wasted Platinum by the pounds not knowing it was any account.
Rogue River was full of salmon at times and we had no way of catching them.
A man could starve and have tons of eatables in sight. One day the
Panthers ran a big Buck Deer down the mountain opposite of us. The
Deer jumped into the River and swam over toward us as we were eating our
dinner and uncle Hiram shot the Deer and wounded it and the Deer started
back but some Irishmen scared the Deer back to our side of the River and
while they were doing that the Panther came down till he saw the Irishman
then he ran back up the mountain. Panthers will take turns in running
a Deer down but if a Deer can get in some River he is all right. He
is a good swimmer.
My uncle traded my mule off for a Bear Dog--at least that was all I got for
the mule. So one Saturday we Boys all went up on the mountain to hunt
and gather Berries and I took my dog along but the Boys said I should not
go with them and take the dog. I told them I would go alone and keep
the dog with me and we would go up the canyon. So up the canyon I and
the dog started. I had the dog chained to my Belt and after I had gone
up the canyon two or more miles I saw a Bear and the dog saw him at the same
time. I just onsnaped my dog and he ran the Bear up a tree but as I
would come up so I could see it the Bear would come down and run. But
finly the dog got Mr Bear up a leaning tree and I got up near enough to shoot
the Bear through the Heart. And still it lived long enough to have
quite a fight with the dog. The noise brought the Boys down off of
the mountain. So we drest the Bear and took him on up to camp--for
we camped out in the Raspberry Patch. Next morning I was out very early
with my dog for I knew there were lots of Bears round and like a fool I let
my dog get after a Grizly Bear and the Bear soon cleaned the dog out.
He came back to me with his head cut to the Bone by the Bears claws--and
that ruined my dog as far as hunting Bears goes.
That is only one Bear story. I have seen men all chewed up with Grizzly
Bears--disfigured for life--but I Forbear to tell any more Bear stories and
come back to the mines.
We got a long very nice in ground sluicing and went to cleaning up the Bed
Rock for there we found the gold. We cleaned up all that we had ground
sluiced off and we cleared near one thousand a Piece or three thousand dollars--Curran--Vickery
and I. Uncle Hiram was still working on the upper end of the Bar and
after we got our work done we went up and helped him out for I had got the
notion in my head of going back to the states. Uncle said he wanted
to go along. F F Curran--he took the notion of going so we all sold
out to some Germans at two hundred dollars--fifty dollars a Piece.
Vickery and I kept Book of all the Gold we took out of Tyee Bar. It
was eleven thousand six hundred seventy seven dollars. Besides we took
out over two thousand from the upper Bar. Vickery and I had over fourteen
hundred dollars a Piece. Curran and Uncle did not have as much. We
were there three years. The experience was great--every thing high
even the mountains were high. Curran--uncle and I left the last of
August. We went out by the way of Rose Burg down the Umpquaw and at the mouth
of the Umpquaw we took ship for Sanfrancisco and were three days going down
to frisco. I was sea sick all the way to Sanfrancisco. The ship
ran on a Rock near Crescent City and uncle Hiram Wasson came runing down
where I was on my bunk and said the ship was sinking. I says let her
sink--I did not move. Uncle looked at me with a sorrowful eye and ran
up on Deck a gain--and the Ship got off of the Rock some how without damage
and went a head. I did not care for gold or anything else. I
had my gold in a Buckskin belt around me. Curran and uncle got along
without much sickness.
We were in Sanfrancisco ten days and I was seasick in my sleep. I thought
I was on the ship and I rolled out of Bed. We put up at the Watcheer
House. We left Vickery on the Bar. He staid five days and went
down to Sanfrancisco by land on the stage. He got in to Frisco the
day after we left for Panima. At the time we started back to the states
there were opposition with two lines of ships. We went back to New
York for 38 dollars second Cabin--the very best of grub. We took Passage
on the Cortese ship and our rival ship was the Golden Gate. The two
ships left the Docks at the same time--at three o clock in the evening but
the ship Golden Gate run right away from the Cortese and Beat us to Panama
but on the other side from Panama to New York our Northern Light Beat the
other ship two days--that is got two of the lost days back. She was
only one day a head of us in to New York. As we were on the Cortese
we run in to Acapulco Mexico to take in water. The water was taken
into the ship by barrels. The Barrels were filled on shore and rolled
in the Bay and a native one to each barrel and swam with it out to the ship.
Then the Barrel was hoisted up by Tackle and the water emtied into the ship
and the Barrel thrown back in to the Bay and the natives then took them back
to shore--100 Barrels and 100 natives.
While we were in Sanfrancisco we run wild. There were a great deal
to be seen. We were ten days in Frisco. We made it count while
we were there. We went all through the U.S. Mint--saw gold by the tons
both in Bars and coin--all through the Wells Fargos Establish-ment--Theatres
and Parks--the Bay--the sea shore--the Seal Rock--and ship yards.
As we ran in to Panama Bay the Inglish and the natives were having trouble
so we were escorted by Soldiers to the Cars and put on train and run out
of Town and up the mountain. Then our baggage was brought out of the
ship and put on another train. We fooled along till the Baggage train
caught up with us which was six or seven hours. Then we all went over
to Aspinwall together seven hundred in number. At Aspinwall there were
a ship in waiting for us to take us down to New York. I say Down for
the Ocean Stream runs that way. We were nine days from Aspinwall to
New York. Oh my what sea swells we had passing by Cape Hateras--how
sick I got as the ship would rise and fall over these great swells.
Then as we were coming around Sandy Hook how our hearts did throb to see
the great City of New York. Then as we came into the City and see the
amount of people and the many ships--and when we struck Broadway it seemed
as though all the Churches had just dismist. Barnums museum was the
first place--then to see the City its self and to see all the pomp and splender--and
all the misery down trodden of humanity was before our Eyes. Lord will
it be Possible that those great Citys will be swallowed up by Earthquakes
when God shall shake up this wicked world for their many sins.
As we got on the train in Jersey City we took the New York and Erie R Road
and run up to Dunkirk and laid over all day Sunday and what a day Sunday
was to us Boys. Dunkirk appeared to dead in the shell. Sunday
evening our train pulled out for Chicago by the way of Cleveland Ohio.
It was in the night when we past through Cleveland. My what a Depo[t].
Then as we ran down through the Prairie into Chicago it began to look
like old Iowa in landscape. We did not see much of Chicago. We
left as soon as we got our breakfast. From Chicago to Burlington Iowa
some nice scenery came up to our view such as these rolling Prairies after
being in the mountains five years. We landed in Burlington after dark
and we landed wrong side too. At Burlington the Cars only run to the
East side of the Mississippi. There were no Bridge and no Cars on the
Iowa side. But the next morning we got writed up. Went down the
old Sunderland House and found some of our old Virginia Grove friends and
relatives there. F F Curran met his Brother David there.
From Burlington we came out to the Virginia Grove. Friends on all sides
greeted us. And as we came over the low Hills we came to Mothers my
Sister and many Brothers--two Brothers I had never seen--David and Hiram--Half
Brothers, then my whole Brothers Isaac--Joshua--Robert--Peter--Crammer--Joseph
& James Mickey. The Virginia Grove Iowa was the land I played in
when a Boy. It was there I had sorrow and pleasure--myrth and gladness--labor
and rest--hard times and no money--youth and manhood. As I came up
to the gate Mother says John you are welcome home money or no money and put
her arm around my neck and kissed me.
We know not what a mothers Love is--a Love next to Christs love--love and
charity is with a true Mother and if she is regenerated and filled with the
Holy Ghost she loves other Mothers Boys.
The fall and winter of 1859 I spent in running round. I bought me a
horse and sleigh and had what the world would call a good time. But
a long in the spring I got under conviction for Sin. I bought 80 acre
farm and put my horse in as part pay--the Horse that I was riding when converted
to my Saviour Christ my redeemer. There was a work rought in me by
reaching out to Jesus by faith--a faith that brings this Body up to Divinity--a
faith that takes Christ as a gift unmerited favor grace--a faith that Purifieth
the heart by love--a faith that brings Salvation now--a faith that lets Christ
and the Holy Ghost do the work in us--a faith that takes out the swear and
puts in Praises to his God. The devil and all Hell can not stand up
and say I was not Regenerated. Hallelujah.
In the spring of 1860 I started back to California. Went a foot down
to Burlington Iowa. There I took the Boat for Hannibal Mo. From
there I took the Cars for Saint Joseph Mo. From there I got in with
a man by the name of Dodson for Denver City Colorado. He took me out
for 20 dollars and I walked. I fell in with a Southern Methodist Preacher
by the name of Dodson and we had a good time on the Road. He would
Preach on Sundays as we lay over--but La I did not know that the two Factions
were at outs so. Well sir they hated each other like snakes--all going
to heaven (not so as my Bible reads). He that loveth not his brother
abideth in death. He that saith he is in the light and hateth his Brother
is in darkness even until now. Hell is full of sectarian hates. It
is no use of talking. Sect is of the Devil.
From Denver I went into the mountains Prospecting for gold. I found
myself up in and round Gregorys Diggins from there up near Longs Peak.
There I took the mountain fever and came down to Denver City the 2 of July
1860 and lay sick for one month in Denver. Then I went back up in the
mountains and took a relaps and came back to Denver City and run a dray in
Denver for six weeks. By this time I had spent all my money and got
homesick. So I got in with a family that were going to Mo. I
got wood and water and helped Cook for my Board--but the woman and I fell
out and I told the old Man to set my trunk out and leave me. This was
40 miles East and south of old Fort Carny [Kearney] on the head waters
of the Blue River. It was all a Desert then. There was a man
came along with two yoke of Cattle to one wagon and took me and my trunk
in. His name was Edwards. He took me to Nebraska City and from
there I took it a foot a cross Iowa for home. The houses were very
scattering and some times it was very late before I could find or get a place
to stay all night. My money was runing very short and I could not find
a place to hire out. I went in to one house to hire and get my dinner.
There were two big girls and their mother. I told the old lady I wanted
to hire for a while. She said they wanted a hand but they were afraid
of a stranger. She said her man was out with the sheriff after one
hired hand that had stolen the old mans money. I said I was from Pikes
Peak. The thief said he was from Pikes Peak so I was out. No
work could I get.
But finally I got back home with ten cents in my Pocket. Then to hard
work I went cutting cordwood out of oak timber in the snow and the cold.
Worked all winter in the cord wood business but little pay in it. In
the spring I was in need of money to buy lumber to fence my south 40 acres.
To get the money I hired out to Meyrs Jarvis for 6 months 12 dollars per
month 78 dollars paid in advance. My Brother Joshua put up the fence.
My Brother Robert worked for Jarvis the same summer and two other men.
Them days we farmed in the old Primitive style. One Horse to one corn
Plow--plant our corn by hand--sow our wheat by hand whether the wind blew
or not. The summer went through with a drag. After my time was
out I worked on for the same man at same price and while I was there Mrs
Jarvis Hired a girl by the name of Susan E. Ashbaugh. She took my eye
and heart but there was another Fellow--a friend of mine that had the inside
track of me as I thought and I did not want to interfere with my Friend for
I thought he had a dead hold on the Girl. As it happened one day as
I were at work she looked out. I threw a kiss at her and she threw
it back. My how my cheek burnt. I began to think my friends hold
on the girl was slim. So I ask her one day if she and Mr were under
obligation to each other. She says nothing binding. And still
I did not want to interfere with my friend. So I laid low for two or
three months to see if there were any progress with the two.
At this time her Father lived up on a hill and a spring down below the house
near the roadside. I was on my way to a camp meeting a foot and as
she saw me coming down the road she grabed a water Bucket and came down the
hill to meet me at the spring (see) and as I saw her coming down the hill
I began to sing in my mind there comes my Susanna down the hill. Well
we met like Jacob and Rachel--Genesis 29-11--but not like Jacob in many things.
Jacob had four wives and one was enough for me. Well She got me to
stay all night that her Brother Simeon was going up to camp meeting in the
morning with Big wagon and we would all go up together. I have no recollection
of the Preaching that day. The Camp meeting is all a dream to me.
I guess my Susanna had me hypnotized. Well to cut it short we got married
on 13 of February 1862. Rev Joseph Paschal tied the Knot.
At this time the Rebellion was in its rage between north and south.
I felt that I was exemp from war. So wife and I went on our little
farm February 25-1862 with many thoughts in the future. The war brought
on hard times. I had got married on Borrowed money and was to pay it
back in one year. I raised corn at ten cts per Bushel to pay off my
debts--five hundred and fifty Bushels of corn for fifty dollars and intrust--wheat
at 35 cts per Bushel and haul it 30 miles. I got my wife a calico dress
for 20 Bushels of corn. The south had cut the cotton off and Calico
went up. The first year we got out of debt. The next year we began
to get things around--pigs and chickens and plenty of corn. I always
could raise corn if my neighbors had any.
May the 4th 1863 our first Born came a girl Dora May. With her came
the Cares of a family ties. And at the same time the war was runing
hot and uncle Sam began to Draft for men in the army. I expected my
name would be called at any time but it was not. If I had wanted get
rid of my wife and Baby I had lots of chances. Go to the army you see--the
war helped out many a Divorce case. The men went to war and to Hell.
General Sherman said war was Hell. War is hatched in Hell.
Time ran on and we made money and stuff was accumulating around us.
The more we got the less salvation we had. We were tending the Methodist
Church House but few of them had salvation--more Methodist than Christ or
Salvation--Masonry kept creeping in on all sides and as masonry come in Christ
March 7th 1865 our second Child was Born Edward Nelson a Boy. Then
I began to look ahead for a happy time with my little family--and still getting
further away from God. Run on up to the 19 of April 1867 and we lost
Edward Nelson. His decease was Spinal Meningitis. It was an awful
decease to die with. When we lost him we lost all. It just appeared
as though I would go into the ground at every step. No Boy--no Christ--no
Salvation--no hope--all gone--what an awful place to be in. I could
not say I can meet my Boy up yonder. For weeks after his death I was
in a dark dispair. But as I began to look up the light began to come
back to me and I begin to see my self in a diferant light. The Lord
givith and the Lord taketh away--of such is the Kingdom of heaven.
I got back to my Redeemer and I was a new man. The love of Jesus begin
to flow into my Soul as I would Consecrate my all to Him.
We had many doctor Bills to pay not know the doctor was a humbug. Next
Born a girl Addie Leona July 9-1867--a sweet little Child. She was
with us one year one month 9 days--died August 18-1868--an other plant in
heaven. Next came to us was James Warren. I did not know how
it would go with him. I just consecrated him to the Lord. He
never was very robust. Next Born Mary Mina October 19-1870. My
affection went after this child more than any other. She appeared to
be my angel. Her love for me was great. She huged me when dieing.
She was only with us one year eight month and eight days. I believe
the child knew she was going to die. I have faith she is in the upper
school and when I see her I will know her.
Next Born John Alexander named after his Grand Father Ashbaugh--Born April
10-1874. He was a Boy Religiously inclined--ah me that is the kind
the devil wants. The devil is only after those that are after Christ.
All that I can do is to consecrate him to God.
Next Born Dowd Branwell June 27-1878--one that takes after his mothers side of the House. He is his mothers Boy.
Next Born Eldred E Oh so small never
was well. He was with us two months and 13 days. Born December
2 and died February 15th 1883. These four that have died are lain in
the Iowa Winfield cemetery--on the sunny slope. I often wish I could
be there of the morning of the Resurrection and go up with my little ones
to meet the Lord in the air. My children are no better than other Children--all
are Christs and it is our Privilege to live to meet them in Heaven.
1874 9th day of July 1874 was a grand day to me. The Holy Ghost
came and cleaned up the soul. A soul without spot is grand to have.
I came to the Lord and we reasoned together and He made me white as snow--Isaiah
1-18. By faith I saw the stream. I Plunge and oh it Cleanseth
me. Hallelujah. Some say Feeling is not in Christs Religion.
It is all Feeling. You take hold of the Battery by faith and you wont
know that you are in connection with the battery if you did not get the shock.
It is faith that brings us up to a point that God can use the Holy Ghost
on us and when he comes he lets us know the trials of a religious life are
Satan is only after those that are after Christ. He comes in many forms--sometimes
as an angel of light. Hell is full of make believe--full of sects and
Divisions. The work of the Beast is on all sides. Sect is Beastly.
Man wants to rule even those that claim to be saved. The devil has
his men all ready to rule so called Religious Bodies--or Political--all the
same. How men love to Rule instead of letting Christ rule in their
hearts. It is hard to find out the ways of God with the devil and all
his Imps working right the reverse to Gods words and Precepts.
When first converted to Christ and his religion I went in to a sect called
Methodist. I soon saw there were two Powers at work in that sect.
Then wife and I drifted into the Free Methodist sect and the Beast was there
all the same. Beastly power to rule. Then I began to study the
New testament and to my amazement I never found where one man was to rule
over another man in religious matters. They all admit that Christ is
the head of his Church and that is so for he is the head of his Church.
Has Christ a chance to rule in this sectarian araingment. No, no, no.
Is it Christ that places his members in his Church. Yes. The
devil has upset many. He tried his hand on Christ and Christ came off
more than conquer. Praise his name. And if we are in Christ we
are safe and we are not safe without--even if we are one of a sect.
The point with me for a long time how are we Baptized into Christ.
No other way but by the Holy Ghost. Jesus said John truly Baptized
with water, but ye shall be Baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
A new dispensation was to set in--Pentecost. We hear of Peter trying
to make an apostle for to fill Judases Place before Pentecost. The
Ruling power was visible even in Peters days. And the wall of the city
had twelve foundations and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the
Lamb. I would like to know their names. Question was Paul one of them.
It will not do to do business for God without the Holy Ghost Acts 1st-15.
The question comes to me are we to give up and take Johns Baptism or shall
we take the one that comes after John and let him Baptise us with the Holy
Ghost and with fire. The word is too plain for me to give it up as
Johns Baptism. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body--1st
Corinthians-12-13. Why should I throw away my experience and his word
and why not have an Experience in divine things.
Wife and I use to think that secret societies were of the devil and I think
so as yet. It is strange to think how some folks mind do change.
Masonry and Oddfellows are now all right even with ministers and that to
usurp Jesus Christ. Take away his Baptism. Jesus Christ in his
own Church He does his own Baptizing.
Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not Planted shall be Rooted up.
Let them alone. They be blind leaders of the Blind. Both shall
fall into the ditch. Ephraim is joined to Idols. Let him alone.
Mason Preachers have their Idols. How can I love Masonry--and still
I must love a mason--poor deluded man--I will love him for Jesus sake.
Jesus died for all and he may save a mason.
Oh how my family is Divided. Who is to blame. May the Lord help
my poor soul. I will say to my Children Jesus and him only can save.
Jesus and Him crucified. He was striped and nailed to the Cross.
Died on the cross--rose a gain by the power of God--then he will raise us
up by the same Power. I will not doubt. I love the way.
[John continues to decry sectarianism]
 We sold out in old Henry County Iowa in 1890. Chartered
a car for Portland Oregon. Took on three Horses two cows--two sows
and one male Hog--three dozen chickens besides kitchen and House hold Furniture.
John went with me in this car. Ma and Dowd went by rail by the way
of Alliance Nebraska to Portland Oregon. There we met and on loaded
our car and moved out to Battle Ground. Bought 160 acres of timber
and stumps and went in to clearing up land. Had two hired hands besides
John and Dowd Mickey for two years. And the fires never went out in
that time--winter and summer. What a fool a man is. I had not
been there one year before I saw I was sold and badly sold. Those fir
stumps are a Tiresomeness even to look at. It is just awful to think
of clearing up a farm out here in the West Coast. Mud up to the knees
three or four months in the year. The lack of good Roads are a detriment
to this Country. The frost runs in streaks. It is according to
the way the wind is Blowing. It makes it uncertain about fruit bearing.
In 1908 we sold out our Battle Ground farm to McRunels and moved to Vancouver
Wash. Bought out J.W. Studer all of lot eleven (11) in Block four (4)
in Prospect Park and also lot twelve (12) Block [illegible]. We live
on lot 12. The lot eleven (11) is vacant as yet.
Vancouver lacks being an Ideal town. The Commercial Club is a detriorate
to Vancouver. They work to their own interest and not to the Peoples.
The same is the City Council. They are all in on the same grab for
self. It is too Bad. Eminant Domain is another graft of the devil.
50 dollars for higher ground. If I was living on a low peace of ground
and I would raise my house and fill in around with dirt the City would charge
me up with a benefit of 50 dollars (see). If I pay out my own money
for the raising of my house and filling in around I be a fool to pay the
city extry. Such is life in a city. One man was not made to rule
over an other--nor a set of men.
Shut shut the door good John: fatigued I said
Tie up the Knocker. Say I’m sick I’m dead
Not so my good Susan: say I’m weak in the flesh.
Paul said when I am weak: then am I strong: He comes with a flash.
Jesus is coming. He comes to make us strong.
Let not your hearts be troubled.
Ye believe in God. Believe also in me.
I am come to receive you unto myself.
Jesus said to Martha
Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Praise God for the resurrection Power and that is
Jesus shall never die no never.
Don’t say Shut the door John--nor tie up the Knocker.
He is coming. It won’t be long. I hear his footstep.
Don’t you see his star--the light is shining.
The Earth is sinking and I am rising.
Open the door John and let the good Angels come in.
I see his chariot wheels. He’s coming Hallelujah.
Swing wide the gates John. I have left the Fatique
Sickness and death behind.
Justified I--my soul mounts higher with the moon under my feet.
My Jesus I see and the mansions in sight.
The world is on fire and I am going higher.
There is the Father and Jesus--Abraham--Isaac and Jacob on his right hand.
The 4 Gates are wide open. The River is past.
The fruits are Ripe and River of life with its Pure waters flow.
Father is Rich and I am a joint heir with Christ.
Well Hallelujah. I am in a sea of Bliss with all my kin Folks--we are all one in Christ.
[John continues describing his own Resurrection Day]
Oct 1st 1912 Vancouver Wash. At this time there is great Preparation
being made to down the saloons and Catholicism. The so called Churches
have consolidated and have Built a big Tabernacle on 13 st of Vancouver and
got some Big calibre guns to Bombard the whole shebang. If they done
anything toward the will of God I failed to see it. Sect Churches cannot
unite in God. It is possible for Christians to unite in God Because
Jesus praid that his People might be one. 17 of John 21 verse that
they may be one: as Thou Father art in me and I in thee that they also
may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me.
I claim that real Holy Ghost people are already united in God if they have
been Baptized by the Holy Ghost they are all one in Christ. [more of the
Sold my farm in Iowa Henry County mid prairie. Moved to Battle Ground
Washington. Bought 160 acres of tim[ber] land and went into hard work.
What a fool I was. Battle Ground is 16 miles North East of Vancouver.
I found the place over run by grange Halls and they ran into dance Halls
with a very little work of the devil. [more about the problems of sects
versus the true God].
I can’t see as I ever done any good in around Battle Ground. It was
hard work and no pay. And still my heart runs out to many around that
Place. I have Boys there. I have friends there--the Lord Bless
them is my Prayer.
To get here from Iowa I chartered a car and loaded it in Morning Sun Ioway.
Took out three Brood mares, 2 Cows three hogs one male hog 2 dosen chickens
1 dog and my Boy John A Mickey with all the old furniture the car would hold.
Wife said to me she would not go without I took her Furniture. So we
have some of our old Furniture as yet. When my car got to Portland
I wanted it run on up in Medford Oregon. The south line would not take
a northern car without I would on load and put my stuff in a southern car.
If I had stayed in Portland it might have been Better.
Our trip out--1890 As I said we started from Morning Sun Iowa.
Had a Northern Pacific Car ran up through Minneapolis. There we were
side tract till the company could put on some red tape. There I had
to get a ticket for John and him have permission to ride in the car with
me with the cows and horses (see). Next time we stopped over at Bismark
lay over for some cause. Thence on to Cordelane [Coeur d’Alene] Lake.
There we were side tract for two days thence on to Spokane. There we
were side tract and the tramps almost got posesion of us. I called
on the Police and they scattered on. Keep your Eye on Pasco was all
the go. Thence on through north Yackama thence on to a
station in the woods. Then we got in a train reck. Nine cars
ahead of mine were recked. The car next to mine was loaded with Hops
that let my car off lightly. My crazy bone was dislocated. It
was sore for a long time. Thence on through the Big Tunnel in the mountains.
Thence down to [Pasco?]. There we lay over one day. Thence on
to the Big Columbia River. There our cars were run on to a Big ferry
Boat and crossed the River thence on to Portland, Oregon. What a time
we had. The reason I sold out in Iowa I had the Grip and it settled
in my head and my head was out of Balance and I cant tell if I am righted
up as yet. There has been a ringing in my head ever since the 1899
1912 Oct 1st My trip Back to Iowa. James and I got our
tickets for Chicago $72.50 round trip. From Vancouver to Spokane north
Bank Rail Road. Visited the city five hours. Saw the greator
part of the city. The falls on the River quite a scenery. We
took the street car and ran south upon the hight. The air was pure
and we could see a way north. Took the Great Northern up to Rexford
thence on to Shelby thence Great Falls--thence Billings--Edgemont--Alliance
Nebraska--Grand Island--Lincoln--Plattsmouth--Burlington and Chicago.
Burlington looked quite natural the same old Jefferson street and the Hawkey[e]
[crest?] up where the Hodges were hung [Rands?] lumber yard. I was
helping my Father hauling oats. We had two Wagons and as we were going
down Jefferson street I ran onto a stump that was in 1842. Oats were
worth eight cents per Bushel then.
We found Chicago away up twenty stories high. When I was there in fifty
nine she ran from a story to five stories high and the Lake was part of the
town. We were up there on the thirteenth of October 1912 and that night
the wind came up with Rain and thunder. I expected to hear of them
tall Buildings Lying on top of some of those lesser Buildings and the wind
a howling and the thunder Roaring and it seemed something would happen.
Just in the worst of it here comes the voice of Clyde B. Hayes from a way
up in the Balcony calling off train departures. What a mixture of sounds.
It would make a man think some menagerie had broken loose. Oh my what
a hay seed man gets into. All that noise just upset me and I came away.
Took the cars back to Burlington Iowa. Next morning the Hawkey[e]
paper showed up thirteen accidents in Chicago four deaths and some with legs
and arms broken. Such is life.
Next morning I ran up to Morning Sun. Morning Sun has come to a stand
still the weeds and rubbish are taking the town. The old Schenk Block
Burnt down ashes to ashes. Parts of the old Virginia Grove look natural.
The old timber all cut off and the brush Burnt up. Sowed in Blue Grass.
The squirrels have left the timber and gone out on the Farms and farm houses.
They have gone into small towns and knawed into Church houses. I took
a look over my Father’s old home place. The Meadow Brook the Spring
Branch with its many crooks the old oak tree where it used to be. The
Elm the maple the walnut the best of all the Sugar tree. The sugar
camp Oh my that was when I was a Boy. Then there were the Wild turkeys
the [quails?] the Prairie Chickens--the Deer and the Rabbits--the Raccoon
and the Opossum--the skunk with his beautiful tail--all these were on my
Father’s farm when I was a Boy.
From there I went out to see my only sister Eighty years old. We found
her very sick not able to get up out of bed. The Doctors are very skillful
now a days. My sister had a nice big farm and there the Doctor was
holding my sister down at three Dollars per day by his narcotics. The
same with a nephew of mine. The Doctor Doctored him twelve years before
he died. From my sisters I went over to my old Prairie farm.
I had planted out all kinds of trees fir spruce pine walnut cedar and maple
and [usage or a sage?] hedge. But when we were back there they were
pulling up the hedge with a big Donkey Engine and putting in platted wire
fence. Old hedges came too expensive to keep up. The corn crop
was immense. For all that Iowa has no charms for me. Winfield
Town has growen nicely. Things looked as though people were a live.
Plenty of money. The almighty Dollar is their god as it looked.
If I would say it was their idol it would be too bad. The Book says
without are idolaters. The love of money is the Root of all Evil.
I was somewhat disappointed in my visit some plases as I swung round from
place to place and still I met many dear friends--warm and full of love--those
had the Holy Ghost and a love for their fellow creatures--love for God and
his cause. The next day after we landed at my sisters her son-in-law
died. He married my sisters oldest Daughter Alice Dryden. When
I got to my nephews he was past knowing me. But as I was trying to
console his wife and showing up the plan of salvation and the love of God
towards us and so on Ed looked up to me and said uncle John them are the
very words I heard you say three days a go. And he began to praise
the Lord. Then he called for his wife and bid her goodby--then his
Children. But one of the Boys refused to take his Fathers hand.
I saw a cloud pass over the Fathers Brow. I said to Ed don’t let this
cheat you out of the Kingdom. You just give the Boy over to God.
Then I turned to the Boy and said you are in Gods hands just now. I
said to my nephew goodby then he died without a struggle and all was over.
But as the funereal came round this same Boy was all broken up. And
when the last look came the Boy fell on his knees by the side of the Coffin
and implored for forgiveness. What a sight. The Boy had to be
pulled away for the funereal to move on to Ed Munshowers resting spot.
And as it is appointed unto men once to die--but after this the Judgment.
At Eds funereal it was a high day for me. All or nearly all of my old
Sunday School Children were there but they were 22 years older and all had
growen beyond my knowledge but they all seemed to know me. I praise
God for the sight. Lots of times I wonder if I gave them the pure word
of life. All my work shall be tried with fire--glory to God my faith
takes hold of God that I will have some fruit that will stand the fire.
James and I ran up to Fredonia Past through Wapello the County seat of Louisa
Co. Found my Brother Isaac Mickeys family at his wifes with all her
family except Bamford. Isaac Mickey Grand sons were running a Button
factory in Fredonia. Jess Mickey Isaacs younges Boy Superintendent
the factory. They make buttons out of muscle shells found down the
Mississippi River Below New Orleans in Beds from 10 to 20 feet deep and 70
miles long 50 feet wide or more. Ship loads are shipped out of there.
Fredonia is an old town. I was there in 1840 with three head of horses.
My Father and Samuel Grubb were building a flat Boat there in the forkes
of the River at that time for a man by the name of Smith. He loaded
her with corn for New Orleans. The Iowa and the Cedar Rivers Fork at
Isaacs Wife Children and grand Children were there for dinner. They
spred it on heavy Beef--fish--fowl and many good things. Then we came
back to my sisters and from there we went to Winfield Iowa our old home town.
Met many of our old friends. John Chrisinger and his Father.
Casper Schenk and part of his family. Casper married a cousin of mine.
Ed Hinkle the Beacon man Jerome Mullen Wm Miller played together when very
small Boys--Fred Lyman and family--Robert Davidson--John Anderson--Dan [Moosly?]--the
Crawfords and many more. Mrs Good Spead and some of her Gran Children.
The old Church where I use to worship sold out and made in to a Theater--a
Church dedicated to God yes yes so so. Paul says there will be a falling
a way yes. They have built a new so called Church but the squirrels
has taken possesion of it--knawed through the gable. There they lay
up for the winter. The Church hibernates more or less.
I hired an automobile and ran down into Des Moines County where my grandfather
Wasson use to live. He moved out there in 1833--my mothers Father and
Mother. I went to the old Miller grave yard. There I saw many
graves but something seemed to say to me my mother was not there. Then
I got up and began to think my Mother was a strong Believer in the Son of
the living God. She had certainly wended her way to heaven and Jesus
had gone on to Prepare a Place for her. [a discussion of the promise of the
Resurrection] No Mother is not in the grave. She has been Resurrected.
I visited some of my Cousins. They seem to be uninterested in the next
world and they don’t seem to know they have a soul and that there is a God
or saviour Jesus. Then we came on out to my Brothers T.C.Mickey.
He lives in Macedonia Iowa. As it were I had no visit with him.
He said there is no God and that Jesus was a snide[?] and an impostor.
How could I enjoy such talk. He got mad and could not sit still.
It was just awful--when Jesus is so real to me and the Holy Ghost was causing
the love of God to be Burning in my soul. I know yes I know I hear
his voice in my heart.
The world is getting awful for wickedness. James and I saw theft happen
in Lincoln of Nebraska. The trap was a Burlington car. We changed
cars in Lincoln. After night the thieves jammed the Passage or hallway
of the car and then climbed over the Passengers and the Passengers came out
minus of watch and money or any valuable. One man lost all his money
his watch and a ticket back to new Boston. And it was all done up in
three minutes time. And no one to call to. Rail Road hands were
all in it no doubt with them. Too bad to be led into such traps.
Those thieves got on the cars at Billings--three men and two women--so I
was told by a Rail Road detective. Now when a Rail Rode detective sees
those thieves on his train he goes to them and tells them they must behave
themselves while he is on all right. Oh how rotten. So the detective
is in with the thieves also (see). I believe God gives me Power and
grace to read the Character of some men--for as soon as those thieves came
in the car I said to my Boy James keep your Eye open on them chaps they are
no good. Then two women could be read by the same rule. They
came in and set down just behind us and let on to be strangers. They
commenced getting aquainted. One said she would have to change cars
at Lincon. The other was on her way to St. Louis. One asked the
other if she was married. She said no. Then the other said what
kind of a man would you want--O a medium size dark hair describing James
exactly. James never looked around. It is singular what Men and
Women will do. Beings Created after Gods own Being. There is
a place where such People don’t inhabit. Christ says lay up for yourselves
treasure in heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves
do not Break through nor steal.
1917 April 20 Today is the 83rd year of my Pilgrimage. It seems but
a short time since I was a Boy around my Mothers Door and in the garden of
the Eden of my life. But as I grow older and the outward man perish
yet the inward man is renewed day by day. I am coming back to my Childhood
[This final entry continues for another two pages in which John describes his joyful faith in God.]