The company having left our unfortunate encampment, on Sweet-water, early in the morning, soon passed Independence rock, which will be described, in the description of the routes. A Mr. Lovejoy and myself stopped at this rock, with a view of spending a few hours, in examining its peculiar structure, as well as to observe the various names, there to be seen, of individuals who have passed that way; and at the same time, to inscribe our own names, with the number of our company, the date of our passing; and whatever else might occur to us, as being serviceable to those who might subsequently pass that way. Having provided ourselves with materials for lettering, we tied our horses at the foot of this extraordinary rock, where we also left our guns, and commenced our toilsome assent up the rocky declivity. The company had, in the mean time, gone on, supposing that we would find no difficulty in overtaking them, whenever we had accomplished our purpose.
We had scarcely completed our labors, when we were surprised by the sudden appearance of seven Indians, who had descried us from some remote hill or mountain. They presented themselves to us, in the most hostile attitude, rushing towards us with the greatest vehemence; uttering the most terrific and demoniac yells; and with the most frightful gestures, seeming to design nothing but our immediate destruction. With drawn bows and guns, they thus rapidly advanced, while we were cautiously, yet hastily descending the rocky heights; winding our way with all possible haste, to the point at which we had left our guns and horses, at which place, ourselves and the Indians arrived at the same time, when we immediately seized our guns, with a view of defending ourselves. But upon seeing us take our guns, they at once lowered their bows and guns, and extended their hands in friendship. We hastily took their hands, but as hastily proceeded to mount, and to prepare for our departure. We had scarcely mounted, when they evinced a determination to prevent our leaving. One of them held Mr. Lovejoy's mule by the bit, while others laid hold of his person; and others still, stood around with drawn guns and bows. As we were now consulting in reference to the proper course to be pursued, under these peculiar and critical circumstances, their repeated demands to dismount, and their increasing determination and violence, forcibly reminded us of the eminent importance of immediate and decisive action. Finally, we determined to effect our escape, after having, slain as many of our assailants as we could, which, perhaps, might have been five of the seven, as we, together, had that number of shots, upon which we might rely. Just, however, as we had arrived at the above determination, to our astonishment, we beheld the whole country, as far as we could see, completely covered with them, rapidly advancing towards us, with deafening whoops and terrific yells. They seemed to have sprung up from behind every rock, to have come down from every hill, and mountain; and to have emerged from every valley and ravine. Our purpose was now, of course, changed, for resistance was out of the question; to attempt an escape by flight, was dangerous in the extreme, and to accomplish it was utterly impossible; we, therefore, dismounted, and determined to reconcile our minds to our fate, be that life or death. Every thing around us, appeared now, to indicate nothing but immediate torture, and ultimate death, to be inflicted by merciless savages. Their numbers had, by this time, increased to about two or three hundred; and they were still arriving in great numbers.
We were treated with the utmost rudeness; our guns and pistols were taken from us; when we were compelled to sit upon the ground, surrounded by a numerous guard, who performed its whole duty, not permitting us to change our positions in any manner, either to avoid danger, or to acquire comfort. From the time we were taken, every additional party that arrived, invariably offered some indignity to our persons, either by striking or attempting to strike us, with their bows, arrows or the rammers of their guns. The chief, however, protected me from this insult, for which purpose, he constantly stood or sat by me; yet he appeared unable, or unwilling to protect my companion, who was repeatedly stricken with much violence. An attempt was made even to take his life, which fortunately failed. This murderous attempt, was made by an Indian who had just arrived, on horseback, and who appeared to be much more infuriated than his predecessors in barbarity. Immediately upon his arrival, he rushed most furiously upon Mr. Lovejoy, suddenly pressing his gun against his breast, and snapping it, but as it missed fire, he was foiled in his fiendlike purpose. At this critical crisis, a number of Indians gathered around Mr. Lovejoy, evidently with a view of protecting him from further insult and danger, when unparalleled consternation and confusion prevailed. While many were most vehemently insisting upon our immediate destruction, others made the very welkin ring with their boisterous and clamorous declamations in our behalf, and no doubt Mr. Lovejoy and myself, owed our preservation entirely to their persuasive barbarous eloquence. The influence of our eloquent defenders was so great, as to induce the chief to order six of his men to fire upon him, who had thus rudely assailed my companion. They promptly obeyed the command, and had the offender not been making his escape with much rapidity, he would undoubtedly have been slain. Having galloped off about two hundred yards, he commenced a most doleful lamentation, and becoming more and more enraged, he set up a tremendous howling and crying, at the same time, discharging his gun in the open air; thus indicating, in terms not to be misunderstood, his determined and settled purpose of barbarous revenge. But opposition soon become so general, that he was convinced, that returning, with hostile purpose, would be attended with imminent danger. After some solicitation on the part of his friends, he was permitted to return, upon the condition, of his abandoning his hostile purpose and conducting himself with proper Indian decorum. Having returned, he kept a respectful distance from the principal scene of action, and either standing or sitting, in most sullen mood, he appeared to take no part or interest in the subsequent transactions. Some new source of discord appeared now, to have arisen, which gave rise to a most serious and animated discussion; and judging from their wild and angry tones and gestures, their boisterous and fiendish declamation; some were again insisting upon our decapitation, or destruction in some other manner, while others were again insisting upon our preservation. The discussion continued to become more and more animated; the dissatisfaction became greater; the breach became wider; some great difference evidently existed, which, to us, appeared beyond a possibility of reconciliation; the two contending parties stood forth against each other, in formidable array, assuming the most uncompromising and hostile attitude. The noisy, wild discussion now ceased to some extent, and both parties were intensely engaged in loading and putting their guns in order for action. At this critical time, for what purpose we knew not, twelve of them advanced thirty or forty yards from the main body, towards Independence rock, where they stood for a few moments, when all at once, and without any order, they discharged their pieces in the direction of a small rock, which was between them and Independence rock. We soon discovered that the victim of their wrath, was a dog which had followed us, without our knowledge, upon this, our unfortunate excursion. Upon firing at the dog, a most frightful scene ensued; one universal burst of indignation or exaltation, we knew not which, resounded through the air with most terrific and fiendish roar; when all but the few who stood around us, as we sat upon the ground, rushed in quick succession, in single file, towards their slain victim, each as he passed which, either thrust his spear or lance into the dead carcase, struck it with his arrow, the rammer of his gun, or kicked it; the thrust, every blow or kick, being in every instance, attended with a most demonic shriek. They continued to repeat this frightful scene, for fifteen or twenty minutes, setting out from a point near us, they formed a vast circuit around their victim, returning to the same point, when they arrived at which, they invariably uttered the most indescribable whoops and yells, which could emanate only from the wild confusion and raging madness of aboriginal barbarism.
Some degree of quietude was again restored, but, in the mean time, my horse and Mr. Lovejoy's mule had been stripped of their saddles, bridles and martingals; all the rings and straps had been cut from them; my holster had been cut and spoiled; and our arms were scattered, we knew not where, nor was it very material where, for we had very little use for arms, and about as little for legs, as we were not permitted to stand or walk. Many were again, becoming more boisterous, when, fortunate for us, a number of elderly men, who were evidently, men of high distinction, just arrived, for whom, it appeared that the party had been thus long waiting. It was now, late in the afternoon, and we were taken early in the morning; although the time of our detention, thus far, was short, it appeared long to us; hours were, to us, as days; the sun seemed reluctant to go down upon the wrath of our infuriated tormentors. A very elderly man, who was one of those that had just arrived, and who appeared to be the chief, in highest authority, after some general remarks, gave orders to march, to obey which, all were soon busily engaged in making their arrangements. Horses were provided for us, but not our own; and soon many of the party were on their march, but in the opposite direction from our company. The old chief, just referred to, happened, at this time, to pass near me, when I extended my hand to him, and accosted him in the ordinary manner, "How do you do?" He readily accepted my hand, and replied in the Indian language. There was a very small eccentric looking man, with the chief, whom I supposed to be a Canadian half-breed. I also offered him my hand, with the same salutation, to which he replied, in the English language, "How do you do?" To my inquiry whether he could speak the English language, he replied "yes." I then asked him if he would request the chief, and all those men to stop, and tell them that I wished to talk with them, before they went farther. He again replied "yes," and briefly addressed the chief, who commenced a loud harangue, to his men, and soon, those who had commenced their march returned, when all dismounted; and sitting upon the ground, side by side, formed a vast circle. The chief indicated by signs, that I and my companion, should sit near him, which we did, when I informed them that we were from the United States; that, we were sent by our and their "great father," the president, that we were going to the "great waters," the Pacific, there to settle and remain; that we were friendly with all the "red men," and that we wished to, and would treat them kindly. It had been reported among them, by some Canadians, at Fort Larimie, that we were going to join their enemies, the Black-feet, with whom they were then at war. This, I remarked, they must be satisfied, was false, especially as we had our women and children with us, of which they were aware, as they had seen them, at Fort Larimie and elsewhere. White men, I remarked, did not take their women and children when they went to war, nor did Indians. Your party, I said, is a war party, and you have no women or children, because they can not fight. I then assured them, if they would go with us, to our party, we would convince them of our friendly designs; that we would trade with them, and make them presents; that if they went to our party, it became necessary to set out very soon, as it passed this place very early in the morning, and it was then late in the day. As soon as I had concluded, the interpreter to whom I have alluded, arose and addressed the chief for a few minutes, when he resumed his seat, but what he said, we were, of course, unable to determine, as he spoke entirely in the Indian language, yet, our opinion was, that he was repeating what I had said. This opinion was confirmed, from the fact that immediately upon resuming his seat, the chief arose and spoke for about two minutes, apparently, with much feeling and determination. At the conclusion of his remarks, he evidently issued his order, requiring all to remount, and to change their course in the direction of our party, for all immediately mounted, and resumed their march in that direction. A much more friendly feeling was now manifest towards us; we were directed to take our positions in the ranks, at the side of the chief. We soon crossed a small creek, when I indicated to the chief, by pointing to the water, then putting my fingers to my lips, that I was thirsty; upon observing which, he directed a man to dismount, and bring me some water, which direction was readily obeyed. Upon arriving with the water, the man first offered it to the chief, who refused to take it, but directed him to give it to me; which he did, when I drank and returned him the cup, which he again offered to the chief, who again refused it, directing him to give it to Mr. Lovejoy, who having drunk, the chief then received it and drank. We now traveled on, with much rapidity, the "pipe of peace," being constantly passed around, commencing with the chief, then to myself, Mr. Loveioy, and the principal men, who were permitted to ride side by side with us, and who, I suppose, were subordinate officers.
Having traveled in this manner, about two hours, the spies came galloping from the hills, informing the chief that they had made some discoveries, which, whatever they were, were of such importance, that the chief, at once, ordered them all to dismount, which they did; and commenced examining their guns, re-loading those which had been discharged; examining their flints and locks, and putting their bows, arrows, spears and lances in proper order. Our guns were then given to us, and we were required to re-load them; when all painted their faces and bodies, as is their practice previous to going to war; after which we were all ordered to remount, and march, which we did; but, we marched with much more confusion and disorder than before. The whole aspect of things, appeared to have undergone a material and fearful change; from harmonious, peaceable and friendly, to the most tumultuous and hostile. Although we were permitted to ride, side by side, with the chief, as before, yet, I frequently saw the Indians approach Mr. Lovejoy, from behind, with drawn spears, lances, or guns, as if with a view of terminating his existence. And Mr. Lovejoy informed me, that he observed the same conduct in reference to myself, of which, however, I had no knowledge. I here saw, for the first time, that what the spies had discovered, was our company, the tents and wagons of which were then in full view. It appeared evident to us, from what we had already seen and what was then transpiring, that they contemplated an attack upon our party, and we were soon confirmed in this opinion, from what subsequently followed. When they had approached within two or three hundred rods of our camp, the young men, on each side of the chief, commenced a most furious charge, and, at the same time, uttering the most alarming and frantic yells, which left no further doubt upon our minds, but that they intended to attack our camp; unless turned from their purpose, by some fortuitous circumstance. Perceiving the inevitable tendency of this course, I suggested to the chief, by signs, that he should require his men to discontinue their charge; but he was deaf to my snggestion. I then took hold of his bridle, stopped his horse, and insisted that they must stop, otherwise, our men would be compelled to repel the assault. Being, by this time, satisfied that there was, perhaps, more danger than he had anticipated, he addressed his men in a most animated manner, apparently directing them to resume their former friendly attitude, or at least, to discontinue their charge. This order was finally obeyed, though evidently, with much reluctance. Observing that our men were in the most confused state of excitement, I signified to the chief, that I would go to our camp, to which, however, he refused his assent; but being determined to attempt it, at all hazards, I disregarded his dissent, and galloped away. Two young warriors, soon came galloping up by my side, insisting that I should return; but I answer them merely by telling them, by signs, that they must go back, or our men would shoot and kill them. This had the desired effect: they returned, and I increased my velocity, in the direction of our company. Upon arriving at the camp, I found the greatest imaginable confusion prevailing; some insisting that they would fire, others opposing it: all was noisy, alarming disorder.
Mr. Lovejoy now having also arrived in camp, and order having been, to some extent, restored, I proceeded, through our Canadian interpreter, to make certain demands upon the chief. The first demand was, that he, immediately, send to our camp, my horse, and all other property which his men had kept, which belonged either to Mr. Lovejoy or myself. This demand he readily complied with, as far as he was able; for, as he said, he could find but one of my pistols, which he returned, together with everything else which his men had taken, with the exception of Mr. Lovejoy's bridle and martingal, which he pretended were beyond his reach, and not to be found. I then demanded, that he march his men away to a certain point of timber, and encamp during the night; to comply with which, he, at first, positively refused, insisting that an old chief, in his own country, had a right to encamp wherever he pleased; but he finally consented, when I informed him that when he had encamped, as directed, he would be permitted to return, with his chiefs and principal men; and smoke, with us, the "pipe of peace," when we would trade with them, and make him some presents. Of course, he, with several of his principal men, soon returned, much more anxious, however, to receive the promised presents, than to enter into the contemplated peace arrangements. Having formed a vast circle, all sitting upon the ground, side by side, the "pipe of peace" was soon called into requisition, which was most industriously passed and re-passed from "white chief["] to "red chief," and from "white brave" to "red brave," until we had burned several ounces of smoking tobacco, upon the altar of piece; the dense fumes of which, were curling thickly in the atmosphere above; appeasing the wrath of the "god of war," dispelling native animosity; and restoring mutual confidence, friendship and peace. After having concluded our "smoke," we traded some with them, and gave them some presents, when they left us apparently with all good feeling, which they expressed in every possible manner, of which savage barbarism is capable.
From this encampment we traveled a few days up Sweet-water, where we encamped for the purpose of "making meat," as is it is called. Here, while some were engaged in hunting the buffalo, which were very abundant, others remained in camp, for the purpose of protecting it, and drying and preserving the meat, which was daily brought in by the hunters. While we remained at this place, there was another accidental discharge of a gun, which produced much alarm, especially among the ladies, yet no injury resulted from it, other than a slight flesh wound in the foot, of a small child, which was sitting in a wagon, through which the ball passed. At this encampment, the Indians again, exhibited many indications of their hostile intentions. The small hunting parties, which were sent out for the purpose of hunting the buffalo, were not unfrequently robbed of both their meat and horses, and sent to camp on foot, happy in having made so fortunate an escape. And they not only frequently robbed the hunters, but they also came to us in great numbers; riding and parading around our camp, insisting upon being permitted to mingle with us, which, however, I absolutely refused; and at the same time, informed them, that any attempt to approach us, would be met with prompt resistance. In order, however, to obviate the necessity of forcible resistance, I thought proper, to terrify them from their hostile purposes, by appearances. Accordingly, I drew the men out, in front of the camp, assuming as formidable an appearance as possible, and at the same time, giving them assurances of our friendly feelings; but determined purpose, to resist any attempt, to approach our encampment. This course had the desired effect; seeing our firm determination to resist them, they loitered about our camp a few hours, when they confusedly dispersed, amid the wild roar of savage clamor.
Leaving this encampment, we saw nothing more of them, for several days; but coming again, upon a tributary of Sweet-water, we met with them, in increased numbers. They numbered, at this place, not less, perhaps, than one thousand or fifteen hundred. Their numbers being now, so increased, and it being, unknown whether they were hostile, I thought proper to encamp, for the purpose of receiving and disposing of them, as circumstances might require. Accordingly, we encamped, when they advanced with much rapidity, and with most furious whoops and yells, displaying, at the same time, their flags of most beautiful and variegated colors. I now, gave them the signal to stop, which they promptly obeyed, dismounted, and planted their flag-staffs; exhibiting their colors to the best possible advantage. They were now arrayed, fronting our camp, at least, fifty abreast, and ten or twelve deep; and our greatest anxiety, of course, was to ascertain whether they were peaceably inclined; for which purpose, my horse having been saddled, I mounted and galloped out to them, when I informed them, that we would "talk" with them a few minutes, "smoke" with them, and give them some presents, when we were desirous of continuing our journey. The chiefs having manifested their approbation of this course, I invited them to our camp, to "talk" and "smoke" with us, and receive the presents, when we would all disperse. They accepted the invitation, and started with us to our camp; but as we started, the main body of the Indians also started to go with us, to have permitted which, would have been dangerous in the extreme; I, therefore, remarked to the chiefs, that the invitation, was only extended to them, and that, we would expect the residue of the Indians, to remain where they were, as much confusion, and perhaps, difficulty, might result from their intermingling with our people. They replied through their interpreter, in their brief manner, "it is good," "it is right." Then turning to their men, they gave them orders to remain, until they should return. We then proceeded to our "talk," and "smoke," which engaged our attention about two hours; when we distributed the promised presents among them, took our leave of them, and pursued our journey; while they returned to their villages, with the kindest feelings and warmest friendship, for the "white man of the East." As we passed their villages, which were but a few hundred yards from our route, hundreds of the women and children thronged our way, gazing upon us with the utmost astonishment; and many of the men followed us, even until night, when, after having effected many profitable trades in horses and mules, they returned to their villages, rejoicing in the happy anticipation, of the extraordinary advantages, to be derived from their new acquaintances, thus favorably formed.
A few days subsequently, a rather serious difference occurred, which arose from the refusal of one of our men, to stand his guard, in conformity to the regulations of the party. His refusal being reported to the proper officers, he was subjected to a trial, and found guilty, when the ordinary sentence was passed upon him, to which, he refused to submit. The officers, however, informed him, that he would be required absolutely, to comply with the sentence, or submit to expulsion from the party; after which, he would not be permitted either to travel, or encamp with the company. As he still refused to comply with the sentence, ten men were ordered to arm themselves, and remove him, and his effects, at least, one mile from the encampment. They accordingly repaired to his tent, informing him of their orders, and determination to carry them into effect, unless he should, immediately, agree to comply with the sentence. He still remained obstinate, refusing to comply, and at the same time, appeared to be making arrangements for his defence, against any attempt to effect his forcible removal. No one, however, apprehended the least danger from any movement on his part; for we had already, witnessed several exhibitions of his bravery. The men designated to remove him, now informed him, notwithstanding his threats, that it became their duty to remove him from the encampment, "dead or alive," and that they intended to discharge that duty at all hazards. This decided course soon brought him to his senses, when he, through a friend of his, or rather, a friend of order, suggested that he be allowed a re-hearing, which was accordingly granted him, by the officers. On the following day, after arriving, at the encampment, a jury was summoned to investigate and determine the matter, who, after having heard the evidence, and deliberated for a few moments, acquitted the violator of orders, upon the condition that he, thereafter, punctually discharge every duty devolving upon him, in reference to standing guard, and otherwise; which he did afterwards, with unusual punctuality. He had so profited by this lesson, that day or night, rain or shine, he was always to be found at his post; or from it, as the various orders happened to suggest.
Nothing further, worthy of remark, occurred until we reached the Colorado of the west, or Green river, where we encamped for several days. During our stay at this place, it was suggested that we leave our wagons, in order to facilitate our progress. This proposition was made, and insisted upon, by those who had in anxiety to reach Fort Hall, at an early day, for reasons unknown to us; and for the promotion of interests foreign from ours; yet, so urgently was it insisted upon, and so cogent were many of the reasons, which were urged, that several of the party determined to leave their wagons, and to prosecute the residue of their journey on horseback; while I, together with a majority of the party, was of the opinion, that it was not necessary to leave the wagons, consequently, we determined to take them to Fort Hall, at least, that being the extent to which they had been previously taken. We accordingly, proceeded to make our arrangements to go on with our wagons, leaving those behind, who had determined to leave theirs, as they were under the necessity of converting them into packsaddles, which, by the by, was attended with much labor and inconvenience. Our guide, Mr. Fitzpateric, concurring in opinion, with those who had determined to leave their wagons, remained with them, the consequence of which was, that we were under the necessity of prosecuting the residue of our journey without a guide; unless we should accidentally fall in with one, else-where. Many of those who designed to leave their wagons, urged us to leave ours also, insisting that if we took them on, we would arrive at Fort Hall, so late in the season, that we would be under the necessity of remaining there during the winter; or that we would perish in our attempt to cross the Blue mountains. Others insisted that as we had no guide, it would be utterly impossible for us to find our way to Fort Hall, and that, consequently, we would inevitably, perish by the way. We, however, confident in our own ability to do what others had done; and believing that "some things could be done as well as others," determined to pursue our journey at all events, and at all hazards, with, or without a guide, as circumstances might determine. Seeing our determination, a Mr. Meek, who had formerly passed though that region, as far as Fort Hall, offered his services as our guide. Believing that he might be found serviceable to us, to some intent, at least, we employed him, when we were soon in readiness for our departure. The order being given to march, our friends now crowded around us, for the purpose of taking their leave of us, and, at the same time, lamenting the necessity which impelled our separation. Some, still insisted upon our remaining, while others, in their terrified imaginations, already saw us winding, our fearful way over mountains of perpetual snow, falling victim to raging famine, and the piercing cold, of eternal winter; and others still, by a more enlarged view of futuritv, saw us very distinctly, deviating far from the proper route; falling victim to the savage ferocity, of the more than barbarous Blackfeet. There were others still, who not having, as clear a view, as their friends, of the hidden mysteries of futurity, examined its dark pages, in vain, for conclusive evidences of our destiny; hence they determined, that separating now, we were separated forever; that no traces of us would ever afterwards be found. Amid this disparity of prophetic opinion, as well as the urgent solicitations of our friends to remain, which were insisted upon with much anxiety and sincerity, even to the shedding of tears, we now took a most solemn and affectionate leave of each other; some expecting to be so fortunate as to meet again at Fort Hall; others never expecting to meet again in this world; while others still, lost all hope of uniting again, either in this world, or the world to come. Leaving our obstinate friends, as we thought them, we now moved onward, while they resumed their extraordinary business of converting wagons into packsaddles. We had passed on but a few days, when contrary to our own expectations, and contrary to all the lights of prophecy before us, we all arrived, about the same time, at Fort Hall; we with, and they without their wagons.
Upon arriving at this fort, we were received in the kindest manner, by Mr. Grant, who was in charge; and we received every aid and attention from the gentlemen of that fort, during our stay in their vicinity. We were here informed, by Mr. Grant, and other gentlemen of the company, that it would be impossible for us to take our wagons down to the Pacific, consequently, a meeting of the party was called, for the purpose of determining whether we should take them further, or leave them at this fort, from which place it appeared, that we could take them, about half way to the Pacific, without serious interruption. Some insisted that the great convenience of having wagons with us, would amply warrant taking them as far as we could; while others thought, as we would eventually be under the necessity of leaving them, it would be preferable to leave them at the fort, especially as we could there obtain tools, and all other means of manufacturing our packing equipage, which we could not do elsewhere. Another reason which was urged in favor of leaving them was, that we could, perhaps, sell them for something at this place, which we could do, at no other point upon the route. The vote having been taken, it was found that a large majority was opposed to taking them any further, the consequence of which was, that there was no alternative for the minority, as our little government was purely democratic. Mr. Grant purchased a few of our wagons, for a mere trifle, which he paid in such provisons as he could dispose of, without injury to himself. He could not of course, afford to give much for them, as he did not need them, but bought them merely as an accommodation. Those who did not sell to Mr. Grant, got nothing for theirs; but left them there, to be destroyed by the Indians, as soon as we had commenced our march. This was a serious loss, as most of the wagons and harness, were very valuable. Eight or ten days were occupied, in consummating our arrangements for the residue of our cheerless journey. In the interim, those of our company, who left us at Green river, had accomplished their preliminary arrangements, and had gone on, several days in advance. We were enabled, at this fort, to exchange our poor and way-worn horses, for those which had not been injured by use; having done which, to considerable extent; having purchased many; having procured such additional provisions as could be obtained; and having convinced ourselves that we were invincible, we, once more, resumed our dangerous journey, over the burning sands, and through the trackless deserts of Oregon.
Upon this portion of our journey, we had anticipated many difficulties and hardships, especially, as we were entirely unacquainted with our new method of traveling, and as we were unable to procure a guide; yet, we proceeded with much less difficulty than we had anticipated. Arriving at Fort Boisia, we were very kindly received and entertained by the gentleman in charge, who kindle proffered to let us have such provisions as we needed, and to render us any additional service in his power. Here we learned that a young man, of the advance of our party, was drowned, in crossing Lewis' river. It appeared that the portion of the party to which he belonged, crossed this river at the usual ford, which is considered entirely safe, by those who are acquainted with it, but this young man deviating from the usual crossing, and disregarding the directions of his friends, was swept away in an instant. He soon became detached from his horse, and appeared to be standing permanently upon the bottom, when several called to him, requesting him to stand until they could come to his relief. He, however, not heeding, or perhaps, not hearing what was said to him, leaped fearfully from his position, as if with a view of swimming to the shore, but he was swept away by the current, with the rapidity of lightning; and neither himself, nor his horse, was ever seen, or heard of after. He was a German, the same unfortunate young man, who caused the death of Mr. Bailey, of which I have before spoken. The portion of the party to which I belonged, did not cross the river, but kept directly down it, upon the south side. Leaving Fort Boisia, the next place of note, at which we arrived, was a Presbyterian mission, in charge of which, is a Dr. Whitman, who is a very kind and hospitable gentleman. He received us with the utmost kindness and attention, and insisted upon our remaining a few days with him, in order to obtain some relaxation of both body and mind, to which proposition, we finally acceded. Our stay with the doctor, included the Sabbath, during which day, we attended divine service, at his residence. In the forenoon, he delivered a discourse to the Indians, in their own language, to which they appeared to be very attentive, evidently comprehending the truths and doctrines inculcated. Having had a few hours intermission, we again convened, when the doctor delivered a very able discourse to our company, the other members of the mission, and his family. This scene was the more interesting to us, as we had then, for the last four months, heard nothing but the terrific howl of wild beasts of prey, and the furious midnight yell, of a hostile and barbarous foe. The doctor is not only a very kind and hospitable gentleman, but he is no doubt, a very good man, and a devoted Christian. He appears to be rendering great service, in christianizing and civilizing the natives. We spent a few days at this place, during which time, we were enabled to exchange many horses with the Indians, as well as, to purchase many, and also, to obtain our additional supply of provisions, which, having been done to the extent that we desired, we again proceeded upon our dismal journey.
The first day after leaving this mission we passed Fort Wallawalla, at which place we stopped but a few minutes, when we passed on, and in a few days, arrived at the Methodist mission at the dalles. Mr. Perkins is in charge of this mission. He bestowed every attention upon us, and rendered us every aid in his power. We, however, remained but a few days here, when we, once more, re-commenced our pilgrimage; and without any thing further worthy of remark, we arrived, on the fifth day of October, in the lower settlements of Oregon. The mind was now naturally thrown back upon the past, brought to contemplate upon the present, and led to anticipate the future. Having left the land of our nativity, having torn ourselves from our relatives and friends, having passed through innumerable dangers, both seen and unseen; having been for the last four long months surrounded only by hordes of barbarous Indians, herds of wild beasts of prey, and danger and death in all their various and varied forms, we had now, arrived at our place of destination; and were about to locate in the wild forests of Oregon. Here we were, cut off almost entirely, from all communication with our connections and friends; in a wild uncultivated region; more than two thousand miles from the land that gave us birth; with no promise of support or protection from our government; exposed to the inclemencies of a dreary rainy season, of about five months, of almost incessant rain, hail, sleet and snow; without houses, without a sufficiency of clothing, or provision; entirely destitute of the means of agriculture; and surrounded with innumerable savages, with whose disposition as to peace or war, we were entirely unacquainted. Under these circumstances, we were very naturally led to inquire, how long this state of things was destined to exist. If this country is such as it has been represented, if it is so fertile and productive; if it is so eminently calculated to promote the prosperity and happiness of man, will not our government, soon extend her jurisdiction and laws over it, so as to insure our future protection; to encourage emigration and to promote enterprise? An affirmative answer to this question, was all our hope, all our consolation, for otherwise, as circumstances and things were, we could see nothing to warrant this tremendous leap into these dark and wild regions, of the "western world." The country did not appear to us, to be in reality, that delightful region which we had thus long and laboriously sought. Dismay and dissatisfaction appeared to be visibly impressed upon every countenance, and deep discontent pervaded every breast. All, however, soon obtained temporary residences, Doctor McLoughlin kindly proffered to render them any assistance in his power. He proposed to sell goods on a credit, to all those who were unable to make immediate payment. He also commenced building extensively, at the falls of the Wallammetle, and thereby gave immediate employment, at the highest wages, to all those who wished to labor. Many engaged in labor for the doctor, others for the mission, while others selected and settled upon their "claims," in the various portions of the country, improving them as they best could, under these very unfavorable circumstances. In the spring, it was found that the dissatisfaction had, in a great measure, subsided, yet, many were still, much dissatisfied, and determined to leave the country, as soon as an opportunity should present. Some desired to return to the States, while others determined to avail themselves of the first opportunity of going to California, to which latter country, many of them, have subsequently gone, where they are entirely satisfied.
|Chapter 1||Chapter 3|