Today in History:

154 Series I Volume L-I Serial 105 - Pacific Part I


Lake, and Denver were on this road. Some had started in April, and were consequently several hundred miles in advance of the rear portion of the emigration. Feeling it to be my duty to protect the rear, I did not hasten on the first part of the trip, but urged upon the emigrants whom I fell in with as I proceeded the necessity of husbanding the strength of their teams so as to be able to perform the journey over the barren deserts of Snake River, the necessity for which my last year's experience had taught me. I soon found that a large proportion of the emigrants had started for the Salmon River mines under the very erroneous impression as to the locality of them. A guide of the representing those mines as being within 180 miles of Fort Hall, not giving the locality of the road, but saying-good grass and plenty of water all the way. Under this impression many emigrants had overloaded their wagons and taxed their teams beyond their strength, and so positive were they that they could reach the mines without going down Snake River that many of them disregarded my counsel to dispense with comparatively useless articles with which they were encumbered. The result was that as soon as we left, the Platte Valley and encountered the heavy sand and hills their teams and wagons began to fail. They then found it necessary to do what I had advised long before, dispense with heavy and useless articles, but unfortunately it was too late to save many of their teams. From this point to Powder River article after article of furniture and wagon after wagon were left along, and scarcely a camp was left without some evidence of property abandoned. The large number of teams which were ahead of us had cut up the road to such an extent that the dust was very deep and its alkaline properties fatal to cattle. There were over forty head of dead cattle between the Owyhee and Malheur Rivers, a distance of sixteen miles, and we found the proportion nearly as great at other we saw was a grave at the crossing of New Fork of Green River. From the inscription placed over it we learned that Patrick Moran, of Missouri, was killed by Indians on the 18th of July and two men wounded. We passed this place August 11, about three weeks after, at which time no Indians were to be seen. The next grave was on La Barge Creek, in the Bear River Mountains, on the head-board of which was the following:

Opened by Kavanaugh's train on the 27th of July, 1862. The body of a man found too badly decayed for removal. One shot in the temple and an arrow shot. Supposed to have been killed by Indians.

On the 25th day of August we passed the graves of the following persons; One unknown man found by Captain Glenn's party August 13. He had been shot in the back of the head with buckshot. Three miles farther there were five graves, side by side, of persons supposed to have been killed by Indians, Rufus C. Mitchell, N. Howie, James Steel, David Whitmer, and Frank Sessions were the names inscribed over them. This was in the vicinity of Fort Hall, and happened on the 9th of August, we passing on the 25th. We learned from the ferry-man that while these five men were slain by the Indians twenty armed men from the same train stood upon a hill near by and made no attempt to rescue their comrades. There are strong reasons for believing that white men bore a part in this massacre. Between Fort Hall and Raft River we foun four graves of men supposed to have been killed by Indians on the 9th of August. After crossing Raft River we found the