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   While in Stillwater this time John Moore and I arranged to run a logging the coming winter, camp soon after Mr. McKusick had a lumber raft ready and I made the last trip of the season.  We were late in starting and it was late when we got back.  I bought fifty barrels of pork at St. Louis and a lot of flour at Rock mill in Bellevue for which I paid three dollars a barrel.  I stopped at Albany and once more the chills and fever got me and I was laid up for a couple of weeks.  Soon as I was able I commenced buying teams at Albany and got one yoke of oxen from Norman B. Scelcythe, first settler in Portland township, Whiteside county, Ill., and another from Deacon Crosby of Garden Plain, paying for the latter the sum of fifty dollars in gold with which he paid Uncle Sam for his homestead of forty acres, that amount being just the government price.  I have particular reason to remember the transaction as I never met the Deacon afterward as long as he lived without his alluding to it and telling how overjoyed he was to get the price of his land in good coin of the realm as those were the days of Wild Cat money.  Got a couple more yoke of oxen and five hundred bushels of corn near Elkhorn Grove in Carroll county to be delivered at Savanna, and a team of horses from Hopper and Mcllvine at Albany.  Among other things I had a barrel of butter weighed some three hundred pounds that cost me five cents a pound.  This may be of interest as a contrast to the price today.  Finished purchasing our supplies, chiefly groceries at Galena and went on to Stillwater and soon our men and supplies were sent into the woods.  Our crew was made up of our summers rafting crew and in addition we had Edward W. Durant, now one of Stillwater’s most prominent citizens as our chief cook.  He was from Albany and it was his first trip North.

  I did go north with the men as I was far from well and remained at Stillwater for a time.  Our camp was on Mission Creek, five miles from Pokegema Lake and as it had been built early in the fall was ready for the men on arrival.  By the time there was snow enough for hauling the roads had been cut out and we were ready for work, which commenced about December 1st.

  We made the logs fly and our cut of about three thousand logs was very satisfactory indeed and a finer lot of logs I never saw, but they were shorter than the average as the creek was a very small one and that was one reason why this lot of timber had been passed by in former years.  However, there was lots of snow that winter and we had god water and made a very successful drive to Snake river but were not so fortunate after that.  A boom company had been organized which took charge of all the logs when delivered out of the primary streams.  It happened that our logs were behind all the others out that winter and the Company did not get them out until too late to sell them.  I had sold the logs so had to borrow a raft to fill my contract which was expensive in interest charges and not satisfactory to any one.  Later the Boom Company sent us a bill for five hundred for boomage although they had failed to deliver the logs to us.  We refused to pay and a suit was brought and we won in the spring of 1849, a small amount of damage being allowed us.  That was my first and only lawsuit.

  After getting everything ready for the drive I went to Stillwater, and worked in the mill until we got some rafts ready, which was some time in May 1848.  Getting a late start in the Spring made us late with the last raft that season.  Sandy McPhail started with this last raft late in October and was to go until he met me and then I was to take it.  He did not get far, as I met him at catfish, some ten miles form Stillwater.  I was on the Otter, Capt. Smith Harris, and the Captain very kindly towed us through Lake St. --.  We knew it was late to start a raft but Mr. McKusick was anxious to have the lumber delivered so we took a chance.  The nights were cold, the days short and it was impossible to make much of a run on any day.  I shifted the oars in the sides of the raft and we worked our way through Lake Pepin by sheer strength.  It was hard on the crew but the men had agreed to take the trip and I did the best I could. 

  At Dubuque we were detained by wind and it was very cold with ice running.  The men went up town and when they came back, all more or less under the influence of liquor, there were signs of trouble.  They under took to make me lay up the raft there and pay them off but I told them they must live up to their agreement and make the trip or stay with the raft until frozen and they would get no pay until the trip was completed.  One of them drew a jack knife and tried to strike me but I struck him on the arm so hard that the knife flew out of his hand out of sight.  They were ordered to bed and the next morning we pulled out with the dawn, the wind having gone down.  Thus ended my first mutiny. 


Collected and Transcribed by

Georgeann McClure


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