On the Oregon Trail

My GGGrandfather Richard Sharp Crystal lived in Des Moines, IA from 1847 to 1864.  He helped to establish a wagon train that left Des Moines on 16 May 1864 headed for Oregon .  On this journey, he kept a diary which I have transcribed. The surnames associated with this wagon train are as follows:  Griffith , Murrow , Stutsman, Straight, Harris, Hull , Foote, Cooper, Lamb, and Crystal .


Monday May 16 1864 - Left home passed through Des Moines . Drove 5 miles and camped on Walnut Creek with Mr. Bennett without ill luck.

Tuesday May 17 1864 - Left Walnut. Drove to Adel. Nothing occurred except Mr. Griffith's wagon broke down and Murrow's horse was sick.

Wednesday May 18 1864 - Laid over at Adel for Mr. Griffith. He overtaking us later in the evening. All three days being clear and beautiful.

Thursday May 19 1864 - Left Adel traveled 2 miles west of Redfield and camped with Mr. Lamberth.. Thermometer at 94.

Friday May 20 1864 - Left Mr. Lamberth and traveled one mile west of Dalmarrusha 25 miles from Redfield the very beautiful day with strong south wind.

Saturday May 21 1864 - Left camp and proceeded on our journey no misfortune except the breaking of a neck yoke. Camped at night on Turkey Creek.

Sunday May 22 1864 - Left camp on Turkey (Creek) traveling down Turkey with stiff wind from the south 3 day past (sic:for the past 3 days), and camped west of Neshna Botany at Lewis. (Pam's Notes: Neshna Botany is actually the Nishnabotna Type River )

Monday May 23 1864 - Left Lewis crossed the river. Traveled 23 miles and camped 2 miles west of West Neshna Botany.

Tuesday May 24 1864 - Left camp and traveled 24 miles to Council Bluffs and camped in town.

Wednesday May 25 1864 - Laid over. Bought some notions. Got some work done to our wagons.

Thusday May 26 1864 - This morning left camp pulled on to the ferry at 9 o'clock. Crossed at noon and fed. Passed through Omaha and camped 4 miles out of town.

(Pam's notes: This ferry took them across the Missouri River into the Nebraska Type Territory . Nebraska didn't become a state until 1867. It was home to the Pawnee, Ponca, Omaha and Oto Indian tribes.)

Friday May 27 1864 - Left camp and rolled on to Elkhorn and camped for the night. Libby rather sick. 23 miles from Omaha .

Saturday May 28 1864 - Stayed in camp till after noon then moved over the ridge and camped again. Betty quite sick.

Sunday May 29 1864 - Laid over again. Stutsman passed at noon.

Monday May 30 1864 - Left camp at ten o'clock. Drove to Fremont and camped. Repaired my wagon. 40 miles from Omaha .

Tuesday May 31 1864 - Left camp at 9 o'clock. Traveled 18 miles and camped on the Platte Type River . Murrow's horse sick. 58 miles from Omaha .

Wednesday June 1 1864 - Murrow's horse died this morning before starting. Traveled 25 miles and camped 3 miles from Columbus .

Thursday June 2 1864 - Left camp and came into Columbus . Ferried the river at 9 o'clock (Loup Fork of Platte ). Camped 14 miles distant on Platte .

Friday June 3 1864 - Left camp on Platte . Traveled directly up the river some 25 miles and camped on or near the river. Weather pleasant and dry.

Saturday June 4 1864 - Left camp and traveled directly up Platte . Fed on dry prairie on the river (Pam's Notes: probably the Prairie Creek) and stoped over night 45 miles from Kearney .

Sunday June 5 1864 - This morning we drove five miles for grass and laid over 5 miles east of Abbiaville. Post Office 35 miles from Kearney .

Monday June 6 1864 - This morning we crossed Wood Type River . Passed 1 wind saw mill and two water mills and camped on the prairie between Platte and Name Wood Type Rivers .

Tuesday June 7 1864 - This morning we drove out left Wood Type River . Struck Platte opposite Kearney . Bought corn @2.75 pr bushel and camped.

Wednesday 8 June 1864 - This morning we remained in camp to do some washing. James Straight and his Co. came up in the evening.

Thursday 9 June 1864 - Laid over again to day.

Friday 10 June 1864 - This morning we left camp and drove to Elm Creek and camped - here we got a nice shower for the first.

Saturday 11 June 1864 - Left Elm Creek and drove to Buffalo Creek - took dinner and drove some twelve miles and camped without wood or water.

Sunday 12 June 1864 - This morning we left camp and drove five miles and camp near the River and remained in camp in consequence of the sickness of Phebe Murrow. (sic:Phoebe)

Monday 13 June 1864 - This morning left camp and drove 18 miles. Camped on a large grass bottom on the river on Rush Lake . Camped at night near Sands Bluffs. Here we had a great rain.

Tuesday June 14 1864 - This morning drove 8 miles across Sand Bluffs. Crossed Skunk Creek and camped 4 miles below Cold Springs. Some Sioux in camp.

Wednesday June 15 1864 - This morning left camp and passed Pawnee Springs. Took dinner 3 miles above on the river bank. Crossed Carrion Creek and camped 6 miles above on river.

Thursday June 16 1864 - This morning left camp. Crossed some bad branches. Had bad roads. Malon Harris had a bullet taken out of his hand. Camped on river.

Friday June 17 1864 - Left camp. Crossed North Bluff fork 3 miles from camp. Then crossed Sandy Bluff West foot and camped.

Saturday 18 June 1864 - This morning left camp. Crossed Sandy Bluff East Foot and took dinner on the river. Drove 2 miles to Bluff Creek and camped.

Sunday 19 June 1864 - Laid in camp till noon. Passed Bluff Creek and Springs and camped in the bottom near Sand Bluff.

Monday 20 June 1864 - Left camp. Crossed Rattle Snake Creek. Made about 10 miles and camped. The day intensely hot.

Tuesday 21 June 1864 - This morning left camp. Creek crossed - Name Wolf Creek and Sand Bluffs before noon. Drove past Watch creek and camped opposite Ash Hollow.

Wednesday 22 Jun 1864 - Left Ash Hollow. Passed Sand Hill Creek and dined on a slough and camped on dry creek where our horses stampeded.

Thursday 23 June 1864 - Left Dry Creek and passed Crab Creek. Got a view of Chimney Rock. Passed over Cobbs Hill Ancient Bluffs and camped opposite Ancient Bluffs. Got wood and c. (camped).

Friday 24 June 1864 - Laid over opposite the Bluffs in consequence of the lameness of my horse.

Saturday 25 June 1864 - This morning my horse is still unable to travel and we lie over again.

Sunday 26 June 1864 - Left Ancient Bluffs and traveled 18 miles to Sandy Bluffs and camped for the night - killed a beef.

Monday 27 June 1864 - Left camp traveled some ten miles and fed. Then traveled some ten miles above Chimney Rock and camped.

Tuesday 28 June 1864 - Left camp and traveled some miles above Scotts Bluff and camped near Spring Creek. Saw Laramie Type Peak .

 

(Pam's Note: The wagon train is now in the Wyoming Type Territory . At this time the area was inhabited by the Shoshone, Crow, Cheyenne , Ogalala, Sioux and Arapaho Indian tribes. Wyoming Became a state in 1890.)

Wednesday 29 June 1864 - This morning left camp and passed a large Indian camp and fed - then struck timber north of river (Platte?) and camped near river.

Thursday 30 June 1864 - Left camp and traveled crossing Rawhide Creek (feeds into the Platte type River ) and camped 4 or 5 miles below Laramie - grass scarce all day.

Friday 1 July 1864 - This morning drove up to Laramie . Then two miles above we fed - camped the night with the soldiers 13 miles above. Grass very scarce.

Saturday 2 July 1864 - Left camp traveled over some while awful hills saw several broken wagons passed on to the river and drove on to hills and camped without grass or water - pine plenty.

Sunday 3 July 1864 - Left camp and passed Alder Springs 3 miles and camped near Cold Springs.

Monday 4 July 1864 - This morning we moved to Cold Springs and laid over to shoe horses & c. (camped)

Tuesday 5 July 1864 - Left Cold Springs and fed at the river 15 miles distant pine plenty on the road drove 4 miles and camped on the river - little grass.

Wednesday 6 July 1864 - Left camp. Drove passed Dr. Hull on the river. Passed steep and craggy ascent. Camped and took our horses over the river.

Thursday 7 July 1864 - Left camp and traveled about 18 miles and camped near river. With two wagons from Belvedere Illinois - Mr. Foote.

Friday 8 July 1864 - Left camp and traveled over some very sandy road and fed on the river without grass. Rose a stony long hill then another hill and camped - grass poor.

Saturday 9 July 1864 - Left camp traveled on over desperate road hills J S (?) sand and camped on the river near lower bridge - grass poor.

Sunday 10 July 1864 - This morning drove passed lower and upper bridges. The roads awful. Drove 2 miles above and camped - grass poor.

Monday 11 July 1864 - Laid over till two o'clock then drove 10 miles and camped on the river. Road very hilly and bad. Grass over river at Red Buttes.

Tuesday 12 July 1864 - Laid over at Red Buttes to rest our teams.

Wednesday 13 July 1864 - Left camp and drove 15 miles to Willow Springs - no grass here. Camped at night on a small stream on left of road - grass poor.

Thursday 14 July 1864 - Left camp - passed Greasewood Creek. Drove to Sweetwater (River) and camped for the night. Good grass across the river.

Friday 15 July 1864 - Left camp passed Name Sweetwater Type Bridge and Independance Rock. Drove near Devils Gate and fed - passed Devils Gate and camped on river - grass good.

Saturday 16 July 1864 - Left camp and drove some 10 miles and fed on river. Drove some 6 miles and camped for the night.

Sunday 17 July 1864 - Laid over till noon then drove some 12 miles to Three Crossings and camped by permission of the Commander of the post on their ground.

Monday 18 July 1864 - Left camp and traveled above Ice Springs and camped without water or wood and but little grass.

Tuesday 19 July 1864 - This morning at 3 oclock we left camp and traveled some nine miles to water on Sweetwater (River) and laid over for the day.

Wednesday 20 July 1864 - Left camp and drove to the Barracks on river and fed. Then drove out on Stony Ridge and camped near Mountain Springs and camped for the night.

Thursday 21 July 1864 - Left camp and drove to Golden Springs and fed. Then drove on to Ripper Barracks near south pass (South Pass Alt. 7550 ft.) and camped for the night - grass middling good.

Friday 22 July 1864 - Laid over for the day to await the arrival of James Straight and others.

Saturday 23 July 1864 - Left camp and passed the Barracks some 8 miles and fed for the last time on Sweetwater - then drove passed the Sumit (sic) and passed Pacific Springs and camped.

Sunday 24 July 1864 - Left camp - passed Dry Sandy. Drove to Little Sandy (River) and camped passing some Indian warriors by the way side 50 to 70 in number.

Monday 25 July 1864 - Left Little Sandy and drove some 12 miles to Big Sandy and fed. Then drove some 10 miles down the river and camped for the night.

Tuesday 26 July 1864 - Left camp and passed the Soda Springs road. Crossed Big Sandy again and fed. Then drove some 12 miles and camped on Green River .

Wednesday 27 July 1864 - Laid over to graise (sic) our horses.

Thursday 28 July 1864 - This morning we left camp and part of the train. Forded the river and traveled some 8 miles and fed. Then traveled to Hams Fork and camped.

Friday 29 July 1864 - Laid over this fore noon in consequence of the illness of Mrs. Griffiths. Then stampeded to the station 5 miles above on the creeek. Drove 3 miles and camped.

Saturday 30 July 1864 - Left camp - drove 12 miles to Church Buttes and fed. Then drove to Millersville and camped for the night.

Sunday 31 July 1864 - Left Millersville and drove 13 miles to Type Fort Name Bridger and camp one mile above. Grass poor. Cooper and Lamb we found here.

Monday 1 August 1864 - Left camp and drove some 12 miles and camped on creek. Grass poor - roads bad all day.

Tuesday 2 August 1864 - Left camp and to Bear Creek and camped for the night - grass good.

Wednesday 3 August 1864 - Left Bear River drove 1 mile past Needle Rock and fed. Then drove to the head of Echo Canon (sic: Canyon) and camped for the night - heavy frost.

 

(Pam's notes - The wagon train is now in the Type territory of Name Utah . Utah became a state in 1896. Its Indian population included the Ute, Gosiute, Southern Paiute and Navajo tribes.)

Thursday 4 August 1864 - Left camp and drove some 18 miles and camped for the night without grass.

Friday 5 August 1864 - Drove 2 miles to the mouth of the canyon, to the station at the fork of the road on Weber (River) - put our horses in pasture for the night and day.

Saturday 6 August 1864 - Left camp and traveled near the mouth of Silver Creek and fed. Then drove 10 miles up the creek and camped for the night putting our horses in pasture.

Sunday 7 August 1864 - Left camp and drove 8 miles and fed in pasture - then drove within fifteen miles of Salt Lake City and camped for the night - roads rough - grass poor.

Monday 8 August 1864 - Left camp and drove 7 miles over most desperate road then fed and drove to great Salt Lake Type City .

Tuesday 9 August 1864 - Laid over this day and fed our horses at 1.00 per day.

Wednesday 10 August 1864 - Laid over again today. Put our horses in pasture. John Henry confided to go to Nevada .

Thursday 11 August 1864 - This morning we left camp and traveled 8 miles and camped for the night putting over our horses in pasture - John Henry left us for Nevada .

Friday 12 August 1864 - Left camp drove to the Hate Barn and put our horses in pasture. Then drove 8 miles and camped for the night without water.

Saturday 13 August 1864 - This morning left at 5 oclock and drove 8 miles to Big Springs for Brea Klust - then drove to type Plain type City crossing Weber River .

Sunday 14 August 1864 - Left camp and drove to Willard and camped for this day putting our horses in pasture for the night.

Monday 15 August 1864 - Left camp - passed Box Alder and fed. Then drove within five miles of Bear River Ferry and camped - without wood.

Tuesday 16 August 1864 - Left camp drove to the river and found difficult crossing. Came to Malad Type River and found that very bad crossing then drove to Mountain Springs and camped over night.

 

( Pam's Note: The Wagon Train has now entered the Type territory of Name Idaho . It was home to the Shoshone, Nothern Paiute, Bannock and Nez Perce Indian tribes. Idaho became a state in1890.)

Wednesday 17 August 1864 - Laid over till 4 oclock then drove 35 miles by 6 oclock next morning. Laid here till 3 oclock P.M.

Thursday 18 August 1864 - Arrived in camp at 6 this morning laid by till 3 then drove 6 miles to Deep Creek and camped for the night.

Friday 19 August 1864 - Left camp drove 16 miles to a Spring and camped for the night - grass poor.

Saturday 20 August 1864 - This morning we left camp and drove 15 miles to Cedar Creek without any water on the way here we staid all night.

Sunday 21 August 1865 - This morning we conclude to lay over till tomorrow to rest our stock.

Monday 22 August 1864 - Left Cassius Creek and drove 8 or 10 miles and found a small creek but not good grass - drove to Raft River and camped at 3d ford - grass poor.

Tuesday 23 August 1864 - Left camp and drove to city Rocks* and fed in the rain. Then drove some 8 miles to a good spring and camped for the night. *(The City of Rocks is listed on the map as a Nat’l. Reserve, and the Raft Type River flows just east of it.)

Wednesday 24 August 1864 - Left camp drove some 2 miles to a nice creek on the mountain side and camped till next morning.

Thursday 25 August 1864 - This morning left camp passed the Cooper train drove to Clover Meadow some 15 miles and camped for the night.

Friday 26 August 1864 - Left Clover Meadow and drove some 8 miles and fed at the sink of a small creek. Then drove about 6 miles to another sink and camped for the night.

Saturday 27 August 1864 - Drove 8 miles and fed. Then drove some 5 miles and camped on a nice Rock Creek having struck the Oregon route.

Sunday 28 August 1864 - Moved 8 miles further down Rock Creek and camped for the night grass and water plenty.

Monday 29 August 1864 - Left camp drove 5 miles to the last water on Rock Creek - then drove 20 miles to Snake River and camped without grass in the rain.

Tuesday 30 August 1864 - Moved one mile and stoped till near noon to graise (sic:graze) our horses then drove above the ferry and camped for the night on Salmon Creek.

Wednesday 31 August 1864 - This day we lay in camp to rest and graise (sic:graze) our horses.

Thursday September 1 1864 - Left camp crossed Snake River drove 12 miles and camped at Malad Station at Malad Creek.

Friday September 2 1864 - Laid in camp till noon then traded our pair of horses for two pairs of cattle and then remained in camp for this day.

Saturday 3 September 1864 - Left Malad and drove to Cold Spring Station some 15 miles and camped for the night.

Sunday 4 September 1864 - Left Cold Spring Station and drove 18 miles to Home Station and camped for the night.

Monday 5 September 1864 - Left Homes Station drove over the Big Hills - then on to station and camped on good grass.

Tuesday 6 September 1864 - Left camp and drove 18 miles and camped for the night.

Wednesday 7 September 1864 - Laid over till noon on account of the illness of Mr. Harris then drove to Blue Creek Station and camped for the night.

Thursday 8 September 1864 - Left camp and drove to Rogue Station and camped for the night.

Friday 9 September 1864 - Left camp and drove to Mud Creek Station and camped for the night.

Saturday 10 September 1864 - Left Mud Creek Station and drove to Boise River 5 miles from Boise Type City - put our horses in pasture and camped for the night.

Sunday 11 September 1864 - Left this morning and drove to Ft Boise and laid over till next day - grass very scarce.

Monday 12 September 1864 - This morning took my wagon and got it repaired then drove 4 miles from town and camped for the night.

Tuesday 13 September 1864 - This cold morning left and drove some 8 miles and nooned on the river - feed poor. Then drove 5 miles and camped on Boise Type River .

Wednesday 14 September 1864 - Left camp and drove some 8 miles and camped and laid over. Mr. Griffith making some changes in his wagon.

Thursday 15 September 1864 - Drove some 8 miles through deep dust and fed on Boise type River then drove 8 miles and camped on a Slough - water poor.

Friday 16 September 1864 - Drove 4 miles to Boise Ferry - crossed Snake River and thereby passed out of Idaho into Oregon - then camped - Mary quite sick.

(Pam's notes: Oregon was granted statehood Feb. 14, 1859, five years before the Crystals arrival. Oregon had over a 100 Indian tribes when it was first settled in 1811 by Europeans/Americans. The larger tribes included Chinook, Yakima , Cayuse, Modoc and Nez Perce.)

Saturday 17 September 1864 - Left the ferry and drove 8 or 9 miles on an up grade through the most suffocating dust from 2 to 10 inches deep then drove Malhuer type River (correct spelling is Name Malheur Type River ).

Sunday 18 September 1864 - Left Malhuer and drove 12 miles to Tub Springs and camped for the night water scarce grass quite scarce and poor Mary quite sick.

Monday 19 September 1864 - Laid over in consequence of the illness Mary - grass miserably poor.

Tuesday 20 September 1864 - Left Tub Springs and drove 10 miles to Birch Creek. Camped - Mary still quite sick grass very poor.

Wednesday 21 September 1864 - Laid on camp - went back to Tub Springs in search of a doctor to attend Mary - she is still sick - Mrs. Harris also unwell - day cool.

Thursday 22 September 1864 - Left camp drove to *Burned Type River camping in thick clumps of bushes road rough - Mary and Elsie both quite sick - drive about 15 miles. *(correct spelling is Burnt Type River )

Friday 23 September 1864 - left camp drove some 14 miles over miserable rough road and camped again on Burned River (sic:Burnt) 1 mile above Toll House.

Saturday 24 September 1864 - Left camp traveled up the river crossing the river quite frequently and finally camped one mile below Huffmans Ranche.

Sunday 25 September 1864 - Left camp and drove past Illinois Ranche - then drove on to the Quarts Mines and camped - Elsie quite sick weather very cold.

Monday 26 September 1864 - Left Quartz Mines and drove some 16 miles and camped near Powder River - weather cold snow on eagle creek mountains.

Tuesday 27 September 1864 - Left camp and drove to Wolf Creek a distance of 14 miles and camped for the night weather cold ice ¾ inch thick.

Wednesday 28 September 1864 - Left Wolf Creek and drove some 18 miles and camped for the night in Name Grand Ronde Type Valley .

Thursday 29 September 1864 - Laid in camp till noon then within 1 mile of Le Grande and camped William Harris very sick.

Friday 30 September 1864 - Laid in camp all day family unwell and weather disagreeable. Meantime looking for a house.

Saturday 1 October 1864 - This morning drove into Le Grande and got into a cabin got a load of wood.

(Sunday 2 October 1864) - Put our stock in Mr. Yount's pasture Oct ?? (45 days) horses remained in pasture 10 days one yoke of oxen -

(Monday 3 October 1864) - 10 days, the other yoke 15 days - total number of days 70.

(Tuesday 4 October 1864) - Put my horses in Mr. Hildreths pasture Oct 12 and my oxen on the 15th took the oxen out on the 21st.

(Wednesday 5 October 1864) - Took my horses out of Hildreths pasture Nov 14th.

(Pam's Notes: Stayed in Le Grande for the winter, spring & summer. The entries made for the dates Oct. 3, 4, & 5 were really an accounting of where the livestock were being pastured temporarily & not what was happening on those days. The diary continues when the wagon train hits the Oregon Trail anew on August 3, 1865.)

(Thursday 3 August 1865) - Left Le Grande Thursday August 3d at 5 OClock P. M. and drove out some four miles and camped on Name Grande Ronde Type River . Grass poor.

(Friday 4 August 1865) - Left camp drove to Rock Creek nooned and then drove near California Ranch and camped for the night grass poor all day.

(Saturday 5 August 1865) - Left camp nooned at Meachum's then drove to the foot of Blue Mountains and camped at Crawford Spring grass poor.

(Sunday 6 August 1865) - Left Crawfords and drove to Swifts 12 miles and nooned on Umatilla Type River and laid over till next morning.

(Monday 7 August 1865) - Left 2 miles above Swifts and drove to 4 miles above Umatilla Bridge a distance of 18 miles and nooned. Had the first sight of Cascades. Crossed the river and camped making 25 miles.

(Tuesday 8 August 1865) - Left camp drove 10 miles to Ewings then drove to Well Springs and camped making 30 miles over desperate roads. Saw Mount Hood plain.

(Wednesday 9 August 1865) - Left Well Springs and drove 16 miles to Willow Creek and camped for the night. Roads bad weather hot.

(Thursday 10 August 1865) - Laid in camp all day in the heat and wind.

(Friday 11 August 1865) - left Willow Creek and drove 20 miles to Rock Creek and camped for the night.

(Saturday 12 August 1865) - Left Rock Creek drove 5 miles to John Name Days Type River and fed then drove 5 miles over miserable road and camped at a spring. Wind most horrible.

(Sunday 13 August 1865) - Left Spring and drove to Spanish Hollow and fed then drove within 2 miles of De Chuttes River and camped for the night.

(Monday 14 August 1865) - Left Deschutes or near it crossed the bridge near the Columbia River and drove into *Dalles and camped for the night. *(The Dalles)

(Tuesday 15 August 1865) - Laid in camp and prospected and bought tickets for a passage down the river Columbia .

(Wednesday 16 August 1865) - Took passage on board the Oneonta at 5 Oclk A.M. Rode to upper cascades, 45 miles, took cars. Rode to lower cascades then embarked on the steamer New World and rode 65 miles to Portland .

(Thursday 17 August 1865) - Laid in Portland till noon. Then drove to John Murrow's, a distance of 13 miles.

(Friday 18 August 1865) - Staid with John and looked some at the country north of Hillsboro .

(Saturday 19 August 1865) - Left John and drove 20 miles to Nicks and staid (sic) over night.

(Sunday 20 August 1865) - Staid with Nicholas all day being Sunday.

(Monday 21 August 1865) - Left at 1 O'clk P.M. and drove to Lafayette and camped for the night.

(Tuesday 22 August 1865) - This morning it rained and we lay in camp all day.



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