Ringgold County Genealogical Society
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Vol. 1, Pp. 10-17. April & July, 1980
A Brief History of Harlow LANDPHAIR
Before the Writing of His Diary
The following is being submitted by Nola LANDPHAIR, president of Ringgold County Genealogical Society in
1980. It is entries from a diary on her husband's side of the family when his great-grandfather went west to California
to prospect for gold.
Harlow LANDPHAIR was born in the Township of Brookfield, Madison County, in the state of New York on May 20, 1820. When he
was 12-years-old, his family moved to the town of Rockport, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, located near Cleveland.
When he was
18-years-old, he left home and started out on foot westward, crossing the Illinois River where Chicago is now located. About
all that was there at the time was a bridge over the river, a grist mill, a blacksmith shop, and a general store. He
reported that the mud in the streets was about knee-deep.
He traveled northwest from Chicago about 125 miles to Rush
Township, Jo Daviess County, Illinois, where he settled and went to farming. He was married [to Jane A. GATES] there and also died here in 1913.
In the spring of 1850, when he was about 30-years-old, he and a company of other young farmers abou this age, formed a wagon train
of covered wagons pulled by oxen and some horses, and set out west to California to prospect for gold, which had been
discovered in 1849.
Harlow LANDPHAIR'S Diary
March 27th, 1850 Crossed the Mississippi River and camped on the bottom.
March 28th Camped at distance of 20 miles.
March 29th Ferried the Mississippi and camped, distance of 22 miles.
March 30th Came into camp - 18 miles.
March 31st Remained in camp.
April 1st Crossed the Cedar River, distance 14 miles
April 2nd Camped in "Ioway" Iowa City, 9 miles, rained all day
April 3rd Moved 5 miles and camped, laid over until the 29th
April 29th Marched and camped, distance 20 miles
April 30th Camp to camp distance 27 miles
May 1st Came into camp, distance 29 miles
May 2nd Traveled 12 miles and camped
May 3rd Marched 18 miles and camped, rained in the morning
May 4th Marched and camped, distance 20 miles near Des Moines River
May 5th Remained in camp
May 6th Marched and camped on the prairie
May 10th Marched 18 miles to Middle River
May 11th Marched 17 miles and camped on the prairie
May 12th Marched Sunday 10 miles and camped on west branch of "Wateway"
May 13th Marched 15 miles and camped on west branch of "Wateway"
May 14th Remained in camp
May 15th Marched 15 miles and camped on the prairie
May 16th Marched 15 miles and camped on the prairie
May 17th Marched 17 miles and camped on Missouri bottom
May 18th Remained in camp
May 20th Crossed the Missouri and camped on the bottom
May 21st Marched 12 miles and made no halt; saw plenty of Indians
May 22nd Marched 12 miles and crossed Elk Horn, camped on the bottom. It
rained in the night as hard as ever I saw.
May 23rd Marched 18 miles and camped on the Platte River
May 24th Marched and came to Shell Creek. We had to draw our wagons over by hand.
Camped on the Platte, distance 22 miles
May 25th Marched and camped on the Platt River
May 26th Marched 12 miles and ferried the loup fork and swam our oxen. Camped on the
bottom. It rained in the night.
May 27th Marched up loup fork and camped on the fork. Distance 20 miles
May 28th Marched 20 miles and camped on loup fork. Good road.
May 29th Marched over high, sandy road and high sandy hills. Distance 22 miles.
Good road, plenty of water and grass.
May 30th Marched and crossed Wood River; camped on Platte River; 20 miles
May 31st Marched 20 miles; camped on the Platte River. I killed an antelope; saw plenty
of Buffalo, wounded one.
June 1st Marched 23 miles and camped on Dry Creek, near the Platte
June 2nd Marched 3 miles, camped on Elm Creek; remained over Sunday
June 3rd Marched and crossed two cry creeks; had to build bridges and let our wagons down by hand with ropes
June 4th Marched 20 miles, remained all day in camp on Platte River
June 5th Marched 22 miles; it rained all the forenoon; crossed a good deal of alcolyte water [
A region of extremely alkaline soil where the chalky soil created an especially nasty dust and made the water brackish.
Animals or emigrants who could not be restrained from drinking out of the alkaline pools often fell deathly ill.]
and passed many teams
June 6th Marched 21 miles; passed two companies who had lost their teams and were in a fix
June 7th Marched 20 miles; camped on the Platte River, and there is no more timber for 200 miles
June 8th Marched 14 miles; camped on the Platte River
June 9th Remained in camp. Killed 3 antelope. Ira BOWKER killed them.
June 10th Marched 22 miles and camped on the Platte River near the Cedar River
June 11th Marched 22 miles and I went out hunting and helped kill 4 buffalo, and we had plenty.
June 12th Marched 22 miles; camped on Platte River. We passed through Soo (Sioux) Villages
June 13th Marched 22 miles; camped on Platte River. Passed near old ruins.
June 14th Marched 20 miles; camped on Platte River near the chimney rock
June 15th Marched 22 miles; camped on Platte River
June 16th Marched 13 miles; camped on Spring Creek and saw good many teams
June 17th Marched 30 miles; camped on Platte River, crossed over a long plain without grass and
camped without grass
June 18th Marched 15 miles and passed Fort Larmy (Laramie); camped at the Platte; saw lost of teams and cholera on
the other side of the River
June 19th Marched 15 miles and camped on the Platte; crossed the Black Hills or mountains
June 20th Marched 15 miles and camped on the Platte; passed over much the same road. I am sick and had to
ride in the wagon most of the day.
June 21st Marched 10 miles; camped on the Platte; passed over rolling land and saw mountain goats and sage hens.
I had to ride in the wagon all day.
June 22nd Stayed in camp all day and washed; plenty of good grass.
June 23rd Marched 10 miles; camped on the Platte over high rolling ground with no grass, only bottom was there grass
June 24th Marched and camped on Platte River; distance of 20 miles. Passed over some rolling ground and rock; saw some
sage hens. I had to ride in the wagon all day.
June 25th Marched 10 miles; camped on the Platte. I saw where the teams were crossing over the Platte and a good many
have gone ahead. No grass hardly for anybody.
June 26th Marched 18 miles; camped on Platte. No grass; sage hens plenty
June 27th Marched 23 miles and camped in the east desert. Cattle had nothing to eat and poor water
June 28th Marched 25 miles; camped on west river. Sandy hills, no grass, death looks the cattle in the face; also there is
a good deal of sickness and deaths among the missionaries
June 29th Marched 15 miles; camped on west river. Some grass, no timber. Three died with cholera
among the horse teams and packers.
June 30th Remained in camp all day. Fixed our wagons and washed.
July 1st Marched 14 miles; camped on sand prairie. Lost two of our oxen by drinking alcolyte water
July 2nd Marched 18 miles; camped in the sand hills. No water, had to haul our water. No grass
July 3rd Marched 10 miles; camped on sweet water for the day; good water
July 4th Marched 16 miles; camped on the mountains. Passed over the gap of the mountains, west part
July 5th Marched 15 miles; camped on sweet water; plenty of snow and ice; poor grass. Some wick in our train. Minister
TEFFt is sick.
July 6th Marched 14 miles; camped on west side of the Rocky Mt. - near Pacific Springs. Saw and passed lots of teams. We
saw horse teams that passed us on the Platte River near the Missouri.
July 7th Marched 25 miles and camped on Big Sandy; went over a desert. Passed the forks of the Great Divide; half a mile to the w. left
July 8th Marched 8 miles; camped on the Big Sandy all day and did our cooking
July 9th Marched 17 miles; camped on Big Sandy. Good grass and water
July 10th Marched 10 miles; camped on Green River and swam, also swam our cattle
July 11th Marched 16 miles; campedon Blackman Fork and ferried our wagons over Green River. Plenty of grass and wild flax;
cost four dollars a wagon for crossing the Green River.
July 12th Marched 20 miles and camped on Hams Fork and crossed Blackman River
July 13th Marched 18 miles; camped on creek near Fort Bridger among the Indians. Good grass and plenty of trout
July 14th Remained in camp and Minister Dunlap and son came to us
July 15th Marched 15 miles; camped on Modey Branch. Came over rough road and rocky; good water and grass. David
SLAGLE had the cholera bad, but got over better
July 16th Remained in camp for our cattle to rest and for the sick to gain strength
July 17th Marched 20 miles; camped on Bare River; passed over high hills and on rocky mountains
July 18th Marched 21 miles; camped on Echo Creek; good water and grass. Passed over high hills, deep holes. Passed Mr.
JACKSON> He was lying by the side of the road and could not help himself. We could not take him in as our company was
all sick and he was sick and would have poisoned our whole train. We built him a shade and gave him some provisions. We
fixed him by the side of a good spring of water.
July 19th Marched 20 miles; camped on Road [Red?] Fork of Wilbur River; good grass and water. Passed SAMUELS down through Echo
Creek; had bad road across the creek; time without number the hills from three to four hundred feet high; rained in the
evening, a thing very uncommon.
July 20th Marched 15 miles and camped on the Red Fork off Wilbur River; crossed the streams number of times; bad roads and
rained in the evening and most of the night.
July 21st Marched 20 miles; camped on big canyon which empties into the valley of Salt Lake; bad roads; mountains.
July 22nd Marched 16 miles and camped on London [?] River in the Mormon city; passed through between the mountains and hurt
our cattle more than we had all the rest of the way.
July 23rd Marched 10 miles; camped in the valley of good water and grass; passed two hot sulphur springs. They were so
hot that we could not hold our hands in it.
July 24th Marched 12 miles; camped in the valley were some farms were; can get vegetables plenty. I bought butter, milk,
onions and beans.
July 25th Remained in camp to recruit our cattle.
July 26th Marched 6 miles and camped on a creek; good water and grass; saw some of our old neighbors and took dinner with
them. It was fine. My heath is good, better than I ever had it. It agrees with me to travel.
July 27th Marched 20 miles; camped on a little creek; crossed Webar River by a ford; good road, grass and water.
July 28th Marched 20 miles; camped on a small creek; passed several small creeks; grass and water are good.
July 29th Marched 20 mles; camped on Bear River; crossed the river by a ferry; price five dollars. Passed several warm and
salt springs; good grass and water.
July 30th Marched 23 miles; camped by the salt springs; had to use it. It was bad enough. Passed rolling land and high
hills. Met Mr. PHILLIPS from California. He says he was 30 days coming.
July 31st Started before day and camped on dry creek; grass, water good; nooned at spring creek; passed over high rolling ground; good road.
August 1st Marched 20 miles; camped on the side of a mountain; good grass and water;
passed over a long plain; no grass nor water; plenty of sage grass.
August 2nd Marched 9 miles; camped on side of the mountain for all day to rest our teams and cook; grass and water good; four of
our oxen ran away.
August 3rd Marched 19 miles and camped on creek; good grass and water. The Indians wtole our horses; we hired them to
bring them back. We gave them powder, caps, shirts and bread. They were diggers.
August 4th Marched 14 miles and camped on the side of a mountain; good grass and water; roads sandy. Passed over dry sand
valleys; nothing but wild sage and plety of saleratus. [Saleratus is a naturally occurring sodium or potassium bicarbonate,
similar to baking soda.]
August 5th Marched 15 miles and camped on Goose Creek; passed over mountains and bad roads; good grass and water. Passed the
fortHall road. We came by the cut off and our oxen look well.
August 6th Marched 16 miles and camped on Good Creek; good grass, water and lots of teams.
August 7th Marched 20 miles and camped in Thousand Spring Valley; grass and water good; passed over mountains and awful
road; saw plenty of dead cattle and horses.
August 8th Marched 15 miles; camped in the same valley; good grass, roads, sulphur water.
August 9th Marched 7 miles and camped in the same valley; grass and water good. Ibsalom TOWNSEND came up with us this
morning. They were all well and camped with us. There was a man shot. His name was HOUSE. The man who shot him,
Abraham KISS. There was about five hundred camped at this place and they forced a council and the jury brought in KISS not
guilty, but I never thought it was right.
August 10th Marched 25 miles and camped in the Humbolt valley; grass and water good; ground good all but one piece of canyon.
August 11th Marched 10 miles; camped on one of the inlets of the Moris River; good road; grass and water poor; camped one half
of the day and it rained. One of Absalom TOWNSEND'S men died with the cholera. His name was DOUGLASS.
August 12th Marched 13 miles; camped on Moris River; grass and roads good; water poor; handsome valley.
August 13th Marched 13 miles and camped on the same river; grass, water, road good. Passed where the Indians had attacked
a company and caused some loss but did no damage. We heard our oxen ran with our wagons but did no damage to our company; broke
wagon for Mr. _____ his horse scart them. [?]
August 14th Marched 25 miles; camped onthe same stream. Some snow, good roads and grass; water poor. Crossed the river
4 times; good crossing and nobody sick.
August 15th Marched 25 miles; camped on same river; came over mountains and bad roads; no water; crossed the river that evening.
The Indians attacked a company above us. They were repulsed.
August 16th Marched 15 miles; camped on the same river valley; crossed the river; grass, water and road good. George killed his cow.
August 17th Marched 24 miles and camped on the same river. Road, grass and water good. Passed over saleratus, very bad.
August 18th Marched 25 miles; camped on same river; grasswater and road good. All well; cattle look good.
August 19th Marched 25 miles; camped on same river; good grass, water and road; some sand.
August 20th Marched 25 miles; good water, grass and roads; all well.
August 21st Marched 20 miles; camped on the same river; poor grass and water; roads very sandy and hard for the teams.
August 22nd Marched 20 miles and camped on the same river; roads very sandy; poor grass; water bad.
August 23rd Marched 25 miles; camped on the same river; grass poor; roads very dusty and hard for the teams and men.
August 24th Marched 25 miles and camped on the same river; no grass; bad water; roads dusty. we were 10 miles from the sinkhole;
plenty of dead horses and cattle on the ground. There were thirty in one-half acre lot. Men all around.
August 25th Marched 18 miles and camped on the sink; good grass; poor water, killing beef. 20 miles and camped.
August 26th Marched 6 miles and camped on the marsh and cut our hay, the water and grass to the desert.
August 27th Marched 20 miles and camped by the sulphur springs. Fed our cattle.
August 28th Started before the day, and could not get along for the water. The Humbolt set back on the desert and made it slower
on account of it being high, came to a halt at the hot springs, distance 30 miles in the middle of the desert, rested and
fed the teams. Started at sundown, the springs were so hot that we could make coffee in five minutes and boil meat.
August 29th In the morning at sunrise we were on our way. We arrived on Truckey's river and camped for the day and there was some
August 30th Marched 25 miles and camped on Truckeys River; good grass and water; crossed the river 6 times.
August 31st Remained in camp.
September 1st Marched 28 miles and camped in a pretty valley on Truckeys Rivery. Plenty of
sage hens and antelope.
September 2nd Marched 18 miles; camped on the river. No grass, water; good roads. Came to a fine timber, handsome.
September 3rd Marched 18 miles; camped on Truckey River; passed over high mountain and bad roads. Fine timber, fir trees, very heavy.
September 4th Marched 18 miles; camped in the near the canibel [illegible] cabin; good grass, heavy pine.
September 5th Marched 19 miles and camped in lovely valley; crossed over the Burney road mountains and they beat all.
It rained when we were on top, good grass and water; bad roads and rough.
September 6th Marched 12 miles and camped on the mountains; bad road, very rocky, no grass, bad water.
September 7th Marched 18 miles; camped in a little valley, grass and water good. The worst road we ever had. We had to
let our wagons down by hand on ropes.
September 8th Marched 18 miles and camped by a little spring. Had to let our wagons down by hand along the hall half mile
long. came to Rare River valley. Plenty of provisions for sale here.
September 9th Marched 18 miles; camped in a little valley; not much grass; water good; past (sic, passed) first mine
today. Came over the worst road that we ever had. We came to steep hollows and it was half-pitch for one mile. We had
to fasten ropes to hand end of our wagons to keep them from tipping over endways.
September 10th Marched 10 miles and made camp for the winter. Rough valley and close to Deer Creek.
September 16th, 1850
I, BOWKER and Co. debtor to one.
|One Pick||$6.00|| ||Pork, 15#||$4.50|
|One shovel||15.00|| ||Beef & Flour|| 4.85|
|One pan|| 2.00|| ||Half # tea|| .60|
|One dipper|| 1.50|| ||5 gal. vinegar|| 5.00|
|Provisions on hand||10.00|| ||Tacks|| .75|
After reaching the mountains of California in the Fall of 1850, the company disbanded and broke up into small parties of
2 or 3 or more and started prospecting for gold - with, of course, varying results.
After about two years, Harlow
LADPHAIR, with several companies, decided to return home to Illinois to their families. Since the Indians on the Plains
were at this time on the warpath, this small party took passage on a ship going south down the coast of California and disembarked
at the Isthmus of Panama at the spot where the panama Canal is now located. Taking a small rowboat, they crossed the
Isthus, sometimes rowing the boat when there was water, as there was a lake part of the way, and at other times pulling
the boat over land where there was no water. Arrivingon the Atlantic side they disembarked and walked westward again
to their homes in Illinois. They were about a year coming home from California.
Foreward and ending written by Richard LANDPHAIR, grandson of Harlow LANDPHAIR and son of Harry A. LANDPHAIR
The History of JoDaviess County, Illinois
"Rush Township Biographical Directory"
p. 731. H.F. Kett & Co., 1878
LANDPHAIR, Harlow, Farmer; Sec. 32; P.O. Rush; Owns 150 acres of land; was
born in Madison Co., N.Y., on May 20, 1820; when he was fourteen years of
age he moved with his parents to Ohio; he remained in that state until the
year of 1838, when he came to this Co. and located in this TP., which has
since been his home; the maiden name of Mrs. LANDPHAIR was Jane A. GATES;
they were married in Green Co., Wis., on July 19, 1862; she was born in
Michigan on May 16, 1837; Mr. LANDPAHIR and family are members of the
Evangelical Church; he had two brothers in the army (Hiram and Hoxie
LANDPHAIR); Hiram enlisted in a Wisconsin Regt., and died in the service;
Hoxie enlisted in the Ohio Zouaves; he also died in the service at
Louisville, Ky.; Mrs. LANDPHAIR had three brothers in the army, viz.;
(Noah, Leland and John GATES); all of them served until the close of the
war and were honorably discharged.
NOTE: Harlow LANDPHAIR died in 1913. His wife, Jane A. (GATES) LANDPHAIR, was born
in 1857 and died in 1929. They were interred in Townsend Cemetery, Rush Township of Jo Daviess County,
Transcriptions & Note by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2010
To submit your Ringgold County items, contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.