This week in 1856 – Approaching Florence Nebraska – Mary Taylor

From Samuel Openshaw’s Journal:

12 August 1856:

We should have started at seven o’clock this morning, but for two of the mules who ran away. We found them and started at 9 o’clock, and arrived at the camp ground 20 minutes to six, and camped upon the prairie grass, not far from wood, but water was not so fluent.

13 August 1856:

We were delayed again at 9 o’clock, on account of the mule teams having to turn back a little for flour. We traveled about 20 miles and arrived at the camp ground about 6 o’clock. We passed through Fort Des Moines, which is quite a new settled place. Lots of brick building, which is stylish for a new town.

14 August 1856:

We started about 8 o’clock this morning, and crossed over the North Coon, with our handcarts in the water, in the county of Edby. We found Robert Kirkman. He had stopped behind from Haven’s company last Saturday night, and was cut off from the Church. We took him along with us and crossed over another river, which is also about knee deep. The women and children crossed over the river on a small bridge. We camped close by the river about 5 o’clock.

15 August 1856:

A child was buried this morning. The coffin had to be made, which delayed us until about 8 o’clock. We traveled about 13 miles and pitched our tents about half past twelve o’clock, which gave us a chance to wash a little. James Ferguson, John McAllister and Dan Jones camp us with their carriage and stayed all night with us.

16 August 1856:

We started about 7 o’clock and traveled about four hours before we saw a house or any water to drink. We took but little water with us, and most of it was finished up long before we got to any house. The day being hot, we felt the want of water. We traveled about 17 miles and pitched our tents about two o’clock.

17 August 1856:

Sunday. We started about 7 o’clock this morning and traveled all day without seeing a house or even a tree, except fro a few at a distance. Nothing but prairie grass to be seen. We traveled about 10 miles and pitched our tents about 2 o’clock. As soon as we had put our tents up, a thunderstorm came. In our travels today, we found a well, by having a pole set up with a flag upon it, having wrote, “the devil in the well below the spring.” Eliza is a little better. We camped near Morrison Grove.

18 August 1856:

We started for Morrison Grove at 8 o’clock, and traveled until 11 o’clock, when we stopped two hours for dinner. Started again, traveled 21 miles and pitched our tents at 6 o’clock, close by the River.


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