This Week in 1856 – Nebraska – Mary Taylor

From Samuel Openshaw’s Diary:

16 September 1856:

Started at half past 8 o’clock. The weather is extremely hot, whick makes it hard traveling. Stopped at one o’clock, but moved no further today. It would truly be an amusing and interesting scene if the people of the old country could have a birds-eye view of us when in camp; to see everyone busy some fetching water, others gathering buffalo chips, some cooking, and if they could come forth upon these wild prairies, where the air is not tainted with the smoke of cities and factories. It is quiet here. One may see a creek at a distance and start and travel one hour towards it, yet you seem no closer than you did when you started.

17 September 1856:

An old sister died this morning, which delayed us until 10 o’clock. When we started out, it was a very hard, sandy road, and the wind was extremely cold, as if we had come into a different climate all at once. Stopped for dinner at one o’clock. Started again, and traveled until 6 o’clock when we camped for the night.

18 September 1856:

Started at 7 o’clock this morning, traveled until 1 o’clock, when we stopped for dinner at the Platte River. Old Sister Gregory from Chew Moore died, and was buried on the banks of the Platte River. Started again and traveled over the sandy bluffs and camped again at the Platte River.

19 September 1856:

Started at 6 o’clock and traveled until 12 o’clock when we stopped for dinner. Started again at 1 o’clock and still continued to travel over the sandy bluffs, which is very hard pulling. Eliza continues in a lingering state, so that we have to haul her on the handcart. We camped at half past 7 o’clock.

From John Jacques:

On September 19th, two or three teams from Green River, going east were met, and the men informed the emigrants that Indians had killed Almond Babbitt and burned his buggy, thirty or forty miles west of Pawnee Springs.

From Samuel Openshaw’s Diary:

20 September 1856:

We started and left the sandy bluffs on our right, went about three miles, and then crossed a creek about knee deep. The weather cold. It felt disagreeable to go into the water. Went about 8 miles and came to the Platte River where we stopped for dinner. Started again, contained down the side of the Platte. Measly rain. Camped on the Platte about 6 o’clock.

21 September 1856:

Small measly rain delayed us until 2 o’clock. In the meantime, another cow was killed. Eliza, on account of being exposed to the weather, is considerably worse. Traveled until 7 o’clock, when we camped but being not night to any wood, and the buffalo chips being wet, we were unable to do any cooking.

22 September 1856:

Started about 8 o’clock this morning, traveled until 12 o’clock, when we stopped for dinner at the Platte. Started again, went about three miles, came to the North Fork of the Platte, which is ten rods wide and two feet deep. Crossed over with our handcarts. It was a sandy bottom. Camped as soon as we had crossed, being about six o’clock.


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