Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie) Anderson Brown
The letters copied below came from the Rev. George H. Brown to his wife Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie) Anderson Brown. The letters formed the travel journal. Lizzie's brothers, James Firman and Jesse Marion Anderson accompanied George on the trip to the Powder River mines in 1862. It is unknown where the original letters are but a note on the front of this document states that they were copied directly from the originals retaining the author's way of spelling and wording. At the time there was a great rush to mines all over Oregon and Idaho. George got caught up in the excitement and tried his hand at prospecting.
Letter /Journal pages 1 - 12
Note written on page from a ledger book: no date [believed to be May 1862]
Antelope – In camp by firelight
We got there all right about sunset have just eaten a hearty supper, staked out our numbers and are enjoying ourselves generally – F [Firman Anderson] is making pack covers E K [Eli K. Anderson] is packing mules Marion [Jesse Marion Anderson] is fixing for bed and I am flat on the ground writing – we have learned by a man living near us that companys are passing through here every day- sixty crossed the mountain to day – there is only six inches snow on top of the mountain – we shall get along first rate and you must try and enjoy yourselves you can arrange at home as may best suit you – F suggests that you cook together and that you occupy the room with Mary you can tell what will be best my eyes are about smoked out and I must quit
Letter envelope : Postmaster at the Dalles will please forward and oblige
Geo. H. Brown
Mrs. M.E.A. Brown
Phoenix Jackson Co.
The Dalles G
June 18/62 
ghb [George H. Brown]
These pages are all numbered Thurs May 22 , 1862
I think that I will keep a kind of journal of passing events, then when I have an opportunity to send to you I can tear out the leaves and send them and you must preserve them. I wrote you the first night out. We slept very comfortably that night and were up by daylight and shortly after sunrise were on the way. After traveling about two miles E. K. left us. I presume that we all felt bad. I know that I did, it was like taking a last lingering look of home. After striking Butte Creek we were compelled to follow up two miles on account of high water. After crossing we traveled about two miles and halted for dinner. In one of Firm [J. Firman Anderson] sacks we found some cake and some radishes. these things make the mind go fliting back again to loved ones. After dinner we missed the road a little but come onto it again after a while, and about 6 o’clock camped near a house on a deserted ranch near the banks of Big Butte . There were three Salmonites from Crescent city already camped there - for the first time since I left home I ate heartily. At night is bid fair to be rainy but only sprinkled a little and we slept very comfortably rather too warm than otherwise.
Thurs morning 22nd [May 1862] - Our Crescent City friends gave us half a venison which they had killed the night before, which enabled us to enjoy a first rate breakfast. This morning we follow up butte, over a very hilly very rocky densely timbered and at times an excessively marshy country. The monotony of travel was relieved by Peggy jumping through her pack and scattering thing generally and afterwards mireing down and having to be unpacked in a mud hole. Peggy is the Steward mule which has been named thus out of affection for Steward - Salmon name has been abbreviated to Sam- Marion one eyed mare we call Doll and the other Snap because she snaps and kicks at everything that comes along - shortly after noon we come to the foot of the mountain where we found a camp of about one hundred men, and some Indians. Col Ross [John England Ross of Jacksonville] and company with some others are up on the mountain breaking a road through the snow. There is but little snow until we reach the summit then there is about 8 mi. of snow. Klamath Lake is about 12 miles from the summot. We think it will take two, perhaps three days to go to the Lake and there is little or no grass. J. F. & J. M. [James Firman Anderson and Jesse Marion Anderson] have gone about a mile below with the horses to good grass. We are all cooks. Firm and I have charge of the Bread and Coffee making while Marion is baker. Sometimes meat fryer and exercises a general superintendence over the tea department. We think some of trying to press on tomorrow.
Friday 23 [May 1862] - This morning we were awakened by the Indians howling for their dead. We were informed that at our last nights camp, the night before we came up a young squaw in flouncing about the fire with crinoline was burned to death. J. F. & F. went up the mountain today. It is about 0 miles to the top and four of this is snow from 6 to 16 feet deep the snow is variously estimated to extend to from 10 to 15 miles. Col. Ross is camped about half way up the Mountain waiting (as they say) for a freeze, while a few others are employed in tramping and brushing a trail. this last they do by cutting the fine pine boughs and laying them along thickly in the trail. this could be done the entire distance in a day or so if all hands would turn out, but each is waiting for the other and Ross for the crowd. We went farther through the snow with Kate and Sergent than horses had been though every one told us it would be impossible to go up. Kate was the first animal that poled her nose over the summit. When we went back we stired up the men, told them we should go over tomorrow and got a number to agree to start. Some had sold out intending to go by the Dalles.
Sat 24-[May 1862] In good season we started over the mountain with but little idea that we would get more than half way over. The great pioneer, Col. Ross and party were still in camp witting for some one to break the road over. At the edge of the snow we halted for noon as the horses would get nothing to eat for the next two days. As we journeyed on after dinner we saw a large band of Elk. Marion shot at them but having lost the forward sight of his gun missed them. After taking the snow we got along very well. Occasionally an animal would get down but it was not half as bad as we anticipated, though it was the worst traveling that I ever saw. There was one company ahead of us and several coming on behind, a little over the summit it looks as though a climb to the top of the peak would not be a very hard mater. The west side of the mountain is not near as steep as the east. In the descent the animals plunged and labored very much and night come upon us when there was yet tow miles of snow and the going worse than it had been before. Finding a few bare spots in the creek we piled our packs upon them tied up our animals and making a comparatively comfortable bed of pine boughs turned in standing, that is , with pants, boots and coats on.
Sun 25 [May 1862] We got a little grass and stopped for noon. the other company going on, we were compelled to move ahead also, and at night camped where the animals could get but little grass and were compelled to tie up again.
Mon 26 [May1862] roused out at daybreak and taking a hasty bite moved on. the foremost company after about two hours travel coming to good grass turned out for the day. since yesterday noon we have been journeying along he north side of upper Klamath Lake on the banks of which we are now camped. Since we came over Col. Rosses party have crossed and we pass and repass each other frequently. All hands are indignant at the Col. for pretending to survey out a road while we with several other companies have been ahead over all the difficult road. The boys generally are in for writing to the Sentinal that the people especially those who subscribed to fit out this surveying party may understand how the thing has operated. They wish me to write a statement of the facts in the case, but I do not wish to have anything to do with it. I think though that but for Rosses party miners would have been over some time ago. We often thing and speak of loved ones at home and wish that we could know how you are getting along but we must be patient. Our only care is that you will worry about us needlessly. We are getting along first rate, and though we are not a great ways from home consider that we have done well considering the difficulties of the way. Today we have been fixing up. J. F. is now out hunting J. M is fixing his gun, there are several companys camped near us. Ross has just passed on and will camp a few miles ahead of us. It is about sunset, Miners have been rolling in all day, some have gone on, more than fifty have camped about us, it requires now but one day to accomplish the travel that took us over two days. I presume that now the trail is open most of the California and southern Oregon travel will come this way.
Tues 27 [May1862] It has been raining most all night and this morning we turned out rather damp. After breakfast we packed up in the rain and before we started it was snowing very hard. Our road lay through very swampy wool land and every few moments Peggy would go down as far as the pack would let her. Occasionally the thing would be varied by two or three going down together for a few hours we floundered on through the mud, and coming to Rosses camp turned out. We were all half frozen, very wet and entirely disgusted with the route and I for one almost wished myself where I was a week ago, & J. F. told me to say that he had almost flickered. However it quit raining about noon and a good dinner or rather a good appetite to eat what we had set all right again, and after dinner we moved on. We had one very bad slough to bridge and after traveling about ten miles stopped for the night. the foremost company - two or three companys came up and camped with us, the snow is all around us and we have passed through several patches, at nigh built a large fire. Firm got the tops of his boots burned, J. M lost a pair of socks and I got my saddle bag somewhat burned.
Wednes 28 -[May 1862] this morning we are the foremost company our way lay through the timber on the side hill. Once we had to stoop and brush the road in the snow for several rods in other places we plunged through it. Col. Ross with some Indian guides passed us after we had traveled a few miles. We are now at the upper end of the Lake, around which we have been making our way for the past three days. We make a great circuit without advancing we much in a direct line towards Salmon, guided by Ross we left the hill for that which in the summer time is solid prairie land. The object in crossing this is to avoid a circuit round the hillsides making a difference of about two days travel if we can get across. This prairie is now in many places overflowed and is so mirey that the animals go down at every step. soon after starting in we had to stop unpack and build a bridge across a large creek while engaged in this, Rosses company came up together with all those that last week were camped at Ranchere Prairie. Our bridges are built by placing tow or three sticks of timber lengthwise and flattening them on filling up the openings with small poles. After the bridge was completed and we had taken dinner we moved on, but all hands were shortly brought up by the animals miring down and we had to camp and try and explore a way out. J. F. & J. M. are both out. If we can get to a point about one mile off we are all right, but it looks almost impossible now. As a final resort we can take I thin to the side hill again. there are now her about 150 men perhaps 200 and about 600 animals. Some of these men are from the lower part of Cal. Some from Crescent City. If we can get through here we think that about 20 miles will put us on the trail from Yreka. From that on I presume the trail will be much better. I am sitting on the ground and have for my writing desk a couple of flour sacks. You will perhaps wonder if it be so mirey here how we get a place to camp. The ground is not very dry, but at intervals through the prairie there are small groves of pine and in one of these we are camped.
Thurs 29 [May 1862] The boys explored out a route yesterday where it was possible for us to get through and early this morning we started on once more. the foremost company, for a couple of miles we traveled in the Lake boot top deep in water and then by following low ridges occasionally mireing down we made our way very well to the river about 7 miles from our last nights camp. Here we had to unpack and construct a raft to take over our packs. The rushes extend some 50 to 75 yards from the solid ground to the deep water and through these rushes nearly middle deep in water all the things had to be carried to the raft. There were several companys of us owners of the raft and it took us till after noon to get the packs over and swim the horses. After crossing we went on occasionally miring down, to third river, distant from the last about six miles. Here we felled a tree across the deep channel and carried the packs through the water 200 yards and camped in a pine grove on the banks of the creek. Away in the distance is a southeast direction we can see the top of Snowey Butte and still farther south we can see Shasta Butte. The mountains circling the valley are covered with snow. The low ridges running through these bottoms are covered with pumice stone this will float on water. There is one company with us consisting of four men from near San Francisco. The others, 15 or 20 in number, are from Jackson County. Distance traveled today about 12 miles.
Friday May 30  This morning we are laying by repairing damages, shoeing horses & & etc. We will probably start out about noon. The grass here is the best that I have ever seen. J. F. has been shoeing Peggy. J. M. is mending boots and I have been washing clothes. All well and hearty. This morning one of the boys killed an Eagle measuring from tip to tip of its wings over six feet. Just before noon we rolled out leaving the lake country and getting upon higher ground. In a quick sand slough Peggy made an effort to go out of sight and partially succeeded, but finally got out. Here we had to build a kind of pole bridge before we could get over. After traveling a few hours we struck the Californian trail this caused a shot along the whole line, Saw an antelope to which J.M. gave chase but didn’t catch him. The middle of the afternoon brought us to the Klamath River and the main Dalles trail where we entered the celebrated Juniper Flat. The trees are what some call Tamarac or Bull Pine. The ground is literally covered with fallen timber and this whole country has the appearance of being swept some years ago by a fearful storm. The trees are all torn up by the roots and have all fallen the same way. This must have been a terrible place to travel through a few weeks ago, a few spots of snow are still visible and many places where appearances indicate that the animals had a fearful struggle to get through and some failing to do so are laid up along the roadside. the trail is well beaten and now and is the best piece of road that we have to travel through many trees in the way are hard on the animals. At night coming to water and an opening in the woods we camped. A Californian Company are camped near us from which we learned that McCoys were down at the crossing between the lakes intending to come on, which by the way is utterly impossible to do with wagons. The Indians running the ferry are exacting all they can get for forriage and grass. The Indians that we have seen have never said pay to us though I expect that they will take possession of our bridges and rafts and exact pay of others. I noticed a writing on a tree this afternoon none the less significant than profane, “Hell just ahead” Distance traveled about 18 miles.
Sat 31 [May 1862]This morning we were off by six o’clock. All anxious to get out of the Tamarac flat. the road in many places has been brushed, sometimes for more than a mile. Rising high above the surrounding mountains to the west of us are tow snowey mountains, one of which I believe is called Diamond Peak. At noon we come to the head waters of one of the tributaries of the Klamath where the waters rush with considerable force from beneath the ground. This afternoon J. F. found the frame of a large Spanish horse that had given out and been left, and drove it along to camp. This afternoon the ground has been somewhat higher than that which we passed over in the past day, though we are still in the Tamarac. Our camp has the appearance of having been used for a number of days by some who have passed on ahead. Brush tents have been constructed and on the trees are many names and notices of grass, water and the road on ahead. Distance traveled about 25 miles.
Sun June 1  We are compelled to travel today as our horses have had but little to eat since leaving Klamath Lake. The horses having strayed we did not get off till eight o'clock. The road was somewhat ascending at first then over a rambling country where yet remain many patches of snow. We could see where those who had proceeded us had passed over logs three and four feet high. I presume that those who pass over the Snowey Butte trail will pass under logs that we went over. We passed two small streams supposed to be Klamath water and about 5 o’clock descended onto the waters of Des Chutes. Since leaving Klamath Lake our course has been but north and for most of the time through the Tamarac Flat the most desolate and barren country that i ever saw. In this distance we have had but little grass and the horses area about given out. J. F.’s Spanish Tamarac gave out and had to be left and Blue Dick is just able to navigate. Katy has an awful sore back, Peg and Sam on hard ground are all right, Jule is about the best animal in the crowd. dis. traveled about 25 miles.
Mon June 2  This morning at daylight it commenced raining and snowing and is quite cold, the horses had no grass last night but this morning the boys found some a mile above and we are laying over today. The Indians inform us that there is a Ferry 40 miles below at which there are plenty of Bostons. We are ignorant yet as to whether we will be compelled to go by the Dalles or not. It would be rather heavy on us of we should as we could have made it through the Willamette by this time. We are getting along first rate I am now cook while the boys attend to the horses. We eat out of the frying pan which we burn out occasionally to get clean. Our knives we wipe on our trouser legs, a pack cover is spread down for a table and sitting around and on it we eat. Sometimes the fire tumbles into the frying pan or coffee and horse hairs are rather generously scattered through the food but we are getting used to it and bolt the whole together. It is now late in the afternoon I suppose that by this time the fate of thousands has been decided at the ballot box, I would like to vote but we are far out. Col. Ross is laying by at the lakes. I suppose for the purpose of holding an election. I often speak of home and loved ones and J. M. says I think of home ten times to his once. I acknowledge this and reply that it is not dishonorable to let the thoughts go back to where the affections are. I am trying and with some degree of success I think, to be better that I have been heretofore, I have plenty of time to meditate now and to retrospect the past and the view is as far as I am concerned anything but pleasing. I think that by God’s blessing this trip will be for my good. I enjoy myself spiritually better than for a long time before, one reason is I have time to think. We are now a little north of Eugene the three sisters (Snowey Buttes) are a little south of west from us.
Tues 3 [June 1862] We tied up the horses last night and the morning taking a hasty bite were off by five o'clock while packing up the Californians who were camped near us made considerable noise crying whoo to their horses. Our boys took up the cry and whoo-ho-whoo resounded through the camp. We have a pretty wild set, but they are generally good natured and jovial, and the worse the road the jollier they are. Our road this morning was over high rolling ground with occasionally a slough brushed or corduroyed and as usual Peggy made an effort to find the hard ground at the bottom of one of these. Not wishing her to take the lower road, we unpacked and fished her out, finding a little grass after traveling 15 miles we turned out for two or three hours to give our half famished animals a bite. In the evening proceeded on about 6 miles and camped on good grass. Our course has been about north, our camp is on the banks of he Des Chutes. Distance traveled 21 miles.
Wednesday 4 [June 1862] We did not get off this morning till 8 o’clock. Last night we elected J. F. Capt. or as the boys have it. Brigadier Brindle traveled about 10 miles down the river and stopped for the day. The grass is good and the animals are enjoying themselves highly. It would be very pleasant here were it not for the ravenous hordes of Mosquitoes. They 're a perfect nuisance. The boys are laying around camp enjoying themselves generally for a few day. It has been very hard to keep awake while traveling, as it is frequently 10 o'clock when we turn in and we are generally up before four. We are making up lost time now. This evening I cooked some flippers and wonderful thing they were sure enough, looking and feeling very much like tin plates. A Californian company camped below us, have been here since last Monday, and intend remaining till the Mon. coming. They intend to take off at the ferry 12 miles below, cross the east Fork of Des Chutes and strike over onto John Days and Burnt Rivers. Companys that have passed heretofore have gone by the Dalles. This company has a guide, Dan Wittles, a man who has been living among the Klamaths, has a squaw for a wife and is perfectly conversant with the country. We may remain here till they start and go with them or if the rest of our company comes up before that time, go on following a trail over the same route made by a company from Eugene last year. There are 17 in our company here which with those that we expect up today or tomorrow together with the Cal company that has been traveling with us, will make about 60 men, enough to travel safely through any part of this country. Wittles informs us that it is 75 miles to Warm Springs reservations and 90 from there to the Dalles 165 miles in all and but about 150 from here to Powder River. We intend to prospect on John Days River and if we find nothing their on Burnt River and some time may elapse before we reach Powder River.
Thurs 5 [June 1862] J. F. and J. M together with some others have gone hunting, a large pack train has just passed our camp about 40 mules 8 or 10 men and a live woman the first white woman that we have seen for two weeks, They are bound for Warm Springs and Walla Walla. I may get a good chance to send you this by some one going to the Dalles. I know that you are very anxious to hear from us, and we are perhaps as anxious to hear from you. I realize that we know not how much we love until we are separated from the object of our affections. I think that the prospect of wealth or even its realization will not remunerate me for this separation, though if by it I may see where I have been wanting and be made better it will repay us both. i only think of Lizzie as being kind, forbearing and affectionate of myself as selfish and self willed. I know that you are praying for me Lizzie and I am praying for you, that your mind may be so stayed on God and your trust so implicitly reposed in Him that you may feel that all is well, that you may not worry or be anxiously careful about us, knowing that He is mindful of us and that the Lord Himself encampeth round about us. I somehow feel that we shall be to some degree successful and return in safety because I feel that I am wholly given up to Him and have for my object not the gratification of self but His glory. We have enjoyed ourselves very well on the trip thus far, and are getting along very well together. I know that Firman feels considerable anxiety for May more especially on account of her being comparatively a stranger in a strange land you must be very kind to her and each forbearing to the other. She is young and will be very lonesome. I would like to hear of the election of the war news, but most of all from you. I think that we shall get to some place one of these days where you can write to us. I suppose that the most direct way to all of these mines will be by way of the Dalles you must have a letter all written so as to send at short notice. I want to know about every little minutiae of home affairs. We are informed that McCoys with 18 other wagons have gone by way of Lost River and that Ross who is but two days back will return and take the same route, his object being I suppose to find a wagon road. Mt. Jefferson looms up in the distance a little North of West of us. J. F. & J. M. will both write if you should not get all the letters it will be because they have been miscarried. This is not written very legibly but it is better so as it will take longer to read it and you will enjoy it longer.
Fri. June 6  This morning we moved on about 8 miles and camped, our route is still down the Des Chutes. Our road since leaving the Lakes has been somewhat crooked and winding but I think that our general course has been but little if any east of North. The Ferry across the west fork of the Des Chutes has been curved down five miles below the old crossing and is about 6 miles below our camp. This is on the road to the Dalles. The rate is one dollar per pack and packers swim their own horses. We shall avoid this, crossing the east fork by fording. The pack train that passed us yesterday will camp at the Ferry to night and we intend to send our letters by them. I want you to be as cheerful and enjoy yourself as well s you can resting assured that it is all well with us. And in doing the best that we can the time of our separation will soon pass away. If you should not hear from where we may stop to you. Rest assured that you shall hear from me at every opportunity of sending. In reference to the routes of these mines, I would not advise anyone to come over our route except to be at midsummer. The route around the Lakes had nearly ruined our animals. The route by Emigrant road then up between the Lakes is preferable to that , but I think that the Lost River Route may be the route after all. The probability now is that we shall have a very large company to go through with us. I am glad that I brought your likeness Lizzie and I often look at it , long and earnestly. Now dear Lizzie be brave and courageous, trust in God and look continually to Him for Grace and strength it will do no good for either of us to worry of to anticipate evil, but rather harm. Let us then look at the bright side and that God may bless direct and protect you is my constant prayer, goodbye
We will send letters separately so that if all should not reach you, you will stand a chance of getting one I would send you a kiss by my lips are so sore that I can’t pucker them up. We ate the last of our butter this morning Give my love to all
Sat June 7  Yesterday i sent home the first twelve pages of my letter journal by a man going to the Dalles it will probably reach home about the same time that we get to Powder River. Last night we witnessed one of the heaviest thunder storms that I have seen in this country it passed to the east of us not raining but very little where we were some of the boys const4ructed a raft yesterday and went over the river hunting got several ducks and we all had duck for supper. Last night we put out the first guard since leaving home. We are about entering the Snake country and will guard day and night. This morning we were off by 6 o’clock our course was about North East. The road leaves the banks of the Des Chutes and passes through a heavily timbered country with some very fine grass but not water, On the road we passed a very steep Butte which has the appearance of having been swept over by fire and marion who left the train and went up to it says that he saw smoke still rising from the north side of it. The country for some distance on one side is composed of very rough burnt rock I presume that this is a volcano. We saw several Antelope troting along trying to get clear of the mosquitoes. J. M got a shot at one but did not bring it down. About noon we struck the west fork of the Des Chutes again and camped having traveled about 15 miles. Just as we camped a heavy thunder storm passed over us and for a time it rained quite hard and the river at this place is quite a stream- as large I think as the Klamath at the immigrant crossing. Some of the boys are fishing and are quite successful one with a fly hook catching about as fast as he can throw his hook in. the fish are speckled trout from 6 to 10 inches in length. This afternoon the lightening is still flashing in the North accompanied by heavy peals of thunder. We are now on the Meek's cut off running from the Northern immigrant road to the McKenzies fork of the Walamette above Eugene City though the road has only been traveled one year in 1853 it is still plain as we came along we saw an oxs yoke in the road. There was much suffering on this road at that time and had it not been for aid sent from the Walamette most of the imigrants on this route must have perished. All of our rancherie friends are camped around us. Nearly 100 in all co. Ross is a few miles back he has tried several times to make some cut off but has been unsuccessful. He is now trying to make a cut off in todays’ travel if he should succeed it will be of but little account saving but a few miles travel - but he appears bent on having a Rosses cut off somewhere no matter how small - the owner of the train that passed us yesterday says that nobody but a fool would travel the Butte creek route the second time- so we think- course N East dis traveled about 15 miles.
Sun, June 8  Last night was somewhat showery but we managed to sleep very comfortably beneath some large trees. This morning- though we were on good grass- the order was to roll out - and very early we were under way with a stretch of country before us of 30 miles without water. the country is somewhat rolling - the road passing through woods & open upland with some of the finest bunch grass that the oldest traveller ever recollected to have seen. this is the place where the 53 immigration suffered so much and where one man died from thirst. Towards evening we passed down a long steep ravine to a small creek (a tributary of Des Chutes) and camped the headwaters of a smell brook running into this have a strong acid taste. One of the boys killed a beaver this evening the first that I have ever seen. There are a great many on this creek- at night again it was showery accompanied with thunder and lightening. Course East dis. traveled 30 miles.
Mon June 9  there are two other trains traveling with us at times. Brown’s consisting of 18 men & Cal. train of 13 men - ours now numbers 27 men. This morning the other trains concluded to lay over one day - we rolled out in good season. The road crosses the creek and ascends a very precipitous cliff resembling very much the front of Table Rock in Rogue River Valley. For about two miles our route was over a beautiful table land will covered with grass and then down again onto a small creek which following a short distance brought us to the east fork of Des Chutes. this is quite a deep rapid stream over 100 feet wide. A company from Yreka having with them a canvas boat left here yesterday going on the frame of the boat is still on the opposite bank that time we were a day to late. the boys are above getting timber for a raft, we amy get over today. our course today has been N East traveled about 8 miles we got over the river some time before sunset - our raft was made of dry cedar or juniper and was capable of carrying 1000 lbs. Though we did not put on this much. We had a long rope made fast some distance up and near the centre of the river to swing by and then a rope from the raft to each side of the river. Fir---- I & three others went over first and as we could not swing clear over one of the boys swam ashore and we threw him a ankor and with a gang on each side we got the stuff all over we had some difficulty in swimming the horses. Blue Dick went back twice and finally we had to hold him with one other by the raft and drag them over.
Tues June 10  This morning the company that we left yesterday came rolling up very early in order to get our raft to cross on but as it was fastened with lash ropes we were compelled to take them off and they will have to reconstruct it. We left this morning while the other companys were unpacking - or road lay up the river over hills and ravines with one swampy place into which Peggy as normal dumped herself and pack. We traveled about nine miles in a north easterly direction and stopped for noon. After dinner our road took us up a very long hill then over high open country in a North west direction. Heading again for Mt. Hood. This road at times was exceedingly mirery and at one time 8 or 10 animals were all down together. At night we camped on a small stream, and the boys went out to view the road and did not return till after night. This morning I was up by 1/2 past 3 did not get to bed till after 10. roared out at 12 and stood guard till and hour after sunrise. We traveled about 18 miles and probably made about a north direction.
Weds Jun 11  We decended this morning onto another branch of Des Chutes that we had not heard of before. Following this up about 12 miles in an North Easterly direction we camped at the foot of a pretty high hill intending to investigate into its merits tomorrow. We may have a pretty long drive tomorrow – since leaving the West fork we have passed over the finest grass country I have ever seen distance traveled 13 miles. Brown's & the Cal compaines came up this evening and camped on the opposite side of the creek from us.
Thurs June 12  This morning we had an exciting race for a few moments with the Cal company for the lead. We were camped about the same distance from the foot of the hill – we on the opposite side of the creek. However, we got off about together and Katz with our animals come in just ahead of them and they had to wait till all our company had passed. We found the ascent quite easy owing to the winding of the trail and about two miles to the top from this on to where we camped at noon (on a branch of the creek upon which we camped last night) a distance of 12 miles The route is very rough up hill and down all the way. After dinner we followed up this branch over a level bottom about 6 miles and camped havig traveled about 18 miles in an East by North direction. It has been raining most of the afternoon and a at night still continues. The other companys are back at our nooning place.
Friday 13 [ June 1862] Everything is wet this moring and we lay over till noon we run out of ground coffee this morning and I borrowed a mill and ground. A lot just before noon the Cal company passed and at 12 o'clck we rolled out. A few miles travel and we pass over a low divide probably the summit of – a spur – of the Blue Mountains. The courntry changes very much in a few miles. For the first time since leaving the Klamath Lake county we find fir timber and the soil has more the appearance of gold. About four miles from the summit we emerge into the open country. The most wonderful looking country that I ever saw. Hilly beyound all description not long rolling hills but short, sharp like the waves of the sea. After leaving the summit the rain poured down in torrents and the road was awful. Up almost inaccessable steeps, along sharp side hills where a misstep could have plunged us to the reginons below them down-down-down where it would be utterly impossible to retrace our steps. The animals going knee deep in the mud, at almost every step. We were all heartily glad when after travelling ten miles we camped on what we suppose to be a tributary of John Days river. It is still raining and we have to go through the unenviable opporation of cooking supper in the rain, by spreading pieces of our tent we keep tolerably dry through the night.
Sat June 14  The rain has softened up the ground so that it will be impossible to move from here to day. It has been raining all the morning and is still cloudy. Yesterday I lost my tin cup, and coming down a steep pitch my gun came off of the saddle while I was walking and I did not miss it until I had gone about ½ mile. One of the boys picked it up and the occurance affords some fun for the boys. We have a guard both day & night. I was on guard to day from noon till dark. The duty of the day guard is to herd the horses. While on guard I ascended a high hill near us, surmounted by a very high rock up which I clambered & had a fine view of the surrounding country. This is truly a hill country filled with hills a little east of my position and below me I saw the most wonderful natural curiosity that I have yet seen, a perfect pyrimid rising high and distinct from the surrounding hills and as perfect as any work of art. One side and a part of the other was a bright straw color, the remainder a bright read. Much of this country presents the same appearance as to color. While up in my lofty position alone with God I sang the Doxology “Praise God from whom all blessings flow” and had a sweet good time pleading with him for guidance and for blessings for Lizzie for loved ones and for myself. I had my Bible and Lizzies likeness with me. I sometimes think that my love for the original is to great and yet God has said that for this man is to leave all else but Himself, and I am trying to love Him with a pure heart fervently and to make all else subservient to His will. It stopped raining about noon and there is a prospect of a fair day tomorrow.
Sun June 15  Dawns upon us bright & pleasant and we have our things spread in every direction to dry. The Capt. Says we will roll out about noon to find a good camp. The boys many of them are engaged in shoeing horses which we were packing up. The companys that we had left behind passed and stopped for noon a little below us we passed them again and went on down the creek about 10 miles were the trail crosses the river. The recent rains had so swollen the creek that it was impossible to ford and Fir[man] went back a few miles to find a ford and stop the other companys. To day for the first time we saw the prickly pear which is now in full bloom presenting a beautiful appearance. Course today about North.
Mon June 16  – Failing to find a ford some of our boys went up this morning to help Brown's boys put in a bridge about a mile above there being no timber where we are camped the bridge completed we pass over safely and traveled about 7 miles in a North east direction come to John Days River which is at this place about as large as the North Umpqua at Winchester. Following up a few miles we stopped for noon. After dinner our route is over some very difficult ground or rather rock is some places up as steep as the animals can possibly climb, then along the ace of some almost perpendicular cliff where fro a distance it looks to be almost impossible for a goat to travel. Then down again and so till nearly sunset we turn up a creek and camp about two miles from the river. We have traveled today about 18 miles in a North East direction.
Tues June 17  I stood guard last night from dark till midnight this morning we got a very good start. Brown's & the Cal company being ahead. We had one very heavy hill to ascend then more Goat trail then down so steep that the animals almost ended over, then araound mirey side hills where several animals mired down and Salmon rolled as near flat on this back as his pack would let him. We are nooning on a side hill near a fine mountain stream. Armstrong, one of our boys, was compelled to leave his riding animal just back, some others are about to give out. After dinner we have another wonderful hill to climb. We can manage just about two of these is a day – Ouch another country was never heard of. We have been traveling over hills as thick with rocks as they well can be and anything grow. And yet so mirey that the animals go down every few rods. This evening we passed the other companys and camped a mile above them on a creek. Some of our boys camped below us, their animals not being able to come up. We have traveled about 16 miles today. Directions a little south of east.
Weds 18th [June 1862] The back trains passed while we were waiting for our boys to come up. Got off however a little after six a very high rocky, mirey hill to start on and ditto all the forenoon. On the first hill Salmon mired down, made a lunge, rolled over and finally turned a complete sommersault, come up on his feet and went on as though it was all right. I had no idea that he would bring up before he broke his neck or got to the bottom of the hill. We camped in a very pleasant grove on top of a mountain where we will remain to day to give the boys behind the chance to overhaul us. The Cal comp have passed on. We passed Brown while he was nooning and he is still behind. Today we traveled east – 12 miles – the boys came up this eve- all hands in good spirits.
Thurs 19 [June 1862] This morning we descended one of the steepest bluffs that ever a mule trail passed over, and came to the river again after traveling 4 miles where A. H. Brown whose train has gone on has a canvas boat and we got ferried over with our cargoes for $1.00 per man (very reasonable) it took but a short time to get the loading over but the transportation of the animals was very tedious as oweing to the bogey nature of the banks we could get but one over at a time. This we did by tieing the animal to a rope to haul the animal over and a horse at the other to haul in the rope again we got them all over in a little over five hours and went down the river 5 miles and camped. A man came up while we were at the ferry and informed us that Ross was tw days behind on trail. Also that McWillis and the Gosburg [Gassburg or Gasburg , another name for Phoenix, OR] boys were just ahead of Ross. We are somewhat under the impression that those who first came through here hardly knew where they were, where bound or how to get there. And that all others have followed on simply because someone was ahead. We traveled to day East to the ferry, then North down the river- general direction N. N E. distance traveled 9 miles- the name of the owner of the train ahead is A. H. Brown of the Capt of the train that has been with us most of the way J. H. Brown of the writer G. H. This eve Capt. Brown is back. The Cal company ahead.
Fry 20 [Friday, June 1862] We moved on in good season and 3 miles travel brought us to the east fork – the trail leading us up in an easterly direction. These streams are about the same size each about like the south Umpqua at Yokums. We stopped two hours at noon and camped at night near the mouth of a large creek having traveled 18 miles in a N E direction.
Sat 21 [Jun 1862] Brown passed before we commenced packing and we were not long in following, we had a long hill to go over and after traveling about 8 miles in a N E direction came to a stand – Capt Brown's comp is camped just below us. The Cal company and apparently all others that have passed on ahead of us are down at the forks of the river a mile below, probably conjuring up some plan to get over. We are on the hill side several hundred feet above the river, and the boys have gone down to see whats going on. We are getting tired of the route, of this uncertainty and ithal have a little curiousity to know where we're going and when we will get there to day we broke the handle out of our frying pan by one animal running afoul of another. Some time ago we broke both shovel handles in the same way this is a very broken country and we may break everything we have before we get through it. The boys have felled four tress for a bridge but did not suceed in getting any of them across the river – the Cal company are crossing in a large dugout canoe – probably made by Galoways comp of ninty men who left here a few days ago.
Sun 22 [June 1862] We were up by daylight and down to the river before the men there had eaten breakfast. The Cal company had crossed – and Capt Browns company were taking over their things having crossed their animals last night. We swam our animals while they are finishing up. A. H. Browns people are putting canvas on a frame left by Baterton – after Capt Brown crossed one of A. H. Browns men wanted to take the canoe because he bailed it out yesterday and charge us $1.00 per man for crossing. They had the canoe on the opposite side of the river from us and only one of our men over but he told the man that if he got the canoe he would have to whip him first. And Capt. Brown and some of the Cal company interferring our man was allowed to take the canoe The current is very rapid – we have a rope streched across the mouth of the first stream then going up to the eddy paddle over the main fork. The canvas boat is pulled over with oars. Galaway had a man drowned in crossing we saw his grave near the bank of the river. He was from Cal and named Robert Staley. Some of the boys found a prospect of some three cents to the pan obtained from the top dirt and being very fine. There must be gold above and this has probably floated down. After dinner we traveled up the river 8 miles in a N.E. Direction passed Brown and the Cal company some two miles below this. We have passed several companies on the road but have not been passed by anyone we have had no mud for the last three days and our animals are doing very well. J. F. has gone hunting and Marion is snoozing.
Mon. 23 [June 1862] the other companies passed us before we commenced packing. Our road is still up the river and this forenoon has been comparatively level and good. We saw a dug out canoe on the opposite side of the river and just below where we are stopping for noon, a very fine boat – turned up on the bank – this is made of saved lumber and is capable of carrying 8 or 10 men. They were probably made by prospectors, and I would not be surprised to find plenty of miners in a few days. There is some of the grandest scenery in this part of the country that can possibly be imagined and a panoramic view of it correctly sketched would probably cause many a lover of the grand and beautiful to think that they would willingly leave most any country for one like this, but the reality of the desire would no doubt make them more willing to leave this for most any other country. We are getting very anxious to learn what is going on in the world. Important events have no doubt transpired but we must remain in blissful ignorance a while longer. One of the boys was down to the boat after dinner and found the grave of a man by the name of Woodward – one of the party who were killed by Indians last winter. It was reported at the time that 16 were killed and that 16 others went down this river on a raft and reached the settlements This P. M. we traveled 5 miles and were hove to by a heavy rain storm while we were unpacking the rain poured down in torrents and things generally were somewhat damp. But a roaring fire set everything alright again. Traveled to day 15 miles in a E. N. E. direction.
Tues 24 [June 1862] I was on guard last night from 12 o'clock till morning, about daybreak it commenced raining and as we had a fork of the river to ford and fearing a rise we caught up before breakfast and soon after 4 o'clock were on the way. The fork that we forded runs about South – the main fork about west. Traveled three miles and stopped for the forenoon – the boys have been felling trees across the river, but did not succeed in placing any so that they could cross. We started out about noon and one of the highst hills to go over that we have yet had. It really did not look possible for an animal to climb it. (On the top we found a very large plain covered with excellent grass – this appears to be a peculiarity of this country – as far as they eye can reach there is not a sharp topped hill to be seen. The hills are of a uniform height and viewed from the summit the country has the appearance of a vast plain with deep caverns cut through it in various directions by the water courses) We found Baterton and Nelson train camped on the top of this hill – and were informed by them that the Powder river mines had exploded – were a humbug- that a great many men were coming from Salmon River – prospecting on Powder and John Days rivers then turning off at this point for Walla Walla. There is only one company at work on this river or rather on this fork. They are at work at Otter Bar a few miles above – some of these men were here last fall- and those that were massacred by the Indians were members of the same company. We traveled today 13 miles – direction about East. And camped ahead of the other company.
Wednes 25 [June 1862] This morning they passed us before we had eaten breakfast intending to go a few miles and prospect a while. We passed Otter Bar a few miles from camp A few men were mining, others were sawing our lumber and puting together flumes. One of them showed Marion a prospect of one dollar and seventy five cents which they got from 160 pans of dirt. This looks a little like Shenan but I can see no object in their trying to deceive, as they have their claims secure and the more men there are here now the better so far as they are concerned. We traveled about 8 miles and as some of the boys wanted to prospect stopped for the day to give them a chance. Though with but little hope of striking anything worth while or that will pay for if here was anything better than Otter Bar either on this or Powder River these men would not stop here and if their mines prospect as represented the prospect of making anything at either place is small. There are said to be about 1800 men on the West Fork of John Days. The stream that we crossed in the Canvas boat. How they are doing I know not. I am on guard this afternoon – from noon til dark. I am away up in the mountain with my Bible and my journal – alone with my own thoughts – I am not anxiously careful as regards the result of this trip. I would like very much to make enough to pay any debts, but in reference to the future I want to be in just that condition of life that will best enable me to glorify God. And I am trying to so give myself up to Him that I may know that my steps are ordered of Him and that ll things shall work together for our good- 6 o'clock pm some of our men have concluded to go to Walla Walla and I will send this by them it is 60 miles from here to Powder River and it will probably be Sunday before we get there. If there is no chance there we shall go to Salmon – the summer is fast wearing away and it will not be long ere the time of our meeting will roll around. We are all in good spirits – in first rate health- and enjoy ourselves very well. I am somewhat anxious to know how you are getting along. If you have Frank and forty other things but cannot direct you how to write in the present uncertainty as to our destination. I want you to be as cheerful as possible as pleasant as your likeness represents you. I never get tired of looking at it, and as I look it sometimes seems to smile upon me. You must not work to hard, for I want to see you looking better than ever when I get back. Marion and Firm have both written, It is raing [raining] and I must close. If you have not received my other your had better write the Post Master at the Dalles as it may be detained for postage though I gave the man the money to pay it. God bless and keep you Lizzie – good bye
P.S. The Capt is cooking supper – Marion is writing
Thurs 26 [June 1862] This morning sent off another section of my journal by Warren, one of six who left us bound for Walla Walla. The reports that we have here of the mines are rather discouraging but these reports are seldom reliable. In a few days we can see for ourselves. J.F. Changed his cloths this morning for the first time this month. He has been washing, boiling his clothes in the coffee kettle and now hung out to dry have very much the appearance of having been baked- I washed the dishes this morning the second time since leaving home. We generally wipe them on the grass or give them a cold rinse in the creek. Once I thought I would do better – got a dish cloth, but after carrying it in my pocket a few days lost it and adopted the grass again. Some of the boys have been prospecting but do not fine much. While we were preparing to roll out this noon Rosses Co. came up and camped near us. Harvey Oatman was along and from him I learned that Frank was with you. This afternoon we have had a very hard road in some places it passes over very steep rocky bluffs, with the young timber so thick that at times it seemed almost impossible to press through and the ground covered with huge boulders and fallen timber. This has been as hard on the animals as anything we have had – seven of our boys seceeded to day remaining behind to prospect. And oweing to an animal giving out – ten others camped one mile back of our camp. Traveled ten miles – direction East
Fry 27 [June 1862] We traveled to day E. S. E. 12 miles and camped at noon in the top of the mountain. The road to day has been awful something on yesterdays style only ten times more so. I think there are no words in the English language that will convey an idea of it. We had one hill to ascend covered with large rough rocks, very steep and worse than anything we have yet encountered. We are getting over the ground though and this cannot last long.
Sat 28 [June 1862] This morning some of the boys wished to lay over another day and prospect but there being a poor show for gold in the top of the mountain 11 of us concluded to go on. We had a corresponding desent to make to the ascent yesterday and came to the river again at the mouth of two bridge creek, there being two bridges on it, built by placing two or more logs lengthwise as before described. The fork that we crossed as does one that we crossed 18 miles back runs South. Another hill to ascend not as bad as yesterdays in that there were no rocks to encounter and then a very fair trail along the ridge. Towards noon we descend to the river again and camp on good grass having traveled 8 miles in an east direction. This afternoon the boys are out prospecting some on a creek near us, others on the river I have been roasting coffee. Have put up the mill and must go to grinding. The boys have returned without finding the color of gold.
Sun 29 [ June 1862] The Lords day dawns upon us bright and beautiful and I cannot neither am I inclined to keep my thoughts from roving back home, from the fact that you are ignorant of our whereabouts you must be more uneasy about us than we are about you. I know that to day is Bro. Strattens appointment at Phoenix and that if well you are probably preparing for church. I can almost look in upon you and while my thoughts are busy following you in your various duties, I am sometimes inclined to think that I have learned enough in this school and that if I could follow with my bodily presence my thoughts, Salmon and Powder might go for the future. However, by God's blessing the time of our meeting will soon roll around. I sometimes imagine as I look at Lizzies likeness that a brighter smile flits over it and I always want to think of you as being cheerful and happy. The boys that we left yesterday have just came up, and inform us that a part of Rosses Co have gone back and that about 150 men are on the trail behind them coming on. Some of the boys are out hunting, others prospecting on the river we, that is our company, have not killed any game larger than grouse except one beaver since leaving Ranchare Prairie
Mon 29 [June 1862] I have been washing to day did not boil my clothes in the coffee kettle though. The boys are still at work on the bar sinking a shaft, while cooking dinner a gentleman rode up and after conversing a while claimed acquaintance. I found him to be our quondam friend Giltner of Monroe. He has been stopping for a while at Otter Bar. John Barnard is at the Bar laid up having cut his foot while building a canoe. Giltner and a number of others were at this place prospecting when Gilam of Ogn ad a gentleman from Cal named Magruder came to their camp and reported that they had prospected on what we suppose to be the west fork of John Days and got from four cents to one dollar to the pan. They had come through with a large party from Cal, got lost and these two came on ahead of the party to find a trail. 11 of Gilams party remained in the mines the rest went on being short of provisions. Giltners party went on a few days after and have not yet returned. It is 75 miles from here, Powder River is 30. Some of our boys have but little faith in the bar here and are going on. A few of us would like to get to the bed rock but as there are several large boulders in the way and a pump being necessary to keep the water out, we are to few in number to accomplish it. Glatner informs us that Rosses Co are coming on and are going to Salmon
Tues July 1 – We got off early several of us bound for the West Fork, the rest for Powder. The country above our last camp opens out a little the hills are much lower than heretofore and the road very fair. Gen Martin of Yreka and Co have taken claims about 5 miles above our camp and are prospecting with what success I know not. A short distance above our camp we leave this fork of John Days and pass over the divide onto the head waters of Burnt River and stopped for noon is a very pleasant little valley. I prospected and got four colors to the pan very small. The afternoons travel brought us to the forks of the road turning to the right we traveled one mile towards the left fork and camped on another tributary of Burnt River – while on the road to day numbers of prospectors have passed us returning from Granite Creek a tributary of East John Days, where there has been a great excitement. They denounce not only that but this whole country as a humbug, from acquaintances whom we meet frequently we receive very discouraging accounts of the mines and hundreds are leaving for home. Dis traveled 16 miles south east
Weds July 2  Moved on about 5 miles and met several acquaintances among whom were Van Winkle – J. H. Paine – (who formerly lived with Uncle Eli) and a member of Cal conference they were returning from West Fork together with a great many others. We are informed by them that the gold country on this Fork is limited being confined within a district of five miles on the River and adjacent creeks that the diggings are very deep that it is nearly impossible to sink a shaft on account of Boulders that the Bed Rock has never been reached up to this time and that those who have good claims can only prepare this season to work the next. This account is corroberated by all who have been there and though they get a good prospect to the pan on acccount of the numerous boulders and the consequent scarcity of dirt it is doubtful if these mines will pay after all. This is also true of Powder River. The mines are limited in extent confined to a few gulches and tributaries of the River and are exceedingly spotted – in the gulches the water is already failing and the creeks must be flumed to be worked, and with lumber at 20.00 per hundred it will not pay. The accounts circulated in the settlements have some show of truth and yet are deceptions. A company will work perhaps a number of days “striping” and may work of a large piece of bedrock but oweing to the spotted nature of those diggings will perhaps not pay grub but finally coming onto a pocket containing several hundred dollars. Mr. News gatherer or someone in the company immediately pens a line to Mr. Editor stating that so and so and Co took out a pint of gold the other day before dinner and that another company near by got two dollars to the pan when the probabilities are it was the only gold they had seen for weeks and would not pay them four bits per day for the work done to obtain it. There is no doubt but that a few at Powder and also at Salmon are making fortunes, but where one is making expenses, two hundred are making nothing and though thousands are prospecting , no new diggins are being discovered. I think from what I can learn that it would be a saving in expense and far more agreeable to any one who had a desire to follow a lot of pack animals out here – if they would pack their animals and travel for a month over all the hills in their immediate neighborhood, occasionally descending to and rafting the river. There are many nearly out of provisions now and it is hard to tell what they will do. Provisions are very low Four rates at 28 cents – sold occasionally for 16. Bacon 40, Beans .30, Sugar .50, Coffee .60, Wages have been $4.00 per day, the men boarding themselves This afternoon we went a few miles up Burnt River and camped.
Thurs 3 [July 1862] Concluded to retrace our steps and go to Powder River while on the road we had a heavy storm of hail. Camped at night on Deer Creek a tributary of Powder some five miles back.
Fri 4 [July 1862] Fired a salute to celebrate the day, and are now laying by. Will probably go over onto another creek distant a few miles this afternoon. I have been thinking of my whereabouts last 4th of the good social time that we then had. I was with loved ones then, well I will learn, at least on this trip how to appreciate the society of each hereafter. We left camp after dinner traveled 8 miles camping on the top of the mountain.
Sat 5 – [July 1862] A drive of 4 miles brought us to the city of Auburn, the Metropolis of Powder River Country. There are quite a number of tents, a few log stores and saloons and others in process of erection. There are also several families here the first females that we have seen since leaving Des Chutes and the first children since leaving home. I had hard work to keep from getting homesick. There are also a good many men in and about town most of whom are engaged in the same laudable occupation, whittling sticks. Miners are evidently disgusted with the Powder River mines. This country has been as throughly prospected as any new mines have been – discovered on this coast- and the verdict has been and is now Won't pay. There is very little water what there is sells for 25 per inch a few are making it pay. But there are really fewer miners at work than in any mines that I have before seen and plenty of men are hunting, unsucessfully, for $4.00 diggings the Cal company are about to leave, some for Salt Lake others for Walla Walla others for home. Hundreds of others are doing the same. We have plenty of provisions and will do the best we can. There is an express running from here to the Dalles, and I will probably send this at the earliest opportunity. I cannot direct where to write now, but will probably be able to do so in my next. We are in hopes in some way to strike something.
Sun 6 [July 1862] J.M. And I went up town yesterday. Attended Bible class at 9 preaching at 11 by Pettett of Cal. And preaching at 6 by J. M. There were a number of women and children out, we saw making acquaintances among whom were J. Kuykendall and his son George. They are doing nothing – they and others also inform me that some claims that prospect $1.00 per pan will not pay grub, owing to the gold being what is termed spotted. We shall strike out into the hills and I may not be able to send another another letter for some time. We are all in good health and though no getting corpulent are improving in flesh. I would like very much to see you and be with you Lizzie, but must satisfy myself with imagining your occupations.
Mon July 7  the sun is about an hour high and as our time being farther east is earlier than with you I suppose that you are just up and preparing breakfast (we have ours and the boys have gone up town
Res Barnard and Co. Express
Mrs. M.E. A. Brown
Phoenix Jackson Co.
Tues July 15  I sent a letter by Express to day which not being started soon enough will be delayed one week. At noon we packed up and went as far as the crossing of Powder River on our way to Bridge Creek, on the North of John Days
Wednes 16 [July 1862] A raw cold day, continued on our way camping at noon on a tributary of Burnt River where we moved on our way out and at night on Granite Creek about three miles from its mouth. A town has been started at the mouth of Granite called Independence. What I before termed the head waters of Jn Day is now termed (above the town) Bull Run – below – Elk Creek. Oatman and Co. Claims are on Elk Creek and are considered to be very rich. Our boys took claims on Granite but while they were over on Bridge Creek the notice was torn down and the claims taken by others. The claims on this creek prospect will and will probably pay form one ounce to one hundred dollars per day. Some are taking out occasionally more than this, most of the miners in the district are from Jackson Co.
Thurs 17 [July 1862] Went on up the creek a few miles and taking over the divide came onto a tributary of Bridge Creek called Geneva Creek and heading near the head of Granite. Here we met Vincent and Capt on their way to Granite and all stopped and turned out for noon. After dinner Vincent and McClaine went back to Granite while the rest of us went on a short distance and camped on Geneva and commenced a tail race in order to get to the bed rock.
Friday 18 [July 1862] We are still at work on the race or ditch in the evening Oatman Johnson of Jacksonville and two others joined us to assist is getting to the Bed Rock.
Sat 19 [July 1862] Just before noon McClaine came into camp considerably excited and anounced that heavy digings had been struck on Olive Creek 16 miles distant and that he had taken claims for all hands. Great excitement and everybody going in a very short time our animals were packed and we were en route as fast as we could go. And at night camped about two miles below our claims. At night J. M. who had remained behind brought in a venison the first that we have had.
Sun Morning [20 July 1862] went onto our claims. McWillis and Co the Otter Bar Co. are the discoverers of these mines. Col Ross followed them and took claims for all his company. Others did the same until the whole creek is claimed and some of it doubly claimed. There is to day a great excitement and men are continually rushing past our camp to secure claims taken for them by friends or to take for themselves. McWillis showed us some gold to day which he said was taken from his claim. Two dollars in one pan and 70 cents each in two others. One of the pieces weighted over a dollar and is very pretty gold from a hole sunk on our claims we get from four to eight cents to the pound. There is about two feet of top dirt. In this we can get collors then comes gravel prospecting lightly at first but improving as we go down till within a foot of the rock where is is rather lighter than above. The depth of this hole is ten feet. There is hardly a sluice head of water in the creek, that is for ground sluicing, nor hardly enough falls for that. The plan will be to shovel into sluices The express goes out this morning and I must send this off if I am not already too late. God bless and keep you dear Lizzie is my earnest prayer, give my love to all
Mon 21 [Jul 1862] Cleaned out and finished sinking the shaft that had been started by others
Tues 22 [Jul 1862] Sunk a shaft on the opposite side of the creek this was about eight feet deep and prospects about like the first.
Wednes 23 [Jul 1862] Borrowed a rocker and rocked out some of the dirt that we had thrown out. This averages but little over one cent to the pan. J.F. Went to Granite to day to see about some claims there. He also designs with some others going onto the head waters of Burnt River having received private information of a good thing being struck there. Burnt River heads near the head of this creek and is pretty looking country for gold.
Thurs 24 [Jul 1862] Sank another hole between the others – averaged in the pay dirt which is here six feet in depth three cents per pan in the rocker. We can get more than this is panning the rocker losing about one third. We have concluded to get a saw, saw lumber and go to work believing that we can make wages anyhow.
Friday 25 [ Jul 1862] All hands excepting McClaine and myself went to Granite J. M. has gone to see about a saw. If J. F. does not strike something which he knows to be better, we shall probably work here until the waters fail us. This creek as well as Granite is very densely timbered with young growth of what is called by some Norway Pine and heavy underbrush of willow and birch the mines here are not as easily worked as those at Granite there being more boulders here also a very sticky clay very hard to wash. Halleck – Frank Fulton and Hugh Allen are up the creek but talk of leaving to day several companys have already left others are preparing to do so in fact the excitement on this creek has subsided and all hands are getting ready for a rush to some new El Dorado. This creek does not prospect above here as it did at first. I presume that it is somewhat spotted J.F. Will probably be in to night then for work or another rush.
Sat 26 [Jul 1862] J. M returned lat evening having bought one half of a saw. We will commence sawing next Thurs. Bro Johnson of Jackson has come into the company and we will go to work in earnest.
Sun 27 [Jul 1862] Bro Halleck has just come along on his way to town and I will send this by him another week will reveal to us what we can do – an express will run from here to the Dalles to which place you can direct our letters to Walla Walla God bless and keep you Dearest Lizzie, my love to all.
We call our place Olive City
Olive Creek Aug 1st/62
As I cannot find time to write every day my correspondance must assume more of an epistleory form and yet I will endeavor to note down daily events as they transpire. Sunday July 27 I sent my last letter, we remained in camp all day. J.F. Returned towards evening, did not find anything better than we have here.
Mon 28 [Jul 1862] We went to work clearing and cutting out for a bedrock drean – after removing the top soil which is about two feet deep we come to a very hard gravel which continues to the bedrock. I this there are a great many boulders we turned the water of the creek off but there is a sufficient quantity runing down the race to make wet and disagreeable diging. After dinner Firm and Beamsley struck out on another prospecting tour in the same direction as before intending to remain four or five days.
Tues 29 [Jul 1862] Stil at work in the drain, some boys above us are at work – ground sluicing off the top dirt – knee deep in water- barefooted – and plenty of snow at the head of the creek. I would not do it for three ounces a day
Wednes 30 [Jul 1862] Riged a saw pit and got on two very fine logs. This took two of us most of the day, the other boys being at work in the ditch.
Thurs 31 – J.M. Went to Independence after the saw. Traded it of to some boys for lumber – they came on with him and are now at work. We design putting in about twelve sluice boxes to give it a good try. McClain and I went over on the right hand fork Salmon hunting. It is about one mile from here and is larger than Bear Creek of our valley. The Salmon are large, quite plenty- of the straight nose species and first rate eating. The general mode of fishing is to shoot them. We suceeded in getting very tired and returned without any fish. In the evening Bosarth and Johnson went out and got one.
Sat 2 [Aug 1862] the lumber not being ready and having but little to do, four of us went Salmon hunting, and suceeded in getting four salmon. Some of these are speckled like salmon trout. McWillis claim is not paying much, though it has not been fairly tested yet. The Elk Creek Claims including Oatmans are situated on a low wet onion flat apparently more favorable for meadow than for gold, and though they have plenty of water they find it almost impossible to ground sluice oweing the very little fall. The minors on lower Granite creek are about wound up as those above make the water so tick that it is impossible for them to save their gold, There are some gulches about here that would pay if water could be obtained which cannot be done at present.
Sun 3 [Aug 1862] J.F. Has gone to town the sawer are sawing the remainder of us are about to camp. I will not send this until next week as we will know nothing about our claim till then. I have to look at Lizzie's likeness very often now and find myself longing more and more for the original. I think that he next time I leave home I will just leave the place where it was and take home with me. I roamed about in this country from the time that I was 19 till I was 28yrs of age, homeless and almost friendless and now that I have a home I trust that I am excuseable if more fondly attached to it than other men are. Such I realise now to be the case. I presume that you have plenty of fruit of different kinds to partake of now. Well if you have something that we have not we can return the compliment as the other day we found a patch of low bushed red huckleberries. These have an acid taste but in the absence of other fruit are very pleasant.
Mon 4 [Aug 1862] We worked part of the day making sluices and riffles- for the Hungarian riffles we cut our rocker iron into strips for the ironwork. In the afternoon we made a pen three logs high, covered it with our tent cloth put poles across up from the ground for a bed and now are more comfortably situated than before, since we left home.
Tues 5 [Aug 1862] Finished our sluices, set them and after noon commenced sluicing off top dirt. There are a great many roots to contend with and it is slow work. J.F. Was our prospecting returned in the evening.
Weds Thurs Fri and Sat. - Were engaged in sluicing. The bed rock here is about ten feet from the surface, our boxes are near the surface, we are compelled to place them thus to get sufficient fall. This causes us to shovel about eight feet which is very hard work. We will be able to lower them as we go up and the work will be easier after awhile. Saturday I made a pump and in the evening we cleaned up, getting about two ounces or about one dollar per day to the man. We have worked to great disadvantage having thrown in but little pay dirt and did not expect much. I think that we are not on the lead, but will strike across and find it. Some of the boys will go to town today – Sunday and as the express came in last night I expect a letter. Johnson receiving one from Charlie Stratten dated two days before camp meeting and I must confess that my heart almost held still until he had read it for I thought that if anything was amiss with any of you he would have written of it. I have felt more at ease since then than at any time before- since leaving home. I expect you were all at camp meeting and I tell Capt that perhaps May was converted. He says if so it is all right and I expect that he would be very glad if it was so as would we all. The boys are nearly ready to start and I must close, we are all well and my prayer is till that darling Lizzie may go in grace and usefulness and that God may do for us both as shall be most for His Glory and our infinite good. Good bye Lizzie and God bless you, my love to all – J. F. is writing.
Mrs. M.E. A. Brown
Phoenix, Jackson Co.
Oregon Olive Creek Aug 16, 1862
After an interval of nearly a week I will resume my scribbling. I sent a letter to town last Sunday by J.F. Enclosing one from him to May. We have received no word from home yet. The next mail come in next Tues. If we do not get a letter then, homesickness will be a weak expression to describe our feelings. Only think that three months a few miles from home (as distances are counted now ) and not hear a word from loved ones. I have been a wanderer for many years, but I never experienced anything like this before. You will no doubt be led to think by the above strain that I am homesick. Well you can judge by your own feelings whether I would like to see Lizzie and home or no. And also as to whether “hope deferred doth not make the heart sick” but however I may feel you will want to know what we are up to.
Sun 10 [Aug 1862] J.F. went to town and on his return shot several salmon with a revolver we have had so much fish that we are all salmon sick and dont care much for them now
Mon 11 [Aug 1862] J. F. and J. M. started out on another prospecting tour. Bosarth and McClain got homesick and sold out to Capt and left for Granite to work by the day to get enough money to take them home. Johnson – Caldwell and I went to work cleaning out and straitening the creek to get more fall as there is so little water such heavy gravel and so little fall that it is more than one mans work to shovel tailings.
Tues 12 [Aug 1862] We finished our job on the creek having dug about sixty yards of ditch four or five feet deep and cleaned the creek out for one hundred and fifty yards – concluded that we were a pretty smart trio.
Wednes 13 – We went to work sluicing, pretty hard work this throwing dirt as high as we can reach with a shovel, and makes a man feel at night as though someone had been trying to wring his neck and twist his arms off. Then tired and hungrey go to work cooking the regular bacon and bread and at night turn in on a soft bed made by laying pine brush on a platform of poles. Our washing if performed at all must be done between meals. I have had some clothes soaking in a prospect hole for more than a week. One of these days when I get desperate and have no clean clothes I will pitch in and put them through the suds – in a gold pan – In the evening the boys returned having taken claims in a dry gulch which prospected very well. These claims cannot be worked till spring for want of water Thursday and Friday worked in the claims – Friday afternoon one of the sluices fell down and we concluded to clean up and move them a little up the creek. We go 18 dollars, ten days work – this is much better than the last clean up, so small a clean up is hard to be accounted for as we obtained where we are diging more than twenty cents to the pan above the bed rock and four feet of it prospects very well.
Sat 18 [Aug 1862] Finished setting sluices and went to work sluicing. Yesterday J. M went to town and to day he started up on the gulch to see if it will pay wages with a rocker. Capt and I think that the gold is to fine to save with a rocker. We get rumors of big strikes almost daily. It is said that Comstock, the discoverer of the Washoe has struck a lead of decomposed quartz near Auburn yielding from $75.00 to $100.00 per pan and that a lump has been found on Bridge Creek worth between three and four hundred dollars and there are always plenty who stand ready to run at every new announcement and to find also that it is always just ahead. It is thought now that there are very few in all these digging that will pay expences this season (oweing to want of water, want of fall, muddy water tailings above filling up ditches below and less than forty other different embarrassments. We get news from the east occasionally. Our last is that [missing pages?]