Oh! that I could be present with you and Margaret and relate in the hearing of your children the numerous vicissitudes and dangers I have encountered by land and sea since I parted with you in Brimfield. It would fill a volume of many pages. But I will give a few items from the time I left Missouri in April of 1846 for Oregon. I expected all three of my children to accompany me, but Manthano was detained by sickness and his wife was unwilling to leave her parents. I provided for myself a good ox-wagon team, a good supply of what was requisite for the comfort of myself, Captain Brown, and my driver, Uncle John, and crossed the plains on horseback. Orus Brown, with his wife and eight children, and Virgil Pringle, Pherne’s husband, with five children, fitted out their separate families and joined a train of forty or more for Oregon, in high expectation of gaining the wished-for land of promise.
The novelty of our journey, with little exception, was pleasing and prosperous until after we passed Fort Hall. Then we were within eight hundred miles of Oregon City—if we had kept on the old road down the Columbia River—but three or four trains of emigrants were decoyed off by a rascally fellow who came out from the settlement in Oregon, assuring us that he had found a near cutoff, that if we would follow him, we would be in the settlement long before those who had gone down the Columbia. The idea of shortening a long journey caused us to yield to his advice. Our sufferings from that time no tongue can tell. He said he would clear the road before us, so that we should have no trouble in rolling our wagons after him. But he robbed us of what he could by lying, and left us to the depredations of Indians and wild beasts, and to starvation. But God was with us. We had sixty miles of desert without grass or water, mountains to climb, cattle giving out, wagons breaking, emigrants sick and dying, hostile Indians to guard against by night and day, to keep from being killed or having our horses and cattle arrowed or stolen. We were carried hundreds of miles south of Oregon into Utah Territory and California, fell in with the Clammette and Rogue River Indians, lost nearly all our cattle, and passed through the Umpqua Mountains.
Our family was the first that started through the canyon, so we got through the mud and rocks much better than those that came after. Out of hundreds of wagons, only one came through without breaking. The canyon was strewn with dead cattle, broken wagons, beds, clothing, and everything but provisions, of which latter we were nearly destitute. Some people were in the canyon two or three weeks before they could get through. Some died without any warning, from fatigue and starvation. Others ate the flesh of cattle that were lying dead by the wayside.
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