Day 45 of William John Clarke’s Westward Journey

The following is an excerpt from the diary kept by WJ Clarke as he traveled by wagon train from Illinois to the California gold diggings in 1849. One hundred and sixty-six years ago today…

May 10, 1849

Being camped last night on Camp Creek rolled out this morning at 7 o’clock. All well with the exception of Cernel Finch has a slight attack of fever. Drove 13 miles and again nooned on the north bank of the Platte. Crossed the Sand Bluffs which is about one mile long but very heavy wheeling as we was stopping to noon there was two men belonging to the Missouri company which got a little behind of their teams, was surrounded by Indians and their only salvation was to take the river and come to us. The river is about 3/4 of a mile wide at this place. After dinner we passed the lone tree on the north bank of the Platte about three miles and a half from our dinner camp. Crossed Castle Creek at Castle Bluffs at three o’clock PM. Passed the grave of a California emigrant what belonged to Dr. Wells company. He died of cholera. The name of decedent, Snacletor, Adams County, Illinois. There was three Indians forded the Platte River and hailed our train, an old chief and two young men, they are friendly to white and had several recommendations from California emigrants [something indecipherable]. They are more genteel in their manners then the Pawnees. Crossed Bluff Creek and camped. The two men that crossed the river when surrounded by the Indians returned again. Made it today twenty-six miles.

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