A Broader View of the West

Too often I fear our vision of the history of the West is very narrow in focus, unmoored from what was happening in the rest of the country and the world. Our take on the “old West,” calcified from fourth grade history lessons, is limited to wagon trains, pick-axes and the Donner party. Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose offers a much broader view.

This book, published in 1971, had somehow escaped my attention for all these years. I recently heard a claim made that it is one of the best novels ever written. I have got to read this book, I thought. I sauntered up the five blocks to our neighborhood public library and checked out a copy.

I loved this book. I enjoyed every moment I spent reading it. This was certainly one of those synchronous instances of a book showing up at just the perfect time in my life. There are rich layers of storytelling here, and some wonderful writing. It would have been an engaging read at any point, but I found its overlap with my own current interests in both my family’s history and California history very compelling. History comes alive when we begin to understand what people’s lives were like during a bygone era, and Stegner’s novel paints a captivating picture of life in the developing West using fictional and non-fictional persons and events.

The narrator is a disabled man, a retired professor, who is researching his grandmother and writing about her life—as am I researching and writing about my ancestors. He is living in Grass Valley, a mining town in the Sierra Nevada foothills. This is the town my cousins grew up in and where I spent time as a kid. This part of the book is set in the late 1960s, which is when my cousins and I would have been riding our bikes and roaming over the grounds of the old Empire Mine before it was made into a State Historic Park. The book references a fictional Zodiac Mine, which was apparently based on another major mine in the area, the North Star Mine. And, for the correlation trifecta, his grandparents’ history is all wrapped up in the history of the West in the 1800s, as his East-Coast-grandmother (a semi-fictional character based on Mary Hallock Foote) married a mining engineer and subsequently spent most of her life in the unsettled West. The title of the book, Angle of Repose, refers to the maximum slant of an incline without loose materials sliding down—a term used in mining, and a reference, no doubt, to the dynamics of his grandparents’ marriage.

Stegner reminds us that those who journeyed west were not just young men with gold dust in their eyes staking a claim on some stream in the Sierra, but professionals—people with education and intellect and skills. Engineers. Geologists. Artists. Writers. And every kind of speculator. I’ve read that gambling was the number one form of entertainment in the West, but it was not limited to games of chance. Fortunes were made and lost through shaky land deals involving outright lying and cheating, but investors also gambled that a railroad would come through, a canal would be built, a mine would pay off. Often these dreams never materialized. In the book, the narrator’s grandparents spend much time in dusty frontier towns awaiting just such improvements only to be disappointed time and again, after which they would move on to the next uncivilized spot. Stegner asks,

Who were those glittering people intent on raiding the continent for money or for scientific knowledge?

The old West has, of course, been much romanticized over time. As I research my ancestors’ participation in the “early” history of California, it is not lost on me that this land has a history that predates white settlers by millennia, and that California’s history for the past several centuries is based on theft. Spain took the land from the indigenous people and the Mexicans, the Mexicans eventually took it back, and the white settlers, backed by the United States government and the credo of manifest destiny, took it from Mexico and whatever indigenous peoples had survived disease and enslavement by the Spanish Missions up until that point. The settlement of the West was all about the appropriation of resources. These included minerals—the main topic of Stegner’s novel—but also land, forests, quarries, and, that priceless commodity, water.

Historical fiction is my favorite genre because I get to learn while being entertained. This book does not disappoint on either score, and I now have some new jumping off points for further study on the machinations involved in incorporating the West into the United States. For example, Stegner’s novel referenced the Public Land Commission, which was formed in 1851 after California became a state. The Commission existed for only five years and was mainly a way to steal land from the Mexicans, as far as I can tell, because it forced the Californios (Mexican inhabitants of California) to defend their land grants through an expensive process. Many could not afford to participate in the legal maneuvering required, and so lost their land.

The Public Land Commission commissioned a report entitled the Public Domain. This is a fascinating document—available online—of over 500 pages. The title page has the following lengthy title: The Public Domain. Its history, with statistics, with references to the national domain, colonization, acquirement of territory, the survey, disposition, and several methods of sale and disposition of the public domain of the United States, with sketch of legislative history of the land states and territories, and references to the land systems of the colonies, and also that of several foreign governments. The report is a codification of public land laws and essentially covers every treaty and legislative act used to acquire and manage (i.e. settle) land in the public domain in the US, as well as descriptions of public land systems used in Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Australia. It is quite an amazing document.

Wallace Stegner’s writing has whet my appetite for further delvings into the many forces that shaped the settlement of the West. The West’s history is comprised of far more than the gold rush. The events that brought so many settlers west did not occur in a vacuum but were influenced by issues of slavery, the Civil War, the Mexican-American war, and the Homestead Act of 1862, among other things. Stegner subtly weaves the politics and current events of the period of western migration into what is ultimately a well-written novel about human relationships and the intricate workings of a marriage—definitely worth the read.


History Geek links:

The report on the Public Domain can be found here: https://archive.org/stream/publicdomainits00goog#page/n6/mode/2up


Here’s a link to a lengthy but interesting article about the Homestead Act and how it played out in different states over the years (right up until the 1970’s in Alaska). It was featured in Prologue magazine, a quarterly publication of the National Archives:



Settling Yolo

After their marriage in July of 1867, William John Clarke brought his bride, Catherine (Foster) Tenney Clarke, back to Buckeye Ranch, the ranch he owned and resided on in Yolo County near what is now the town of Dunnigan in the Central Valley about 40 miles north of Sacramento. He had purchased this 1,320 acre ranch five years prior with Jack Stewart, an immigrant from Scotland who was Clarke’s business partner in various enterprises dating back to 1850.

When Clarke and Stewart gave up on the pack train business, they became ranchers and farmers. Here is a brief history of their farming experiences as reported by my 2nd cousin-once-removed Joyce Dawley, whose material was used by Jacque (Reimer) Vaughters in her Yolo County History column in the Woodland Daily Democrat, August 29,1999:

In 1862, William John Clarke and John “Jack” Guron Stewart purchased 1,320 acres of land, all fenced, for $5,000. The owner thought that he had made a large sale as he had not made a success of it as a grain farm.

The acreage, near Dunnigan, was named Buckeye Ranch. In 1863 they sowed 160 acres to Barley, plowing and sowing late, as was the custom. They met with complete failure. The first and second year it barely seeded itself, not being worth harvesting.

In 1865 they harvested 30 bushels of barley to the acre and for five consecutive years, they harvested 30 bushels to the acre—all this from the plowing and seeding of 1863.

Land in that section of the county was supposed to be worthless until Clarke and Stewart’s grain farming.

In 1865 and ’66, they dry plowed 500 acres and sowed in the fall. The result was a crop of 45 bushels of wheat to the acre. The next year they had a volunteer crop nearly equal to the original sowing.

From that time the land became valuable. A new mode of plowing and seeding had been introduced that proved precisely suited to the climate and soil.

I’m very interested in the history of what was farmed in Yolo and Colusa Counties, and how it was farmed. In these early days they were dry farming, using no irrigation. The first crops grown in this region on the west bank of the Sacramento River were grains such as barley, wheat, and corn. But I have always associated the area with rice, the crop that came to dominate the area, the crop farmed by my grandparents (and other family members—descendants of William John Clarke and Catherine Foster, a surprising number of whom stayed in the area for generations, and continue to live and farm there.)

Of course, rice cannot be dry farmed—it’s a fairly water intensive crop as the rice fields must be flooded. Water is an issue which has always loomed large in the history of California and is back in the news due to the current drought now into its fourth year. Daily headlines regarding this, the second major drought I’ve lived through as a native Californian, highlight the labryinthian water rights and management systems of this state. There are many references to pre-1914 water rights, which up until now were considered to be unassailable, but that seems to be changing in the face of drought and climate change. As I continue to dig into the history of my ancestors—not just the Clarkes, but the Cains (my grandmother’s father’s family) and the Hoffmans and Boles (my grandfather’s family), who all arrived and began farming in 1800’s Yolo and Colusa Counties—I am also excited about researching water issues of the day. It’s the same curiosity—how did we get from there to here?

A Trip Back in Time: Plumas County, California

My family’s history is closely intertwined with the early history of California. Three of my four grandparents were born in California, as well as three of my eight great-grandparents. I know of at least four ancestral family groups or individuals who came to California by wagon train, for gold or for land, or perhaps just in search of new opportunities. I find myself more and more fascinated by these pioneering families, and not just those whose blood lines I carry, but others I keep uncovering who are more distantly related by marriage. Although I fear I may have snoozed through more than one California history lesson in my school days, it all seems terribly intriguing now. I want to delve into their stories and get a picture of what their lives were like both before and after their emigrations. Perhaps that is what history buffs have in common, the desire to understand what people’s lives were like during a particular era that has passed. It’s also why we need to be aware that our own histories are also important. Believe it or not, people in the future will want to know what our lives were like. As a budding genealogist I feel fortunate that my family has been in Northern California for generations, mainly because it’s so easy to travel to the areas where they lived. Ancestry.com is a great source of information up to a point, but to get down to the nitty gritty, fill in some of the details and flesh out the stories, it’s best to visit the county where one’s ancestors lived. County courthouses, museums and archives provide a wealth of information in the form of official records—birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, divorces, property deeds, etc.—as well as photos, historical publications that can’t be found anywhere else, and the collected reminiscences of old timers. How grateful I am to the letter writers, the letter savers, the journal keepers, and the interviewers for leaving a wealth of information to sift through. Recently when my wife and I got one of our frequent urges for a little road trip, I suggested Plumas County as a destination. We had back-packed in that area a few years ago but that was before I had any awareness of the historical connections my family has there. My maternal grandparents (and great-grandparents and great-great grandparents) were primarily farmers in the northern end of the Central Valley, in Yolo, Colusa, and Sutter Counties. I’ve only recently become aware that Catherine and William Clarke, my great-grandparents, drove their cattle up to Plumas County for summer pasture every year back in the later 1800’s. My great-grandmother drove a wagon, probably filled with supplies and some assortment of their seven children—at least those too young to help with the cattle drive. They spent summers up in the mountains, as did many other Central Valley families. As roads to the area became more developed, hotels were established and tourism began to flourish in the area, families came to escape the heat of the Valley as well as illnesses such as malaria, diphtheria, and cholera. By the 1870’s entire communities were camping together each summer, coming from such Valley towns as Gridley, Chico, and Red Bluff. As I was putting together the facts and family relationships using Ancestry.com, I could not help but notice that two of William and Catherine Clarke’s offspring married into the Stover family. I could see that the Stovers were early arrivals to an area called Big Meadows in Plumas County. It was my desire to dig deeper into the story behind these marriages and the Stover family that put us on the road to Quincy recently. The Clarkes and the Stovers were both cattle ranchers, but while the Clarkes made their primary residence in Colusa County and thus retreated back to the valley come fall, the Stovers were permanent residents of Plumas County. This county sits at the far northern reach of the Sierra Nevada, while Lassen Peak, which is the southernmost peak of the Cascade Range, sits just to the north. A portion of present day Lassen Volcanic National Park is located within the northwest boundaries of Plumas County. It was and is a stunning area of forested mountains, expansive alpine meadows, and creeks which feed into the Feather River. It is the Spanish name for the river, Rio de Plumas, that gives the county its name. Many miners were attracted to this area during the California gold rush, and although the Stovers did initially come west seeking gold, they eventually settled in this area for the purpose of cattle ranching and dairying.

Our trip to Plumas County was a fruitful one. I had made an appointment with Scott Lawson, the archivist at the county museum in Quincy, and by the time I arrived he had pulled out all the information he could find on the Stovers and the Clarkes. The Stover name continues to be well-known in the area, and there is a Stover Mountain, Stover Creek, and even a strip mall in the town of Chester called the Stover Creek Center. I waded through historical tomes, newspaper clippings, transcribed oral histories, and photographs—scanning them all using an app on my iPhone. Talk about striking gold! We also visited a small museum that was part of the public library in Chester, and found many more photos and information about the Stovers in particular, and life in Plumas County during the 19th and early 20th century in general. Unfortunately, the archivist was not in but I did get her phone number. I also learned that my great-grand-aunt, Catherine May (Clarke) Stover was the first librarian when the Chester library was first built in 1929, the same building that is in use today.

We left Plumas County well-satisfied with our visit, laden with maps, books, historical and tourist information as well as all the documents I had scanned. We only spent three days there but in addition to our family history treasure hunt we took three lovely hikes, drank some good locally-brewed beer, had several delicious meals, and met many friendly, helpful folks. A return visit is certainly in our future as there seems to be so much more to explore.

The Miner-Turned-Farmer Takes a Wife

I’ve gotten bogged down in telling William John Clarke’s story like a Conestoga wagon mired in the mud. I’ve got to move this thing forward because I have so many other tales to tell, including a recent family history road trip to Plumas County, California, where I learned so much more about the Clarke family’s interconnection with the Stovers, a pioneering family who ranched near what is now Chester beginning in 1859.

Truth be told, the next part of Clarke’s story is a bit of a mystery to me, one (or several) I’m dying to unravel.

The facts I know are that Clarke got married on July 5, 1867, at age 47 to Catherine Foster Tenney, age 25. It was his first marriage, her second. At this time Catherine had one child, aged 4, by her previous husband, Willard Tenney, and was seven months pregnant with a second child. The four-year-old was Elizabeth. “Lizzie”, as Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 6.36.43 PMshe was called, was my Nana Marge’s mother, i.e. my great-grandmother. Here’s how the record of William and Catherine’s marriage license in Alameda County appears (see last line–and you can click on image to enlarge):

The boy who was born two months after Catherine’s marriage to Clarke was William Dougal Clarke, or “Willie” as he was known. He was always passed off as Clarke’s son. But I have evidence to the contrary in the form of a letter written in 1897 by Lizzie Tenney Clarke to a cousin on her mother’s side back in Illinois. This letter was written one month after her mother’s (Catherine Foster Tenney Clarke) death. The tone of this letter is distressed, and Lizzie voices longing for connection with her mother’s side of the family.

 My mother never even told me that Willie was my brother. He always felt nearer and dearer to me, than any of the rest, if I do say it my self…I never can forgive my mother for not telling me things she ought to have told me…

So, it certainly sounds like Willie—who died tragically in a hunting accident at age 23, a young married man with a pregnant wife, Anna Louisa Stover—was not Clarke’s son at all but was likely Willard Tenney’s progeny. From all accounts Clarke appeared to dote on “his” son, in any case.

Catherine Foster was born in Ireland, northern Ireland specifically, and not so far from where Clarke was born and raised.

Unsolved Mystery #1: Did their families have any connection back in Ireland?

By 1848 Catherine had emigrated to the US with her parents and siblings, as a brother was born in Illinois that year (Catherine’s mother was also married twice, once to Edward Little and then to James Foster, and had children with each). The 1850 census finds the family living in Rock Island County, Illinois, where Clarke also lived for 10 years prior to striking out for California. Given the difference in their ages Catherine would have been a child of 7 at the time he left Illinois for California at age 29, but I wonder if their families knew each other? I suspect they must have but I can only speculate at this point. One of Catherine’s half-sisters, Elizabeth Little, married William John Clarke’s brother, Noble Clarke, but so far I don’t have the date or location, only that they eventually lived in Yolo County near William and Catherine.

Unsolved Mystery #2: What, if any, was the connection between the Little/Fosters and the Clarkes in Rock Island County, Illinois?

Catherine’s first marriage occurred in Illinois on September 27, 1861 to Willard Tenney, whose family can be traced back to the Yorkshire district of England from whence they traveled to New England in 1638, to escape “religious persecution”. (They were apparently much aggrieved that King Charles had ordered that “no hindrance should be thrown in the way of those who wished to dance or shoot at the butts [a target] on Sunday afternoons.” Hmm.) By the 1800’s some of the Tenneys had ended up in Illinois via New Hampshire and earlier, Rowley, Massachusetts. Records indicate that Catherine and Willard and their infant daughter Lizzie came to California via wagon train in 1864. I hope to eventually discover which route they traveled and where they first settled. The next piece of information I have is documentation of Catherine’s marriage to Clarke in 1867. What happened during those three missing years? How did Catherine Foster Tenney and Clarke meet? Inquiring minds want to know.

Unsolved Mystery #3: What happened to Willard E. Tenney?

He just seems to disappear from all records. It seems clear from some of Lizzie’s letters to her cousin Eddie in Illinois that her mother was not widowed, but had left her father, whom she says she never remembers seeing (i.e. she was too young at the time of the divorce to retain any memory of him).

 Do you ever hear of any of my fathers people. Don’t you know, I just get to thinking of him. Sometimes knowing how terrible he felt, when mama left him for another. I don’t see how she could do it, for she told me he was just as good and kind to her as he could be. The other one [William John Clarke], was not, but it best not to talk of the past, when it is so unpleasant. But you have no idea how I feel when I think of poor old father. I never knew whether he died or was killed or what became of him. My how I would like to have had him with me in his old days.

Lizzie never knew what happened to her father, nor do we. I find this very puzzling in light of all the records that are available to us now. He does not show up in census information, no death certificate, nothing on Find A Grave (a wonderful website for finding where people are buried). I haven’t given up, however. Still searching.

Our story ends today with William John Clarke and his bride, Catherine (Foster) Tenney Clarke settled on their ranch in Yolo County where they proceed to produce five more children in addition to Lizzie and Willie.

 William John Clarke
William John Clarke
Catherine Foster Tenney Clarke
Catherine Foster Tenney                         Clarke

Day 47 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 12, 1849

Started on the west of Crab Creek. I was much surprised to see the remains of what is called the Bluff Ruins. The bluffs here bears the most picturesque appearance of anything I ever saw. They rise like large cities above the flat to the height of from twenty-five to four hundred feet. They are all shapes, some form a cone and others of every description. We today crossed the beds of several dry creeks, from four to twenty rods wide. Passed several emigrants wagons left on the way. We are now in sight of Chimney Rock, one-fourth to one-half mile from our camp.

Day 46 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 11, 1849

Rolled out as usual and afternoon we camped on Bluff Creek. Last night all well and in good heart. We took one of our horses out of the team and two drove her. At 10 o’clock, met two Indians belonging to the Shawnee tribe, one of them could speak good English and boasts that their tribe never killed a white man. He sold 300 bushels of corn to emigrants, the last he sold at six dollars per bushel. On the west side of the road is the grave of Margaret Lynch, was killed by wagon wheel running over her. Lived four hours after. Roads sandy and heavy, camped on Crab Creek making today 25 miles.

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.

California: The Dream Realized

Our William Clarke arrived in California on July 11, 1849 after a journey of 107 days. I have lately been reading accounts of journey by wagon train and it seems like horrifying things happened frequently: In Catherine Sager’s account of her family’s journey West by covered wagon when she was a young girl (Across The Plains in 1844), she recounts how her leg was crushed when she was thrown under the wagon, her father and her mother died of ill-defined diseases halfway through the journey, her sister’s dress caught on fire and she nearly burned to death, and her brother’s powder horn blew up, badly burning him. Many pioneers died of illness—mainly cholera as well as scurvy—there were drownings during the many river crossings, and horrendous injuries occurred with little medical assistance available. I suppose I assumed that every journey west was one of hardship and tragedy. The hardship was probably fairly universal, but Clarke’s journey does not read as being terribly fraught nor tragic. The more striking theme is the amount of tedious travel, and the sheer hard work required. They had to both hunt for food and negotiate buying supplies when they were available. Wagons got stuck in mud and sand and had to be pulled out. River crossings sometimes required wagons to be unloaded and repacked. There were wild animals and occasionally hostile Indians to fend off. In fact, I believe there were only two deaths in Clarke’s party which occurred during a skirmish with Indians.

I will continue to post occasional excerpts from Clarke’s journal over the next three months (May, June, and July) on their corresponding dates 166 years after the original events. Meanwhile, let’s continue on with Clarke’s adventures in California.

Here is a letter written in his journal with no date but appears to be written while he is trying his hand at mining:

My Dear friend I once more take my pen in hand to inform you of how gold digging goes. I have now mined about 40 days but have not got my pile as yet. Nor don’t know [how] soon I shall get it as it is much more difficult to find than I anticipated but those great tales we hear off at home ain’t all gospel nor yet the epistles of inspired men. I have worked harder since I came here than I ever did at home or anywhere else and have about as good success as any of the diggers and I have never had more than sixty dollars in one day and that seldom.

Clarke left the mines after about six months due to illness. He went to Sacramento and there he went to work as a carpenter (he had been a cabinet maker in Illinois). He worked on the first brick building in Sacramento, called the Anchor House, for which he earned $20 per day. The Anchor House was a hotel built by George Zins, a German who had come to California with John Fremont in 1846. The location of this building was Front and M Streets.

In October of 1850 Clarke partnered with John Guron Stewart, an emigrant from the Isle of Whithorn, Scotland, for the purpose of starting a horse packing business. Apparently they figured out that selling supplies to miners would be more lucrative than mining. They were right, as they cleared $10,000 their first year.

Perhaps the most significant event that came out of their packing enterprise was Clarke’s discovery of the fertile land in Yolo County. Clarke and Stewart passed through this area on an aborted trip up to Oregon, where reports were emerging of gold washing up on the shores with every ocean wave. Deep snow around Shasta and the realization that the reports were bogus resulted in them turning around, but Clarke was so impressed with the area that he decided to settle there. He and Stewart bought a ranch just outside Knights Landing and began farming, stock raising, and making Spanish saddles. Clarke made the wooden frames while Stewart did the leather work, and as this item was quite in demand they sold all they could make.

Clarke was reportedly instrumental in demonstrating that northern Yolo County, which had been considered worthless land, was indeed suitable for farming. From these humble beginnings as well as the efforts of other ancestors who journeyed west and settled in this area around the same time, came the roots of my family’s generations of farming in Yolo, Colusa and Sutter Counties.

I’ve often wondered why Clarke left Illinois. A possible clue is contained in one of his diary entries, when he describes the Carson Valley: “…it is a beautiful place. The clover is here some three feet long and thick. If I had such land in Illinois I would stay there.” Perhaps he wasn’t able to find good land in Illinois. Perhaps it was always his intention to become a farmer in California after trying his hand at mining. I do not know.

Still to come: The farmer takes a wife and raises a family, while other branches of the family also settle in the area.

*The Diary of William John Clarke, 1849 (both transcribed version and the original)
*Additional material in the back of the transcribed diary as compiled by Marilyn Kelly Ornbaum
*Sacramento, An Illustrated History 1839 to 1874, From Sutters Fort to Capitol City, by Thor Severson

May 1: Journeying West with William John Clarke

The following is an excerpt of William John Clarke’s diary. This was day 36 of their journey, and they were traveling through Nebraska. They had left Council Bluffs, Iowa (at that time known as Kanesville) some ten days prior.

As usual rolled out and drove twenty-five miles of the most unpleasant road I ever saw. We had to wrap our handkerchiefs over our eyes. Johnathan Emes and me started on horseback after some antelopes at which time we lost our road and got into the sand mounds where we rode for six or seven hours without success. We first took a south west direction rode god knows how far and almost discouraged turned to the right and left but still our hope was blighted. After wandering about between hope and despair but still I did not like to give up the chase, rode up to the top of a sand hill and while there was as it were flung from one danger to another, for there I was surrounded by about eight or ten large wolves which seemed as though they would have liked to taste Irish blood. I was in a desert and depended altogether on my eyes and a rifle and only four bullets which I did not like to waste with wolves, as I had not yet got dinner and depended altogether on my eye and rifle which I knew if it ered it was the first time in my life. We at last took as it were, a north easterly direction which brought us to the Loup Fork of the Platt River which I knew as soon as I saw although it was twenty-five or thirty miles from our way which we left to our right and at four o’clock struck the road at which time our team was twenty miles ahead. We rode onto almost discouraged again. Johnathan was thoroughly fatigued and hungry, was for lying down on the road, but hope seemed to grow brighter with me for about six miles ahead I saw a light. I knew that in all it must be our camp. I encouraged Johnathan and whipped the horse until I arrived in camp.Our camp was all in consult what to do wheather to depart or go in search of us. Some of them was going to leave. One was James Gilmore of which I not expect it of his hand, but there are still some merciful men. Out of sixty-three men only three was willing to leave us. When we came to camp one of our men had killed a fine buffalo cow. Camped on Wood River. Made to on my race about eighty miles. Teams made about thirty four.