1859 DIARY




Vernon County, Missouri


Merced County, California



pg. 1


May 9, 1859, Vernon County, Missouri


We started on our trip for California. In our crowd are Mr. and Mrs. Fierter, John and Leota and Dan Taylor, Peter Kahl, Henry Crabb, Adam Kahl and wife. We have a warm lovely day. Father (George Spangenberg) goes with us as far as Ft. Scott, 7 miles. Oh how I grieve to say goodbye to him, perhaps forever in this world, and he wants to go with us so bad, poor father, I wish he could. We camp 10 miles from Fort Scott on the broad prairie.


May 10


The sun is up, the day is clear and we start on our journey west over the Kansas prairie, broad and green on all sides and covered with flowers.


May 11


Last night the coyotes held a musical close to our camp and kept us awake most of the night, the first I ever heard of their music. It is cloudy and sprinkley rain, still we are up and going west.


May 12


Cloudy and cool, all day. We camp 2 hours before sundown by a beautiful stream of water, and it rained all night. It is not pleasant to have to get out on the wet ground and cook breakfast in the rain with wood and everything wet and smokey but this is only the beginning. I am thinking but we are in for it, no backing out. “Pikes Peak or Burst” is the cry of all in the crowd.


May 13


Another gloomy rainy morning. We come to a little town called, Lee Roy, it is a very pretty place, for a new western town, but it rained all day on us and the roads are getting muddy.


May 14


Still raining and the roads are bad. We come to a stream past fording. We travel north past several towns and some nice farms.


May 15


We come to the Neosho River and lay by for it to run down. I find a rabbits nest. The first jackrabbit I ever saw. The boys killed the mother before they new she had young, so they had to kill the little ones, to keep them from starving. All but one which I put in my pocket to keep for I have a cow along that gives milk. I will make a pet of it in the wagon.


May 16


Another rainy day, the river is higher than ever.


May 17


Well it is not rainy today but on we go through sloughs and mud and mire until we come to Day Creek and it is bank full of water, but it will fall before night so we can cross. Three o'clock we cross the creek and travel 6 miles and camp in mud all around.


pg. 2


May 18


A clear day – the sun comes out so hot, but we make a good days travel and camp by a beautiful stream. There is not many trees in this part of the country, only along the large streams and rivers are cotton wood.


May 19


Clear day for us. We cross several streams. We pass an Indian village of the Sioux and Crows. They are peaceable and trade with the white people. We camp in site of their villages.


May 20


Another rainy day, roads are bad, we come to Council Grove on the river. There are 59 teams here waiting to cross. We cross and camp on the prairie in site of Diamond Springs. It is a pretty place, two stone buildings and one frame. We are traveling on the Santa Fe road now.


May 21


We are traveling over the boundless prairie. We see plenty of antelope. There are 75 wagons now in our train.


May 22


A long day, we travel till 1 o'clock and come to Cottonwood Creek and camp. Good feed, when the wagons are all in camp we have a large village of wagons, over 100 are here in camp. I went to sleep in the wagon and my little rabbit fell out and is lost. It will die if it did not get run over by the oxen or wagons behind us, for there was 36 teams behind us, all close together. It is a grand site to see so many moving teams, covered wagons with all colors and some striped. Ours is blue striped.


May 23


We have a warm windy day. We see our first buffaloes. We are in the Indian country for sure, and they are stealing cattle from the immigrants. We come to Walnut Creek and there is a station here.


May 24


We have a lovely morning, and a sultry day. We are surrounded with buffaloes, there is millions of them it seems. The men have to shoot in them and try everyway to keep them from running through our train. We have all the buffalo meat we want to eat. They are all headed north. The ground trembles under their feet. We have to stop and let drove after drove pass in one great black waving mass of buffalo. We come to Turkey Creek and camp. There is a station here to sell whiskey and tobacco and canned goods. There is some teams here turned back for home. They hear bad news ahead. We all may wish we had turned back yet, for we are going it blind. “But nothing ventured, noting gained,” is my motto.


May 25


Today is cold and rainy, very cold nights. We cross the Little Arkansas River. We pass a good many Mexican teams going to Santa Fe. We camp on Owl Creek. There is 50 teams here already, feed is good.


pg. 3


May 26


Cold and rainy still, and we must move on, on, on, ever to the westward. We come to Cow Creek. We find poor feed and have to haul wood and water to use, for the water we find is muddy and nasty.


May 27


Cold and pleasant, we are in the wolf and prairie dog country. They are as thick as buffaloes, no, not quite as thick, but there towns are all around us. They sit up on their haunches and bark at us like puppy dogs. One of the boys caught one and give it to me for a pet, they can be tamed easily. We come to the Arkansas River and follow up it aways and come to Nut Creek and camp at Alensons Ranch, a very pretty place.


May 29


This morning is pleasant. We are not in the Tanne country, well wooded and watered. This afternoon the Tannes and Comanches had a battle in the big bend of the river. The Tannes stole the Comanches squaws and pony so they have a fight over it. I have not heard which whipped and don't care as long as they don't bother us. But we see several bands riding by in war paint.


May 30


This morning is warm and sultry, oh what a lovely country. Will it ever be settled up by white people? To beautiful to be given up to the Indians. We come to Tanne Park and camp.


May 31


We travel on the bank of the river. This side is treeless. On the other side are trees and Indians and Rangers fighting today. We camp on the plains a mile from the river. We use the river water and haul our wood or use buffalo chips for fire.


June 1, 1859, Wednesday


The wind is blowing hard from the N. E. Blew all day. Last night there was quarreling in the train. Matt Johnson knocked John Taylor down. And for awhile it looked as if there would be someone to bury, but us women hid the weapons and shamed them out of their murderous feelings. Today, four wagons lay-by and told the disturbing party they must go on and stay away from our party. So the Taylor and Fierter crowd go on, four wagons stay with us. This is the only way to get rid of an objectionable crowd, either lay-by or go on and keep away from their camp. We have done it several times now. There is 11 men and 2 women in our train. We are getting near sand hills on the right and there are trees across the river. The river is so lovely, dotted with islands and water so clear and low that we see beautiful pebbles and the sand looks like gold, it is so full of mica. When the boys first saw the mica they thought they had found gold, and Adam made them believe it for a while. He knew what it was for he is an old Californian. They were going to stop right there and get rich and go back to Mo., and buy out all of Johnson County. For there are 5 young men from Johnson county with us and very nice boys too. They were so disappointed when Adam told them it was mica and not worth anything.


pg. 4


June 2


A very hot day to travel and sultry, no wind, the country is beautiful, cottonwood trees on the river, the road is hard and smooth, the plain covered with cactus and flowers of all kinds. We make a good days drive. Passed Atkinsons Old Fort Adobe (abandoned) in ruins on the river bend and we camp near by.


June 3


A lovely day to travel. Here the Santa Fe road crosses the river. We keep on the north side. We still travel up the Arkansas River.


June 4


The day is cool and pleasant. We are getting nearer the mountains. Can see a hill on the other side of the river. We made a good drive. One steer got to lame to travel so had to put shoes on him made out of boot leather. The oxen are all getting tender footed.


June 5


The day is cloudy and cold. We lay-by and two wagons go on. We are glad so now there is only the 5 Missouri boys in their wagon and in our wagon is Adam and Peter Kahl and Henry Crabb and Ann L. Kahl, your humble servant in the crowd. But we see other trains, large and small, in camp. We pass them or they pass us. I don't know what has become of the hundreds of people and teams we were with in Kansas. We are now in Colorado. A good many turn back and a good many went the Santa Fe road.


June 6


Today is hot and sultry. The poor cattle plod along in the dust. I walk most of the time and many a weary mile yet. We will have to plod on and on ever westward over the hot plain.


June 7


The mornings are cool but it gets bad before night. We travel 25 to 39 miles a day. The country is getting tame to look at, too level. We pass some graves by the side of the road, I think they might have been buried a little further back.


June 8


We lay-by today. The cattle feet are so sore. I wash and bake when we lay-by. The men hunt or fish but they never kill or catch anything. We are getting in the hilly country again. We are still by the beautiful river.


June 9


Again we start on our journey and it is a hot day. We pass two childrens graves, poor little things. Perhaps they would have found a hard life and suffered death many times if they had of lived . But now they are at rest, away out here on the plains alone. Where are their parents? Perhaps the Indians have killed them after torturing them to death. But we put our trust in God and live on not knowing how soon we to may find a lonely grave by the roadside. But I hope I will be buried so deep that the coyotes won't dig me up to eat if I have to die out here.


pg. 5


June 10


The camp is again by the river but the mosquitos are so thick and large that they darken the twilight. We have to smoke ourselves to death to get something cooked to eat and then sit in the smoke to keep from being eaten up by the mosquitoes. The country along the river is level, roads are smooth and hard. There are sand hills away to our right.


June 11


This morning was cool, but the day turned out hot and sultry and the road is getting heavy. We come to a lovely grove by the river and stopped for noon under the cyprus and cottonwoods. Now we make about 20 miles a day.


June 12


We lay over today to rest the cattle and I have to wash, bake bread and fix things up in the wagon – clean house I call it. We are 3 miles from Bents Fort. In a thick grove of trees on the bank of the Arkansas River the grass is very high and thick all through the grove. We had a visit from some Comanche Indians in their war paint, breast plates, shields and spears. The day is very hot and sultry.


June 13


Again we start on the road. We go to the Fort and stop and look it over. It is inhabited by Indians now. I climbed the broken adobe walls, 30 feet high, and looked over the country. It is a lovely place to live in and some day civilized people will come and settle along this beautiful river. We can see Pikes Peak from here, and the peak farther north, and there are high bluffs to the right and left of the river.


June 14


We camp again by the river under the trees. It looks like rain today, but the sun comes out very hot at times. The roads are rough everyday now.


June 15


Five weeks on the road the wind is blowing hard. Pikes Peak looms up in the distance like a black cloud. We have had no rain for three weeks but we plod along through the dust. I walk so much I get very tired, running over the hills covered with beautiful colored pebbles, looking for curiosities then the team gets away ahead of me and I have to run to catch up.


June 16


We break camp and move again over ridges and through valleys and up hill along table lands nearer the mountains every mile. Look like rain today, hope we will have a little to cool the air.


June 17


We camp in the bend of the river and such a lovely place for a home would be hard to find. There are high bluffs on all sides, some 1000 feet high. We can see snow on Pikes Peak.


June 18


Our road lays through dry country. We find no feed for the cattle tonight but weeds and green wood leaves. The poor oxen are tired and hungry. No rain yet. The country is all dried up for want of rain.


pg. 6


June 19


We pass a ranch where there is a blacksmith shop. We have our wagon tire fixed. We find no feed today for the cattle so we stop to let them eat weeds and whatever they can find. We camped by the river again. A man tells us that on the other side of the river is New Mexico, if it is, it is very bare and mountainous.


June 20


Six weeks on the road and we come to Fountain City and the pinnacle, in a pretty little valley, only a small village way out here on the plains, but is very cozy and pretty in its lonelyness. We leave the river here and our road lays up Fountain Creek which flows down from Pikes Peak. The country is getting romantic and the mountains are capped in clouds. We camp in a valley at the foot of the Peak. We lay-by a day. Crabb thinks he can walk to the top of the Peak. He was gone all afternoon, came back tired out and only got to the foot of the Peak. He brought back some strawberries and brush to convince us that he had been there. Everything is to dry and hot to be comfortable. The nights are cold.


June 21


Oh, today is so hot. We are traveling northward, pass another ranch where a man buys or trades for lame oxen then keeps them until they are rested and fat then sells or trades them off for sick and lame ones again and gets from 5 to 20 boot. We traded one of ours off and gave 5 boot for a well one. Our cattle look as well or better than any other on the road.


June 22


We camp in a valley at the foot of the mountain. This morning the sun rose clear and the mountains were free from clouds. It is grand scenery all around, never to be forgotten. Today we pass by three graves alone in a pine forest. We came to a beautiful spring and camp for the night. We have cold nights and hot days. Adam and I sleep in the wagon, Peter and five other men sleep under the wagons. They have a tent but don't put it up, only when it rained at our first starting.


June 23


Clear and cold this morning. We came to Cherry Creek. We are getting in the country of gold. Came to the little hamlet of Russelville. I can't see what the people live on or how they expect to live in this mountainous country.


June 24


The Missouri boys wagon broke down. We all stop until they fix it up. I try my hand at washing for gold in the creek, do find a color in the pan.


June 25


It is raining in the mountains. We are still traveling north along the mountains and a rough road we have. A windy cold day. We camp five miles from Danforth, in a very pretty place.


pg. 7


June 26


We came to Denver, the goal of all the gold seekers, the long looked for city by the Platte River. There is 200 houses with canvas roofs, but alive with wagons moving around and people half crazy to rush to the mines. There are several tribes of Indians camping here and the warriors came in from battle on the plains and had a war dance over their victory. The Sioux and Arrapahoe came in from battle. We camped in Aurora, its Monday.


June 27


We crossed the Platte. In the mountains, about 18 miles, we came to Deer Creek. About 500 wagons encamp here at the foot of the mountains. It is romantic scenery. A town commenced, wagons are all over, in every hole and place, the mountains are full of them. We camp at the foot of the mountain and now have 28. I am alone by myself today. Adam is gone up into the mountains. Adam and Peter have come out of the mountains and are shoeing oxen and fixing for our long tedious journey. I am tired of stopping for I want to hurry and get through and get settled once more in my life time. I think I will if the Indians don't get me or my scalp.


July 8


Again we start on our journey, a long one to me and in the heat of the summer, many long sultry days to travel in. We start by ourselves this morning hoping to meet company, but they had gone on so we traveled by ourselves a week. We have but one wagon. Peter and Crabb are with us. We travel north along the mountain. It is lonely when we stop at night. We have to guard our cattle at night. I watch with Adam part of the night and Crabb and Peter the other part. We see elk, deer, and antelope and wolf without number. We have seen bears along the streams. We have very hot mornings but it generally rains in the afternoon. There is a violent thunder storm on the mountains now. It cools the air and makes it pleasant traveling. We came to Boulder Creek and camp for the night. We have to ford a great many mountain streams. Some are quite deep and as clear as crystal. They run very swift so it makes it hard to ford.


July 11


The first time in 7 weeks it rains on us a cool and refreshing shower. It is good farming country north of Clear Creek if it would ever rain when it ought to. We meet a good many teams on this road for the miners call it Pikes Peak, but Pikes Peak is one hundred miles south of it. We pass Longs Peak today.


July 12 – Monday


We cross the Cache la Poudre River, it is a beautiful stream. On the north side is a little* town containing about 40 log houses inhabited by French and Indians. We camp in a little valley close by town. Wait two days intent to see the town and what kind of a set inhabits it. Such a set of people I never seen before. French and Indians mixed together in filth and dirt. We are on the foot of the mountain ready to go into it, as I call it, for the road runs through a deep gorge. We hate to go into the mountains by ourselves on account of the Indians. The Utes are troublesome now. When we first started from Vernon I was afraid nights for I had heard so much about the Jayhawkers, but now when I am surrounded by Indians I can lay down and sleep as a mountain trapper.  I don't think of danger anymore. I suppose you think we don't have anything good to eat on the road but we have better than we had in the states. I had eggs till we got to Denver. I made cake or pies whenever we wanted them. There is any amount of wild currants and gooseberries and when I can't find them I make vinegar pies, and the stream is full of fish.




pg. 8



July 15


A train comes along as we join them, we start for the mountains. The road runs between two large mountains in a deep gorge and then comes out in a lovely valley. Winter mountain shaped like potatoe hills in a field on left side and lovely rocky ridge on the other side. The ridge is beautiful and romantic with spirled towers, some resembles on old castle surrounded with high steel turrets and towers, crazy rocks running up in all shapes. Sometimes we go down in a deep dark gorge and so rocky that I have to sit in the wagon to keep the box from jumping off and the things from spilling out. When we get out of the ravine we come to another valley which we travel in for two days and a half and camp in a mosquitoes nest every night. Today it rained and hailed very hard and wet most everything in our wagon. There is 28 men in our train. I am the only woman in the train. I would be lonely but I see new scenery every hour and sleep a good deal of the time. When the road is level I have done brocades. I'm able to sew in the wagon, I have placed the bunch star quilt and done some knitting too. I keep busy at something all of the time.


July 21


Six days on the mountains and by the appearance ahead we are no nearer through them than when we started. We drive from 20 to 25 miles a day. We drove today till after dark before we could find a camping place.


July 22


Another rainy day and night. We have very bad roads. The cattle feet are getting sore but still we must travel. If we lay-by we will never get far. Mud or no it is all the same, the scenery is lovely. Today the mountains are draped in gloom and everything indicates last nights rain. Our road is up and down hills and through gulches, across valleys, and then down in a deep dark canyon. It's a good place to turn wagons over and some have done it in our train already. We can see snow on all the mountains some is very close by us. It is cold enough sometimes for the men to wear over coats. It's very cold in the morning and in the after part of the day it gets warm and sultry and then rains at night. The Indians have been stealing some cattle from some of the trains. They shot one Indian and wounded another. But none has troubled us yet. We don't know how soon they will and they may not steal.


July 23


We have two days with level plain where nothing grows but sage brush and a green weed and sand, which nothing under the sun can live in but horny toads and lizards.  Well, we have come to the North Fork of the Platte River and find plenty of grass and a beautiful grove of timber. The river is very high and we had an awful time fording it. We travel 5 miles and don't find a camping place till after dark and to cap all it begins to rain. I have a fine time cooking out in the rain when everything is wet. We are in a beautiful valley surrounded with mountains, but I see no way to get out. Some of the men killed a mountain sheep today. It is a very large one. It is a bluish color and very good to eat. They wounded a bear but didn't get it. They killed a good many antelope and all was divided with all of the train. Some of them are very kind to their companions.



pg. 9



July 24


Sunday we lay over and I do a lot of baking of bread and gooseberry pies. We get plenty of berries now. I have some bear cooking. We will have bear soup, beans, light bread, tea and pies for dinner. Our vegetables are scarce here. We had a mess of green peas and lettuce in Golden City. I some times wish myself back in Vernon Co. in my garden one hour. We had a nice garden but we have plenty to eat yet so I won't complain. It is supper time, I must get it, the men are always hungry on the plains. They would eat all the time if they could get it. I'll write no more today, good night.


July 25


Again we start on our long and tedious journey, a cold but pleasant morning. We go up the mountain, I thought that we were going over them and began to look for a road, when I saw that it turned south and ran around between two big mountains. The crookedest road I never saw before, and so rough that it nearly jolts my life out for I have to sit in the wagon to keep things from tumbling out. Sometimes we cross one stream 6 to 8 times a day. It rained on us again this afternoon. We have great times drying out things after rain storms and sometimes they get wet crossing streams. Well, we traveled till our wagon broke down, then we have to stop for the night. We have a nice place to camp in too. There is another train camped close by. There is one family in it in a bad condition, they have five children, the woman is sick and one of the children, and the man ran a chain hook through his hand, so they couldn't help one another. I went to see the woman and carried her some pies to eat. There are a great many families going to California and some look like the last of their race. And some awfull looking specimens of humanity coming from California a horse back.


July 26


The morning is clear and pleasant but so cold that I have to wear a shawl. I have to cook over sage brush fires. Oh, how it smells and smokes. It looks and smells like the herb we call “Old Man” or “Southern wood” in the states. It grows two and three feet high. Our breakfast consists of beans, fried meat, pancakes and coffee. There is a spring of water close by so cold that it makes my teeth ache to drink it.  As our wagon is first we will start again on our journey westward. Our road lies between two long ridges and the meanest road was never seen before on this route. There is a stream running through the valley, we crossed it 7 times this afternoon. The banks are so steep that the men let the wagons down with ropes. It is a hard looking place to be in. I hope we will soon be out of it.



pg. 10



July 28


Well, we are on the plains once more with a dry level road with plenty of sand and alkali. No grass for our cattle and poor water. The ground is white with alkali and a good many cattle are killed drinking the water. The poor brutes have hard times on this side of the mountains, no grass, water once a day and the sun is so hot that some drop down dead in the road. No air stirs and I almost suffocate in the wagon. Yesterday I had a bad headache and riding in the wagon did not help it any. I don't have it as much as I expected I would.


July 29


This morning we woke up and started at one o'clock and traveled till daylight. Stopped and cooked some breakfast then started on again and traveled till midnight. All over a dry sandy plain and we found no grass yet. Stopped to rest the cattle, the poor brutes are getting stiff and lame. We traveled about 48 miles before we got good water and grass at Green River. We lay-by to rest for me for I have wash and bake for the morrow. The men play cards or shoot at a mark, some go a hunting. Adam and I have been out on the ledge, it is a grand old ledge too and alive with rabbits. Adam killed some with his shotgun. I have a pistol too that I carry with me all the time but I never killed anything yet. I can spit a mark very well. Five wagons passed us today for California with families in all of them and mule teams.


July 30


A pleasant morning for us and we start on our way. We travel through mountainous country, on our right is a high ledge of rock which extends for miles along the road. There is a stream running at the foot of it. It is a very mountainous scene day after day. I get so tired of it I wish something would turn up. We are at a camping place again, another day is gone.


August 15, 1859


We come to Bear Lake Valley and we cross over the Jordan River and camp on the other side, crossed by barge, and we stay here 2 days and a half.


August 28


Sunday, a warm day and dusty roads. We travel part of the day and then lay-by till Monday. We pass a new grave of a man killed by the Indians. It is a common thing for men to get shot on the plains. We have cold nights now and a dreary mountainous road.


August 29


We start again on our journey. We have a pleasant day and level road. We are traveling in 1000 Springs Valley. It is a beautiful valley with willows and grass all around the springs.  I haven't counted the springs so I don't know whether there is 1000 or not as the name implies. Some trading Indians come to us to beg bread but I don't always give it to them, they get very mad about it to.



pg. 11



September 1, 1859


We come to the Humboldt River. It is a beautiful stream running down through a deep canyon out on a beautiful valley. We have good grass and roads but some dusty. We camp in a lovely place for the night. I would like to live here.


September 5


We leave the river and go over a chain of mountains and the awfulest roads we have too, with dust two foot deep to wade through. We go up one hill and down another from morn till night.


September 7, Wednesday


Cold rainy day, but I will lay the dust and make it pleasant traveling as we pass another grave of a man.


September 15


We come to the Big Meadows. Where the men cut grass to carry along for the cattle to eat on the desert.


Sept. 16


It rained in the night. This morning it is warm and pleasant sandy roads and alkali water a plenty. We stop and I cook and bake bread to last till we get to Carson River. And we take water, poor as it is, to do us through the desert.


September 17


We start on the desert. We have an awful time in crossing the slough, it is deep and muddy. We have hard level roads, but sand piled in heaps all over as far as the eye can reach. It looks like ant hills. Plenty of sage brush on the desert. I walked more than half of the way across. They call it 40 miles from the sink of the Humboldt to Carson River. Some of the train give out. The cattle is weak and can't stand hard pulling. Them that pulling there cattle to death have to get out of their wagons and walk the rest of the way and leave their wagons stand because nobody can help them and run the risk of loosing their own cattle. Some men drops down dead. We were a day and a night on the desert. The last ten miles was very sandy. We came to Rag Town. It is cold. It consists of one stage stand and several out houses, and is on the Carson River.


September 18


We come to the river. The water is warm and nasty with plenty of dead cattle in it but still we have to drink it or none. But water is the least of my troubles for I seldom drink it. We rest awhile and then start up the river to hunt a camping place. We find a good place and lay-by a day and a half. One of our oxen dies with the bleeding at the lungs.


September 20


We start again. We pass a good many trading posts on the river. The country along the Carson River is rolling and sandy, very bad roads to travel over.  It is a desolate looking country. We travel very slow, sometimes the road runs away from the river over the mountains then come back to a camping place on the river again.



pg. 12



September 24


We have gotten in Carson Valley at last and such a valley to. We pass some mining places and some chinese men to work. There are some families living along the road and a good many buildings put up to live in. Dead cattle all over. We ain't out of the smell of them no time, they are in the water that we have to use.


September 28


We have some snow on us this morning. The valley is white and the mountains are covered with snow, it is. We are traveling south west through some little towns. Genoa is quite a lively place. There are a good many ranches along the road now and some nice houses and a few gardens. We come to Carson Canyon and camp. There is a sawmill and some nice houses in the mouth of Carson Canyon.


September 30


We start up the canyon. It is a dangerous road to travel. We wound around the oaks. The river runs down it through a deep gorge close to the road. Well, we travel up it. We are by ourselves now. We camp in Hope Valley at the head of the canyon. There is a stage stand here too. Our road goes south from here, another goes west to Placerville. We travel through valley and over one range after another and find good grass and water. Camping out and sleep and get up and again start and go through the same scenery as we have past. The roads are so rough that I walk a good deal of the way. Last night some men passed us hunting some robbers that robbed a man in Carson Canyon the other night. Of course, they won't find them in these mountains.


October 6


We come to the Big Trees. The wonder of the world. There is several of them. They are grand old trees indeed. The Mother of the Forest is standing by the road. It is stripped of the bark about half way up and dead. It is 327 feet high and 78 feet in circumference. The Father of the Forest is 450 feet high. It is sown and partly decayed and it is burnt out in the middle. These are the two biggest trees in the grove. There are several over 200 feet high. About 2 miles from the grove is the Big Trees Hotel standing by the stump of one that was cut down. The Ball Room is built on it. The hotel is a frame building, two stories high, painted white, standing in a little clearing. Our cattle got poisoned by eating something when we camped above the Big Trees. But we worked along with them till we got them down to grass and water about two miles below the hotel. Then we turned them out. We thought they would all die. But in three days they was so that we could travel with them. We camp by the Union Water ditch by the side of the road in a very pretty place. Bayard Taylor and wife passed us on the way to the Big Trees. There are some families living along the road but they live more like Indians up and start again and go down to Murphys Camp.


pg. 13


It is a very pretty little town lying in a lovely valley here. I see the first signs of civilization. Here is gardens and orchards and fruit in abundance. We leave Murphys and travel south through a mining country and mining town until we came to Columbia. It is a beautiful little town for a mountain town. The streets are very narrow in all these mountain towns. We camp in site of Columbia then we start again to climb mountains and dry streams full of rocks and the roughest roads. Our road is dug from the side of a mountain and one false step would pitch the whole team a thousand feet down around trees and rocks. We travel two miles down such a road then come to a little narrow valley with houses and a toll bridge across the Stanislaus River. Then we go up on the other side of a mountain two and a half miles. The road goes up and winds around the mountain till it gets a thousand feet above the river. It looks frightful to look down on the rocks and trees below. We get to the top at last then the road is comparatively level. We pass houses and an old mill and commence descending but it is so gradual that it isn't perceived much. It is up and down hills and every one gets lower until we get out in the open country. I don't see a green shrub or grass, only where there is water and it is scarce. The ground is parched and perfectly barren of everything but Scrub Oaks and Dwarf Pines. There are some beautiful gardens and splendid fruit all along in the mines but they have to irrigate them. Well, we have come to Sonora. Here is a lovely place. The town nestled in a little valley surrounded by mountains and such beautiful houses. The streets are all lit up for its is getting dark. The streets are very narrow. I have a talk with David Middleworth, his wife is dead, he is a batching by himself. We drive through the town and stop at the Monroe House for the night. In the morning Peter left us and goes to Sacramento to find work and Adam and I drive on by ourselves down to the Tuolumne River. We crossed on a ferry boat at French Bar when went up to Morleys and stayed four days. Adam was acquainted with Morleys. Adam rented a place on the Merced River and we went there, and went to keeping house. The last of October Adam went to ploughing. We got things fixed for the winter . Clark had a chance to sell his place, so Adam give it up and we fixed up again and started again for Pajaro Valley the 27th of November. A week on the way in mud and rain. The 3rd of December in a pelting rain and hail storm found us in the valley among strangers. Had a hard time to get a place to stop. But after a few days Adam rented a place for a year from Roe. So we got settled once more in six months.


I know that I have made a good many mistakes in spelling, but you can read it, my paper is scarce or else I would of written more descriptions for I have just sketched it along.


Ann L. Kahl


Copy of the original diary written by Ann L. Kahl. (1839-1924). After a year in Pajaro Valley, where her first child was born, (Ernest Dwight-27 March 1860) they moved to Merced County (then included in Mariposa County) to farm on Mariposa Road near the town of Plainsburg. Their three story brick house in excellent condition is owned and occupied by the Ewings.


pg. 14


Powder horn and ammunition making equipment used by John Warren Morley.


John Warren Morley was born Sept. 29, 1836 in Onondaga, New York. Married Abbie Jane Spangeberg of Pennsylvania in 1869. Left Indiana in March 1852 by wagon train for California arriving in Hangtown Aug. 3, 1852. He lived in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties until 1869 and ran a ferry on the Tuolumne River. He settled in the Plainsburg area of Merced County and engaged in grain farming and threshing.


Presented to Sutter Fort Museum 1984 by Kenneth E. Morley, his grandson, of Merced, Calif.





Transcribed by Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.

Donated by Diane Schottky Wukmir.

© 2013 Diane Schottky Wukmir.





Golden Nugget Library's California Statewide Databases


Golden Nugget Library