This is a continuation of the diary kept by Daniel Stark on his journey from Auburn, Illinois to the gold fields of California. This starts with his ninth day out, May 13, 1850.
In this section of the Daniel Stark gold rush diary, the men of Daniel’s company had been on the trail for 13 days. They were becoming accustomed to the daily travel routine. They had passed what is modern day Topeka, Kansas and were traveling west, following the Kansas River.
May 17, 1850…Marched today 15 mile and crost the Big Vermilion. We are in the Pawnee tribe of Indians. This is a wild and savage tribe but we have not seen any of them yet. Tonight we sold a bushel of corn for $1.50, it being all that we had.
May 18…Marched today about 18 mile and encampt on the open plain. Nothing today worthy of note.
May 19…Marched today 6 mile and crossed a stream called the Blue and encamped in for today as it is the Sabbath. A.S. & Mc. has not come up yet but we are anxious to see them.
May 20…Marched today 16 mile and encamped in the open plain. Not a tree in site. We crossed the Big Blue. This stream is a stream as large as Big Creek by Covington.
May 21…Marched today about 18 mile. We just guess at the distance from the way we travel. We past the Junction of the Road where the St. Joseph Road and the Independence Road comes together. We saw two Dutchmen a packing on one cow and a going ahead like a deer in a walk. We stopped and grassed here at noon and we heard that A.S & Mc. was about three hours in the rear and James Gafney, Samauel Stark and myself stopped until 5 o’clock in the evening but we saw nothing of them and we started our wagon much disappointed.
May 22…Marched today 17 mile and encampt in the open plains. We past six graves today and two of them were fresh ones. One of them shot himself accidentally and the other one…I know not what was the matter with him.
May 23…Marched today 20 mile and encampt on a dry stream. We past two graves today…they was old ones. Nothing past of interest today.
May24…Marched today 16 miles. Mr. John A.W. Folchbush of Mill Creek fell in company with us today and we was glad to see the old cub and he was glad to see us.
May 25…Marched today 20 miles and encampt on a stream that we have traveled up all day, by the name of the Blue, and we was all covered with dust and we all took a swim and I feel much better. The wind was very high today.
May 26…Did not travel today. We marched all the week and Sunday we rest.
May 27… Marched today 20 mile and encampt on the Blue again. Last night our oxen got scart and broke away from the guard. We could not account for it unless it was some government wagons encampt by us and they was loaded with buffalo rugs and we think they got scart at them and scattered in every direction. But we got them all this morning and started and at 10am the hind team took another fright and our whole team runaway, which consisted of eight, and it was a frightful site, but no damage sustained.
Grandfather Daniel says “some government wagons encampt by us and they was loaded with buffalo rugs.” Why was our government transporting buffalo rugs? Some claim that there was a government conspiracy to eliminate the buffalo, as that was the major food source for the Native Americans. Others note that the industrial revolution was in full swing back east and buffalo hides were used as leather for making conveyor belts for steam driven equipment. Daniel just mentions them in passing, without much description of how or why. His main focus was the day-to-day challenges he met along the trail.