This is a continuation of the diary of Daniel Stark and his travels to the gold fields of California. They are traveling along the Platte River through south central Wyoming.
June 16, 1850…We did not role a wheel today. Thompson and M. Giltner is very sick today. Thompson has got the diaree and I got some medison from a doctor and stopped it against 12 o’clock and he will git along.
June 17…Marched today 20 miles. Crost a small streeme and encampt on this side, 5 miles in the open plaines and the boys is getting better.
June18…Marched today 20 miles and encampt in the open plaines again. We crost another small streeme and we replenished our kegs and canteens with water.
June 19…Marched today 20 mile over very rough road. For the three days we have been passing over the Black Hills. Encampt on a streeme for the night. S. Thompson and M. Giltner has got well again which is a great help to us as they are our cooks.
June 20…Marched today 18 miles and come to the Platt in four miles from the place from which we started this morning and saw a great many teams crossing in wagon boxes and rafting and so on and we have concluded to go on up to the upper crossing to a regular ferry that has the American flag wavering.
June 21…Marched today and come to the ferry and we bott a raft and we crost over all safe except fathers load. The wind raised and the raft sunked and wet his load but did not sustain much damage.
June22…Crost our oxen this morning which was a hard job as we had to swim them and the water was very cold and swift and they swam in about 6 or 8 rods and turn around and swim back. But we got them and hitched up and marched up the Platt 5 mile and encampt on a small streeme that was drie and in less than 1 1/2 hour it was knee deep and two rods wide and it has not rained today.
June 23…Marched this afternoon and come to a small streeme and got supper and we expect to travel tonight as we have a stretch of thirty miles without water or grass and we traveled about 10 miles this afternoon.
June 24…Marched today and last night 25 miles over sandy and gravelly plain, destitute of grass and timber. Nothing but wild sage grows here. This morning we come the Poison Springs and past and come to the Willow Spring 2 1/2 mile this side and come on to the willow Creek 8 mile this side of Willow Spring and encampt for the night and Samuel cut his wagon bed and made a cart of his wagon as Turk give out to day and they left him. We past 12 oxen that had been poisoned and some horses in three hours travel.
June 25…Marched today 25 mile over very sandy road and marshy and ponds of salvatus water and we past the Independence Rock and crost the Sweetwater. The Independence Rock is on the north side of the road and north of the river and close to both. We past on 2 miles and encampt in the plaines without wood.
June 26…Marched today 12 mile and encampt on the Sweetwater and we past the Devil’s Gate this morning. It is a place whare the Sweetwater River runs through the rocky bluff which is about 30 yards wide and the rocks is perpendicular on both sides and 400 feet high. It is a natural curiosity worthy of travelers attention and about 300 yards south of it the road passes between the mountains perfectly level. We crost 3 small streeme today and tolerable level road.
June 27…Marched today 15 mile and encampt on the Sweetwater again. We passed some more alkalie lakes today, which is poisonous water. Yesterday we past where they was digging two graves and one today. Men died of the Cholera. The roads are tolerable good except some sand. Elias Giltner is sick with the Diaree. The rest of us is all well at present, thank a kind God. Three months from home today and we are 1500 miles from where we started and we are encampt on the Sweetwater and the south side of a stony mountain that is 200 feet high and nothing on it except in the creveses and some shrubbry cedar bushes.
June 28…Marched today 5 mile and left the road and drove down south of the road about half of a mile and encampt on the Sweetwater where we found grass plenty and there is a bundance of property
throad away of all descriptions such as wagons, stoves, harnice, gun barrels and log chains. In fact everything except provisions and money.
My wife (Mary) and I were living in Rock Springs, Wyoming in the early eighties and we had a chance to do some day hiking along parts of the trail. I was especially interested in Daniel’s account of June 28, 1850 as he says “there is a bundance of property throad away.” I expected to go down to that part of the Sweetwater and find some treasures. What we found were bushes that had grown well over our heads. We located an old game trail and walked for awhile through the tall bushes.
I stepped over what appeared to be a glass beer bottle mostly covered by sediments. I walked back a couple of steps and dug up the bottle. We took it back to Rock Springs where we cleaned the mud off and realized that the bottle was of the three-piece-mold variety, which dated to the 1850 period. Did this bottle belong to Grandfather Daniel? Well, that would be a stretch, but I guess it’s possible.
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