The city of the Saints : and across the Rocky mountains to California

David Spilman Fine Books
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Beyond the Glistening Gravel Water lies a mauvaise terre , sometimes called the First Desert, and upon the old road water is not found in the dry season within forty-nine miles—a terrible jornada for laden wagons with tired cattle. We prepared for drought by replenishing all our canteens—one of them especially, a tin flask, covered outside with thick cloth, kept the fluid deliciously cold—and we amused ourselves by the pleasant prospect of seeing wild mules taught to bear harness.

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The city of the Saints: and across the Rocky mountains to California. by: Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, Publication date: Cambridge Core - Early Republic and Antebellum History - The City of the Saints, and across the Rocky Mountains to California - by Richard Francis Burton.

The tricks of equine viciousness and asinine obstinacy played by the mongrels were so distinct, that we had no pains in determining what was inherited from the father and what was from the other side of the house. Before they could be hitched up they were severally hustled into something like a parallel line with the pole, and were then forced into their places by a rope attached to the fore wheel, and hauled at the other end by two or three men.

Each of these pleasant animals had a bell: it is sure, unless corraled to run away, and at night sound is necessary to guide the pursuer. At last, being "all aboord," we made a start, dashed over the Big Sandy, charged the high stiff bank with an impetus that might have carried us up an otter-slide or a Montagne Russe, and took the right side of the valley, leaving the stream at some distance.

Rain-clouds appeared from the direction of the hills: apparently they had many centres, as the distant sheet was rent into a succession of distinct streamers. A few drops fell upon us as we advanced. Then the fiery sun "ate up" the clouds, or raised them so high that they became playthings in the hands of the strong and steady western gale.

It was observable, however, that the sensation was not what might have been expected from the height of the mercury, and the perspiration was unknown except during severe exercise; this proves the purity and salubrity of the air. In St. Jo and New Orleans the effect would have been that of India or of a Turkish steam-bath.

The heat, however, brought with it one evil—a green-headed horsefly, that stung like a wasp, and from which cattle must be protected with a coating of grease and tar. Whenever wind blew, tourbillons of dust coursed over the different parts of the plain, showing a highly electrical state of the atmosphere. When the air was unmoved the mirage was perfect as the sarab in Sindh or Southern Persia; earth and air were so dry that the refraction of the sunbeams elevated the objects acted upon more than I had ever seen before. The color of the water was a dull cool sky-blue, not white, as the "looming" generally is; the broad expanse had none of the tremulous upward motion which is its general concomitant; it lay placid, still, and perfectly reflecting in its azure depths—here and there broken by projecting capes and bluffs headlands—the forms of the higher grounds bordering the horizon.

After twelve miles' driving we passed through a depression called Simpson's Hollow, and somewhat celebrated in local story. Two semicircles of black still charred the ground; on a cursory view they might have been mistaken for burnt-out lignite. Here, in , the Mormons fell upon a corraled train of twenty-three wagons, laden with provisions and other necessaries for the federal troops, then halted at Camp Scott awaiting orders to advance.

The wagoners, suddenly attacked, and, as usual, unarmed—their weapons being fastened inside their awnings—could offer no resistance, and the whole convoy was set on fire except two conveyances, which were left to carry back supplies for the drivers till they could reach their homes.

On this occasion the dux facti was Lot Smith, a man of reputation for hard riding and general gallantry.

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The old Saint is always spoken of as a good man who lives by "Mormon rule of wisdom. So far the Mormons behaved with temper and prudence; but this their first open act of rebellion against or secession from, the federal authority nearly proved fatal to them; had the helm of government been held by a firmer hand than poor Mr. They still boast loudly of the achievement, and on the marked spot where it was perfomed the juvenile emigrants of the creed erect dwarf graves and nameless "wooden" tomb-"stones" in derision of their enemies.

As sunset drew near we approached the banks of the Big Sandy River. The bottom through which it flowed was several yards in breadth, bright green with grass, and thickly feathered with willows and cotton-wood. It showed no sign of cultivation; the absence of cereals may be accounted for by its extreme cold; it freezes there every night, and none but the hardiest grains, oats and rye, which here are little appreciated, could be made to grow. We are now approaching the valley of the Green River, which, like many of the rivers in Eastern States, appears formerly to have filled a far larger channel.

The City of the Saints, and across the Rocky Mountains to California

Flat tables and elevated terraces of horizontal strata—showing that the deposit was made in still waters—with layers varying from a few lines to a foot in thickness, composed of hard clay, green and other sandstones, and agglutinated conglomerates rise like islands from barren plains, or form escarpments that buttress alternately either bank of the winding stream. Advancing over a soil alternately sandy and rocky—an iron flat that could not boast of a spear of grass—we sighted a number of coyotes, fittest inhabitants of such a waste, and a long, distant line of dust, like the smoke of a locomotive, raised by a herd of mules which were being driven to the corral.

We were presently met by the Pony Express rider; he reined in to exchange news, which de part et d' autre were simply nil. As he pricked onward over the plain, the driver informed us, with a portentous rolling of the head, that Ichabod was a'mighty fine "shyoot. The station was the home of Mr. Macarthy, our driver. The son of a Scotchman who had settled in the United States, he retained many sings of his origin, especially freckles, and hair which one might almost venture to describe as sandy; perhaps also, at times, he was rather o'er fond of draining "a cup o' kindness yet.

The station had the indescribable scent of a Hindoo village, which appears to result from the burning of bois de vache and the presence of cattle: then were sheep, horses, mules and a few cows, the latter so lively that it was impossible to milk them. A few trees, chiefly quaking asp, lingered near the station, but dead stumps were far more numerous than live trunks.

In any other country their rare and precious shade would have endeared them to the whole settlement; here they were never safe when a log was wanted. The Western man is bred and perhaps born—I believe devoutly in transmitted and hereditary qualities—with an instinctive dislike to timber in general. He fells a tree naturally as a bull-terrier worries a cat, and the admirable woodsman's axe which he has invented only serves to whet his desire to try conclusions with every more venerable patriarch of the forest.

Civilized Americans, of course, lament the destructive mania, and the Latter-Day Saints have learned by hard experience the inveterate evils that may arise in such a country from disforesting the ground. We supped comfortably at Green-River Station, the stream supplying excellent salmon trout.

The kichimichi, or buffalo berry, makes tolerable jelly, and alongside the station is a store where Mr. Burton of Maine sells "Valley Tan" whiskey. In the flood-time it widens to feet, and the depth increases form three to six. The banks are in places thirty feet high, and the bottom may average three miles from side to side.

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Very Good-. HC, ex-library. He was a genius and an eccentric character who lived a very adventurous and dangerous life. Your email address will never be sold or distributed to a third party for any reason. The book itself is very interesting. We were unable to complete your request.

It is a swift-flowing stream, running as if it had no time to lose, and truly it has a long way to go. Its length, volume, and direction entitle it to the honor of being called the head water to the great Rio Colorado, or Colored River, a larger and more important stream than even the Columbia. There is some grand exploration still to be done upon the line of the Upper Colorado, especially the divides which lie between it and its various influents, the Grand River and the Yaquisilla, of which the wild trapper brings home many a marvelous tale of beauty and grandeur.

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Captain T. Gove, of the 10th Regiment of Infantry, then stationed at Camp Floyd, told me that an expedition had often been projected: a party of twenty-five to thirty men, well armed and provided with inflatable boats, might pass without unwarrantable risk though the sparsely populated Indian country: a true report concerning regions of which there are so many false reports, all wearing more or less the garb of fable—beautiful valleys inclosed in inaccessible rocks, Indian cities and golden treasures—would be equally interesting and important.

I can not recommend the undertaking to the European adventurer: the United States have long since organized and perfected what was proposed in England during the Crimean war, and which feel, as other projects did, to the ground, namely, a corps of Topographical Engineers, a body of well-trained and scientific explorers, to whose hands the task may safely be committed.

We passed a social evening at Green-River Station.

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It boasted of no less than three Englishwomen, two married, and one, the help, still single. Not having the Mormonite retenue , the dames were by no means sorry to talk about Birmingham and Yorkshire, their birthplaces. Cloete, from whom I gathered that the mail-wagon which once ran from Great Salt Lake City had lately been taken off the road.

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The intelligence was by no means consolatory, but a course of meditation upon the saying of the sage, "in for a penny, in for a pound," followed by another visit to my namesake's grog-shop, induced a highly philosophical turn, which enabled me—with the aid of a buffalo—to pass a comfortable night in the store. We were not under way before 8 A. Macarthy was again to take the lines, and a Giovinetto returning after a temporary absence to a young wife is not usually rejoiced to run his course.

Indeed, he felt the inconveniences of a semi-bachelor life so severely, that he often threatened in my private ear, chemin faisant , to throw up the whole concern. After the preliminary squabble with the mules, we forded the pebbly and gravelly bed of the river—in parts it looks like a lake exhausted by drainage—whose swift surging waters wetted the upper spokes of the wheels, and gurgled pleasantly around the bags which contained the mail for Great Salt Lake City.

We then ran down the river valley, which was here about one mile in breadth, in a smooth flooring of clay, sprinkled with water-rolled pebbles, overgrown in parts with willow, wild cherry, buffalo berries, and quaking asp. Macarthy pointed out in the road-side a rough grave, furnished with the normal tomb-stone, two pieces of wagon-board: it was occupied by one Farren, who had fallen by the revolver of the redoubtable Slade.

Presently we came to the store of Michael Martin, an honest Creole, who vended the staple of prairie goods, Champagne, bottled cocktail, "eye-opener," and other liquors, dry goods—linen drapery—a few fancy goods, ribbons, and finery; brandied fruits, jams and jellies, potted provisions, buckskins, moccasins, and so forth. Livingston, the sutler, and my companion, with the obligingness that marked his every action, agreed to deliver the dollars, sauve the judgment of God in the shape of Indians, or "White Indians.

This original lived under the delusion that it was impossible to pass the Devil's Gate: his sister had sent for him to St. Louis, and his friends tried to transport him eastward in chairs; the only result was that he ran away before reaching the Gate, and after some time was brought back by Indians. Resuming our journey, we passed two places where trains of fifty-one wagons were burned in by the Mormon Rangers: the black stains had bitten into the ground like the blood-marks in the palace of Holyrood—a neat foundation for a structure of superstition.

Not far from it was a deep hole, in which the plunderers had "cached" the iron-work which they were unable to carry away. Emerging from the river plain we entered upon another mauvaise terre , with knobs and elevations of clay and green gault, striped and banded with lines of stone and pebbles: it was a barren, desolate spot, the divide between the Green River and its western influent, the shallow and somewhat sluggish Black's Fork.

The name is derived from an old trader: it is called by the Snakes Ongo Ogwe Pa, or "Pine-tree Stream;" it rises in the Bear-River Mountains, drains the swamps and lakelets on the way, and bifurcates its upper bed forming two principal branches, Ham's Fork and Muddy Fork. Near the Pine-tree Stream we met a horse-thief driving four bullocks: he was known to Macarthy, and did not look over comfortable.

We had now fallen into the regular track of Mormon emigration, and saw the wayfarers in their worst plight, near the end of the journey. We passed several families, and parties of women and children trudging wearily along: most of the children were in rags or half nude, and all showed gratitude when we threw them provisions. The greater part of the men were armed, but their weapons were far more dangerous to themselves and their fellows than to the enemy. There is not on earth a race of men more ignorant of arms as a rule than the lower grades of English; becoming an emigrant, the mechanic hears that it may be necessary to beat off Indians, so he buys the first old fire-arm he sees, and probably does damage with it.

Only last night a father crossed Green River to beg for a piece of cloth; it was intended to shroud the body of his child, which during the evening had been accidentally shot, and the station people seemed to think nothing of the accident, as if it were of daily recurrence. I was told three, more or less severe, that happened in the course of a month. The Western Americans, who are mostly accustomed to the use of weapons, look upon these awkwardnesses with a profound contempt.

We were now in a region of graves, and their presence in this wild was not a little suggestive. Presently we entered a valley in which green grass, low and dense willows, and small but shady trees, an unusually vigorous vegetation, refreshed, as though with living water, our eyes, parched and dazed by the burning glare. Stock strayed over the pasture, a few Indian tents rose at the farther side; the view was probably pas grand' chose , but we thought it splendidly beautiful. At midday we reached Ham's Fork, the northwestern influent of Green River, and there we found a station.

The pleasant little stream is called by the Indian Turugempa, the "Blackfoot Water.