1st. I stayed here overnight. Helped until noon, and then returned with 6 wagons, 2 of which turned over. I saw 11 wolves.
2nd. I took care of oxen until noon. An ox ran into the swamp, and as it could not be gotten out, it was shot and killed. An hour later I saw 5 wolves were around it, devouring it. There are already several houses ready, and ploughing is already under way at some places.
3rd. I went with 2 men to the river to keep guard over the freight which was lying there. We passed the time fishing.
4th. During the night we took turns keeping watch. There was much shooting all night long. This shooting was a forerunner of today's celebration. The Fourth of July is the greatest and practically the only celebrated in North America; at least this day only is celebrated as a day of joy and festivities. On July 4, 1776 the Americans cut themselves loose from England, and made felt their rights which still obtain. In the morning there is divine service, and in the afternoon all imaginable amusements take place in towns and villages throughout America. Today we received orders to make ourselves ready for departure.
5th. I put my things in order and the day was spent doing this. My wife was ill today. I again learned that some of my friends and travel companions have died among those that are ahead of us.
6th. Took care of oxen. A man was kicked by an ox and severely wounded. I counted 30 small rattle snakes in a puddle. My son Frederick found a large turtle. I spoke with a man from Husum named Anderson, who was a relative of Straus of that place.
7th. I helped load wagons until noon, then the oxen were yoked up and we were off at 4 o'clock. Our train consisted of 68 persons, 21 wagons and 260 oxen. One wagon belonged to Rebello's widow, and the tailor, Lau, was its driver. Each wagon was drawn "by 12 oxen and carried a load of 5-6000 pounds. Women and small children were distributed among the wagons, and the men who were in good health had to work. Some men and women were chosen to cook on the journey. An old Englishman, named Mohr, I and 3 boys got the job of driving the loose and superfluous oxen, and of caring for the oxen on the road, morning and night, and on rest days. The leader of our train was an American, named Farr, and the man in charge of the commissary was also an American, named Danny. Both had already made the trip several times. H. Williams still stayed on here to charter the remaining wagons. Most of the oxen were not yet used to pulling. Likewise most of the drivers were unacquainted with the driving of oxen. Seven wagons only made 4 miles, and then had to unyoke, because the oxen would not pull. The remainder made 6 miles. We stopped here, and night watchmen were posted. The 5 of us are exempt from that duty during the entire journey.
8th. Today we were lying still. The wagons that had remained behind were hauled back; I took care of the oxen, and in doing so came upon a mountain some miles from camp. As far as I could see, the land was level and beautiful, some houses were being built and ploughing was also underway. I saw some Indian huts very cleverly built of shrubs.
9th. Took care of oxen until noon. We got under way at 4 o'clock. Again 6 wagons, too heavily laden, were left behind.
I and the old man Mohr, had to stay with these six wagons, and the 3 boys drove the loose oxen themselves. In the evening at least 40 wolves were close to us, and they did not disappear until shots were being fired at them. I saw a snake about 12 feet long and 8 inches in diameter.
10th. Our camp was on a hillock. In the valley below there was a small stream, and the grass was so tall that the oxen could hide themselves in it. While taking care of the oxen I saw many snakes, large and small.
11th. We started early; taking some freight from each wagon while we waited for help today. In the afternoon I went fishing and saw along the bank, snakes that were very beautifully marked. They were blue with yellow stripes, and were very timid. No help today.
12th. The wagon with provisions was out in front. Of the meager amount of provisions we kept for ourselves, there only remained bread and coffee for our noon meal, and the same kind of fare did not satisfy us at night. There came no help today either.
13th. We fasted until noon. Then an unknown wagon came by. The occupants gave us 3 loaves of bread and promised us that as soon as they met our train they would tell the leader that we could not overtake them without help. We alternately took care of the oxen and went for walks, and all the time we were frightened and tormented by wolves and mosquitoes.
14th. The 3 loaves were already eaten yesterday, for there were 8 of us to share them. Today went without food again. I starved with my comrades until noon, and then did not like it any longer. I went away as though I did not know how far I had to go before I would find our train. As far as I remember this was the first time in my life that I had starved, and felt how hard it is to suffer from hunger. I had probably been walking for an hour, when 3 of our people met me with a wagon and gave me something to eat. Our train was still 16 miles farther off. I did not want to turn back, but continued my journey. I soon came to the place where my friends and traveling companions lay in their graves along the route. There were 14 of them, and among them also 2 from Schleswig, names Piepyras, and his wife and oldest daughter. The graves were marked with the name and birthplace of the deceased. At 8 o'clock I came up to the train, and at 12 o'clock midnight the wagons came after.
15th. Quarrels and disagreements had arisen in our train, and for that reason help had been delayed so long. Practically all the wagons were re-loaded once more, which demanded much work. The camp was near a small forest, through which a small stream meandered. This morning I took care of the oxen and fished. In the creek were many snakes. To be sure, they were not large, but they were vicious and soon drove me away from the fishing. Here too there were a few houses, and the land was being cultivated.
16th. We are still not moving today. 3 of our drivers went away, which caused us much embarrassment. While tending the oxen I saw 4 large rattle snakes. I was probably still. 200 paces away. from them, when they heard me. There are great herds of wolves here, and they are very daring. Today they ran among the oxen many times, and scattered them.
17th. While taking care of the oxen today, I found a grave from which the body had been devoured by wolves. The head was lying there with several combs in the hair, as well as some bones and torn clothing.
18th. Today 2 men were sent back to the town of Weston to obtain new drivers. We shall be lying here until they come back. Today it rained, and this was the first rain we had had since the 16th of last month. It is very warm and the grass on high land is often quite dry.
19th. I took care of the oxen in the morning. In the afternoon I went into the forest, and here too I found graves of my acquaintances. Saw 2 snakes in a tree. They were probably 8 feet long, and certainly 10 inches in diameter. I also saw 2 animals, black and white, and of the same size as a wolf. They had long hair and the tail dragged the ground. They ran away when they saw me; but I also withdrew. Late at night the two men came back from Weston bringing 5 drivers with them. Tomorrow we shall continue our journey.
20th. Everyone was ready to go at an early hour, and all were pleased to get away from here. We have covered the first 36 miles from Salt Krik. Today we made 20 miles, but only 18 wagons reached this goal; 3 remained behind because they were too heavily loaded. We met a caravan coming from California. Twice we came through a forest, otherwise we traveled continuously through level and beautiful country. In the evening at 9 o'clock we came upon a stream, where we stopped.
21st. Today we rested again. The wagons that had remained behind were hauled back. During the night we were much tormented by mosquitoes. Again we were met by a caravan from California.
On the 18th it had been in a fight with the Indians, and had lost 3 people. Today guns and ammunition were distributed among us.
22nd. We were also lying over today, while the fore-axletree which had broken on one of the wagons that remained behind, was being replaced. I went fishing and saw a nicely dressed man lying dead in the grass near the stream. He had apparently been beaten to death, for he had 4 wounds in the head. Wolves had already begun to eat the body. The region we are in continues to be beautiful, but there are so many wolves, snakes and mosquitoes of which the latter are our worst enemies.
23rd. At 3 o'clock in the morning we began to make preparations for departure. It was raining very hard however, and it was 10 o'clock before we got away. We had hardly got 10 minutes away from camp, when we came through a forest, and through a deep canyon running through it. The first 3 wagons came through without any trouble, but the 4th drove against a. tree trunk, and broke the shaft and rear axle, so that we were obliged to halt again. In this forest were several graves where emigrants were buried.
24th. The wagon was ready around noon, and we drove off at about 2 o'clock. The last wagon had hardly left camp, when a herd of wolves swooped down upon it in search of food. We drove up on a mountain, and it took us 4 hours to get up. The view from here into the distance was beautiful. We came to a stream around 7 o'clock and made camp. In the evening we had thunder and lightning.
25th. The thunderstorm lasted until this morning. It rained heavily besides, for which reason we were late in getting away. To begin with, the road was bad for traveling. Here too the land is bought and divided up, but for some days we have seen neither people nor houses. One wonders why such a beautiful region has been lying dormant for so long. We halted early, as there is excellent grass and water here where we are camped.
26th. This morning the leader of our train announced that everyone must supply himself with drinking water for the entire day, as we would not come across any today. We traversed a dense forest which it took up 5 hours to drive through. Here we saw many deer, roes and antelopes. The latter look very much like roes; but are somewhat smaller. In this forest I saw an oak tree that was 10 feet in diameter, while the trunk was 16 feet long. We camped near a forest in a beautiful but waterless region.
27th. I took care of the oxen early in the morning. A thunderstorm came up, and I became very wet. I found the skeletons of 2 people which to all appearances had not been here for long, as there was still some meat clinging to the bones. Around 10 o'clock the oxen were yoked. We soon came into a beautiful valley and approached a stream. We drove along it all day long, and had a beautiful place to camp in the evening. Here wolves, deer and roes are running around in herds.
28th. Once more we had to supply ourselves with drinking water. The country is still the same, the land is still level with good soil, but nowhere is it being cultivated. I was ill today. We came across some empty Indian huts. 5 wolves and 1 deer were shot. Our camp was on a hillock. A heavy gale was blowing the evening. It blew down the tents and tore off all the coverings from the wagons.
29th. I felt better again today, walked 16 miles and drove the loose oxen. In the daytime it is oppressively hot, and the nights are very cold. The storm lasted until noon, and frequently I could not see the oxen for dust. Through carelessness a young man shot himself in the arm. He was in a wagon, and this immediately caught fire.
30th. The wounded youth felt rather well, and the shot will have no serious consequences, although there are still several buck shot lodged in his arm and hand. Today we only drove a few miles, and stopped in a large, dense forest, surrounded by a broad, deep stream. At different places in this forest are to be seen large stones that are heaped together, as well as walls built of large stones. These are probably ruins from olden times, proving that this region was inhabited centuries ago. It gave me much pleasure to see these antiquities. Travelers have written their names here and I did the same.
31st. The journey continued at an early hour. The road was not particularly good. We often had to cross mountains and pass through deep canyons, and the road meandered continuously between high mountains, composed of lime and chalk, until towards evening we saw a beautiful green valley ahead of us. This was framed in on one side by a mountain, and on the other by a forest and river. The river is called Bik Bluriffer. Here live 3 families, a grocer and inn-keeper and two farmers. The valley is among some of the most beautiful landscapes I have seen on this journey. Here I met my friend, named Lober, from Switzerland. We made each other's acquaintance in St. Louis. His wife and child too had died 14 miles from Salzbach. He had stayed behind from his train, and waited here for a relative who was still to come along. There was a boy of 12 with him, whose parents and 3 brothers and sisters had also died at the same place. The boy's name is Stutman; and he is also from Switzerland.