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The Journal of an 1859 Pike's Peak Gold Seeker

edited by David Lindsey

Winter 1956 (Vol. 22 No. 4), pages 305 to 320.
Transcribed by Barbara Hutchins; digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.


THE search for gold in America is as old as the coming of the white man to the New World. Ever since the days of the Spanish conquistadors, men have dreamed of finding new El Dorados. Throughout the development of the United States, the main current of history has at times been interrupted and diverted by glittering reports of rich gold discoveries that have borne men into diverse eddies and backwaters of the historical current. From the red hills of the Georgia piedmont to the white crests of California's high Sierras, men, aroused by the cry of "gold," have yielded to hysteria, abandoned all reason and perspective and performed miracles of herculean effort in a mad scramble to obtain the precious yellow metal.

The gold rush pattern was familiar: the first, faint rumblings and rumors of a gold strike; an alert interest, tempered at the start with some slight skepticism; but the flicker of doubt soon overcome by "convincing evidence" and "first-hand reports" coming back from the diggings. Then followed a wave of hysterical enthusiasm soon rising to a fever pitch of excitement as men frantically prepared to fly from their established homes in pursuit of that "pot of gold" that surely awaited them at the end of the trail. The hardships, harassments, and headaches of traversing new and difficult country with none of the old conveniences and comforts of home often broke strong men, turning them homeward disillusioned and dejected. The more hardy or the more determined or the more foolish ones struggled on to the gold region -- a few to be rewarded richly, but most, discouraged by weeks of futile search, to shift to other pursuits or to return home empty-handed.

That there was gold in the Rocky Mountain region had long been suspected. A Cherokee Indian party returning from California in 1850 had found "color" on Ralston's creek, a tributary of the South Platte river, and a military expedition in 1857 had picked up some "float gold" along Cherry creek, another tributary. [1] William Green



Russell of Georgia and a party of Cherokee Indians had worked some fairly rewarding gold diggings along the South Platte near the mouth of Cherry creek for a week or ten days at the end of July, 1858. During this time they were visited briefly by several mountain traders. [2] So in August, 1858, when old mountain trader John Cantrell, who had visited Green Russell's diggings, reached Kansas City bearing reports of gold on the upper reaches of the South Platte and carrying actual samples to prove his story, he merely confirmed what some men like Cherokee John Beck had been saying since 1850 and what other men had suspected for years. [3]

The newspapers of the Missouri valley towns, picking up the story at first warily and then with full enthusiasm, flashed the magic word "gold" eastward. [4] Headlines and reports like "Gold Within Our Reach," "Hundreds Flocking to the Mines," and "One company left here for the gold region yesterday" poured oil on the fires of interest. [5] Already the nation's eyes were focused on the new Kansas territory where fighting and violence high lighted the struggle of Free-State and Slave-State men for political control. Reporters for Eastern newspapers, like Albert D. Richardson for the Boston Daily Journal and Henry Villard for the Cincinnati (Ohio) a Commercial, now seized the opportunity to send back enticing stories of the new gold find. [6] To a people already weary with frustrations engendered by the panic of 1857, Horace Greeley's assurance in October "that there is much gold this side of the Rocky mountains" lent encouragement and fanned public excitement. [7]

There could be little doubt now in the public mind of the "fabulous" wealth to be had for the digging in the gold region of the Rockies, particularly since newspaper stories continued to describe miners returning with thousands of dollars in gold after a few weeks' work. [8] From Topeka, Kansas City, Leavenworth, and


Omaha, east to Chicago, New York, and Boston, and to practically every community in between the Missouri valley and Massachusetts bay the news spread like a prairie fire and excitement flared in the fall and winter of 1858-1859. For the time being men forgot their concern over whether "Honest Abe" or the "Little Giant" would be Illinois' next senator, over popular sovereignty and the fight in congress for the English compromise bill on Kansas and over the scarcity of jobs in Eastern cities. Thousands from the farther East swarmed into the Missouri valley towns, and enough hardy souls crossed the Plains in the fall of 1858 to give the newly-founded towns of Auraria and Denver at the mouth of Cherry creek on the South Platte about 125 cabins, huts, and tents by Christmas, with innumerable gold-hunting camps springing up in the surrounding country. [9]

The actual gold situation was quite different from the picture given in the newspaper accounts. While some small quantities of "float gold" had been panned along the South Platte and its tributaries, no large amounts of any consequence had been found in 1858. Most of the thousands who would go to the mountains were doomed to failure, frustration, and futility. It was not until May 6, 1859, that John H. Gregory, formerly of Georgia, found gold in paying quantities along a branch of the north fork of Clear creek at an elevation of about 8,000 feet some 40 miles west of Denver.

Meanwhile back East, the young men, jobless in the wake of 1857's panic, dreamed glittering visions of golden wealth in the Rockies, as they scanned the optimistic newspaper reports. In Cleveland, Ohio, 20-year-old William W. Salisbury also read the papers and dreamed. Born in Warrensville, Ohio, just east of Cleveland, Salisbury had for a time attended the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College), Hiram, Ohio, where James A. Garfield was serving as president. [10] Forced by lack of funds to leave college, Salisbury was now casting about for something to do and hoping that that something would bring rich rewards. For him, reports of gold in the Pike's Peak area were made to order.

The first public notice of the new gold discovery reached Clevelanders on September 3, 1858, when the Cleveland Leader quoted a report in the Kansas City (Mo.) Journal of Commerce that "the Pike's Peak gold mines have been fully opened." Later it reported "fabulous" and "fascinating" accounts and again that "the gold excitement prevails and that parties are leaving [Leavenworth] for


Pike's Peak nearly every day." [11] Words of caution, throwing "cold water on the yellow fever which is carrying off so many of the Western people," were added early in October. [12] But by the end of October, William B. Parsons of Lawrence, who "has returned from the gold mines on the South Platte," declared "gold found uniformly" and by Christmas "private letters from the miners . . . who went to Pike's Peak . . . corroborate the reports of the first discoveries" of "fine drift gold." [13] If these reports did not exactly reflect the facts of the situation, how was a young man of 20 over a thousand miles from the scene to know the difference? Besides, guidebooks offering advice on how to reach the mines and how to prepare for the journey were now appearing. At least two were issued before the end of 1858. [14] Whether Salisbury saw these is not known, but he must have seen the advice the press was giving as to the best routes to Pike's Peak mines. [15]

The "yellow fever" in Cleveland continued to mount in the early months of 1859. In January it was "Gold! Gold! Our Kansas and Missouri exchanges glitter with this bewitching word, and heads of thousands are now being turned from every day pursuits to dreams of yellow dust." [16] In February "A Clevelander at Pike's Peak" reported "the prospects good. . . . Our average is from eight to fifteen dollars a day." [17] In March groups of Clevelanders and others in northeastern Ohio were organizing companies to set out for the gold region. [18] It was during this excitement that young William Salisbury made his decision to try his luck at chasing the golden rainbow.

On April 4, 1859, he left Cleveland headed for the mines. On that same day he began recording his daily experiences in a small, black, leather-bound journal that he carried with him constantly. From April 4 to September 11, 1859, faithfully he set down each day the story of his journey, his observations and his reactions to what he saw. This journal, somewhat frayed and weather-beaten, with a few pages torn away from the binding, is now in the possession of William Salisbury's great-grandson, David Louis of Cleveland, by whose kind permission the text of the journal is presented below.



1859 APRIL 4THStarted from Cleveland 30 mo past 11 A. M.arrived in Toledo at 8 ock [19]had a pleasant journey.

Started from Toledo 10 mo past 9arrived in Springfield Ill at 4 ock [APRIL 5] remained there till 3 then started for St. Louis which we maid by 2 ock [April 6] [20] in the morning

remained there till 9 ock in the morning when we started for Jefferson which we reached about 3 ock P M [21] Procured a ticket for California [Mo.] which we reached by 5 ockremained there over night.got up in the morning and started for Uncle Atwell [22] Got there at 8 ock [APRIL 7]

APRIL 21ST 1859Having got all things ready we [23] commenced our journey for all the badness of the weather which was stormy enoughit rained and snowed all day. We traveled over some beautiful country mostly prairie intermittent with timber. Brooks frequently crossing our path. We camped on the banks of the Moreauhaving traveled only 11 miles

FRIDAY 22NDI arose this morning feeling refreshed from a good sleepIt is cloudy and broken this morning. Last night was my first experience in camping out. And a right jolly good time we had of it. We rolled off early this morning and camped at 4 ock in the evening having traveled only 15 miles. We passed through Versail[l]es about noon.

SATURDAY 23RDIt is a cold chil[l]y day and a strong North Wester is a blowing but however we are on our road all in good spirits. We frequently pass through skirts of timber on the little cricks. We pitched our tent tonight one mile West of Colecamp a smart little townhaving traveled 16 milesThe weather is awfully windy

SUNDAY 24THToday is a day for rest, but it is not so with us. We cannot get feed for our teams, neather corn nor hayther[e] being no grass, therfore we think it advisable to push on regardless of the day untill we can obtain feed. We have [t]raveled 10 miles and have found some old hay and pasture which we are glad to gitIt is on the open prairieno timber in sight

MONDAY APRIL 25THWe pulled up stakes about 7 ock this morning having traveled most of the day on the prairiecrossed some beautiful streams scirted with timberCrossed one good sised river with rocky shores mostly limestone. Came through one beautiful little town by the name of LesvilleWe have maid 18 m[iles]got fair camping grounds.

TUESDAY 26THWe pulled up stakes about half past 7 this morningfound pretty rough roads and therefore have come very slowHad to stop at Clinton and git our [wagon] tree setSaw a great many going to Pike's Peak [24]


We camped on the banks of the Grand river having traveled only 11 milesPlenty of TurkeyWoolves and som[e] Deer around this visinity

WEDNESDAY 27TH, 1859We started from our camping ground about half past 7 this morningfound bad roads [illegible word] and Rod broke down and hindered us some timeIt is a beautiful country in this visinity, a rich loamy soil interspersed with thick groves of timber and cristal Brooks unimproved lands $5 per acreimproved from 10 to 15Have traveled 13 miles

THURSDAY 28TH 1859Started from our camping ground about 5 ock this morningtraveled on steadily all day.mostly on Prairierol[l]inginterspersed with timber and well watteredThis is in Henry countyno Government land in this visinity. Camped on Elk crickcatched some fishWent up to an old farmers on the hillhe[a]rd his son play on the violinWent up in the morning and traided for it.

FRIDAY 29TH 1859It rained mostly all nighthad a good nights restthe tent kept us drigh.had some difficulty in finding our cattle in the morning. did not git started till 9 in the morningtraveled about 14 milesit was hard traveling,we got within 8 miles of the State line and camped on the open Prairie

SATURDAY 30THWe started rather late this morning and passed through Tuckerville about 9 in the morningcould see 8 miles [25] to Westportarrived at Westport [26] about 1 P MThe people stop[p]ed Robert there as a runaway [27] We camped 5 miles in Kansas Ter[r]itory on the open Prairie

SUNDAY MAY 1STThe weather is cloudy and warm and it rained someChanged my close and then went Huntingsaw nothing to shoot.but one of our company killed a deer.It is rather roaling Prairie with skirts of timberWe left gards out Saturday and Sunday nightsIt was darksome of the gards got lost

MONDAY MAY 2NDPulled up stakes about sunrise and traveled till noon stop[p]ed and fed our cattle and took dinnerPushed on and made 15 milesCamped on large Prairie where there was good feed in the edge of the timberHerded our cattle and stood guard for the first timehad no trouble

TUESDAY 3RD 1859We loaded up our camping utensils and rolled on about 7 this morningfound some bad roadsstop[p]ed at Paola and got one tree setPaola is a fine growing towncame on and camped about 4 miles from town on the open Prairiewas joined by several WaggonsIt rained hard jest after we camped

WEDNESDAY 4TH 1859We endevored to start early this morningBut we were disappointedwe were in with a company of Kentuckyan[s] and just as we were agoing to start one of their company a young man about 21 was shot dead.he had his gun in his wagon with the musle foremost and was in the


act of pulling it out towards him when it went off and shot him through the head and also graised another mans armthis sad occurrence [caused] a general confusion and delayhowever they desided to move on and burrey the young man in the next town.We parted company with the Kentuckyans about noon and was joinedwe traveled about 18 miles and camped on the banks of a crick.

THURSDAY 5THStarted in good season this morningthe roads were bad but we maid about 15 milesReached the old Santifee road at Brooklinhad a hard days travel and camped on the open PrairieWood was scarcePaid 40 cents for a little to git sup[p]er.

FRIDAY 6THStarted at 6 this morninghave had good roads all dayIt is excellent travel but timber is scarceHave traveled 22 milesit rained all nightcamped a mile West of Prairie City

SATURDAY 7THHave not traveled any todaywe have been looking [for] Cattle all day.13 of our cattle wandered off last night in the storm and we have searched diligently for them but have not been able to find thempart of our company have gon[e].The waggons are passing continuouslyIt is warm and pleasant

SUNDAY 8THWe have not done anything to amount to anything todayHeerd of our cattle about noonhired a man to go back after thempaid him $11found them and got them about 4 ock P MPulled up staikes and crossed the river and campedIt has been a pleasant dayThe waggons are so thick, It looks like a village

MONDAY 9THWe started about 6 ock this morningwe are 110 miles from Independence [28]found good roads westa great many Government waggonsPassed through Burlingame [29] and Willmingtonare flourishing little townshave come 22 miles.It is mostly Prairiewell watered with brooks and springsTimber is scarce

TUESDAY 10THWe got under way about 6 ock this morningfound good roads and excelent landwell watered but timber is scarceWone of our company broke the king bolt to his waggon and delayed us some time.We have traveled 21 milesfound good camping grounds on the banks of river [30] but few settlers some Indians

WEDNESDAY 11TH 1859We came on rather earley this morning over excelent roads mostly Prairie.While our cattle were halting at noon some Indians came to uswanted whisky and tobacco [31]Passed through Counsel Grove [32] about 1 ock P M.traveled on and camped on the Prairiehave maid 20 miles.

THURSDAY 12THWe were on our road at 6 ock this morningtraveled on


over mostly a level road with very little wood and watterWe passed through Diamond Springs about 2 ock todaythey are the most beautifull springs I ever saw [33]there is now wood scarcely there and but three houses and a grocery [34]have maid 20 miles.

FRIDAY 13THWe camped last night at the Salt Springs on the open PrairieThe springs have stop[p]ed their flow for some reason or other and there is now nothing but a pud[d]le of rily water.There is 6 of our cattle sick which was caused by drinking this water, which is tinctured with Alkali [35]It is a rainy day and chil[l]yHave come 18 mi

SATURDAY 14THHere we are camped on Cotton wood crickIt has rained hard and steadily all dayour cattle all look poorlythe sick ones are betterWe shall stay here today and tomorrow it being 40 miles to wood and 18 miles to waterThere is 6 or 700 camped on this crickthere is Buffalow and Deer and Elk and Antilope here.there has been several killed.

SUNDAY 15THIt still continues to rain and is disagre[e]able enough.The day is mosly occupied in cucking washing hunting and fishing.there is but 2 log huts hereone a dwelling the other a grocery.They ar[e] occupied by an agent who stops here through emigration, then move[s] back to Council Grove

MONDAY 16THWe started rather late this morning and have found bad traveling it being mud[d]y and soft but have come 19 miles and camped on the little TurkeyThere is but 1 house here built of turf and covered with tent clothit is a kind of traiding post, but poore water hereno timberplenty Buffalow

TUESDAY 17THHave traveled 21 miles today and are somewhat fatiguedwe are camped on the Running TurkeyThere is no timber here and poore waterThere is wone house here maid of small logs and turf and a grocery in a waggon [illegible word]The nearest timber is within 8 miles

WEDNESDAY 18THStarted about 6 ock this morningfound slipery roads this morningit having rained last nightArrived at little Arcasas at 11 ock thetoll bridge here [36] 25 cts. toll.but little timber.Poore watersaw a man that had been shot acidentely in the hip.Came on and passed another company who were camped one man having shot himself acidentely in the armwill have to be amputatedThere is no end to Buffalowhave come 22 m

THURSDAY 19THWe rose this morning and started by sunrisethere being no feed here and our cattle being hitched to our waggons all nighthave come on 6 miles where there is good feed and campedThis is Beach Valleyare now wayting for Rob and Butlerthey went out yesterday morning after Buffalowhave just come into timber and water hereWas an Indian acidentely shot before we came here

FRIDAY 20TH 1859Waked up this morning about 3 ockit was raining a


perfect herricane and the watter was running into our ten and our bed clothes were all wetCame about 17 milescamped on the Great bend of the Arcansasit is a very rapid flowing stream but very riley now.very little timber herepoore water

SATURDAY 21STStarted about 6 this morningCame to Ash crick [37] about noonit is a small traiding postone house plenty timber and waterThe Cioway [38] Indians are herethere a[re] great many at our camp at noongot them to shoot at a markTenneys etc would hit this eve[r]y timethey were pe[a]cable and friendlywere traiding caractershave come 20 mile

SUNDAY 22NDWe camped last night on the open Prairie near the arcansas thewe passed Pawney rock [39] about 8 ockcame on and camped on Ash crickhave come 10 mileswent up to the Arcansas 3 miles and went in swimming

MONDAY 23RDLoaded our things and started about 6 ockcame on and found good roads.We met hundreds of waggons going backreached Pawney Fork about noonmet another train going back.our Captain with 2 waggons have gone backButler and George were obliged to go [40]but there are 8 waggons of us yet determined to go onhave come on and camped on the banks of the Arcansastraveled 18 miles

TUESDAY 24THRose early as usual this morning.felt revived from a good night's restHad good watter.made a fier of Buffalow chipswone more waggon has gone back from our trainwone man met his brother on his way back from the Peak with discouraging newsHave been joined by another small company camped on the banks of the Arcansas.poore watterno woodhave come 20 miles

WEDNESDAY 25THStarted early as usual this morning.The wind blows cold and chil[l]y with a little rainhave found good roads all dayno timber on this side of the Arcansas and no good wattertraveled at a brisk rate all dayhave made 25 milescamped on the flats of the Arcansas.

THURSDAY 26THThere is a cold wind and rain this morning but we have managed to git us some breakfast.Have found good raods all daytraveled


mostly all day on the banks of the river.no timber but good watterWe camped at night near old Fort Atkinson [41]Distance Traveled 22 miles

FRIDAY 27THStarted on our journey early this morning.It is clear and pleasant but a chilly air.no timber in sightpoore watterRod and I went a hunting Antilopesaw wonedid not git a shot.killed a woolf though camped upon the bluffs and drove our cattle down to the riverone of our oxen got in and came near drownding [42]Traveled 20 miles

SATURDAY 28THWe were on our road at the usual time this morning.nothing occurred of any account.it is clear and pleasant.found road very good except some sandy hills.Came to Pawney fort [43] about 3 ock P MSaw up under the shelving rocks where an Indian had been buried and had been dug up by the Woolves.some of his bones mocasins blanket bow and arrows were in sight.camped on the flats20 miles

SUNDAY 29THWe have not traveled any today.are giving our cattle rest and recruiting them up a littleone of our men being very sickalso we thought best to restthere is no timber herepoore watterIt has been a long and lonesome daySaw some Pellicans in the riverthey were beautiful like the Swan

MONDAY 30THWe were on our journey earley this morninghave found excelent roads all day.nothing has occurred of not[e]Camped near some movers with their families on their way to California with a drove of cattleno timberpoore watterhave made 22 miles

TUESDAY 31STWere on our way at the usual time this morningIt is clear and warm, and a beautiful time to travel.Have traveled on the flats beneath the bluffs all day.Saw a grave on the top of the bluffwent up to it.It was the grave of a child only two weeks old.It read on the stone L W Ramsey Dies May 21 1859 Aged 2 weeksIt was a meloncolly sightthere it lay hundred[s] of miles from any other human beinga lonely grave of an infant20

WEDNESDAY JUNE 1STIt is a verry windy day today.and it was thought best to remain here till the wind subsidedtherefore we have remained here all dayNothing occurred of any account.we got timber here for cucking purposesno very large timber heremostly brush etcThe Captains horse arrived and the other two waggons

THURSDAY 2NDWe were on our way early this morningfound excellent roads all daythere is more or less timber now on our road but it is very scarcehave made a good days travelat least 23 miles.Have had some Antilope meat for supperRod and Therron have been outRod killed onecamped on the banks of the Arcansas

FRIDAY 3RDNothing of importance has occurred todayhave traveled over a sandy road all day on the flats close to the riverThere is some timber along


here and it is growing plentier [44]We camp tonight on the banks of the river where the noise of the wattters would lull us to sleephave traveled 22 miles.

SATURDAY 4TH 1859Started at our usual timefound excellent roads all day.No water except River water which is riley.It has been a very warm day.Timber is getting more plenty every day.we camped at night near Bents fort. [45]went up in the evening to see the structure.It rained some after we camped.sines of beaver here.Traveled 22 miles.

SUNDAY 5THIt was decided last night to remain here todayI have been working and mending.been down to the River to swimhave been reading someIt has been a beautiful day

MONDAY 6THStarted a little earlier than usual this morningPassed the fort earlyThere is several trains with us this morninggood roadCamped as usual near the riverHave been a little lame all dayStuck a stick in my heel and am more tired than usualhave traveled 30 miles

TUESDAY 7THThis is a beautiful dayour camping ground was excelent last night.We arrived at the ruins of Bents old fort [46] a little after noonIt was pleasantly situatedWould that I could hear those old walls speak and tell some of the events that has happened thereinCame in sight about 4 ock of some of the peaks of the Rocky mountainsSpanish peak[s], [47]Pikes etcpoore feed for our cattle herehave traveled 25

WEDNESDAY 8THIt has been a warm sultry forenoon.but in the afternoon towards night there was a gale sprung up and it blew hard and rained somethe roads along here are rather sandy and ruff and hilly.no feed here for our cattleHave traveled 25 miles

THURSDAY 9THStarted rather early this morninga good many gulches abound here.came on and camped in good feed on the banks of the river.the watter is rather cold.river rising.Went hunting after ducks in the afternoonDistance 22

FRIDAY 10THWere on our way early this morningwent huntingShot at a Woolfkilled a ravenarrived at Founta[i]n city [48] at noonLeft the Arcansas herecamped on fountain crick. [49]Traveled 25


SATURDAY 11THThis is the first day traveled on this roadIt is somewhat roaling poore land but little timber.plenty Turkey and deer here.good cold water from the mountainsTraveled 20

SUNDAY 12THConcluded to lay over today and rest.It is a beautiful day.the mountains loom up in full view most over our headSome of the boys have gone up to them to prospect

MONDAY 13THHitched up at our usual timefound good roadscame about 4 ock to the forks of the road.one for the mountainsthe other directely for cherry crickwe took the wone for cherry crickthe Captain and 3 other waggons the otherTraveled 24 milescamped in the border of the pine woods [50]

TUESDAY 14THThis is a beautiful morning.the snow on the mountains is glistening in the sun.and the green pine forest that surrounds us makes a beautiful contrastThere is natural meadows of grass beautiful forests of pine and cristal springs of water along our travel todayCamped on the head waters of Cherry crickexcellent camp groundTraveled 23 miles

WEDNESDAY 15THLeft our camping ground early this morningCame by several houses and a man mininghe said he maid 2 or 4$ per dayPassed a saw millLumber was worth $80 per thousand at the mill [51]Camped on cherry cricktraveled 18 miles

THURSDAY 16THWe were delayed this morning on account of oxentwo of them got lame but we got another yoke of one of our company and pushed onPassed through Denver city [52] and crossed the Platt and campedTraveled 23m

FRIDAY 17THWere up and of[f] by times this morning.reached the mountains about 10 ock [53]camped on the hillremained there till 4 ockthen drove 2 miles South on good feed and water between two mountainstraveled 10 miles

SATURDAY 18THWent prospecting this forenooncould find nothingStarted for the mines in the mountains in the P. M.crossed Clear crickascended the first mountainscamped on them 3 miles from the valley10 miles

SUNDAY 19THThis is a beautifull daya gentle breeze is blowing from the West off from the Snow crested mountains in the distance.We are traveling moderately and viewing the works of nature which are beautifull along here


This is the first Sabath in the mountains with me and but little does it seem like such to meHave traveled 10 miles

MONDAY 20TH 1859We were on our way as soon as we could see this morningreached the mines at noonthe miners were all buisy at work [54]they seamed to be doing wellRod and Hendricks got lost from uscamped about 2 ock in Russells vallyTraveled 16

TUESDAY 21STWent prospecting todaymy corse layed Westwent over several miles on the middle branch of clear crickfollowed it down to the Vascos forkfound the collar [i. e. color]saw trout in the crick and also a big brown bear and a deerreturned to camp at dark.

WEDNESDAY 22NDIt was necessary that some of us should return after provisionMcGregor and I were chosenarrived at little prairie at noontraveled hard all daygot within 4 miles of the valley by dark and camped

THURSDAY 23RDWe were on our way by light this morningSlept cold and our cattle were troublesomereached our camp in the valley about 9 in the morningwe were glad to git back so as to get some milk and chicken fixensSoon all hands went about fixin for an early start in the morning

FRIDAY 24 1859Feel refreshed this morning after a good nights rest.had a jolly time last night dancing and playing on the violin. [55]Started back for the mountains about 10 ockcamped at the same place we did Sunday noon last

SATURDAY 25THJordan is a hard road to travel.such at least we find it traveling in these mountainshave had no bad luckreached little prairie at noon.reached Russels vally about 7 ock and campedfeel tiredI am glad the days travel is done

SUNDAY 26THRube and I went ahead this morning to find the boys, the carts followingHad no difficulty in finding them.all went back to pack in the loads 2 1/2 miles being the nearest they could come with cartshave just finished packing it inthis is the hardest Sunday's work ever done

MONDAY 27THI am taking my Sunday this forenoonhave been washing and mendingfetched down the remaining load from our cartshave been at work this afternoon dig[g]ing our troths for a Sluce [56]

TUESDAY 28TH 1859Have been up about 3/4th of a mile to our other claims to work this forenoonCame down at noon.remaind here in the afternoon to help make a sluce and tom.

WEDNESDAY 29THFinished our sluce box and tom and got it set and at work about 9 this A Mhave been running it all day.

THURSDAY 30THHave been up at our other claim at workprospects favorablebought a saw.began a cabin this afternoon


FRIDAY JULY 1ST 1859Have been at work on our cabin all dayall done but the rufwe quit this claim todayit will not pay [57]

SATURDAY 2NDFinished our cabin this forenoon.moved into it this afternoon

SUNDAY 3RDWe rest today for the first time in several weeksHave been washing and mending.Have been more homesick today than any other day since I left Home.

MONDAY 4TH, 1859This is the 4th of Julyhave been at work on our race all day.little does it seem like the 4th.

TUESDAY 5THFinished our race and have got one sluce to workfeel rather discouraged

WEDNESDAY 6THHave got two sluces to work this dayHave done very well

THURSDAY 7THAll that has been done today is hard work.am somewhat tired

FRIDAY 8THHave been at work this day as usual.we are in poor spiritsthink we are not making much

SATURDAY 9TH Worked this forenoonConcluded not to work this afternoon Have been to a law suit and up to the Spanish diggings [58]

SUNDAY 10THHave not been at work this daybeen mending some.slept someHave thought of home and of those at home today all the timeit has been a long and lonesome day.

MONDAY 11THIt was thought best that some of us should return to the vally to dispose of some of our things and to fetch up some in the mountains to buy them.We started at 8 ock this morninghave just arrived here in the vally.am tired enough

TUESDAY 12THHad a good nap this morning, feel as good as ever.Have been down to Golden city [59] to see what we could do towards selling or buying

WEDNESDAY 13THHave not been very buisy todaybeen hunting our cattle this afternoon, and have been down to the ranchWe have had a rarity in the shape of a Jonny-cake for breakfast and sup[p]er

THURSDAY 14Rose early this morning in order to start for the mountainsWe were on our way at 6 this morning.passed over the worst road before noonit began raining then and continued the remainder of the dayreached camp about 3 1/2 ock

FRIDAY 15THHave been mining some today3 of us.have maid only $1.00 each.the other boys have just arrived from the vally.

SATURDAY 16THHave been at work this day.we work with poor incouragementit does not paywe are making but little

SUNDAY 17THWe have been doing nothing todayTheron and Rube have been over to Gregories today. [60]It has been a lonesome day.


MONDAY 18THSeveral of our boys started for the vally this morning but five of us remainhave been at work all day.the water is so high that it came in faster than we could bail it out

TUESDAY 19THhave just returned from Spanish mines.Saw Buckskin Joe the mountaineerhe had just returned from an exploration trip to the snowy rangehe was quite talkative

WEDNESDAY 20THSmith Rube and McShaw have gone prospecting and I am here alone.I have been reading and meditatingI love to be left alone sometimes to commune with silent nature, which is beautifull here.tall and rocky mountains surround our camp on every side and a rapid river comes rushing down over the rocks in a few steps of our doorI frequently se[e] dear and sheep pass along the side of the mountain

THURSDAY 21STWhite and miself started early this morning for russels diggingshave also been to the Missouri diggings [61]Have just returned.felt much fatiguedIt raines here every day now.

FRIDAY 22NDIt has rained all day as usual.the boys returned from the vally this eveninghad some difficulty in giting sup[p]er on account of the rain

SATURDAY 23RDHave been buisy today moving.We have begun packing our things back up the gulchIt has rained all the afternoonwe camped between Russels and Gregories

SUNDAY 24THWe were off early this morningstop[p]ed at Gregories some timeCamped within 11 miles of the vallyIt raines continually here and is unhealthy enoughIt does not seem like Sunday

MONDAY 25THWe were off before 6 this morningHave had very good luck.tip[p]ed over but oncereached Golden Gate before noon and Golden city half past 12the last part of our journey seems longreached camp 3 ock

TUESDAY 26THRube rrived last nightalso we have been down at Golden city today to git a jobdid not make a raisetimes are dullmoney scarce

WEDNESDAY 27THI have remained in our camp all day todayIt is warm and sultryhave been washing and mending

THURSDAY 28TH Smith Rube and I have been down at Golden city today but little going on there but gamblingtraided my revolver for a rifeldid not secure a job.

FRIDAY 29THHave been hunting our cattle today.found them before noon

SATURDAY 30THHave been mend[ing] our cloth[e]s todayIt is warm and sultry here at noon and cool night and morning.

SUNDAY 31STHave been hunting for our cattle.been south four miles for them.got my pail half full of burriesRod and I went at noon over to clear crick 6 miles from camp to trie and float some logs down the river.got back a little after dark

MONDAY AUGUST 1STWe started about 8 ock this morning for denver.We left 3 of our boys behindOld Bob, White and Mansfield.We parted with them reluctantly.Tears started from their eyes when we took our leaveIt was warm in the forenoon.it rained in the afternoonCamped on Cher[r]y crick

TUESDAY 2NDWe wer[e] on our way early this morningStarted on afoot for Denverstop[p]ed there some timeIt has grown wonderfully since I came herewe pushed on and camped 15 miles down the Platt[e]The objects on


the mountains are becoming indestinct to view.all that is to be seen is their outlines and white crested peaks covered with snow

WEDNESDAY 3RDWe were on our way as soon as light this morningStop[p]ed as soon as we came to good feed and took breakfast.pushed on and reached Fort Lupton [62] at noon.The fort has been deserted for several yearsthere is a famile living in it at the present timepassed Bents traiding post and Fort Vasquez [63] in the afternoon.It rained and hailed in the afternooncame 30 miles

THURSDAY 4THThere is a heavy fogg this morning and it is very chilly and cold.Took in the lug[g]age of two young men to carry it to Leavenworth.about 5 miles from where we camped we found the hail several inches thick.camped at night on the Platt[e].went in swimmingfound an Injin canoo on an Island in the riverit was maid out of a log and was so water soaked we could not launch it.

FRIDAY 5TH AUGUSTWe were on our way early this morning.traveled all the forenoon on a sandy desert without wood or water.Reached Fremont orchard about 6 ock this eveningIt is a beautiful grove of willow and popular [sic]camped one mile and a half below on good feed and timber.the mountains are but juts to be seen in the distancePikes and Longs two peaks are to be seen.

SATURDAY 6THThis forenoon our road has been very sandy.reached [word garbled, probably Bijou] crick at noongood grass and water.reached an Indian village of several thousand inhabitance [sic] and wandered through the village [64]camped 3 miles below on the river

SUNDAY 7THToday is Sund[a]y but it does not seam as such to me.we are resting this forenoon.have been down to traid with the Indianshave been traveling this afternoonhave went 12 miles.no wood here of any consequencecrossed Be[a]ver crick [65]

MONDAY 8THWe camped near the third station [66] last nightwere on our way early this morning.the mountains are lost to view here.the road is frequently very sandy.no wood scarcely here, but willow.Went over to an island in the river after flood wood and willow.discovered the remains of a de[a]d Ingen under a lone Cottonwoodhe had been hung in the tree after de[a]th with his robes and clothing all onhe had decayed and fell to the groundthere is two good springs of water here.it rained hard here last nightwe passed some Indians on their way home from battleTraveled 25 miles


TUESDAY 9THWas up as soon as day this morninghave been hunting saw nothing but some Duckskilled somethere is plenty Antelope here but they are wildTraveled till 6 ock.stop[p]ed and rested our cattlethen hitched up and drove till 10 ockthen camped after having come 30 miles.we reached the 4th station at sun down.no wood along hereno watter but river watter

WEDNESDAY 10THWe were up by day break this morning.It is beautiful to see the sunrise here where it is as level as the sea as far as the eye can reach.Nothing has occurred of importancethe road is very sandy along hereno woodTraveled in the afternoon til 5.then camped.pushed on at 7 and camped at 10traveled 28 miles

THURSDAY 11THNothing has occured of importancehave been hunting.passed the up[p]er crossing [67] about 8 this morningreached the lower crossing [68] half past 10camped there for the night.

FRIDAY 12THHave been trying to traid with the Indians here at the station.could not traid much.pinched 1 pair mocasinthey are of the Shian [Cheyenne] nation.the river is full of islands along here.they are covered with brush and grapevine which are full of fruit and nearly ripe.traveled 25 m

SATURDAY 13We were on our way early this morningit has been pleasant all day.there was no wood where we camped last night but [a]long in the afternoon we could see timber in the distance which we soone reachedthere is one of Russels stations and a traiding post here.soone after leaving this station we came in sight of the North Platt[e].There is more or less timber in sight.we meet a grate [many] waggons for Larramie and Utah [69]passed the junction [70] in the evening.traveled 25 miles

SUNDAY 14THIt was thought best to drive today til we reached wood and watter.we traveled until noonreached wood.The boys have gone ahuntingRod killed a black tailed deer.traveled 15 miles

MONDAY 15THWe were on our way early this morning.it is cloudy and coolthere is a number of ranches and traiding posts along hereplenty of woodCaeder, Cotton wood and willowpassed cottonwood springs [71] in the forenoonpassed Fremont springs last Sund[a]y nightThere is a long i[s]land in the river that extends along here a grate manny milescamped at 10 ock25 m


TUESDAY 16THWe started at 6 ock this morning and drove till 12camped for noonthe river is skirted with timber.we are in the buffalow range here but we have seen nonewe camped about 10 at night near plumb crick [72]have come 26 [miles]

WEDNESDAY 17THHitched up and drove a little the other side of plumb crick and remained there till noon and went huntingkilled nothingthere was a buffalow killed near us last nightsaw a number in the afternoon but could not git a shotcampe[d] about 6 ockour train split hereMcCoys and McDonalds waggons went onours remained and Clarks and Rubes10 [miles]

THURSDAY 18THIt being a rainy day we could not hunt buffalow so we concluded to travelWe pushed on and camped a few miles below Kearney [73]distance we have come is 27 miles

FRIDAY 19THWe were on our way as usual this morning.Reached the junction where the Leavenworth road strikes the river [74]there is a number of cabbins along here.We got some cucumbersthey had corn and mellons berry and sqwashescamped on the bluff out of sight of the river

SATURDAY 20THIt is very windy this morning and cold.there was an antilope came tilting by our camp this morningI cracked a clap at him but my gun did not go.Saw before noon a buffalow and several antelopepassed muddy crick and camped on little blue [75] at noonremained here all afternoonhuntedRube killed an otterTraveled 12 miles

SUNDAY 21STWe were off by timeswent [word obscured by ink spot] killed a duckfound ripe plums and grapes heretraveled till 12 o'clock at nighthave come 25this is very good land

MONDAY 22ND [76]Didn't start as early as common this morningmet a large train off for the Peakcamped on the little Blue at the point where we leave itDistance 18 miles

TUESDAY 23RD 1859Was off in season this morning.Left the Blue and struck of[f] over the divide towards the big Sandy [77]it is very good land along hereThere is ranches frequently along heremet a load of melons going to Kearney.arrived at the big Sandy about 4came on and camped on little Sandy. [78]Have traveled 23 [miles]

WEDNESDAY 24We were on our way early this morning.It is a rol[l]ing country along hereThere is timber along the cricks and some on the upland.


We reached stoney crick [79] 15 miles distance by noon.came on and camped in the prairietraveled 28 [miles]

THURSDAY 25THit is cloudy this morningit is rol[l]ing country along herecame by a stationreached Cottonwood crick at nooncamped at Marysville [80] at nightit is a small townthere's 50 or 60 housesthe little Blue [81] runs through the town24 [miles]

FRIDAY 26THWe were on our way as usual this morning.left Clark and Vanbruet here Van being sickcamped on Vermillion crick [82] at noongot plenty green corn here.Passed a small crick in the afternoonthere was a sett[l]er here.he had a nice farmlarge fealds of corna beautiful gardengood buildings.it looked like sivilization.camped on suckertash crick18 [miles]

SATURDA[Y] 27TH 1859We remained here till noon.then picked up and drove till nightcamped at Ash point12 [miles]

SUNDAY 28THIt is a foggy morningHowever we concluded to drive.The roads are mud[d]yIt is fine rol[l]ing country but little timberarrived at Senecy [83] by noonthe county seat of Nemaha Countyit is a fine town beautifully situated on corn crick and [illegible, probably Nemaha] Vally17 [miles]

MONDAY 29TH AUGUSTIt is a beautiful morning.we were off in good season.Our lame ox is considerably troublesomepassed over a beatiful countrycamped on muddy creekwe git plenty potatoes, corn and melons here.We passed through Grenada [84]it is a fine little townin the afternoon camped on Walnut crick for the nightthis is on the Indian reserve [85]it is beautiful land24 [miles]

TUESDAY 30THWe were off by times this morningsold one cow this afternoonpassed through Kennekuk [86]camped one miles this side at noongot plenty melons and corn and potatoes herecame through Huron [87] in the afternooncamped on the Maine at night20 [miles]

WEDNESDAY 31STIt is a beautifull morningWe reached Lancaster [88] about 9 ock this morning.it is beautifully situated on the prairiecame ongot on the rong roadcame on 5 or 6 miles before we found it outwe could see


Atchison struck off across the prairiereached Le[a]venworth road by night10 [miles

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 1ST 1859Passed over some beautifull country this daycamped at night in salt crick valley

FRIDAY 2NDDid not start very early this morningit is a beautiful valleywood is scarce herewhen we reached the top of the hill we could see the fort and the city of Le[a]venworth [89]it is a large [word obscured by ink blot] towncould also see the broad Missouriremained in town till noon.then drove and camped a little way out of towndrove about 9 miles and camped for the nightthe cattle is dying around here with a fever amazingly14 [miles]

SATURDAY 3RDPassed over a beautiful country this morningReached the Delaware reserve before noonarrived at the Kansas river toward nightcross[ed] at the Deleware ferry [90]camped on the bank of the river18 [miles]

SUNDAY 4THWe reached Shawnee town [91] about 8 this morningit is quite a townmissed our road hereturned back and struck the right road leading to Westportpassed through there before sunsetcamped on the other side20 [miles]

MONDAY 5THIt is a han[d]som[e] country along her[e]we passed through Independence before noonit is a large and beautiful placecame on and camped near Blue springsland is worth from 25 to 30 [dollars] per acreit is thickly settled here15 [miles]

TUESDAY 6THIt is cold and chilly this morningcame through a beautifull countryit [is] well timbered and watteredTraided our wagon and wone yoke of cattle for a horsecame through lone Jack [92] toward nightcamped a little this side14 [miles]

WEDNESDAY 7THWe are off by good season this morningTraided horses this morningcame through Warrensburg this morninggot some how come you so [illegible word] [93]it began to operate by the time we reached Knobnostercamped this sidethere is some fruit20 [miles]

THURSDAY 8THReached G[e]orgetown by noon [94]it is a nice townthere is coal beds along hereJohn Smith and I bought us a hat hereit rained last night25 [miles]

FRIDAY 9THWe were off by times this morningWe are endevoring to reach Uncles by Sunday night.Nothing has occured of importence todayPassed through no townit is beautifull country along here21 [miles]

SATURDAY 10THThis is a beautiful morning.the woods are full of grapevine and they are ladened with fruit and there is plenty of [word illegible]


and [word obscured by ink blot].reached round hill toward nightit is 3 miles from Tiptoncamped 1 mile east20 [miles]had a little spree tonight

SUNDAY 11THWe were early this morningReached California by noonpushed on and reached Atwells by dark


The entry for September 11 is the last regular daily record. The first two pages of the journal, torn loose from the binding, gave a summary of distances traveled each day. There are a few notes on the last two pages of the journal. They are badly blurred and faded. Those that can be deciphered seem to refer to financial transactions, such as purchases of goods and payments for work that Salisbury did after his return from the mines, although there are no dates recorded in conjunction with these entries.

Salisbury later returned to Ohio and served in the Union army during the Civil War. After the war he settled down in Berea, Ohio, some 15 miles southwest of Cleveland. Here he turned to the less spectacular pursuits of teaching school and farming. [95] Before his death in 1920, Salisbury likely recalled many times the irony of the Pike's Peakers' song:

Then ho! for the mountains where the yellow dust is found,
Where the grizzly bear, and buffalo, and antelope abound;
We'll gather up the dust along the golden creek,
And make our "pile," and start for home. Hurrah for Pike's Peak. [96]


DR. DAVID LINDSEY is assistant professor of history at Los Angeles State College, Los Angeles, Cal.

1. LeRoy R. Hafen, ed., Pike's Peak Gold Rush Guidebooks, by Luke Tierney, et al, v. 9 of Southwest Historical Series (Glendale, 1941), pp. 35-37, 44-45; Albert N. Williams, Rocky Mountain Country (New York, 1950), pp. 114, 115.
2. Hafen, Guidebooks, pp. 59, 70, 71.
3. Kansas City (Mo.) Journal of Commerce, August 28, 27, 28, 1858, cited in Hafen, Guidebooks, pp. 71, 72. Also cited in Ralph P. Bieber, "Diary of a Journey to the Pike's Peak Gold Mines in 1859," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Lincoln, Neb., v. 14 (December, 1927), p. 361. Also cited in LeRoy R. Hafen, ed., Colorado Gold Rush: Contemporary Letters and Reports, 1858-1859, v. 10 of Southwest Historical Series (Glendale, 1941), pp. 30-37.
4. Kansas City (Mo.) Journal of Commerce, August 31, 1858; Lawrence Republican, September 2, 1858; Council Bluffs (Iowa) Bugle, September 8, 1858; Leavenworth Times, September 11, 1858; Omaha (Neb.) Times, September 16, 1858; Kansas Tribune, Topeka, September 23, 1858. -- Cited in Hafen, Colorado Gold Rush, pp. 39-68.
5. Quoted in ibid., pp. 39-42; James F. Willard, "Spreading the News of the Early Discoveries of Gold in Colorado," The Colorado Magazine, Denver, v. 6, pp. 98-104.
6. Boston (Mass.) Daily Journal, September 14, 20, 21, 1858, cited in Hafen, Colorado Gold Rush, pp. 41, 42, 49, 50, 52; Henry Villard, The Past and Present of the Pike's Peak Gold Regions (ed. by LeRoy R. Hafen, Princeton, 1932), pp. 10-16.
7. Hafen, Colorado Gold Rush, pp. 73, 74.
8. Lawrence Herald of Freedom, November 13, 1858; Kansas City (Mo.) Journal of Commerce, October 19, 1858; Lawrence Republican, November 4, 1858. -- Cited in Hafen, Colorado Gold Rush, pp. 91-98, 105-111.
9. Villard, op. cit., pp. 18-34.
10. Berea (Ohio) Enterprise, December 23, 1920; Cleveland (Ohio) Plain Dealer, December 23, 1920.
11. Cleveland (Ohio) Leader, September 20, 23, 1858.
12. Ibid., October 8, 1858.
13. Ibid., October 20, December 25, 1858.
14. Hafen, Guidebooks, pp. 84, 85, 147, 151, notes a guidebook written by William Hartley and T. C. Dickson offered for sale by Chicago and St. Louis book sellers at $1 a copy and another written by William B. Parsons published at Lawrence and priced at 25¢.
15. Cleveland (Ohio) Leader, September 13, 1858.
16. Ibid., January 6, 1859.
17. Ibid., February 26, 1859.
18. Ibid., March 3, 15-18, 22, 1859.
19. "Ock" is used for "o'clock" throughout the journal. Apparently Salisbury traveled from Cleveland to Toledo on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railroad.
20. He must have traveled from Toledo to Springfield by the Wabash railroad and from Springfield to St. Louis by the St. Louis, Alton and Chicago railroad, as did Charles C. Post whose diary appears in LeRoy R. Hafen, ed., Overland Routes to the Gold Fields, 1859, From Contemporary Diaries, v. 11, Southwest Historical Series (Glendale, Cal., 1942), pp. 22-55.
21. He likely traveled over the Missouri Pacific railroad from St. Louis to Jefferson City.
22. Salisbury stayed at his Uncle Atwell's near California, Mo., for about two weeks after which he joined a party heading for the gold region.
23. Just who the other members of his party were Salisbury does not specify, although he refers to several other members from time to time in the entries that follow.
24. It is of course impossible to determine exactly how many argonauts set out for Pike's Peak. Returning Santa Fe traders reaching Kansas City on May 25, about four weeks after Salisbury started from Missouri and therefore having probably passed him on the trail, reported that between Arkansas crossing and Council Grove 5,214 men, 220 women, 1,351 wagons, 7,375 oxen, 632 horses and 381 mules were heading for the gold region. They added that the Pike's Peakers east of Council Grove "exceeded those beyond." -- Kansas City Journal of Commerce, quoted in Bieber, loc. cit., p. 365, and in Hafen, Colorado Gold Rush, p. 316.
25. This was no doubt present-day Lees Summit, although in 1859 there was no town at this point.
26. Westport, along with Independence and earlier Franklin, had long been a principal outfitting center for the Santa Fe traders, and it is here where Salisbury and his party picked up the Santa Fe trail. A few miles to the north bustling Kansas City, only recently incorporated, was rapidly forging into the lead as an outfitting center. -- See Stanley Vestal, The Old Santa Fe Trail (Boston, 1939), pp. 31-33; also Federal Writers' Project, Missouri (American Guide Series, New York, 1941), pp. 244-247.
27. Salisbury makes no further identification of "Robert" who presumably was a Negro and therefore in the inflamed atmosphere of that time along the Missouri-Kansas border was suspected as a fugitive.
28. The party crossed 110-mile creek mentioned prominently in the William B. Parsons guidebook and others as a landmark along the trail. -- Hafen, Guidebooks, p. 172.
29. A later traveler on this same route pronounced Burlingame "the next best town on the road from Westport, being second to Olathe," quoted in Hafen, Overland Routes, p. 32.
30. This was probably Bluff creek some 21 miles west of Dragoon creek where Salisbury and party had camped the night before.
31. These Indians were likely Osages, Kaws or other "friendly" Indians who frequently begged along the trail east of Council Grove. -- Vestal, op. cit., p. 40.
32. Here was a half-mile-wide strip of hardwood timber, the last point on the outbound trail where spare axletrees, oxbows and wagon tongues could be had. The place name was derived from a council held here by the Osage Indians in 1825 with a government road-surveying party. -- Ibid., p. 55. It was at this point where, the guidebooks advised, companies should be formed for mutual protection, if this had not already been done. Usually, the company elected three officers, wagon master, assistant wagon master, and captain of the guard, whose word would be law in the crossing of the Plains. -- Hafen, Guidebooks, p. 173. The Salisbury party apparently had organized before reaching Council Grove, although the diarist gives no details of the organization.
33. Other travelers agreed with Salisbury on the beauty of the springs. -- See ibid., p. 174, and Hafen, Overland Routes, p. 83.
34. Lack of wood was compensated for by the abundance of buffalo chips which made a serviceable fuel. -- Hafen, Guidebooks, p. 174. From Diamond Springs to the big bend of the Arkansas, the distance was a little more than 100 miles. The trail crossed a series of small creeks whose steep banks made crossing difficult at best but the rains that came during the days the Salisbury party was crossing the stretch of terrain simply compounded the difficulties.
35. More superstitious members of the company may have blamed this on the unlucky day. It was on this same day that another gold seeker farther east on the trail recorded overtaking "a curiosity in the shape of a wind wagon . . . a four wheeled vehicle, about nine feet across schooner rigged a very large sail." -- Hafen, Overland Routes, p. 29.
36. This bridge had been built in 1858 "by Gains & Wheeler, the owners of it and the ranch." There was also a ferry at this point. -- Ibid., pp. 37, 38.
37. Salisbury must have made an error here. Certainly he meant Walnut creek where Bill Allison, "a one-armed plainsman," maintained a trading post.
38. This word's letters are obscure and garbled in the long-hand diary, but it probably means Kiowa.
39. Pawnee Rock, otherwise known as Painted Rock, was the best-known landmark on the Santa Fe trail. The soft sandstone face jutted sharply upwards to a height of 40 feet visible for some ten miles. Many travelers carved on its face not only initials and names but brief verses and messages for later travelers. -- Vestal, op. cit., p. 114.
40. Many of those who had started out for the gold regions with high hopes and with signs on their wagons reading "Pike's Peak or Bust," finding little or no gold in the mountains or finding the rigors of the Plains too much for them were now heading back East. Reaching the Missouri valley towns, they pronounced the Pike's Peak gold excitement a "hoax" and "the most stupendous humbug ever perpetrated upon the American people." -- Clyde B. Davis, The Arkansas (The Rivers of America Series, New York, 1940), p. 33. Men who had set out joyfully singing
"Take up the oxen, boys, and harness up the mules;
Pack away provisions and bring along the tools;
The pick and shovel, and a pan that won't leak;
And we'll start for the gold mines. Hurrah for the Peak!"
were now returning homeward to burn in effigy editors who had spread the gold reports and particularly those like D. C. Oakes who had prepared guidebooks for gold seekers. Disappointed argonauts chanted vengefully:
> "Here lies the body of D. C. Oakes,
Lynched for aiding the Pike's Peak hoax." -- Ibid., p. 34. See, also, Hafen, Colorado Gold Rush, p. 305, and Hafen, Guidebooks, p. 80.
41. This fort had been established in 1850 near present Dodge City and abandoned in 1854. In 1858, wrote one observer, "nothing of it remains except a bridge with four sides showing the outline of the walls which were of sod." -- Hafen, Overland Routes, p. 42; also Hafen, Guidebooks, p. 177.
42. This was a dreary and dangerous part of the trail. Hostile Comanches and Kiowas roamed over this area. The monotony of the Plains and "this interminable, abominable river" were oppressive. -- Bieber, op. cit., p. 363; Vestal, loc. cit., p. 132.
43. Here earlier in the century, a war party of Pawnees had felled trees in a grove of cottonwoods, thrown up a crude fort and fought off another Indian war party. -- Vestal, op. cit., p. 204.
44. The Salisbury party here entered the Big Timber just beyond the mouth of Sand creek, which he must have passed but does not mention. Another gold seeker who traversed this stretch just nine days later wrote that the Big Timber "consists of about two or three hundred cottonwood trees, very large but low and scrubby. We were very much refreshed in their shade, it being quite a luxury, not having enjoyed shade for one hundred and seventy-five miles." -- Diary of Charles C. Post, quoted in Hafen, Overland Routes, pp. 44, 45.
45. Bent's New Fort, built in the early 1850's, was located on the north bank of the Arkansas, opposite the present town of Powers, Colo. Brothers William and Charles Bent, builders of the fort, had just shortly before sold it to the government, which after converting it to a military post renamed it first Fort Wise and later Fort Lyon. -- Vestal, op. cit., pp. 163, 254; Hafen, Overland Routes, p. 46. Another traveler, Dr. George M. Willing, reaching here four days before Salisbury, sighed with relief that "Bent's Fort is a reality, then, and not a myth, as I had supposed." -- Bieber, loc. cit., p. 367.
46. This fort, built by the Bent brothers about 1828, served as a trading post and landmark on the Santa Fe trail for about a quarter of a century until it was destroyed by William Bent himself. -- Vestal, op. cit., pp. 163, 254, 285.
47. These were landmarks for travelers on the old Santa Fe trail which turned south and west across the Arkansas river about six miles west of Bent's Old Fort. The route to the gold region continued along the Arkansas another 50 miles. -- Ibid., pp. 254, 255; Hafen, Guidebooks, p. 178.
48. This settlement was established by the gold seekers of the previous fall on the east side of Fountain creek. It was the forerunner of present Pueblo, Colo. -- Hafen, Overland Routes, p. 49.
49. The original name was Fountaine qui bouille, meaning Boiling Spring creek, but converted by the gold seekers to Fountain creek.
50. This must have been near "Brush Corral" built by an army party a year earlier. To reach this point Salisbury must have passed Jim's camp, named for an old mountain trader. -- Hafen, Guidebooks, p. 179.
51. Dr. George Willing passed this same saw mill on June 10 and noted men washing gold here. -- Bieber, loc. cit., p. 373. The new town of Russellville, named for Green Russell of the original 1858 prospecting party, was located at this point.
52. Denver City had been organized in November, 1858, on the east bank of Cherry creek where it flowed into the South Platte, under the direction of William Larimer as successor to the paper town of St. Charles. -- Williams, op. cit., p. 124; Hafen, Guidebooks, pp. 77, 78.
53. Salisbury and party were headed for the Clear creek region about 40 miles west of Denver. This region had just received a stirring jolt of publicity. Actually, John Gregory in May had found a rich deposit on the north fork of Clear creek. Horace Greeley who had arrived in Denver on June 6, visited the Clear creek area a few days later and together with A. D. Richardson and Henry Villard issued a joint statement declaring "We have this day personally visited nearly all the mines or claims already opened in this valley. . . have seen the gold plainly visible in the riffles of nearly every sluice, and in nearly every pan. . . ." Regardless of the accuracy of the Greeley report, it was widely reprinted after its first appearance in the Rocky Mountain News at Denver on June 11, 1859. Since this was just five days before Salisbury reached Denver, he could not have missed hearing the reports whether he saw the newspaper or not. -- Bieber, loc. cit., p. 376; Williams, op. cit., pp. 126, 127. The Greeley report is reprinted in full in Hafen, Colorado Gold Rush, pp. 376-381; Cleveland Leader, June 21, 25, 1859.
54. Clear creek and its tributaries were lined with miners. One estimate puts the number on Clear creek's north fork at the end of June at 10,000 persons. -- Williams, op. cit., p. 126. Henry Villard reported on June 10 that "Both banks of Clear creek . . . we found lined with hundreds of wagons and tents, and thousands of grazing animals. . . . Since my first visit at least fifteen more sluices have been completed, and twenty more paying leads struck, along which hundreds of claims have been taken. . . . I estimate the quantity of gold turned out to be at least $3,500 per day." -- Leavenworth Times, June 20, 1859, quoted in Hafen, Colorado Gold Rush, pp. 373, 374.
55. This sense of relief and refreshment was shared by others who had been to the mountain mines for a time and then returned to the settlements just east of the mountains. Dr. George Willing wrote on June 21, 1859: "Have been to the mountains, and have got back, which is quite a miracle, when difficulties, dangers, privations and hardships are considered. The roughest country the Almighty's sun ever shown upon. . . . With all these discouragements staring me in the face, I will return to the mountains as soon as I have laid in a sufficient stock of provisions." -- Bieber, loc. cit., p. 377.
56. Gold here was sometimes found in decomposing quartz which could be shoveled in the form of gravel into the "long tom" or sluice with a riffle box attached to catch the gold. -- Williams, op. cit., p. 126; Everett Dick, Vanguards of the Frontier (New York, 1941), ch. 11.
57. Another prospector recorded the general discouragement: "Hundreds are quitting the mines every day, wearied out and utterly disgusted, while other hundreds were daily arriving, to be disappointed in turn." -- Bieber, loc. cit., p. 377.
58. This was on the main stem of Clear creek, otherwise known as Jackson diggings.
59. This town had just recently been founded. Named for a prospector, Thomas L. Golden, it replaced Arapahoe Bar, farther east on Clear creek, and in the 1860's served as capital of Colorado territory for several years. -- Federal Writers' Project, Colorado (American Guide Series, New York, 1941), p. 284.
60. Gregory's Gulch off the north fork of Clear creek where John H. Gregory had made a rich find in May, 1859, and where, it was estimated, some 10,000 men were digging for gold by the end of June in a four-square-mile stretch. Ibid., pp. 264-267; Williams, op. cit., pp. 126, 127.
61. Also located on the north fork of Clear creek.
62. This fur trading post, built in 1836, was named for its founder Lancaster P. Lupton, and was operated in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. It had been abandoned in 1844. -- Colorado, p. 367.
63. "Bents traiding post" was Fort St. Vrain, built in 1838 by William Bent and Ceran St. Vrain on the South Platte near the mouth of St. Vrain's creek and operated in the interest of the American Fur Company. It, too, had been abandoned in 1844. Fort Vasquez, about five miles downstream from Fort Lupton, had been established by Rocky Mountain Fur Company agents Louis Vasquez and Andrew Sublette in 1836. Destroyed in an Indian attack of 1842, it was partially rebuilt and later in the 1860's used as an army base in the Indian wars. -- Ibid., pp. 265, 266.
64. This was probably an encampment of Pawnees, settled down for the summer months.
65. Beaver creek enters the South Platte just north of present Brush, Colo.
66. This is the third station eastbound from Denver maintained by the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express line of stage coaches. This line, established by William H. Russell, had been running passengers from the Missouri river to Denver on regular schedules since April, 1859. -- St. Louis (Mo.) Missouri Republican, March 28, April 19, 1859, cited in Hafen, Colorado Gold Rush, pp. 288, 289, 299.
67. The Upper California crossing was the point at which one route of the Oregon trail crossed the South Platte. By the late 1850's and early 1880's this crossing had become more popular than the Lower crossing because of Indian hostilities farther north as well as the greater physical difficulty of negotiating the Lower crossing. The Upper crossing was situated near present Julesburg, Colo., and near where Lodgepole creek enters the South Platte from the west. -- Irene D. Paden, The Wake of the Prairie Schooner (New York, 1948), pp. 100, 138-140.
68. At the Lower California crossing, about 20 miles downstream from the Upper crossing, travelers on the Oregon trail forded the South Platte. This was one of the most difficult fords along the whole of the Oregon trail. It was located at a point on the river four miles upstream from present Brule, Neb. -- Ibid., pp. 106-109; Federal Writers' Project, Nebraska (American Guide Series, New York, 1939), p. 344.
69. These were of course wagon trains bound for the farther west over the Oregon trail one route of which merged at this point with the South Platte road from the mining region near Denver.
70. Here, near present O'Fallons, Neb., sandstone bluffs draw close to the river, and here, too, Oregon trail trains often crossed the South Platte and moved over to the south bank of the North Platte. -- Federal Writers' Project, The Oregon Trail (American Guide Series, New York, 1939), p. 76. This is the "junction" Salisbury refers to in the diary text.
71. A favorite camping place along the Oregon trail, located some 14 miles east of the present town of North Platte, near present Fort McPherson (built originally in 1864 as Fort Cottonwood) National Cemetery. -- Nebraska, pp. 348, 349; Paden, op. cit., pp. 100-102.
72. This stream empties into the Platte at a point just south of present Lexington, Neb. It became the location of a celebrated trading post and station on the Pony Express. -- The Oregon Trail, pp. 71, 72.
73. Fort Kearny was built in 1848-1849 primarily to afford protection to emigrants on the Oregon trail against Indian attacks through this region. It was one of the most important posts and supply depots west of Fort Leavenworth.
74. The junction of the Leavenworth road and the road from Nebraska City on the Missouri river was located at a point called Dogtown in the early days, because of a prairie dog village near by, some eight or nine miles east of Fort Kearny. -- Paden, op. cit., pp. 82, 83. Here Salisbury and his companions turned southeastward toward the Kansas settlements.
75. Salisbury may have come down 32-mile creek, although he does not so name it, to the Little Blue river. Perhaps "muddy crick" was his own name for 32-mile creek along which the Leavenworth road passed.
76. Under this date the Cleveland (Ohio) Leader reprinted a letter from a Rockford, Ill., newspaper, that mentioned a party of Clevelanders had purchased a gold mining claim at Pike's Peak, giving all their money and nearly all their supplies. After working their claims for about four weeks, they struck nothing. One man starved and the rest vanished. Except for the starving man, this item pretty well describes the fate of Salisbury's mining party in the gold regions.
77. Anxious to get back East as quickly as possible, Salisbury and his companions struck off on a more direct route than following the winding river course of the Little Blue river.
78. These are tributaries of the Little Blue coming down from the north.
79. The present name is Rock creek.
80. Marysville is located on the Big Blue river. Here the westward emigrants traveling the road from St. Joseph, Mo., joined with those coming up from Independence and Kansas City, although the latter might choose to cross the Big Blue at Independence crossing a few miles south of Marysville. -- Paden, op. cit., pp. 62, 63. In 1859 Marysville was the first substantial settlement encountered by travelers coming east from the mountains (the last passed by those headed west). For both it was a welcome haven for purchasing supplies.
81. He means the Big Blue.
82. This was Black Vermilion creek which was crossed by the roads from St. Joseph and Leavenworth.
83. Seneca was the point at which the road crossed the Nemaha river, which, although steep-banked, was not usually difficult to cross in late summer.
84. Granada is about 16 miles southeast of Seneca, and 13 miles due south of present Sabetha.
85. This was the Kickapoo reservation to which the Eastern Indians had been assigned in the 1830's. Originally including some 76,000 acres, the reservation was gradually being whittled down in size. -- Ibid., p. 471.
86. This place, named for the Kickapoo chief Kennekuk, marked the point at which the military road from Ft. Leavenworth merged with the Oregon trail from St. Joseph. Paden, op. cit., p. 59. It was located about five miles west of present Horton. -- Kansas, p. 494. See Eugene H. Roseboom, ed., "Charles Tinker's Journal, a Trip to California in 1849," The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, Columbus, v. 61 (January, 1952), p. 78.
87. Huron is located about ten miles east of present Horton.
88. Lancaster is about ten miles due west of Atchison.
89. The fort had been established by the government here in 1827 to provide protection for the Santa Fe traders. The town had been started by squatters from Missouri in 1854. It received its greatest boost when the famous freighting firm of Russell, Majors and Waddell in 1857 made Leavenworth the headquarters for its operations and later it became the terminus of the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak stage line. When Salisbury visited here in 1859, Leavenworth with a population of slightly under 8,000 was the largest town in Kansas territory. -- The Oregon Trail, p. 48; Kansas, pp. 234-236.
90. This was one of five ferries operated across the Kansas river between Kansas City and Topeka. -- Paden, op. cit., pp. 34, 35.
91. A quarter of a century earlier the Shawnees from Ohio had been relocated in this area by the federal government. -- Ibid., p. 21.
92. The name derived from a blackjack tree near a spring which served as a landmark in the vicinity. -- Federal Writers' Project, Missouri (American Guide Series, New York, 1941), p.403.
93. Unfortunately this undecipherable word appears to be the key to the meaning of the sentence. It was likely a slang expression of the day.
94. Georgetown was located near present Sedalia, which became the leading settlement in the area after the Missouri Pacific line was extended there in 1861. -- Missouri, p. 399.
95. Berea (Ohio) Enterprise, December 28, 1920; Cleveland (Ohio) Plain Dealer, December 23, 1920; personal interview with Salisbury's great-grandson, David Louis of Cleveland.
96. Hannibal (Mo.) Messenger, April 28, 1859, quoted in Hafen, Colorado Gold Rush, p. 306.