Journal of Western Travel
by John McTurk Gibson
edited by Weldon Hoppe
April 24th, 1859 -- The past week has been one of unremitting toil both for ourselves and cattle. The sloughs deep and miry and the mud stiff, rendering travel very difficult, especially for untrained cattle such as ours. We are constantly passing and repassing teams bound for the same goal, though we sometimes pass a few bound straight thro' to California and Oregon. The spring is very backward, little grass to be seen as yet, and that only in the timber and sloughs. We have passed a few towns on our way, Brooklyn situated at the head of Bear Creek Grove, a small town that will probably increase rapidly when the railroad is completed. The survey runs a mile or so south of town. Newton is the next town of any importance, neat and thriving, with an excellent courthouse recently erected, at considerable cost to the County, and the finishing touch given to it by the citizens themselves, each subscribing for ornamenting the structure. This County appears well adapted for farming. We have had travelers luck in general, sometimes making good time, and sometimes sticking fast for an hour or two. Yesterday we crossed Skunk Bottom, the d----st place in spring, this side of h--l. We put all the cattle on one wagon, taking one at a time as did many others in company, and then commenced the yelling, cursing, whipping, pulling, floundering, sticking fast, falling down and rolling in the mud, far exceeding anything I ever thought possible to be enacted in such a short time. We spent three-quarters of a day in getting three wagons over, and pulled our cattle so that we concluded to lay over here, and spend the Sunday resting ourselves and them. Were I a resident of these parts, I would use every endeavor to have Skunk Bottom made passable, were it for nothing more than the morality of the thing. What an amount of cursing it would do away with.
We have been laying over to day. We are camped on high ground close to Skunk River. This day has been spent in hunting, fishing and washing, it has been a fine day.
Copyright © 1997 Weldon Hoppe