Journal of Western Travel
by John McTurk Gibson
edited by Weldon Hoppe
June 25th, 1859 -- One ox gone dead, and no doubt it would have been laid to the alkali if we hadn't known better this time. I believe myself that it was owing to the dust inhaled, while dying it appeared to have great difficulty in breathing, and died in convulsions. The wind blew a perfect tornado, the dust absolutely blinding, and to make matters worse, the road lay on a dry, parched up, desolate, barren, sandy waste, where no vegetation except stunted sagebrush can live. We are now ahead of both of the Salt Lake trains, and met another on the back track, going after goods. We passed a solitary little grave this morning, neatly rounded off, and fixed up very tastily, with a plain piece of board at its head, and eloquently carved on the board was the following affecting and appropriate inscription:
Here I laid my Dear little Monroe
June 30th 1857
How sweet, how short; but how expressive, no doubt some loving family moving west to better their condition and here in this desolate waste, perhaps the sweetest blossom dropped from the family bouquet. We are now camped on the Sweetwater, and consider ourselves half way to California in distance but not in time. Some of the boys are out hunting, but have not yet returned.
Travelled 15 miles. We crossed called Grease Wood. We came to the Sweet Water this evening. I have been hunting all day. I shot a young antelope about one third grown. We passed Saleratus Lake this evening, it contains about one acre. The crust on it is about ½ an inch thick. It is covered all over with this crust. It has been known to be 3 feet thick. It is very strong. We are encamped 3 miles below Independence Rock. I saw a young grizzely to day weighing about 60 pounds. There is a trading post and toll bridge by Independence Rock. The river is fordable, it is about 25 yards wide.
Copyright © 1997 Weldon Hoppe