Journal of Western Travel
by John McTurk Gibson
edited by Weldon Hoppe
May 12th, 1859 -- Last night again visited us with a scathing thunderstorm, being now accustomed to it however we didn't mind it much. We reached Salt Creek today at noon (crossing it at the ford, the bridge road is two miles further up). And I shall never forget the sight I there witnessed up and down the valley on each side, some 500 teams in all were clustered together in little villages. The white wagon covers and as yet unstained tents adding greatly to the rich effect of the lively scene, while hundreds of wagons are pouring back, having met friends and acquaintances on whose statements they can implicitly rely, some of those are rolling on in all haste towards home, others again are drawing into camp for the night, and the unconvinced are seen pushing ahead, swearing that they won't turn back, No, not they! And yet probably they stop and question the very next team they meet, huddle together, linger a little, and then wheel clear around within the hour. We met 350 teams today by 11 o'clock, all homeward bound, how many more since is more than I can tell, quit counting and just looked at them passing frequently in strings a mile long and so close together that one couldn't drive between them. The report reached us today that an express agent named Bassit, who had been instrumental in getting up the humbug, was deliberately shot, another named Sparks, who was accused of forging letters, was shot some 10 miles above here a few days ago. And last night (I was told by a man who came in tonight) one Oakes from Pacific City, who induced a great many to go out, was taken and shot. My information says there is a board at his head with this inscription "Oakes The Speculator is dead, buried, damned, and gone to Hell," and to end this chapter of horribles, I am told the fellow who stole the horse, has been caught, and brought back, and will be tried and hung tonight. The boys are now gone to learn the particulars. All is wild excitement, and utter recklessness. And I believe if the same multitude under the same excitement were only within reach, they would burn up root and branch every town on the Missouri, for there they think the whole Bubble had its origin.
Travelled eight miles, put into camp at twelve o'clock and met over one hundred teams and I suppose we only saw half on account of there being two roads here. We crossed Salt Creek at eleven o'clock. It is about twenty five yards wide with a rock bottom and two feet in depth. We had quite a rain last knight, also knight before. We are encamped on Salt Creek bottom on a high raise.
Copyright © 1997 Weldon Hoppe