The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate

By Eliza P. Donner Houghton | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER II
IN THE TERRITORY OF KANSAS -- PRAIRIE SCHOONERS FROM SANTA TO INDEFENDENCE, MO. -- LIFE en route -- THE BIG BLUE -- CAMP GOVERNMENT -- THE Blue Rover.

DURING our first few days in the Territory of Kansas we passed over good roads, and through fields of May blossoms musical with the hum of bees and the songs of birds. Some of the party rode horseback; others walked in advance of the train; but each father drove his own family team. We little folk sat in the wagons with our dolls, watching the huge white- covered "prairie schooners" coming from Santa to Independence for merchandise. We could hear them from afar, for the great wagons were drawn by four or five span of travel-worn horses or mules, and above the hames of each poor beast was an arch hung with from three to five clear-toned bells, that jingled merrily as their carriers moved along, guided by a happy-go-lucky driver, usually singing or whistling a gleeful tune. Both man and beast looked longingly toward the town, which promised companionship and revelry to the one, and rest and fodder to the other.

We overtook Similar wagons, heavily laden with goods bound for Santa Fé. Most of the drivers were

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