Covered Wagon Women: Diaries & Letters from the Western Trails, 1840-1849 - Vol. 1

By Kenneth L. Holmes | Go to book overview

TAMSEN E. DONNER: LETTER II

FROM THE CALIFORNIA COMPANY

The following letter is from Mrs. George Donner, (one of the emigrants from this County, now on the way to California,) to a friend in this city: It is dated --

NEAR THE JUNCTION OF THE NORTH AND SOUTH PLATTE, June 16th, 1846

My Old Friend: -- We are now on the Platte, 200 miles from Fort Laramie. Our journey so far, has been pleasant. The water for a part of the way has been indifferent -- but at no time have our cattle suffered for it. Wood is now very scarce, but "buffalo chips" are excellent -- they kindle quick and retain heat surprisingly. We had this evening Buffalo steaks broiled upon them that had the same flavor they would have had on hickory coals.

We feel no fear of Indians. Our cattle graze quietly around our encampment unmolested. -- Two or three men will go hunting twenty miles out from camp: -- and last night two of our men laid out in the wilderness rather than tire their horses after a hard chase. Indeed if I do not experience something far worse than I yet have done, I shall say the trouble is all in getting started.

Our wagons have not needed much repair; but I cannot yet tell in what respect they could be improved. Certain it is they cannot be too strong. Our preparation for the journey, in some respects, might have been bettered. Bread has been the principal article of food in our camp. We laid in 150 lbs. of flour and 75 lbs. of meat for each individual and I fear bread will be scarce. Meat is abundant. Rice and beans are good

-70-

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