Narratives of Exploration and Adventure

By John Charles Frémont; Allan Nevins | Go to book overview
homeward; and toward sundown of the 17th we encamped again at the Two Buttes.In the course of this afternoon's march the barometer was broken past remedy. I regretted it, as I was desirous to compare it again with Dr. Engelmann's16 barometers at St. Louis, to which mine were referred; but it had done its part well, and my objects were mainly fulfilled. It had touched the highest point of its destiny, and would never be put to a less noble use-as the Scandinavians mean when, after drinking the health of the bride, the glass is thrown over the shoulder and shattered that it may never be used again.August 19th. We left our camp on Little Sandy River at about seven in the morning, and traversed the same sandy, undulating country. The air was filled with the turpentine scent of the various artemisias, which are now in bloom, and, numerous as they are, give much gaiety to the landscape of the plains. At ten o'clock we stood exactly on the divide in the pass, where the wagon road crosses, and, descending immediately upon the Sweet Water, halted to take a meridian observation of the sun. The latitude was 42° 24' 32".In the course of the afternoon we saw buffalo again, and at our evening halt on the Sweet Water the roasted ribs again made their appearance around the fires, and with them, good humor, and laughter, and song were restored to the camp. Our coffee had been expended, but we now made a kind of tea from the roots of the wild cherry tree. . . .*FOOTNOTES
1. James Bridger was one of the most picturesque and famous frontiersmen of his day. Born in 1804 in Richmond, Virginia, he had been taken to Missouri as a child, and orphaned at an early age. In 1822 he joined William H. Ashley's fur-trapping expedition to the headwaters of the Missouri; and for the next twenty years he roamed the West from southern Colorado to the Canadian line. He has been generally credited with the first visit ( 1824) to Great Salt Lake. Living by the fur trade, he was quick to note its decline. He turned instead to the emigrant business, and made Fort Bridger, which he established in southwestern Wyoming (on Blacks Fork of the Green River), and its accompanying blacksmith shop, a valuable station for all wayfarers. Long afterward he was to
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*
Frémont's record of his homeward journey to St. Louis and Washington, which latter city he reached October 29, contains little new, and is omitted.

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