June 13th

The travelers arrived at Fort William at the confluence of the Laramie and North Platte Rivers in what is now Wyoming, on Monday, June 13. In her diary, Eliza Spalding wrote “It is very pleasant to fix my eyes once more upon a few buildings, several weeks have passed since we have seen a building.” Contrary to what the women may have hoped, there was no room in the fort for them to stay, so the party camped outside the fort – all still sleeping in the large teepee.

Fort William had been built only 2 years before and was only 100 ft. by 80 ft, with a 15 ft. tall palisade. It was already known as the fort on the Laramie, or Fort Laramie. This structure was replaced more than once. (See the history of the Fort Laramie Historic Site at https://www.nps.gov/fola/index.htm.)

Narcissa noted in her diary that this stop was the first of only three times on the trip west when she and Eliza had a chance to wash their clothes. The last opportunity had been in Liberty, Missouri 42 days before their arrival here. An enlightening description of any trip west in a wagon train, which would have been substantially larger than the American Fur Company’s party, even including the missionaries, can be found at http://wyoshpo.state.wy.us/trailsdemo/wyoming.htm.

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