42 results for author: ssquires


May 1st

On Sunday, May 1st as they attend the funeral service of Mrs. Satterlee the Fur Company's boat suddenly appeared on its voyage up the river. This was a shock to all of them as it wasn't suppose to arrive this early. The captain refused to stop and it was later learned he had not been told about the arrangements to pick them up. "A new burden had suddenly been thrust upon Whitman’s shoulders. He, more than any of the others, realized the absolute necessityfor the protection of their small party while traveling through hostile Indiancountry. Unless he and the two women could get to the Oto Agency,about 300 miles distant, in time to join the ...

May 8th

Sunday, May 8, Marcus, Narcissa and Eliza stayed at the Methodist Mission for the Kickapoo Indians near Fort Leavenworth. Monday, they continued their difficult journey. Eliza wrote “This morning we leave this place and prosecute our journey through an uninhabited country till we reach the mission station among the Otoes.” Samuel Allis had ridden ahead to catch up with Henry Spalding and bring back the light wagon. Mid-week, he returned. After nine days of hard travel and sleeping on the open ground, they caught up with Spalding that week, only 18 miles from the Oto Agency.

May 19th

The spring rains had swollen the Platte River and made it very difficult. Driving the livestock across was a simple matter, the real problem was the wagons and heavy baggage. They found an Indian canoe that was large enough to carry about six hundred pounds. Narcissa wrote: “We stretched a rope across the river and pulled the goods over in the canoe without much difficulty” [Letter 26]. In this same letter to Whitman’s brother, Augustus, Narcissa said: “Husband became so completely exhausted with swimming the river on Thursday, the 19th, that it was with difficulty that he made the shore the last time. Mr. Spalding was sick, our two hired men ...

May 24th

On Tuesday, May 24, they rode for 60 miles and arrived at the Loup Fork of the Platte River late that night, to discover that the Fur Company’s caravan was camped on the other shore. Wednesday, May 25, now traveling with the caravan they passed some large Pawnee Indian villages. Narcissa described the caravan in a letter to her brother, “Now E. [Edward], if you wish to see the camp in motion, look way ahead and see the first pilot and Capt. Fitzpatrick, just before him, next the pack animals, all mules loaded with great packs – soon after you will see the waggons [sic] and in the rear, our company.” There were 400 animals, 70 people, and 7 ...

June 3rd

June 3 – On June 3, 1836 Narcissa wrote to her sister, Harriet and brother, Edward. It was a Friday evening and they had just made camp near the bluffs over against the Platte River. She describes the countryside as rolling sand bluffs, mostly barren unlike what they had been seeing the last few weeks. For cooking fuel they have been using dried buffalo dung as they had left them timber. They were brought their first buffalo meat by one of the hunters. Her husband, Marcus cooks the buffalo meat. At this time there are 10 people in their party; five missionaries, three Indian boys and two young men employed to assist in packing animals. She contin...

Have you eaten buffalo meat? Would you like it 3 meals a day with little else?

In her letter to Harriet and Edward Narcissa wrote, “I never saw anything like buffalo meat to satisfy hunger. We do not want anything else with it. I have eaten three meals of it and it relishes well.” Herds of buffalo have finally been seen and one bull crossed their trail. They “took the trouble to chase him so as to have a near view” and Narcissa and Eliza “got out of the wagon and ran upon bluff to see him.” In 1838, missionary Cornelius Rogers wrote “The [buffalo] meat is very sweet and easily cooked. Ten minutes boiling is enough, more will make it tough. The meat is sometimes “jerked” by being dried in the sun or over a slow ...

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 ...

June 19th

The missionaries were happy for the eight day respite at Fort William. Eliza wrote that June 19th was “the first Sabbath that we have spent in quietness and rest since the 8th of May.” Resting on Sunday was important to the missionaries, but the American Fur Company traveled 7 days a week so the missionaries had no choice but to keep going. On June 21, they left Fort William after having rearranged their belongings into packs for the animals and the smaller wagon. They left the larger wagon behind. The fur company left all their wagons. From here on, Narcissa and Eliza would ride sidesaddle. The next goal was to reach the Rendezvous 400 miles ...

July 4th 1836

One hundred and 80 years ago, on July 4, 1836, a party made up of men from The American Fur Company and a small group of missionaries crossed over the Rocky Mountains through South Pass in what is now the state of Wyoming. As we know, among the missionary group were two young wives, Narcissa Prentiss Whitman and Eliza Hart Spalding, and they changed everything. When Narcissa and Eliza crossed the Rockies through South Pass, they were the first two non-Indian women to do so, at a time when it was unimaginable that a woman from the East would survive the trip. Their achievement was to open the west for women and children and, ultimately, settlement. ...

July 6th

The American Fur Company party, including the missionaries, arrived at the Green River Rendezvous on July 6. Hundreds of Indians and trappers came annually to trade pelts, skins, guns, jewelry, clothing, saddles, bridles, tobacco, whiskey and more with representatives of the American Fur Company, which brought in wagonloads of items to trade. In addition to the trading, activities included horse racing, gambling, drinking, wrestling and even jousting in medieval armor and could continue for a few weeks. When the missionaries arrived, the Indians crowded around to get their first view of white women. Narcissa’s strawberry blond hair amazed them ...