|Extract of a Letter From Oregon Territory.
|Irish Emigration Database
|re going west
|The Armagh Guardian, December 2, 1845.
|The Central Library, Belfast.
|Document added by LT, 15:09:95.
| OREGON TERRITORY. - (Extract of a letter dated Oregon,
July 14, 1845.) –
"At the entrance of the pass of Sweet Water,
650 miles from Independence, 250 miles from Fort Laramie, 50
miles from the summit of the Rocky Mountains, and 319 miles
from Fort Hall, we expect to meet a company of sixteen men
and two ladies in the morning returning from Oregon to the
States; and this is to let you know that we are among the land
of the living - (yes, and living on buffalo meat.) - Our
company, consisting of 135 waggons, divided into three divisions, on
account of food, have been divided into small companies of from
eight to twenty waggons. I am in company of Colonel Taylor,
Rice, Risley, and families, from Ohio. We are all well. No
doubt you have often heard of crossing the Rocky Mountains;
but let me assure you the manner in which it is represented is a
humbug. We are now within three days' drive from Oregon
and the summit of the mountains, and since we struck the first
spur of the mountains, a distance of two hundred and fifty
miles, we have not ascended a hill as bad as the one between Hennepin
and Grandville - they are are [sic] very long. As to wood and
water, we have always found them in abundance. This day,
for the first time, we saw the snow-clad hills in the distance.
We have had several frosty nights of late. It is very dry and
dusty on the roads, all sand and soft clay. All the difficulty
as to roads is as soon as you leave the state of Missouri;
emigrants to Oregon need a pilot from Independence or Saint Joseph's.
Emigrants should leave Independence by the 10th of April, or
St. Joseph's by the 15th. St.Joseph's is the best starting
point, as it is 80 miles nearer, and then you avoid the worst Indians
east of the mountains - the Caws - and save ferrying Caw or
Kansas river, a swift, and, when high, a very difficult stream.
From the time you leave the Caw villages, there is no place that
will admit of a white man settling, as there is but little or no
timber; and none but on the streams, and that, with the
exception of a little birch, is all cotton wood. We have seen no
Indians since we left Fort Laramie. We are now on the
battleground of the Sons, Crows, and Shians. In summer they come
to Sweet Water, to look for scalps. They hunt no buffalo, and
consequently they are plenty; we see them daily in gangs of
from 100 to 700. There is not a day passes but our hunters
kill two or three, take a little of the meat, and leave the
balance for the wolves, which are very numerous. There are
plenty of mountain sheep and grisly bears in the mountains. Mr.
Thompson is with Ramage and Henry; this company consists of eight
waggons, all from Putman and Marshall counties. The first
company which went to Oregon this season consisted of three
waggons and nine men. There is no danger to be apprehended
from the Indians, that is, the Indians of the plains. There
have been but few deaths amongst the emigrants this season,
and those few have been children and aged people. Why, Sir,
it is almost an impossibility for a man to get sick in this
country; there are neither dews nor rains, occasionally showers,
but not sufficient to lay the dust." - American Paper.