I left Cripple Creek, a great Gold Camp, October 3rd at 2:40 p.m. in company with William H. Green of San Francisco over the Midland terminal and Santa Fe Railroad, arriving at Colorado Springs 7 p.m.. Trains not making connection, we remained all night and took the 6:20 a.m. train for La Juanita. Arriving at 9:20 we made connections with the through California train. We took the Sleeper and settled down for balance of trip. Made quite a stop at Trinidad were so many coal mines are located and was surprised to see a large town with many fine buildings. To dinner and proceeded through a barren country, although a very fertile soil would make a great farming country had they the water.
Arrived at Albuquerque 2:05 a.m. Morning of the fifth but was asleep and could not see the town. Arrived at Gallup for breakfast and had a view of the Navajo Indians and the reservation about 4 miles distant. All along the line west to Navajo Springs, we saw groups of Indians and squaws herding large bands of sheep and goats together. Partook dinner at Winslow. Gallup has an abundance of coal. Ratoon Pass at the Tunnel is the dividing line between Colorado and New Mexico. Altitude 7622 feet. Tunnel 2000 feet long. From the Tunnel to the bottom of the pass 10 miles where the Great Plains began to open in view. Now and than an occasional Mexican village is seen. The Navajo Indians are very friendly. At reservation, they have 3 millions of sheep and 3000 cattle.
Shortly before reaching the Arizona line, the Continental Divide is crossed and the river begins at once to flow towards the West. One of the chiefs was asked if he was happy. “Yes, Indian always happy. White man no happy. He lie, cheat and steal.”
Arrived at Williams, 6 p.m., and partook of a bountiful supper. Courses as follows: fried tripe and noodles, scrambled eggs, lobster salad, fried bacon, rolls, cucumbers, beefsteak cake, peaches and cream asparagus. Arrived at the Colorado River 6 a.m., morning of the sixth. Crossed the river over an immense bridge and was on the California side. In one hour, we arrived at the Needles and took breakfast. Had considerable curiosity to see the Indians and squaws. Not long in waiting before they were thick around the train. The young squaws were rather interesting and not bad looking. Soon arrived at Edison, where there was immense beds of crystallized salt. Arrived at Barstow, 2:34 dinner. Altitude 2000 feet. Hot, don’t say a word leaves never fall off only to allow new ones to take their place. The few silver mines at Daggett. Still in the desert with the foothills in the distance and some of them very picturesque. The Needles in the distance look fine. 3 p.m. on the sixth we start for Mohave. Our destination by rail, 1380 miles.
Wednesday seventh day, fine, and busied ourselves getting supplies for our trip on the prospecting. Horses were away, so remained until the morning of the ninth. When we hitched a pair of wild mules and started across the desert for the Gold Hill’s. On the first night at Mohave, the mosquitoes nearly ate us up. Fortunately we had a good trip and arrived at Cow Wells for dinner. After dinner we made all necessary repairs on the wagon And filled our water barrel and started for the hills. Went about 6 miles and camped for the night. Could not sleep good. So counted the stars. Sunday we went a short distance and camped again. Kept good hours, and retired about seven o’clock. I found a large turtle and brought him to camp and tied him up. Several days later, the poor fellow died. We prospected near Rainsburg Range until Tuesday evening 13th. Then came to Cow Wells Wednesday morning. We started for the Golar District to prospect for gold veins. After all days, tramp over the hills and getting nothing but expectation we again came to town. Got supper and retired to the old corral, spread our blankets and retired for the night between the horses and burros did not sleep much.
Thursday the 14th, we again got ready and started out once more ready for business. After tramping around for five hours, we found a quartz ledge and located same. Tired out and hungry, we again went to town and resumed our every day’s occurrence retiring at 7:30. Slept first in the moonlight. So far have not had a cold, although it gets very cool towards morning and feel like covering up our heads. Friday morning, we get our water, hay and grub and start up again for a three day trip. Prospected a little and about sundown we halted at the Colorado camp near a small spring and one lonely tent with a solitary man seeking gold. Once was a railroad conductor. We got the horses out and started a fire got supper, then went to visit our newly made friend, Ed Harrington. Had a pleasant chat and wrote up my diary to date. Coyotes thick, but amidst all these we retired and had a good old sleep. At the distance we saw heavy clouds and lightning, but we escaped the rain.
17th out all day prospecting with poor results. After partaking of a bean supper we retired early and had a good sleep.
Sunday 18th was up at sunrise got breakfast and took a small walk. For dinner we had bread, tea and fried chipmunk, which was a rare dish to that writer. Weather so far fine, night cool. Altitude 6000 feet. Monday still fine and with the miners good expectation we started out for a new location, found good veins, but no colors. So came to camp, got our dinner, which was not very scrumptious and then broke camp for a new field. After traveling several hours, we came to the base of the hill, and it was near night and horses tired. We camped for the night had a glorious sleep and woke at 6:30 a.m. refreshed and ready for another day’s look around. Nothing very encouraging, we got dinner and left for Cow Wells after our mail and supplies of water and feed for horses. Arrived about suppertime; got only one letter and that was the one I was looking for from my little wife. That gave me cheer and early Wednesday morning 21st we got ready and started for the new camp of our Rainsburg go. Arriving there at 4 p.m. we settled our camping ground and made ready for the night. The wind blew strong and at times, we thought the old wagon would go over, though we stood it all right and slept fairly well.
Thursday 22nd, we were up early and discovered it threatened rain. Partook of a breakfast and now waiting results. The town is very quiet for a mining camp, so it did not take long to look it over. Clears off, and we take in the different quartz claims and important shippers. After learning the character of the different rock and course of veins we worked along the supposed mineral belt, but came in a little discouraged as a natural consequence to the weary and toil worn prospector. Saw several good-looking quartz veins of boulders, but we did not even get a color. After dinner, we do our panning and repeat our morning tramp, of course with nearly same results. Get supper and retired to our bed at 7:30 p.m.
Friday 23rd, we are up early and after breakfast we discover a number of people locating town lots so, we not wishing to be behind, set our stakes on it too lots near the business street. After this we again made a tour around the mineral belt found some good looking rock and made at one location, but no free gold in sight and was again disappointed in not finding in our old gold pan. This we repeated all day with like results. Retire early as unusual. Town very tame for a new mining town.
Saturday 24th, we partook a breakfast, harnessed our horses and were off for the hills. We prospected all day near the gulches and foothills and about 3 p.m. started for Cow Wells after our mail and more supplies. Water at Rainsburg selling at a dollar fifty per barrel and hay a dollar and a quarter per pound. Arriving at Cow Wells after dark, we put up our horses and went to the restaurant and got a good square meal. Tired out and threw myself down on a barrel stave hammock in front of door and was soon asleep and getting cold, I awoke and found myself alone, and it was near 10 o’clock, so I crawled off to bed.
Sunday 25th, we were up and got our supplies already and whilst writing our letters home made a discovery that it was Sunday, and not Saturday as we supposed, but having everything ready we drove over to the foothills some 10 miles and camped for the night with much encouragement for the week to follow.
Monday 26th. at 630 got breakfast: consisting of hash potatoes, potted ham and a good cup of coffee. Not feeling very well, we took the morning easy prospecting near the foot of the great Rand mine. Saw lots of good float, but nothing visible in it. 12 o’clock we went into camp, where we enjoyed a good hot dish of bean soup. After a hard tramp all day, we got supplies and discovered clouds rising over the hills looking very suspicious. We prepared for a storm, but it was too much for us as about 12 o’clock it began to rain and blow like Jupiter. We tried to sleep, but the rain came down on us, so we were compelled to roll our blankets and sit on them all night. It was a sorry experience. Took a cold, but was able to be around the next day. At the break of day, I was up and with much difficulty got a fire burning. Got breakfast and started for town, but before we got there, it rained, but we were prepared for it. Did not prospect, but a short time in the afternoon near town. Retired early, but slept, very cold the blankets being damp.
After breakfast 28th. We started for the hills and made two locations on good promising ledges, but we will await results. Came in a little after dark, tired and half sick.
Thursday 29th. Morning very fine, so we decided to take a trip up near Nugget Gulch, where in times past they’ve found a great many fine and large nuggets. On the hill opposite, we have a quartz claim and we spent the day in working the claim. After blistering my hands and digging down late 6 feet, we took our refreshments and prospecting a few hours, we left for our favorite resort known as Cow Wells. Our suspicions were aroused by threatening clouds that might terminate in a hard storm. It being dark we got supper and fixed our bed in the old wagon for the night and retired at eight o’clock, but not to sleep as the burros and a drunken man kept up a continual noise all night. My cold about the same.
Friday 30th. Morning is clear. We are up before the sun and feeling badly; persuade Mr. Green to drive me to Mojave and go to San Francisco. So we get ready and bid farewell to the Gold field of Mojave Desert. With more experience than we had on our arrival. Started for Mojave at 9 a.m. and arrived at 4:30 p.m.. 40 miles. Day very hot. On our way, I killed a large rattlesnake. He had eight or 10 rattles. Saw a large coyote, but our gun was empty except could not get him. Packed our things and took a room at the hotel, for we had to remain until 2:00 a.m. for train to the coast. Mosquitoes very thick. Consequently, could not get much sleep. Before retiring, I took a bath and changed clothes the first time since leaving home October 3. Dirty, don’t say a word. Appetite fairly good.
Morning of the 31st at 2 p.m.. We leave Mohave for San Francisco over the Southern Pacific Railroad. Had a nap and at 5 a.m. we arrived at Bakersfield and the lad came aboard yelling “Hot coffee.” We took a cup and I stepped outside. When I returned my overcoat was gone and no trace of it could be found! The conductor at first station telegraphed back and no trace so far. We are not traveling along at a good speed on the saguan-valero. At 3 p.m. we came to the Sacramento River, and it was a great change from the desert. Very soon came to the large Wheat Warehouses and saw large steamers and ships loading. About 20 miles of this scenery and we were speeding at a fast rate and passed through Berkeley, a fine city, which could be seen as far as the eye could reach. Passing this point, we soon came to the river and went out a quarter of a mile to the steamboat landing where we left the train or boat and was soon on our way for San Francisco. In 30 minutes we landed and took cars for Mrs. Clark’s, Mr. Green’s daughter. Finding no person home we waited, and in a few minutes they came home. From there we left by electric cars to Gum Forest, some 3 miles distant, Mr. Gray’s old home. It is a beautiful spot and was made welcome. Retired early and had a glorious good sleep.
Sunday morning I awoke at eight o’clock and felt much refreshed after a good night’s sleep. Morning was spent and looking around and seeing the surrounding country. Being tired, I did not go out in the evening.
Monday, November 1. Awoke it eight o’clock and hurried up for breakfast. After lunch, Leo Green took me for a drive with his 2:40 horse. Went through the park, which is very fine and enjoyed the drive very much. After that I took the cars and went through the principal streets of Chinatown, which was rather interesting. All quite busy, and scarcely any women to be seen in the business places. Had lunch and continued my site seeing. Weather fine, but cool in the shade. Came out to Gum Forest for a short time. Then went back to the city. For more site seeing. Took the city in by gaslight, but having no person with me, I did not make it a very enjoyable time. Politicos was all the rage, as it was the evening before election. Quite a number of torchlight processions and all of glow with enthusiasm for the last gun to be fired when one side or the other would be victorious. Getting tired I wended my way home and arrived at 1030. Had a good nights rest and awoke at 7 a.m. refreshed and in good spirits-ready for a fresh start in a new direction. My cold is improving and with the gum trees and ocean breezes I’m inclined to believe that great results will be perceived. Well after breakfast I boarded the cars, not knowing just what direction to take. So in a few minutes, I made up my mind to go to the Cliff House, bordering on the Pacific Coast and headed my way in that direction. Before getting there, I fell in with Senator Walcott’s brother, and had a pleasant chat. He was also going to the Cliff and after arriving there, he took me around, showing me all points of interest. The day was delightful and the sea breeze was refreshing and made me feel like old times when I used to be at the old St. Mary’s Bay. The Cliff House is over the beach and 40 feet distant is several large rocks upon which is hundreds of sea lions and is indeed very interesting. From there, I visited the Garden’ s bathhouses, and many points of interest, which without any exception one of the grandest sights I ever saw. The sea breeze was fine, looked at the ground over thoroughly and then came to Strawberry Hill, where we could see the Pacific Ocean and City, around the Hill elevated is a large lake and many boats were skipping along from there. I made my decent and walked through the Park to the Golden Gate where I took cars to the City and Gum Forest. Took two hours to get home, and all for five cents. After supper, George Green invited his mother and a lady friend with myself to go to the city to get returns from the election. Went to many points of interest after partaking of a lunch and satisfying ourselves that McKinley was our next president. We arrived home at 12:30 a.m..
Wednesday, November 4, 1996. Morning fine, and as we did not get up very early, I did not leave for the city until after dinner. Spent most of the afternoon in site seeing. Not going to any place in particular. Came home and after supper, I made tracks for bed being tired out and sleepy. Nothing of note transpiring worthy of note. Weather still fine and prospects of a good day tomorrow.
Thursday, November 5. Left at 7:30 and took a long walk towards beach. Towards noon myself, Mrs. Green, and the lady friend went over to the Cliff House on the Pacific Ocean, spent a pleasant time visiting all points of interest. Watched with much interest the sea lions and many males fighting for mastery on certain points of rock. Also visited the parks and returned home at 6 p.m. Being tired, we did not go out and retired early. The day was fine with a slight breeze at the beach.
Friday sixth. Up at 7: 30 and took my usual walk. Had to wait for breakfast, consequently did not get started for the city before 10 o’clock. The first thing of interest that I visited was the US Mint, which was indeed very interesting. Saw one vault that contain 21 millions of silver dollars, and in four of them combined 52 millions. Saw them make the coins at the rate of several thousand per hour. The machinery was very fine. The flywheel alone weighed 9 tons. Our guide was very courteous and answered all questions with pleasure. Next I went to the State Mineral Bureau and the different minerals from all over the state was interesting and I spent several hours and looking them over. I left my name with two specimens from the Geneva Mine. From there I partook of a small lunch consisting of soup, pork and beans, vegetables, cup of tea, bread pudding and a bottle of wine all for $.15. From there I went to the Academy Of Science, I spent 1 1/2 hours more viewing the different animals and everything too numerous to mention from all parts of the world and it was very enjoyable, and the time well spent. As a matter of fact, I have no just cause to complain for the moments fly fast and with a rousing good appetite, I feel fitted for anything that appears on the scene. After supper, which consisted of a good eastern oyster stew and good look of the many beautiful ladies.
Saturday’s seventh. Spent most of the day looking around the city and catching glimpses of what I have missed before. Called on the insurance man and had a very pleasant trip all around. After supper, a party of five started for the Chutes and had a lovely time. The different places of amusement was enjoyed by all. We ascended to a height of about 200 feet and boarded a boat which was above the sluice full of water running and very rapid. All of a sudden, we were participated down the chute and with a rapid descent we bounded on striking the water with great force and the force bounded over the boat several feet in the air. It was very exciting. Then we tripped the trolley, visited the Haunted Swing and the scenic railway besides other attractions of interest. Last of all, a man walked the wire rope some 200 feet over the lake and went across and back on a bicycle. We’ve, then had lunch and arrived home 12:30 after an evening well spent.
Sunday eighth. Just up in time for church. Went to the Emmanuel Church to hear Reverend Gibson Will here say that this is the church where Durrant murdered the girls. Remained to Sunday school, giving people’s meetings in service in the evening making a full day which was well spent. It was rainy, so did not go around much. Home and retired early
Monday the ninth. The day being cloudy and damp, I did not go to the city until after dinner. We procured a guide and took in Chinatown, which proved rather interesting. Saw them in low estate and high as well, the lower classes were smoking opium and were slaves, to add. Visited the gambling places and club houses and houses of fashionable Chinese women. Was invited to one Club House to have lunch consisting of oolong tea and fruits. The furniture was elegant. The theater was not going, however, we spent several hours and saw most of the sites, arriving home at 12:30 a.m..
Tuesday 10th. After breakfast I began making preparations for my homeward trip. Glad and not glad to leave the city, but home duties are first and not too much pleasure for the boy. On a whole my visit has been one of pleasure and long to be remembered. Hoping some time in the future to visit the metropolis again, as I have reason to believe my health is better. Was indeed treated kindly at Mr. Greene’s and all of the family tried to make my trip a pleasant one. My laundry not coming, I had to go to head office and get it. As I had to leave on the 7 a.m. boat. I went to the city and stopped at the Alfa Hotel near the starting point. Procured my room and went out for a little more site seeing. Came in at 12 and retired for the night.
Wednesday 11th. Up at half past five and got lunch and was soon ready for my homeward journey. Glad to think of getting back. Crossing by boat to Oakland, we were soon on our way on the Central Pacific Railroad in a short time we ran the train of 15 cars aboard of a steamer and crossed over a short distance. The country is nice with large patches of peach, steak him and almonds and lemons with a few orange trees. At 2 p.m. we came to Dutch data and Gold Run an old-time Placers which Billy are now running on a small scale. For miles around Dilley they have washed the hills down and Gulch is making rather a peculiar sight. Saw a few Quartz ledges (small.) Passing over and around these winding hills, we arrived at the Sierra Nevada Mountains, who covered with snow and at once pass through 35 to 40 miles of snow sheds. It being dark, we did not mind it, as it would of been very tedious and tiresome in the daytime. So far the trip was very picturesque and homelike on account of the mountains. Took a lunch at 7 p.m. and took the birth for the night sleeping fairly well. Before retiring, there was two sick persons in car so I administered to their wants with quinine pills. Found them both better in the morning. At 6:30 we were called for breakfast.
Thursday 12th. Morning fine but chilly, some snow on the ground looking like old times. Sera Nevada range over 7000 feet. One stretch of snow sheds was 15 miles in all, 40 miles being dark, we do not mind it much. The forenoon we passed large stretches of desert land but towards noon we see a little more of civilization. After lunch, we rounded a few ladies and had a sing for two hours. Very few babies on board, so we sailed along nicely. At dinner station, I wired H.E. Bassford to meet me at 7:30, as I could not stop off. About 3 p.m. we came in sight of the Great Salt Lake, which was a change, and we were in sight of it for some time. Day fine, but rather cold in the shade. Arrived in Salt Lake City 7: 30 and remained only 10 minutes. H.E.B. met me and we made good time of the few moments allotted us. Sorry that I could not remain longer, but could not under existing circumstances. Time up, and it is goodbye and off we speed. Got a little lunch and retired at 9: 30 with the expectation of reaching Montrose on the following day and from there to Dallas Mountains Peaks from Salt Lake to Provo were covered with snow and by moonlight the site was indeed beautiful. Evening cold with a slight wind, a gentle reminder of what might be in store for the writer on his arrival at home. Feeling good and glad to be on my homeward trip and feeling better prepared for business and home duties. Arrived at Grand Junction at 5 a.m. and remained until 9 when I started for Montrose. Took lunch on the train and made good use of 55 minutes at Montrose calling on old friends and looking around. Left at 1:40 for Dallas, Colorado. Arrived at 2: 40 and at once called to see my sister Emma. Found them all well and made good time the 20 hours stay there. Left for home again.
Saturday 14th. In good spirits, morning cool and considerable snow on the ground looking like winters of the long ago. Remained at Montrose and called on Mrs. Ross and only had time to say how do you do, and goodbye. In 20 minutes we were off again for our destination Cripple Creek. Arrived at some Salida by D. and R.G. at Eight o’clock. Remained there until 10 and arrived at Florence about one o’clock, remaining there until 4:15, and started over the Florera and CC for Cripple Creek. Arrived at 7: 30 and at once started for home. Found my little wife, and David still napping and I need not add that we were all glad to meet once more after my six weeks separation. So is my journey from here to San Francisco and return covering 4000 miles.
November 27. Thanksgiving day I bade my friends goodbye and left on the F.C.C. Railroad for Seattle, Washington. After doing all the damage possible to the turkey, left at 7:30 p.m. After a couple of hours out we were delayed by a freight car off the track and with but little delay we started again. All night well, until we reach the junction when conductor Jack Brown, lost his brakeman and had to proceed to Canyon City without him. Finding we had to wait three hours, strolled downtown and to the Iron Springs, where I had a good fill of water. From there, strolled around town in to the Hotel until 1 a.m. where late we boarded the train for Salida arriving at 3:30 a.m. The night was cold and was again reminded that we would have to wait three hours. Of course, put in the time, as best we could, then at 6 a.m. started for Montrose. Over the narrow gauge road, On Marshall Pass, we had a thick snowstorm, and found 18 inches of snow. Made slow progress and arrived on time at Montrose. There another surprise awaited us, for at Salida, I wired my sister to meet me, but by some delay she failed to put in an appearance, so left with a heavy heart. Arrived at Grand Junction 4 p.m., and as a matter of course, had to wait for through train until 11:30 p.m. Nothing very interesting at this point, with the exception of a marked change in the size of the place. Growing rather fast, and a bright outlook for the future. The country around the Valley is looking fine and a marked improvement is noticed with the ranchland and the advanced state of agriculture.
At 12 p.m., November 28, I again started and arrived in Salt Lake City the following morning and remained the greater portion of the day greeting many old familiar faces. Visited H.E. Bassford and family. Spent the day well and left for Ogden, the next stopping place where I expected to meet my old friend, Charles C. Nowatny, and again was disappointed as he did not show up. Remained all night and in the morning kept the wires warm in order to find the lost. Not getting any tidings, pulled out on the 11: 30 train for Pocatello with the family. Good trainload, and in my coach was affronted with 14 babies, and oh my, was it not perfect bliss. On our arrival at Pocatello, I made up my mind to remain all night in and thus escape the tortures of the little urchins. Had a good nights rest and in the early morning was agreeably surprised to find my lost friend at the depot. Two happier mortals, you never beheld, and from this on we think separation will be a thing of the past. We breakfast and take a look over town with Mr. Chilson, a real estate and insurance man, who was very courteous and ever ready to give any information we wished. Will say here, this place has a population of 6000 inhabitants and goes to show a steady and prosperous turn for the future. The country has vast acres yet to be taken up and room for thousands of home seekers. At 11 a.m., Monday the first of December, we left the town for Boise That arriving at Nampa on the evening train and proceeded at once for Boise City arriving at 8:30 p.m. tired and hungry as two wolves. Secured a room and after supper took the town by gaslight. Rather a quiet little town, but a busy one and everything looked thrifty and by what we could learn destined to make a large and prosperous city. Population about 12,000. The mining industries are being discussed and old reliable mining men from Colorado claim there is good times ahead for those that care to take a hand in it. We wish for them prosperity and later on, we may appear on the scene. The trip from Pocatello was all right, but we had a worse experience than the previous day. For when we got fairly seated in our coach, we discovered with alarming surprise that we were again in a worse fix than ever before. In front of us and insight, we could count 17 kids and a constant noise all the way. We did everything to comfort them, but without avail, so there was no other remedy only to stand it. After leaving we soon came to the Snake River and later on to the great American Falls. At this point, the scenery cannot be surpassed in beauty and was a change to seeing the vast prairie.
Met George Bell and John Kincaid at Boise with the boundless sagebrush on every side. For miles we are in sight of the River, and that too affords some little pleasure, although the crying kids make it rather interesting. Glad indeed to arrive at Baker City getting clear of much annoyance. Arrived here at 7:30 p.m. and took refuge at a first-class Hotel. After supper we took a stroll and saw all the sites in a nutshell. Retired early, and when we awoke saw a good snowstorm for a change and it continued all day. Will here say that the storm followed us from Pocatello. We came across many old faces from Cripple Creek, G. W. Carr, W. S. Driver, George Bentley, Mrs. E. Everett and others. We showed around town and found out much of this surrounding country. Sumpter, but coming mining camp with now already 4000. The mines are producing much gold, and by all appearances, there is a great future for this field. We hope to return here sometime.
From Pocatello to this point, the advantages are great because there is thousands of acres of land, yet to be opened up for agricultural purposes. A great country for cattle and sheep raising. Every small place has many rich, retired sheep and cattlemen. Everything brings a good price and that speaks well for the farmer. Baker City is quite old, but it is now forging to the front. Good front country and most anything will grow. Trains six hours late, so we will wait over for the morning train. Good night.
Thursday morning, December 4. We got up early and found that our early morning train is 12 hours late, so have to take in the town and content ourselves with making calls. 16 inches of snow and all appearance of more snow. It’s nice and mild, so that makes it look like a charming winter’ and s day with the Merry Christmas of sleigh bells all over the town. Get supper and start for the train now due at 6 p.m.
Second day out Sunday, whilst waiting for a passing train, we discovered a tarantula about the size of a small saucer when spread out; but being poisonous we steered clear of him. Their house is about 20 inches deep covered by a trap door with hinges and perfectly tight. Then they have three stringers for ladders house lined with fabric and white like the finest silk.