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1. Patterson Fletcher Luark and Michael Fleenan Luark, 1853 Oregon Trail Diaries

Howard Jablon and Kenneth R. Elkins, eds., From the Old Northwest to the Pacific Northwest: The 1853 Oregon Trail Diaries of Patterson Fletcher Luark and Michael Fleenan Luark (Independence, MO: Oregon-California Trails Association, 1998), 172-86.

August 18

(PFL) Twenty miles to day  left the river at the (Utilla) Indian agency and passed 15 miles of sandy road to Butter creek  here is Several traders  good camp  about 60 wagons on creek tonight

(MFL) left camp going down the creek 3 miles  climbed the bluff ½ mile to the bottom again  2 miles further is the forks of the road  the right hand going over to the columbia  I hear this is a very bad road  the left crosses the river in ½ mile  where is the (Utilla) Indian Agency  it is a frame house unfinished

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here is a large haystack fenced with wagons besid(es) others standing about by a register kept here there has been 1669 oxen 1914 cows 615 horses 151 mules  283 wagons and 1963 persons ahead of us at this time leaving the agency we raised the bluff and had heavy sandy road to a small creek with a deep narrow channel called alder creek (Butter Creek)  10 miles very good water here crossing we went up a mile and camped grazing our cattle in the hills on bunch grass  there is 60 wagons camped within 1 mile on the creek  cool and cloudy today

August 19

(PFL) Twenty miles to day to what is called Wells springs (Well Springs) being strong Sulphur and mirey at head  good grass  no fuel but a little Sage

(MFL) cool  our road this morning led up the creek south  then up a ravine to the top of the hill  turning to the west we had very good road 14 miles  when on going down into a ravine the road forks  the right hand reaching a good spring (Tub Spring) in

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about 3 miles but grass is very scarce  the left hand which we took led up a sandy ravine 2 miles among sage greasewood and some scrub cedar  then up a hill and over a ridge where we had a fine view of the country around for a great distance a dark line of scattered trees marking the course of the Columbia far to the right  4 miles from the ravine we reached a sulphur spring (Well Springs) in a valley  had sage for fuel and grazed our stock on the hills again  our train camped alone at this spring  the roads come together 1 mile  back – the Wallawalla (Walla Walla) Indians visited us last night and tonight seeking to trade – cool and cloudy again today with a sprinkle of rain in the morning – west wind continued  there is another spring of or two near by of the same kind (sulphur)

August 20

(PFL) Fifteen miles to day to Willow Creek  good camp plenty of sandy road today

(MFL) we started early  traveling over a high rolling country 15 miles to willow creek  we had very good road only a little hilly and dusty  we got a fair view of two of the snowy peaks (Mount Hood and Mount Adams) of the cascade range through the clouds and smoke  there is a great many emigrants crowding into these watering places and water is rather scarce at this point grass is good but not of the best quality = very pleasant

August 21

(PFL) Twenty two mile(s) to day to rocky creek (Rock Creek) and camped

(MFL) cold with a little frost  we started early  climbing a long but not a very steep hill  then we had rather broken hilly road

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but otherwise it was very good for 14 miles  when we descended into a narrow valley and followed down it 6 miles where the road forks  the right going to John Days (John Day River) 5 miles  the left to rock creek 2 miles  here is a fine little spring (Cedar Springs) but no grass to be had  from the spring we took the left hand road down the valley to rock creek – the valley continues narrow and in the lower part the bluffs become very rocky and precipitous  rock creek is a fine stream with plenty of grass of tolerable quality by going up the creek ½ mile  there is about 60 wagons at this encampment and (at) the last  the rocks here are of volcanic origin  some sage in the valley this evening of large size but no great quantity

August 22

(PFL) Eight miles to day  five to John Days river  after climbing the bluff we rested until evening  drove stock back to river for water and started at dark to cross a Desert of twenty five miles to the Columbia  This is not exactly a desert there being an abundance of grass but no water or wood  at midnight we stoped and rested until daylight

(MFL) from this camp we took down the creek (Rock Creek) for 7 miles to John Days river  through a narrow rocky valley crossing the creek several times  then down the river (John Day River) 1 mile to the crossing  here the road from the spring comes in  this is a fine stream but without any timber and enclosed with high rocky hills of volcanic origin leaving but a narrow valley with little grass  we had considerable sage of large size coming down the creek = after crossing we went down ½ mile  when we turned to the left up a narrow rocky kanyon and for ½ mile had the most difficult road almost on the trip being narrow crooked and filled with very large stones but not very steep  the rest of the ascent is sandy  at the top we camped

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having the best of bunch grass  at night we drove our cattle to the river for water and hitching up at dark we drove till midnight over very good road and camped again  having bunch grass of the best quality

August 23

(PFL) Reached the Columbia river and camped  haveing traveled fifteen miles

(MFL) leaving here we traveled till noon  when we entered a ravine and turning to the right followed it till the road takes to the left up a ravine – here is a spring 200 yards to the right down the creek 4 miles further we reached  the Columbia river for the first time  after going down a long but not a steep hill making 26 miles from John Days river  the river is quite low at this time leaving large banks of beautiful white sand showing that the river is extremely high at some seasons of the year  there is a little fall a little above where we are camped  the bluffs are of solid basalt about 700 feet high and very precipitous  P.F. bought a large salmon of an indian for 75 cts

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August 24

(PFL) sold a lame ox to a Mr. Cartright from Illinoise  he gave out on the Plat (Platte River) and I offered to sell him for 20  he got better and worked a good deal  and now for fear he would fail in the mountains I sold him for twenty five dollars  25.00

traveled Nine miles and camped near the forks of the road  where the left goes to the mountain pass and the right to the Dalls (Dalles) at the Des(c)hutes  I payed three dollars each for ferriage of the wagons and forded the stock

(MFL) we started early  going down the bottom over some heavy road 4 miles to Deshutes or falls river (Deschutes River) which is a fine large stream with a very swift current and deep channel  we swam our stock and ferried the wagons at ($)3.00 each – having conclude to go down the river from the Dalles with the ox wagon I left the train and proceeded on horseback

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to arrange for my passage  from the ferry I ascended a steep hill then followed a ravine to where it opens out among large masses of rock – here is a spring to the left – following the foot of the opposite hill to the lef(t) the road turns to the left up the hill opposite this is a great fall in the river with a fishing village of the Deshutes Indians  this hill is long crooked  and steeper than the last  from the top is one of the grandest views of the country on the trip  from the top the descent is easy with a steep pitch at the bottom of 10 mile creek (Fifteenmile Creek) this is 5 miles from the ferry – here lives a man in a log cabin by the name of (Nathan) Olney with a Squaw as his wife  from

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here the road crosses the creek goes round a point of bluff turns to the left up a ravine passing 3 springs within a mile (to) where the road forks  the right (road) going to the Dalles and the left to the mountain where it enters Barlows gate  taking the right I crossed a ridge by an easy ascent and descent to where the road crosses a point of the bluff   here by going 300 yards down the ravine I found a spring near the valley of 10 miles creek again  is another on the right near the trail  going down this valley I found oak timber at the mouth of 5 mile creek (Threemile Creek) 5 miles from the forks of the road  this is the first oak for about 1700 miles  crossing 5 mile creek the road rises a bluff and turning to the right follows the foot of the (bluff?) 3 miles to the mouth of the creek (Mill Creek)   here is a fine little cascade in the creek and also the far famed Dalles of the Columbia where the river has no channel but (goes) through deep narrow crooked vents in the solid rock  it is an awful place following the river bottom 2 miles I reached the Dalles – there is several small frame houses here(:) 2 stores boarding shanties and groceries in abundance mostly under canvass  also a post

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office lately established = leaving here I went 1 ½ miles and stayed with a yankee stock raiser by the name of Jackson living in tents and having a squaw for his wife  here I camped

August 25

(PFL) M.F. returned from the Dalls (Dalles) and we Started late  I sent the ox wagon and one trunk of heavy articles along in charge of Brother M.F. to Portland  M.J. and Rowland accompanying (him) to the Dalles to bring back the team  the balance went with us across the mountains  (camped on ten mile creek by Mt Hood)

(MFL) starting early I found our train in camp at a spring near the fork of the road waiting for my return  hitching up we left again  I took the ox wagon and proceeded to the Dalles and sent the team off on the wagon trail from here to meet the train  then I sold my gun for ($)15.00 4 lbs powder (for) ($)2.00 two boxes caps (for) 40 cts bullet ladle (for) 25 cts  a sail boat is lying here for freight but I dont like the prospect on account of wind  a little after dark I heard the familiar sound of a steam engine and soon the Allan made her appearanced towing another little craft (descriptions afterward)

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August 26

(PFL) the Boys overtook us on ten mile creek near where the road from the Dalls (Dalles) intersects that from the Deshutes (Deschutes River). This is a nice little valey near the timber one man is just settleing here  we left our last night camp at 5 P.M. and traveled five miles and camped in timber without water except a little hole with about a gallon

(MFL) this morning I got the wagon and other freight on board of the towboat and took passage on the propeller Allan a famous steamboat about 30 feet long and 12 feet wide  without cabin pilot house or any accommodation whatever  being made of sheet iron and having the boiler and engine in the hold  we started at 9 A.M.  going north about 2 miles  then turning west we entered the mountains and encountered a very strong head wind causing the boat to plunge about like a young dog in rough water  the scenery along the river is wild in the extreme sometimes opening out into little valleys – at others presenting almost a perpendicular front many thousand feet high  there is some large rocks standing up in the river at different points  on these the Indians bury their dead in a little house – at first they swing them to the roof wraped in all their clothing  when another dies they take down the first and hang the other in his place – when the house is full they leave it to rot down and make

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another  about 25 miles from the Dalles the water became so rough we were forced to leave the towboat with most of our baggage aboard of her  and even then the steamer plunged her head under water several times greatly alarming the passengers but we finally reached the cascades where the river pitches over the rocks making a perfect river of foam  here the boat stoped and all freight (being) shipped down river is carried 5 miles to the lower boat landing  there is a wooden railroad for 1 ½ miles with a wooden car drawn by a mule  from the railroad to the landing they use small boats – the charge over the portage is ($)1.00 for 100 lbs by measure and ($)6.00 for a wagon – board is 75 cts a meal or 10 dollars a week  being compelled to wait here for my baggage I hired to a Mr Griswald (George Griswold) who had charge of the portage of our freight at ($)2.00 a day and board – he lives at the lower end of the railroad  there is a

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settlement at the upper landing  one at the lower end of the railroad  and also (one) at the lower landing  this is an awful rough country  heavily timbered with fir of 3 kinds and other underbrush among which I recognize maple dogwood hazle (hazel) service (serviceberry) and some others  the hazle (hazel) and the elder grow to the size of a tree  wild cherry is small but balm of gilead grows to an enormous size 4 or 5 feet through these cascades are the greatest Salmon fisheries in the states or territories  but as yet they are only used by the Indians  there is an Indian village about midway on the railroad  all (are) fisherman

August 27

(PFL) to day we passed Indian Creek (Tygh Creek) where there is plenty of indians and brush   and the Steepest hill (Tygh Grade) to ascend I think on the whole rout  three miles thence we camped on branch (Threemile Creek) guarding our horses and mules

(MFL) I went to the lower end of the rapids with some other hands and brought up a large skiff in the forenoon  this is hard work on the rapids and rather dangerous  after dinner I went above with Griswald (George Griswold) for some freight  then went below again and brought up another boat  larger than the first  our board is rather rough but we have a change  the society here is of a low order  drinking is very common

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August 28

(PFL) traveled seven and a half miles and camped at the edge of timber  but little grass  the clouds looks rather Suspicious about Mt Hood  today one of my oxen is Sick

(MFL) Sunday  this forenoon we drew up a boat from the river and took it up on the railroad to the upper end  there is a large windlass to draw them from the river up an inclined plane about 100 feet high  after dinner we brought up another boat from below the rapids  there is no Sabbath here and more Indians than whites but they are very harmless and as honest as Indians get to be being good trusty hands to work  but they are filthy in their habits  and the squaws are a set of the worst kind of prostitutes

August 29

(PFL) not with Standing the threatening aspect of the clouds this morning  our company (consisting of J.F. Berry Mr. Dilts and Self) or a majority concluded to Start early  Soon passed the famous Barlows Gate  and commenced to ascend the mountain  passed two streams with Steep bluffs and in 16 or 17 miles came to a muddy creek (Boulder Creek) with a dangerous hill (Little Laurel Hill) to descend  here I came very near looseing my wagon and mules and my self over a

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Presapice (precipice) one mile up this creek (White River) we camped

(MFL) the famous Steamboat Allan returned from above this morning bringing our freight with her  I helped haul freight to the railroad till noon  then I went above after my wagon and other freight where I met with Hallak and family on their way to Portland  I found all right  got all safe down the road to the landing  Hallaks also camped here

August 30

(PFL) a little shower this morning  Started early  7 miles up creek (White River) toward Mt Hood  and then 7 more up to the summit of the mountain one mile down to branch (East Fork Salmon River)  after crossing which we had a peap at Mt Hood  this water runs off south west  one mile and more and camped on branch (West Fork Salmon River) which comes bearing down from Hood  ½(mile) to the left down the branch is a wet Prarie  lots of coarse grass here  late in evening the rain commenced comeing right down  rained all night

(MFL) this morning a small boat took the baggage  and I assisted to take a couple of wagons down to the lower steamboat landing  and all took passage on the steamer Multnomah for Portland  we started about 9 A.M.  taking a Batteau in tow soon after starting the mountains began to diminish in hight and

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grandeur  the river also began to expand like a long lake about 25 miles down  the mountains on the south fell back leaving a large bottom but subject to inundation  there is some settlement all the way down where the country is level enough  we passed 2 saw mills and one grist mill on the north side and touched at Vancouver  where lay a large Schooner taking in a cargo of lumber = 6 miles below we entered the mouth of the far famed Willamette  this is a fine large river but the land near it is too low  there is mountains on either side  a little way back from the river  heavily timbered with fir of different kinds  we reached Portland about 4 P.M. and I stored all my freight on Hoites (Hoyt’s) Wharf boat  Hallaks found their friends and went there I bought a pair of shoes at 175 ($1.75) 1 loaf of bread at 20 cts ¼ lb of butter 15 cts 3 onions 10 cts 1 pie 25 cts = eat my supper at the bakery and got leave of the mate and took my bed on the boat Multnomah still lying at the wharf

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