Notes from the Past

Transcontinental Mail in 1860 - Part V

After refurbishing their gear for trip east, Roger Young left Denver on the afternoon of July 1 in a party of five.  The trip east was very difficult because of a prolonged drought and condition of the party.  Horses and men had been worn out by the difficulties of the trip and made slow progress on the eastward trek.  Other writers have noted the fact that horses were ill-suited for the stresses of the trails west.  Oxen seemed to endure best.  Some travelers swore by their mules (I suspect some swore at them as well).  Young notes at one point that they had spent three times as long getting to one point going east than the same distance had taken them going west.  (The first part of this segment may be read by clicking on the Previous link at the bottom of the page.)

Along the route he noted the traffic on the trail.

We were now about a hundred miles [east] from Ft. Kearney.  Immigration still continued to flow westward in a constant stream.  Up to this time we had met forty one [ore] crushers en route for the mountains and according to the estimate we made of people it could not be much short of twenty thousand.  Almost every day immense government [wagon] trains passed us enroute for Camp Floyd and Carson Valley.  They were mostly owned by Majors and Russell of Leavenworth City the proprietors of the Pony Express.  We met the California Express messenger going each way twice a week.  They always passed us at a very rapid rate.
After fifty two days the party arrived in St. Joseph, Missouri, where they spent four days recuperating from the rigorous trip.  The journal ends with their plan to board the train to return to Chicago.

Posted May 17, 2000

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