After tea we returned to Mrs. Morrison’s parlor, where she kindly insisted on my again reposing myself on the little bed, to recruit me, as she said, for the ensuing day’s journey. My husband, in the mean time, went to look after the accommodation of his men and horses.
During the conversation that ensued, I learned that Mrs. Morrison had passed much time in the neighborhood of my recent home in Oneida County, that many of the friends I had loved and valued were likewise her friends, and that she had even proposed to visit me at Fort Winnebago on hearing of my arrival there, in order to commence an acquaintance which had thus been brought about by other and unexpected means.
Long and pleasant was the discourse we held together until a late hour, and mutual was the satisfaction with which we passed old friends and by-gone events in review, much to the edification of Miss Dodge, and of the gentlemen when they once more joined us.
WILLIAM S. HAMILTON—KELLOGG’S GROVE.
The next morning, after a cheerful breakfast, at which we were joined by the Rev. Mr. Kent, of Galena, we prepared for our journey. I had reconciled my husband to continuing our route towards Chicago, by assuring him that I felt as fresh and bright as when I first set out from home.
There seemed some apprehension, however, that we might have difficulty in “striking the trail” to Hamilton’s diggings, our next point of destination.
The directions we received were certainly obscure. We were to pursue a given trail for a certain number of miles, when we should come to a crossing into which we were to turn, taking an easterly direction; after a time, this would bring us to a deep trail leading straight to Hamilton’s. In this open country there are no landmarks. One elevation is so exactly like another, that if you lose your trail there is almost as little hope of regaining it as of finding a pathway in the midst of the ocean.
The trail, it must be remembered, is not a broad highway, but a narrow path, deeply indented by the hoofs of the horses on which the Indians travel in single file. So deeply is it sunk in the sod which covers the prairies, that it is difficult, sometimes, to distinguish it at a distance of a few rods.
It was new ground to Mr. Kinzie, whose journeys from the Portage to Chicago had hitherto been made in the direct route by Kosh-ko-nong. He therefore obliged Mr. Morrison to repeat the directions again and again, though Plante, our guide, swaggered and talked big, averring that “he knew every hill and stream and point of woods from that spot to Chicago.”
We had not proceeded many miles on our journey, however, before we discovered that Monsieur Plante was profoundly ignorant of the country, so that Mr. Kinzie was obliged to take the lead himself, and make his way as he was best able, according to the directions he had received. Nothing, however, like the “cross trails” we had been promised met our view, and the path on which we had set out diverged so much from what we knew to be the right direction, that we were at length compelled to abandon it altogether.