Death Valley in '49 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 581 pages of information about Death Valley in '49.

The wagons which composed the intended train were very much scattered about, having moved out from Salt Lake at pleasure, and it was said to be too early to make the start on the southern route, for the weather on the hot, barren desert was said to grow cooler a little later in the season, and it was only at this cool season that the south west part of the desert could be crossed in safety.  The scattering members of the train began to congregate, and Capt.  Hunt said it was necessary to have some sort of system about the move, and that before they moved they must organize and adopt rules and laws which must be obeyed.  He said they must move like an army, and that he was to be a dictator in all things except that in case of necessity a majority of the train could rule otherwise.  It was thought best to get together and try a march out one day, then go in camp and organize.

This they did, and at the camp there was gathered one hundred and seven wagons, a big drove of horses and cattle, perhaps five hundred in all.  The train was divided into seven divisions and each division was to elect its own captain.  Division No. 1 should lead the march the first day, and their men should take charge of the stock and deliver them to the wagons in the morning, and then No. 1 should take the rear, with No. 2 in the lead to break the road.  The rear division would not turn a wheel before 10 o’clock the next day, and it would be about that time at night before they were in camp and unyoked.  The numbers of animals cleaned out the feed for a mile or two each side of the camp and a general meeting was called for the organization of the whole.  Mr. L. Granger got up so he could look over the audience and proceeded to explain the plan and to read a preamble and resolutions which had been prepared as the basis for government.  I remember that it begun thus:—­“This Organization shall be known and designated as the Sand Walking Company, and shall consist of seven divisions etc,” detailing the manner of marching as we have recited.  Capt J. Hunt was chosen commander and guide, and his orders must be obeyed.  All possible trouble that we could imagine might come was provided against in our written agreement, and all promised to live up to it.


We moved off in good style from this camp.  After a day or two and before we reached what is called Little Salt Lake, an attempt was made to make a short cut, to save distance.  The train only went on this cut off a day or two when Capt.  Hunt came back from the front and said they had better turn back to the old trail again, which all did.  This was a bad move, the train much broken and not easy to get them into regular working order again.  We were now approaching what they called the Rim of the Basin.  Within the basin the water all ran to the north or toward Great Salt Lake, but when we crossed the rim, all was toward the Colorado River,

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Death Valley in '49 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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