September 3-4, 1841

“Friday, 3rd. Four or 5 Indians came to camp–bought three horses of them.

Saturday, 4th.  Bought a few serviceberries of the Indians.”

Bidwell & Co. were still encamped by a spring in the foothills, while Capt. Bartleson and one other man went ahead to search for Mary’s River. Their animals were worn out and under-nourished, and they stayed here a week to allow the livestock to recuperate.

Bidwell doesn’t say who in the company bought the horses, but he may have bought one of them. He didn’t start out the journey with a horse, but pretty soon, when he has to go looking for his two lost oxen, he will have a horse to ride. So either someone loaned him a horse, which seems unlikely, or he bought one along the way.

The local Indians—Shoshones—were happy to trade horses, game, or berries for cartridges and other useful items. The travelers were still wary of the Indians, because they never knew whether the natives they encountered would be friendly or not. But once they had established a friendly trading relationship, things went well.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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