August 28, 1841 — Shoshone Indians

Saturday, 28th. Company remained here. A Shoshonee Indian came to our camp; from him we learned that there were more Indians not far off who had horses. Several men and myself went in search of them. Having gone about 5 miles, up hills and down hills covered with thick groves of cedar (red), we unexpectedly came to an Indian, who was in the act of taking care of some meat — venison — which he had just killed; about half of which we readily purchased for 12 cartridges of powder & ball. With him as a pilot we went in pursuit of other Indians; he led us far up in the mountains by a difficult path, where we found two or three families, hid as it were from all the world, by the roughness of nature. The only provision which they seemed to have was a few elderberries and a few seeds; under a temporary covert of bushes, I observed the aged Patriarch, whose head looked as though it had been whitened by the frosts of at least 90 winters. The scars on his arms and legs were almost countless — a higher forehead I never saw upon a man’s head. But here in the solitude of the mountains and with the  utmost contentment,  he was willing to spend the last days of his life among the hoary rocks and craggy cliffs, where perhaps he, in his youthful gayety, used to sport along crystal streams which run purling from the mountains.  Not succeeding in finding horses, we returned to camp.

The Shoshone Indians inhabited present-day northern Utah and southern Idaho, living in small bands of a few hundred at most. Bidwell, as usual, is curious about the Indians, but not disparaging about their way of life.

Washakie (1804-1900) Shoshone chief in 1880

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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1 Response to August 28, 1841 — Shoshone Indians

  1. Cindy York says:

    HI Nancy,
    I am a guide at the California State Capitol. I am starting a research project on John Bidwell.
    I have only lived in CA for 1 1/2 years and have seen the name Bidwell quite often which peaked my interest. Also, my nephew is now a senior at Chico State. I plan on visiting Chico soon to do more research. I was wondering if you have any additional information about the Bidwells that may not be well known that I could add to my project?
    The Capitol is closed to the public still and any new information I learn I will add to my Capitol tours. My work email is

    Thank you!
    Cindy York
    Guide, CA State Capitol
    1315 10th Street B 27
    Sacramento, CA 95814

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