October 3, 1841 — Hard Traveling

Sunday, 3rd. Traveled about 12 miles today, west.

And Jimmy John says:

3rd. We traveled about 12 miles today, a southwest course over sandhills and plains of loose sand which made hard traveling. We camped on the bank of the river this evening and killed a beef and a few ducks.

They are killing one ox for meat about every third day. What will they do when they run out of oxen?

They have run out of other things besides food. In the 1877 Dictation Bidwell remembered:

Some of our men had used up their tobacco and would do most anything to obtain more of it. I remember that some men cut out their pockets and chewed them. One man my the name of William Belty had a riding mule that kept in pretty good condition. He offered to let one of the men ride the mule each for a small piece of tobacco enough for him to chew during the day.

One morning Belty lost his daily allowance of the weed, and though he looked closely, he could not fund it. During the forenoon an Indian overtook us. He struck himself and said, “Shoshonie! Shoshonie!” We knew these Indians to be friendly. He at the same time held out in his hand the piece of tobacco. which he must have found after we left camp, for no Indians were around at that time. Belty was so unreasonable that he said the Indian was a thief and ought to be shot. I have no doubt he would have shot the Indian if I had not been with him.

Man Riding Stubborn Mule by S. Richards 1869

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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