Author Archives: nancyleek

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.

July 11, 1841 — Making Meat

Sunday, 11th [and Monday, 12th.]. More than half the company sallied forth to kill meat, but the whole killed but 6 or 7 buffalo. Remained hunting and drying meat; killed today but 4 or 5 buffalo. Two days entries in … Continue reading

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July 10, 1841

Saturday, 10th. Travelled about 14 miles and stopped to kill and dry meat. Buffalo began to grow scarce. On the 10th they decided to stay in place and spend a day or two hunting and drying meat. Good idea — … Continue reading

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July 9, 1841

Friday, 9th. Travelled about 18 miles, killed ten buffalo. By this time on their journey the company had almost exhausted its supplies of flour and other foodstuffs. Bidwell had laid in extra supplies, because he hated the idea of living … Continue reading

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July 8, 1841 — Wind River Mountains

Thursday, 8th. This morning we came in sight of Wind River mountains; their snow-enveloped summits were dimly seen through the misty clouds that obscured the western horizon. Made about 15 miles today and encamped on the Sweet Water in full … Continue reading

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July 7, 1841 — Sweetwater River

Wednesday, 7th. As we journeyed, the mountains were high and naked; passed a pond that was nearly dried up, perfectly white with Glauber Salts, and in many places two or three inches deep, so that large lumps weighing several pounds … Continue reading

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July 6, 1841 — Independence Rock and Devil’s Gate

Tuesday, 6th. This morning John Gray and Romaine were sent on to Green River to see if there were any trappers at the rendezvous, and then return to the company with the intelligence. All hands were anxious to have their … Continue reading

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How Did Pioneers Measure Mileage?

Several times people have asked me, “How did John Bidwell know how far they had traveled each day? How did they measure the miles?” It’s a good question and I can only guess at the answer, but here goes— Attempts … Continue reading

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July 5, 1841 — Independence Rock

Monday, 5th. The hills continued to increase in height. After travelling 16 miles we encamped at a noted place called Independence Rock. This is a huge isolated rock covering an area, perhaps half a square mile, and rising in shape … Continue reading

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July 4, 1841

Sunday, 4th. Pursued our way over hills and dales, scorched with heat; came to a small copse of red willows, from which issued excellent springs of water. Three buffalo killed, distance travelled 22 miles. No one in the group, not … Continue reading

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July 3, 1841

Saturday, 3rd. Left the N. fork; a distance of 12 miles took us to a spring of cool, though unpleasantly tasted water. The day was intensely warm, and road mountainous; killed four buffalo and two deer. The Company is still … Continue reading

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