Lot 51 of 457:
1851 Letter-diary, Oregon Emigrant trip from Indiana to Missouri  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$390
$400 - $600

Letter-Diary of Oregon Emigrant's 50 day journey by covered wagon from Indiana to Missouri

Brandt, C.[harles] A.



March 11-May 1, 1851


Autograph Letter Signed, in diary form. Written in Indiana, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, from March 11 to May 1, 1851. 5pp.+stampless address leaf, postmarked St. Joseph, Mo. To Oliver P. Brandt, Logansport, Indiana.   

WorldCat notes a 26 page transcript of the diary of Brandt’s complete journey, titled “To Oregon with Ox teams”, held by institutions in Indiana and Oregon, but gives no indication if the contents of this letter are included.

There are 43 daily entries of the 50 day journey, detailing their route which took them across several Rivers from Indiana to Illinois, then across the Mississippi  to Iowa and south to Missouri, arriving at last at the border of the Kansas Territory. Many of the 20 small towns named in the diary do not appear in a contemporary Atlas, and have long since disappeared. While Brandt was originally headed for western Oregon, he seems to have first made his way to California. Oscar Lewis’ 1958 “Autobiography of the West”, includes the text of a letter from Brandt (whose name he misread as Branett) while in the California gold diggings near Yreka.

Many of the entries in the letter simply indicate the distance travelled each day, the weather and the starting- and ending points, but there are also comments such as : …got into a deep ford where the water is a half way up the wagon bed, it swam the oxen so they could not pull so I had to loose them…and jump on and ride to shore, got everything all wet, had to pull the wagon out backward up hill and all got wet in the creek… campt out in the prairie 8 miles from the nearest timber…have set a prairie a fire, grand sight … killed a prairie hen, had her for supper…fall in with a team bound for Oregon…We could not get any Bread through this country so I made corn cakes for supper they were good….Peoria a large place, 7000 inhabirants… several steam boats at the landing… rained very hard last night and then a hurrycane all day…killed 3 hens with my gun, two at one shot fifty yards apart… snow fell… the most they have had here this winter, we saw the Elephants track this evening... crossed the Mississippi on a steam ferry boat… got up before day and took a grand turkey hunt…saw several oregon wagons…saw plenty wild turkeys today but they were too wild for us…crossed grand river, fell in with some californy teams…the trees at the ferry was covered with names of the boys that went to californy last spring. There was 1400 waggons crossed there… an accident happened here… one oregon wagon stopt and built a fire to a tree, the tree burnt down in the night and fell across the wagon and came near killing the man and 3 of his children….where we campt for the night, the california boys that we saw on grand river came up this evening… catched some catfish this morning had them for breakfast, I went to st jo today in company with the californy boys. St Jo is large as Logansport, lots of emigrants for oregon and california, they ware crossing the river as fast as they can and camping in the kickapoo country opposite st jo…in st jo the streets full to Emigrants crowding on to the promised land…”

Lot Amendments

Pencilled handwriting very faded, but all text can be discerned by digital enhancement; small closed tears at fold intersections.

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