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[source: The Living Age, Volume 6, Number 60  (July 5, 1845), p.626.]

From the Boston Atlas.



To the Editor of the Sangamo Journal:

WE have crossed the Nebraska (or Platte) and Kanzas rivers. It is now the 13th of May, and we are encamped on the north bank of the Platte river, where we shall organize preparatory to our arduous journey to the west.

My teams, wagons, cattle, and all concerned, have stood the trip, so far, (all things considered,) better than expected. My cattle are thriving. I kill all my calves.

The present emigrating party consists of about five hundred wagons---one hundred and seven are in our company---thirty-five are a few miles ahead, and some seventy are a few days behind. But it is impossible to speak definitely as regards the number of teams. The number of souls is said to be between six and seven thousand. The number of cattle is immense, exceeding, in all probability, ten thousand head. Our teams, horses, mules, ponies, cattle and wagons, stretched out in procession some three miles in length on the broad prairies, present a grand spectacle. The Caw Indians flock around us like crows. Their business is to "swap," ostensibly, but in reality it is begging and stealing. More or less cattle are stolen every night. These Indians are great cowards, poor and faithless. They meet you with an air of courtesy, extend the hand of friendship in graceful waving circles to all, and shake hands most heartily with any one of the company who notices them most---and the next business is "swap," "swap." In this traffic, the supplying of their present wants is the standard value they attach to their money. To all appearances, these Indians are in a wretched, starving condition.

The soil and face of the country, from Independence to the Nebraska river, is equal, in point of beauty and fertility, to any I have seen. Timber is very scarce; small groves, however, of an excellent quality, are found along the streams. The prairies are beautifully rolling---the soil rich and deep. The Nebraska river has shallow banks and its bottom is quicksand. The creeks which we have crossed, however, that empty into the Nebraska, have deep banks and muddy bottom; on some the soil is more than fifteen feet in depth. These deep channels and muddy bottoms have given us much trouble. Quite a number of cattle in crossing them, get tired; and sometimes we have had to haul from fifteen to twenty out by their horns.

Limestone is abundant on the prairies. A stratum of rock lies on a level, showing itself above ground in almost every declivity which passes its level.

Our road so far has been very good, although apparently not very direct in its course. I can say but little of the prospects of the Oregon emigration. I can now only give you a faint idea of its magnitude, and the character of the people who compose it. From the best information I can obtain, the number of emigrants will be five-fold to what it was last year; but you must bear in mind that it was then greatly exaggerated. Of its character, I assure you, so far as I can judge, I can speak in the most flattering terms. Agreeable acquaintances are every day formed. Gentlemen and ladies, too, of liberal minds and means, are in the midst of our social circle. Finally, there is something ennobling in the very idea of an expedition so fraught with consequences, so self-devoting in its effect. No narrow-minded soul is fit for Oregon. If such embark, discord and confusion follow; they will shrink from the undertaking, and escape to the States. But those whose minds are congenial to the enterprise, and present their shoulders to its hardships, their breasts to its dangers, and their means and talent to the accomplishment of its purposes, will, I doubt not, be well rewarded.

I fear we have more cattle than we can protect. We are now obliged to have one hand to every twelve head.

The emigrants are all in good health and spirits.

Respectfully, yours,

W. B. IDE.

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