DIARY OF AN 1858 WAGON TRAIN JOURNEY
This diary of John C. Darr was printed in the Atkins (Arkansas) Chronicle 30 July 1909 through 08 October 1909
The articles were researched and contributed by Mrs. James D. (Earlene) Peak to the Pope County (Arkansas) Historical Association Quarterly. Quarterly Editor: Ms. Laura L. Shull P.O. Box 670 Dover Arkansas 72837-0670
The spellings, punctuation, and sentence structure in the article follow those contained in the reproduction in the Pope County Historical Association Quarterly. It is uncertain whether the deviations from present writing style reflect the writing style of Mr. Darr or choices made by the typesetter of the Atkins Chronicle.
Fifty-one Years Ago
Then and now, as seen by one who has passed his three score and ten mile post, and experienced the same.
51 years ago since the writer with many others commenced a journey of almost 1000 miles by the modes of travel used at that day and time and trusting that the readers of the Chronicle will be interested in reading this diary of every day travel as kept by him and can make their own comparison of the present as compared with the past. But if not interested the writer trusts that you will extend to him the hand of charity and forgiveness for having used so much valuable space of the Chronicle which might have been much better filled by others who are able to entertain you very much better than the writer. With these introductory remarks I will open by diary which I hope you will not condemn before you read it through.
Our first days journey commenced on Oct. 5th 1858, by leaving our old home and land of our birth in Lincoln county, North Carolina, almost in sight of the battleground of Ramsuers mill which was fough in the war of American Independence, 128 years, between those who favored liberty, and those who preferred to remain slaves under King George of England, properly called tories, and as it is well said that blood will tell, the truth of this saying has good proof in this case, as the same chopped out in the war between the states, the blood did tell.
The first day of starting on this long journey, cutting loose from relatives, neighbors, and our old home and stamping grounds, all our company bound for Arkansas, having collected from our neighborhood, moved out and passed through Lincolton, our County Site, crossed South Fork of the Catawba river and camped seven miles beyond. One days travel 13 miles.
Our train consisted of two horse wagons, old time carryalls, and carriages with good teams of horses and mules to all, and all supplied with good tents, etc. All the company consisted of sixty souls, crossed 1st Broad river. Days travel, 16 miles, weather fine.
Must tell how I got in a tight place at our first camp. Many of the neighbors came to our camp and amongst them was a pretty and attractive young lady with the good name Prudence, who made many remarks of regret because she could not accompany us as she had kinsfolks amongst us. The writer not looking for anything more serious than a joke remarked, "Why not go with me?" Oh Jerusalem! But she answered, "This is so sudden, but I will answer you in the morning before you leave camp." Now what was I to do? No trouble if her answer was "no" but if "yes" the d___ I would be to pay, as I could not care for myself, of course I would have to back down if yes, and treat it as a joke, but I done better. I hit the road and was several miles on my way at sun up. This taught me never to joke with a young lady on this subject unless prepared to foot the bill.
8th Oct (1858). Morning clear and fine. Left our camp early and passed through the town of Ruthenfordton, reached the main Broad river which we crossed several times. We were now touching the southern spurs of the Blue Ridge mountains. Days journey 17 miles, struck camp early.
9th Oct (1858). Left our camp on the banks of the Broad river early in the morning. Wound our way up the beautiful stream, as clear as crystal all kept flowing by fine mountain springs. So cold as to make your teeth rattle when drinking it. We now have a fair view of the lofty mountain peaks at considerable distance, and some of the finest scenery in North Carolina. Crossed the Blue Ridge at Hickory Nut Gap, one of the finest mountains crossings on earth. This days travel 19 miles, and pitched our tents five miles from Ashville. Then only a small village.
10th Oct (1858). It being the Sabbath we remained in camp, and attended church at a point called Gashur of the Presbyterian faith. Our camp lay near St. Peters school house in Buncumbe Co., N.C. I will remark right here that the present party had all agreed upon commencing this journey not to travel on the Sabbath.
11th Oct (1858). Left camp very early passing over beautiful country. A drive of five mile miles brought us to a fine and interesting village of Ashville, a place of many fine residences, owned and occupied mostly by citizens of a lower and hotter country as summer residences. On our way to Ashville we crossed the Swannoa river, one of the most beautiful streams I ever had the pleasure of seeing. It empties into the French Broad river near here, which river we came to after a drive of two miles, our way now led us down its banks right on the margin of the stream. Here and for many miles on down the French Broad river it is a very wide stream as its name would lead you to believe. It is very rapid, shoally, rocky and clear. 14 miles west of Ashville we struck camp having traveled 19 miles. Weather fine.
12th Oct (1858). Our way now leads us down on the banks of the French Broad. We are hemmed in by mountains on our right and the river on our left with passage so narrow that we scarcely had camping room in single file and leave a roadway open for passers of which there were many. Early in the morning we passed through Marshall, the poorest village I ever saw, presume there was one hundred souls there. It is 21 miles west of Ashville. Passing on down the river we camped 15 miles from Marshall at the Warm Springs after traveling this day 21 miles. The Warm Springs of North Carolina are a great health resort but not to be compared with the Hot Springs of Arkansas.
13th Oct (1858). A drive of six miles brought us to Paint Rock, where we pass into Tennessee. Near Paint Rock we pass the chimney rocks, a great curiosity, they are in North Carolina. The Paint Rock is said to be 1000 feet high and appears to lean over the road, in fact looks dangerous, but I presume it was planted there until eternity by our Creator. Days travel 18 miles. We take the road to Dewetts Bridge, and camp for the day
14th Oct (1858). Again we resume our journey. Cross French Broad on Dewetts bridge, the most rickety affair I ever saw. Dewetts bridge is built entirely of poles, trusses, floors, and all. Horses and wagons pass over any sort of a stream, much less a very wide and rapid stream. Pass through Newport, on south side of French Broad, 20 miles from Paint Rock. Cross Pigeon river two miles west of Newport. Pitch our camp after a drive of 19 miles. Weather fine in fact this is a very dry fall.
15th Oct (1858). Weather fine, started on our days drive. Take the Dentons ford road and cross the French Broad river at one of the finest fords I ever saw. I must explain here that owners of ferries on such streams had riders out on the roads traveled by emigrants whose business was to decoy emigrants to their ferries, by misrepresenting in regards to fords, and they had a rich harvest as the roads were lined with teams and vehicles. Some of which were bound for the promised land west of the Mississippi river, and others who were making their way east back to their former homes which most of them left only the year before. The horrible report that those made who were on the return from the west were very discouraging to those bound for the west, so much so that many of our females shed crockodile tears. The health of the country as they experienced it, being the main trouble, and they showed the truth of their stories by the color of their faces. At our camp that night before crossing the river people advised us not to go the ferry road as the route by the best ford in the world was the best and shortest and volunteered their service to pilot us to and across the river next morning which they did freely without charge. We found the ford as good as represented by them and much better than we expected. It appeared that the people had a grudge against those ferry sharps or were ready to speak truth to the emigrants, and do them a good turn. Four and half miles from the crossing of the river we passed a village of Dandridge, a rough looking place, but had a curiosity, a bank in those days in a backwoods country town. We go in to camp twenty miles from Knoxville after a days drive of 19 miles, we are now on the north bank of the French Broad, again.
16th Oct (1858). Leave camp very early, keep the main road until we reach the Boyd's Ferry road, we take it, but were piloted by a red headed, bear headed bare footed Irish girl riding bare backed on a small pony, to a good ford, where we forded the Holston river, the largest river I ever forded, but we surely needed a pilot. Although it proved a fine ford with a good pilot which our barefoot proved to be. I asked her why she took so much interest in piloting emigrants. She remarked that the owner of the ferry had robbed her mother out of a good home. I must say something of this ford. We followed our pilot into and up the channel of the river about one quarter of a mile where we came to a long island which we traveled some distance further up the island, when took to the other part of the river and passed down in the stream to almost opposite to where we first entered it, and we were then across Holston river, which is a large and navigable stream only in dry season s as this was. We asked our girl what was her charge and she said: "No charge." But most of the company gave her something and she well earned it and saved the company quite a sum of cash. The Holston empties into the French Broad not far below our place of crossing. We camped two miles from Knoxville after a days drive of 18 miles.
17th Oct (1858). A heavy white frost this morning our first for the season. Leaving camp, although it is the Sabbath as we would have to buy wood if we remained there. We passed through Knoxville, a large and thrifty town. Take the Clinton road, cross the first railroad seen on our trip, and after driving ten miles we camp as it is the Sabbath.
18th Oct (1858). Remained in camp until 12 o'clock noon. Take the old Emery road, took up camp after a drive of only 7 miles.
19th Oct (1858). Resumed our journey crossed Clinch river at Lee Ford, dodged another ferry trap, passed Oliver and Robertsville at the Salt works, broke down a wagon, camped near the coal fields, days drive 13 ½ miles.
20th Oct (1858). Visited the coal fields, secured a pilot who piloted a lot of us through the mines. We could walk straight up in the leads, but you ought to have seen some of those girls when the pilot talked danger talk. Drove 5 ½ miles a very rainy day, the first on our trip.
21st Oct (1858). Resume our journey, passed through Wartburg, a Dutch town, where are located several big vineyards. One mile from Wartburg we passed through Montgomery the seat of Justice of the county of the same name, this was also no place, court being in session; a great many people were there talking about hard looking cases but these took the premium, but wait the end of our journey. About a half a dozen of us boys walked into a saloon, a crowded one at that, and we inquired how far it was to Montgomery, this set up a sizzling like unto pouring cold water on a hot iron, they said they would whip the whole gang quicker than a hot climate would scorch a feather. We were glad to get back across the Emery river, dry show. Though we had been advised that we would have to ferry it where it empties into the French Broad river. But by this time we had learned when advised to go to a ferry to just take the other road. Moved 18 miles today and camped.
22nd Oct (1858). At an early hour we commenced our journey, passed nothing of importance, keep the road leading to Carthage, passing on the summits of the Cumberland mountains, a very poor country, but we found plenty of sweet chestnuts. Take up camp after reduceing our journey 19 miles.
23rd Oct (1858). Move out of camp, our journey today is still on the mountain. Very poor country hard to procure feed and provisions. Drove 19 miles and camped.
24th Oct (1858). Cloudy, Sabbath, did not leave camp, but rested on an old field at one Mr. Officers, in Putnam county, had a sermon in the evening by a Mr. Ford, a minister of the Christain profession.
25th Oct (1858). Resumed our journey, passed off the Cumberland range at a place called White Plains but we failed to find the white part of it, unless it was being compelled to pay 75¢ for each two horse wagon, and one dollar for every vehicle that looked like a carriage for passing over three miles of a miserable and almost impassible road called the Bradeys turnpike, I believe this was a regular neighborhood co-partnership fraud practiced on strangers. We had been on the Cumberland range about five days. Passing nothing of importance but Brady's turnpike which cost us very dearly without an opportunity to protect us against such frauds. We camped after traveling 23 miles, cloudy and rainy day.
26th Oct (1858). Still cloudy, threatening rain, left our camp passing over the ridges on other imaginary turnpikes so called. We take the Carthage and camp at a Baptist church after traveling 20 miles.
27th Oct (1858). Cloudy and rainey, commence our daily occupation. We are now in a fertile country. Take the Gallatin road and pass through a small village called Dicksons Springs, camp in the suburbs, days drive 18 miles.
28th Oct (1858). No entry.
29th Oct (1858). Rainy, moved out of camp, and in a short time we are in Gallatin, this is an enterpriseing town. We find our second railroad since our start on this journey. I take the train for Nashville, seeking a scoundrel who owes me considerable money, but no success, the rascal had taken another run. After leaving Gallatin our train landed me in Nashville, a large and thrifty city. I visited the capitol, penitentiary and other objects of interest to me as far as the limited time I could use. I took the Edgefield and Henderson train which carried me 14 miles from Nashville on my way to Goodlessville, two miles walk brought me to the foot of an elevation. I passed the night at a Hoggins, a native of the old north state where I was sumptuously entertained. Besides he had a couple of young daughters, and beauts at that, who insisted on calling me cousin. The company left Gallatin by the Hopkinsville road and took up camp on the Red river after a days drive of 20 miles.
30th Oct (1858). I left my landlord early and a walk of 11 miles brought me to Hopkinsville where I came up with the company at the Red river near the Kentucky line.
30th Oct (1858). As we made such a blunder in last weeks write up of the 30th, I will write the 30th again. I took leave to my landlord, Mr. Coggins (not Hoggins) and after a walk of eleven miles I came to Springfield, a very fine little village. I took the road leading north to the Hopkinsville road, at Barron Plains I came up with the company in camp on Red river near the Kentucky state line. Our company passed through Cross Plains in Robertson county on their route, they passed through Burron Plains, took up camp on Red river after driving 22 miles.
31st Oct (1858). Cloudy, this being the Sabbath we remained in camp, nothing of note happened.
01st Nov (1858). Rainy, left camp, drove out of Tennessee in to Kentucky, passed through a small town, on our way we passed through a beautiful level and fertile country, passed through Trenton, a small village; we passed some fine tobacco farms, we experienced a very rainy day, winding up with a heavy rain storm in the evening, went into camp after reducing our journey 23 miles.
02nd Nov (1858). The following entry was not preceded by a date. Pursued our journey, find roads very muddy, still raining, a small village in a very fertile country, then through Hopkinsville, a large old town of about 3000 souls, and of considerable enterprise and wealth and alive to education. (I will state here that Hopkinsville is only ten miles from Fair View where Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Southern Confedercy first saw light.) After leaving town we took the Golconda road which leads to a crossing of the same name on the Ohio river, which we had intended to cross at that point and passed through Southern, Ill. (Egypt as it was then dubbed.) We then camped after moving only sixteen miles.
03rd Nov (1858). Cloudy and cold continued our journey as usual. As a few of our families had negro slaves which they owned at that time, and learning that the Illinoians were stealing all slaves and liberating them, Illinois being a free state. Most of the company changed the route intended, and took the road to Iron Banks (as then named) on the Mississippi river, (now Columbus); moved 6 miles, broke down a wagon and camped for repair. Roads are very muddy, and still raining.
04th Nov (1858). Cloudy and cold, after leaving camp and driving a few miles, break an axle, delayed a few hours for repair, then continued our journey, a short move brought us to Cadize, a small town on Little river which we cross here and keep the road leading to Columbus or Iron Banks, and take up camp two miles from Cadize. Roads very bad, threatening rain, days travel only 12 miles.
05th Nov (1858). Cloudy, cold and rain, again we leave our camp, 6 miles travel brings us to Canton, a small and apparently a very busy village, on the Cumberland river which we ferry here, this being our second time to ferry the Cumberland. We then proceed towards the Tennessee river, and take up camp near its banks after a days travel of 15 miles.
06th Nov (1858). Rain and snow, again on our journey cross the Tennessee river where it is about half mile wide, a most beautiful body of water, cross at Aurora on Egner ferry, which is propelled by boui boats by force of the current of the river. On our way we passed Old Wadesboro, the poorest looking place on earth. We pitched our tents after a move of 15 miles only.
07th Nov (1858). We are now enjoying a good days rest, as it is the Sabbath, and rained the entire day, nothing occurred worth noting.
08th Nov (1858). Raining, leave camp, pass over a level and fertile country producing corn, wheat, tobacco and other grain in abundance. Pass through Mayfield, a thriving little village, a new location in the woods, improving rapidly. Being connected with Paducah by rail, and soon will be with Mobile, Ala., as this road is being constructed rapidly. Pitched our tents six miles Mansfield, days travel 24 miles, cloudy and very cold, we had also passed through Russellville, Ky., considerable of western Kentucky was level and scarcely timbered and fertile, in places almost prarie, and called by the old settlers, Barrens. From the time we passed Knoxville, Tenn. The citizens living on the public roads were guilty of outrageous extortion for provisions and feed for ourselves and animals; they would charge us 50¢ to$1.00 for corn. If you would buy in the morning it would be 50¢; if late in the evening $1.00 knowing you had to have it or no feeding could be done that day; but by going one or two miles off the public roads we could buy corn at 20 to 30¢ per bushel. The country was full of provisions and feed and no market foe them, everything travelers had to buy was stuck upon them from 100 to 200 per cent above price, through the country off the main roads.
09th Nov (1858). Raining, at an early hour we resume our journey, traveling through a beautiful and fertile country, pass through Millburn, a small village 14 miles east of the Mississippi river, the country was very heavily timbered. Passing on over the fertile country of the Mississippi we take up camp after a days drive of 20 miles having endured a very cold day, with rain and snow, our camp is five miles east of the Mississippi river.
10th Nov (1858). Leave camp very early in order to be first at the ferry; but great Jerusalem and Julius Caesar, there was another road leading to the ferry, and vehicles were as thick as far as eyes could see on all roads leading to the ferry taking their turns in crossing from either side of the river. We had a fine view of our first from the bluff about one mile from the river of Fathers of Waters. Here we come to Columbus, a thriving new town having been located only a few years previously. Here we find a splendid steam ferryboat the Ella, owned by Mess, Guinn and Robinson, nice accommodating gentleman. This boat would carry some 12 to 20 teams each trip. The river at this point was said to be ¾ mile wide. After all our great hurry we only reached our turn about 12 o'clock noon. I walked down the river early and ask the captain if I might come on his boat, he told me to go right on, and up to the sitting room which I did. I found the room a very comfortable one. And as it was a very raw day I ask if I might bring a number of females aboard. He replied, "Bring as many as you can get into the cabin and let them stay right there until your company all are across, as they will find it much more comfortable than standing around camp fires in the cold rain." I succeeded in getting quite a number in the boat. I saw catfish here enough to load a steamboat, some said to weigh over 300 pounds. I bought one for 20¢ which weighted over 20 pounds, it looked like a very little minnow amongst the big ones. The rest of the company sliced and bought one weighing about 100 pounds. But it was not good, too fat. But my little fellow was fine. After crossing the river we passed up its western banks on our way to Charleston, Mo., you see we are now in Missouri. A fine sandy road. But wait for another day and I will tell you about other roads. Our company increased on our route through Kentucky, good and agreeable company. We made 12 miles today and camped on the bank of the greatest river.
11th Nov (1858). Leave our camp on the banks of the Mississippi and wind and drag our way through the swamps and mud for twelve miles. We then pass on to a beautiful swamp prairie on which is located the village of Charleston, a small but lively town in Missouri. Pass over some very fertile lands, and take up camp on the banks of a lake. In passing through the swamps which had been overflowed the previous spring and summer, settlers' cabins showing the water marks on many above the doors; still with all the proof before our eyes they would tell us, "No we are not overflowed right on this place but just over here a piece they were under about 15 feet." We had in our company a mischevious couple (man and wife) and we came to a place where the people were raising a log dwelling, the very sickliest crowd I ever saw. Our man asked the crowd how long they had been dead, right then we were almost in a fight; but our man apologized by begging pardon telling them the cause of his mistake was that they buried people where he came from long before they look half as bad as that crowd did, then we had to retreat double quick and beg off. Our days travel was only 17 miles, raining.
12th Nov (1858). Raining, we again resume our journey, pass over hills, swamps and barren plains. The swamps and lakes are alive with ducks, brants, turkeys, prarie chickens, quail and numerous other game, not mention bear, deer, panther and many other wild animals, the country being very sparsely settled. Roads very muddy. On an elevation we came to the village of Benton, a small dull looking place. Three miles north of Benton we take up camp having dragged through the mud 21 miles.
13th Nov (1858). Leave camp, find a very hilly country, then swamps, pass over a swamp or lake on a good turnpike, said to be three miles long, but I think a measured mile would take it in out of the wet. I suppose the imaginary miles were used to help out the pike charges, as we had to pay from one to one and a half dollars for each team of two animals, but the crossing was the best we met on our whole trip. Having crossed in these Mississippi bottoms, swamps, creeks, lagons and lakes on shabby pole bridges, the worst I ever saw but no charges on these; the only good point on them. After leaving the pike we encounter hills and mud making very heavy moving for the teams. Our road passes up the Mississippi river at a short distance from it. We camp four miles from Old Jackson, days travel 19 miles. Clear and cold.
14th Nov (1858). Sabbath day, part of our company violated our agreement made at the beginning of our journey, not to travel on Sunday, and left camp, but part of them came back after a drive of a few miles and persuaded those who remained to move up to the camp they had selected. The others moved on, the women said that they were possessed of the devil. How far they moved that Sabbath we did not know and care less, as this little bunch of our company were trying all the trip to control all the balance of our company. We moved up four miles and camped with those who came back after us. Cloudy, threatening rain.
15th Nov (1858). Snowing and stormy, leave camp, pass through Old Jackson, a very important village being a meeting point for all western emigrants, crossing the Mississippi river at various upper ferries used in those days. We here take the turnpike leading slightly south of west in the direction of Greenwood. After driving eight miles we come to the terminous of the turnpike at White Water river, where we tackle the mud again, meeting with hilly and rough country, we go into camp after a move of only 16 miles.
16th Nov (1858). Morning clear and cold, left our camp four miles east of Dallas, seat of justice for Bollinger county; it had the appearance of being a lively place, which we passed through. Our way led us over rocky, barren hills, though small valleys were very productive. Hills generally heavy timbered with pine and other growths. Took up camp 18 miles from Dallas, at Mrs. McMeinus, a sister of my father, a very old woman, living near the Castor river where she owned a large farm. This being the first time I ever saw her. My father had another sister who married a man by the name of Arney who moved to Missouri at the same time the McMeinus did and never were heard of afterwards. We reduced our journey today 22 miles, clear and cold.
17th Nov (1858). Cloudy and cold, leave our encampment, cross Castor river, a small and very clear stream here. Pass over a well watered county, but poor and hilly, timber principally pine. We pass through Hog Eyes, a small place, with one mill, two stores, and one saloon. Pitch camp after a days move of 19 miles.
18th Nov (1858). Clear, windy and cold. We break up camp with all our company, having caught up with the Sabbath breakers, they having had bad luck by breaking down a wagon. The piously inclined said that it was a judgment meted out to them for traveling on Sunday. We presume that they judged aright; we now pass over some of the poorest and hilliest country I ever saw. Cross Black river, a most beautiful stream of water. Take up camp, having drovr 20 miles, evening clear and cold.
19th Nov (1858). Morning clear and cold. We left camp, winding our way over Poor Pine Ridge, finding here and there small settlements in the coves and valleys which grow such as corn, wheat and the laziest people on earth; as if we wanted to buy corn or potatoes we had to gather and dig them. As to flour and meal we could scarcely buy either, as mills were scarce, sorry affairs and usually unhandy, they did not appear to have the energy to go to mill, or had no use for money. Meat we could always get plenty and cheap, as they got it out of the woods. We next crossed Current river, a good szed stream, rapid and the clearest I ever saw. On its banks stood the village of Van Buren, consisting of half dozen dilapidated old shanties, plenty whiskey, powder and shot. We camp on the banks of the river having drove about 19 miles.
20th Nov (1858). Left camp, traveled over a rocky, hilly but well watered country, through snow which was very disagreeable to the females. We cut our day's journey very short today, reducing our journey, only 14 miles. Everything indicates more snow three inches on the ground now.
21st Nov (1858). Morning cloudy. Although being the Sabbath we are compelled to leave camp in order to procure feed for our animals. Passing over moderately level roads, passing only three or four small settlements. Having secured feed for our animals we take up camp having reduced our journey only 16 miles. Snow has almost disappeared. Appearance for more snow favorable.
22nd Nov (1858). Snow four inches deep and still snowing. Continue our journey. Ceased snowing at 11 o'clock a.m. Here we came to the valley of Eleven Points river, a small winding stream which we forded on our route 18 times. I, having left the train with my gun shooting small game, had to wade the stream half dozen times before the wagons came up with me. I did not know if I was ahead or behind the wagons until I discovered them behind me. But you must know I had a pleasant time wading the river and six inches snow on the ground. But I had secured a nice bunch of wild pigions which were good and fat, the only fat ones I had ever seen before, although no doubt I had not only seen thousands before but millions, all I killed on our route west of the Mississippi river were fat. Passing up Eleven Points river we camp in the village of Thomasville, a village in the woods. Camp after a days drive of 15 miles, cloudy and snowing again.
23rd Nov (1858). Four inches snow on ground this morning. We leave Thomasville, pass through very thinly settled hills and valleys, water very scarce. I must tell you that we had been living on Irish potatoes for several days and still doing so. These we had to dig in the snow; no bread stuff to be had, they would all tell us, "Our folks have gone into Ar-can-saw, about 50 miles to mill with wheat, looking back to-night." (end of quote is my construction) I found some flour for sale in Thomasville. But it being in the night and we had to chase chickens out of their roost in the flour bin, I concluded to wait until morning and stick to the potato digging and eating which was not so bad with fat quail, squirrel and pigeon. Meeting nothing of note we camp in Howells valley after a days travel of 20 miles. Cloudy.
24th Nov (1858). Leave our camp in Howells valley which is a fine prairie country in Oregan county Mo., moving one and one half miles we take the road leading to Yellville, Ark., our way leading over prairie and barren plains, passing many good settlements on the praries. I must state here that I was a sort of a handy boy to look up something to eat, and tramped ahead with my gun frequently, I would be requested to look out for various things to eat, this time it was butter. I soon found a place where I could get all I wanted if I could wait until the housewife could churn, which I agreed to do. I heard the lady chasing the pigs back of the house. I looked around there and I saw that she was chasing the pigs out of a large wooden churn, had it been a stone one I think I could have stomached it, but not a wooden one. As it was a hurry job I told the lady I was in a hurry, I would describe the company and if she got the butter ready to just stop them and sell the butter to any one wanting to purchase and I would move on. Knowing well that my folks would not buy as thy left that to me. In camp that night one of our ladies balled out that if any one wanted butter she would divide out her stock.She described the place to me and I knew at once that she got her butter where the pigs were chased out of the churn. But I would take none of it which they thought strange as they knew I was fond of butter. I gave no reason I would not take any only there would not be enough to go round to all. After the butter had all disappeared I let out my secret. If you ever saw a mad crowd of women that was the madest, one of my aunts said she never would forgive me. We go into camp having traveled 18 miles.
25th Nov (1858). Leave our camp on Bennetts Bayou. We crossed the Missouri and Arkansas line into Fulton county, Ark., at about 2 o'clock p.m. our way leading down the bayou. We camp near the bayou after traveling 19 miles.
26th Nov (1858). Leave our camp our road still leading down the bayou, here the fields and woods were full of turkey, deer and sprinkled with bear. The turkey were gobbling, calling and strutting in broad day just as if they were barnyard fowls. We find a mill here that we can get some coarse meal by waiting for the grinding. Leave bayou and mill then cross north fork of White river, a beautiful clear stream of good size, steamboats running on it in the wet seasons. Then we come to very fertile ands and well timbered, much of it still to be had at government prices, subject entry at 50¢ to $1.25 per acre. In our thickly settled states these lands would command from ten to fifty dollars per acre. We go into camp after a days drive of 17 miles, raining.
27th Nov (1858). Everything seems to improve since we are in Ar-can-saw. Pass over good lands, as well as rich prairie. Abundance of deer, turkey and prarie chickens, much desirable lands still at government prices. Cross main White river a large and beautiful stream, navigable for large steam boats at some seasons of the year. Pass over rough hills and mountains, then good roads and good lands. Go into camp six miles east of Yellville in Marion co, Ark., traveled today only 13 miles. Warm and cloudy evening.
28th Nov (1858). Sabbath morning, warm and showery. Sabbath as it is we leave our camp as usual. A drive of six miles over rough cedar hills we pass through Yellville apparently a very bussy place, as some of the stores were open doing business as though it was a week day, while at the same time services were under way at the churches. The country we pass over to-day is very hilly and broken, though we passed some very fertile farms, generally located on the lowlands and small valleys. Pass on toward Carrollton. No excuses ever made for driving this Lord's day unless it was, that we were nearing our journeys end and were anxious to view the promised land, flowing with milk and honey as expected by some. We take up camp after a drive of 15 miles, cold and cloudy.
29th Nov (1858). Clear and cold, we pursue our journey. Passing over a very poor country, consisting mostly of rocky, blackjack ridges, very poorly watered. Pass a small settlement called Spring Hill or Slap Out, we saw the hill all right enough, but we failed to see the spring. Meeting with nothing of note we go into camp on Crooked Creek, after cutting off our journey 20 miles, clear and cold.
30th Nov (1858). Morning clear and mild weather, break up camp and pass over poor blackjack ridges, then strike some level and very fertile lands, reach Carrollton, a very lively little inland village appears to be improving rapidly taking its location and opportunities into consideration. It is located in a small valley surrounded by mountains. I suppose of the Ozark range or Boston mountains. Let me state that in all our camps in Mo., and Ark. When located near streams where the tress and brushes were covered with winter grapes that we could shoot all the squirrels we could eat after going into camp if it was still light enough to see them feasting on the grapes, and they were good and fat too, and made a delicious supper and breakfast. I think the squirrels remained all night in the thick vines. As we moved on west the settlement began to appear older, larger, better, and better improved by a better appearing class of people with more and better schools. In fact we met grownup people who were natives of Western Ark., even some natives with lage families. We now take the road leading on towards Huntsville in Madison county our supposed journey end but only supposed as we saw later. We passed over some of the roughest hills and country that we have yet encountered, and pitched our tents after a day's drive of 19 miles, clear and mild.
01st Dec (1858). Cloudy, leave our camp, traveling over the same fertile lands and rough hills, crossed the line into Madison county; 14 miles from Huntsville the point we had been so long toiling to reach. We found the ridges and mountains well timbered, seeing no very large bodies of level fertile lands, but the level lands and valleys on the streams were not only fertile but extra fertile. We go into camp 8 miles from Huntsville after a move of 19 miles, clear and windy.
02nd Dec (1858). Clear and mild morning. We leave our camp this morning for our point of destination where we arrived at about 10 o'clock in the a.m. We found a very enterprising little village of Huntsville, where we had the pleasure of again going to that part of our original company who would not accompany us by the way of the Iron Banks crossing on the Miss. River. As they had no slaves they continued the original laid out route through Illinois. Although there were several families in our party who owned no slaves these would not desert the original company. Well, we were all glad to meet particularly with girls if they were coons; not black ones however, but good looking white clever girls. As one of these families were of the name Coon, and all from N.C. We found Huntsville a very pleasant little village situated in the elevated lands of Madison county. Having eight to ten creditable stores, churches and good schools, we find the people very clever and accommodating particularly to emigrants, as nine out of ten had a good desireable farm to sell whether he could deed it or not, as many only had claims. You see settlers did not mind exchanging their improved places for a place in the woods, provided such exchange dropped a snug sum of cash into the pockets of their own pantaloons; just to accommodate our poor families who had been so long exposed to the elements you know; you might take some of them to be ignorant but they were the slickest traders you ever saw, as many emigrates found out at their cost. A young man came out with us who I will call Miles, his father was well fixed in N.C. and gave him a good education, both in literature and music, and he would boost to us that he was going west to grow up with the country and grow wealthy off the ignorance of the backwoods hoosiers. We said Miles, you won't be there three years before your daddy will take pity on you and send you money to come back home. He only lasted two years and dad sent him the money, and poor fellow got back home, and I don't know if he got the "fatted calf" or not. But he did get home by the aid of daddy. Why this poor fellow used to stretck himself up and compare himself to Daniel Webster, but we all would to his face, compare him to something much smaller than old Daniel. He was a stuck up fool, with plenty of sense had he used the and sense instead of the fool parts. We left Huntsville by the Ozark road, take up camp at Methodist E.S. camp-meeting ground where there was abundance of good shelter which we were allowed to make use of. This camp is on War Eagle river four miles South of Huntsville. We expect to remain here until we select homes, or decide to try some other location. Land is very fine but prices for improved places are very high. Our day's drive 12 miles. Appearance good for rain or snow. Number of miles traveled to date is 940, passing over portion of five states being on the road lacking only a few days of two months.
03rd Dec (1858). We remained at our camp with the teams and families, some of the men are roaming over the country looking at the lands, finding the creek and War Eagle valleys very desirable lands, as well as the mountain table lands, generally at reasonable prices. We never saw so many squirrels in our lives. And we slaughtered hundreds. The trees in the valleys were covered with winter grapes and good fat squirrels, all of which we made good use of, we also found plenty of honey, which could be had at six cents per pound fresh, right out of the bee colonies. Bee gums were scattered all over the orchards, just setting about on rocks, apparently just were they hived. The hives, on gums were a part of a hollow tree set up with a piece of puncheon or flat rock laid loose on the top end, floors in many of the dwellings were of puncheons and some had only dirt floors, tramped as slick as sin, (as many of the young people of to-day, no doubt, do not know what we mean by puncheon floors. We will tell them. They were timber from four to eight feet long, split out full diameter of the log, about two inches thick and hewed perfectly smooth on the side intended for the top side of the floor, and when neatly placed in the floor they made a splendid and neat floor, many of them there were made of walnut and cherry timber, which was abundant there.) Hailed and snowed all day, many of our company were terribly dissatisfied with the country, not being used to the mountains, as this section is very mountainous. In fact we found Madison county principally a mountainous county. Notwithstanding this we found much sickness, principally chills and fever, we find this part of the country well watered.
04th Dec (1858). Still hailing, we still hold on to our camp. Nothing of note occurs, evening, hail, stormy and raining.
05th Dec (1858). Sabbath, we heard a sermon by a blacksmith, named Smith, a Methods minister, by profession. Clear and cold, glad to see it so.
06th Dec (1858). Monday, and nothing of importance in camp occurs. Have many callers offering lands for sale. Some of the men out viewing the land, I remain with the camp contenting myself with hunting, or rather with killing game. Evening clear and mild.
07th Dec (1858). Still viewing the lands, but no purchases made yet. Some of the explorers came in and reported the land very fine, and some of the company started out to explore the head waters of the War Eagle river, your humble servant being one of this company, and reach head waters and find the land in the valleys very fertile, but in very small bodies. We commenced our return to our camps, and lodged for the night at one, Rev. Bollingers, where we fared well, except my mishap of falling through the floor. It happened this way, the house was built on the mountain side, with the upper side resting on the mountain side and the lower side was at least six feet above the ground and I stepped near that side, and when I rose in the morning, and was in the act of pulling up my pants I happened to step on the end of a puncheon, which had slipped off of the joist, and down I went under the floor, and the puncheon having nearly a center bearing, tilted back and righted itself as if it was leaving me under the floor, but I only had to just go out after getting my foot loose from that position and walk up the steps into the house where I left off. This was a puncheon floor, not nailed down, in fact none of them are nailed. These puncheons were of walnut, about 18 inches wide and the butt ends not well fitted.
08th Dec (1858). To-day is just two months since we started on this journey. We mount our beasts and start for our camps, where we arrived in the evening, meeting with nothing worthy of notice, find all in camp, weather clear and very cold.
09th Dec (1858). Remain idle, with the exception of a tramp to Huntsville. This being settling time with credit merchants and farmers, we saw more cattle and hogs than we had seen in one little town in my days. This being the way of most of the farmers paying yearly bills with merchants. One merchant had a fair size field filled with horses and mules. They were very cheap. Horses and mules as well as hog products would be sent south for a cash market, and cattle driven north. We could buy all the corn fed pork at two and half cents per pound. Good Ark. Milch cows at $10 to $12 each. Most fed pork sold at just a little more than stock hogs would bring. We paid three cents per pound for what we considered very poor flour, and corn and meal was selling at 20 to 40 cents per bushel owing to location. Weather clear and cold.
10th Dec (1858). Leave camp in company of three others of our party to examine the lands on Kings river, and after traveling up Hortons creek, a stream running on top of the mountain, lots of mountain trout in it, being between War Eagle and Kings river, several miles crossing the mountain, we came to Kings river which we crossed and passing up its banks we came to the small village of Kingston, we find the land very fertile, but in very small strips between the mountains. After traveling up this stream six or eight miles we lodged for the night with one Mr. George Neal, an old N.C. from Buncomb county, that state, where we fared sumptuously. His farm was in a pocket or cove near the head of the river, we think the richest land we expected to see though of not more than 100 acres in the body, of tillable land. But he had to go back to Kingston to get out of his place. But he had no neighbors except wild animals and turkeys and could not expect any, as he had the only location on which to live between his place and Kingston and in the other directions we do not know how far to a settlement or where one could be made; but we think not less than ten miles. All streams of any size in this part of Ark. Runs north. We name White, War Eagle and Kings river. Clear.
11th Dec (1858). Clear and mild. After taking on a splendid breakfast, we take a good look at Mr. Neals fine farm, we turn our course back towards our camp 25 miles distance. (Our entertainer had his daughters back in N.C. educating them and he said he intended to send his sons also.) We arrived on our way at a Mr. Corbs where we were invited to partake of a corn husking dinner which we were more than ready and willing to accept, after giving the inner man full satisfaction we with regret departed from our host; leaving his table loaded down with everything the country afforded, including many flasks of apple brandy, with your choice of taking it straight or sweetened with honey or sugar. We again passed Kingston, and crossed the mountain and proceeded to camp where we arrived at a late hour, finding all full of fun, healthy and frolic. This ends our career for this week.
12th Dec (1858). Clody and warm. Sabbath and all remain at camp. Heard a sermon from a Methodist minister. Nothing else worth mention.
13th Dec (1858). Clear and mild, remained idle in camp. Things now are coming to a head, few are satisfied with such a rough and mountainous country, some want to move on to Texas, and some are willing to try the mountains and the balance were in favor of taking a look at the Ark. River valley. There will be a move in a few days. The women mostly wanted to go right back to the old home.
14th Dec (1858). Warm and rainey, weremain in idleness. Nothing of importance occurs.
15th Dec (1858). Four of us, viz. John H. Blackburn, Alfred S. Robinson, John Coon and the writer started for White county, but changed our course for Arkansas river valley. Our object being to look out for satisfactory location. We traveled horseback and leaving the balance of our troops in camp near Huntsville. Our trip led us over rough lofty mountains. We came to White river, and traced it to its source, passed over other high mountains, struck branched of Mulberry, then decending the mountains into Johnson county, took up lodging with one, Mr. Jones, a good distance from Huntsville.
16th Dec (1858). Clear and cold, start our journey, taking to the mountains again, traveling over a rough uninhabited country and lodged with an old Virginian on Horsehead in Johnson county, traveled some 30 miles.
17th Dec (1858). Clear and mild, we are again on the road, pass over a beautiful level country, in the midst of which we came to Clarksville, the seat of justice of Johnson county, a village appearantly doing considerable trade, and located four miles from the Arkansas river, we crossed Spadra creek, just at the edge of town, passed on thirteen miles on the Dover road to Big Piney, where we forded it at the Madden farm. Lodged for the night at Kie Cheynes, in Pope county. Days travel 33 miles.
18th Dec (1858). Cloudy and mild. Resumed our journey after settling our bills, which were just doubled any we had yet met with. We crossed Illinois Bayou about two miles from which we came to Dover, the county seat of Pope county, a small interior village, 13 miles north of the Arkansas river. We then moved on southeast to Gumlog valley, a very pretty country, but not very fertile, except in the valleys of streams, but it was said to be very productive in cotton, corn and wheat. Twenty miles from Dover we rested for the night at E.S. Withers, a native of North Carolina.
19th Dec (1858). Sabbath, cloudy morning. In company of several of the natives we take a trip to Galla Rock on the Arkansas river, a steamboat landing. Then travel down the river road some six to eight miles through the bottom lands which appeared to be the finest land we had yet seen. We then returned, some to our last night resting place, whilest the writer accompanied Soloman Keener to his home, where we found plenty to eat, and a big blazing fire which we needed badly as we were wet as a drounded rat. We experienced a very rainey day and night. 20th Dec (1858). Cloudy. After ridding over the uplands of Pope, we turned our course back for Huntsville, passing through Russellville, the oldest looking town we had yet seen in the west, except Van Buren in Mo. Pass some very nice farms, Ferry Ill. Bayou, pass old Dwight in charge of Rev. C. Washburn an old Indian mission, passing over a very poor pine country, where there were some stream saw mills. Ferry Piney river at its mouth where it empties into the Arkansas river, we take up camp on the banks of the river in Johnson county with the ferryman. Day travel 26 miles.
21st Dec (1858). Clear and cold and we left our lodging place and moving on to Clarksville, there we are again on our route down to this valley. We take the same mountain route by which we came, making our way back towards Huntsville. We stopped for the night with Dr. Watson, 12miles west of Clarksville, a native of Raleigh North Carolina. Days travel 25 miles.
22nd Dec (1858). Clear and cold. Left the Doctor and ascended the Horsehead and Mulberry mountains, crossed them, then crossed several small streams called Mulberry at the foot of the mountain, then crossed spurs of Buffalo and Boston mountains, then came to White river, then pass on down this stream. Took up lodging at the foot of the mountains of War Eagle. Days travel 36 miles.
23rd Dec (1858). Clear. We continued our journey across War Eagle mountains, pass on down the banks of War Eagle river on through Huntsville to our place of encampment. Some of our party having changed placed of encampment. Days travel 21 miles.
24th Dec (1858). Nothing of interest occurs or has taken place whilest we were away. Some of us took a trip to Huntsville. Cloudy and cold.
25th Dec (1858). Our explorers having made our reports of our discoveries down South. We leave the matter with the company to dissect, and form their own conclusions as to their future course. This is Saturday and Christmas, and we again visit Huntsville, and see nothing enticing. A miserable poor Christmas with us. The principal amusements and enjoyment in Huntsville is exhibitions of drunkness and fighting like so many dogs. An outrage manner to pass such a sacred day.
26th Dec (1858). Sabbath, cloudy. Part of our original company had already selected homes on Hortons creek, of which was composed of the Coon and Keistler families, and one of the Blackburn families temporarly on account of illness in the family, but afterwards settled in Johnson county, one and half miles north of Clarksville, and the most of their descendents lives in that county now. At Huntsville we attend the funeral procession of one Mr. Keeland of that vicinity. Nothing else of note took place.
27th Dec (1858). Cloudy and warm. The remander of our party, of which the writer was one, left Huntsville for Pope county three families being represented, viz., My mother and her family, John H. Blackburn' family and Aaron S. Robinson's family. We again drove up War Eagle river and took up camp after a days drive of 15 miles.
28th Dec (1858). Continue our journey, proceed to the source of War Eagle, cross War Eagle mountains and again came to White river, pass up a small stream to its source, then ascended the mountains, where we camped on their summits, in Franklin county, on Ozark road. Traveled 19 miles.
29th Dec (1858). Left our camp, decended the mountains, crossing many small streams, and crossed Big Mulberry and ascended the mountains again, by very steep and rough roads. Traveled a distance on their summits, then decended part of the way to the foot and camped seven miles from Ozark. Days drive 13 miles.
30th Dec (1858). We left our camp crossing the county to the old Military road leading from Little Rock to Fort Smith, and proceeded eastward over a very level country, crossing some beautiful streams, and passing some nice farms. Took up camp three miles west of Clarksville, after moving 19 miles. We are all rejoiced to set our feet on level land again, and leave the rough mountain country.
31st Dec (1858). Clear and cold, mover out of camp. Passed through Clarksville, a good backwoods town, having a large trade in stock, mostly cattle, which were brought up and driven across the plains to California at the risk of the drovers losing their lives and cattle as well as wagon trains by the wild Indians and what was worse the Mormon thieves and robbers. This only proves the risks men will take to accumulate money, the root of all evil, but we are all after root. After leaving Clarksville we again cross Piney river, 13 miles from Clarksville. Take up camp after a days drive of 18 miles.
01st Jan (1859). Clear and cold. Left camp, crossed the Pine ridges between Piney and Illinois Bayou a 9 mile drive. Passed several saw mills on our way. We this time forded the Bayou as it was much lower than when we had previously ferried it, although the ferryman stood by and told us we would certainly bog up, but one of our party who was inclined to believe him, mounted a horse and road across the stream several times and found a good safe crossing for teams and vehicles. Just soon as the ferryman saw that his cake was all dough with him so far as to raking in ferry sheckels he good naturedly directed drivers the best route to the crossing. After crossing the Bayou a four miles drive brought us again to the ancient village of Russellville, a small inland village, the buildings all appeared to have been erected years before. But we found all the dwellers to be good and clever people, (a few of the descendants of the old settlers are still there, an honor to their predecessors.) We went into camp after moving 18 miles for the day.
02nd Jan (1859). We again moved on our way although it was the Sabbath. After a days drive of 8 miles we came to the spot near our latter location. We went into camp near E.S. Withers, where we were crowed with visitors, many enquiring what's the latest news from the old country, (what would you think of anyone asking a question of this sort nowadays? Why, you would want to know at once what Insane Asylums were used for in Arkansas.) Many of our callers were natives of our old county of Lincoln North Carolina. We all undertook to take a good rest, as we had now, lacking only six days of being out on the wild, rough and worst roads for three months. But the most of us enjoyed it fine, especially the girls and boys but amongst them there were a few sick kittens, and those who had left there sweethearts behind; oh, how they did whine, but it all wore off as such things will if you will only give them a little time to think and see that there are others.
Now, this is the end of our journey, and I will now state how and where we were located, and of some family changes and happenings up to date, etc. My mothers family, consisting of herself three daughters and three sons, located and improved the farm where Warren M. Bell now lives. Two sons and two daughters still lives, two sons at Atkins, one daughter at Russellville, and one five miles S.W. of Atkins. Of the old family, my mother Anna Darr, oldest sister, Marryann Darr, Parker and James F. Darr, are dead, and they all died in Pope county and are buried there. The living members of Jno. C. Darr's family and descendants are located in Pope, Faulkner and Pulaski counties Ark. Ephrain Blackburn's family and descendants are located in various parts of the U.S. Though mostly in Johnson county Ark. John H. Blackburn's family and descendants are located in Arkansas and Texas, mostly in Pope county Arkansas. Aaron S. Robinson's and descendants are in Pope and Conway counties Ark., a majority of the family are dead. The only one of the head of the family who moved here, who is still living is Lovinia Blackburn, widow of John H. Blackburn. She is now, I believe, past her four score years. E.A. Darr's family and descendants are in Arkansas and Texas, Susan Saloma Darr, Love and her descendants are in Pope county Arkansas and Oklahoma. Jas F. Darr's family and descendants are in Pope county Ark. The balance of our company on this emigration moved. The Coon, Keistlers and others last heard of in Madison county Arkansas, and the two young men who came out with us, went back to papa in North Carolina.
This closed this part of the program. How the readers of the Chronicle enjoyed reading of it I do not know, if pleased the writer will object; if not pleased all I have to say is pick your flint and try it on yourself. As this was written for a comparison between the old and the new we did not expect to interest the older people, as they had been all along there and noted the changes wrought in past 51 years, perhaps more carefully than this writer. But as the younger generation know only of the late or new changes and nothing of the old. It is hoped that they will make a comparison and thereby enjoy this narrative. Take for instance, the present mode of travel by rail, you can get on the cars at some point we start from and make the same journey we made and make it in three days, while it took us three months to make the trip. You can take the lower route by the way of Memphis and make it in two days. In taking route we traveled on for three months you can now by rail and pass through all the towns we passed through and some of them have grown to quite active cities.
Then there is another matter to think over if you recognize the great changes in many respects that have taken place in 51 years. Just look all over this land and see how (many) homes you can find occupied by the same families or their descendants that occupied them fifty one years ago. The writer knows of four only and one of them was made by ourselves. Our sister, Mrs. Warren M. Bell, now lives on the same ground we settled on immediately after we came here, counting her as one, we find John B. Sinclair on the old homestead on which his father settled and some of the Sleeker family lives on the old homestead and some of Soloman Keeners family lives on the place he settled 57 years ago, one of his sons is now quite an aged man, and his oldest son is no spring chicken. I overlooked the Marcus Beeson place as well as the Prim place, and there may be others that I have overlooked, but I can only think of these six now. Think this over and see how many you can add to this number.
Fifty one years ago we had no railroads here but we had plenty steam boats on the rivers when there was water enough to float one.
There was not a brick house in the whole country and a few if any brick chimneys. The only one here the writer built for Sidney Robinson at the place in Atkins where Joe Jones and family now lives. There were a few stone chimneys and the balance were stick and mud. See the brick houses and brick chimneys and flues now. Why, if a man now would commence a stick and mud chimney he would be rushed at once to the Insane Asylum. But those were good old times. If a man was too lazy to work he could just loafer from place to place, get a meal here and one there, the people would feed him; they sympathized with him, but now they say he is no count and ought to starve.
The end. Are you glad of it? I am.
The reprinted article was accompanied with a genealogical analysis of the members of the wagon train by Mrs. James D. (Earlene) Peak, as follows:
Mr. Darr mentions that sixty souls were on this wagon train. From information given in the account, from searching the 1860 censuses, and from personal knowledge I have a partial list of persons who may have been on this wagon train.
Seven members of the Darr family are mentioned: Anna Darr and her children: John C.; Maryann; E.A.; James F.; Susan Saloma; and Sarah Eliza. Anna's husband, Henry Rufus Darr died in Lincoln County North Carolina ca. 1848.
John H. and Lavinia Blackburn and their children: Hannah Elizabeth; Caroline A.; Harriet E.; Julius C.; and David M. settled in or near what is now Bells Chapel community. I think Eliza Blackburn and John S. Blackburn, John H.'s sister and nephew, were also on the wagon train. Eliza was living in his household in 1850 in North Carolina. Both are listed in his household in the 1870 Pope County Census.
The Aaron Robinson family also settled in or near Bells Chapel. The 1860 Pope County census lists Aaron and Polly Robinson and their children: Sarah; Jane; Pinkston; Mary; Henry; Caroline; and Laura.
Ephraim Blackburn was a carriage maker and led the train in a buggy he had built. The 1860 Johnson County census lists Ephraim and Lavinia Blackburn and their children: Mary; Jane; John; Benjamin; Harriett; Angeline; and Pinkney who were born in North Carolina. A child, Ephraim, was born in Arkansas.
The 1860 Madison County census lists Jacob and Mary Coon and their children: John? F.; Mary C.; Elizabeth; Lawson; Susan; Josephus; Wm.; and Daniel who were born in North Carolina. Wm. and Sarah Boatright are also listed in the household. Sarah was born in North Carolina and Wm. in Arkansas. Living in the next dwelling is the Kistler family, Aron and Adaline and their children: John F. and Jacob. Aron, Adaline, and John were born in North Carolina and Jacob in Arkansas.
Also on the trip were the two young men who returned to North Carolina.
Anna Darr, John H., Ephraim, and Eliza Blackburn were the children of John and Mary Holman (Hallman) Blackburn.
RULES OF THE WAGON TRAIN (GENERAL)
1. Allow 5 days for each one hundred miles. Bad days, what you can make, or stay in camp if agreed on by all. Real good days, and ground, makes it easy pulling 25 to 30 miles per day, if camp sites come right. 2. Take plenty of guns and ammunition. 3. Recommended - shave your head - Indians have no interest in bald heads. 4. Do not drink whisky or alcohol in freezing weather, or you are liable to freeze to death. 5. Do not fire rifles, only when absolutely necessary. 6. Do not stay up late - get your sleep. Guards are on duty all night. 7. Do not smoke strong pipes and cigars in close places where women and children are. 8. Keep your politics and preaching to yourself. Let the preacher do the preaching. 9. In case of a runaway of teams to wagons, get down and try to ride it out. If you jump, you are liable to get killed, or hurt badly. The horse men will pick the team up, maybe not too far off. 10. All people - young, married, or not, stay inside the circle of wagons in Indian country, or you are liable to lose your scalps. 11. The wagon master will try to pick spots so men and women and children can bathe, clean up, and wash clothes, when possible. 12. Be courteous and help others. 13. Do not be noisy, even with your musical instruments; only when it is safe. 14. When (we) can, we will have recreation and dances. 15. Do your part by all means. Church services will be held when it is considered safe from Indians, and other hazardous conditions.
Contributed to the Pope County Historical Association Quarterly by Elaine Weir Cia 4200 "A" Street Little Rock AR 72205-4046