WINE COUNTRY JOURNAL - THE BUZZ
by Stephanie Clark
Two examples of stories in past issues of the Buzz.
of the West:
In 1846, led by William B. Ide, the Bear Flag Revolt erupted in the pueblo
of Sonoma, Calif.,making way for an early entrance of that State into the
Union: Ide became the first and only Governor of the Republic of California.
His brother, Simeon Ide, published a book in 1880 including letters and
stories about the events of that time, including “an interesting account
of one of the largest emigrating companies (3,000 miles over land) from
the East to the Pacific Coast.”
Looking back, Wm. B. Ide’s daughter, Mrs. Healy, gave this account of their overland journey by wagon train from Illinois to the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
from book- Biographical Sketch of Wm.B.Ide - 1880.
JOURNAL----IDE EMIGRATION 1845
“In 1838 my Father sold his farm in Ohio, and moved to Jacksonville,Ill. We lived there but one winter. In the spring of 1839 he moved onto his farm eight miles east of Springfield, where we resided until 1844. In the fall of that year he sold his farm and removed his family into Uncle Harrison’s house, where we lived till April 1, 1845.
On that day we bid our good friends farewell. It was a sad day to us. All our old neighbors came to help us pack our things into our three wagons, and to see us off.
My father selected the timber for two of these wagons, and had them made during the winter. He also made the beds, bows and covers at our home--Mother and I sewing the canvas covering; which, being fastened to the bows and side-boards of the wagons, were painted a light slate-color the same as the bed or body of the wagon.
Our wagons were very neat looking, and attracted a good deal of attention, while passing through Illinois and Missouri. Many questions were asked as to our destination, Etc.
We had a sale the morning we started, and sold off the greater part of our furniture. We packed our cooking utensils. tin cups, tin plates--with provisions to last us six months. Mother, my little brothers--Daniel, aged 10, and Lemuel, aged 8 and Thomas Crafton (a little boy that had been given to my Mother), all rode in a wagon. I rode on horseback 3 days, to help drive the cattle; riding on a side-saddle.
The drove of cattle numbered 165, including 28 working oxen. We camped the first night 10 miles from our old home--cooked our supper by a camp-fire. Mother and I slept in a wagon all the way to California. Some of the men slept in the tent, when not too tired to pitch it. Brother William came with us and drove an ox team from Fort Hall to Sutter’s Fort, and drove cattle the rest of the journey.
Our number, all told, young and old, was thirteen--five of these were young men, who drove the teams ‘for their board and passage’.
The journey to Independence,Mo. was accomplished in four weeks,without any severe accident,but was attended with great care and anxiety by my dear parents.
I remember my brother, James, came down with bleeding and his health was so impaired he could not take care of the stock or himself. We were thankful his life was spared.
We camped one week within one mile of Independence,.to lay in ammunition, guns and pistols--clothing for the men, and many little things needful on so long a journey.”
“Father made an iron to brand his cows with his name (Ide) on the right-side horn. This was hard work for him, but very necessary.
On the 10th of May, we left Independence and traveled to the ‘Big Camp’, where we spent a week or two, organizing, it would seem, a large company of emigrants to the far West, (in accordance with their previously concerted plan) consisting of 100 wagons, and the necessary team - cattle, horses and other appliances.They chose a Mr. Meek, a Mountaineer, Pilot. This large company, Mrs. Healy thinks, was sub-divided into “three bands”, who chose a “captain over the three” - whose name she does not remember; but recollects he rode ahead of the entire train - had a fine team of grey horses, which was driven by a Mr. Buckley”.
remembers the names of others in the train,viz: Capt. James Taylor and Capt.
Smith. She says - “The companies took turns traveling in advance,
so that each might have the privilege of being out of the dust one week
out of every three.”
“A company or firm styled ‘J. Smith, Risley & Taylor’, owned and drove a large herd of cattle to Oregon. My Father started to go to Oregon, and ‘Oregon’ was painted in large black letters on the back curtain of our hind-most wagon.
“The cattle of this large emigrant company was so numerous that it was difficult to find grass for them; and it was a great deal of work to control them--also dangerous.
After several weeks it was given up, and a’cattle-guard’ organized. My Father was captain of this ‘guard’ and chief herdsman. Anyone losing an ox or cow came to him at once, and he would send a man or go himself in search of the lost,--after supplying an ox, if an ox of a team were missing--so that the train could move on; for it was moving so slow, it was necessary for us to keep moving.
“At one time when Father remained behind to look after the missing cattle, the report came to the company, that he was last seen surrounded by Indians. The train halted quite a while: but Mother and I did not know why; all being careful not to cause us alarm. A number of men went back, who met him coming in, driving the missing cattle.
“They said Father saw an Indian partly hid in grass and willows, with arrow on bow. ready to shoot him: on which he raised his gun and took aim at the Indian, who immediately took to his heels and ran. No doubt, they said, if Father had been frightened, and had started to run, he would have been killed; for there were several Indians seen in the bushes near him. This occurred on or near the banks of the Humbold River, I think.
“We travelled in one of the three companies having a camp-guard--a captain and sergeant on guard every night--until within a few days travel of Fort Hall. Then there was a general stampede, to see who would get to the Fort first. We found a good camping ground there, and also Indians to trade horses with. One offered a very pretty poney (sic) for two calico dresses.
Here was a company of mountaineer trappers, enroute for California, who told us of a good route, and plenty of good grass.
“While there Father changed his plan--concluded to go to California: but first, before definitely settling the question, put it to vote of his company, and they voted for California instead of Oregon”.
...to be continued in next Buzz #6
-- Wm. B. Ide in 1849 adds his memories to his daughter’s of the treacherous trip over the Sierra Nevada.
CHIEF SOLANO, leader of 40,000 member Suysunez tribe, in what is now the Suisun Bay Area, north of San Francisco, California
huge band passed through San Jose without incident as the citizens stayed
in their homes or hid elsewhere as Vallejo, Chief Solano and his tribe
passed through, picking up the provisions that had been left out for them,
as arranged in advance.
HERE’S THE DEAL
by Stephanie Clark
was a flamboyant time for writing, some quills were giant swirls of feather
for medieval romantic writing, but by and large, the average dolt had to
get by with a stubby turkey feather with constant dipping into ink for endless
entries into record books.
That’s when someone said, let’s invent a tool that will store a certain amount of ink which will increase its time of use and make it portable for when the pocket is invented. Thus was born the Fountain Pen: it has a lever on the side which when raised, allows bottled ink to be sucked up into a storage area inside the pen.
This went on for years. Til some genius took a hard look at ball bearings and figured there was a future here. With tiny balls, the philosophy of ballpoint pens became the universal mode of writing instrument. Cheap to make out of plastic with a set amount of ink inside, the ballpoint pen became the latest throwaway item in life to join the matchbook and copper penny which nobody today would bother to bend over and pick up in a parking lot.
• • •
Still the Fountain Pen survives. Made by venerable old firms in fine metals and finishes they are generally given as gifts to those important enough to warrant something special.These are splendid, unique instruments to be treasured like a watch.But you can bet your boots the note accompanying such a gift is written with a ball point pen which doesn’t dilute the esteem of the message in the least. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.
This will have to do for now on writing until I can do some research on the pencil, if you can remember what that is.
For more information, contact Stephanie Clark. Quarterly Buzz $10 - 4 issues
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