Lansford Hastings arrives in Independence,
Missouri, a common jumping off point for the Oregon Trail. There
he joins a group of emigrants bound for Oregon.
On May 15th, he joins a company of one
hundred and sixty emigrants. The company includes eighty armed men,
which he considers sufficient for protection along the trail.
On May 16th, the group begins the westward
After a few days travel, the company
is in disarray The emigrants decide to "call a halt, and pitch [their]
tents for the purpose of enacting, a code of laws, for the future government
of the company."
While the emigrants camped, the new
government holds its first trial. An individual is accused of proposing
to capture an Indian horse. The jury, made up of the whole company,
decides that to talk of taking an Indian horse is not a crime. The
accused is discharged with a verdict of "not guilty."
Some members of the company are determined
"to do something in the way of legislating." A decree is passed,
"which require[s] the immediate and the indiscriminate extermination of
the whole canine race ... within [their] jurisdiction."
After some dogs are killed, "the 'dog
decree,' as it was called, [is] unanimously abrogated. This [is]
our first and last effort at legislation."
The wife and child of Mr. Lancaster
become very ill. The child dies in camp. Mr. Lancaster returns
to the States. No mention is made of the fate of Mrs. Lancaster.
The company meets a group of traders
from Fort Laramie on their way to the States. The members of the
company send letters back to the States with the traders.
The company decides to elect new officers.
Lansford is elected leader of the company. Some members of the company
are dissatisfied and break off from the company and travel on ahead to
Forts Laramie and John.
The main company arrives at Fort Laramie.
The dissatisfied members rejoin the company.
After leaving Fort Laramie, the company
meets a party of trappers and traders heading east. The company employs
Mr. Fitspateric, one of the trappers, as a guide to Green River.
A member of the company, a young man
named Mr. Bailey, is accidentally shot and dies within a few hours.
The company passes Independence Rock.
Hastings and a Mr. Lovejoy stop at the rock. While they are climbing
the rock, they are confronted by a group of Indians. Hastings and
Lovejoy narrowly avoid a serious altercation with the Indians.
The Indians accompany Hastings and Lovejoy
to the company's camp. There they all smoke the "pipe of peace."
The company travels a few days up the
Sweet-water river. They camp "for the purpose of 'making meat.'"
Some members of the company hunt buffalo while others dry and preserve
While in camp, "there [is] another accidental
discharge of a gun, which produce[s] much alarm." The only injury
is "a slight flesh wound in the foot, of a small child."
At the camp, "the Indians again exhibit
many indications of their hostile intentions." After a show of force
by the company, the Indians disperse.
After several days of travel, the company
is confronted by "one thousand or fifteen hundred" Indians. After
smoking a pipe of peace with the Indian leaders, the company is allowed
to continue its journey.
After a few days of travel, "a rather
serious difference occur[s]." One of the men in the company refuses
to stand guard. A trial is held and the man is ordered to be removed
from the company "dead or alive." The man comes to his senses and
is granted a re-trial. The man is allowed to remain after he agrees
to "discharge every duty devolving upon him, in reference to standing guard,
The company arrives at the Green River
and camps for several days. Some members of the company decide to
leave their wagons and proceed to Fort Hall on horseback. Hastings
and the majority of the company continue the journey with their wagons.
Mr. Fitzpateric stays with the group traveling on horseback.
Mr. Meek is hired as a guide for the
group continuing with their wagons.
Both groups arrive at Fort Hall at the
At Fort Hall, the company decides to
leave the remaining wagons. "Eight or ten days [are] occupied, in
consummating our arrangements for the residue of our cheerless journey."
The company arrives at Fort Boisia.
The members of the company learn "that
a young man, of the advance of our party, was drowned, in crossing Lewis'
A portion of the company and Hastings
arrive at Dr. White's Presbyterian mission and remain a few days.
The company passes Fort Wallawalla.
The company arrives at the Methodist
mission at the dalles and remains a few days.
The company arrives "on the fifth day
of October, in the lower settlements of Oregon." The members of the
company are assisted by Doctor McLoughlin. They settle in for the
winter. In the spring, some members "desire to return to the States,
while others determine to avail themselves of the first opportunity of
going to California."