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Chapter Seven
OUR TRIP OVER THE OREGON TRAIL / Site contents / Personal Interests


Hams Fork 3 July 1897
Sunrise 0456 Hours - Crescent Moonrise 0835 Hours
Sunset 2012 Hours - Crescent Moonset 2221 Hours

Here, on the third day of July, I saw the heaviest frost I have ever seen. It was piled on top of fence posts like snow, and the barbed wire looked like half inch rope. But the sun was shining bright, and it was about noon when the frost began to melt.

This was called Hams Fork, but was only a stock ranch then. I didnīt learn how many thousand acres. But then, in that part of the U.S., nothing was called a ranch with less. A man with a homestead of 160 or 320 acres was just a "Nester". Unless he brought lots of money with him, he would either be starved out or bought out by large stock men, if he was in their way, which he usually was. It cut in on their free range and water supply. It wasnīt that they didnīt like neighbors. They liked dollars more.

From Hams Fork about a day or so, we came to placer mining country, where they were using hydraulic power to rip trees and brush out from the ground. It seemed only a minute when striking at the root of a twelve inch tree until it was uprooted. I never knew before this that water could be harnessed into such power.

Pocatello, Idaho - Blackfoot Reservation

We were now headed for Pocatello, Idaho, and soon saw just Indians. No whites. We were in the reservation Black Foot. In Pocatello we got our supplies at a store run by Indians. They spoke our lingo very well.

After leaving Pocatello, we crossed a bridge over quite a large stream and camped. That night, clatter of horses running across the bridge woke me up, and I heard Mr. Vineyard yell, "The Indians are running our horses off!".

I was out double quick. We found them on the other side of the bridge, badly scared. They had never been frightened before. We could not understand how anyone, or anything for that matter, could scare them this way.

Later and further on, we mentioned the incident to a white man. He said the Indians had away of stampeding horses and keeping them where they could not be found, until the emigrants had to make other arrangements and move on, never to return. Had we not heard them on the bridge, and been right on the trail, he thought we would never have seen our horses again, or any Indians who had seen them. He said the Black Foot were very treacherous.

High Plain Between Western Rockies and Cascade Range

By now, we were practically off the west Rocky Mountainsī slope, and entering the plain between it and the Cascade slope. But it was yet very high and dry, and cooler than we had ever seen it in July. I was yet falling asleep on the wagon, and was so tired of looking at nothing but a broad outline of land that was the same day after day --no trees, little green grass, lots of smelly sage brush-- that I decided I could be satisfied anywhere, if I could have a little water and a willow or two for shade.

I think Mr. Vineyard was thinking on the same line for some time. But he didnīt say so, and neither did I. We were so tired of travel, we were ready to stop anywhere we could find feed and water. The "Breakbone" fever may have had something to do with our constitutional lack of energy. Our horses were doubtless in as bad a way as we were.

The Love Bug Bites

I had for some weeks past, been having a battle with myself, too. I liked Allie very much, and was on the brink of asking her to come ride with me for a long time. I didnīt know if I should, and then I didnīt know if she would. I didnīt get this conflict settled for a long time.

Finally, I reduced the question to a philosophical equation. My "id" said "yes", my "ego"said "no". My "super-ego" said "yes", and over-ruled the conflict between id and ego.

That being settled, I asked her to ride with me, one day as she walked down the road ahead of us before our wagons started, and she did. After that success, I got her to ride with me every day. I didnīt get sleepy anymore while driving.

Then I had another battle on as before --"Should I?", "Would she?". The "Should I?" was settled by the same equation, but the "Would she?" could not be solved by this method by me. That was her problem, and if she should think about it as long as I did, we probably would have gotten to the Pacific before being engaged.

But she was smarter than I, or else she had been considering the question longer than I thought. Her answer to the simple question that everyone dreads to ask was ready for me. It was the shortest answer possible. "Yes."

Now came another hurdle I had not thought of before. What about Mr. Vineyard, her father? Well, a few days later, we laid over for two days. Joe worked for a farmer. We washed up and rested our horses. The last night in that camp, we were all around one campfire, and I thought this was my best chance. I sat down by her, took her hand in mine, and said, "Mr. Vineyard, Allie and I have fallen in love."

He waited too long to be very encouraging before he said, "Well, what do you propose doing about it?"

I replied, "Get married, if you will give your consent."

"You have it." was his reply.

Now arose the question of when and where could we do a thing like that. Our farmer friend told us it was about two daysī drive to Albion, Idaho, and that was the county seat for Cassia County.

The Wedding -24 July 1897
Albion, Cassia County, Idaho
Sunrise 0513 Hours - Moonrise 0029 Hours
Sunset 1959 Hours - Moonset 1632 Hours

My hopes were to get there in time before the court house closed, but it was past four when we got to a camp ground back of the county jail house.

Mr. Vineyard said he would go over to the court house to see if anyone was there. It was just across a vacant lot and one street from our camp. He was back in a few minutes, and said everybody but the county clerk was gone, but he would get the license ready and call a minister, and we could come right over.

I canīt remember if I washed up or changed any clothes, or if the others did, but we all marched into the court house, and the minister was introduced. He said he had the license in his hand and would keep it until the vows were over, as he had to certify it afterward anyway.

I canīt remember any of the form of ceremony. But he read it out of a book. They all congratulated us, the minister gave me the certificate. I asked him what was his bill. He said whatever I thought it was worth to me would be satisfactory to him. I replied that it might be a long time before that could be known. Then he said the law allowed a justice of the peace $4.00. I handed him $5.00. He gave me back $1.00, which paid for the license. We fled back to camp. This was Saturday.

Albion, Idaho, 25 JULY 1897

On Sunday a man from the newspaper office came over and talked with us for some time. Gave us a lot of information about the country and the opportunities for settlers.

The next issue of the paper gave quite a column to an unusual wedding on that long journey. Now, after almost 52 years, I wish we had saved that.

We decided to spend a few days in Albion and look the country over. After the article in the paper, we were properly identified, and everyone did his best to get us located.

Mr. Vineyard expressed a desire to rent a place and try it one year. Renting a place was not in my line. I looked at several tracts of homestead land, but there was no shade, just heavy sage. Otherwise it was a beautiful country, infested only with sage hens, coyotes and jack rabbits. I decided to go further out and have a look for a creek and some trees.

About ten miles out, we found a large place in alfalfa, with a woven wire fence with the alfalfa clipped down to the crowns. Here we made noon camp close to the house and garden. Out came a man and his wife, and I got a lot of information. They offered us garden truck free for taking. They had the largest and best gooseberries I had ever seen, and they were dead ripe.

The jack rabbits had kept his alfalfa nipped just like it was then the entire season --not a fork full of hay did he cut, and it was now August. He thought they would get the crowns if it didnīt snow early, but if they didnīt ruin it, he would put rabbit wire around next year.

He told me the next clump of trees I would find would be over in the "Basin". There I went and found a creek and willows. Just above the settlement was white pine and quaken asp all the way to the top of the mountain, and top was mahogany.

Up the creek, above the whole settlement, was a large log cabin, two springs, and a few acres of good land on one side of the creek, and a lot of acreage on a bench a little higher. It was a deserted homestead, and a Mr. Fairchild claimed he owned the cabin and would sell it to me if I wanted to file on the land. I could file on it anyway, but he said he had a right to move the house.

I made the deal, and got rid of an extra horse and what else I canīt remember. Back to Albion I went and filed on 80 acres. Mr. Vineyard had decided to rent a farm for one year.

Honeymoon in Basin, Idaho

Here we began our honeymoon, away up above the settlement. We could see for five miles almost every house. Three miles below was Basin Post Office, and six miles further was Oakley. When we went to Oakley, we let our dog go, and he would chase the jackrabbits out into the sage brush. The coyotes would chase him back to the road.

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Created by Lyndelle McCoy,
Last modified: 19:57 03/09/2001