Willard's Log
1861 Diary of the Journey from
Malahide Township, Elgin, Ontario, Canada
Sacramento, California
Excerpts from the Diary of Willard and Mary (Van Patter) Springsted

07APR1861 California Bound!  Willard Springsted left Aylmer today, his Diary
was returned to us by a friend of his granddaughter.  Apparently, Mary and
their two children travelled by other means as far as Fulton, IL. The following
are excerpts from his Diary:  "had a hard time going to London, rode all night,
stopped at Musons (?) in London Ruthenian House. - - At Detroit, stopped at
Harris Hotel, saw Ben Hayward."

10APR1861 "Left Detroit for Chicago, fare $25.00.  Beemer fare $5.00
arriving in afternoon.  At Girard House, discount on $15.00 U.S. money 4.50
net $10.50 earned 20.00 - 30.50 S& CW Road $10.35.  23 cents per hundred.  
Paid $13.81 to Lane from Chicago.  Bill at Hotel $0.80 fare for Beemer, earned

15APR1861 "WAR.  Fine day at Dixon.  Telegraphed to London CW (Canada
West) St. Thomas price $2.05, postage 5 cents.  Bought horses, harness and
wagon of Jonas Jones for gold watch and $50 and take him and family to

17APR1861 "Visited Uncle Augustus and grandmother's graves at Grand
Detour, Illinois - - north-east corner of cemetery near a large oak."

19APR1861 "A very fine morning, stayed at Mr. Benjamin's last night.  
Barrent did not come as expected - received a letter from Barrent this afternoon
he will be here Monday. - - Military meeting at Dixon at night."  (Barent is a
younger brother of Willard).

21APR1861 "Beautiful morning, expect Barrent tomorrow - at Methodist
meeting today.  Good sermon. - - at Methodist meeting this evening.  Good

22APR1861 "Windy morning feel very well appearance of rain.  Canon roaring
in Dixie today.  Shot 20, spoon 10, apples 20, powder 20.  Thomas Jefferson
born in Virginia State.  Barrent came last night."

24APR1861 "Met Mary yesterday at Fulton - Camp 1"
-26 miles to Camp 2 at Big Rock near Waupaca River
-30 miles to Camp 3 at Cedar River
-27 miles to Camp 4 beyond Iowa City, "met Jonas and Co. today"
-31 miles to Camp 7 "was a fine morning, changed horses with Ebb this
morning, camped for dinner near Brooklin 25 miles west of Marengo, stopped 3
miles west of Grinnel."

02MAY1861 "J. H. Jones' horse lame - feel very bad - cold.  3 Companies
camped on the river flats tonight - a great many going to California this spring.  
Camp is 5 miles from Newton.  Shot 5 ducks."

05MAY1861 "Rained hard.  Laid over at Demoin City - beautiful camp - very
windy in afternoon."

10MAY1861 "Crossed East Nishni Botuny (Nishnabotna) River this morning.  
Saw a horse been bit on the nostril by a rattlesnake.  27 miles today"

14MAY1861 "Showery.  Groceries $35.00 for 6 persons."

16MAY1861 "At Omaha today - sunny.  Very fine morning - feel pretty sore
today from walking yesterday.  Western phrases - all persons from Iowa are
called 'Hawk Eyes'; Missouri 'Pikes'; Ilinois 'Suckers'; Wisconson 'Badgers';
Indiana 'Hoosiers'.  Delayed at the Missouri River some few hours, ferry fees
$1.00.  Crossed Missouri R. (river) 1 mile west Omaha Camp 23."

17MAY1861 "Looks like a storm.  Saw 5 Indians yesterday: 3 Pawnees 2
Camp 1 - west of the Missouri River - first day out of Omaha - 10 miles.  
Camped at 10 am."
Camp 2 - west of Elkhorn River
Camp 4 - on Platte River 2 miles west of Fremont
Camp 5 - "23 miles on Shell Creek near Indian Battle in 1852"

23MAY1861 "Barrent sick yesterday, some better today - many sick today.  
Cloudy and windy traveled 16 miles.  Camp 6 south of Long Lake about 1
mile.  First Timber."

25MAY1861 "fine day traveled 19 miles.  Camped on Prarie opposite island in
Platte River.  Swam river for wood on island Camp 9" (1st week out 103 miles)
- Camp 10 at Lone Tree Station.

27MAY1861 "Fine morning.  Saw two deer about 1 mile off.  Dinner at 3 miles
west of Shoemaker's ranch.  Camped at 3 miles west of Grand Island ranch,
came 22 miles.  Camp 11"

30MAY1861 "Rains.  Trouble last night between rangers and O'Dell"

01JUN1861 "fine morning, hunting buffalo today.  Two antelope - no buffalo -
very scarce.  Laid over near Vanoke ? on Buffalo Creek Camp 16" (second
week 125 miles)
Camp 17 - "Came 22 miles.  Saw 3 Sioux Indians"
Camp 23 - "Castle Creek.  20 miles - fine day"

09JUN1861 "Laid over on Castle Creek, fine morning, warm day.  Two small
companies to join us tomorrow.  Must make Laramie next Sunday.  Camp 24"
(3rd week 126 miles)

10JUN1861 "Came 25 miles to Crab Creek.  Boy badly hurt yesterday with
wagon - run over.  Camp 25 - 25 miles"
Camp 26 - "in sight of Court House Rock and Chimney Rock, 23 miles"
Camp 28 - near Scott's Bluff

15JUN1861 "Joined Richardson & Co. today.  Camp 30 on river - 30 miles."
(4th week - 135 miles)

17JUN1861 "Broke hind axle of wagon 7 miles above Laramie.  Bought old
one from trader for $2.00.  Came 23 miles hilly and hard roads, drove until 12
at night.  Camp 32"

21JUN1861 "Dinner on river 14 miles from Camp 35, feed poor, road


"rodes very hilly camped tonight on river drove 26 miles.  And here Willard
came to an untimely death by trying to swim the river.  We buried him by the
roadside but his spirit has gone to God who gave it"

22JUN1861 "Left Willard's grave this morning - was hard to leave him thus
alone but we were obliged to do it.  Drove 22 miles - passed a very lonely day"  
Camp 37

23JUN1861 "mailed a letter to Warren (brother at Malahide Twp.) today"

26JUN1861 Camp 41 at Devil's Gate

29JUN1861 "Forded the Sweetwater 3 times this morning, stopped for dinner
near ford # 4.  Mountains in sight covered with snow.  Drove 25 miles.  Camp

05JUL1861 "Crossed Green River this morning on the ferry -- traded with
Mormon woman for gloves.  Camp 49 - 22 miles"

07JUL1861 "Drove 17 miles camped at Fort Bridger feed good, rodes pretty
good, quite sick today, children not well" (Erny very sick for next 3 days)

14JUL1861 "Laid over today in the Great City of Salt Lake, went to church
heard Brigham Young preach, saw a very large intelligent well dressed
congregation of between 5 & 6 thousand people.  The service was held in a
bower.  Camp 58"

17JUL1861 "passed through Ogden"

23JUL1861 "camped on Goose Crick met Mr. Richardson's train - Camp 67"

31JUL1861 (have been travelling along the Humboldt River for several days)
"Cut's train left today.  Camp 75 - 12 miles"

02AUG1861 "left Mr. Richardson's train this morning they could not come on
for sick horses - passed the grave of a young woman buried this year.  Camp
77 - 25 miles"

04AUG1861 "saw lots of Indians.  Camped on Humboldt with 3 other trains"

06AUG1861 "Drove 15 miles this forenoon rodes very good feed good - like
riding through a wheat field - plenty of Indians - Camp 81"

10AUG1861 "reached Lawson meadows this day noon.  Lay over and cut hay
for horses - bought flour at trading post, trader let us have meat for 20 cents lb.  
A trader made me a present of a can of quinces"

14AUG1861 "Left Warm Springs this forenoon drove 12 miles across the
desert.  Mr. Richardson's train came up with us tonight.  Camp 89 - 12 miles"

16AUG1861 "camped on desert at Buffalo Springs.  Joe's horse sick today.  
Mr. Smith and Mr. Schofield took tea with us.  Left Mr. Hubbert with sick
horse.  Camp 91 - 18 miles"

19AUG1861 "met some of Ebb's friends from California"

20AUG1861 "met Frank Jones today, horses tired, had corn and potatoes for
dinner feel very homesick today"

23AUG1861 "horses not well, will lay over a week here on the Susan River -
helped Mrs. Jonson and Louisa and earned some money sewing for Mrs.
Jonson - made mince pies"

01SEP1861 "Camped for night at Pearce's ranch, put horses in stable and
breathed the warm air of Sacramento.  Camp 107 - 28 miles"

02SEP1861 "Camped for night at Gridley's ranch.  Erny got badly scalded."

03SEP1861 "Started very early and reached uncle's about 11 o'clock - we are
at our journey's end for now." (Erny took some time to recover)

So ends the long journey from Malahide to Sacramento begun April 7,
1861.  There are several pages more in this Diary which describe meeting
the Sacramento relatives (of Willard?) and others.  Mary taught school
for a time and later married secondly, J. H. Kerr of Elk Grove, CA.  He
was the first to grow English walnuts in California among other
accomplishments.  They were a well-respected family, a school being
named for him.  Mary died 30OCT1917.
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Mary (Van Patter) & Willard Springsted
18DEC1839-30OCT1917              1837-21JUN1861
b. Aylmer, Ontario, CAN        b. where ?
d. Sacramento, California       d. Platte River, Casper, WY