back to Home page

Accounts of travelling
down the Oregon Trail

The Applegates 1843

Catherine Sagar 1844

Donner and Reed 1846

Francis Parkman 1846

The Mormons 1846-7

Ralph Geer 1847

William Porter 1848

Phoebe Judson 1853

Back to

1840s Emigrants cross the Great Plains


William Porter's
Oregon Trail Diary 1848

Traveled 15 miles today. Saw hundreds of buffalo and I killed one which is the first that has been killed in the company. It was a young cow and eats excellent

Independence Rock

Independence Rock

William Porter's Oregon Trail Diary 1848

Apr. 7th. Travelled from Pittsfield, east of Louisiana

23rd.. Arrived at St. Joseph (Missouri) early in the morning.

27th. Moved our cattle five miles from our camp. Tucker crossed the Missouri on the 20th of April, Holmes and Blackerby crossed on the 1st of May. Stephen and myself crossed on the 2nd of May and Hooker and Parvenu crossed the 3rd and 4th of May. We all went out to Peters' Creek six miles from St. Joseph.

May 6th. we crossed a small stream about as large as Bay Creek on which are some Indians making some attempt to farm.

7th. Retraced 4 or 5 miles of our road for the purpose of getting to wood and water off the road to the left. Water, plenty, but wood scarce. Two of our company went back to the agency to get their wagons repaired, and we are lying by today. Start early in the morning from the mission and if you see no prospects for timber turn from the road to camp. Keep the plainest road which is very good at this time. We traveled 12 or 15 miles into the prairie today. Here are several branches to the road any of which will be right. Keep the best which lies on the dividing ridge. The roads from St. Joseph to the agency are very hilly and crooked.

7th and 8th. Lay by waiting for the return of part of our company from the agency.

18th. Traveled 18 miles and camped on Blue River, having crossed a barren sandy desert.

22nd. Traveled 22 miles five of which was up the Platte bottom, had to cross the river for wood and got poor wood then. Wood on this side where we first struck theriver. Rained all night with very heavy wind. Wagon covers leaked middling badly.

31st. Traveled 15 miles today. Saw hundreds of buffalo and I killed one which is the first that has been killed in the company. It was a young cow and eats excellent.

3rd. Traveled over to North Fork at Ash Hollow 20 miles.

4th. Oxen ran off and it was noon before we broke up camp, traveled eight miles, and nineteen teams ran away with their wagons - broke Mr. Ball's leg and crippled a number of oxen. Frightful sight.

10th. Traveled 12 miles and camped at Horse Creek. Good grass but no wood except drift wood on the river two miles from road.

11th. camped on the river. Wood plenty. Grass not so plenty. 12th. Traveled 12 miles to Laramie. Grass very poor. To Laramie 580.

July 1st. Samuel tucker left one wagon and much valuable property. Traveled fourteen miles and camped within 10 or 12 miles of Independence Rock.

2nd. Traveled 20 miles, 8 miles past Independence Rock - nooned at said rock.

20th. Traveled 21 miles to Soda Springs.

23rd. Traveled 15 miles and camped on a branch of Snake River.

25th. Traveled 8 miles and camped on Port Nenf, 2 or 3 miles past Fort Hall.

17th. Traveled 14 miles and crossed Boise River.

22nd. Traveled 8 miles to Burnt River.

29th. Traveled 14 miles and camped on the west side of Grand Round.

13th. Traveled 24 miles to Columbia River.

Oct. 1st. Traveled 10 miles passing through the City of Oregon

8th. Traveled 2 miles to Mr. Pringle's where we expect to live

If you wish to read William Porterís Record in full take this link:

Back to

1840s Emigrants cross
the Great Plains

If you have a question
or comment click here.


© Chris Smallbone Sept 2006