Life in Council Bluff during Aug 1849
ma-lodge Council Bluffs, Iowa, ? Potawatamie, Co., July 18. Afcssra. Bngg & Uni-mon: Uni-mon: Uni-mon: .' Billion of tlm Detroit Free rioss: , Sirs Finding myself in this distant part of the Great West, and believing I can give your readers some information that would be useful in these times of excitement atid emigration, I venture to make the effort. We are in lattitude between 41 and 42 (leg. North on the Missouri river, (east side) about 20 miles above the mouth of the Platte river, in as beautiful a country as hills, ravines, and pra-rieB pra-rieB pra-rieB with rich soil con make. The spring and Bum mer up to the 6th of July, has been very wet, bur. every kind of crops I have seen growing, promise well; winter wheat is now harvested, in Borne cases damaged withjrust. Three years ago Indians were the only inhabitants in this country; at that time the Mormons came here, went to the west bank of the river, built a village, made a large farm, raised one crop, when the Potawatamie Indiana were brought out on this side, and the Omahas being m mil pos- pos- Bion and troublesome on the west side, they, the Mormons, abandoned their improvements on the west side and crossed back to the east side again, where they have put in cultivation many farms, built mills, and made other and valuable improve ments, and their numbers have increased several thousand. The country is yet unsurveyed; the Mormons only stop here to raise grain and cattle to further them on their journey to the valley of the Salt Lake, for which there have several hundred waggons started this spring, and are still going, as itn lnat frninn hnvfi illSt crossed the river. There have also started from this place several hun dred waggons of California emigrants, and one large lot of goods from St. Louis in about seventy waggons, for Salt Lake, to trade with the Mormons, This appears destined to be the great starting point for western travelers, for several reasons, nrst, you have to make this far north to get to the pass in the Rocky Mountains; second, you can have hotter hotter roads in Iowa than you can get in tho Indian country on the other side of the Missouri, the streams not being so difficult to cross; thirdly, you have inhabitants nearly the whole distance if com ing by land, and transportation nearly as cheap if coming by water, and the river, aitnougu uau lo navigate on account of snags, is as safe to this point as any below; fourthly, you are advanced some 200 miles west of other starting points, as Independence, St. Joseph, be. Gen. Willson and suite, as Indian agent for all California, himself of Missouri, took this route, which argues well lor it. If traders from St. Louis and at! Missouri take this route others certainly may. Previous to this spring it was feared that supplies supplies could not be obtained here, but this need no longer exist as boats can always come up the river before emigrants can start, on account of the grass, and there was very little difficulty this spring in ob taining the necessary outfit. This village, called Kanesville, ie four miles from the river among the Bluffs, as the saucy nature of the river banks, and their tendency to wash away, renders it hazardous building near it. On the bot toms is a thriving place, one year old, numbering some 200 log houses. Lumber is very difficult to obtain. I purpose to remain here a year or two, and shall he happy to communicate any intelligence, or greet as many of my old friends as are disposed to call or send. We have four stores, and every kind of business is good. We have but a weekly mail, but hope for some speedy and frequent arrivals by and bye. There have arrived here three trains from Salt Lake this season the first, consisted of eleven men: no accident except the drowning of a mule; the second, three men; they were robbed of all their horses and bapirase bv the Snake Indians. The third company, numbering nine. I have not heard of any accident to them whatever. Taey report a constant string of waggons from above Fort Lara mie, nearly to the Missouri river. Some caseB of cholera with those starting below here, and a few deaths. If there was much emigration intended next spring it would be well to let it be known to this part of the country, so that such supplies os are needed would be collected for their early start west; either oxen, mules, or southern horseB are (rood for teams. More oxen are used than other creatures, as they do not stray and are not so easily stolen by the Indians. There iB not half the dif ficulty in the iournev that many suppose. In wet weather the prarie roads are muddy, in dry they are very good. Emigrants generally take too much loading, loading, especially those going with waggons. A small amount of clothing, a few cooking utensils and some provisions is all that is needed to this point,: except blankets; those all should have. No tools or extra yokes, spears, or levers are needed as you are in good seltlements, and a fine country until you ar rive here, however, on a part of the road this side of the Des Moines river, settlements are sometimes forty miles apart, none further. CrosB the Des Moines River otEddyville, then to Pisga, an Indian town on the Nisnabotany river, then to Council Bluffs, the country is somewhat hilly west of Pisga, the road generally passing- passing- on the summit of the ridges and generally good, most of the streams bridged. Persons cannot conceive a more beautiful country than is here in view. We have just learned that a gentleman of Missouri Missouri is about to place on the river Missouri a steamboat to ply as a packet from here to St. Louis, and to be used here as a ferry boat in times of most emigration. The weather for some weeks has been very warm and vegetation luxuriant. Health of the county good and all things calculated calculated to invite the stranger to visit this part of the world. Respectfully yours, he., Henry Bishop.