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Oregon Trail History 101
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The Journal of William Lieuallen, emigrant of 1864
Pioneer Family of the Month - September 1996

William T. Lieuallen and his bride, Margaret Fuson, were married the day before they set off from the Fuson home to get ready for the trip to Oregon. William was the middle child of eleven children born to Peyton and Jemima Lieuallen in Anderson County, Tenessee. In 1843 or '44, following the birth of their last child, Peyton and Jemima moved the family to Missouri. After moving to Missouri, the Lieuallen boys just sort of kept on going -- all but one of Peyton and Jemima's sons emigrated to the Pacific Northwest. Only John Wesley Lieuallen and the four Lieuallen daughters -- Mary Ann, Rebecca Jane, Julieann, and Sarah -- stayed in the East.

William was a latecomer to Oregon. Most of his brothers and several family friends had emigrated in earlier years, so William and Margaret had a firm destination in mind when they set out. The Lieuallen homesteads in eastern Oregon were well short of the Willamette Valley, but by 1864 that no longer mattered nearly as much as it had only 20 years before. Gold had lured prospectors to the dry side of the Cascade Mountains by then, and boom towns, ranches, and respectable settlers had inevitably followed. There were stores and small towns stretching well into Nebraska and Idaho, shortening the trip through unsettled lands still claimed by Indian tribes.

Still, traveling the Oregon Trail in 1864 was a serious undertaking, and William was inspired to risk the trip to get away from wartime conditions in the East. A letter from John Wesley Lieuallen to his brother Josiah, who had emigrated to Oregon the year before, dated August 30, 1864 -- while brother William was camped along the Snake River en route to Oregon -- described conditions as, "very troublesome here, and so they were [before you left for Oregon], but nothing to compare with what they are now. And they get worse every day, my language fails me to tell how low and degraded the people have got, mind cannot think of anything too mean for them to do. ...there has been murdering and stealing all around us."

On his journey west, William kept a journal, recording the daily conditions and keeping a record of his mileage as best as he could reckon. Note that this is not a diary -- William rarely if ever recorded his personal feelings or detailed information except where it pertained to the wagons, livestock, and traveling conditions. This is not unusual in records kept by the menfolk; women were more likely to keep diaries than impersonal journals. The text of the journal was taken from family annals shared with the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center by the descendants of William and Margaret Lieuallen; interpretive commentary added after the fact is set off from the main text with brackets and a reduced type sizze.

April 5, 1864

William Lieuallen and Margaret Jane Fuson was join to gether in marriage by John H. Covey, J.P.
["J.P." stands for "Justice of the Peace"]

April 6
We move Margaret and her things to John Lieuallen

April 7
We come through Princeton and staid at nite at Marton Moss faired well without fee and Marton cut and welded two log chains without fee. travel about 8 miles.

April 8
It rained all day. We went to Isham Willingham only 4 miles and staid at nite with Isham Willingham

April 9
We went through Pleasant Planes, Decatur Co., Iowa, thence to Noah F. Lieuallen. We travel about 16 miles.
[Noah was William's younger brother and came to Oregon in the same wagon train]

April 10, Sunday
We staid at N. F. Lieuallen through the day and that night with R. Mc & Juliaaen Gravatts.
[Note that William started keeping track of the day of the week on a Sunday -- this may or may not have a religious significance to it, as it doesn't seem that William and his wife rested any more often on Sundays than they did on other days of the week, nor did he mention Sunday services after leaving Missouri]

April 11, Monday
I and R. McGravatt went to Aunt Elizabeth Smiths thence to G. W. Blakesley and tuck dinner with him and Hane thence back to N. F. then I and Margaret staid that night with A. W. and Maryann Coxes

April 12, Tuesday
Hall a mans wagon up the hill at McNeles and we went to G. W. Blakesley and staid there at night.

April 13, Wednesday
We hope move G. S. Blakesley and staid with him that night.

April 14, Thursday
We hauld a lode of corn from G. W. Blakesley to N. F. Lieuallen and we staid with them that night.

April 15, Friday
N. F. Lieuallen and me worked at our boots & Margaret washed.

April 16, Saturday
Noah and me worked at our boots.

April 17, Sunday
We went to the new commers meeting house to meeting and heard Abraham Stanley preach from they that are hole and need not a phasien & c. and staid that night at N. F. Lieuallen.

April 18, Monday
We went to Leon, Decatur Co., Iowa & had our likeness taken and several other things; and went home with Nancy McGravatt & staid with them at night.
[In later years, when photographic equipment was widely available, it was fairly common to go into town to have one's picture taken before leaving home for Oregon or California -- after all, the journey was usually one-way, and those staying behind would probably never see their departing loved ones again]

April 19, Tuesday
I got a box of R. McGravatt and put it on the hind end of the wagon & c and at night went home and staid at R. McGravatt.
[This is an interesting entry because it describes William modifying his farm wagon for the trip to Oregon -- he probably added a jockey box to carry spare parts and tools]

April 20, Wednesday
Nock about and in the Eaven went to Aunt Elizabeth Smiths and staid with them that night.
["Eaven" doesn't mean "evening" but "afternoon" in this context. Where William writes "after noon" later in the narrative, he means early afternoon -- literally, after noon. "Night," however, still means "night"]

April 21, Thursday
thence to G. W. Blakesleys and tryed our mare thence back to Noah and in the eaven work at our boots & c.
[You'll see "& c" quite often in William's journal, meaning "and so on." It's an archaic abbreviation of "et cetera," which we abbreviate as "etc." today]

April 22, Friday
Worked at our boots.

April 23, Saturday
Went to Holdmans and got a load of corn in the foor noon and in the eaven susks and shell corn.
[As you might expect, he's referring to shucking corn, here]

April 24, Sunday
Staid at Noah Lieuallen and A. W. Coxes and wrote J. W. Lieuallen a letter and sent it to Leon, Decatur Co., Iowa by A. W. Cox

April 25, Monday
We worked at our boots and at nite we went to A. W. Coxes and staid with them that night.

April 26, Tuesday
Noah and me worked at our wagons and in the eaven Margaret and me went to Unkel William Kirks and staid with them that night.

April 27, Wednesday
Came from Unkels back to Noah and finished mending Margarets shoose.

April 28, Thursday
Margaret and me went to Davil mill & to the store

April 29, Friday
I went to Andersons and halled a load of corn for Noah and meself.

April 30, Saturday
Noah and me made a halter and bottom a chair.

May 1, Sunday
In the eaven Margaret and me went to George W. Blakesleys and staid with them that night.

May 2, Monday
I got a load of corn and came bak to Noah. James and William Fuson came and staid with us at night.

May 3, Tuesday
Maid some things and first one thing and another and staid at N. F. L.

May 4, Wednesday
Chorring and staid at N. F. Lieuallen.

May 5, Thursday
Chorring and staid at N. F. Lieuallen.

May 6, Friday
Noah and me drove about 4 miles to A. L. Coxes and staid with him.
[On the road to Oregon at last!]

May 7, Saturday
Travel about 11 miles. We move on came through Decatur City, in Decatur County, Iowa, 4 miles from A. L. Coxes thence 7 miles and campt on Long Creek about 3 o'clock in the eaven it was raining & I think it thundered as hard & rained as hard as I ever heard and seen.

May 8, Sunday
Travel about 5 miles. It rained in the forenoon & our cattle would not be contented & in the eaven we rold. Went in about 1 mile west of Clinton in D. C. I thence out on the prairie and campt in a little grove about 5 miles from where we staid on Long Creek.

May 9, Monday
Travel about 9 miles. We rooled through Hopeville which is in the South West corner of Clark Co., Iowa, thence west to the Thomson river. travel about 9 miles it rained about all the time we travel we turned off the road to get grass it rained all that nite.

May 10, Tuesday
Travel about 3 miles. Rote John a letter. We rold from the hickery a pint a round up to the ford & waited till after dinner then cross the Thomson fork of Green River and down the river near where we campt the night before in the edge of the bottom prairie. We'ed a big frost this night.

May 11, Wednesday
Travel about 13 miles. We rooled about 13 miles. We came through Afton from the county seat of Union Co., Iowa. We campt on 12 mile creek which is said to be the west fork of Green River with about twenty wagons. We come to the main road that leads from Burlington to Council Bluff, in Iowa & east of Afton.

May 12, Thursday
Travel about 11 miles. We road where Lyland had been and out on the prairie about 11 miles. Campt on a little brook in the prairie in Union County, Iowa.

May 13, Friday
We travel about 18 miles cross flat. Came through French Colony in Adams Co., Iowa. Campt on east Nodaway. With about 12 wagons.

May 14, Saturday
Travel about 11 miles and through Queen City and Quincy the county seat of Adam County and crossed middle Nodaway 2 miles west of Quincy thence out on the prairie and campt on a little brook.

May 15, Sunday
Travel about 7 miles & lay over in the afternoon on the west Nodaway with about 12 wagons & I fixt my wagon toung & I [illegible]

May 16, Monday
Travel about 16 miles and travel with six wagons fron Hinens, Jackson Co & agreed to stay close together & came through Frankford, Montgomery Co, it the county seat. Reach our Junsen close to east Ishabotany & campt on the west side of the same R. with about 18 miles.
[The "Ishabotany River" is the Nishnabotna]

May 17, Tuesday
Travel about 15 miles crost Wannut Creek. Campt out on the prairie near a hous in Mills Co., Iowa

May 18, Wednesday
Travel about 6 miles. Lay over in the forenoon and hunted Stevenson horse then campt on the west Ishabotany & I & another man went 3 miles down to White Clouds Mill to see about flour, In Mills County Iowa.
["Stevenson horse" is not a species or breed of horse -- William helped to hunt down some horses belonging to a fellow overlander by the name of Stevenson. William helped hunt "Stevenson horse" on two or three occasions, and he later makes mention of Stevenson's departure from the group of wagons which William was traveling with -- reading between the lines, one gets the sense that William didn't much like Stevenson and his errant horses]

May 19, Thursday
Travel about 14 miles. Had a rite smart hunt for the cattle. travel with our sise wagons. We campt on Silver Creek in Mills Co., Iowa.
[It was quite common for cattle to wander away from camp during the night, but they usually didn't go very far]

May 20, Friday
Travel about 13 miles. Crost Cay Creek and campt in the Missouri River Bottom on a little creek Mosketer in Potawatany County Iowa.
[That's Mosquito Creek in Pottawattamie County, Iowa]

May 21, Saturday
We lay by about 2 miles from Bluff City in a bottom prairie on the Mo. River. Wrote John Lieuallen a letter & Margaret & me wrote one for William Parmer.
["We lay by" means "we rested"]

May 22. Sunday
We lay by on Mosketer Creek in Missouri River Bottom.

May 23, Monday
Travel about 6 miles. Came through Bluff City & in the eaven crost the Missouri. Campt rite close on the west side of the same river in Douglas Co., Nebraska. Bluff City to Co. seat of Potawatany Co., Iowa where we came to the [illegible].

May 24, Tuesday
Travel about 3 miles. The Isham Stevenson was sick. We only travel a little in the eaven. Came out through Omaha in Nebraska, Douglas Co. the county seat of the same Co.

May 25, Wednesday
Hunted the cattle there was 9 out of [illegible] some of the company went back to Omaha. Noah & me hunted faithful and could not find them it was Cherry & Star; Cherry & [illegible]; Buck & Merry; Hiam & Flory; Reddy.
[The party lost 9 cattle from their herd this morning, and some people headed back to Omaha either to replace them or to see if someone had rounded them up as strays]

May 26, Thursday
Travel about 5 miles. We still hunted the cattle till in the eaven then we found them. We all so had 3 other men hunted which we was to give them too dollar if they found them.

May 27, Friday
Travel about 15 miles. Went through [illegible] & cross the Elkhorn River & campt on the west side of it for the wimen to launder in the afternoon. begin to see indians 3 staid in the camp with us that night.
[This sort of peaceful meeting in the countryside was the rule for Indian encounters, not the exception.]

May 28, Saturday
Travel about 15 miles. Came through Freemont the county seat of Dog Co., Nebraska
[That's a phonetic spelling of Dodge County, Nebraska]

May 29, Sunday
Travel about 17 miles. Up Platte River. Campt on the same river in Platte County Nebraska.

May 30, Monday
Travel about 22 miles. Up Platte River. Campt on the same river in Platte County, Nebraska.

May 31, Tuesday
Travel about 8 miles. In the fore noon came into Columbus the county seat of Platte County Nebraska and stopt to git my wagon tires sets and did not get it finished & campt in the edge of town & seen Henry Campbell & Co. We had a Platte storm.

June 1, Wednesday
Travel about 8 miles. Got my wagon tires finished and hunt Stevenson horses in the fore noon thence cross the North fork of Platte or Luke fork. Seen plenty of Indians. Campt on Platte River.
[William misunderstood many local place names along the way: "Luke fork" refers to the Loup River]

June 2, Thursday
Travel about 17 miles. Come still up Platte River and campt on Platte River & from the best information we go we was in about 8 or 9 miles of Henry Campbell and other & in Merica Co. Nebraska
[Merrick County, Nebraska]

June 3, Friday
Travel about 22 miles. Still up Platte River could drive nearly all day without loosing campt on the Platte river out open prairie in Merica Co. Nebraska

June 4, Saturday
Travel about 27 miles. Came by OIs store and the mill that went by [illegible] campt on Platte river with old man from west cousnt we had rite good grass in Merica Co., Nebraska
[We're not sure what "cousnt" means... it may be a misspelling of "coast" or it may mean that an old man heading east shared the camp site because the grass was good in Merrick County. Either way, it's important to note that William is already concerned about finding good forage for his oxen -- which is fortunate, as he's pushing them hard]

June 5, Sunday
Travel about 20 miles. The pretty prairie up Wood river. Wood river to North Platte river to the South. Campt on Wood river in Buffalo Co in Nebraska. Wrote letter to John.

June 6, Monday
Travel about 16 miles. We left Stevenson & I left the telegraf & got with Eley going and other H. & B. Campbell & others. past near Fort Henry. Campt on Platte River. Left the settlement.
[William's mention of the telegraph wires is interesting -- the Pony Express was put out of business by the completion of the first transcontinental telegraph connection in 1861, but the transcontinental railroad won't be built until after the Civil War. Note also that William says the wagon train "left the settlement" on this day, meaning that they're no longer in settled territory]

June 7, Tuesday
Trail about 16 miles. Travel with Les Going and other, about 20 wagons. Campt out on the prairie. poor grass & c

June 8, Wednesday
Travel about 25 miles.

June 9, Thursday
Travel about 20 miles.

June 10, Friday
Travel about 20 miles.

June 11, Saturday
Travel about 15 miles.

June 12, Sunday
Travel about 15 miles. Campt about a mile from Platte River. Came over some sand hills.

June 13, Monday
Travel about 18 miles. Came over some sand hill. Came by a Soo indian town past Willis & co. Stevenson which was in [illegible] Co. Campt about 1 mile of North Platte River. The wind blows it rain in the fore noon & thundered hard & rain.

June 14, Tuesday
Travel about 10 miles. It rained and we lay over in the eaven. We past Willis & Co. Campt on Platte River.
[That's 241 miles since June 2 -- according to William's estimates, the entire trip was 1739 miles -- and they take only a half-day's rest!]

June 15, Wednesday
Travel about 16 miles. Willis past us in the morning & we past them in the eaven. We campt on Platte River.
[The Lieuallen party obviously had a good-natured rivalry going with another group in the wagon train led by the Willis family]

June 16, Thursday
Travel about 17 miles. Came up Platte River. Campt on a little creek near Platte River just behind Willises & Co.

June 17, Friday
Travel about 20 miles. Luke Purkapile & Miss Gilbert fit & a general fuss between Purkapile & Elkins. Tuck place in the morning. Purkapile went over to Wilises. Campt on close to a creek & Platte River.
[The participation of the Elkins patriarch in the dispute suggests that the Miss Gilbert mentioned here may be the same woman later referred to as "Miss Elkins" when she gives birth early one morning, but we have no confirmation of this]

June 18, Saturday
Travel about 10 miles. Lay over on Platte R & I waid in to get some wood to wash with & we went 2 miles out on the bluff & got some sedar wood & got up on the bluff & seen the Chimney Rock.

June 19, Sunday
Travel about 18 miles. We past Willis & Co. Some sandy road. Campt on Platte R about faremence the court house rock. that rock is on the south side of Platte river. we was on the north side of Platte. Came in site of the telegraf wire it on the south side of Platte river.

June 20, Monday
Travel about 16 miles. It was a warm day. Willis & Co. past us. We campt on Platte R. oppusit the Chimney rock. That rock is on the south side of Platte R. we was on the north side of Platte R.

June 21, Tuesday
Travel about 17 miles. We campt in about 3 miles below Scotts bluffs which is on the south side of Platte R. We had a little rain storm last night.

June 22, Wednesday
Travel about 18 miles. We went out of site of the chimney rock. We campt on Platte River.

June 23, Thursday
Travel about 20 miles. Campt on Platte R. We past a large town of Sioux Indians. We had poor grass. Reddy had two calf 1 was dead the other we put in the wagon.

June 24, Friday
Travel about 15 miles. Wrote John & Moody a 1 letter a piece. Meet indians mooving past near For Larmy. Fort Larmy is in the fork of Platte R. & Larmay R. S of P. R. We campt about one mile above Fort Learmy.
["S of P. R." means "south of the Platte River," and "Fort Learmy," of course, is Fort Laramie]

June 25, Saturday
Travel about 7 miles. About 3 miles into the black hills then turned off the road to a little bottom and camp. lay over in the eaven. The women washed. Campt on Platte.

June 26, Sunday
Travel about 26 miles. Still through the black hills. Up one hill and down to another. About 18 miles the worst road that I found. Drove till after night to get to water at a grate spring near a grave yard.
[By 1864, graves were common along the Oregon Trail. William mentions that the party camped near a grave site several times during the journey. Note that the "black hills" mentioned here are not the Black Hills sacred to the Sioux -- though on the other hand, the area through which the wagons were traveling at this point was Sioux territory -- but more likely the foothills of the Laramie Mountains]

June 27, Monday
We lay by to rest our team & in the eaven made [illegible].

June 28, Tuesday
Travel about 18 miles. Came back on the Platte River. The grass was eat up. We campt on the said river.
[The first groups on the Trail every year got their choice of the best camp sites, so parties arriving later sometimes had to go out of their way to find good forage for their animals]

June 29, Wednesday
Travel about 5 miles. We starte out for grass & we found grass & water & wood all handy. There we stopt to let the stock eat & c. We mend out things.
[Since the emigrants filled most of the space in their wagons with food, the raw materials that a wagon train needed to keep going were grass for the animals, water for man and beast, and wood (or buffalo chips, in a pinch) for the camp fires]

June 30, Thursday
Travel about 25 miles. Came through some ruf country & plenty of dust. Campt near on Platte river.

July 1, Friday
Travel about 16 miles. Wound round up one hill and down for 5 or 6 miles & then was back in site of or near where we campt the night before. We campt on Platte River.

July 2, Saturday
Travel about 20 miles. Came through some as sandy road as any we had still on the north side of the Platte R. Campt on Platte.
[Sandy roads were hard on the oxen, as the wagon wheels would sink into the loose sand, making them much harder to pull]

July 3, Sunday
We lay over.

July 4, Monday
Travel about 19 miles. Travel over sum very sandy road past one large bridge that was on Platte river. Campt about 1 mile above the bridge on Platte river. Poor grass.
[If it were not 1864, during the depths of the Civil War, it would be somewhat surprising that the party didn't lay by to observe the Fourth of July. Also of note is William's mention of a bridge on the Platte River. Latecomers enjoyed such conveniences as bridges and ferries at the major river crossings, though there were still a good many rivers they had to cross the hard way]

July 5, Tuesday
Travel about 14 miles. We came by another bridge 5 miles from the first one where there is a rite smart store. Beacon, 5, o & c. We come through what some of the boys call the little Devel gate. We came to the telegraph wire we campt on Platte again. We drove our stock a cross the river to git graze. We come up with the Willises.

July 6, Wednesday
Lay over at the same place. Willises left us there again.

July 7, Thursday
Lay over at the same place. Mary Campbell fetch a girl.
[The first of two births William mentions in his journal]

July 8, Friday
Lay over and seen Henry Hieth.

July 9, Saturday
Travel about 15 miles. Campt on left Platte River. Campt on a little branch. Stevenson left us.

July 10, Sunday
Travel about 14 miles. Campt on a green creek.

July 11, Monday
Travel about 13 miles. We came to Sweet Water up it 3 miles about one mile above the Independent Rock. Campt on Sweet Water. Lay over in the eaven & so the fixt wagon tires.

July 12, Tuesday
Travel about 14 miles. We past by the Rocks that is call the Devels Fate. We turned off of the road 1 mile to campt and campt on Sweet Water.

July 13, Wednesday
Travel about 20 miles. I got Robert Campbell to kill Reddys calf. We campt on Sweet Water.
[It's hardly surprising that the calf didn't survive, given the hardships of the journey]

July 14, Thursday
Travel about 10 miles. Came by Soulders quarters & cross Sweet Water 3 times then campt close to the Sweet Water & lay over in the eaven to rest our stock.

July 15, Friday
Travel about 8 miles. Polly Campbell & [illegible] a big swell & C. & B. Hings campt on at the 4th crossing of Sweet Water. Lay over in the eaven.

July 16, Saturday
Travel about 18 miles. We came in site of the snow on the mountains. we campt on the Sweet Water.

July 17, Sunday
Travel about 11 miles. We campt about 1 1/2 miles above the souldiers station on Sweet Water. Lay over in the eaven.

July 18, Monday
Travel about 19 miles. We left main Sweet Water. We campt on Willer Creek.

July 19, Tuesday
Travel about 14 miles. We came to the South pass station. There we turned to the write. Left the telegraph wire and the south lake road started on the landers cut off campt on a small brook with a good spring a little above the road.
[The choice of the Lander Road, or Lander's Cutoff, is again something early emigrants did not benefit from. The Lander Road is a cutoff of the Sublette Cutoff, running from the headwaters of the Sweetwater River to the vicinity of Fort Hall. Confused? Have a look at our map of Wyoming]

July 20, Wednesday
Travel about 15 miles. We noon at Sweet Water & left it & I guess we crossed over the top of the rockey mountains that eaven for the water run the other way but general good roads. We campt on a small brook. Good grass.
[William's experience of the Continental Divide was typical. It took some people a few days until they were convinced that all the rivers and streams really were draining to the west]

July 21, Thursday
Travel about 23 miles. We crossed little Sandy & came over about 5 miles of bluff rockey road & cross big Sandy came over 8 miles of big valley. Campt where a spring good grass.

July 22, Friday
Travel about 18 miles. Without water & but very little grass but good road we came on to green river. It could be forded it is swift river & rockey. We campt on the west side of Green river good wood and grass.

July 23, Saturday
We lay over to wash & rest our stock at the same place & the boys ketch a fine dinner of fish.

July 24, Sunday
Travel about 6 or 8 miles. We came to 2nd Green river. Tolerable ruf road.

July 25, Monday
Travel about 15 miles. Good road but some sandy. Crost what is call the 3th crossing of Green River but it was only about 5 miles from the 2th about 10 to the 4th Green river without water from the 2th to 4th Green river. It rained. We campt on the forth Green river good grass.
[In a rather convoluted way, William is recording that the Green River was dry at the third crossing. It's not uncommon for western rivers to play hide-and-seek like this -- the water is still in the riverbed where it belongs, but one must dig to find it]

July 26, Tuesday
Travel about 18 miles. We travel about 9 miles without water to a creek near the top of the mountain then 2 miles thence 6 miles the creek near where the snow was on both sides in about 2 miles on side. Campt on the same Cannon Creek. Margaret was sick.
[To modern eyes, medical treatment in the Nineteenth Century is somewhat frightening -- bad enough to take sick in New York or Boston, but the unyielding stress of life on the Oregon Trail drove otherwise healthy people mad, and it could most certainly kill the unhealthy]

July 27, Wednesday
Travel about 16 miles. Up that creek some 3 miles then into the pine grove then still in the pine timber & up up the steep hill & down & another down. Campt on a small creek near Elizbeth Baid grave.

July 28, Thursday
Travel about 16 miles. We travel through heavy mountains. general water plenty. We campt on Cannon Creek. pore grass. Margaret still sick.

July 29, Friday
Travel about 16 miles. Margaret had a very hard spell with her stomache & c. We had to stop a few minutes on her acount. ruff road for 9 or 10 miles to small creek thence down the creek 5 or 6 miles & campt on the same creek an Miss Elkins was sick & got to bed next morning with her girl.
[Just to dispel any wayward speculation, it's very unlikely that Margaret had cholera. If she had been struck with cholera and survived to this point, she would be feeling better, not worse]

July 30, Saturday
We lay over on small creek between Bear river Mountains & Salt well. The best information I got Miss Elkins girl was born just before day.
[The second child to be born during the journey]

July 31, Sunday
We lay over at the same place. Good wood, water, and grass.

August 1, Monday
Travel about 20 miles. We had good road down the valley between Salt river Mountains & Bear river Mountains. We campt on a creek near the mouth of the Cannon.
["Cannon," which soon becomes "cannun," is a colloquial spelling of "canyon"]

August 2, Tuesday
Travel about 18 miles. We went up the cannon to the Salt spring seen prety salt then up that cannon to the cold spring & down another cannon & campt on in it where we could hardly get our wagons out of the road for piles of rocks & timber.

August 3, Wednesday
Travel about 25 miles. We came out of cannun in a short distance thence over rolling prairie & campt on small creek. Good grass water willer bresh is in many.
["Willer bresh is in many" means that there's plenty of willow brush around for firewood]

August 4, Thursday
Travel about 8 miles. We came over the black foot River & lay over in the eaven & fished with a sain and cot plenty fish in the morning. Dust plenty.
[The dust is part of the trip which almost every diarist comments upon. The "sain" with which the party fished is a seine -- if you don't know what that is, go look it up. Dictionaries are good for you]

August 5. Friday
Travel about 20 miles. Tolerable good road. Campt on a small brook near Catherine Campbells grave. Dust plenty.

August 6, Saturday
Travel about 20 miles. We got through the landers cut off and came into the old Oregon road. Campt on a small like creek.

August 7, Sunday
Travel about 10 miles. We went down the same creek & campt on the same creek and lay over in the afternoon.

August 8, Monday
Travel about 20 miles. About 9 miles out of the way we mist the right road & had to turn back to git or a cross to git in to the rite road & cross Partsmoth River & campt on the same stream in some 2 or 3 miles of fort Hall Station. South I expect.

August 9, Tuesday
Travel about 20 miles. about 9 miles out of the way. In trying to git into the rite road that went down on the south side of Snake river. Campt on a little brook not a grate way from the mothe of Portsmoth river. It goes into Snake river.

August 10, Wednesday
Travel about 5 miles & lay over at a place where a man was a hack horse so he said for the hack 15 miles below Hall Station. I wrote a letter to J. W. Lieuallen & one J. F. Moody. We come on the Military road.
[It took a while for us to decode this entry, but we think William is talking about meeting a man taking a stagecoach horse to the station east of Fort Hall. There were stables where stagecoaches changed tired teams for fresh horses spaced fairly regularly along many stretches of the old emigrant roads]

August 11, Thursday
Travel about 18 miles. Jerry died in the morning before we started. We travel down Snake River past the American Falls on Snake River & campt on a little brook near the river. had poor grass. dust.
[Jerry was an ox, not a person]

August 12, Friday
Travel about 22 miles. We had dust & rock. We campt on Raft river at a ranch. We had good grass.

August 13, Saturday
Travel about 18 miles. Without water and not much grass. Dust & rocks. We campt on at a ranch where the hay rich was.

August 14, Sunday
Travel about 18 miles. Dust road. We campt on a small like creek at a ranch where there was more hay.

August 15, Monday
Travel about 23 miles. Travel till after night a little. Some of Henrys cattle give out. Dusty & Rocky road. We campt on the prairie about 2 miles of the Snake river.

August 16, Tuesday
Travel about 2 miles to dry creek dug holes to git water in the eaven & campt on the same creek.

August 17, Wednesday
Travel about 10 miles. We hunted cattle in the fore noon dust roads we campt on rock creek near a ranch good water & grass & willer wood. these ranches is the hacks station.

August 18, Thursday
We lay over on rock creek. William Lieuallen rote 2 letters for B. Campbell 1 for Mary Campbell & one for him & Margaret to Thomas S. Fuson.

August 19, Friday
Travel about 16 miles. About 8 miles without water to where we cross rock creek then about 8 miles to crock creek by turning off the road a little & got water & grass in the cannun of Rock Creek where we campt. Dusty road.

August 20, Saturday
Travel about 16 miles. Without water. We found water by turning off the road about 1 mile to the river & got our wagons in about 1 mile of the river then drove our stock down the bluff to the water & grass & we campt on the bluff. Dusty road.

August 21, Sunday
Travel about 6 miles. Campt on a small like creek near the river. got sum grass & grain for our stock. Dusty & sandy road. lay over the balons of the day.

August 22, Monday
Travel about 5 miles. Came about 1 mile below the ferry that is on Snake River. We went about 1 mile below the ferry to Samon Creek found good grass & lay over the balons of the day there we left the mail road.

August 23, Tuesday
Travel about 5 miles down on Snake River. It rained and we staid about 2 miles above the Samon Falls campt on Snake River. Good grass.

August 24, Wednesday
Travel about 30 miles. About 28 miles of it without water. Its raining the day before it was not dusty but sum sandy road & hills in the eaven we turned down a cannun to the river & campt. poor like grass.

August 25, Thursday
Travel about 5 miles. We had some sandy & sand hill & dusty. We campt near the moth of a creek, on the river. grass & water.

August 26, Friday
Travel about 16 miles. We travel down the cannun of Snake river. noon near the moth of a small brook. Good grass. a ruf road sandy & rocky. Campt on Snake river poor grass.

August 27, Saturday
Travel about 10 miles up a long sandy hill then down into the valley turned off of the road to campt on the river. Good like grass.

August 28, Sunday
Travel about 10 miles out of the valley on the ridge & over it & down a cannun to a large like creek or a small river name not nown by me. Good like grass. campt on & stayed over balons of the day on that creek.

August 29, Monday
Travel about 16 miles. We left a creek went to the river again just below the moth of the said creek there was some grass thence down Snake river in the valley. grass a long in patches. I found a log chain. Campt on Snake river.
[Log chains were simply heavy chains used to pull fallen trees to the mill. Many overlanders carried chains for emergencies, such as freeing a bogged down wagon or, on Laurel Hill in Oregon, dragging trees behind the wagons to slow their descent. The chain William found could have been accidentally left behind after someone used it or thrown away to spare tired oxen by lightening the load]

August 30, Tuesday
Travel about 10 miles and stopt to noon & it thundred & rained & hailed as hard as I ever seen and a large or the larges hail feled I believe as I ever seen. A little dry brook raised so we could not cross it. Campt on river.

August 31, Wednesday
Travel about 15 miles having poor grass the night before we draed out of the valley & over to a wet weather creek though it had some grass thence ner the river side thence left the river thence went down into a large cannun there was some muddy water some grass we campt there.

September 1, Thursday
Travel about 20 miles without grass or water. We then came to Snake river & campt on the river. poor grass.

September 2, Friday
Travel about 7 miles past another ferry on the Snake river & turn off of the road 1 mile to the river. foun good grass & lay over the rest of that day.

September 3, Saturday
Travel about 9 miles. We puld out in the eaven & down the river road some sandy & dusty. Campt on Snake river. poor grass the grass is just in patches along here.

September 4, Sunday
Travel about 18 miles. We travel in general in site of Snake river. Dusty & sandy road grass in spots near the river. We campt on the river poor like grass.

September 5, Monday
Travel about 15 miles. We travel in general in site of the river. Grass in spots near the river. Dusty & sandy road. We come near a short like bend in Snake river. She turn toward the North. We campt near the bend.

September 6, Tuesday
Travel about 8 miles. We travel a round the bend and left Snake river a little & came to Owyhee river in Oregon Baker Co. & campt on the same & lay over the rest of the day. Poor like grass.

September 7, Wednesday
Travel about 18 miles heavy dust without water or grass we came by the ferry on Owyhee by 2 houses then up a sandy rise to the road that came by Boisee City then up a long cannun & over the hill & down another cannun to Malheigh river. There was grocery & c We campt on it a night. There I seen J. Sterit & R. Wilson.
[The "Malheigh river" is the Malheur River]

September 8, Thursday
Travel about 4 miles. We did not see find our cattle till near noon. We then move on the out where there was good grass & water in holes & campt.

September 9, Friday
Travel about 18 miles past the table springs then on small creek. Met Ransom Lieuallen then on to the fairewell bend of Snake & met A. A. Lieuallen & G. Campbell & campt with them on Snake River.
[Asbury Almon Lieuallen was William's youngest brother]

September 10, Saturday
Travel about 7 miles. We parted with A. & R. Lieuallen. After dinner we come over on to burnt river up it a peace we found some houses & we campt on Burnt River. We drove our stock up a cannun 1 1/2 miles on bunch grass it dry.

September 11, Sunday
Travel about 16 miles. We cross Burnt River several times & came to what was call a toal gate. We pay one dollar a piece. We campt on Burnt River. Drove our stock out on the bluffs to dry grass.

September 12, Monday
Travel about 12 miles. We past on tole gate but we went a round the either rounded up in back to the other road & campt on a small brook in site of Burnt river.

September 13, Tuesday
Travel about 12 miles. We came up burnt river a short distaince then left burnt river and came over on Burch creek & campt on it had bunch grass on the hills.

September 14, Wednesday
Travel about 13 miles. We had some ruf like road we past where there was fixen to mine of grine the quart rock. We came to Powder river valley. Campt at the express house near where we come off of the hills. A well to water out of bunch grass by driven to the bluffs.
[Gold was what opened this region of Oregon to settlement. Before the prospectors arrived, eastern Oregon was considered Indian country; after whites struck gold, the last great Indian nation in the area, the Nez Perce tribe, was broken and sent to a reservation in Idaho. It seems that William is saying that the miners are "fixing to mine and grind the quartz rock," which suggests that he saw a group of men building a rock crusher and the minehead of a hard rock mine]

September 15, Thursday
Travel about 15 miles down Powder river valley and came to the river & campt on Powder river.

September16, Friday
Travel about 12 miles. We just past Pyleses ranch & campt just below Pyles feald. good grass & water & I rote Geo. Blakesley & [illegible] & McGravatt & c.

September 17, Saturday
Travel about 12 miles. We came through a toal gate into the Grande round valley. through Unionville & on near Hendershoots ranch near the moth of the cove campt near there on a small brook. I & Robert Campbell went up the cove about 3 miles to Oliver P. Barnes & found them all well.
[The "Grande round valley" is the Grand Ronde Valley]

September 18, Sunday
We lay over and Oliver & Manervah come to our campt & c & me and Margaret went home with them & stayed all night with them.
[The first time William and Margaret slept in a house in months!]

September 19, Monday
Travel about 9 miles cross the Grand round river then on through the valley out to Grand round river & campt on it. Good grass & c.

September 20, Tuesday
Travel about 9 miles. We stilldown Grand round river to Willer creek. Stop to noon then concluded to stay all night. Good grass. There was a sick woman.

September 21, Wednesday
Travel about 10 miles through a naro part of the valley or a cind of cannun to a small like creek ner the feet of the blew mountains & campt there & drove our stock 1 miles down the creek.

September 22, Thursday
Travel about 20 miles through into the blue Mountains & campt near Charles Hatell near the summet. Prairie tied up our stock. Poor coming.

September 23, Friday
Travel about 20 miles came down the blue Mountains to the Walla Walla river campt on the same. Good water, wood, & bunch grass by drivin back into the bluffs.

September 24, Saturday
Travel about 12 miles. We went down Walla Walla river about 3 miles then turn over the ridge to Dry Creek thence to Pine Creek then up Pine Creek to James Lieuallen. Met & family, T. T. Lieuallen, A. Kilgore & family. All well.

After meeting his older brother, Thomas Tyndall Lieuallen, at his claim, William and his brother Noah immediately set about finding their own land. This took less than a week, and by October William was hard at work building the cabin in which he and Margaret would spend their first winter in Oregon. Aside from the occasional trip into town, a few days off to help friends and relatives raise their cabins, and two or three days spent husking corn for his brother, William worked for about three weeks to build his cabin, and a further two weeks building a stone chimney. William and Margaret finally moved into their new house on December 8, 1864, after William finished the hearth and put in a wood plank floor. This was fairly ambitious as first-year cabins went, but with his brothers already established nearby, William didn't have to worry about securing food, tools, and other supplies he and Margaret would need to build a home.

William chose to stake his claim on sloping, hilly ground because he found a spring and small stream, and he considered the presence of year-round water important enough to prefer the foothills of the Blue Mountains over the prairie on the valley floor. This choice proved to be a wise one, as he and his family prospered and expanded their land holdings over the years. In 1875, William built a proper frame house for his growing family. Lieuallen family lore holds that William wasn't much of a carpenter, as evidenced in the photograph of the barn he built for his livestock (no word of who the buckeroo in the foreground is), so hopefully he used hired hands for most of the labor. Sadly, the home of William and Margaret Lieuallen burned to the ground on January 8, 1987, its wood-shingled roof apparently set ablaze by sparks from the chimney. Fortunately, no one was killed or injured, but the family lost many precious heirlooms and photographs in the fire.