Across the Oregon Trail

Across the Oregon Trail

Mrs. Josephine M. Clark 1929


When I was married, I came across  a shorthand notebook that recorded some personal memories of crossing the Oregon Trail. These people were my husband’s relatives; in fact, his name is Clark. His cousin Mina asked to borrow it and we never got it back. This is my kids’ history but in general it is interesting, particularly for people who live in or know Oregon. These photos are not from this lady, by the way.

I was born in Knox Co Illinois June the 29th 1843. I will try and tell a few instance that can remember in crossing the plains.

In 1850 April the 30 Grandfather with his family started to Oregon the family comcisted.

Aron Smith Grandfather

Nancy Grandmother’s mother

My father 3 children Hazard Smith

My mother Sarah Smith

Henry White, son in law

Eunice his wife and 3 children

Ben Vanburan son in law

Catherine, his Wife, 3 children

Moses Smith, son

Almina Smith daughter.

Almira Smith Daughter

Perusha Smith. Daughter.

Pheba Smith. Daughter

wagon trainThis is Grand Fathers family. There was 2 hired men or teamsters John Barker and John Crouch. There was 4-4 horse freight teams and 4-2 horse teams for the … Then there was William Colizon, the Captain of the train. John Vanburan and Wife and there was 2 other Families I have forgot their names. but I think Brown was one their names. Colison had 2-4 horse freight Wagons and 2-2 horse teams.


Our Captain was bringing a fine Stalion across or Started with him but the Indians took him. As I was only 7 years old, I don’t no Where wee was camped but an Indian came to the train and told the men that in one moon, the Shoshonies was a goin to take the horse and if wee Was a Sleep they would cut off our heads. I can rember the night well that the Horse was stoll. Wee was camped on a creek and the Indians was thick all through the camp. Wee could See where they had crawled in the sand it was in a cove and the roads wound up a canion too the high ground. Where the Indians had left their ponies the men said there looked like a thousand ponies in the band. Wee traveled a half day along the road where they went and then they turned off toward Salt Lake. The Horse was seen in WallaWalla 2 years after wee got through too Oregon by John Crouch. One of the teamsters that was with the train. That was the only trouble wee had with the indians after the Horse was taken the malicia from WalaWalla travelled with us through the Hostile country. There was another train 10 days back of us that were nearly all massacreed it was called the Wagner train.

ore trail river floating

Wee had no more trouble I can rember Where wee got too Government Springs only one day more too the Dalles. Well they camped on 3 mile above the Dalles Several days too get ready too come down the river too Portland. At the Dalles they sold fore head of horses, and part of the train went over the Barlow rout too the Valley. William Colison and his part of the train. Well Wee got too Portland the 26. day of October 1860

Wee came down the Columbia from the Dalles too the Cascades by boat. Then over the portage on the old tram road too the lower Cascades on tram cars halled with mules. The man had too lead the horses. The wagons was put on the flat-cars. It was a single track or walk one mule ahead of the other. When wee got too the lower Cascade wee took the Boat again for Portland which was only a village there was only a few houses in site all timber, and East Portland heavy forest.

ptld 1850s



Well, as Soon as the men could get things stratened out wee Started for the Willemut Valley. My Grand Fathers oldest son Abshim had come too Oregon 2 years before by the way of the Istmus and Settled near Sublimity there is Where Wee Went. Grand Father Baught the Tom Fine place 3 miles east of Sublimity my Father Haszard Smith lived in Sublimity three years a Blacksmith Ben Vanburan settled in Jeferson a Blacksmith. Henry White Went too Albany carpenter and mill Write. My Father was alwas moving fro place too pace he lived in Sublimity 3 years then he bought the Frank Cowell place and only stade there a few months and moved to Henas Priory that is on the middle fork at the Saintiam he sold out in about a year and bought the Lewis Stout ferry on the Saintiam sold that and went too Jefferson in 65. in may 66 the Silitz reserve was thrown open for settlement and he moved too the Yaquina.


Wee was 3 days driving from Jeferson too Pioneer for too Pioneer the 8th day of May 1869 Doctor Kellogg was booming Pioneer at that time he had a Small Boat that run down the river too Newport there was quite a town at Elk City at that time. Kit Abbey and Marsh Simpson had a Saloon there Tom Blair the Hotel Johnson had the Store. My father settled on a place between the Olala Slough and the Depo Slough there was only a few families when Wee got there.

Royal Bensol put a mill at the head of the Depot Slough that Sumer and Father done some login for the mill. Captain Dodge had a store at Oyster Ville and Shiped out oysters and brought in suplies on his scooner. In June 1866. Baldwin and Sam Case built the ocan (??) house at Newport. Peal Abey had a Saloon and Sam built the Abey House right– built and put in a good Store.


In August 1868. there was a man by the name of Ballard driving a band of cattle on the road near Fort Halsey he met a lot of Indians and they was scaring and scatering the cattle he told the Indians too Stop untill he got the cattle past but they kept on and he shot and killed one of the Indians. That made a Great excitement on the Yaquina. The Indians thretened to go on the war path but Ben Simpson was Indian agent on the Siletz at that time and soon had them quieted down. In 1867 my Father was apointed Blacksmith on the Siltez reserve wee stade there untill general Parmer was apointed Agent then all the employes were changed Ben Simpson them built the Onita mill and oe or 2 Schoonersthat made lively times on the Bay thenun 1872 there was a big Selebration at NewPort and all the Indians from the Siletz were there and the Indians were drinking and one indian drew a gun on Tom Boil and Tom shot him dead then there was another Scare the Indians was tutina (?) Dick one of the Worst Indians on the reserve. The night after the Boat towed a caw from Newport too the mouth of the Depo Slough then the indians Went on into the Slough too the old mill Where they met the team for the reserve. General Parmer went on that right too the agency and there was some of the ded Indians friends along and they wanted too Kill Parmer on the road but there was another Indian of another tribe that wouldn’t agree too Kill the Agent at the Siliz Res.

Mrs. Josephine M. Clark



Please return this to

Mrs. Vina. S. Barbour


PO Box 402


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