By William Smedley
Booklet via Smedley, William
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Extra resources for Across the Plains: An 1862 Journey from Omaha to Oregon
Never while my mind endures shall be taken from the art gallery of my soul the picture that met my gaze as we topped the first elevation and looked over that expanse of countrythat boundless, undulating prairieand never shall my soul forget that peculiar and indescribable rapture it experienced when I realized for the first time that I had passed beyond the bounds of civilizationbeyond the permanent abodes of man and was about to traverse a region where Nature alone Page 12 has displayed her handiwork.
We had a shower in the morning, accompanied by a perfect and beautiful rainbow. Our partner, James A. Hall, came up to us this morning by stage. Struck Platte River at North Bend soon after starting. This river, like the Missouri, is a turbid stream, but not so dark, more of a clay color. This condition is occasioned by the crumbling in of the banks, which seems to be a continual process; but unlike the Missouri, there is no "reconstruction," the soil being of a quicksandy nature; consequently the river is widening.
May 13. Arrived at Omaha about daylight; found the city not upon the river bank, but judiciously built upon the upland about one-half mile distant. This low, intervening flat was perhaps once the bed of the river, and who can say how soon it may be again? The first striking feature that meets the eyes of the stranger at this time, particularly if he be from the Atlantic states, is the restless, moving throng of emigrants, each armed with a knife upon one side and a revolver upon the other, strung to a belt, with an expression of enterprise, spirit and determination depicted on his rugged countenance.
Across the Plains: An 1862 Journey from Omaha to Oregon by William Smedley