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hands of the
publisher, Francis P. Harper, of New York, as edited by Dr. Elliott Cones, of Washington City, from his diary, which, when
published, I shall be pleased to present to this historical Society.
had been in the West about eight years, five of which had been spent in the Indian country, when he made us his first visit.
I was then a lad going to school. He brought with him a variety of Indian curiosities, among which were complete suits of
an Indian chief and his squaw, all trimmed with beads and the quills of the fretful porcupine. The squaw's dress just fitted
me, and he dressed me up for exhibition to our friends; and he, as the great chief, would give the war whoop, and go through
their various antics, much to our edification. From that moment, I made up my mind that I would see and realize some of this,
and traverse the vast plains, of which he gave us such glowing accounts.
We were still
suffering from the effects of the panic of 1837, and in 1841 my uncle Eugene, who was occupying the old homestead, the "Pimlico
farm," made up his mind that he would go west, upon the solicitation of his brother Charles. Thereupon I got the consent of
my grandfather to accompany him as far as St. Louis. We came from Baltimore to Harrisburg, Penn., by rail and canal, and also
by canal to Hollidaysburg; crossed the Al1egheny mountains, descending an inclined plain to Johnstown; travelled from Johnstown
to Pittsburg by canal; and thence down the Ohio river by boat to Cairo, and up the Mississippi river to St. Louis, Mo., reaching
the latter point about October first. My intention was to remain in St. Louis during the winter, and go up into the Indian
country on the upper Missouri with my uncle Charles in the following spring, as we then expected him down in charge of a fleet
of Mackinaw boats loaded with their winter's catch of furs. But, as fate would have it, the company sent him the other way
among the Blackfeet Indians, toward the headwaters of the Yellowstone river and the great Park, which then was unknown, but
today is recognized as one of our most precious national treasures.This vast country was owned by various tribes
of Indians, and California had not yet been ceded to the United States government by Mexico. All traders had to receive a
license permitting them to trade, or even to travel or hunt, within these territories. The country was full of game of all
kinds, anal the Indians lived "like gods? The buffalo roamed in their midst without fear, as if placed there by a bountiful
Providence for their special benefit. The fur trade was of vast importance; and, as the Hudson Bay Company, of British America,
often encroached upon this territory, American traders kept close to the line in opposition to them. My uncle Charles' services
being very valuable to the company, he was induced to remain in the country. Therefore, the fleet of the American Fur Company
arrived in St Louis in the spring of 1843 without him, as it did the spring previous, and I abandoned for that season again
the hope of reaching the plains of the upper Missouri. In the meantime, I remained in the