QUAKER-ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > QUAKER-ROOTS > 1998-03 > 0889570111
From: Pat Deuel< >
Subject: Re: Aunt Charlotte's book ( Crossing the Platte)
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 16:48:31 -0600
Does anyone know where the "Capt. Gantt" mentioned here was from? Was it
Patrick D. Deuel
From: or-roots <>
Date: Tuesday, March 10, 1998 12:48 PM
Subject: Aunt Charlotte's book ( Crossing the Platte)
> We had followed the Platte River for a long ways before we came to a big
>cottonwood grove, where we made our camp. Our guide, Capt. Gantt, told us
>that we must cross the river at that place. We had been in the buffalo
>country for several weeks and our hunters had saved the green hides to be
>ready for the crossing of the Platte, when we came to it. So the wagons
>all taken apart and the wet rawhides were drawn over the big wagon boxes
>nailed, then they were placed in the sun till the hides were drawn as
>as drum heads. Broken or thin places were rubbed well with pitch till the
>improvised boats were adjudged fully "sea worthy" and were launched to be
>loaded with our stuff and the running gear and wheels. The cargoes were
>topped off with the women and children and the men who could not swim.
> The Platte is a broad river, too broad to be spanned by ropes in order
>the rude boats might be reeled in by men or oxen on the opposite bank. So
>short ropes were attached to the fronts and the sides of the boats and
>men, two in front and three at each side, holding the ropes in their
>swam and towed the wobbly, tilting barges to the opposite bank. The men on
>either side served to keep our barges steady and on an "even keel." They
>to us what outriggers are to a surf boat. The two men in front probably
>supplied the greater part of the motive power, so the going was very slow.
> When one boat had crossed, the swimmers went back to help the next in
>Back and forth they went. My Father and two of my brothers spent the
>part of the two weeks in the water, for it took that long to ferry
> I remember sitting there all tucked up, very comfortable and contented,
>watching the ripples of the water watching it wash and splash across my
>Father's big broad shoulders. They looked as white as milk and his arms
>seemed so long and muscular as they drove him against the strong current
>the Platte. Oh! but I was mighty proud of him.
> On the way across one of our swimmers fainted and would have gone down, if
>Father had not caught him and helped to put him in the boat. So we made
>trip with only seven helpers. Now and then our boat would rock and tilt as
>the strong currents caught and attempted to sport with it. Then Father
>steady it with one hand while he swam along side of us with the other.
> Some of the men who had extra tender skins and had made many trips across
>and back again, were many a long day getting rid of the blisters. My
>Adam, was blistered so badly that he was quite sick and had a high fever.
>Mother doctored him with flour and cream.
> We crossed on the fourth day of July and Peter H. Burnett who was later
>first Governor of California crossed a few minutes later. I remember that
>because aunt Rachel, who had gone over some days before, had a big dinner
>cooked and ready for us. Someone had killed a buffalo and aunt had a great
>pan of juicy steaks all broiled and piping hot. We were terribly hungry
>after the steaks were eaten, we found that they had been broiled over
>"chips". Mrs. Burnett was not altogether happy about it. She even said that
>she would have "starved before shewould have eaten anything cooked on them
>she had known it". I guess that was not altogether true, for a few
>later, the Hon. Peter H. was surprised when he had gone out about daylight
>gather a good supply before other people were up. The boys said he was
>gathering them in a big white table cloth.
> Dry fuel of any kind was very scarce, so even the finicky ones were
>compelled to use them, and after a time, used them in preference, when
>fuel was plentiful. They were good tinderand made beautiful coals that
>the heat for a long time.
|Re: Aunt Charlotte's book ( Crossing the Platte) by Pat Deuel< >|