Diary of Lovina Rosalie Swaim
Johnson Robson
As written from 1912 – 1982

Transcribed and annotated
By Linda Lewis Livingstone
Grand-niece of Lovina Robson
March 2004

Original diary is in the possession of
The Riverton Museum
700 E. Park Avenue
Riverton, Wyoming 82501
(307) 856-2665

Lovina Swaim Johnson Robson began this diary in 1912, at age 22; the last entry was made in 1982, at age 92. She made many notes in the margins of the pages indicating dates and general topics for the sections as she wrote. These and the original page numbers will be indicated in italics at the head of the paragraphs. Spelling and grammar have been left uncorrected.


1912 Lost Cabin Wyoming

Page 1 - Oct 22 My Life
I suppose I ought to begin this diary with a short sketch of my life from birth up to the present time, tho really I do not know exactly why; there is nothing of especial interest in my past; I am not very good nor very bad, neither unusually intelligent or unusually silly. In fact, I am cursed with a very ordinary disposition. So, my children and grand-children that are to be, if you don’t want to read an ordinary story of an ordinary person’s life stop now before you begin.

I was born in Wells County, Indiana on Dec. 20, 1890. The house, as I saw it afterward was (and is, for it still stands) of logs. Behind it was an orchard and still beyond that was a big meadow. In the front yard was an evergreen tree on each side of the walk, flowers, roses and a pear tree. In front of the yard is the road and incidentally the county line between Wells and Blackford Counties. On the other side of the road is a wood. On each side of the house is a field. The place if very picturesque – cool and quiet and pleasant. While I was still very tiny the folks moved to northern Minnesota and I being their property, was of course taken along. We were there for two years, but I had not begun to “remember” yet. My first recollection was almost directly after our return to Indiana, when I was about two and a half years old. My older sister, Glenn and I bravely went in search of eggs in a lot, where there were some fierce looking creatures called cows. They were standing and placidly chewing their cuds, and looking at us mildly interested, but we were as much afraid of them as tho they had been lions, or some other fierce brute.
I started to school when I was five years old. I learned everything on the chart but could not read a word any place else. It was the way I was taught, I suppose. It is consoling to think so anyhow.
When I was about six we moved to the western part of the state, to Jasper County in a

covered wagon. I shall never forget that trip. One incident I remember especially well; There was a drizzling rain and Mother was driving, and when we were going down a hill into Medaryville , the horses could not hold the wagon back and so we went lickety-split. A big lunch basket fell on my three year old sister Minnie’s head and she was crying and altogether it was a pathetic yet funny scene.
The three little ones could not keep from Page 2 - bouncing about and mother was too busy with the lines to help us so we had to take all the knocks we got, and do the best we could.

We were in Jasper County for two years. During that time little brother came, lived five months and then died. Father went west to Wyoming before he died and mother was almost sick when we went west to join Father.
Father had said to a neighbor “Better come too.” They took father at his word and came.
When we arrived at Casper Wyo. Father was there to meet us with a small team and wagon and a small camp outfit, and just enough bedding to do us, for Willoughbys, we understood, were to buy their own team and wagon in Casper. I never learned why, but they did not do it. They came with us, and there were fifteen altogether. When we left Indiana it was almost summer and we had on our summer clothes but when we got out here it was winter. Willoughbys could not open their trunks in Casper to get out more bedding, so our own little bit had to do for all fifteen.
One night when it was cold we all slept in the same bed; the two mothers in the center and their respective families lined out from them, on each side. In the morning when we woke, our shoes, which were in a row at our heads, were filled with snow! Heavens! How we did huddle over that little almost frozen fire, trying to get a little warmth from it, but alas! Such a luxury was too much to be hoped for.

Footnotes added by grand-niece Linda Jeanne Lewis, daughter of Love’s nephew Charles Swaim Lewis.
1In 2004 Medaryville is in Pulaski County, Indiana.

We broke camp and started on. Our summer clothes were extremely thin for such weather and I remember that Mother tied our heads up in towels and anything she could get. What poor mother herself did to keep warm I don’t know, for she was no more warmly dressed than we were and almost sick, besides.
We must have indeed been a strange and funny looking outfit when we arrived at Lost Cabin.
Father had become acquainted with a young sheepman, W.I. Lewis, and as he was in Lost Cabin shearing we went to his camp for the night.
Tho she little guessed it then, sister Glenn was destined to marry Mr. Lewis, or Will, as we always called him.

Page 3 - The next morning we left for Snyder’s ranch where we stayed until fall.
Soon after we arrived lambing began and my father worked for Snyder.
I have heard papa tell of an experience he had that spring, an experience not unusual to “tender feet.”
“The evening looked stormy, so father decided to put his bed (a roll-up bed in a tarpaulin) in a ‘gully’ to protect it from the storm. The next morning his bed was wet through. Of course the water had ran into it; it couldn’t help it. Getting your bed wet during lambing was no laughing matter in those days nor even yet. It meant that you had to sleep in a wet bed until you could get it dried, of course, but spring storms usually come just at lambing time and sometimes two weeks pass before you are again comfortable.
My oldest sister, Pearl taught school six or seven miles from Snyder’s at Bader’s and we used to ride horseback to and from school.
This diary would not be complete without some mention of Lessie Signor.
When we went to Wyoming in ’99 Jessie was a girl of about twelve, tho she was large and looked older. She literally lived in the saddle. She had a few cattle of her own, and she looked after them and those of her step-father, Dan Pool. She always rode on a gallop, and she could ride a bucking horse as well as any man in the country. In short she was western thru and thru. She was the kind of girl you read about in novels.
The first winter we lived at the old Shelby place/ or Laing place – it has several names. My Father filed a homestead and desert on a place on

2Ora Snyder was Charley Swaim’s nephew. His wife Bertha was sister to Will Lewis.

3A type of land claim. Homestead Act, May 1862 – 160 of undeveloped land in the western U.S. to any family head provided they lived on it 5 years or bought it at $1.25 an acre after 6 months.

Badwater Creek – now the George Davis ranch, and built a cabin out of huge cottonwood logs.
The next two winters we lived at Bader’s and the next at Lost Cabin.
The summers we spent on the ranch.
Page 4 - The winter we lived in Lost Cabin my mother was sick. The doctor pronounced it heart trouble and dropsy , and advised a lower climate. We had been to the hot springs at Thermopolis a year or so before, but only for a couple of weeks, and after she got sick she often said that she believed that a longer stay would have helped her.
However, we went east again. Drove to Casper. We were wild with excitement; we hadn’t seen a train since we left Casper four years before.
Father did not go with us then but came later. We went the first part of May and just about two months later, the 8th of July, Mother died.
We stayed in Indiana for two years and then came west again. I was fourteen years old, Glenn seventeen and Minnie twelve. Glenn was married a couple of months after our arrival. She had been engaged for a long time.
Pearl was married in ’99 to AJ Crossley. She has children now and one dead.
I was married in 1907, when I was just past sixteen. Glenn has two boys now and I have one.
Minnie has taught school for three years now (April 1913) and…

(Insert July 27 – 1923 Family Affairs Lovina began a segment here that she continued in depth on page 64. This editor is placing the short insert at the beginning of that development on page 64.)

Page 5 – 1913 April 21 Trip planned to Yellowstone Park, Montana, etc.
About a month ago we decided to go to Montana and are now at Dug Fuller’s ranch and are going to work for him during lambing, and wait for the roads to get better.
We have planned to go by way of Thermopolis and stop/stay there for a week or so and then go on to Worland, Meeteetse, and Cody. At Cody Minnie will meet us (come by train) and we

Desert Land Act, 1877 – 640 acres at $1.25 per acre, no residence required. A paten was given after 3 years if irrigation was accomplished.
4Dropsy – edema. No longer in scientific use. Can be caused by Congestive Heart Failure.
5Glenn became engaged to Will Lewis when she was 14, before the family returned to Indiana. She married at 17 when they came back to Wyoming after her mother’s death.
6She doesn’t finish the sentence.

will have a month or six weeks trip thru the Yellowstone Park. Then Minnie will return home and will go on to Missoula.

May 25 Copper Mountain
During the last month we have been up on Copper Mountains, helping Mr. fuller lamb. At first we were at Oil Springs – not far from where an oil well is being drilled. Then in a few days we went farther into the mountains to the “Seeps”.
I was fortunate enough to meet and become acquainted with John Irwin – better known as Klondike. He is an old timer in this country, and is one of its characters. He is a generous, kind, simple old fellow, and I liked him at once. Harold Day is boarding up there now. He is a big, red-haired seventeen year old boy, and a likeable one too.
The country up there is absolutely the rockiest most uneven country I ever was in. Mountains sloping and grassy on one side and gigantic cliffs of solid rock on the other. In one place there is a kind of balanced rock. The face of the cliff slopes back somewhat and the “balanced rock” stands straight up on a seemingly frail shelving rock. I expected to see the shelf crumble any time, and let the big rock fall. Another curious thing up there is a tree, or rather two trees, with a log thru them. The trees were together at the base and sometime in their infancy a tree – or part of one – fell between them. They grew around it, and together again. Now it is one tree at the base with the fragment showing on both sides of solid wood. The big stump from which the fragment came is still there – looks as if it had been burned. I fancy it is a couple of hundred years old, and probably Indians set it, or caused it to be set on fire.
I brought the sheep wagon from Klondike’s place, hunted horses, harnessed them, and, in fact, did a man’s work. I didn’t mind it a bit, though. Page 6 - Mr. Fuller brought the supply wagon and Henry trailed the sheep.

Books – History, “Lady of the Lake”, Lamb’s Tales, Ardath, Magazines, etc. -
Not long ago, I received Durey’s History of the World but haven’t read much in it yet. My reading for this last month was “Review of Reviews”, and the “American Magazine” School textbook of General History and one of U.S. History. Marie Corellis’ “Ardath” and Emerson’s Essays – also the “Travel” magazine. Then, I have some little paper bound five-cent classics that I’ve read a good deal too. Have just started reading “The Lady of the Lake” by Scott, and some of Lamb’s “Tales from Shakespeare.”

Travel Booklets –
Have just come across a booklet of mine on Hawaii. Somehow the Hawaiian Islands have always held a fascination for me. If ever I get money enough I’ll certainly go there.
I am tired from that strenuous labor this morning, and my pen wobbles a good deal.

June 13 We start our trip to Yellowstone Park & Montana; Barney Bausman Ranch; Percy Shallenberger Ranch
This is Friday, the thirteenth – normally called unlucky, but Friday is my lucky day so I think that starting out today will make our trip successful.
Henry took Mr. Fuller’s sheep outfit over to Moneta to shear out and then came back and we went to Lost Cabin.
At the end of our first day of traveling, we are on Bridger Creek opposite Barney Bausman’s ranch house. Henry tells me that Mr. Bausman is quite the laziest man that ever lived.
We passed Persy Shallenberger’s ranch. He has a big field of alfalfa and oats. Mr. Shallenberger is still working at Moneta. – Book-keeper at the store there. I don’t see why he stays there, he is well educated and is worth a good deal.

June 15 Paul Goediek, “Dee Ranch”, Bad roads.
Last night (the fourteenth) we got to the “De ranch”. Paul Goediek and brother have a five year lease on the place and Long’s (the owners) are living in California.
Once we almost tipped the sheep wagon over, the roads have been so badly washed out on account of so much rain lately.

Page 7-- Kirby Creek; Adventures
Today we crossed the divide and we are now camped on Kirby Creek. We almost had a turn-over with the wagon again today. We went down a very steep incline into a gulch. I had been asleep but waked up suddenly. Going up on the other side was steep and the road was washed into a gulch – was nothing but two cut-bank gulches running side by side – so we had to go below it where it was very sidelong as well as steep. “If the wagon doesn’t tip over now, it never will,” said Henry as he stopped the horses for a rest. He got out and I took my hat and followed. I knew there was no immediate danger so left son sleeping in the wagon. On the lower side of the wagon and at about the middle, Henry tied a rope. There he drew the other end over to the higher side and asked me to stand on the brake and swing my

7Love and Henry Johnson’s son, later known as Henry (Hal) Jenson, was about 4 years old at the time of this trip.

body out, holding to the rope. Then he got inside and we started. The joggling along almost spilled me off my perch but we got through alright.
I walked two or three miles today (and yesterday too) and helped unharness and harness the horses. I’m going to walk every day; it’s great fun. Of course I sweat (or should I say “glow?”) but I don’t mind it; and walking I see so many things that I couldn’t see if I were riding inside the wagon. Every hill up here is covered with the finest kind of food for stock, and is literally too covered with Indian sweet peas and several different kinds of yellow flowers. The oder of the sweet peas is heavy but very sweet, and almost our whole way was perfumed with flowers.

Rose Camp – We have named this camp – or rather Henry did – The Rose Camp. – There are so many of them here – wild ones. There is no flower in all the world like the rose for beauty and fragrance. They are a bit of heaven here on earth, as indeed all flowers are. Beautiful flowers and good music, do not they constitute a sort of paradise? Adam and Eve must have had them both in abundance in their garden; it could not have been paradise without them.

The Deer - I almost forgot another thing of importance. Page 8 -- We had stopped on top of the divide at noon and were eating lunch. Noticing that the horses kept looking up the hill on our right, I looked out. A antelope deer was coming leisurely toward us. She came to within fifty yards of the wagon, walking gracefully along, apparently unafraid. She had a red back, was white underneath (on her belly) and around her tail. Extending from the mouth upward on each side along the jaws was a stripe of black. Her legs were so slim and graceful, that when she at last turned and bounded up the hill it was with the most perfect ease of motion I have ever seen exhibited. And thus she went swiftly, yet unhurriedly out of our sight.

June 17 – We are now within twelve miles of Thermopolis. Last night we camped on Kirby Creek about twelve or fifteen miles above here. We got there about 2:30 and it was so dreadfully hot, that after we had turned the horses out to feed, we hunted up a swimming hole and went in and had a good bath.
To make the wagon cooler while traveling we opened the windows, but we had to tie up the two cats to keep them from jumping out. We are now camped on the road near a little ranch. The people’s name is Butts. While up on the hills today, we could see, in the far distance, the Washaki Needles, hooded with their eternal snow.

June 18 – Thermopolis; Devil’s Wash Bowl
We are now in Thermopolis. Henry and I both have a bad headache, so I don’t suppose we will go to the baths today. We struck Wind River about six miles below town and came up the river.
When we passed the Devil’s Wash Bowl we stopped and took son over to see it. I had seen it before. The Bowl consists of two large circles of rocks slightly projecting from the ground – one perhaps 25 ft within the other. The diameter of the outer circle must be about 150 or 200 feet across.
Page 9 - A high cut bank is below, and inside the second circle; and at the bottom is a small pool of black water, which is said to be bottomless. At least, when we were here, before they told us that they had let down a rope with a rock fastened to it for several hundred feet and had not found the bottom. It is thought that this “Bowl” was once the hot springs, but sank and broke forth where it is now.

June 19 – Volcano? There is a hill west of town that looks like pictures of volcanoes that I have seen. I believe that some time, perhaps in the dim future that it will be a volcano too. (1927, I don’t think so now.)
Some time ago, Henry went to Kansas City for wheels for our buggy, and they were to come here. We thought they would sure be here, but they have not come yet. Perhaps I’ll have time to have my brown tan dress made while we are waiting. I hardly know how to have it made; the styles just now are hideous, - a-line and baggy at the same time – can you imagine such a thing. –yet they are generally considered graceful. Somebody must have bad taste. Is it I – or the others? Perhaps we are all of us right.
Such magnificent stretches of plain as we saw since leaving Lost Cabin! Will it ever be cultivated? I believe so. I believe that even in the next twenty years a good deal of it will be cultivated. Wyoming is indeed a “virgin state,” as yet – untouched – but it will be one of the best petals in the flower of the United States in the years to come. Hear ye my prophecy!

June 20 – Dress made; Geo. Bradley; Heat
Found a dress-maker yesterday, and am having my dress made.
Went to the moving picture show last night with Mr. George Bradley.
It has been suffocatingly hot since we have been here. This terribly hot weather is starting in as early this year. Such heat does not usually come until July and August. In some places in the east the thermometer has reached 104 degrees, and there has been a good many deaths as a result.


Tornadoes, cyclones, floods, diseases, heat, Page 10 -- already this year. What can happen next that has not already happened? Last year there was the terrible Titanic disaster.

(Here Love wrote a paragraph and then crossed it out. She writes comments in the margin.)

Hear me! For I am in a prophesying mood! Before the year is finished, there will have happened a thing so great or terrible as to be set down in the history of the world. I do not say what it will, or where it will be; I only say that it will be.

Just a word of comment on this part – The world war started in 1914 – not much more than a year later.

June 27 – Below Thermopolis
We had to take our horses out of the pasture on account of the flux so we came down the river about a mile from Thermopolis, on the side of the river opposite from that which we came up on. When we got opposite the Devil’s Wash Bowl we noticed that the river bank on that side was coated with the same formations as is around the hot springs. Undoubtedly at sometime that was the hot spring.
And, as we came on down the river we found that the rocks on the cliffs and rocks in the gulches are coated with that same mineral formation. The hot springs must have been – at one time – on this side of the river! Possibly before the river was here at all. Is it not strange, and interesting.
The same day we got to Thermopolis a little hardy, white-bearded kindly old man came, and pitched his tent not far from our wagon on the camp-grounds. His name was James J. Piay (pronounced like “Pay”). He got to be good friends with son, and I was very sorry to leave him. However, he said he might come down to see us before we leave entirely. The wheels have not yet come.
We are camped on a hill overlooking the river. The railroad is between here and the river. It is no small job carrying water up here. A nice ranch is on the other side of the stream. And in the river they have a waterwheel – used to pump up water for irrigating purposes.

Dress finished -- I got my dress made and it is nice. Slim of course, as they are worn now, and the dressmaker’s bill was four dollars. The dress cost about ten dollars altogether.
We were to the moving picture show three times while we were in town.

Monroe Johnson; Letters -- Monroe Johnson has been working over in this country. He came in town

for a few days and then went to Lost Cabin. Got a letter from Pearl; she seems to like it in Nebraska.

Page 11 -- June 29 Mail; Laundry; Cow in the Pit
Yesterday evening after I wrote, Henry brought the mail and among the letters was one from Montgomery Ward, about the wheels. Apparently they haven’t been shipped yet so we are going on without them and will have them sent to Cody.
I ironed today and then washed my head hair. I used so much of the water that we had to go for more. A woman passed by driving a herd of milk cows back to town. As we came back we had to cross the cows’ trail and Henry accidentally discovered that a cow had fallen into a well about six feet deep. I brought the water on up and Henry ran after the herd woman and told her. He said that she didn’t seem to believe him, but said that she would send a man back.
In the meantime I got a shovel and took it down there, dug a place out on one side so she (the cow) could straighten herself out a little, throwing the dirt in for her to stand on. She got down once, but got up again finally. And Henry, after digging, and sloping the well down a little got her to get out. It rained quite hard and Henry got soaking wet. I ran to an old shack near by and so kept a little more dry. The place had been an old railroad camp (graders) and the well had been left open. Grass had grown around it and it could not be seen. The cow could not have lived over night in the place. We saved somebody a hundred dollars. Not a bad day’s work, was it?

June 29—This morning the herd woman stopped and thanked us for getting the cow out of the well.

Then we started. We came by Lucerne. It is a railroad station. The new Burlington railroad – by the way – is running regularly as far as Thermopolis. The rest of it is practically finished, I believe, but has not yet been opened up. We think it is to join the North-Western at Powder River, but between there and Thermopolis it is not to open up until fall. After we had passed Lucerne there were some very good ranches on for three or four miles.
We are now at Crosby, a coal mining camp. There are perhaps twenty-five dwelling houses here – all as much alike as two peas – and besides the buildings containing the machinery.
Page 12-There is a big boiler room containing five big boilers. The signal room, the room containing all the machinery for the operation of the mine and a room with an electric fan to force air into the mine. Then we saw the apparatus with which railroad cars are loaded – run by machinery, and saw the mouth of the shaft, but we did not go into the mine itself. Henry says that the coal is of a very high quality.


The machinist told us he thought that the mine was almost two miles back towards Gebo. – Later, a man told us that it runs one half mile back but land is owned two miles back.

June 30—Gebo & Crosby; Scenery
This morning we came down by Gebo. It is a bigger mining town than Crosby – perhaps fifty dwelling houses besides stores, machine buildings, etc. On our right almost all the way a ledge of sand stone. There were many curiously shaped rocks caused by the action of rain, snow and wind. In some places I could almost fancy I was cooking at the ruins of some old castle; the pillers of which were still standing, supporting a badly damaged roof. In another place the sand stone was so worn away as to leave a hole thru which we could see a patch of sky. In yet another place was a sand stone, perhaps twice as big as a man, standing out alone, and topped by an over hanging rock.
We are camped on a creek now, but I don’t know its name. This evening, after turning the horses out, we found a hole of water and went in and had a bath. We have killed six rabbits today. I’m tired and am going to bed.

July 5—Collins; Meeteetse
On July 1st we camped above the Collins post office on Cottonwood Creek. On the second on Grass Creek – next night/ 3rd Gooseberry. Then we came on into Meeteetse the 4th. There was a celebration here – a ball game, horseraces and a dance at night. We went out and watched the horseraces but didn’t go to the dance.
Meeteetse is a small place with perhaps three or four hundred inhabitants, and is situated on Grey Bull River. The country we have just passed through is mostly beautiful, especially yesterday. Page 13 – The hills were, in some places, covered with the earlier kinds of flowers. Over here they seem to be slower to bloom than at Lost Cabin. A good deal of grass grew on the hills, and occasionally cedar or juniper grew on the slopes. There were a good many hills on our last day, but once the top was gained a new scene of quiet beauty was before us. In fact, peace and quiet seemed to be every place. On each creek there were ranches but since leaving Crosby, between the creeks, we have seen no one. There is remarkably little travel on that road. We got a letter from Henry’s brother’s wife saying that she has another nine pound girl born June 22nd.
Tomorrow we start on for Cody – about thirty-five miles from here. I suppose Minnie will meet us there.

July 8 – Cody

Have just got to Cody. We left Meeteetse the sixth. First night, camped twelve miles out of town, next night twelve miles farther, on Sage Creek, and today in Cody.
Got a card from Henry’s brother in Omaha, saying that Aunt Hannah no longer lives in Missoula but is now in Butte. Don’t know whether Minnie came today or not – I wrote her we were to be here the 8th. The train arrived just before we did, so we couldn’t get to the station to see whether or not she had come.
Cody is on Stinking Water River; it does stink – of sulphur – There is a hot spring above the town—probably it is a sulphur spring.
Up in the canyon above here is the highest dam in the world.

July 12—Minnie meets us at Cody; “Movie”
Minnie came day before yesterday. It was raining when I went to the depot to meet her, and I got a little wet.
We are camped across the river from town, on the same side that the depot is on, but farther up the river. The evening she came we went to a moving picture show.

July 14—The Dog; Rip the Cat; Minnie learns the Banjo; Church in Cody
A day or so ago a stray dog came to us. He is apparently a sheep dog because he possess that same sensitiveness peculiar to sheep dogs; also he is poor and has sore feet. Page 14 – When we first saw him, Henry called to him “Here Bally,” but he paid no attention. Then I called, “Here Jack,” and he came, so now we call him “Jack.”
I believe I neglected to mention, at the proper time, that one of our cats, Nina either died or ran away. It was in Thermopolis. She had been sick so I think she must have died. We still have Rip though.
Minnie is trying to learn to play the banjo.
The wheels have not come yet and waiting is very tiresome.
Yesterday, (Sunday) Minnie and I went to Episcopal Church. Minnie belongs to that church, joined in Lander. I got ten cents worth of religion, it was very unsatisfactory. I seem to enjoy religion more when it is not paid for – that is when I can worship God when and where I wish. I have a deeply religious nature but have never gone to church much to acquire it – it is natural – and therefore I must worship God in the most natural way, which is alone.

8Originally called the Shoshoni Dam, now called the Buffalo Bill Dam. It was completed in 1910, 325 feet high and 200 feet long.

I cannot pray before people; I must be alone – alone with God.
I am very much afraid I shall never join church. There is too much form about them. I want to love God as Christ loved him, naturally and without any set form and I am sadly afraid that no such church will ever exist. Christ’s teachings alone are all sufficient, why follow other creeds and teachers? Even the apostles were not divine as He – why accept their word against His? The first four books of the new Testament are sufficient alike for peasant and sage.

July 18 – We leave Cody for Yellowstone; The Sprays above Cody; little geysers in the river; adventures and scenery—
Yesterday we left Cody. The wheels had not ever come to Thermopolis so we decided not to wait. When we left we followed the government road that leads from Cody to the Park. We came by the mineral springs perhaps five miles above Cody. The road follows the river up. When we got opposite the springs Minnie and I got out and walked over to there.
There is about half a mile of hot and cold mineral springs there. We asked a man where they were and he showed us all of them.
First going up the river, were the cold springs, Page 15—some of them coming from holes in the river bank, holes worn in the solid rock. One of these springs flowed quite as much water as the big hot spring at Thermopolis. Then there were several springs boiling in the river, and some along the edges of the water. One of these, on the side of the river opposite from us came up with considerable force. In fact it formed a small geyser, perhaps a foot high. The ones in the river must have run quite as much water as the one running from the rock, judging from the way they boiled up. The man told us there are fifteen of these.
Then above a certain line in the river the springs were all hot. He told us there were eight of these. High water had washed the walks out so we could not go up to see them. Then we went back down the river and tasted some of the water. It is simply terrible. I believe that it is at least five times stronger than the mineral water at Thermopolis.
In some places we noticed holes in the ground, blackened all around from gas escaping. There is a hotel there and a small comfortable “gymnasium.” There we went back to the wagon and road. Between the river and the road there are two enormous holes in the ground. The man told us that they were supposedly geysers in the dim past. Perhaps that is what the Devil’s Wash Basin in Thermopolis was. The river above the De Mars

Springs (for that is what they are called) is named Shoshone River. Below, as I said before, Stinking Water River.
In a short time we found ourselves in the canyon. The construction of the road must have cost an enormous amount of labor and money. In many places a way had been blasted from solid rock. We passed thru five or six tunnels on our way – some of them were not much more than arches, tho. The scenery in the canyon is simply magnificent. I know of no other way to describe it. It has a look of wild ruggedness and grandeur that makes it altogether the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. In some places it is necessary to look straight up in order to see the tops of the peaks. For perhaps three or four miles above the mineral springs the rocks were almost altogether of mineral formation, exactly like that around the springs themselves. What a vast field for thought.

Page 16 – Shoshone Dam
About eight miles from Cody is the government dam. It was constructed several years ago and is the highest dam in the world – being three hundred twenty five feet in heighth. It is built at a narrow place in the canyon in a quarter moon shape and is of solid concrete.
It is perhaps eight feet thick. Water escapes thru pipes and by means of an underground passage which last was undoubtedly blasted from solid rock. The water thus shot forth spreads into a vast spray from which rises a mist, the sun shining thru it produces a rainbow. It seemed easy enough to find the end of that rainbow; I wonder if there is a bag of gold there? We followed some steps down to within fifty or seventy five feet from the water (on the lower side of the dam) then onto a walk around and fast to the dam itself. From there we were directly over the river.
The diagram below will give an idea of the structure: This is the lower side as you see it coming up the canyon.

The water backed up by this dam forms a lake perhaps eight miles in length. After leaving the dam


we followed the road that wound around the mountains sides and finally, after about four miles of travel, came to the end of the canyon and there on a small creek (which ran into the reservoir) we camped. The creek is called Rattlesnake Creek.

Page 17 – Nature’s architecture Once on the road in the canyon we met an automobile and we were fortunate in finding near at hand a place wide enough to pass each other.
This morning at 8.50 am, we started again. In some places rocks, looking like enormous obelisks stood out against the sky and were several hundred feet in heighth. We passed a dozen or two ranches on our journey today. Some of them were quite nice. We have crossed the river now – are camped on the south side, facing the north. In front of us on the other side of the river are some magnificent temples built by that grand old architect – Time.

July 19 – We left last night’s camp this morning at 9.50 am. After perhaps an hour of traveling we came to the U.S. forest reserve. The road lead through another Shoshone River canyon, the formation of the rocks of which were, so Henry said, of porphyry of a brownish color, and in many places were worn away into curious shapes and forms. Among the most remarkable of these last are The Goose, The Lady and the Cabin, The Sentinal, The Camel, and The Holy City. The last named indeed looks like pictures I have seen of the Holy City of Jerusalem. How I should like to see the real Jerusalem, and all of those old country cities from which civilization sprung. I have always longed intensely to travel – to see – to learn. Will my longing ever be gratified? I’m afraid not. But I have the present and I’m going to enjoy it to the utmost. The scenery along this road is magnificent. I have heard that it is unrivalled even in the Park. The forest reserve is, on the eastern side, more than twenty-five miles wide and it will probably take us two days more to get to the park line, going our normal distance of twelve miles a day.
We found that we were not allowed to take a dog thru the park. A man told us and then offered to take Jack, so we gave him away. We still have Rip, the cat, but I’m afraid the high atmosphere will get him. Cats can’t live in extremely high places. Later – Atmosphere did not hurt Rip a bit. He had the time of his life chasing those large chipmunks or ground squirrels.
We are camped in a beautiful place near the river, but the mosquitoes are about to eat us up.

9A rock consisting of feldspar crystals embedded in a compact dark red or purple ground mass.
Page 18—Son Disappears “Fishing”; Scenery About an hour ago I fixed a bent pin to a piece of twine which was attached to a stick and son went out to fish. After awhile I called him and he did not answer. Then Minnie and I began hunting and calling. Pretty soon he came “moseying” up the road. He had gone to hunt his father, who had gone fishing.
Behind the wagon is a timbered ravine, leading upward to a very high mountain. These scenes are wonderful. I can never cease marveling at their grandeur and beauty. If Nature on a grand scale is conducive to great thoughts I surely ought to be endowed with at least a few, for I love Nature so deeply. God grant that it may be so. Perhaps if it is so, my posterity will be endowed with them, and thus will help to make a better race of men. I want my offspring to be thoroughbreds in the highest sense of the word. Try to be worthy, my children, of the high hopes and thoughts your ancestress has had for her yet unborn children, as well as the beloved child that is. Of all the kingdoms of the earth, the most wonderful kingdom is, after all, within you. Try to be like the king’s daughter, who is “all glorious within, her clothing is of wrought gold.” Pure thoughts are your spiritual clothing – are they wrought of pure gold?

July 21 – Forest Reserve
Yesterday, (the 20th) we came farther up the river and are still in the canyon. Indeed, we have never been out of the canyon except when it widened and gave way to high hills at Rattlesnake Creek and for a few miles above. The road from Cody to the park is called the Sylvan road. It is rightly named. The forests on the mountain slopes are very dense with pine, spruce, quaking aspen, cedar, and cottonwood. Yesterday, among the curiously shaped rocks we saw, were the “Madonna” and Window Rock, the latter near which we camped last night.
Today we did not come far, only four or five miles. We stopped along the way so many times gathering flowers, golden rods, and wild strawberries. We found enough of the straw berries for lunch today, and they were simply delicious. We are now camped about half a mile above Hohn Lodge. A girl with a wonderful complexion came down from the Hohn Lodge and invited us to a dance tonight. If it doesn’t rain we will go.

Page 19 – Everyone we have seen along the way is very cordial. It seems as if the whole world is going to the park. At least half a dozen wagons pass us every day going parkward. (I coined the word “parkward” for my own use.)

10“Son”, Henry E. Jensen, was the only child she had.

Every day of this trip has been filled with interesting things. It is a wonderful experience and a trip worth taking. I would not have missed it for anything.

July 23 – Wild Roses later in July
It rained yesterday, so we did not go on. Today we came perhaps three miles. We could not go far on account of the roads being so muddy. We got out along the way and picked wild strawberries and got enough for dinner.
The wild roses are in bloom up here. We have had them ever since we the first of June on account of coming into the mountains from the lowlands.
The forest up here is very thick. The mountains and river bottoms alike are heavily timbered. We can see snow on some of the mountain peaks around here. We are camped in a beautiful place tonight. I had always supposed that such beauty existed in my imagination.
Everyone here is so friendly; everyone passing waves his hand, smiles, and says “hello”.
Good heavens! it is misting, again! Will this rain never cease?
This evening, while trying to set up the teepee the pole fell on my forefinger and it swelled up instantly, and hurt like – blazes.
Henry has been trying to fish, but without success. He has some grasshoppers imprisoned in a milk can. I told him this morning that he had better feed them or they would die.

Getting dark – must stop for now.
By the way – we did not go to the dance on account of the rain.

July 28 – We enter Yellowstone Park
Yesterday we left the place where we were at the last writing. We came perhaps six or seven miles. We passed Pahaska on the way, and tried to get some groceries there. Page 20 – They were almost out of everything on account of so much rain lately. We managed to get a little flour – and had to pay ten cents a pound.
Pahaska hotel, so we were told – seldom has less than fifty people at a meal. I don’t know where they all come from – There doesn’t seem to be more than two dozen tents and houses altogether, and the town is off in the wood away from anywhere. Of course it is on the Sylvan Pass Road – going to the Park so I suppose that is the reason for so many hotel guests.
Then we came about two and a half miles farther and were to the “Eastern entrance to Yellowstone National Park”!!!!

There is nothing there to mark the entrance except the small office building (perhaps three rooms) and a few tents of the United States militia. We came on for perhaps a mile and a half and there stopped for the night.
I forgot to say that at the entrance we – or rather Henry – registered and had the guns sealed. The seals are composed of a wire, wrapped about the gun in such a way as to prevent discharge with out first breaking it. And the ends of this wire are embedded in a small piece of lead bearing some letters – U.S.A I think. Today we came on thru the Sylvan Pass, and, we are now camped near the Sylvan Lake.
For lovliness and beauty, this country is absolutely unsurpassed. We have come for mile miles without passing any kind of a dwelling except such places as Hohn Lodge, and Pahaska. Such a wonderful country! I wonder if these forests will ever be replaced with ranches?
The Sylvan pass is a sort of a divide. The Shoshone River dwindled out entirely and we came on over the divide and are now on the other slope. We are going to see the Sylvan Lake. Will write of it later.

Page 21 -- July 29 – The lake which we thought was Sylvan lake we found to be the Eleanor Lake. Sylvan Lake is a mile or two farther on and is a much larger body of water. The forests came to the shore on the left side, and on the right side is the road. High hills or mountain are on both sides. The road wound around higher and higher on the hills until finally from the highest point we could plainly see the Yellowstone Lake in the distance and far below (about fifteen miles away according to the mile posts). Farther beyond it is a smaller lake.
Still there is forest-forest-forest. The fir trees are peculiar to me, somehow. The drooping branches remind me of “dripping” or of long fingers pointing earthward.
We passed a log building just being erected, and occasionally we passed camps – some of them were the government road workers.
The rain continued and we had a fire in the stove while moving. It is so very cold that we certainly appreciated the warmth.
I believe that I forgot to mention yesterday that we passed several snow drifts very near the road. The deepest one of these I judged to be about six feet deep. We could see big snow drifts in patches all over the mountains around us. In winter great herds of elk are brought over this road and taken somewhere sown the Shoshone to be fed. This is a wonderful country – if it were not for the rain.


We are now camped about nine and a half miles from Lake Junction on the Yellowstone Lake banks. I suppose we will get there tomorrow if nothing happens.

Aug 1 – SNOW!; Many topped trees; We get stuck in the mud; Yellowstone River
On the night of July 29th – when I last wrote - about four inches of snow fell. It came down silently – for there was no wind – and in the morning everything was covered. Page 22 – The boughs of the trees, and even the telephone wires were laden with snow. It was beautiful – one of the most picturesque snow storms I ever saw. We did not move that day, but waited until the next – (the 31st of July.)
One the 31st we arose rather early and Minnie was frozen out of the teepee and came into the wagon and started a fire about six o’clock. After breakfast we climbed the hill on the left side of the road (going toward Yellowstone Lake) and had a magnificent view of the lake. Then we came back and started. Minnie and I walked for about four miles. We passed Turbid lake – wherein bubbled some springs, apparently sulphur, judging from the oder. The country had now grown somewhat less timbered and the near mountains were not so large. Once in passing thru a wood, we noticed two trees which stood perhaps eighteen inches apart were joined together by a bough which had grown into both of them. It was impossible to tell which of them it had grown from at first. A signboard told us that these were “Wedded Trees”. There were several pairs of these Twin Trees – an interesting freak. Those signboards, what could we do without them? Because of them we cannot go wrong or forget regulations – because of them we see practically all the things worth seeing. Did I mention that all the wonders of the Park are in a circle? They are. They Sylvan pass road, from Cody comes in at the east side of the park, and thence you can start either way, north or south around the circle.
In some place we noticed trees having three or four tops. I wonder what caused such peculiarities? They seem to be a sort of species, for they were quite thick in one place.
About three and half miles from Lake Junction on a long stretch of very muddy road we got stuck with the wagon. We took the lead team off and fastened them by a chain to the back part of one hind wheel. The horses pulled the wheel around until the chain was in front and then we put the chain behind again and pulled again. Thus by degrees we got out.

Page 23 -- Where we crossed the Yellowstone river several men were on the bridge fishing and one or two boats were out in the river – everyone was fishing. They didn’t seem to catch

anything, tho. We camped about half or quarter of a mile from the hotel on the shore of the lake. The first thing we did was to get out of the wagon and watch the sea-gulls and pelicans. I had never before seen a pelican. They are such peculiar birds with their long beaks and the funny looking such. We had supper late, and just as we finished eating, the sight seers of the transportation company’s camps built a big camp fire and had some music. Presumably some of the soldiers were over there for the bugle and cornet both were played and it sounded beautiful on the night air. Then the clear beautiful voice of a woman rang out – singing. I wonder who she was? Then some more instrumental music and we went to bed.
This morning we went to the general store and got a few provisions. As we were coming back we saw a black bear making itself comfortable in the shade of the trees.
Our intention is to go north to the Grand Canyon and falls, there “double” back to Lake Junction and go around the other way until we get to the northern part of the circle, then we will take the road up to Gardiner and out. There is not much to see in the space of the circle we will have missed in the north eastern part of the circle. We did not come far today. We are now about ten miles from the canyon and are still very much interested in the pellicans. There are a good many of them down here.
This morning Henry bought nine big fish, salmon trout, from a couple of boys for fifty cents. They were dear at the price, tho. Five out of the nine were wormy and we had to throw them away.
I forgot to mention in the proper place an accident that happened last night and one this morning; Last night, in passing between some trees a branch tore quite a long slit in the canvas of the wagon; Page 24 – This morning, when we started to leave, the buggy tongue broke. We are trailing the buggy behind the sheep wagon, and when we went down a steep little gulch the tongue broke, and we were some time in fixing it.
June the colt is getting to be such a nice little fellow. He likes us, and is very fond of sugar. He was only about two weeks old when we left Lost Cabin – was born the 28th of May. His mother, Clarice de Vere is not very wild now. Have written a good deal to-day – time I was stopping.

Aug 2 -- This morning, we started about eleven o’clock. In a little while we came to the Mud Geyser. It boils up in a hole in the clay. That is why it is muddy, I suppose. The geyser is about ten or fifteen feet across and occasionally shoots to a heighth of perhaps fifteen feet. Ordinarily it shoots about five feet. The water (or mud) is hot. There are dozens of other hot springs around there – some big, some little,


some very muddy, some only slightly muddy, but none entirely clear, except one. I believe it is called the Grott geyser. It gushes out from a tine cove of rock and is very hot, as I found when I thoughtlessly put my hand in it.
The valley widened and became rolling hills covered by nothing except grass and flowers. The river flowed very smoothly and slowly. Once we saw four elk, two bulls, and two cows.
As we neared the Falls, the hills became higher on both sides of the river, and were timber covered. Perhaps a hundred feet or so above the - fine concrete bridge which we crossed, the smooth and placid river suddenly became rapids. We are now camped on the side of the river opposite from the Hotel. We have seen three or four deer, one of them was a faun. They are not at all afraid.
This evening, Minnie, son and I went for a walk. We went to the bridge first and then went down the river. We went down close to the river and saw the falls. Page 25 – We didn’t know whether they were the upper or lower falls but perceived they were the lower ones. The upper falls are 109 feet in heighth. The lower, 308 ft. The canyon is below here.

Aug 3 – This morning I arose at 6.30 o’clock and by nine o’clock we were ready to start out sight seeing. We crossed the concrete bridge and followed down the road until we came to the first or upper falls. They were the falls we had seen last night from the other side of the river.
There we climbed back up the steps and went farther down the river until we came to a steep falls. How can I describe them? They were magnificent – grand. As I said before, the water drops 308 feet sending spays – indeed clouds – of water far outward and upward from the face. We stood for some time watching the wonderful green of the water hurl itself over the rocks, there Henry threw a rock into it. We though surely the stone would strike on the other side of the canyon so near it seemed – but it barely reached the middle of the river below. After watching for some time longer we began the ascent again by way of long flights of steps. I think there must be at least four hundred of them. Needless to say, we were tired when we again reached the top. Then we walked around the Hotel. It is said to be one and one tenth miles around the foundation, and contains five hundred rooms. It is a very cheap looking affair on the outside – has apparently been made from rough native lumber.
After that we went back to camp and after eating lunch and resting for awhile we prepared to go east. Supper is on the stove cooking and I am hungry so I am going to quit.

Aug 4—Arose at 5.30 o’clock this morning. Left camp about 8.15. Before reaching the militia station, nothing unusual happened. Then Henry registered and had the gun permit signed. Then we came on by Lake Hotel and stopped at the small store long enough to get a few things – groceries and then came on. Page 26 – But before leaving here we saw two black bears. One was a cub and was standing on its hind legs drinking milk from a bottle which someone was holding for it.
After he had passed Lake Junction, we saw, we saw four deer all bucks, with horns “in the velvet.” One of them had a beautiful pair of horns. We got out and went quite close to them – as near as two rods – and they were not in the least afraid. Then we came on and soon came to the Natural Bridge. We went on tope of it and walked across. Then we thot we would get under it, but could not. There are falls both above and below it. But we had a good view of the bridge, anyhow. It is perhaps twenty-five feet across the top, and below there is a good (illegible). One part, the part seen from the road is away from the balance of the bridge leaving a crack several inches wide.
We decided to wash this afternoon and had everything ready when it began to rain, and we had to put off washing until a better time. If nothing happens tomorrow, we will go as far as Thumb Lunch Station. I do not think there will be much of interest between here and there.

Aug 6 – Yesterday (5th) we came as far as Thumb Lunch Station. On the way we saw a dear – a doe. About half a mile – or – before we got to the Thumb we began passing hot springs. Some of them were of a beautiful greenish color and some were muddy. I noticed one peculiarity about all of them – they did not seem to flow much water. They boiled up in their basin and, in many cases, had not outlet. After registering at the station we set camp and had supper.
After supper we went to see the hot springs. While inspecting them a couple of soldiers came and, after talking for a while, took us to see the fish cone. It is a tiny island – cone shaped and perhaps four feet across, a little distance from the shore of the lake (Lake Yellowstone). In the center of this cone in a small basin is a hot spring.

Page 27 – “You can fish in the lake, and then throw your fish into the cone and cook them” the soldiers told us. Whether this is true, I don’t know. I know that the water in the hot springs in Thermopolis is not hot enough to cook anything, but this water seemed to be much hotter than that at Thermopolis. Perhaps what the soldiers said is true.
Then they showed us where the paint pots were located. These were a pleasant surprise for us as


we had not heard of paint pots. The “Paint Pots” cover perhaps, two square rods of ground and are nothing more or less than mud boiling up – a thick pink mud! Pink mud, mind you! Later we found a tiny white mud paint pot.
This morning we saw three bears – two black bears and one that resembled a silver-tip – only that it was small, much smaller than the bear our silver-tip rug must have been. We came about nine miles today so did not get to Old Faithful. We expect to get there tomorrow.
We met dozens of tourist coaches on our way today as indeed we have every day. There is one good thing about these park roads, aside from their improved condition, automobiles are not allowed in here; so we are not in constant fear that, at some sharp turn we will run into one.
We washed today, after setting camp.

Aug 8 –Yesterday (7th) we came to Old Faithful. On our way we passed the Isa Two Ocean Lake. I suppose it is fed by springs in or near it and its waters divide, part going east and part west to the two oceans. It is not much of a sight – a mere pond – and it would certainly not be mentioned on the map were it not for the fact that its waters go to two oceans.
We passed the Kepler cascades of the Firehole River. They are eighty feet in heighth and quite a pretty sight.
Soon we began passing hot springs, big and little, all kinds in fact.

Page 28—We camped very near to Old Faithful (on camp grounds, of course) and after eating supper we went out sight seeing. We passed the Old Faithful Geyser, which was not playing just then – and visited both sides of the river, where there are hundreds of hot springs and a dozen or so of geysers. One of the springs is called Chinaman, another the Sponge – with very remarkable formation – another, the Butterfly and of the geysers the Beehive – which we peeped into, not knowing that it was a geyser. The Lion, Lioness and cubs – I don’t know if they were geysers or not. The Giantess - we saw it play in the evening – later on. And we were fortunate enough to see the Castle geyser play, too. It plays for an hour or two and at time, and at intervals of about twenty six hours. From a distance we saw Old Faithful play, and had a good view of it. It seems hardly necessary to describe it to any great length but this diary would not be complete without telling the main points of interest about it. Its plays are from every sixty to eight two or three minutes apart, and it plays for perhaps two or three minutes at a time. Throws water about a hundred feet into the air. After dark we saw it play with a search light on it. The view was great. We also saw the Old Faithful Inn, made entirely of

logs and is supposed to be built without a nail in the whole structure. It is a real work of art. In the lobby there are big fireplaces – rough but comfortable chairs, rugs on the floor. The steps leading upstairs are half logs. In fact the whole building – inside and out is of logs, rough logs – with the bark on.
This morning (8th) we got a few provisions at the store and then came on. Among the notable things we saw were the Emerald Pool – I was disappointed in it – Sunset Lake – it was far prettier than Emerald Pool, because larger – Three Sisters – springs – and the Punch Bowl, Grotto Geyser, Riverside Geyser, Giant Geyser, the Fan, and the Morning Glory pool – all of them interesting and beautiful. Later we passed the Mammoth paint pots. I was somewhat disappointed with these. They were larger than the paint pots at the Thumb, but not nearly so pretty. They had only a slightly pink color, some of them were entirely white. We saw the Fountain Geyser from a distance, and then passed the Fountain Hotel. Page 29 - We are now camped about a mile and a half from the hotel on the Nez Perces creek. We expect to get to the Morris Lunch Station tomorrow, and Mammoth Hot Springs two days from tomorrow. (the 11th) and probably on to Gardiner the twelfth.
I have not given a description of many of the things because I believed that the names were sufficient explanation. I want to mention - before I forget it – that, being camped near Old Faithful we saw it play several times, before leaving, this morning.
I almost forgot to mention the Excelsior Geyser. It is an immense pool of boiling water in a cutbank hole and is at least a hundred and fifty feet across. It is remarkable, not only for its size, but also for its color, which is of a wonderful blue. This geyser plays at very irregular intervals – sometimes years elapsing between each eruption. Its last eruption was in 1889. It has been so long quiet that possibly it is extinct now. It is said that when it breaks forth it tears the ground away for several feet around and sends water to an immense heighth. Later I find the sign, 260 by 400 feet.

Aug 10 -- Yesterday (the 9th) we came on about nine and a half or ten miles farther. We passed some Firehole River cascades. They were interesting. Indeed all falls and cascades are interesting to me. In the evening we came to a camp ground and stopped for the night. After supper we went for a walk on up the road and found some more falls. This was the Gibban River.
Today we came on about eleven and a half miles farther. On our way we passed two peculiar cone like structures of rusty iron color, from the sides


Diary is continued here

Deb Murray