Crossing the Snow Belt

The next day in crossing the range before us, we reached the edge of the snow, which the sun had softened, and we dare not attempt to cross. Early in the morning, when it was frozen hard the cattle could travel it very well. The snow belt was five or six miles wide, and the snow two or three feet deep. This was a very good camping place except that we had to melt snow for all our water, but this being coarse and icy it was not a great job as we found enough dry juniper trees and twigs to make a very good fire. Here we also had to kill another ox. This one in its turn was Arcane’s, and left him only two, and Bennett three, but we think that if we have no accident we shall get them along with us till we can get other food, as they have very light loads to pack. When the ox is killed and the meat prepared the mule has, for a time, a larger load than all the oxen have, but seems content and nips a bite of food whenever it can see a chance anywhere along the road, giving us no more trouble than a dog. And by the way, I think I have not mentioned our faithful camp dog, a worthy member of our party who stood watch always and gave us a sure alarm if anything unusual happened anywhere about. He was perhaps only one of a hundred that tried to cross the plains and had to be abandoned when they reached the upper Platte, where the alkali dust made their feet so sore they could not travel, and as they could not be hauled on wagons they were left behind. But this dog Cuff did not propose to be left behind to starve, and crippled along after us, we doing all we could for him, and proved as tough as the best of us. Bennett and I had trained him as a hunting dog in the East, and he was very knowing and handy in every particular.

We were out of this camp at daylight. Very little rest for some of us, but we must make the best of the cool morning while the snow is hard, and so move on as soon as we can see the way. As it gets lighter and the sun comes up red and hot out of the desert we have a grand view of the great spread of the country to south and of the great snow mountain to the north and east, the peak standing over the place where we left our wagons nineteen days before, on the edge of Death Valley. The glare of the snow on the sun makes us nearly blind, but we hurry on to try to cross it before it becomes so soft as to slump under our feet. It is two or three feet in the deepest places, and probably has been three times as deep when freshly fallen, but it is now solid and icy. Our rawhide moccasins protect our feet from cold, and both we and the animals got along fairly well, the oxen breaking through occasionally as the snow softened up, but generally walking on the top as we did ourselves. The snow field reached much farther down the western slope than we had hoped, much farther than on the eastern side. Before we got out of it, we saw the track of some animal which had crossed our route, but as it had been made some days before and now could be seen only as some holes in the surface, we could not determine what sort of an animal it was.

A mile or two down the hill we were at last out of the snow, and a little farther on we came to the little babbling brook Rogers and I had so long painted in the most refreshing colors to the tired women, with water, wood and grass on every hand, the three greatest blessings of a camper’s life. Here was where Rogers and I had cooked and eaten our meat of crow, quail and hawk, pretty hard food, but then, the blessed water!

There it danced and jumped over the rocks singing the merriest song one ever heard, as it said–Drink, drink ye thirsty ones your fill–the happiest sweetest music to the poor starved, thirsty souls, wasted down almost to haggard skeletons. O! if some poet of wildest imagination could only place himself in the position of those poor tired travelers to whom water in thick muddy pools had been a blessing, who had eagerly drank the fluid even when so salt and bitter us to be repulsive, and now to see the clear, pure liquid, distilled from the crystal snow, abundant, free, filled with life and health–and write it in words–the song of that joyous brook and set it to the music that it made as it echoed in gentle waves from the rocks and lofty walls, and with the gentle accompaniment of rustling trees–a soft singing hush, telling of rest, and peace, and happiness.

New life seemed to come to the dear women. “O! What a beautiful stream!” say they, and they dip in a tin cup and drink, then watch in dreaming admiration the water as it goes hurrying down; then dip and drink again, and again watch the jolly rollicking brook as if it were the most entertaining thing in the whole wide earth. “Why can’t such a stream as that run out of the great Snow Mountain in the dry Death Valley?” say they–“so we could get water on the way.”

The men have felt as glad as any of them, but have gathered wood and made a fire, and now a camp kettle of cut up meat is boiling for our supper. It was not yet night, but we must camp in so beautiful a place as this, and though the food was poor, we were better off than we had been before.

Bennett proposed that I take the mule and go back to where we saw the track of the animal in the snow and follow it in hope that we might get some game for we had an idea it might be an elk or bear or some large game, good to kill and give us better meat: So I saddled the mule and took the trail back till I came to the track, then followed it as best I could, for it was very dull and gave me no idea what it was. I traced out of the snow and then in a blind way through bushes as high as the mule’s back–Chaparral we called it now–among which I made my way with difficulty. I could now see that the track was made by an ox or cow–perhaps an elk–I could not tell for sure it was so faint. This chaparral covered a large piece of table land, and I made my way through it, following the track for a mile or two, till I came to the top of a steep hill sloping down into a deep cañon and a creek, on the bank of which grew sycamore and alder trees, with large willows. I stopped here some minutes to see if I could see or hear the movement of of anything. Across the creek I could see a small piece of perhaps half an acre of natural meadow, and in it some small bunches of sycamore trees. After a little I discovered some sort of a horned animal there, and I reckoned this was good enough game for me to try and capture, so led the mule out to one side and down the hill near the creek, then tied her, and crept along the bank, about four feet high, toward the little meadow. When about right, as I thought, I climbed up behind a bunch of sycamores, and when I slowly and cautiously raised up I was within fifty yards of a cow or steer of some sort which I could dimly see. I put a ball square in its forehead and it fell without a struggle. I loaded again quick as possible, and there saw two other smaller cattle stepping very high as though terrified, but not aware of the nature or location of the danger. I gave a low whistle and one of them looked toward me long enough for me to put a ball in it. The third one was now behind a clump of sycamores, and I soon saw its face through a little opening not more than three inches wide. I made a shot, and wounded it, and then rushed up and gave it a fatal one.

I examined my game and found the first one was a poor old cow, but the others were yearlings, one of them very fat and nice, and I soon had the hind quarters skinned out, and all the fat I could find, which made a big load for the mule. It was now almost dark, and the next problem was to get back to camp again. The brushy hills would be terrible to cross with a load of meat, and by the way the ground lay I concluded our camp was on this same creek farther down.

The only way that seemed at all feasible was to follow the course of the stream if possible, rather than return the course over which I had come. There were so many bushes and trees along the bank that I had to take to the bed and follow in the water, and as it was rocky and rough, and so dark I could not see well how to step, I stumbled into holes and pools up to my waist, wet as a rat. Coming to a small open place I decided I had better camp for the night and not attempt further progress in the darkness, and the decision was hastened by dark clouds, which began to gather and a few sprinkles of rain began to come. There was a good patch of grass for the mule, but all was uncomfortable for me, with the prospect for a rainy night, but as wood was plenty I decided to make a fire and take the chances. I looked for matches and scratched one. No go–they were damp, and scratch as careful and quickly as I could, there was no answering spark or flame, and darkness reigned supreme. A camp without a fire in this wet place was not to be thought of, so I concluded I might as well be slowly working my way down along the stream, through thick brush and cold water, as to sit here in the cold and wait.

So the little mule and I started on, wading the creek in thick darkness, getting only the most dim reflected light from the sky through now and then an opening in the trees. I did not know then how easy it was for a grizzly to capture myself, the mule and meat and have quite a variety for supper. But the grizzly stayed at home and we followed on through brambles and hard brush, through which it was almost impossible to force one’s way. As it turned out, I was not in the track of the storm and did not suffer much from it. Soon the cañon grew wider, and I could make out on the right hand a piece of table land covered with brush that seemed easier to get through than the creek bed.

The hill up to the table land was very steep, but not more than fifty yards high, and when the mule tried to get up she got along very well till near the top, when she slipped in the wet earth and never stopped till she reached the bottom and lay down. She was helped up to her feet again and we tried it in another place, I holding her from slipping when she stopped to rest, and at last we reached the top. The mule started on, seeming to follow a trail, but I could not see whether there was a trail or not, so thick was the darkness, but there was evidently something of the kind, for the brush was two or three feet high and very thick.

After proceeding some distance the mule stopped and did not seem to wish to go any farther. I was pretty sure there was something in front of her that blocked the way, and so worked my way through the brush and carefully past her. I could partly see and partly hear something just ahead, and in a moment found it was our good faithful Cuff, and no frightful spook at all. The good fellow had discovered our approach and came out to meet us, and I am sure the mule was as glad as I was to see him. He crawled through the brush and smelled at the mule’s load and then went forward in the trail, which we followed. It was a long time after midnight when we reached camp. There was a good fire burning, but all were asleep till I led the mule up to the fire and called out–“Wake Up,” when they were most of them on their feet in a minute without stopping to dress, for all had slept a long time without taking off their clothes.

John took charge of the mule and unloaded it, telling me to get into his warm bed. I took off my wet clothes and told him to dry them, and then got between the dry, warm blankets in greatest comfort. Daylight came very quickly, it seemed to me, and before I finally rose, the sun had been up some hours before me. Before I fell asleep I could hear the women say, as they cut off the pieces of meat to roast–“See the fat! Only see how nice it is!” Quickly roasted on the coals they ate the delicate morsels with a relish and, most of all, praised the sweet fat. “We like to have it all fat,” said they, showing how their system craved the nourishment the poor starved beef could not give. No one went to bed after I came, but all sat and roasted meat and ate till they were satisfied.

This sporting trip was quite different from deer hunting in Wisconsin, and nothing like looking for game in Death Valley where nothing lived. It was the hardest night’s work that ever came to me in many a day, and not the wild sport I generally looked for when on the chase. I felt pretty well when I got up, and a chunk of my last night’s prize which had been toasted for me was eaten with a relish, for it was the best of meat and I, of course, had a first class appetite. I had to tell them my last hunting story, and was much praised as a lucky boy.

We would not be compelled to kill any more of our poor oxen in order to live. So far we had killed six of them, and there were five left. Our present situation was much appreciated, compared with that of a few days ago when we were crawling slowly over the desert, hungry, sore-footed and dry, when to lie was far easier than to take steps forward. We felt like rejoicing at our deliverance and there was no mourning now for us. The surrounding hills and higher mountains seemed more beautiful to us. They were covered with green trees and brush, not a desert place in sight. The clear little singing brook ran merrily on its way, the happiest, brightest stream in all my memory. Wild birds came near us without fear, and seemed very friendly. All was calm, and the bright sunshine exactly warm enough so that no one could complain of heat or cold.

When ready to move it was announced that I had lost my saddle blanket in my adventure, so they substituted another one and I took the back track to the place where the mule slipped down the bank, and there I found it. I soon overtook them again just as they were going to camp on Mrs. Bennett’s account, as she had been suddenly taken sick with severe pain and vomiting, something as Rogers and I had been after eating our first California corn meal. The rich, fat meat was too strong for her weak stomach.

Arcane all along had an idea that Rogers and I meant to surprise them by leading them to believe the house we had visited was quite a distance off, and then to so manage it that it should appear upon their sight suddenly. We assured them it would take two or more camps before we could get there, and if Mrs. Bennett did not soon recover, even more than that. Our camp here was under a great live oak, the ground deep covered with dry leaves, and near by a beautiful meadow where our cattle and mule ate, drank and rested, the oxen chewing their cud with such an air of comfort as had not come to them since leaving their far-off eastern pastures. They seemed as much pleased as any one. They would lie down and rest and eat at the same time in perfectly enjoyable laziness.

Here we all rested and washed such clothes as we could do without long enough to dry, and washed our faces and hands over and over again to remove the dirt which had been burned and sweated in so completely as not to come off readily. We sat on the bank of the brook with our feet dangling in the water, a most refreshing bath, and they too began to look clean again. We often saw tracks of the grizzly bear about, but in our ignorance had no fear of them, for we did not know they were a dangerous animal. An owl came and hooted in the night, but that was the only challenge any wild beast or bird gave to our peaceful and restful camp. We were out of the dreadful sands and shadows of Death Valley, its exhausting phantoms, its salty columns, bitter lakes and wild, dreary sunken desolation. If the waves of the sea could flow in and cover its barren nakedness, as we now know they might if a few sandy barriers were swept away, it would be indeed, a blessing, for in it there is naught of good, comfort or satisfaction, but ever in the minds of those who braved its heat and sands, a thought of a horrid Charnel house, a corner of the earth so dreary that it requires an exercise of strongest faith to believe that the great Creator ever smiled upon it as a portion of his work and pronounced it “Very good.” We had crossed the great North American Continent, from a land of plenty, over great barren hills and plains, to another mild and beautiful region, where, though still in winter months, we were basking in the warmth and luxuriance of early summer. We thought not of the gold we had come to win. We were dead almost, and now we lived. We were parched with thirst, and now the brightest of crystal streams invited us to stoop and drink. We were starved so that we had looked at each other with maniac thoughts, and now we placed in our mouth the very fat of the land. We had seen our cattle almost perishing; seen them grow gaunt and tottering; seen them slowly plod along with hanging heads and only the supremacy of human will over animal instinct had kept them from lying down never to rise again. Now they were in pastures of sweet grass, chewing the cud of content and satisfaction. Life which had been a burden grew sweet to us, and though it may be that our words of praise to Him, whose will was to deliver us out of the jaws of death, were not set nor formal, yet His all-seeing eye saw the truth in our hearts, and saw there the fullest expression of our gratitude and thankfulness. Who shall say the thanks that arose were less acceptable, because not given on bended knees before gilded altars?

Though across the desert and evidently in the long promised land our troubles and trials were not through by any means, but evidently we were out of danger. Our lives seemed to be secure, and we were soon to meet with settlers who would no doubt extend to us the hand of human sympathy. Many long miles yet remained between us and the rivers in whose sands were hidden the tiny grains of gold we came to seek.

The rest in the lovely camp had answered to cause Mrs. Bennett to feel quite well again by the next morning, and we made ready to proceed. We had the trail of the Jayhawkers to follow, so the vines, brambles and tangles which had perplexed Rogers and myself in our first passage were now somewhat broken down, and we could get along very well without further clearing of the road until the hills came down so close on both sides that there was no room except in the very bed of the stream. There was no other way, so we waded among after the oxen as best we could. Sometimes the women fell down, for a rawhide moccasin soaked soft in water was not a very comfortable or convenient shoe, however it might be adapted to hot, dry sands. The creek was shaded and the water quite cool. The trail, such as it was, crossed the creek often and generally was nothing else than the stream itself. The constant wading, and wet, cold clothing caused the women to give out soon and we selected the first dry suitable place which offered food for the oxen, as a place to camp.

Wood was plenty and dry, so a good fire was soon burning, and the poor women, wet to the waist and even higher, were standing before it, turning round and round to get warm and dry. Someone remarked that they resembled geese hanging before the fire to roast, as they slowly revolved, and it was all owing to their fatigue that the suggester did not receive merited punishment then and there at their hands. As they got a little dry and comfortable they remarked that even an excess of water like this was better than the desert where there was none at all, and as to their looks, there were no society people about to point their fingers at them, and when they reached a settled country they hoped to have a chance to change their clothes, and get two dresses apiece, and that these would be long enough to hide their knees which these poor tatters quite failed to do. One remarked that she was sure she had been down in the brook a dozen times and that she did not consider cold water baths so frequently repeated were good for the health.

Young Charley Arcane had been getting better for some days. No medicine had been given him, and it was no doubt the change of air and water that had begun to effect a cure. Arcane had a hard time of it to keep the brush from pulling George and Melissa off of Old Crump into the water. It was indeed one of the hardest day’s work of the whole journey, but no one was low spirited, and all felt very well. The camping place was in a deep cañon, surrounded by thick brush, so that no wind came in to chill us. Everybody was cook and nobody was boss. Not a cent of money among us, nor any chance to use any if we had possessed it. We had nice, sweet, fat meat, cooked rare or well done as each one preferred, and no complaints about the waiters. The conditions were so favorable, compared with the terrible Death Valley and its surroundings that every one remarked about it, and no one felt in the least like finding fault with the little inconveniences we were forced to put up with. It might cure an inveterate fault-finder to take a course of training in the desert.

The next day we did not wade half as much, and after a few hours of travel we suddenly emerged from the brush into a creek bottom which was much wider, with not a tree to obstruct our way. The soil was sandy and covered more or less with sage brush, and the stream which had been strong and deep enough to make us very wet now sank entirely out of sight in the sandy bottom. The hills were thinly timbered on the left side but quite brushy on the right, and we could see the track of cattle in the sand. No signs of other animals, but some small birds came near, and meadow larks whistled their tune, quite familiar to us, but still sounding slightly different from the song of the same bird in the East. High in the air could be seen a large sailing hawk or buzzard.

We stopped to rest at noon and noticed that the water ran a little in the creek bed; but, by the time we were ready to start we found none with which to fill our canteens. No doubt this water was poured into the cañon somewhere near the place where we killed the three cattle, and we had got out of it before the flood came down. It was astonishing to see how the thirsty sand drank up the quite abundant flow.

The next day we came down to the point of hill that nearly crossed the valley, and we crossed the low ridge rather than make a longer trip to get around by way of the valley. As we reached the summit there appeared before us as beautiful a rural picture as one ever looked upon. A large green meadow, of a thousand acres, more or less; its southwest side bounded by low mountains, at the base of which oak trees were plenty, but no brush or undergrowth. It was like a grand old park, such as we read of in English tales. All over the meadow cattle of all sorts and sizes grazed, the “Ring-streaked and speckled” of old Jacob’s breed being very prominent. Some lazily cropped the grass; some still more lazily reclined and chewed their cud; while frisky calves exercised their muscles in swift races and then secured their dinner from anxious mothers. We camped at once and took the loads from all the animals that they might feed in comfort on the sweet grass that lay before them.

We tarried here perhaps two hours, till the cattle stopped eating, and amply enjoyed the scene. Never again would any one of the party go back over that dreary desert, they said, and everyone wondered why all places could not be as green and beautiful as this one. I cannot half tell how we felt and acted, nor what we said in our delight over this picture of plenty. The strong contrasts created strong impressions, and the tongues so long silent in our dry and dreary trouble were loosened to say everything the heart inspired. Think as much as you can; you cannot think it all.

We felt much better after our rest, and the oxen seemed stronger and better able, as well as more willing to carry their loads, so we soon prepared to move on down the valley, toward the house we had spoken of as the goal we were to reach. It was now the 7th day of March 1850, and this date, as well as the 4th day of November 1849 will always remain an important one in memory. On the last named day we left the trail to take the unfortunate cut-off, and for four long months we had wandered and struggled in terrible hardship. Every point of that terrible journey is indelibly fixed upon my memory and though seventy-three years of age on April 6th 1893 I can locate every camp, and if strong enough could follow that weary trail from Death Valley to Los Angeles with unerring accuracy. The brushy cañon we have just described is now occupied by the Southern Pacific Railroad, and the steep and narrow ridge pierced by a tunnel, through which the trains pass. The beautiful meadow we so much admired has now upon its border a railroad station, Newhall, and at the proper season some portion of it is covered with thousands of trays of golden apricots, grown in the luxuriant orchards just beyond the hills toward the coast, and here drying in the bright summer sun. The cattle in the parti-colored coats are gone, but one who knows the ground can see our picture.

Loaded up again we start down the beautiful grassy valley, the women each with a staff in hand, and everything is new and strange to us. Rogers and I know that we will soon meet people who are strangers to us; who speak a strange language of which we know nothing, and how we, without a dollar, are to proceed to get our food and things we need, are questions we cannot answer nor devise any easy way to overcome. The mines are yet five hundred miles away, and we know not of any work for us to do nearer. Our lives have been given back to us, and now comes the problem of how to sustain them manfully and independently as soon as possible. If worse comes to worst we can walk to San Francisco, probably kill enough game on the way and possibly reach the gold mines at last, but the way was not clear. We must trust much to luck and fortune and the ever faithful Providence which rarely fails those who truly try to help themselves.

We began to think some very independent thoughts. We had a mule to carry our camp kettle and meat. Our cattle were now beginning to improve and would soon get fat; these could carry our blankets and odd loads, while Old Crump the christian could still carry the children; Bennett and I knew how to hunt, and had good rifles; so we could still proceed, and we determined that, come what may, we will be victorious.

These were some of the plans we talked over at our camps and resting places, and as we walked along. If we could get the two families fixed in some way so they could do without Rogers and I, we could strike for the mines quite rapidly and no doubt soon get ourselves on good footing. We were younger than the rest and could endure more hardship. We decide to remain together till we get to Los Angeles, and then see what is best.

We reached our camping place at the foot of the hill, about a hundred yards from the house we have so long striven to reach. Here we unloaded in the shade of a large willow tree, and scarcely had we removed the harness from the oxen when the good lady of the house and her little child came down to see us. She stood for a moment and looked around her and at the two small children on the blankets, and we could hear her murmur mucha pobre (very poor.) She could see our ragged clothes and dirty faces and everything told her of our extreme destitution. After seeing our oxen and mule which were so poor she said to herself “flaco, flaco” (so thin.) She then turned to us, Rogers and I, whom she had seen before, and as her lively little youngster clung to her dress, as if in fear of such queer looking people as we were, she took an orange from her pocket and pointing to the children of our party, wanted to know if we had given them the four oranges she sent to them by us. We made signs that we had done as she requested, when she smiled and said “Buenos Muchachos” (good boys.) In all this talk neither could say a word the other could understand, and the conversation was carried on by signs.

Arcane said to her–“Me Catholic” which she seemed partly to comprehend and seemed more friendly. About this time two men rode up and took a look at us. Arcane, who was a mason, gave the masonic sign, as he told me afterward, but neither of them recognized it. We used such words of Spanish as I had taken down in my pass book and committed to memory and by motions in addition to these made them understand something of the state of affairs and that Mr. French who had assisted us before had told us we could get some meat (carne) from them. These men were finely mounted, wore long leggins made of hide, dressed with the hair on, which reached to their hips, stiff hats with a broad rim, and great spurs at their heels. Each had a coil of braided rawhide rope on the pommel of the saddle, and all these arrangements together made a very dashing outfit.

They seemed to understand what we had said to them, for they rode off with a rush and came back in a short time, leading a fine, fat two-year-old heifer. When near our camp the rider who was behind threw his riata and caught both hind feet of the animal when by a sudden movement of the horses the heifer was thrown. One of them dismounted, and at the command the horse backed up and kept the rope tight while the man went up to the prostrate beast and cut its throat. As soon as it had ceased struggling, they loosened their ropes and coiled them up: they came to us and pointed to the dead heifer in a way which said–“Help yourselves.”

We were much gratified at the generosity of the people, and at once dressed the animal as it lay, cutting off some good fat pieces which we roasted over the fire and ate with a relish. It seemed as if meat never tasted so good as that did sweet, fragrant, and juicy. If some French cook could only cook a steak that would smell and taste to his customers as that meal tasted to us, his art would be perfect. We separated a hind quarter and hung it to a tree, and when the lady came back we told her that the piece we had selected was enough for our present use, so she caused the remainder with the hide to be taken to the house. Toward night they drove up a lot of cows and calves and other cattle into their cattle yard or corral, as it is called all over California, a stockade of strong oak posts set deep in the ground and close together, enclosing a space of about half an acre. The horsemen now rode in and began to catch the calves with their ropes. It seemed as if they were able to throw a rope over a calf’s head or around either leg they desired, with better aim, and at as great a distance as one could shoot a Colt’s revolver, and we saw at once that a good raw-hide rope, in the hands of an experienced man and well-trained horse, was a weapon in many respects superior to firearms of any kind. A man near the gate loosened the ropes and pushed the calves into a separate corral till they had as many as they desired.

Rogers watched the circus till it was over and then returned to camp, meeting on the way Bennett and Arcane, with their wives and children, carrying some blankets, for the good lady had invited them to come up to the house and sleep. They said we could go down and keep camp if old dog Cuff was willing, for they had left him guarding the property. He was pleased enough to have us come and keep him company, and we slept nicely, disturbed only a little by the barking of the house dogs and the hooting of an owl that came to visit our tree.

The people came back to camp in the morning and had their experience to relate. Their hosts first baked some kind of flapjacks and divided them among their guests; then gave them beans seasoned hot with pepper: also great pieces of squash cooked before the fire, which they said was delicious and sweet–more than good. Then came a dish of dried meat pounded fine, mixed with green peppers and well fried in beef tallow. This seemed to be the favorite dish of the proprietors, but was a little too hot for our people. They called it chili cum carne–meat with pepper–and we soon found this to be one of the best dishes cooked by the Californians. The children were carefully waited on and given special attention to by these good people, and it was nearly ten o’clock before the feast was over: then the household had evening worship by meeting in silence, except a few set words repeated by some in turn, the ceremony lasting half an hour or more. Then they came and wished them buenos noches in the most polite manner and left them to arrange their blankets on the floor and go to sleep.

The unaccustomed shelter of a roof and the restless worrying of the children, who required much attention, for the change of diet had about the same effect on them as on Rogers and myself when we first partook of the California food, gave them little sleep, but still they rested and were truly grateful for the most perfect hospitality of these kind hearted people.

In the morning the two horsemen and two Indians went to the corral, when the riders would catch a cow with their ropes and draw her head up to a post, binding it fast, while an Indian took a short piece of rope and closely tied the hind legs together above the gambrel joint, making the tail fast also. They had a large bucket and several gourds. The Indians then milked the cows they had made fast, getting from a pint to two quarts from each one, milking into a gourd and pouring into the bucket till they had all they desired. The calves were separated the night before so they could secure some milk. Cows were not trained to stand and be milked as they were at home. Setting down the bucket of milk before us, with some small gourds for dippers, we were invited to drink all we wished. This was a regular banquet to us, for our famished condition and good appetites made food relish wonderfully.

When we made a sign of wishing to pay them for their great kindness they shook their heads and utterly refused. It was genuine sympathy and hospitality on their part, and none of us ever forgot it; the sight of a native Californian has always brought out thoughts of these good people, and respect and thankfulness to the race. This rancho, at which we were so kindly entertained was called San Francisquito, or Little San Francisco Rancho.

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