History of Utah, 1540-1886/Chapter 2

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History of Utah, 1540-1886 by Hubert Howe Bancroft
Chapter 2

Advent of Trappers and Travellers, 1778–1846[edit]

Invasion by Fur Hunters—Baron la Hontan and his Fables—The Popular Geographic Idea—Discovery of the Great Salt Lake—James Bridger Deciding a Bet—He Determines the Course of Bear River, and Comes upon the Great Lake—Henry, Ashley, Green, and Beckwourth on the Ground—Fort Built at Utah Lake—Peter Skeen Ogden—Journey of Jedediah S. Smith—A Strange Country—Pegleg Smith—Wolfskill, Yount, and Burton Traverse the Country—Walker's Visit to California—Some Old Maps—The Bartleson Company—Statements of Bidwell and Belden Compared—Whitman and Lovejoy—Frémont—Pacific Coast Immigrations of 1845 and 1846—Origin of the Name Utah.


Half a century passes, and we find United States fur hunters standing on the border of the Great Salt Lake, tasting its brackish waters, and wondering if it is an arm of the sea.1

First among these, confining ourselves to authentic records, was James Bridger, to whom belongs the honor of discovery. It happened in this wise. During the winter of 1824–5 a party of trappers, who had ascended the Missouri with Henry and Ashley, found themselves on Bear River, in Cache, or Willow Valley. A discussion arose as to the probable course of Bear River, which flowed on both sides of them. A wager was made, and Bridger sent to ascertain the truth. Following the river through the mountains the first view of the great lake fell upon him, and when he went to the margin and tasted the water he found that it was salt. Then he returned and reported to his companions. All were interested to know if there emptied into this sheet other streams on which they might find beavers, and if there was an outlet; hence in the spring of 1826 four men explored the lake in skin boats.2

Map of Utah, 1826

During this memorable year of 1825, when Peter Skeen Ogden with his party of Hudson's Bay Company trappers was on Humboldt River, and James P. Beckwourth was pursuing his daring adventures, and the region round the great lakes of Utah first became familiar to American trappers, William H. Ashley, of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, at the head of one hundred and twenty men and a train of well packed horses, came out from St Louis, through the South Pass and down by Great Salt Lake to Lake Utah. There he built a fort, and two years later brought from St Louis a six-pounder which thereafter graced its court. Ashley was a brave man, shrewd and honest; he was prosperous and commanded the respect of his men. Nor may we impute to him lack of intelligence, or of common geographical knowledge, when we find him seriously considering the project of descending the Colorado in boats, by means of which he would eventually reach St Louis. Mr Green, who gave his name to Green River, had been with Ashley the previous year; and now for three years after the establishing of Fort Ashley at Utah Lake, Green with his trappers occupied the country to the west and north.3

From Great Salt Lake in August, 1826, Jedediah S. Smith sets out on a trapping and exploring tour with fifteen men. Proceeding southward he traverses Utah Lake, called for a time Ashley Lake,4 and after ascending Ashley River, which, as he remarks, flows into the lake through the country of the Sampatches, he bends his course to the west of south, passes over some mountains running south-east and north-west, and crosses a river which he calls Adams,5 in honor of the president. After ten days' march, still in a south-westerly direction, through the country of the Pah Utes, he recrosses the same stream, and after two days comes to the junction of the Adams with what he calls the Seedskeeder, or Siskadee, river,6 a stream full of shallows and rapids and flowing through a sterile country. Then he reaches a fertile wooded valley which belongs to the Amajabes, or Mojaves, where the party rests fifteen days, meeting with the kindest treatment from the natives, who provide food and horses. Thence they are guided by two neo-phytes westward through a desert country, and reach the mission of San Gabriel in December, their appearance causing no small commotion in California. After many strange adventures, fully narrated in my History of California, Smith works his way north-ward up the San Joaquin Valley, and in May 1827 crosses the Sierra Nevada and returns eastward to Great Salt Lake. With Jedediah Smith, during some part of his stay in Utah, was Thomas L. Smith, whom we must immortalize in history as Pegleg Smith. He did not possess a very estimable character, as, I am sorry to say, few of his class did in those days. The leaders of American fur companies, however, were exceptions, and in points of intelligence, integrity, and daring were in no wise behind their British brethren.7


Green River Country

From south-east to north-west a portion of Utah was traversed in the autumn of 1830 by a trapping party under William Wolfskill. The company was fitted out in New Mexico, and the great valley of California was their objective point. Wolfskill had been a partner of Ewing Young, who was then in California. Leaving Taos in September they struck north-westerly, crossing the Colorado, Grande, Green, and Sevier rivers, and then turned south to the Rio Virgen, all the time trapping on the way. Then passing down by the Mojaves they reached Los Angeles in February 1831. George C. Yount and Louis Burton were of the party.8

Bonneville's Map, 1837

During the winter of 1832–3 B. L. E. Bonneville made his camp on Salmon River, and in July following was at the Green River rendezvous.9 Among the several trapping parties sent by him in various directions was one under Joseph Walker, who with some thirty-six men, among them Joe Meek, went to trap on the streams falling into the Great Salt Lake.

Bonneville affirms that Walker's intention was to pass round the Great Salt Lake and explore its borders; but George Nidever who was of Walker's company, and at the rendezvous while preparations were made, says nothing of such purpose, and it was probably not thought of by Bonneville until afterward. Nidever had suffered severely from the cold during the previous winter, and had come to the Green River rendezvous that season for the express purpose of joining some party for California or of forming such a party himself, having been informed that the climate there was milder than in the mountains where he had been.10

If the intention was, as Bonneville asserts, that this party should pass round the great lake, in their endeavor they presently found themselves in the midst of desolation, between wide sandy wastes and broad brackish waters; and to quench their thirst they hastened westward where bright snowy mountains promised cooling streams. The Ogden River11 region being to them so new, and the thought of California so fascinating, they permitted themselves to stray from original intentions, and cross the Sierra Nevada to Monterey. All that is known of their doings before reaching the Snowy Range is given in my History of Nevada, and their exploits after reaching California are fully narrated in that part of this series devoted to the history of the latter country.12

Utah and Nevada, 1795

In Winterbotham's history published in New York in 1795 is given a map of North America showing an enormous nameless inland sea above latitude 42º with small streams running into it, and south of said parallel and east of the meridian of the inland sea is a smaller body of water with quite a large stream flowing in from the west, besides three smaller ones from the south and north. As both of these bodies of water were laid down from the imaginations of white men, or from vague and traditionary reports of the natives, it may be that only the one Great Salt Lake was originally referred to, or it may be that the original description was applied to two lakes or inland seas. The native village on one of the southern tributaries, Taguayo, refers to the habitations of the Timpanogos, and may have been derived from the Spaniards; but more probably the information was obtained through natives who themselves had received it from other natives.

Rector's Map, 1818

In the map of William Rector, a surveyor in the service of the general government, Utah has open and easy communication with the sea by way of the valley of the Willamette River, whose tributaries drain the whole of Nevada and Utah.

Finley's Map, 1826

Mr Finley in his map of North America claimed to have included all the late geographical discoveries, which claim we may readily allow, and also accredit him with much not yet and never to be discovered. The mountains are artistically placed, the streams made to run with remarkable regularity and directness, and they are placed in positions affording the best facilities for commerce. The lakes and rivers Timpanogos, Salado, and Buenaventura, by their position, not to say existence, show the hopeless confusion of the author's mind.


A brief glance at the later visits of white men to Utah is all that is necessary in this place. The early emigrants to Oregon did not touch this territory, and those to California via Fort Bridger for the most part merely passed through leaving no mark. The emigrants to Oregon and California in 1841 came together by the usual route up the Platte, along the Sweetwater, and through the South Pass to Bear River Valley. When near Soda Springs those for Oregon went north to Fort Hall, while those for California followed Bear River southward until within ten miles of Great Salt Lake, when they turned westward to find Ogden River. Of the latter party were J. Bartleson, C. M. Weber, Talbot H. Green, John Bidwell, Josiah Belden, and twenty-seven others. Their adventures while in Utah were not startling. Little was known of the Salt Lake region,13 particularly of the country to the west of it.

Mr Belden in his Historical Statement, which I number among my most valuable manuscripts, says: “We struck Bear River some distance below where the town of Evanston now is, where the coal mines are, and the railroad passes, and followed the river down. It makes a long bend to the north there, and comes down to Salt Lake. We arrived at Soda Springs, on Bear River, and there we separated from the company of missionaries, who were going off towards Snake River or Columbia. There we lost the services of the guide Fitzpatrick. Several of our party who had started to go with us to California also left us there, having decided to go with the missionaries. Fitzpatrick advised us to give up our expedition and go with them to Fort Hall, one of the Hudson's Bay stations, as there was no road for us to follow, nothing was known of the country, and we had nothing to guide us, and so he advised us to give up the California project. He thought it was doubtful if we ever got there, we might get caught in the snow of the mountains and perish there, and he considered it very hazardous to attempt it. Some four or five of our party withdrew and went with the missionaries. About thirty-one of us adhered to our original intention and declined to give up our expedition.”

While the party were slowly descending Bear River four of them rode over to Fort Hall to obtain if possible a “pilot to conduct us to the gap in the California Mountains, or at least to the head of Mary's River,” and to make inquiries of Mr Grant, then in charge. No guide could be found, and Grant was not able greatly to enlighten them. The fur-trader could have told them much concerning the route to Oregon, but this way to California as an emigrant road had hardly yet been thought of.

“As we approached Salt Lake,” writes Bidwell,14 “we were misled quite often by the mirage. The country too was obscured by smoke. The water in Bear River became too salt for use. The sage brush on the small hillocks of the almost level plain became so magnified as to look like trees. Hoping to find water, and supposing these imaginary trees to be growing on some stream, and knowing nothing about the distance to Salt Lake, we kept pushing ahead mile after mile. Our animals almost perished for want of water while we were travelling over this salt plain, which grew softer and softer till our wagons cut into the ground five or six inches, and it became impossible to haul them. We still thought we saw timber but a short distance ahead, when the fact really was there was no timber, and we were driving straight for the Great Salt Lake.”

The truth is they had wandered from their course; they had passed Cache Valley where they intended to rest and hunt; they were frequently obliged to leave the river, turned aside by the hills. It was past mid-summer, and the sun's rays beat heavily on the white salted plain. The signal fires of the Shoshones illuminated the hills at night. “In our desperation we turned north of east a little and struck Bear River again a few miles from its mouth. The water here was too salt to quench thirst; our animals would scarcely taste it, yet we had no other.” The green fresh-looking grass was stiffened with salt. Mr Belden says: “After separating from the missionaries we followed Bear River down nearly to where it enters Salt Lake, about where Corinne is now. We had some knowledge of the lake from some of the trappers who had been there. We turned off more to the west and went round the northerly end of Salt Lake. There we found a great difficulty in getting water for several days, all the water near the lake being very brackish. We had to make it into strong coffee to drink it.”

On the 20th of August the company rested while two of their number went out to explore. They found themselves encamped ten miles from the mouth of the river. Thence next day, Sunday, they took a north-west course, crossing their track of the Thursday previous; on the 23d they were in full view of Salt Lake. Men and animals were almost dying of thirst, and “in our trouble,” says Bidwell, “we turned directly north toward some high mountains, and in the afternoon of the next day found springs of good water and plenty of grass.” This was the 27th, and here the company remained while two of their number again advanced and discovered a route to Ogden River. What befell them further on their way across to the mountains the reader will find in my History of Nevada.15

In 1842 Marcus Whitman and A. L. Lovejoy, on their way from Oregon to the United States, passed through Utah from Fort Hall, by way of Uintah, Taos, and Santa Fé. For further information concerning them, and the object of their journey, I would refer the reader to my History of Oregon.


In 1843 John C. Frémont followed the emigrant trail through the south pass, and on the 6th of September stood upon an elevated peninsula on the east side of Great Salt Lake, a little north of Weber River, beside which stream his party had encamped the previous night. Frémont likens himself to Balboa discovering the Pacific; but no one else would think of doing so. He was in no sense a discoverer; and though he says he was the first to embark on that inland sea, he is again in error, trappers in skin boats having performed that feat while the pathfinder was still studying his arithmetic, as I have before mentioned. It is certainly a pleasing sight to any one, coming upon it from either side, from the cover of rolling mountains or the sands of desert plains, and under almost any circumstance the heart of the beholder is stirred within him. A number of large islands raised their rocky front out of dense sullen waters whose limit the eye could not reach, while myriads of wild fowl beat the air, making a noise “like distant thunder.”

Black clouds gathered in the west, and soon were pouring their floods upon the explorers. Camping some distance above the mouth on Weber River, they made a corral for the animals, and threw up a small fort for their own protection. Provisions being scarce, seven of the party under François Lajeunesse were sent to Fort Hall, which place they reached with difficulty, after separation from each other and several days' wanderings.

Leaving three men in camp, with four others, including Kit Carson who was present, Frémont on the 8th embarked in a rubber boat and dropped down to the mouth of the stream, which the party found shallow and unnavigable. Next morning they were out on the lake, fearful every moment lest their air-blown boat should collapse and let them into the saline but beautiful transparent liquid. At noon they reached one of the low near islands and landed. They found there, washed up by the waves, a dark brown bank, ten or twenty feet in breadth, composed of the skins of worms, about the size of oats, while the rocky cliffs were whitened by incrustations of salt. Ascending to the highest point attainable they took a surrounding view, and called the place Disappointment Island,16 because they had failed to find the fertile lands and game hoped for. Then they descended to the edge of the water, constructed lodges of driftwood, built fires, and spent the night there, returning next day in a rough sea to their mainland camp. Thence they proceeded north to Bear River, and Fort Hall, and on to Oregon.17 On his return by way of Klamath and Pyramid lakes, Frémont crossed the Sierra to Sutter Fort, proceeded up the San Joaquin into Southern California, and taking the old Spanish trail to the Rio Vírgen followed the Wahsatch Mountains to Utah Lake.

There was a party under Frémont in Utah also in 1845. Leaving Bent Fort in August they ascended the Arkansas, passed on to Green River, followed its left bank to the Duchesne branch, and thence crossed to the head-waters of the Timpanogos, down which stream they went to Utah Lake. Thence they passed on to Great Salt Lake, made camp near where Great Salt Lake City is situated, crossed to Antelope Island, and examined the southern portion of the lake. After this they passed by way of Pilot Peak into Nevada.18

Of the six companies comprising the California immigration of 1845, numbering in all about one hundred and fifty, five touched either Utah or Nevada, the other being from Oregon. But even these it is not necessary to follow in this connection, Utah along the emigrant road being by this time well known to travellers and others. With some it was a question while on the way whether they should go to Oregon or California. Tustin, who came from Illinois in 1845, with his wife and child and an ox team, says in his manuscript Recollections: “My intention all the way across the plains was to go on to Oregon; but when I reached the summit of the Rocky Mountains where the trail divides, I threw my lash across the near ox and struck off on the road to California.”

For the Oregon and California emigrations of 1846, except when they exercised some influence on Utah, or Utah affairs, I would refer the reader to the volumes of this series treating on those states. An account of the exploration for a route from southern Oregon, over the Cascade Mountains, and by way of Klamath and Goose lakes to the Humboldt River, and thence on to the region of the Great Salt Lake by Scott and the Applegates in 1846, is given in both the History of Oregon, and the History of Nevada, to which volumes of this series the reader is referred.19


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Footnotes[edit]

1 There are those who soberly refer to the Baron la Hontan and his prodigious falsehoods of 1689 for the first information of Great Salt Lake. Because among the many fabulous wonders reported he somewhere on the western side of the continent placed a body of bad-tasting water, Stansbury, Exped., 151, does not hesitate to affirm ‘that the existence of a large lake of salt water somewhere amid the wilds west of the Rocky Mountains seems to have been known vaguely as long as 150 years since.’ Perhaps it was salt, and not silver that the Winnebagoes reported to Carver, Travels, 33–6, as coming down in caravans from ‘the mountains lying near the heads of the Colorado River.’ Warren, in Pacific Railroad Report, xi. 34, repeats and refutes the La Hontan myth. He says, ‘the story of La Hontan excited much speculation, and received various additions in his day; and the lake finally became represented on the published English maps.’ Long before this date, however, reliable information had been received by the Spaniards, and the same may have come to English trappers; so that by 1826 reports of the existence of such a sheet may have reached civilization. It is needless to say that neither La Hontan nor Carver ever received information from the natives, or elsewhere, sufficient to justify map-makers in placing a large lake in that vicinity. In Gordon's Historical and Geographical Memoir of the North American Continent, published in Dublin in 1820, it is written: ‘Concerning the lakes and rivers of this as yet imperfectly explored region we have little to say. Of the former we have no certain account. Two have been noticed in the western parts, a salt lake about the thirty-ninth degree of latitude, the western limits of which are unknown, and the lake of Timpanogos, about the forty-first degree, of great but unascertained extent.’

In a report submitted to congress May 15, 1826, by Mr Baylies it is stated that ‘many geographies have placed the Lake Timpanogos in latitude 40, but they have obviously confounded it with the Lake Theguayo, which extends from 39° 40' to 41°, and from which it appears separated by a neck or peninsula; the two lakes approaching in one direction as near as 20 miles.’ 19th Cong., 1st Sess., House Rept. No. 213. Such statements as this amount to nothing—the honorable gentleman, with all due respect, not knowing what he was writing about—except as going to show the vague and imperfect impression of the popular mind concerning this region at that time.

I will give for what it is worth a claim, set up in this same congressional report, by one Samuel Adams Ruddock, that in the year 1821 he journeyed from Council Bluff to Santa Fé, and thence with a trading party proceeded by way of Great Salt Lake to Oregon. The report says: ‘On the 9th of June this party crossed the Rio del Norte, and pursuing a north-west direction on the north bank of the river Chamas, and over the mountains, reached Lake Trinidad; and then pursuing the same direction across the upper branches of the Rio Colorado of California, reached Lake Timpanagos, which is intersected by the 42d parallel of latitude, the boundary between the United States of America and the United States of Mexico. This lake is the principal source of the river Timpanagos, and the Multnomah of Lewis and Clarke. They then followed the course of this river to its junction with the Columbia, and reached the mouth of the Columbia on the first day of August, completing the journey from the Council Bluffs in seventy-nine days.’

2 This, upon the testimony of Robert Campbell, Pac. R. Rept., xi. 35, who was there at the time ‘and found the party just returned from the exploration of the lake, and recollect their report that it was without any outlet.’ Bridger's story of his discovery was corrroborated by Samuel Tullock in Campbell's counting-room in St Louis at a later date. Campbell pronounces them both ‘men of the strictest integrity and truthfulness.’ Likewise Ogden's trappers met Bridger's party in the summer of 1825 and were told of the discovery. See Hist. Nevada, this series. Irving, Bonneville's Adv., 186, says it was probably Sublette who sent out the four men in the skin canoe in 1826. Bonneville professes to doubt this exploration because the men reported that they suffered severely from thirst, when in fact several fine streams flow into the lake; but Bonneville desired to attach to his name the honor of an early survey, and detract from those entitled to it. The trappers in their canoes did not pretend to make a thorough survey, and as for scarcity of fresh water in places Stansbury says, Exped., 103, that during his explorations he frequently was obliged to send fifty miles for water. Other claimants appear prior to Bridger's discovery. W. M. Anderson writing to the National Intelligencer under date of Feb. 26, 1860, says that Provost trapped in this vicinity in 1820, and that Ashley was there before Bridger. Then it was said by Seth Grant that his partner, Vazquez, discovered the great inland sea, calling it an arm of the ocean because the water was salt. That no white man ever saw the Great Salt Lake before Bridger cannot be proven; but his being the only well authenticated account, history must rest there until it finds a better one.

3 See Hist. Northwest Coast, ii. 447–8, this series. T. D. Bonner in his Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth, 71–3, gives what purports to be an account of Ashley's descent of Green River to Great Salt Lake on a certain occasion in Ashley's own language. There may be some truth in it all, though Beckwourth is far astray in his dates, as he places the occurrence in 1822. Beckwourth goes on to say that one day in June a beautiful Indian girl offered him a pair of moccasins if he would shoot for her an antelope and bring her the brains, that with them she might dress a deer-skin. Beckwourth started out, but failing to secure an antelope, and seeing as he supposed an Indian coming, he thought he would shoot the Indian and take his brains to the girl, who would not know the difference. Just as he was about to fire he discovered the supposed Indian to be Ashley, who thereupon told him of his adventures down Green River and through the cañon to Great Salt Lake. I have no doubt it is three fourths fiction, and what there is of fact must be placed forward four years. ‘We had a very dangerous passage down the river,’ said Ashley to Beckwourth, ‘and suffered more than I ever wish to see men suffer again. You are aware that we took but little provision with us, not expecting that the cañon extended so far. In passing over the rapids, where we lost two boats and three guns, we made use of ropes in letting down our boats over the most dangerous places. Our provisions soon gave out. We found plenty of beaver in the cañon for some miles, and, expecting to find them in as great plenty all the way, we saved none of their carcasses, which constituted our food. As we proceeded, however, they became more and more scarce, until there were none to be seen, and we were entirely out of provisions. To trace the river was impossible, and to ascend the perpendicular cliffs, which hemmed us in on either side, was equally impossible. Our only alternative was to go ahead. After passing six days without food, the men were weak and disheartened. I listened to all their murmurings and heart-rending complaints. They often spoke of home and friends, declaring they would never see them more. Some spoke of wives and children whom they dearly loved, and who must shortly become widows and orphans. They had toiled, they said, through every difficulty; had risked their lives among wild beasts and hostile Indians in the wilderness, all of which they were willing to undergo; but who could bear up against actual starvation? I encouraged them all in my power, telling them that I bore an equal part in their sufferings; that I too was toiling for those I loved, and whom I yet hoped to see again; that we should all endeavor to keep up our courage, and not add to our misfortunes by giving way to despondency. Another night was passed amid the barren rocks. The next morning the fearful proposition was made by some of the party for the company to cast lots, to see which should be sacrificed to afford food for the others, without which they must inevitably perish. My feelings at such a proposition cannot be described. I begged of them to wait one day more, and make all the way they could meanwhile. By doing so, I said, we must come to a break in the cañon, where we could escape. They consented, and moving down the river as fast as the current would carry us, to our inexpressible joy we found a break, and a camp of trappers therein. All now rejoiced that they had not carried their fearful proposition into effect. We had fallen into good hands, and slowly recruited ourselves with the party, which was under the charge of one Provo, a man with whom I was well acquainted. By his advice we left the river and proceeded in a north-westerly direction. Provo was well provided with provisions and horses, and he supplied us with both. We remained with his party until we arrived at the Great Salt Lake. Here I fell in with a large company of trappers, composed of Canadians and Iroquois Indians, under the command of Peter Ogden, in the service of the Northwest Fur Company. With this party I made a very good bargain, as you will see when they arrive at our camp, having purchased all their peltry on very reasonable terms.’

4 Jedediah Smith in 1826 calls the lake Utah, and the stream flowing into it from the south Ashley River. ‘Je traversai le petit lac Utâ, et je remontai le cours de l'Ashley qu'il recoit.’ Extrait d'une lettre, in Nouvelles An. des Voy., xxxvii. 208. For an account of this journey see Hist. Cal., this series, where are fully discussed the several conflicting authorities. Warner's Rem., MS., 21–9, dates the journey 1824, and carries the company from Green River, south of Salt Lake, and over the mountains near Walker Pass. Accounts in Cronise's Nat. Wealth Cal.; Hutchings' Mag., v. 351–2; S. F. Times, June 14, 1867; Randolph's Oration, 313–14; Tuthill's Hist. Cal., 124–5; Frignet, La Californie, 58–60; Douglas' Private Papers, MS., 2d ser. i.; Victor's River of the West, 34; Hines' Voy., 110, are mentioned.

5 The Sevier; or possibly he crossed from the Sevier to the Vírgen and supposed them to be one stream.

6 The Adams now is clearly the Rio Vírgen, and the Seedskeeder, or Siskadee, the Colorado. See Hist. Northwest Coast, ii. 583, this series.

7 P. W. Crawford, Nar., MS., 27, says he saw Pegleg Smith in 1847 on Ham Fork, in a beautiful valley of the Bear River Mountains, where he then lived with his native wife and a few savage retainers.

8 There was little of importance to Utah history in this expedition, for full particulars of which see Hist. Cal., this series.

9 For an account of Bonneville and his several excursions see Hist. Northwest Coast, ii. chap. xxv.; Hist. Cal., and Hist. Nevada, this series.

10 Such being the case he would hardly have joined Walker's expedition had it been understood that the exploration of Salt Lake was intended. See Nidever's Life and Adv., MS., 58.

11 Previously called the Mary River, and now the Humboldt. See Hist. Nevada; Hist. Northwest Coast; and Hist. Cal., this series.

12 See Nidever's Life and Adv., MS.; Warner's Mem., in Pac. R. Report, xi. pt. i. 31–4. In giving his dictation to Irving, Bonneville professed great interest in the exploration of Great Salt Lake though he had done nothing to speak of in that direction. Irving, however, humored the captain, whose vanity prompted him to give his own name to the lake, although he had not a shadow of title to that distinction.

13 ‘Previous to setting out,’ says Bidwell, California, 1841–8, MS., 24–5, ‘I consulted maps so as to learn as much as possible about the country… As for Salt Lake, there was a large lake marked in that region, but it was several hundred miles long from north to south, with two large rivers running from either end, diverging as they ran west, and entering the Pacific Ocean.’ It was Finley's map of North America, 1826, herein reproduced, which he alludes to. ‘My friends in Missouri advised me to bring tools, and in case we could not get through with our wagons to build canoes and go down one of these rivers.’ The region to the west of Salt Lake was indeed a terra incognita to these explorers.

14 California, 1841–8, MS., 33–4. The author, then little more than boy, being but 21, has a long story to tell about straying from camp one day in company with a comrade, James John, bent on a visit to the adjacent heights for a handful of snow; and how they slept in the mountains in a bear's nest, and reached next day their company, some of whom had spent the night in search. They had been given up as slain by the Blackfeet; and there were those so ungracious as to say that it would have served them right had it been so.

15 The expedition entire is given in Hist. Cal., this series. See also Belden's Hist. Statement, MS.; Hopper's Narrative, MS.; Taylor's Dis. and Founders, i. No. 7; Sutter Co. Hist., 17; S. F. Bulletin, July 27, 1868; S. F. Alta, Aug. 5, 1856, and Sept. 1868; Santa Cruz Sentinel, Aug. 29, 1868; Los Angeles News, Sept. 1, 1868; San Diego Union, Jan. 16, 1869; San José Pioneer, Feb. 1877; Shuck's Scrap Book, 182–4; Petaluma Crescent, Sept. 10, 1872; Santa Clara News, Feb. 6, 1869; Hayes' Scrap Books, Cal. Notes, iii. 171; Napa Reporter, March 23, Sept. 21, 1872; S. F. Bulletin, July 19, 1860; Shuck's Rep. Men, 920–1.

16 Now Castle Island, or as some call it Frémont Island.

17 For an account of Frémont's Oregon adventures see Hist. Oregon; and for his doings in California see Hist. Cal., this series. We also meet with him again in our History of Nevada.

18 Frémont's Expl. Ex., 151–60. Warner in Pac. R. Rep., xi. 49–50.

19 The word Utah originated with the people inhabiting that region. Early in the 17th century, when New Mexico was first much talked of by the Spaniards, the principal nations of frequent mention as inhabiting the several sides of the locality about that time occupied were the Navajos, the Yutas, the Apaches, and the Comanches. Of the Utah nation, which belongs to the Shoshone family, there were many tribes. See Native Races, i. 422, 463–8, this series. There were the Pah Utes, or Pyutes, the Pi Edes, the Gosh Utes, or Goshutes, the Uinta Utes, the Yam Pah Utes, and many others. Pah signifies water; pah guampe, salt water, or salt lake; Pah Utes, Indians that live about the water. The early orthography of the word Utah is varied. Escalante, prior to his journey to Utah Lake, Carta de 28 Oct. 1775, MS., finds the ‘Yutas’ inhabiting the region north of the Moquis. This was a common spelling by the early Spaniards, and might be called the proper one. Later we have ‘Youta,’ ‘Eutaw,’ ‘Utaw,’ and ‘Utah.’