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Diary of Abel Helman's Journey from Oregon Territory to Ohio in 1858

October 7 '58

Left A.D. Helman's O.T. at about sun up for the state being in a wagon drawn by the team of R.B. Hargadine. We arrived at Cottonwood, Cal at noon where we took dinner. Started soon for Yreka at which place we arrived at five o'clock in the Eve fin same Eve at Colton

The 7 & 8 lay around town on the Eve of 7th. J.R. Helman came to town that night. We went to hear the Alleghanians sing and we heard some good singing

9 left Yreka in the stage at 4.00 A.M. cool riding. 18 took breakfast. We then went 18 miles farther in a stage, through some splendid pine-timbered country leaving Shasta Butte and Later hill to the left. At the soda springs we took dinner, there we straddled mules and crossed the Sacramento river keeping down it and near the river we came in sight of Castle rocks towering high to the right of road. Arrived at Dog Creek at night. Supper good. Distance 30 miles

10 2 o'clock AM left Dog Creek went 4 miles crossed Sac river. Country hilly. Got to first river house at 7 da 20 m got a middling breakfast took stage for Shasta 18 miles got to Shasta at noon. Meals good stayed till 3 o'clock

11 took stage for Rod Bluffs in Sac val dinner at Tehama. road very dusty. left after din arrived at Oroville at dark supper poor road over a hilly country from there to Marysville got to Marysville about 11:00. mosquitos bad left there at 7 am

12 arrived at Sac City at 12:00 country level road dusty dinner good 2 PM got on the boat for San Francisco pleasant time coming down river arrived at Frisco 10.00 same night put up at the Fremont house on Montgomery street the next morning

13th crossed the bay to Oakland and San Antonio there took stage to Alvorada 20 miles went up through the San Jose valley beautiful country got to Alvorada 9-o'clock stopped at Brooklyn house fare good, staid till the morning of 15 saw J Ho--- (?)

15th returned to Frisco nothing new went to Theater at night

16 run all over the city to see the sights in the Evening the Steamer Stephens arrived from Panama with 1400 passengers went to the wharf to see them land then went to the theater and saw Uncle Tom's Cabin played the best theatrical performance I ever saw

17th Sunday read a book called Rawson the Renegade a tale of the early settling of Arkansas

18 done nothing saw nothing Strange in the evening Emorys came to the City

19 bought my ticket

20 got on board the Steamer about 8 o'clock in the morning started half Past ten Sea rough today slept well

21 sea calm land in sight cool wind saw some whales spout

22 sea pretty rough hoisted sail in the evening passed a small sailing craft

23 was up at sun up land in sight. whales. same clouds around the horizon sea middling calm noon clear except smoke ship in sight to our right, evening no land in sight sun set in cloud moon rose bright & clear

24 Sunday morning up before sun up a little cloudy land in sight a middling calm had the sick headache went to bed and slept it off very warm through the night

25 did not get up till after sun up sea calm no land in sight weather warm

26 land in sight Sun rose clear & bright sea not so calm as yesterday Breakfast Salmon Coffee Crackers & Potatoes Saw a small school of Porpoises also some whales spouting 12 o'clock stopped at a small Spanish town a few houses built of cane and tulies called Manzanello where we took on some men and three Portuguese prisoners for burning a ship bound for San Francisco loaded with guano loft at 1 o'clock land in sight all afternoon sundown a middling cool breeze went to bed early

27 sun up when I got up cool breeze from south East Ate no breakfast land in sight run into the bay at Acapulco at 3 o'clock PM took on coal the natives came around in little boats with fruit to sell bought 4 eggs and 6 oranges for 25 cts a man died on board while we wore in port named Stevens from Missouri loft port just at dark at 8.00 he was thrown overboard went to bed soon after.

28 sun up land in sight and a little cloudy in the west came into the gulf of Tehuantepec about noon at which time the wind began to blow and the sea became quite rough. about 8 o'clock a child died went to bed then

29 no land in sight vessel rocks a good deal sideways although the sea does not appear very rough a little cloudy but little wind rearing a little south of East. the child that died last night was buried in the sea at 8 o'clock I saw it thrown aver the mate road a chapter in the Bible and the Lord's Prayer 12:00 the sea more calm had a pretty good dinner the sea remained pretty calm till night when the boat rocked a good deal went to bed about 8:00 no land in sight all day

30 sun up when I got up a little cloudy with a pleasant breeze Sea calm no land in sight sea remained calm all day

31 Sunday was up about daylight wind blowing pretty hard see pretty rough 2 sailors had a fight this morning, ate no dinner but went to bed and slept till 3 o'clock got up and found the see as rough as ever Cloud in the north East and I think rain not far from the ship as I saw a rainbow it has been pretty cloudy all day sea became middling calm toward Evening

Nov 1st last night was very cloudy and dark the steerage boys had a good deal of fun with a follow they called the Marysville Dog. Lightning in the North last night very cloudy this morn and appears to be raining all around the ship saw a rainbow this morning rained a little about 8 o'clock. About 9 the sun came out pretty hot. Land in sight all morning, ran to the right of a small Island called Monkey Island in the evening became foggy

2 I went to bed early last night and did not feel very well during the night we had a pretty high wind with rain and thunder & lightning running close to land this morning course north of East, at 9 o’clock we passed two small Lodges of rock one on the right & the other on the left of the ship land both main and Islands close on the left of the ship into port arrived In port about 7 P.M. Showers of rain as we came in which made it so dark there was but little to be seen, we lay there till 2 o'clock on the 3rd when the small steamer came along side of us and took us off to Panama distant about 5 miles from where we anchored. We got to Panama about 4 o'clock so dark we could see nothing took the cars immediately for Aspinwall when it came daylight we saw some fine sights the Chagres river was very muddy. Saw some beautiful eights on some of the Plantations arrived at Aspinwall at 8 AM when we set down at the St. Charles Hotel to eat breakfast but were sadly disappointed by getting nothing fit to eat but bread & butter after that I went out to see the sights around town and I found it a perfect dirty stinking hole, I never was so sick of any place in my life as I was of it at noon I eat a pretty hearty dinner and then went aboard the boat. The boat left at 1 o’clock. A few rods from where she lay at the wharf lay an American Man of War who as we passed her played some fine national airs in honor of Mr. McKibben one of the members of congress from Cal, in a short time the sea became quite rough which caused me to throw up my dinner and then I felt quite easy I soon went to bed & had a good nights sleep land in sight when I went to bed

4 did not get up very early. when I got up the sea was pretty rough with head wind and continued so all day. felt very well today. no land in sight & very little else but water Clouds & sky to be seen

5 went to bed early last night. slept middling, rather warm - day light when I got up wind and sea same as yesterday saw two or three rainbows just after sun up rather cloudy - Running almost due North nothing more of importance did I see today except it was a little showery

6 sun was Clear sea more calm 10:00 ship in sight in the West at about noon we passed about mile west of a small Island where they get Guano it rises abruptly from the waters edge to (I suppose) about the height of 30 or 40 feet and then becomes level but about half an hour before we passed close to a small British schooner - and off East at the distance of 30 or 40 miles is dimly to be seen the Island of St Domingo, the sea has been very calm today with a good cool breeze from the north sun set clear.

7 Sunday slept very all night about midnight passed the Island of Cuba the sun rose from behind a few clouds, but in a few minutes it shone out brightly - sea not quite so calm this morning no land in sight a vessel to be seen due East - at 11 o'clock there was Preaching in the Cabin I went back to hear the sermon but the boat running made so much noise that I could not get close enough to hear at 12 o’clock came in sight of land North of us running directly toward it the land proved to be some low Islands passed them about 2 o'clock at about 5 and in sight of the last named Island we came in sight of another in fact we can see points of land all along the horizon Eastwards the Island we have just passed is called Providence. Just as we passed the Northern point of the Island we passed two small schooners one an American named the Sam Small & the other a British one the name I could not see it is now just sun down and it has got behind the clouds there appears to be a continuous chain of clouds around the horizon but none overhead saw the new moon.

8 last night went to bed at 7 and slept very soundly all night was up this morning before daylight a quite cool breeze was blowing from a little East of North Sun rose from behind clouds sea pretty calm but not so calm as yesterday, no land in sight. Some gambling last night - an American was dealing Monte and a Jew was betting. the Jew lost $3000 it being all he had the dealer then gave him $500 and the Jew has been in quite a stew about it - the boys plague him a good deal no land in sight all day

9 went to bed at 7 o’clock last night did not sleep very good was up just at daylight in what is called the trade winds which makes the sea pretty rough saw a small rainbow in the N.W. just after sunup no land in sight heavy clouds in the north- running North breeze from East Showery since about ten o'clock till noon about passed a small Schooner running south - so Cold that I kept my overcoat on all day

10 last night I went to bed at 7 o'clock and slept pretty well we came into the gulf stream this morning about 1 and it has been very rough ever since - the wind has been blowing hard from the North which makes it cold weather but few on deck this morning had some rain this morning toward evening it became more calm we passed two vessels in the afternoon one to the right and the other to the left

11 Slept well last night got up at daylight sea pretty calm sails in sight weather cold passed Cape Hatteras last night No land in sight Sea was quite calm went to bed at 8 and was in bed a short time when they said there was a light to be aeon on the shore, I got up went on deck saw the light staid up about 2 hours went to bed again when some remarked how smooth the sea was and how nice the boat run, in less than half an hour the wind was blowing very hard and the sea was the roughest it had been on the trip I soon got up again but did not stay up long was very cold

12 Did not sleep well last night, this morn we are in eight of the Jersey shore drool and I hear Almost a thousand conjectures as to when we will get into New York the sea has become more calm and small sailing crafts can be seen in almost every direction at 5 o'clock we ran up to the pier and in a few minutes we (John & I) wore off the boat and at Lovejoy’s hotel where we took supper & staid till this morn

13 when we took cars for Pittsburgh arrived at Philadelphia at 12.00 M passing in N Jersey- Jersey City, Newark, Elizabethtown, Princeton, Trenton (the Capital of N J) and Camden got on the Penn cars at 1 o'clock P.M. and started for Pittsburgh stopping at Harrisburg the Capitol about dark and at 2 o'clock got to Pittsburgh on the morn of 14 put up at the Washington Hotel on Penn street went to bed at 3 and slept very soundly till six this morn when I got up fooling much refreshed took a stroll down to the river but it was so cold that I soon returned to the Hotel in about an hour started out again and in my rounds saw a good many women going to church and till now I thought that Cal was the greatest place in the world for ugly women but I think Pittsburgh boats it bad. at 11 again returned to the Hotel and in a few minutes after a band of soldiers passed going over to Allegheny to assist in burying one of the Officers- in a few minutes went to dinner had roast Turkey in the afternoon Emery came in the train They stop at the Scotts house on the river bank saw nothing else of interest in the eve it tried to snow a little and the best place I can find is beside a good warm stove. I think this city ought to be called the city of smoke for of all the smoky places this is the I have seen.

NOTE: I've tried to leave the above exactly as it was written. OT = Oregon Territory.

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