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Richard Blinn Diary - MMS 1646
This is the travel diary documenting trip of Richard Foote Blinn (1842-1873), with his wife Clara (1845-1868) and son Willie, from Perrysburg, Ohio to Sand Creek, Colorado along the Santa Fe Trail in 1868. There are some additional entries describing the search by Richard for Clara after she was kidnapped by Indians and her later death at Washita after the battle there in November 1868.
Note on this transcription: Narrative entries are transcribed in chronological order. There were some 1869 entries written at the start of the diary volume with the January 1868 dates crossed out and corrected to 1869, with a few uncorrected reading February, but still probably mid-January, and two entries written on the Memoranda pages and one on the Cash Account, January page. Financial/ledger entries were not transcribed. Spelling of the original is maintained.
February Monday, 10 1868
Uncle Dick's Diary
March Sunday, 15 1868
Left Perrysburg this morning at 8 o'clock for Sand Creek Colorado Territory.
March Monday, 16 1868
On our way to Kansas City. Slept in the car seat all night.
March Tuesday, 17 1868
Arrived at Quincy, Illi 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Crossed the Mississippi on the ferry. Took a sleeping car & had a good sleep
March Wednesday, 18 1868
Arrived at Kansas City 5 o'clock in the morning. Took supper at the Sheridan Hotel and then started to find Jack. Traveled on six roads and then all most gave up finding him.
March Thursday, 19 1868
Shawnee Mission. Started from Kansas City this morning. Had a big time hitching up the mules. One of them kick the buttons off Steve's shirt. We got them all right after a long tussle.
Steve and I ride on the big wagon. We had our last glass off [sic] ales up to the tavern. Not very good ales.
Steve, Charlott, Clara and I sleep in the tent. Sarah and Jack in the ambulance and Bill in the wagon.
March Friday, 20 1868
Olatha, Kas. Broke camp 9 o'clock this morning & drove 20 miles and camped opposite an Ohio man's house. No trouble with the mules today.
Charlott put a cranberry on her toe kill a corn but eat it off before it did any good.
Steve went to kill a chicken but could not do so.
March Saturday, 21 1868
Camp Breakdown. Started this morning at 8 o'clock and was getting along nice when the fore axle broke and we had to camp in the road.
Saw the peraria [prairie?] on fire last night for the first time. It looked splendid.
March Sunday, 22 1868
Camp Breakdown. Did not get our wagon fixed so we had to lay over all day.
March Monday, 23 1868
Got our wagon fixed and started on our way. Had a hard road. Got lost and had to let down a fence and drive through a field. Camped about four o'clock. It rained and we had a hard time to pitch the tent. Had some milk punch tonight. Very good.
March Tuesday, 24 1868
Drove about eighteen miles today. The wind blows very hard. Past by the ruins of a house that was destroyed by the rebles during the war. Camped in a hollow.
Steve started out on the hill for prarrie chickens. There is a lot around, but he did not shoot any. The wind blows to hard. Found a nest of mice under a stone. They all skedadled when we took up the stone. There is a creek & a spring near where we camp.
March Wednesday, 25 1868
Camping near a little town called Burlingham on the bank of a nice creek. Jack killed three prarrie chickens today and we had a nice stew.
March Thursday, 26 1868
Very cold today. Had to camp about ten o'clock on a creek called Soldier Creek. Have a nice big fire. Told fortunes for some little boys. Baked bread, stewed peaches & c. Three Indians past by here today, one dressed in red, the other two in blue. Carried their bows with them. Got some pop corn of the little boys and poped it. It was quite a rareity.
March Friday, 27 1868
Got up this morning about daylight and drove 23 miles.
Steve killed a chicken and we had it for dinner. Camped near a house that Jack & Sarah staid in 2 years ago.
Found a pool cat in an old well and shot him.
March Saturday, 28 1868
Steve and I got up at 3 o'clock and feed our mules and got things ready to go. Started and drove 6 miles before breakfast and then drove until 4 o'clock and then stoped & took a rest.
Drove over some of the worst road that we have seen yet.
Bill came near upseating [upsetting] the ambulance. He drove off from a bank 3 feet straight up. Steve and I got through all right. Got in to camp at 9 o'clock, awfull tired.
March Sunday, 29 1868
Junction City. Arrived here at 3 o'clock. Drove 18 miles today. Roads a little better. Got along first rate. Country looks a little better, but a very stoney.
Junction City is a right smart plase. Do a good deal off business. Verry fine buildings. Most of them are stone. Saw a good many people out walking.
Camped on Smoky River.
March Monday, 30 1868
Started on our way about 10 o'clock. Took out some off our load and took in 3 sacks off corn. The load is considerable lighter. Can go faster. Camp in a little town called Aboline. Drove 27 miles today.
Fell in with four men going to Hays City. They say they want to keep company with us. We see a good many coming over.
March Tuesday, 31 1868
Broke camp this morning at 5 o'clock. Drove 21 miles and stoped about 2 o'clock for dinner. Stoped 2 hours and then hitched up & drove 6 miles and camped for the night. Passed through Salina and Solimon City. Salina is quite a nice little town. We have got 4 men to travel with us, so we feel safer then we did before
April Wednesday, 1 1868
Between Fort Harker & Elsworth. Broke camp this morning at 5 o'clock and drove 40 miles by 6 o'clock. Mules look pretty tired.
Clara fooled Jack, and Jack made me jump off from the wagon to pay for it.
Steve & I got to sleep on the wagon and came near falling off.
Came through the worst country we have had yet. The land is not good for any thing.
Wind blows like anything. It was warm this morning but it turned cold before night and keeps it up yet.
April Thursday, 2 1868
Bunker Hill. Camped at 6 o'clock near some soldiers. Had to keep a guard all night for fear some one would steal our mules. We saw two men hanging around our camp.
Saw some buffalo but they were a good ways off. Saw a perraria dog this first I ever saw. One of the soldiers killed an antelope & Jack bought part of it and we had all we could eat. It tasts good, better than deer meat.
April Friday, 3 1868
Camped within 3 1/2 miles from Hays City. Darned cold today. Had to wear our overcoats all the time.
Traveled with the soldiers until noon and then left them. We caught up with a man with four horses. He was loaded with corn for Cayota. He broke his wagon and had to go 33 miles to get a wagon to fetch his load in.
He camped with us one night and his horses eat up more off our hay than our own stock. Drove 40 miles.
April Saturday, 4 1868
Hays City. Got here at 10 o'clock. Found a nice plase to camp. Plenty of wood & water, so we do not have to run after wood as we did the night before.
Will stay here 2 or 3 days until Jack's train come in from the plains. The girls are baking bread and getting ready to start across the plains.
Had a big row in camp this morning.
April Sunday, 5 1868
Camp near Hays City. The train came in town last night. The stock looks hard [?]. Are going to get the mules shod tomorrow. Espect to have a big time with Jule.
April Monday, 6 1868
Nothing happened to day. Went up town twice. [illegible] this Hays City.
April Tuesday, 7 1868
Willie Blinn. Hays City. Took the mules up town & got them shod. Had some fun with Jule. She knocked the blacksmith behind the anvil.
April Wednesday, 8 1868
Big Timber Creek. Left Hays this morning at 7 o'clock. Drove 16 miles. Had a big scare today. Saw our first Indians today. They were about four miles off. They did not notice us at all, but went about their business, what ever it was. We are traveling with a Mexican train. They are camped about a mile back.
April Thursday, 9 1868
Started this morning at half past six this morning, drove 27 miles, left the train off Mexicans for they did not travel fast enough for us, so we are alone.
Jack & Steve found a lot of their friend here and they all feel pretty wild to night.
It rained last night and froze so every thing is all ice.
April Friday, 10 1868
Saw Log Creek. Camped at Boyd's Ranch. Started this morning at 6 o'clock and drove about 13 miles. Found another Mexican train stuck in the mud. Took dinner & the drove 7 miles & caught up with the train. They were feeding their mules so we unhitched ours and let them graze a while. The wind blows like the old harry. Can't pitch the tent, so we have to let the girls sleep in the wagon and Steve and I have to take to the ground.
April Saturday, 11 1868
Fort Dodge. Started out off the camp this morning at 3 o'clock and drove 12 miles and stoped at this place to go to a dance tonight at some of Jack's friends.
Found lots of Indians here but they are friendly and do not offer to hurt any one.
April Sunday, 12 1868
Fort Dodge. Went to the dance. Did not have a verry good time. The officers run the thing.
We are laying over because it rains. Have got a good plase to stay so I do not care.
April Monday, 13 1868
Fort Dodge. It geeps [keeps] raining so I don't know when we will go. All the folks have went calling but Tom & I.
April Tuesday, 14 1868
Fort Dodge. Raining so we can not go yet. Hope it will stop this summer some time.
April Wednesday, 15 1868
Cimarron Crossing. Started this morning at 8 o'clock, drove 20 miles and stoped for the day.
It is so muddy that we cannot go more than 20 miles in a day. Have got a good plase to stay. The mules have got a nice plase and we sleep in a house. Espect to sleep in our tent tomorrow night.
April Thursday, 16 1868
Pawnee Fort. Started this morning at 8 o'clock and drove 20 miles. The roads are muddy. The mules are getting tired. We have not got much farther to travel.
Two more nights and we are all right.
April Friday, 17 1868
Broke camp this morning at 5 o'clock. Drove 37 miles and camped at an old stage station. It commenced raining and rained all night and we are having a wet time. Will not get home as soon as we expected. Jack & I killed two wild geese this morning.
April Saturday, 18 1868
Aubery Station. This morning at 6 o'clock and drove 20 1/2 miles. Roads very mudy. Hard work to get along. Got up and drove 3 miles & then got our breakfast at a stage station and then drove to Aubery.
Did not get our geese to eat. Gave them to Mr. Stickney.
April Sunday, 19 1868
Fort Sanderson. Started from Aubery at 7 o'clock and drove to this place in one drive. The roads are awfull muddy.
Put our lead mules on the mules on the ambulance and took the 4 small mules on the big wagon and then we got along fine. Slept in an old dug out.
April Monday, 20 1868
Sand Creek. Here we are at last. Started this morning at 8 o'clock & drove with in 8 miles of Sand Creek and stoped for dinner. Jack & I set the prarie on fire. Got here at 5 o'clock. Avery thing looks nice. I like the plase first rate.
April Thursday, 23 1868
Commenced boarding the drivers for the Southern Overland Mail Co. at $84 per week and and renting them the stable at 50 dollar per quarter.
Embrer & Johnson
May Sunday, 3 1868
Commenced tending stock for the S.O.M. Co. on the 17th off Aug 68
Sept 1st 1868
To 18 meals at 41 ce per [?]
The Mail Co. took thiere stock away on the 4th of September
Dr. to $15.00 fifteen dollars for catching mule & keeping it three days
May Monday, 4 1868
Started from Sand Creek this morning at 8 o'clock and drove to Old Fort Lyons for dinner and then drove to the 8 mile bottem and camped for the night
We drove 27 miles. We have got a new driver, his name is Wise. This is a nice country here. We are going to Pueblo for provisions.
August Thursday, 13 1868
August Friday, 14 1868
Near Fort Cobb
Durfee & Co.
October Friday, 9 1868
Camp this side of Sand Creek at three mile point.
Clara & Willie were captured 3 miles from where we were camped
October Wednesday, 14 1868
Came in to Fort Lyon this morning at 3 o'clock
November Saturday, 7 1868
J. Willie Blinn, Ft. Lyon
The date of Claras letter
November Wednesday, 11 1868
Left Fort Lyon for Fort Hays & Fort Cobb
[Written on Memoranda Pages]
Christmas morning on the Arkansas River
Waiting to get across the river. On my way to Fort Arbuckle looking for Clara & Willie. I would give my last dollar to go on.
Have been here 3 days and expect to stay 3 days more for the water is on the raise.
December Monday, 28 1868
F.F. Jones, Cheyen an
December Tuesday, 29 1868
Traveled all day in the rain, walked all the time. It looks dark and gloomy & I feel the same. I would give my life for my little family but I am afraid I have got to go through this world alone. If I only knew where they are I would feel better but to live & think what they have to go through is worse than death.
December Wednesday, 30 1868
I. Creek, Coulson Ground, I.T. [Indian Territory]
We are water bound. The water is so high in the deep Fork that we can not get through and I am afraid that we will have to lay here for a week but I hope not for I want to get through
December Thursday, 31 1868
No chance of geting away from here yet. It has rained for four days and nights, but it looks as though it would clear up soon.
January Friday, 1 1869 [written in start of 1868 volume]
Still storming and no signs of its clearing up. It seems as though everything goes against me. I do not care for what I go through but to think of them, Clara & Willie. If I knew they were safe I would not care for myself for I can stand anything that will do them good, even to laying down my life for them.
But I must know what has become of them if it takes all my life.
January Saturday, 2 1869
[illegible] to day at 12 o'clock [illegible] to [illegible] It will [illegible] for I may [illegible] my [illegible]
January Sunday, 3 1869
Okmulgee. Clear water [illegible] I hope we will get under way before long [illegible] not [illegible] or I can not [illegible] and I have got [illegible]
Written on Memoranda Page]
Sunday Morning, Jan 3, 69
Still waiting for the water to fall. The boys were down yesterday & they say it is falling some. I hope it is for I want to go on. I think that I will find Willie in a government train that is coming. But I do not expect to see poor Clara again.
This life looks dark & dreary to me. I wish I was with my wife, dead or alive. The tears will fall in spite of me when I think of the happy days that a gon to return no more. Little did I think one year would find me alone in this world with no one but my self to take care.
Three years. It seems but yesterday that I kiss her & called her wife for the first time. So young and yet so good. A true wife & a kind mother. I would not want a better partner to travel through this world with than my darling Clara, but now she is no more. I hope she is in a better world than this.
January Monday, 4 1869
Okmulgee. The water has fell about 3 feet and a half. I think we will move from here tomorrow. We will give it a trial and how and I hope we will get acrost for I am afraid we are going to have more rain and if we do we cannot get away before spring and no one can come from the other way, so I can get any news from Cobb.
January Tuesday, 5 1869
We made a drive of two miles to day and the water is falling fast and I think we will get acrost in a few days. There is a train coming from Cobb and I think I will get some news when they get here. We look for them tomorrow and I hope they will get here for I want to get the news.
There is talk of the Indians trying to take the Post and if they make a break there will be a big fight at Cobb.
January Wednesday, 6 1869
2 miles from Okmullgee. The water is falling very slow and I think we will have to stay here for three days longer. If I can only get Clara and Will I would not care but to lay here and not know where they are makes the time go slow. It seems as though the days were as long as a week. I heard to day that Wild Bill was killed but I think there is some mystake.
January Thursday, 8 [7?] 1869
I found a man today that found Clara and Willie on the ground. They had been killed about 14 days. His name is H.H. Campbell. Willie was laying a little ways from her. They were taken to Arbuckle and buried. I shall try to take them home.
January Friday, 9 [8?] 1869
The boys have built a raft and I think we will get acrost the river tomorrow. The scout that found Clara and Willie says he will give me a horse to ride to Cobb. I think I will go with him. It is 3 month today that Clara & Willie was captured.
January Saturday, 10 [9?] 1869
I am over the river at last. I am going to go through with two scouts. They have got an extra horse and they are going to let me ride through with them. They are the most accomadating men that I have found since I started. This is a hard country to travel in.
January Sunday, 11 [10?] 1869
Seminole Agency. We went 45 miles from [illegible]. I feel awfull tired tonight for I had a hard riding horse. He is awfull stiff. I am going to get another horse tomorrow.
The men that I am with are good fellows. One of them was in the army with me and he is an old railroad man so I fare very well.
January Monday, 12 [11?] 1869
Forty miles from the Seminole Agency. Camped in the woods all by ourselves. Had sardines and peaches for supper.
I feel awfull tired and homesick tonight. I would rather be dead than to live without Clara and Willie, but the Lord knows best and I suppose he will take me when my time comes.
January Tuesday, 12 1869
Sleeped in the woods last night. Did not sleep very well. Rode 37 miles, got off from the road looking for a place to stay but got lost and had to hire a little Indian to guide us to the house where we got to stay all night
January Wednesday, 13 1869
Camped on the Washata. Rode 35 miles. Rained all night and most all day. Mud knee deep. My horse gave out so we had to camp before dark.
January Thursday, 30 [14?] 1869
[illegible] and had no [illegible] we were wet through to morning [?]
February Sunday, 2 [Jan 15?] 1869
Camped near Dutch Bills ranch. Found a man today that used to live at [illegible]. His name is Hatch [?]. He says he [illegible] Clara & Willies bodys [illegible] for me to [illegible] at [illegible]
February Monday, 3 [Jan 16?] 1869
Started on the march again this morning and rode 3 miles. Got to Gen. Hazens Head Quarters at 8 o'clock
February Tuesday, 4 [Jan 17?] 1869
Went to Gen. Sheridans Head Quarters. He is at Arbuckle. I shall wait and see him. I saw Capt. Berry and Mr. Brant formly [formerly] of Fort Lyon. They say there is no doubt but that Clara & Willie were killed. I hav got Clara's shoes & a piece of her dress and some of Willies hair.
February Wednesday, 5 [Jan 18?] 1869
Camp on Cash Creek. Went to see Col. Boon and he says he will do all he can to assist me. I think I shall be abell to recover something from the Indians. All I want is enough to get toom stones for my family.
I have been well treated by all the officers here. They are not at all like those that I have meet here to fore.
Received a letter from Fannie today.
February Thursday, 6 [Jan 19?] 1869
Nothing off note to day.
Jan 23 1869
Saw a young man that was looking for his sister. She was captured on the [illegible].
I all [also] saw an Indian with my shirt on.
I hired to Col. Boon as watchman to day. [Col. Albert Gallatin Boone, grandson of Daniel Boone, was the Indian Agent at Ft. Sill].
Jan 24 1869
[illegible] Medicine Bluff. Sargt. Conrod and myself started to take a walk and here we are about 400 feet above the rest of mankind and can see for miles over the Indian country. I can see Indians riding over the plains in all directions.
Cash Account, January
Jan [?] 1869
We are [illegible] in one of the large [illegible] in the country. It consists of one store, one blacksmith shop, and the Council House of the Creek Indians and three or four Negro cabins.
The people here are all Secesh but they are harmless and have no inclination to break out again. The Indians are all civilized and some of them are well educated & talk English as well as any one can.
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