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RG3431.AM:  Daniel Bacon

Letters, journal:  1851

Overland trail traveler

Size:  3 items


Apparently, Daniel Bacon left his wife in Indiana when he traveled across the plains in 1851. According to his writings, he “started on the Plains” on May 6th in a company composed of nine wagons and forty-two people. After crossing the Missouri River at St. Joseph, the company crossed the South Platte to Ash Hollow; crossed to the north side of the North Platte thirty-two miles above Ash Hollow; and, from the Upper Platte, followed the standard route to Oregon.


This collection consists of two letters written and journal kept by Daniel Bacon during his 1851 trek overland to Oregon. The first letter, dated June 12, 1851, was written to Bacon’s “Dear Wife,” probably from Fort Laramie, and notes the progress made by Bacon’s company on its journey. Descriptions of the terrain, camping sites, storms, and river depths are included, as well as information on problems caused by wolves and observations of Courthouse and Chimney Rocks and Fort Laramie. The second letter, dated September 12, 1851, was written to his wife from Clackimus [Clackamas] County in Oregon Territory. In the letter, Bacon mentions Fort Boissie [Boise]; being followed by a group of Indians; and problems with his horse. On the back page of the letter is another letter written on the same date to a Mr. Amos Cooper. In the letter, Bacon describes what should be brought with along the Trail, including “good Canadian horses,” a supply of horse shoes and nails, and five or six good cows and a good bull. He also says to “nevermind the buffalo, they are not worth killing.”

The journal kept by Bacon provides a table of distances traveled, geographic location, names of creeks and branch, and a description of road conditions. Presumably written as a guide to future overland travelers, Bacon provides advice on packing and loading for such a journey and choosing cattle for the trip. He also offers warnings about Indian raiders, tips on the maintaining of livestock, and suggestions on what the government should do to assist overland emigrants.

This collection appears in Platte River Road Narratives by Merrill J. Mattes as entry #1036.  These items have been digitized and are available through our Digital Collections Portal.

Note:  See the photo component [RG3431.PH] for a group portrait with Daniel Bacon and other members of the Bacon family.



  1. Letter, June 12, 1851

  2. Letter, Sept. 12, 1851

  3. Journal, 1851


Subject headings:

Bacon, Daniel

Chimney Rock (Neb.)

Courthouse Rock (Neb.)

Fort Laramie (Wyo.)

Overland journeys to the Pacific


AIP/ksa   07-1990

Revised TMM   01-28-2010; 07-18-2012