William Kittson's Journal Covering
Peter Skene Ogden's 1824-1825 Snake Country
Edited By David E. Miller(1)
For more than a century details of Peter Skene Ogden's 1824-25 expedition that first brought him into Utah were shrouded in mystery because no adequate record of that trip was available. Ogden's journals of that expedition were "lost." Snatches of information could be gleaned here and there from incidental references to the presence of Ogden and his Hudson's Bay company trappers in northern Utah during the spring of 1825, all showing definitely that he was there. But just where was he? At what point did he enter Utah, and when? What route did he follow? How far south did his journey take him? What was the nature of his encounter with American trappers? Where did that encounter occur? Did he reach Great Salt Lake? Since, for want of definite information, none of these questions could be accurately answered, numerous stories and legends concerning Ogden's activities and achievement have grown up during the past century.
Those of us who had studied Utah and Western history, well aware of the importance of Hudson's Bay Company activity in our region, anxiously awaited the time when the lost journals would be located. We hoped that therein we would find the answers to our questions. It was, therefore, with a great deal of joy that we learned of the discovery and publication of the Ogden journals by the Hudson's Bay Record Society in 1950.(2)
It does not always happen that long-lost and greatly-sought documents measure up to the hopes and anticipations of those who desire to see them, but this was not the case with the Ogden journals. We were all very happy to find not one but two records of the British penetration into our state. Both Peter Skene Ogden and his chief clerk, William Kittson, kept daily journals of this important fur brigade. Both journals are important historical documents, for they constitute the earliest written descriptions of the area traversed-Cache, Ogden, and Weber valleys-and the daily operations of a large company of trappers plying their trade in the streams of the region. Both contain the information long sought by historians, and a great deal more than was expected. Both journals should be read in conjunction, for each makes contributions that the other omits. They are to northern Utah what Escalante's journal is to central and southern Utah - the earliest written account by eyewitnesses.
As chief clerk of the Ogden expedition, William Kittson had the job of keeping the records for Hudson's Bay Company. He had to keep the accounts of individual trappers, and, since trappers obtained equipment from the company in the form of loans to be repaid in beaver pelts taken during the season, his job was very important. His account shows intimacy with the men that Ogden's record lacks.
Kittson's journal makes several important contributions omitted by Ogden's account. One of the most significant of these is in the field of geography. He not only kept a daily journal but also prepared a remarkably accurate map of the region traversed showing rivers, lakes and mountain ranges. On this map he marked the actual route and camp sites of the Ogden company.(3)
When we were doing field work in connection with the editing of the Ogden journals we found Kittson's map so accurate and complete that we experienced little difficulty in tracing the route and pinpointing most of the camp sites.(4) This map is the earliest one made as a result of actual field work in the area. Earlier maps were a result of secondhand information and imagination. It is the first map to show Bear, Ogden, and Weber rivers (with major tributaries of the first two), and Cache and Ogden valleys with surrounding mountains. It shows Bear River and Weber River (after its junction with Ogden River) flowing into Great Salt Lake; the lake is labeled "Large Bear Lake." Needless to say, this is the earliest map to show the lake after it had actually been seen by white men. Although neither Ogden nor Kittson personally descended the streams far enough to see the lake that season, their men must have covered the area rather completely to have supplied sufficient information for Kittson's map.
Kittson's journal references to Great Salt Lake are quite significant, especially the account of the first sighting of it by Charles McKay on May 12, from a mountain peak. From McKay, Kittson obtained material for the earliest written description of the lake by an eyewitness. On May 17, Kittson recorded the fact that Ogden River (called New River by the Ogden party) flowed out of Ogden Valley into the lake. Five days later he reported that Weber River also discharged its waters into the same lake. Certainly Ogden knew as much about the sighting of Great Salt Lake by his own men as Kittson did, but his journal is silent on the subject except for one entry, May 22. On that day Ogden recorded that two of his men reported having seen a large lake the size of Lake Winnipeg into which Bear and Weber rivers flowed.
Kittson's descriptions of other geographic features - for example his description of Ogden Valley - also often surpass Ogden's account.
Kittson's journal also contains new and important informa tion concerning the activities of Jedediah S. Smith and his six American companions, long known to have been with the Ogden party when the British company reached Bear River. By comparing the two journals, other Kittson contributions will be found, some of which are pointed out in footnotes on the following pages.
As was the case with the Ogden journal in April 1952, we are reproducing here only that part of the Kittson record that covered Ogden's penetration into and his "retreat" out of Utah during the spring of 1825. The Ogden expedition had left Flathead Post December 20, 1824, had trapped the upper waters of some of the tributaries of the Missouri River, some tributaries of Salmon River and eventually on April 6, reached Snake River in the vicinity of Blackfoot, Idaho. After trapping up Blackfoot River some distance, the brigade turned south to the upper waters of Portneuf River in the northwest corner of Caribou County; thence in a southeasterly direction toward the big bend of Bear River where they arrived in the vicinity of Alexander, Idaho, April 21, 1825. We begin the Kittson journal with his entry of that date.
April 26 - May 31, 1825
Tuesday 26.- Resumed our march early through a fine country and after making about 8 miles we fell on a large river which the Deceased Michel Bourdon(6) named Bear river from the great number of those animals on its borders. It comes from the east and runs due South for some distance. Followed it for about two miles and Encamped on its borders, which is lined with poplar and Pine. The water of it is white and thick. Some signs of our men ahead; and the Americans(7) have gone upwards and we are to follow it downward in order to find where it runs to. Course S.E. 10 miles S. 2. Fair weather.
Wednesday 27.- This morning we crossed the river a little above our encampment(8) and as the river took a bend to the S. W. we therefore cut a neck of land, made a South course. On our way we met with four trappers, three of whom had been absent since we left Pienoir river.(9) We continued our journey for about 9 miles, crossed Bear River and encamped on its borders.(10) Two more of the absent men have joined us. The beaver got this day amount to 133 and 1 otter. We have now completed our first thousand. Came through a fine levil country and we are encamped in a beautiful green plain. Fair weather.
Thursday 28th.-Changed our encampment for about 1/2 a mile(11) for the purpose of feeding our poor horses. More of the freemen are ahead and no news of their stopping for us. It is also thought that eight trappers are behind hunting on Portneufs river. The bear river takes here a S. E. course for 1/2 a mile. 20 Beaver to day. Very warm weather.
Friday 29th.-Did not raise camp, resting the horses. No news from those behind, they left us on the 23rd Instant. More of the trappers left us to go ahead being vexed at the others not waiting us. Some Black Feet dogs seen near the camp loaded.(12) Strick watch on the horses. 16 Beavers to day. Fine weather.
Saturday 3Oth.-Raised camp, came through a plain along the river for about 3 miles, and as the main river took a S. E. course through cut rocks, we had to take a S. by W. route passing over a neck of land full of hills and ravines, for 3 more miles we fell on a small fork coming from S. W. here we put up.(13) 76 Beavers brought in. Some good signs of beaver on this small river. Course this day S. E. 3 & S. by W. 3. It rained in the evening.
Sunday 1st May.-Commenced our journey this morning by ascending a steep hill, then descended along the borders of a rivulet, crossed several others and encamped on account of rain on one of the many small streams we had crossed.(14) S. Course 4 miles. Paul, Laurent and Beauchamp are still ahead. 40 Beavers to day.
Monday 2nd.-Raised camp and made the following courses before we came to Bear river vizt, S. 2, S. W. 6 and S. 29 miles,(15) crossed the river and encamped a little below the crossing place.(16) The Country we came this day was barren as usual, but very uneven. Buffaloe and Antilope seen, none killed. The river is well furnished in Wild Fowls, such as Geese, Ducks and Pelicans, trout of a small kind is also found here.(17) 74 Beaver and a Pelican from the traps. Laurent and Beauchamp joined us this evening. Fine weather.
Tuesday 3rd.- Raised camp and took an eastern course leaving the river on our right. More Black Feet seen. Encamped on a small river well lined with willows, after making about 10 miles East. This stream is large and comes from the N.E. direction and steering a S. W. course to Bear river.(18) Grey left behind making a skin Canoe, in which he is to come down the Main Branche. In the afternoon 7 Snake Indians paid us a visit, they were very shy at first but soon got acquainted with us. They were well mounted and wore their war garments. They said that 25 Americans had wintered on this river last winter and had made many skins but left them en Cache in the Mountains.(19) Fair weather.
Wednesday 4th.- Last night we received 13 Beaver from the Traps. On account of bad weather this day we did not raise camp. Depot had a narrow escape from a Grizzly Bear, attacking him while setting his traps, be saved his life by diving into the river. We had rain, snow and hail during the day. 7 Beavers from the Traps.
Thursday 5th.-Raised camp and steered a S. W. Course to the Main River. On our road several bulls and calves were killed.(20) The eight men that were absent since the 23rd Ulto. came up to us as we were encamping. They report that for 4 days trapping on Portneufs river they had made 172 Beavers and Otters, a sign that many skins are still behind us. 17 Beaver in camp total 189. Weather cloudy most part of the day. Made only 4 miles this days journey.
Friday 6th.-Remained in camp. Payette, Paul and Annance have come up from ahead. left their beaver en Cache, 41 Beaver to day.(21) weather Bad.
Saturday 7th.-Raised camp towards the river of the 4th Instant a N. E. course from Bear river.(22) Crossed the American Branche and then took a Southern course for a mile put up on its borders which here makes a bend of N and S. Made about 5 miles. To day 31 Beaver.
Sunday 8th.-Began our march over a levil plain, Course South for 6 miles crossed a small river coming from an eastern direction and running west. Put up on its borders.(23) The snakes numbering 4 Lodges came up and pitched near us.(24) Iroquois as usual commenced trade and bought a horse at an enormous price. Fair weather. 22 beavers brought in.
Monday 9th.- Resumed our journey over levil country came to a fork after making about 9 miles on which we encamped. This fork is one that Michel Bourdon called Little Bear and it has three others falling into it before it enters the Bear River main Branch. The one here runs east and west.(25) Course today S-. The Cache of Payette Paul and Annance produced 110 Beaver, and 9 from the Camp traps Total 119. Weather Cloudy with rain and hail.
Tuesday 10th.-Remained in camp in order to visit this fork, but our exspectation in finding beaver failed. 25 Beaver to day.
Wednesday 11th.-We raised camp and took a S. E. course after crossing the fork we were upon, made about 5 miles and fell on another falling into the one we left. This fork is called Bourdon or middle Fork,(26) we put up on its borders, great signs of Beavers, but the Americans have trapped on it. 70 Beaver to day weather cloudy with a little rain.
Thursday 12th.-Remained in camp. McKay went on a high Mountain where he had a view of the Country round us. A large lake into which Bear River falls in, is not above 12 miles from this and bearing about S. W. from this spot.(27)
18 Beavers brought in.
Friday 13th.-After crossing the middle Fork we took a S. W. course across the country, made about 6 miles and came to the South Fork which appears larger than the other two.(28) This fork enters the middle one, and the three join into one before they enter the Main Bear river. Near here the South Fork devides into three distinct branches, taking or coming from different courses, one N. E. the second S. and the third or right hand fork S. W. they are small and have been well furnished in beaver, but the Americans got the best of them. White Maple and Oak are to be found here.(29) The river or Fork is lined with poplar and aspin. 79 Beaver, meat of Buffaloe and Elk brought into camp. Completed our second thousand.
Saturday 14th.-Remained in Camp. Several trappers gone ahead and three are still behind us. 31 Beaver. Fair weather.
Sunday 15th.-Resumed our march, made 1 mile east and 4 miles South on the small right hand Fork on which we encamped. Soon after Annance cast up from ahead with the favourable news of plenty beaver, Several of the Trappers have gone there. 16 Beaver to day. It thundered and rained.
Monday 16th.-Raised camp early and took a South course over a rugged road, continuing on the right hand until its source then crossed over a high hill and fell on a river coming from the N. W. and running S. E. for some distance. Made about 7 miles South and 2 S. E. along the borders of new river and put up. We are now in a hole as I may say; as the place is surrounded by lofty mountains and hills. No signs of Americans having been here and the beaver are numerous. This place Mr. Ogden named new hole and the river bears the same name. It is lined with poplar and willows and about 6 yards in breadth. 52 Beavers brought into camp. Fine weather.
Tuesday 17th.-Raised camp and proceeded on a S. E. course leaving the new river on our right crossed over a small branche and came to the edge of another, then put up. This hole is but small not being above 50 miles in circumference, of an oblong shape. through the middle of which runs New River coming from the N.W. and taking a S. W. course near this place. It falls into the lake already mentioned. Made about 9 miles. 244 Beaver from the traps.
Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th.-Remained in camp. Traps sett last night produced this morning 109 Beaver. It rained last evening but fair and warm all day. 19th we got 68 beaver.
Friday 20th.-Raised camp and made about 2 miles S. E. course along the new hole, came to another small fork and put up. This fork comes from the N. E. and running westerly to new river into which it enters. 67 Beavers to day. Fair weather.
Saturday 21st.-Remained in Camp. Several men have left us with the intention of sleeping out. 23 Beaver to day. The men gone are 17 in number.
Sunday 22nd.-As we were raising camp two Deserters of the year 21 bravely paid us a visit. One of them promised to keep with us, but the other, refused, yet said he would pay his debt. Raised camp and left the new hole by taking a South course over a rugged hill and vallies and after making about 4 miles we fell on a small branch running N. and S. entering another, at 2 miles distance where we saw it, of a larger size and coming from the eastward, at the joining point of the two Branches, (where we encamped ) now in one they take a South course for about 1/2 a mile, then S. W. disappearing from our view through the mountains and falling into the Large Bear Lake already mentioned. Soon after we had put up the tents the two Deserters left us for theirs, and said they would return to our camp tomorrow. Here we are situated on the borders of the Utas lands, indians belonging to the Spaniards. They are, as we are told mostly all Christians, and three of them whom our men saw, bore the Cross to their necks made of Brass and Silver. Made about 6 miles South. 22 Beaver to day. 15 men are still absent. Fair and warm weather.
Monday 23rd.-Remained in camp in order to wait our men. In the Afternoon Jack McLoed and Lazard the two Deserters came up to us with their camp consisting of besides them, 3 Canadians, a Russian, and an old Spaniard. This party under the Command of one Provost. Soon after this, our absent men (excepting five), cast up bringing with them a Strong party of Americans bearing flags and under different heads. One of them (Gardner) proclaimed in the camp the freedom of the country they were on, being as he said American Territories, and that whomsoever wished to go with him they were welcome. No man would dare opposed the measures they would take, he and his party were ready to stand by, any that wished to Desert Mr. Ogden, Free or Engaged men were the same on this land of Liberty, and night coming on, no more was said. Strick watch set for the night. Fair weather.
Tuesday 23rd. [sic].-This morning Gardner paid a visit to our tent and had a long conversation with Mr. Ogden. The purport of which was as follows, knowing well how our party stood, he boldly asked Mr. Ogden, why he came on these Lands in order as he said to steal our money, by taking the Beaver and that if he Mr. O. knew what was good for himself and party he would return home. Mr. Ogden answered that as to the Country alluded to, he knew full well that it was still a disputed point between the two Governments and as he had received no orders from his Government to leave it, he was determined on making his best through it. here Gardner was called out. Soon after Old Pierre Tevanitagon entered with two iroquois both Deserters of the year 21) he first began to state that the debts of these two villains were settled and paid to the Company by the remaining 11 Iroquois who kept true to the Concern. On his presenting notes made by himself, I interfere[d] pointed out the errors in the notes and they left us fully awared of Pierre's mistake. Mr. Ogden seing Gardner going to an Iroquois Tent (John Grey) he followed, and learnt that mostly all the Freemen whites and all the Iroquois were going to leave him. I not being present cannot tell what conversation was held in the tent, however soon after percieved several tents coming down and Mr. Ogden busily employed in getting skins belonging to others who were absent. I immediately went to his assistance. A scuffle took place between Old Pierre and Mr. Ogden regarding the horses lent by that Gentleman to the old villain, who was supported by all the Americans and 13 of our scamps of Freemen. Mr. Ogden had me, McKay Quintal and Roy to his aid, few as we were we succeeded in getting one and the payement of the other. Soon after they left the camp together with the most part of their hunts leaveing heavy debts behind them. Three of them however paid up their debts. The following names are those that left us this day vizt.
1 Alexander Carson Paid up his debt
2 Charles Duford not pd.
3 Martin Miaquin "
4 Pierre Tevaiiitagon "
5 Jaques Osteaceroko "
6 Ignace Deohdiouwassere "
7 Ignace Hatchiorauquasha or Grey)
8 Laurent Karahouton not pd.
9 Baptise Sawenrego "
l0 Lazard Kayenquaretcha "
11 Joseph Perreault "
12 Louis Kanota "
In the evening hearing that Carson had taken Annance's horse, McKay was sent to bring it back. he returned soon with the animal. The above man says that he was ill treated by Master Grey who wanted to fire at him, but on McKay's turning to face him he soon got quiet. More of the party are said to be preparing to leave us tomorrow. Every thing put into order of defence as we hear that the Americans and Iroquois are coming tomorrow to pillage us. Double watch set for the night. Orders to move back in the morning. Fair weather.
Wednesday 25th.-Early this morning on raising Mr. Montour, Antoine Clement, Annance, Prudhomme and Sansfacon began the same story of yesterday. Gardner with his gang of villains soon came to assist and debauch others to separate from us. Montour asked me for his account. I showed him the ammount of Debt due by him to the Company, he then said to Mr. Ogden, I have about £289 in the Companys hands for which they seem not to give me Interest, let them now keep it altogether for my Debt and that of Prudhomme's. It was of no use in us to argue or point out their foolishness, go they must, Sansfacon being rather too slow in his determination, I told him to make haste as we wished to go, he then said I follow the Americans. On seing Mr. Ogden laying hold of the beaver, I order'd Sansfacon to call out that the beaver and horse belonged to the Company. Which he did, and we got them. Gardner immediately turns to me saying Sir I think you speak too bravely you better take care or I will soon settle your business. well says I you seem to look for Blood do your worse and make it a point of dispute between our two Governments. One thing I have to say is, that you had better begin the threats you so often make use of in order that we may know the worse of this shameful business. We are now ready to start though our party is now small still have a hope of its reaching the Point of Destination without danger, although we were again to loose men. Mr. Ogden called to me and we therefore separated without more ado leaving them at our camp and we retracing back our steps to Main Snake River. I kept behind all day through Mr. Ogdens orders, fearing that more would leave us on the road. Encamped at our place of the 16th Instant. Our party is now reduced to the number of 22 Freemen, 11 Engages and 6 Boys besides Mr. Ogden and I. Total 41. Fair weather.
Thursday 26th.-Late last night Fras. Sasanare and Ant. Crevaise (two of the five that were absent) arrived. They reported that they had seen a different band of Americans who pillaged them of their traps and furs and would have kept them prisoners if they had not made their escape during the night. All well told but I thought it lies. Raised camp and I kept all day behind watching the movements of several suspicious fellows who lurked in the rear of the party. In the evening we put up at our encampt. of the 14th Instant. 5 Beaver to day. Traps set for the night. Fine weather.
Friday 27th.-Resumed our march in the usual manner I and McKay keeping watch behind. Encamped in the evening at the same place of the 9th Instant. 1 Beaver to day.
Saturday 28th.-Continued our march early this morning. On our way three more villains were looking out for an opportunity to desert with their furs but were too well watched. All reached the encampment of the 2nd Instant. Here on arrival rafts were made of bulrushes for crossing the Property over Bear river. Strick orders given to the watch this night. Rained.
Sunday 29th.-This morning Two of the Canadian Freemen gave up their furs, Traps and a couple horses and said to Mr. Ogden they would go back to join the rest of the villains that left us, and as it was in vain for us to stop them, they seperated. One of them however was mortified at his Son not going with him. This man is Theery Goddin and the other J. Bte. Gervais. the latter paid up his debt and the former has still a balance against him. After crossing bear river we took a N. W. course leaving the above river and making towards the Snake waters. Made about 18 miles through a levil country and came to a small creek crossing our road lined with willows on which we encamped. Another scamp left us on the road, it is not surprising he being an Iroquois by the Name of Fras. Sasanare. He took nothing with him but his riding horse. Left wife and furs behind. Fair weather. Plenty Buffaloes and many killed.
Monday 30th.-Raised camp, made about 20 miles N. W. and put up on a west Fork of Riviere Portneuf. Fair weather.
Tuesday 31st.-Resumed our march as usual descending the west fork and made about 16 miles and put up on the borders of the same branch. From a few traps set last night we got this morning 7 Beavers. Fair weather. Bulls killed.
1. Dr. Miller is on the staff of the department of history at the University of Utah. He is a specialist in Utah and western United States history. A small grant from the University of Utah Research fund helped defray costs of the field work in connection with this article.
2. E. E. Rich, ed., Peter Skene Ogden's Snake Country Journals, 1824-25 and 1825-26 (The Publications of the Hudson's Bay Record Society, XIII [London, 1950]). As soon as I had a chance to examine the published journals I realized that adequate field work had not been done in preparing them for publication - especially in the Utah area. (This statement should not be construed as a criticism of the editors who prepared the journals. I realize that they were working under war conditions that seriously curtailed travel for such activities and that the time allotted them was inadequate.) Believing that the value of the journals would be greatly increased by more thorough field work and editing, the Utah Historical Society sought permission from the Hudson's Bay Record Society to republish those parts of the journals dealing with Ogden's penetration into Utah. This request was graciously granted, and I was given the task of preparing the journals for publication - in the Utah Historical Quarterly, Ogden's journal appearing in the April, 1952 issue.
3. A copy of Kittson's map was published in connection with the Ogden journal. See David E. Miller, "Peter Skene Ogden's journal of His Expedition to Utah, 1825," Utah Historical Quarterly, XX (April, 1952), 165. Unfortunately, however, too much "art work" was done on it in preparing the cut for the press. The result was that the southernmost penetration of the Ogden expedition and the camp site on Weber River were omitted. This was a serious error. As then published the map indicated that Huntsville was the southernmost point of the Ogden trek. The map was, therefore, out of harmony with the facts, the original journals, and the original map. In republishing the map as part of Kittsoii's journal, proper correction has been made.
4. Dr. C. G. Crampton, Jesse Jameson and I did this field work in November, 1951.
5. For biographical material concerning William Kittson see Ogden's Snake Country Journals, Introduction. The Utah State Historical Society wishes to express sincere appreciation to the Hudson's Bay Record Society for granting permission to republish this portion of Kittson's journal and map. The journal is reproduced exactly as it appeared in the above-named publication - no attempt has been made to correct spelling or other punctuation.
6. For information concerning Michel Bourdon see Miller, op. cit., 166n.
7. The Americans referred to here were Jedediah S. Smith and six companions who had shadowed the Ogden camp much of the time since December 29, 1824. The fact that the Americans headed upstream while Ogden and his party turned downstream is of significance in view of the fact that it virtually excludes Smith from any claim he may have (or numerous writers have claimed for him) to the honor of having discovered Great Salt Lake. Several men saw it before he could have arrived at its shores.
8. Kittson's accurate description of the geographical features helps materially in locating the actual camp sites. This crossing is just about two miles south of Alexander, Idaho. It is the only place immediately below the great bend of Bear River where the stream could be reached and forded because of the high precipitous banks of lava rock.
9. Ogden usually had trappers out in front scouting and trapping; a few were sometimes left behind to finish working a stream.
10. Ogden's entry for his day gives the distance as 18 miles, which is about twice the actual distance. However, Kittson was not always more accurate than his superior officer, as will be seen in later journal entries. The route this day was southerly via Grace and Miter, Idaho. The river was probably crossed at Burton's Ford and camp established in a flat meadow on the west bank just a few miles below the Grace power plant.
11. Ogden says one mile.
12. The "Black Feet" were considered unfriendly, to say the least. Any indication of their presence resulted in extreme caution and heavy guards.
13. The route this day was down the west side of Bear River, through the present community of Thatcher. Just below the Thatcher school, Bear River has cut a narrow gorge through a lava bed, making it impossible to continue down the bank of the stream. Kittson's description of this is very accurate; his recorded distances are about right. Ogden's route was probably not far from the present highway. Camp was made that night on Cottonwood Creek, probably about a mile above its mouth.
14. Climbing out of Cottonwood Creek the party reached the headwaters of one of the tributaries of Battle Creek and camped after a short day's march.
15. Ogden gives the distance as 10 miles, which is more nearly correct.
16. The crossing was probably made not far from the present bridge on U.S. Highway 91 northwest of Preston. See Miller, op. cit., 169n.
17. The mention of the numerous species of wild life in the region is of special interest. Ogden also mentions "crickets by millions."
18. This day the party crossed the level country through Preston and Whitney to the Cub River which they probably reached just a short distance above the present location of Franklin.
19. This is one of the most significant entries in the Kittson and Ogden journals for it definitely locates (for the first time) the camp of John Weber's party of Rocky Mountain trappers known to have been in the region that winter. (By guesswork the location has been placed in various spots in Cache Valley.) It was probably from this American camp near Franklin, Idaho, that Jim Bridger made his famous "bull boat voyage" down Bear River to discover Great Salt Lake--eittier in the fall of 1824 or the following winter.
The use of the term "en Cache" also is significant. This is the earliest recorded use of this term in this region, as far as I am aware.
20. The presence of large numbers of buffalo and elk from time to time is very interesting. especially to those interested in the biology of the Great Basin. Ogden makes mention of large numbers of seagulls in this same vicinity(the earliest mention of gulls in Utah), and speculates that there must be a large lake not too far away.
The company probably crossed the present Utah-Idaho line, entering Utah this day. See Miller, op. cit., 171n.
21. These men had been as far south as Logan River. Their cache yielded 110 skins a few days later.
22. Information from the trappers, who had come in from the south evidently induced the leaders of the expedition to leave Bear River and skirt the foothills along the base of the Wasatch, striking for the cache mentioned above. Kittson calls Cub River the "American Branche" because the Americans had wintered on it the previous winter.
23. This would be at the present location of Smithfield. Kittson's map indicates that camp was established on the south side of the stream.
24. Ogden says that these Snakes joined the British brigade. Four lodges would be about 20 persons.
25. This day's journey brought the brigade to Logan River which Kittson calls "Little Bear." Camp was pitched on the north bank. As the journals point out, three forks (present-day Logan River, Blacksmith's Fork and Little Bear River all join together before entering the main branch - Bear River.
It is very interesting to note and contemplate the statement that Michel Bourdon had evidently been that far south several years before - in 1819. As far as I know, this is the first indication that British trappers had penetrated that far south prior to the Ogden expedition.
26. This is Blacksmith's Fork. They camped in the flat meadowland on the north side of the stream, probably a half mile or more below the canyon mouth.
27. This is the most significant entry in this portion of Kittson's journal, for it is the earliest know eyewitness, written account of the discovery of Great Salt Lake. Charles McKay had been sent by Ogden to examine the upper waters of the stream (Blacksmith's Fork) to determine the extent of beaver to be taken there. While on this reconnaissance he had obviously ascended one of the high mountain peaks to the east from which point he could see over the mountain range between Hyrum and Brigham City and a distant view of Great Salt Lake. It is rather remarkable that Ogden's journal contains no mention of McKay's important discovery. It should be remembered, of course, that Bridger (and probably others) had seen the lake before this time. But this is the earliest written record of such discovery.
28. Raising camp on the morning of Friday 13, the party passed through what is now Hyrum, reached the Little Bear River and ascended it to a point just south of Paradise. Ogden indicates that some of his men crossed the divide into Ogden Valley on this day.
29. The mention of white maple and oak is of particular interest to botanists in their study of the migration of plants.