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The Miller-Reed Diary

Hiram O. Miller was one of the original members of the group from Springfield, Illinois, which later formed the nucleus of the Donner Party. He recorded the journey between May 12, 1846, the day the group left Independence, Missouri, and July 2, when he left the group to join the Bryant-Russell Party. James F. Reed continued the entries from July 3 until October 4, the day before he was banished from the wagon train. For an article about the authenticity of this document, see "The Miller-Reed Diary" in Donner Party Bulletin No. 5. The original diary is located at Sutter's Fort and is reproduced here with permission.

  Left Home th[e] 26 of April    [This date is incorrect]
May 1846 May Left Independence on the 12th went about 4 miles and camped
  13 next day travelled about 16 miles in the rain, bad roads and rainy night
  14 15 Camped at "Heart Grove" Jackson County near the Indian line twenty two miles from Independence on the Big blue
  16 and from thir we Camped on the head of Bull Creek twenty miles from Big Blue
  17 the '5 night wee Camp on the wapulusa [Wakarusa] 18 mills from the head of Bull Creek and we Camped on the plains near the a Spring 18 miles from Wapulusa
  18 and from thire wee Camped near the Creek 20 miles from plain Spring,
  19 and from their wee Crossed the Cau [Kaw or Kansas] river and went about five miles and Camped
  20 and from their we Camp on prairie Creek 8 miles from the Same Creek
  21 and from their we traveled a Bout 5 miles and Camped on prairie Creek
  22 and from ther wee traveled a Bowt 15 miles and Campe on the wapalore
  23 and from their wee traveled 12 miles and Camped on prairie Creek
  24 and from their wee traveled a Bout 14 miles and Camped near a Creek on the plains
  25 and from their wee traveled a Bout 10 miles and came to the Big Vermilion and Crossed and traveled a Bout 5 miles and Camped on the plaines
At Alcove Spring 26 and from their traveled a Bowt 10 miles and Camped on the Big Blue and Remained their the 27 and the twenty Eighth and twenty-ninth and thirtyeth
  thirty first day wee Crossed over the Big Blue and Camped
June June 1 1846 and from their we traveled a Bout 15 mills and Camped on prairie Creek
  2 And from their wee traveled a Bout 15 mills and Camped on prairie Creek
  3 And from their wee traveled a Bout 16 miles and Camped on the Bear Creek
  4 and from their wee traveled a Bout 20 miles and Camped on the Blue
  5 And from their wee traveled a Bowt 20 miles and Camped on the litle Blue
  6 and from their wee traveled up the little Blue a Bout 18 miles and Camped on the Blue
  7 and from their wee traveled a Bowt 16 miles and Camped on the tributary of the Plat
  8 and from their wee traveled a Bowt 18 miles and Camped on the plat
  9 And from their wee traveled a Bowt 18 miles and Camped on the Plat near the 20 Ileands
  10 and from their wee Traveled a Bowt 18 miles and Camped near the Plat on a Small Creek
  11 and from their wee traveled up the Plat a Bowt 18 miles and Camped near the Plat
  12 and from their we traveled up the Plat a Bowt 18 miles and Camped near the Plat
  13 wee Remained their one day and Repared their waggons
  14 and from their wee traveled up the Plat a Bout 17 miles and Camped near a grove on the Plat
  15 and from their wee traveled up the Plat a Bowt 18 miles and Camped near the Plat By a fine Spring near the Road no timber A Bout a half a mile from the forkes of the River
  16 and from their wee traveled up the Sowth fork 14 miles and Camped on the Plat their is no timber
  17 and from their wee traveled a Bowt 14 miles and Came to the plat and Crossed over on the west Bank and Camped no timber
  18 and from their wee traveled a Bout 10 miles and Camped on the plat where the Road leaves the plat no timber
  19 and from their wee traveled a Bout 18 miles and Came to a fine Spring and timber plenty and from their wee traveled a Bout 2 miles and Camped on the north plat
  20 and from their wee traveled up the plat a Bout 18 mills and Camped near the plat
  21 and from their wee traveled up the plat a Bowt 12 miles and Camped near the plat By a fine Spring no timber off to the left of the Spring on the Bluffs is a Beautiful pine ridge the first that i have Seen on the Rout
Court House Rock 22 and from their wee traveled up the plat a Bowt 20 miles and Camped near the Court-house on the Plat
Chimney Rock 23 and from their wee traveled up the plat a Bowt 10 miles and Came to the Chimney Rock and from their wee traveled a Bowt 8 miles and Camped near the plat
Scott's Bluff 24 and from their wee traveled a Bowt 10 miles and Came to Scotts Bluffs and from their wee traveled a Bout 7 miles and Camped near Fremonts spring Betuen the divideing Ridge
  25 and from their we traveled a Bowt 10 miles and Came to horse Creek, and from their we traveled a Bowt 6 miles and Camped near the Plat
  26 and from their wee traveled a Bowt 16 miles and Camped near fort Benard on the plat
  27 and from their we traveled up the plat a Bout 8 miles and came to lairome River near where it Emties in to the north plat and traveled up it a Bout a mile and Crossed Over to fort lairome and Camped
  28 and from their we traveled up the Lariome fork a Bowt 2 miles and Camped
  29 and from their we traveled a Bowt 16 miles and Camped on willow Creek timber
  30 and from their we traveled a Bowt 14 miles and Camped near a Spring on the Rood and a Bout Eight miles from Lariomes peaks
July 1 and from their we traveled a Bout 15 miles and Camped near a Creek their is a fine Spring and timber plenty we are now in the red mouns [in margin: devils Brick kilns]
  2 and from their we traveled a Bowt 15 miles and Camped on a Creek their is plenty of water and timber


Here James F. Reed began keeping the diary. The figures that end many of his entries indicate the number of miles traveled that day.
 

  3 we made this day 18 Miles and Camped on Beaver Creek here is a natural Bridge 1 1/2 miles above camp
  4 we Celebrated the glorious 4th on the Camp and remained here to the morning of the 6th
  6 we left Camp much rested and our Oxen mouved off in fine Style, and went 16 miles and encamped on the Bank of -- Creek about 1/2 a Mile from the North fork of the Platt which Stream we struck about 6 miles from Camp, where there is a fine Coal Bank
  7 left Camp in good order and mouved up Platt 16 and encamped on the Bank in a Beautiful grove of Cotton wood   here we killed Buffalo
  Wed 8 went up Platt this day Crossed over and encamped opposit the upper Crossing 12   be Certain to Come up on the South Sid & Cross the road & ford is desidedly the best.8
  Thur 9 left the Platt and encamped at the Spring in the bottom land of a dry Branch fine water and Plenty of it   5 Buffalos Killed   12 Miles
  Fri 10 made this day 14 and encamped at the Willow Springs good water but little grass   3 Buffaloes Killed the Main Spring 1 1/2 Miles above
Independence Rock Sat 11 Made this day 20 Miles to Independence Rock   Camped below the Rock good water 1/2 way
  Sun 12 Lay by this day
  Mo 13. left the Rock after Reading many Names and Made 20   Encaped at the Sand Ridge
  Tus 14 left our encampmt and Crossed the Sand Ridge to the Narrows of sweet water a sandy Road 20 Bad Bad Road
  Wed 15 this day went up Sweet Water and Crossed a Ridges to Sweetwater and made 16 Encamped at the foot of the Mountain [in margin: and encamped on the last crossing ]
  Thur 16 Crossed the Mountain 14 here Some of our Cattle got poisoned from drinking bad water there are about 1 Mile from Our encampmt 3 or 4 hot Springs, the water Sinks near the road where the encampmt is usually made go if possible 3 miles further to the Crossing
  Frid 17 Came from the Mountain 16 miles to last Crossing of Sweet water
South Pass Sater 18 this day nooned on the Sumit of the pass. 6 miles from our encampmt and 2 miles below on the west Side is the green Spring which You Can See from the Sumit  2 miles and about 6 miles from this Spring is dry Sandy which You will avoid as Several Cattle got poisoned by drink[ing] the watter in the pools. [in margin: Avoid this place, poison in the water that stands in pools at the Crossing]
  Son 19 Made this day 10 Miles to little Sandy here Geo. Donner & J. Donner lost 2 oxen & J F Reed lost old Balley 5 miles west of this place from being poisond at dry Sandy Gurge also got poison there.
  Mo 20 this day made 5 and encamped on little Sandy within 6 miles of Big Sandy
  Tues 21 we encamped on little Sandy all day Geo Donner lost one Steer in this encampmt   J. F Reed lost old George & one Ball faced Steer, by being poisoned at dry Sandy-on Saturday night last.
  Wed 22 left our encampmt and went to Big Sandy 6 Mr Dallin lost 1 steer from Poison on Dry sandy Tomorrow we have 28 miles to grass Big Sandy River enters a gorge below the Crossing and Consequently there is No grass.
  Thus 23 encamped on big Sandy grass Plenty 13
  Frid 24 this day made green River in the morning and went down about 3 miles and made in all 8
  Sat 25 Started this morning Early and went down green River about 4 miles to Bridgers New fort where we turned to the Right to Blacks fork making in all 16   the fort is now vacant, Bridger having remouved to his old Fort on Blacks fork
  Sond 26 left Blacks fork and Crossed Hams fork about 9 miles from our encampment and encamped on Black fork making this day 18
Arrive Fort Bridger Mo. 27 left this day and encamped in a beautiful Grass bottom about 1/2 mile below Bridgers Old Fort now occupied by Bridger and Vascus [Vasques] making 18
  Tus 28 this day lay in Camp our Cattle much fatigued from the hard drive we made during the 2 last weeks
  Wed. 29 still in Camp recruiting this day. J F Reed lost one of his best oxen Supposed to be murrain
  Thur 30 Still on Camp at Bridgers Fort on Blacks fork Our Cattl looks fine
Leave Fort Bridger Frid. 31 We Started this morning on the Cut off rout by the south of the Salt Lake- & 4 1/2 miles from the fort there is a beautiful Spring Called the Blue Spring as Cold as ice passed Several Springs and Encamped at the foot of the first Steep hill going west making this day 12
August Sat 1 Augt 1846-left Camp this morning early and passed through Sevral Valleys well watered with plenty of grass, and encamped at the head of Iron Spring Vally making 15
  Sond 2 this morning left Camp late on acct of an ox being missing Crossed over a high ridge or mountain with tolerable rough road an encamped on Bear river making 16 on a little Creek about 4 miles from Bear River we ought to have turned to the right and reached Bear River in one mile Much better road Said to be
  Mon 3 left our encampmt and traveled a tolerable rough Road Crossing Several Very high hills and encamped at the head of a larger [?] Vally with a fine little runing Stream passing by the edge of our Camp Cattle plenty of grass County appear more hale west Made this day 16
Echo Canyon Tus 4 this day left our encampmt about 2 oclock made this day about 8 our encamp was this day in red Run Valley [interlined: fork of weaver]
  Weds 5 Started early and traveled the whole day in Red Run Valley and encampe below its enterens into Weavers Creek 15
  Thus 6 left our encamp. about ten oclock and encamp above the Cannon here we turn to the left hand & Cross the Mounten instead of the Cannon which is impassible although 60 Waggons passed through this day made 10
  Frid 7 in Camp on weaver at the mouth of Canon
  Sat 8 Still in Camp
  Sond 9 Still in Camp
  Mo 10 Still in Campe James F. Reed this evening returned he and two others having been Sent by the Caravan to examine the Canon and proceed after Mr Hastings, who left a Note on the road that if we Came after him he would return and Pilot us through his new and direct Rout to the South end of the Salt Lake Reed having examined the new rout entirely an reported in favour, which induced the Compay to proceed
  Tues 11 left Camp and took the New rout with Reed as Pilot he having examined the mountains and vallies from the south end of the Lake this day made 5
East Canyon Weds 12 left Camp late and encampe on Bosman Creek on new rout made 2
  Thurs 13 Made a New Rout by Cutting willow Trees &c on Basman Creek 2
  Frid 14 Still on Basman Creek and proceeded up the Creek about one mile and Turned to the right hand up a Narrow valley to Reeds Gap and encamped about one mile from the mouth making this day 2 [in margin: Spring of water]
  Sat. 15 in Camp all hands Cutting and opning a road through the Gap.
  Son 16 Still Clearing and making Road in Reeds Gap.
  Mon 17 Still in Camp and all hands working on the road which we finished and returned to Campe
Cross Big Mountain Tus 18 this morning all started to Cross the Mountane which is a Natural easey pass with a little more work and encamped making this day- 5 J F Reed Brok an axle tree
  Weds 19 this day we lay in Camp in a neat little valley fine water and good grass the hands ware this day on the other on West Side of Small mountain in a Small Valley Clearing a road to the Valley of the Lake we have to Cross the outlett of the Utah Lake on this Rout near the Salt Lake
  Thurs 20 Still in Camp and hands Clearing road
Emigration Canyon Frid 21 this day we left Camp Crossed the Small Mountain and encapd in the vally runig into the Utah outlett making this day 4
Enter Salt Lake Valley Sat 22 this day we passed through the Mountains and encampd in the Utah Valley making this day 2
Cross Jordan River Son 23 left Camp late this day on acct. of having to find a good road or pass through the Swamps of the utah outlet finally Succeeded in and encampd on the East Bank of Utah outlett making 5
Join Hastings' trail Mo 24 left our Camp and Crossed the plain to a spring at a point of the Lake mountain and 1 1/2 miles from the road traveled by the people who passed the Cannon 12 [in margin: Brackish water] [In margin still later: it took 18 days to gett 30 miles]
  Tues 24 25 left Camp early this morning intending if possibl to make the Lower wells being fair water 20 which we made and in the evening a Gentleman by the name of Luke Halloran, died of Consumption having been brough from Bridgers Fort by George Donner a distance 151 Miles we made him a Coffin and Burned him at the uper wells at the forks of the road in a beautiful place [in margin: fair water]
Near
present-day Grantsville, Utah
Wed 25 26 left Camp late and proceed to the upper wells One of them delightful water being entirely fresh the rest in No about 10 all Brackish this day Buried Mr Luke Halloran hauling him in his Coffin this distance 2 which we only mad and Buried him as above stated at the forks of the One Turning directly South to Camp the other West or on ward.
  Thur 26 27 left early this day and went west for half the day at the foot of the Lake Mountains the latter 1/2 of the day our Course S. W. to a No of Brackish Wells making 16 miserable water
  Frid 27 28  left Camp and glad to do so, in hopes of finding fresh water on our way but without Success untill evening when it was time to Camp Came to a No of delightful fresh water wells this Camp is at the Most Suthern point of the Salt Lake 20 miles Northwest we commence the long drive we are taking in water, Grass, and wood for the various requirements. 12
  Sat. 28 29  in Camp wooding watering and laying in a Supply of grass for our oxen and horses, to pass the long drive which Commence about   Miles We have one encampmt between but neither grass wood or water of sufficentt quallity or quantity to be procured water Brackish [in margin: Sulphur, grass Short and No wood]
Redlum Spring Son 29 30  Made this day 12 to a Silphur Spring in the Mountain which ought to be avoided water not good for Cattle, emigrants Should keep on the edge of the lake and avoid the Mountain entirely here Commenced the long drive through the Salt desert.
  Mon 31 in dessert drive of Sixty 60 miles
September Tusdy Sept 1 in dessert
  Wed 2 in do Cattle got in Reeds Cattle lost this night
  Thusdy 3  do some teams got in in
  Fridy 4 in do lost Reeds Cattle 9 Yok by not driving them Carefule to water as directed by Reed- [in margin: Hunting Cattle 3 or 4 days the rest of teams getting in and resting Cattle all nearly given out]
At Donner Spring Sat 5 Still in Camp in the west Side of Salt Dessert
  Sond 6 Started for Reeds waggons lying in the Salt Plains 28 miles from Camp   Cached 2 waggs and other effects
  Mond 7 Cam in to Camp on the Night and the waggon Came in on Tuesdy morng
  Tudy 8 Still fixing and resting Cattle
  Weds 9 Mr Graves Mr Pike & Mr Brin loaned 2 Yoke of Cattle to J F Reed with one Yoke he had to bring his family waggon along
Leave Donner Spring Thu 10 left Camp and proceeded up the lake bed 7
  Frid 11 left the Onfortunate lake and mad in the night and day about 23 Encamped in a Vally wher the is fine grass & water
  Sat 12  [No entry; evidently the company spent the day in camp]
Flowery Lake Sund 13 South in the Vally to fine Spring or Bason of water and grass-sufficient for Teams made this day 13
Mound Springs Sund Mond 14 left the Bason Camp or Mad Woman Camp as all the women in Camp ware mad with anger and mad this day to the Two mound springs 14
  Tus 15 left the 2 mound Springs and Crossed the Mountain as usual and Camped in the West Side of a Valley and Made this day about 14
Ruby Valley Wed 16 left Camp Early this mornig Crossed flat Mounten or Hills and encamped on the east side of a Ruged Mountain   plenty of grass & water 18    here Geo Donner lost little gray & his Cream Col mare Margret
  Thu 17 made this day South in the Mineral Vally about 16
  Frid 18 this day lay in camp
  Sat 19 this day mad in Mineral Vally 16 and encamped at a large Spring Breaking out of from the and part of large Rock Stream lage enough to turn one pr Stone   passed in the evening about 10 Spring Branches Springs Rising about 300 Yds above where we Crossed
  Son 20 this day made 10 up the Mineral Vally passed last evening and this day 42   Beautiful Springs of fresh water [in bottom margin: 384 miles from Bridger]
Huntington Creek Mond 21 Made 4 miles in Mineral Vally due south turned to the west 4 Miles through a flatt in the mounton thence W N W. 7 miles in another vally and encamped on a Smal but handsome littl Branch or Creek making in all 15 miles
  Tus 22 Made this day nearly due North in Sinking Creek Valy about ten miles owing to water. 10
  Wed 23 Made this day owing to water about Twelve 12 miles   Still in Sinking Creek Valley-
  Thu 24 this day North west we mad down Sinking Creek valley about 17 16 and encamped at the foot of a Red earth hill   good grass and water wood plenty in the Vallies Such as sage greace wood & ceder &c
South Fork Canyon Frid 25 September This day we made about Sixteen miles 16 for Six miles a very rough Cannon a perfect Snake trail   encamped in the Cannon about 2 miles from its mout
Reach Humboldt River Sat 26 this day made 2 miles in the Cannon and traveled to the Junction of Marys [Humboldt] River in all about 8
  Marys River, Son 27 Came through a Short Cannon and encamped above the first Creek (after the Cannon) on Marys River
  Mond 28 this day after leaving Camp about 4 miles J F Reed found Hot Springs one as hot as boiling water   left the River Crossed over the Mountain to the west Side of a Cannon and encamp in Vally 12
Gravelly Ford Tus 29 This day 11 O.Clock left Camp and went about 8 mils to the river again 2   grave [F. W. Graves] had 2 oxen taken by 2 Indians that Cam with us all day
  Wed 30 left Camp about 10 oclock and made this day 12 Miles down the River
October Oct Thur 1 left Camp and made 15 Miles down the River   encampe on a Rich bottom this night M Graves lost a fine mare by the Indians
  Frid 2 Still down the River Made to day 12 miles
  Sat 3 left Camp early mad a this day 10 miles
  Son 4 Still

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