THE WASHBURN YELLOWSTONE EXPEDITION1.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY
THE WASHBURN YELLOWSTONE EXPEDITION.
SINCE the first settlement of
Montana, vague stories have been floating about, in regard to the wonders
of the country surrounding Lake Yellowstone. Trappers and half-breeds
have dilated, in glowing terms, of impassable cañons, water-fallsthousands
of feet in height, and "steamboat springs" of remarkable magnitude.
Heretofore, these reports have been generally believed to be gross exaggerations.
They, however, led to the formation of a party last summer, resolved upon
as thorough an examination of that section of country as their leisure
time would admit
The expedition left Helena,
Montana, August 17th, 1870. General Washburn, Surveyor-General of
Montana, was elected Captain. The remaining members of the expedition
were: S. T. Hauser, President of the First National Bank of Helena; N.
P. Langford, late U. S. Collector of Internal Revenue; T. C. Everts, late
U. S. Assessor; Messrs. Hedges, Gillette, Smith, Stickney, and Trumbull,
all of Helena; two packers, and two unbleached citizens of African descent.
Each member of the party was mounted on horseback, and there were twelve
By order of General Hancock,
we were provided with an escort; and at Fort Ellis we were joined by Lieutenant
Doane, of the Second Cavalry, with a squad of soldiers, well mounted, and
armed with needle carbines and revolvers. We citizens carried an
assorted armory, consisting of Henry, Ballard, and Spencer rifles, revolvers
and bowie-knives. We intended to hunt for all sorts of large game,
Indians only excepted. No one desired to find any of them.
On Monday morning, August
22d, our party bade adieu, for a time, to civilization; and leaving Fort
Ellis; turned our faces toward the almost unexplored wilderness.
The weather was fine; the air invigorating; all were cheerful, and each
face betrayed that curiosity and expectation, which almost every one feels
when entering upon a new field of adventure. Our course lay to the
east, over Bozeman Pass; which will necessarily be the route of the Northern
Pacific Railroad, if it goes anywhere in that vicinity.
Having passed over the divide,
the party camped on Trail Creek, a small stream flowing into the Yellowstone.
At this place a night-watch was established; which was maintained throughout
the entire trip, in order to keep the Indians from breaking the Eighth
The following day we reached
the Yellowstone, and camped at Botteller's, which is a rancho, as
you as- Go
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The article has two parts. The
first part (NO. 1) is in The Overland Monthly, 5, 5-6 (May-June
1871): 431-437; part two (NO. 2) is on pp. 489-496.
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