Days on the Road: Crossing the Plains in 1865

Sarah Raymond Herndon (1840 - 1914)

“We had spent almost all our money for toll, ferrying and other expenses on the road. It might be a serious matter to be in a strange place without money . . . There is nothing we can spare so well as Dick. . . . It would not do to be sentimental under existing circumstances.” This is the practical pioneer woman Sarah Raymond Herndon writing in her journal about selling her horse to finance the final days of her family’s trek across the plains to Montana. However, when her brother, Hillhouse, actually sells her beloved pony, Sarah is distraught. “I sobbed out loud. I could not help crying. I let the purse (with the money) roll out of my lap into the bottom of the wagon.” But then, she stiffens her resolve and displays a quiet sense of humor: “Of course, I knew the wagon bed was tight, and there was no danger of (the purse) being lost.” Sarah became the first school teacher in Virginia City, Montana. Her account of crossing the plains in 1865 is rich in emotion and incident. Summary by Sue Anderson

Genre(s): Travel & Geography, Memoirs

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 We Start, Our First Camp Sue Anderson
Play 02 Bloomfield, Iowa, Miss Milburn's Love Story Sue Anderson
Play 03 The Icarian Community, A Fatal Accident Sue Anderson
Play 04 We Have Our Pictures Taken, On the Banks of the Platte Sue Anderson
Play 05 Fort Kearney, Eleven Graves Sue Anderson
Play 06 Beaux, We Decide to Go to Montana Sue Anderson
Play 07 The Mountains in Sight, A Town of Tents and Wagons Sue Anderson
Play 08 We Carve Our Names in Stone, Laramie Plains Sue Anderson
Play 09 We Cross the North Platte, Neelie is Sick Sue Anderson
Play 10 Our Train Divided, On Bitter Creek Sue Anderson
Play 11 A Fatal Shooting, We Leave the Train Sue Anderson
Play 12 Mr. Curry's Horses Stolen, The Wanderers' Return Sue Anderson
Play 13 Mormon Towns in Idaho, We Meet Men Returning from the Mines Sue Anderson
Play 14 Dick is Sold, Oh, Dear Sue Anderson
Play 15 The End of Our Journey, A Letter from Dr. Howard Sue Anderson