*February 9, 1848 - Thursday*
Here begins my journal. I arise today a new man. My past is that of a cad, my future, if I have one, will be that of an emigrant farmer. I am Christopher Hanlon, 23, born October 12, 1824. I am 5' 6", 150 pounds, moderately good looking with brown hair and a beard which I keep well trimmed. I grew up on a farm in up state New York and left home as soon as I could. I had found employment at a stock brokerage firm in New York City. In the last eight years I have come to know the ways of the City and of the markets. I had a portfolio that was worth several thousand dollars. But I can not continue. I was a cad, a scoundrel, a bounder, a roue, a hound ... I could go on but I think my point gets across. In the last three months I had degraded not one but three wonderful and beautiful ladies.
Marion Crawford is a tiny girl of twenty. She is 5' tall and weighs maybe a hundred pounds after a big meal. She has hair the color of clover honey, hazel eyes, and her breasts are tiny cones, a perfect mouthful. She works at a firm that is located on the same floor as my own. We had been flirting on and off for months. Then I began seeing her after work and one evening we found ourselves in bed together.
Katrina Mueller is also twenty, and is my height and weighs about fifteen pounds less. Her hair is spun gold, her eyes sky blue, and her breasts are large and heavy. She works at the central library. I often go there for research. She is a highly intelligent person and easy to talk to. She had been widowed a year and a half earlier. We began taking lunch together and then progressed to noontime dalliances.
Grace O'Riley is nineteen. Rich auburn hair, green eyes, and breasts that just fit my hand, she stands 5' 3" and weighs about what Katrina does. A sturdy girl. She was waiting for an omnibus trolley when she was accosted by a trio of street ruffians. I laid them out with fists and cane, but not before she had her dress torn. My apartment was near to hand. She had to remove her dress to repair it and one thing lead to another. Was I any better than the street trash? That evening led to others.
I have continued seeing these three ladies and having passionate sex with them for months, being careful that they never found out about each other.
I cannot continue.
I have made my plans. My portfolio has been converted to cash. The lease on my apartment will be up the end of the month. I have sent my parents and siblings various things that I loved, but would not be able to take with me. I arranged with a friend the removal and sale of anything I left in my apartment once I am gone. I have invited all three ladies to my apartment for an early Sunday dinner.
If I survive the encounter I will leave for California the next day.
*February 13, 1848 - Sunday*
I am in shock. One shock is that I am both alive and also not broken or bleeding. The other shock...
The ladies arrived within minutes of each other. The atmosphere in the room was much colder than the mid February chill outside. Dinner was deliberately in an hour. I sat with them in my parlor and introduced them to one another. Then I professed my sorrow that I had dishonored them all, taking the virginity of two of them and all of them for my lovers. I affirmed strongly my love for them all. Since there was no way for me to choose any one or them over the others I saw no other way than to leave them entirely. I would not demean them farther by offering money as a sop to my conscience. A clean break in which their righteous rage would heal their hearts faster and allow them to get on with their lives. I would leave the City never to return.
Yes, they screamed at me. Yes, they called me all the names I had called myself and more. Yes, they called on the heavens to destroy me and threatened to see what secular law could do.
It was during this last that Grace fell quiet and then declared that even with the proof of my unfaithfulness she still loved me and she would cleave unto me even as Ruth said 'for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge'. I was dumbfounded! So were Marion and Katrina.
They looked at Grace, then at each other, then at me. This cycle went on for minutes. Katrina broke the cycle saying that she could not believe that Grace would so demean herself. Marion blinked and sadly said that she was sorry that Grace laid her claim first. She too felt strongly about me and averred that she too would have gone with me. She then reached out and hugged Grace to her. Katrina broke down crying. Grace and Marion went to her and enfolded her. I felt I had no right so I stayed in my chair.
Grace asked my plans. I had not made any reservations, but had thought out my trek into obscurity. I told the ladies that I planned to travel by railroad to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which should take four to six days. From there the plan was to go by riverboat to St. Louis, Missouri, which should take eighteen to twenty days, then take another riverboat to Independence, Missouri, another six to seven days. If I left here tomorrow I would be in Independence by mid March. This would give me time to purchase a wagon and supplies so as to leave the beginning of April. I had planned to join a wagon train to Sacramento, California. That should take six to seven months, arriving in September or October.
Katrina spoke and ordered me to go to a local store and procure a bottle of white wine. I almost pointed out that I already had white wine in the apartment, but realized that the ladies wanted to talk without my input. I left to get the wine.
When I returned it was to find three naked ladies.
Katrina declared that the three of them would accompany me. They had little in the way of possessions and could be ready to travel by mid week. I was informed that if this caused problems with my planning I could change my plans.
Then it was declared that I join them in their nudity and give pleasure to all three of them. I did what they asked. If they had not actively helped I would not have succeeded.
*February 15, 1848 - Wednesday*
We boarded a train today that will take us to Baltimore where we will transfer to a train bound for Pittsburgh. The news of the day is that the war with the Mexico is over with the peace treaty being signed on February 2. It seems that we will not be leaving our home county, as California is now the property of our fair country.
We cannot indulge our passions on the trains, but we discussed our arrangements for when we could be alone. It was decided that the ladies would alternate each night with a night's break between starting the cycle over again. The schedule will be adjusted for the times of their monthlies. We look forward to Pittsburgh.
*February 20, 1848 - Sunday*
We arrived in Pittsburgh in the early evening, found a hotel. We are starting to be able to ignore the looks of disapproval that our little group generates. I am not sure how the ladies arranged their rotation, but Katrina came to me this night.
*February 21, 1848 - Monday*
After looking at the newspaper shipping schedules I went down to the docks to look at the several riverboats that were leaving in the next few days. Finally decided on one, the Tioga, that was leaving on the morrow. She was a 170 ton sidewheel packet and had a cabin that could fit the four of us in two decent sized bunks. Its only drawback was that it was only going as far as Louisville, Kentucky. However, that would split the trip up into two more or less equal sized pieces. I secured the cabin. Marion had my attentions this night.
*February 22, 1848 - Tuesday*
Sailed from Pittsburgh today. Traveling down the Ohio River is pleasant. Grace can be loud and we were embarrassed by having had to assure all that everything was more than fine with us.
*March 2, 1848 - Thursday*
Arrived in Louisville this morning. Found lodging and began looking for our next riverboat. It was tiring walking along the riverfront and I am glad it is my day of rest.
*March 3, 1848 - Friday*
I was beginning to give up hope of finding transportation I would feel both safe and comfortable on. Then the Globe pulled into the dock. She was a sidewheel packet of some 240 tons. I waited until the first flurry of activity was over, then asked if I could come aboard. Captain Maxwell impressed me and when I asked his schedule I was informed that he would be leaving sharply at eight in the morning on Monday bound for St. Louis, Missouri. I asked to see his best cabin and when I saw it I booked it immediately before anyone else could grab it. Informed the ladies and spent the night with Katrina.
\March 6, 1848 - Monday*
We boarded at seven and the Globe pulled away from the dock on the tick of eight.
*March 12, 1848 - Sunday*
Today we came to the Mississippi River and turned north toward St. Louis.
*March 15, 1948 - Wednesday*
Arrived in St. Louis early in the morning and by evening I had our penultimate transportation arranged. We leave tomorrow morning on the Eliza Stewart, a 169 ton sidewheel packet. We can stay aboard her tonight, saving us the trouble of finding lodging.
*March 16, 1848 - Thursday*
We left St. Louis and traveled up the Mississippi a short distance to the mouth of the Missouri River and turned up it toward Independence.
*March 22, 1848 - Wednesday*
We arrived in Independence and immediately obtained lodging for at least a week with a delightful old lady, Susan Jenkins. She wanted to know our religion. I am an Episcopalian, Marion is a Methodist, Katrina is Lutheran, and Grace is Roman Catholic. It appears that she has no use for Mormons and was pleased at our answers, even though somewhat askance at our grouping. She has a big old house on a nice bit of land. She says that we can bring our wagon and oxen here once we have them.
*March 23, 1848 - Thursday*
Today was spent scouting the various merchants. We quickly found that a consortium of merchants had put together a standard inventory package that actually cost less than buying the items individually. Just before supper I found a large farm wagon that looked sound and I bought it. While I was inspecting it I left a mark on the underside so that when I brought a team to take it to a loading area I would get the same wagon.
*March 24, 1848 - Friday*
Found a stockyard by following our nose and picked out six good oxen. At least I hoped that I remember from my farming days what I should be looking for. Took two of them and got the wagon. No problem there. Hitched up the other four and went to the merchant's warehouse where we loaded our pre-selected inventory.
*March 25, 1848 - Saturday*
After looking at the inventory we spent the day purchasing additional items the ladies and I felt were necessary. Several medicines weren't included as well as cooking implements. A wagon cover, tent and blankets would be useful. Various tools and some more food items, along with a pair of chickens for an occasional egg. When we finished loading our wagon was at about 85% of its rated capacity. That's if we all walked. With one of us handling the team we were right close to the limits of the frame. Once we are under weigh and eating the food there will be less weight and then two can ride while two walk. We made certain to buy extra boots and socks.
*March 26, 1848 - Sunday*
We had noted that during the original package load and then our shopping spree yesterday that the items we were carrying were not packed in any particular order. We plan on spending the next couple of days off loading and then loading in a more orderly manner.
*March 29, 1848 - Wednesday*
The reload took longer than expected, due to a brief snowfall, but today* we began looking for a wagon train that was planning on going to California, although Oregon seems to be a popular destination. We did find three groups heading for California. It is our opinion that the group with 52 wagons will take a long time getting going each day and the group with twelve wagons is just too small. We joined a wagon train of 24 wagons carrying 74 souls west to Sacramento guided by Mr. George Crandall.
He was unsure of taking us in his train because of our unusual relationship, but said he'd give us a try. If things weren't working out by Saint Mary's Mission, ten or so days away he would let us know. That would be the last bit of civilization for quite a piece. There was a contract that the others would be signing before we left Independence. If we worked out we would sign at the Mission.
With us included that would be 25 wagons and 79 people, 52 adults and 27 children ranging in age from two to sixteen.
*March 31, 1848 - Friday*
Today dawned both good and bad. The good was that the snow of a couple days ago was melted and gone. The bad news is that Marion was ill this morning, throwing up. I hope it is nothing too serious.
Mr Crandall held a meeting of those that he will guide. He had us introduce ourselves and those traveling with us. The names of the 74 other people went by in a blur, but no doubt we would know each of these people very well after the first month. We were given odd looks and some undisguised glares when we made our introductions.
Mr. Crandall then set out his philosophy for a good and safe journey. We would be up at dawn and out of camp an hour later. On Sundays it would be two hours later to allow for a prayer service. We had Reverend Nehemiah Scudder and his family with us and he would lead the service. As we must be over the Sierra Nevadas before the snow flies Sunday will not be a day off from traveling. The Reverend supported this decision. We will be taking a repair day every ten to twelve days, depending on the availability of grass and water for the animals, or when we reach a major supply point. On the travel days we would stop after four hours for an hour break. Then another four hours and we camp for the night. If we are within an hour of good water we might continue, but that would be his decision.
Tomorrow we leave Independence behind to begin our journey west to Sacramento.
*April 1, 1848 - Saturday*
Today we left Independence and made it to Blue River. Mr. Samuel J. Vaughn is already making a nuisance of himself by his universal knowledge of everything. I fear he is going to be a pain in the neck (or somewhere lower) on this journey.
Fording the river looks to be our best option even though Mr. Vaughn thinks we should wait for the river to go down a bit more. Actually if it gets any lower we might get across without getting our boots too wet. After a bit, we came to Westport and lay over for the night. We have placed our wagon at the edge of the group in consideration of our travel companions. It's Grace's turn tonight and she can be loud.
*April 2, 1848 - Sunday*
Katrina has a sprained ankle. I decided it is best to soak in warm epsom saltwater. It looks as if she will be our drover for the next few days. Passed some time near New Santa Fe.
*April 3, 1848 - Monday*
Made our way past Lone Elm late today. Trail could be better, but Katrina is learning her new role as a drover.
*April 5, 1848 - Wednesday*
Made an early start this morning; passed Blue Mound. Katrina now has a bad cold. We're going to increase her fluid intake and I'm having her wear her long underwear to keep her warm.
Mr. Oliver Selkerkson brought out his fiddle at camp this evening. It was a jolly time and he has been begged to hold regular concerts.
*April 9, 1848 - Sunday*
Now Grace has came down with a cold, and I decided to increase her fluid intake and dress her warm also. After much travail, we came to Kansas River, 600' wide, and decided to take advantage of the ferry.
Mr. and Mrs. Thurgood came by for a visit when we camped; had a very nice chat. They are a couple in their late thirties and have two early teenage daughters. Mrs. Thurgood gave us a recipe for a cold medicine and when she heard of Marion's morning problems she opined that Marion might be pregnant. She asked a lot of rather personal questions and went from 'might be' to 'probably is'. Figuring on what Mrs. Thurgood says, the baby was probably conceived on the Tioga and may arrive in late November.
*April 10, 1848 - Monday*
Passed the hundred mile mark today.
Had a lengthy chat with Mr. Crandall today near Saint Mary's Mission. He said that he liked how we were fitting in with the train. While several people had initially been against our inclusion because of our living arrangements, and some still were, several other people, notably the Thurgoods, supported us. A surprising note was that Rev. Scudder had not denounced us and in fact had told Mr. Crandall that while misguided we were good people. We were causing less trouble than Mr. Vaughn, who leads the people who look down on us. He opined that anyone Mr. Vaughn disliked was probably an all right person. He would have us continue with his wagon train. We signed the trek contract.
We purchased some food to replace what we've eaten and got another blanket.
*April 12, 1848 - Wednesday*
Found ourselves at Red Vermillion River this day and used the $1 toll bridge. Got a nasty splinter in my thumb, but extracted it without too much difficulty. We continued on to Scott Spring. Both Grace and Katrina are over their colds and Katrina is walking normally again. We will go back to rotating who gets the wagon seat.
*April 14, 1848 - Friday*
Today we reached Alcove Spring and then we saw Big Blue River, 180' wide. What a sight!
*April 15, 1848 - Saturday*
We were delayed at Big Blue River. There were a lot of travelers and we decided to wait our turn to cross. Not using the ford is dangerous.
*April 20, 1848 - Thursday*
Didn't know that the waiting time would be five days. Decided to caulk the wagon and float it across.
We lost a wagon and an entire family, the Carters and two of their three children, when their wagon tipped over in mid-stream. The Murchasens, a childless couple, took the newly orphaned six year old boy in with them. We laid by today near St. Joseph Road Junction. Rev. Scudder held a service for the lost family.
*April 22, 1848 - Saturday*
We lost a chicken today. Must have cooked it wrong because we were all queasy and Marion was throwing up even more than usual. We all had a dose of peppermint, with Marion getting a bigger dose.
*April 23, 1848 - Sunday*
Feeling better after a night's sleep. We must watch what we're doing because life is too fragile.
*April 25, 1848 - Tuesday*
Reached The Narrows. Strangely beautiful country with the Little Blue River on the left and a steep bluff on the right and an aptly named very narrow trail between.
*April 28, 1848 - Friday*
Reached 'The Coast of Nebraska', which gives a overview down to the Platt River, which we will follow.
*April 29, 1848 - Saturday*
Traveled to Fort Kearny this afternoon and stopped for the day* re-supplying and also picked up a 30' length of chain which may come in handy on the steep hills ahead.
*April 30, 1848 - Sunday*
Terrible fog during the early part of the day. We chose to slow down rather than lose the morning.
*May 2, 1848 - Tuesday*
Stopped at noon near Plum Creek and rested from our morning's labors and did some hunting. I shot a couple antelope and obtained 93 pounds of meat for my effort. Shared it out with some other families as the only way we have to preserve the meat would be to salt it. Smoking would take too long.
*May 3, 1848 - Wednesday*
We hope for some rain to settle the dust. For the time being, we'll slow down.
*May 5, 1848 - Friday*
The eternal dust of the wagons ahead of us is most troublesome. It slows our progress.
*May 7, 1848 - Sunday*
We laid by today near O'Fallon's Bluffs.
*May 11, 1848 - Thursday*
We were treated to a remarkably beautiful sunrise near South Platte River. Decided to ford the river. Our wagon tipped over. Marion was thrown into the river and almost drowned. While I rescued Marion from the river Katrina and Grace saved our animals and helped others to right our wagon. We lost a bunch of food supplies and not much else except the coffee pot, which will be sorely missed. But the fact that we are all alive makes up for any minor inconvience.
We camped a mile from the river at the base of California Hill. As she was recovering from nearly drowning Marion started to have terrible abdominal cramps. Grace ran for Mrs. Thurgood. In the late evening Marion miscarried. By God's Grace Marion herself was spared.
The day that had started so beautiful had turned tragic.
*May 12, 1848 - Friday*
The women of the wagon train laid down the law to Mr Crandall. There would be no travel for a couple of days to allow Marion to recover as much as possible. They knew that there might be other women who might need the break at some time on the trail.
Of course Mr. Vaughn loudly complained at the delay over a whore. I 'reasoned' with him. We were separated and his broken nose will heal, although a bit crooked.
*May 14, 1848 - Sunday*
Rev. Scudder made it a point to invite us to his prayer meeting today. He used Mary Magdalene as the pivot of his sermon. Then there was an odd and lengthy discussion that started out defining what was a whore. This segued into the differences between 'slut' and 'whore'. A whore accepts money or some other reward and provides sex in return. A slut is a woman who enjoys sex. A whore can be a slut, but doesn't have to be. A slut usually enjoys sex too much to charge for it. Grace stated that a woman should be every inch the lady when in public and an absolute slut when alone with their men. Most men are sluts. Give a man a chance at sex and its unlikely that he will pass it up.
After a lot of debate Katrina asked the ladies to raise their hands if they enjoyed their times with their men. Of course my three ladies had their hands up almost before Katrina stopped talking. The others were slower, but after Mrs. Thurgood and Mrs. Scudder raised their hands it sped up. Of the 24 women 19 raised their hands. I noticed that Sam Vaughn's wife hadn't raised her hand.
*May 15, 1848 - Monday*
While we want to let Marion recover more we must push on. Mr. Crandall has agreed to slow down the pace for the next few days to make it easier on Marion, who is very depressed. We climbed California Hill by double teaming the wagons.
*May 16, 1848 - Tuesday*
We used our chain to descend Windlass Hill.
*May 20, 1848 - Saturday*
Today we have traveled 500 miles and came to Ash Hollow.
*May 24, 1848 - Wednesday*
Heard news of a murder and hanging last night near Courthouse and Jail Rocks. Enough to send shivers down one's spine. Although if Mr Vaughn doesn't quit slighting us I might be moved to such a heinous act.
*May 25, 1848 - Thursday*
Got a late start; passed Chimney Rock.
*May 26, 1848 - Friday*
Arrived at Scotts Bluff.