Driving Cattle from Texas to Iowa

Diary of George C. Duffield……1866

Donated by Suzy Martinez

April 27th
Finished branding. Started for Salt Creek with 835 beeves. Landed safe.

All well in my herd. Traveled through Pansgath and to Bennett Creek.
18 miles

May 1st
Traveled 10 miles to Corryell. Big stamped lost 200 head of cattle.

Spent the day hunting and found but 25 head it’s been raining for three days
these are dark days for me.

Day spent hunting, found 23 head hard rain and wind lots of trouble.

Continued to hunt found 40 head day pleasant sun shone once more Heard
that the other herd has stampeded and lost over 200.

Cloudy damp morning rode 16 miles & back to see the other boys found
them in trouble with cattle all scattered over the country.

Started once more on My journey left Cow Horse River & got to Leon crossed
& camped in prairie 5 miles north of River dark & gloomy night hard rain
Stampeded & lost 200 head (Milt’s herd)

Hunt cattle is the order of the day found most of our cattle & drove 12
miles & camped on a large creek in Bosque Co

All 3 herds are up ready to travel off together for the first time traveled 6
miles rain pouring down in torrents & here we are on the banks of a
creek with 10 or 12 feet of water & raising crossed at 4 o’clock &
crossed into Bosque Bottom found it 20 feet deep Ran my horse into a
ditch& got my knee badly sprained
15 miles

Still dark and gloomy River up everything looks blue to me no crossing
today cattle behaved well

Crossed Bosque at Maridian & traveled to Brasos River & find it
very high
14 miles
Pleasant day

Lay around camp visited river & went bathing

Big thunder storm last night Stamped lost 100 beeves hunted all day
found 50 Everything discouraging

Concluded to cross Brasos swam our cattle & horses & built raft &
rafted our provisions & blankets &cc over Swam river with rope& then
hauled wagon over lost most of our kitchen furniture such as camp
kittles coffee pots cups plates canteens &cc &cc.

Back at River bringing up wagon hunting oxen and other lost property.
Rain poured down for an hour. It does nothing but rain got all our traps
together that was not lost & thought we were ready dark rainy night
cattle all left us & in the morning not one beef to be seen.

Hunt beeves is the word—all hands discouraged & are determined to go
200 beeves out & nothing to eat.

No breakfast pack and off is the order all hands gave the Brasos one good
harty damn & started for Buchanan traveled 10 miles & camped found 50
beeves (nothing to eat)

Every thing gloomy, best four hands left us

Traveled 6 miles to Mr. B’s ranch & camped to wait for some of the other
party to come up bought some flour & meat two pleasant days killed beef.

This day has been spent in crossing the West Trinity & a hard & long day to be
remembered by me we swam our cattle & horses I swam it 5 times upset our
wagon in river & lost many of our cooking utensils again drove 3 miles and

Glad to see morning come counted and found we had lost none for the
first time feel very bad traveled 14 miles crossed Denton creek.

Cold morning wind blowing & all hands shivering are within 12 miles
of Red River moved up 6 miles.

Worked in river all day & 50 beeves on this side of river yet am still in Texas.

June 1st
Stampede last night among 6 droves & a general mix up & loss of beeves
Hunt cattle again Men all tired & want to leave am in Indian country am
annoyed by them believe they scare the cattle to get pay to collect them
Spent day in separating beeves & hunting two men & bunch beeves lost
Many men in trouble Horses all give out & men refuse to anything.

Hard rain & wind storm Beeves ran and had to be on horseback all
night awful night wet all night clear bright morning Men still lost quit beeves
& go to Hunting men is the word
4pm found our men with Indian guide &
195 beeves 14 miles from camp almost starved not having had a bite to
eat for 60 hours go to camp about 12 M tired

Concluded to start the herd & leave men to hunt with others who have
lost beeves crossed Blue River & camped 13 miles further on our way
Indians very troublesome.

Oh what a night Thunder lightening & rain we followed our beeves all
night as they wandered around traveled 18 miles over the worst road I ever
saw hauled beeves out of the mud with oxen half of the day.

last night dark & gloomy but no rain We are now in the Chickasaw Mountains
in the Indian territory crossed Limestone creek & camped in the mountains.

traveled 12 miles crossed large creek & camped in Prairie Two men
came up with us and agreed to go with us got to sleep all night.

Crossed both south & north Canadian Rivers traveled 21 miles through very
muddy brushy road & camped on large Prairie.

Hard rain & wind Big stampede & here we are among the Indians with 150
head gone hunted all day and the rain pouring down with poor success Dark
days are these to me Nothing but bread and coffee hands all growling & swearing
everything wet & cold beeves gone rode all day & gathered all but 35 Mixed
with 8 other herds Last night 5000 beeves stampeded at this place & a general
mix up was the result.

Last night there was a terrible storm Rain poured in torrents all night & up to
noon today our beeves left us in the night but for once on the whole trip we
found them all together near camp at day break all the other droves as far
as I can hear are scattered to the four winds our other herd was all gone. We
now 25 miles from Ark River & it is very high we are water bound by two
creeks & but beef and flour to eat am not homesick but heartsick.

Nice day went to Ft Gibson got some coffee & beef River very high but
falling Gloomy prospect out of money and provisions got back to camp & found
the Indians are making trouble stampeding cattle here We expect it cooked dinner
under a tree on the AK River bank with two ladies.

Good day 15 Indians come to herd & tried to take some beeves Would not
let them Had a big muss One drew his knife & I my revolver Made them leave
but fear they have gone for others they are Seminoles.

Off for the River early to try and cross worked all day hard got 200 head
across Indians killed one steer & we took it from them.

another bright morning after a cold night traveled about 10 miles through
beautiful Prairie country & stopped for the night on a creek where we
caught a nice mess of fish.

Sunday Excitement in camp thought our horses & oxen were stolen but
found them after many troubles we got down the mountain & across the
creek weather very hot traveled 8 miles lost my coat & went back after it
Osages visited our camp are great beggars

Drove six miles & crossed Verdigris had to give the Indians beef for the
right of way Indians saucy went bathing 5 miles in afternoon & camp.

Find ourselves out two horses hunted for them most of day Two of the boys
came to a camp of Indians returning from a hunt They were very saucy &
when asked about the horse threatened to shoot was glad to get away without the horse

Aug 3rd
All right but two men one down with boils & one with argue Traveled about
10 miles over rocky peaks & 2 creeks with fine grass.

Come to Big Walnut cattle stampeded & ran by 2 farms & the people were
very angry but we made it all right was visited by many men was threatened
with the law but think we are all right now (plenty of vegetables)

This morning we continued our journey & our buyer still with us he says he will
pay for them today we have stopped on Spring Creek for dinner I was sick
last night had a chill & the colic this morning feel badly yet Everything parched
under the scorching sun. We have taken an Indian into our party this morning
Trade played out & man gone back Camped on White Water.