|TRAVEL DIARY OF PETER L. BRANSTETTER
EVENTS & OBSERVATIONS TRAVELING TO CALIFORNIA GOLD FIELDS
ACCOMPANIED WITH BROTHERS: SIMON M. & ADAM J. “GRUNDY” BRANSTETTER
MARCH 24, 1850 TO SEPTEMBER 14, 1851
Pike Co. Mo. 1850.
March 24th – we left old Pike and that night camped on Spencer Creek, a distance of thirteen miles.
March 25th – passed over bad and muddy roads a distance of twelve miles, and camped on the prairie;
March 26th – passed over very bad roads and camped on Pigeon Roost Creek, a distance of sixteen miles very
cold and muddy; expenses $2.75.
March 27th – expenses $3.75. Our team walked off fine this morning, and three miles brought us to Salt River,
crossed on the bridge; six miles brought us to Florida, roads very bad in places; distance fifteen miles.
March 28th – one and one-half miles brought us to Paris. Passed five wagons; traveled one-half mile farther
and camped; turned our horses loose in the woods for the first time; distance fourteen miles; roads bad in
places; expenses $4.35.
March 29th – started at sunrise, traveled three miles and bought corn for the day; corn very scarce, worth 40
and 50 cents per bushel; our expenses $4.85. Six miles brought us to Milton, across the West Fork of Salt River,
and camped within three miles of Huntsville.
March 30th – three miles brought us to Huntsville, and one and one-half miles farther to the East Fork of
Chariton River. No corn to be had at any price hardly; we traveled until after dark before we could find corn.
Crossed Middle Chariton one and one-half miles and camped. Passed five wagons today, distance fifteen miles,
March 31st – we started late, our expenses $6.25; crossed Grand Chariton; two miles below came to
Keytesville, where we crossed Mussel Fork; distance fifteen miles; paid 55 cents for corn; roads very good.
April 1st – it rained last night and the roads are very slippery and muddy. We passed through Brunswick on the
bank of the Missouri River about 1 o’clock, and one and one-half miles brought us to Grand River which we
crossed about 3 o’clock and camped on the farther bank with ten wagons. We paid today for corn, 75 cents per
bushel; expenses $8.75; distance ten miles.
April 2nd – it is raining. There were two pistols stolen in camp last night. We searched the ten wagons this
morning but did not find them. It rained all day and we would not have traveled if we could have gotten feed, but
had to travel thirteen miles before we could get corn; corn is from 75 cents to $1.00 a bushel. I raised as much
corn last year as there is between Huntsville and Richmond. Expenses only $2.50, because we could not find
any corn to buy.
April 3rd – it is blustery and raining; six miles travel to Carrollton; expenses $6.90. Camped on edge of
Wakenda Prairie; distance eight miles, roads very bad.
April 4th – started very slowly this morning, traveled across Wakenda Prairie, which is twenty miles; very rainy
and cold, and rained this afternoon. Stayed in a house tonight, which cost us 50 cents. Roads tolerably good;
expenses $6.50; distance twenty miles.
April 5th – raining and snowing this morning and we do not expect to start until 12 o’clock. We shaved this
morning; paid 60 cents a bushel for corn. We crossed the toll bridge on Crooked River, which cost our team
$1.00; expenses $4.47. We traveled nine miles and camped in three miles of Richmond, Ray Co., Mo.; roads very
April 6th – it has the appearance of fair weather. We are all well and in good spirits; started late and it is the
worst road that I ever saw a wagon run through. The mud is from one to two feet deep. I got my mare shod at
Richmond, cost $1.50. Bought one gallon of molasses and jug, 60 cents; one-half bushel potatoes, 25 cents; one
blank book, 25 cents; one-half bushel apples, 25 cents; have paid out for feed, $25.00; for ferry, $1.75; for
crossing bridge, $1.00. Distance six miles, expenses 5.55.
April 7th – we started late. I left the wagons this morning to go to St. Joseph; got to Plattsburg; I traveled thirty-
three miles, wagons ten miles; expenses $6.25.
April 8th – I reached St. Joseph about 3 o’clock, traveled twenty-eight miles. The wagons traveled eleven miles;
expenses 70 cents; roads getting better.
April 9th – I crossed the Missouri River and went thirty miles over the prairie to an Indian village, where the
Indian agent lived, and bought five barrels of corn at 90 cents a bushel. The wagon’s expenses $5.10; distance
April 10th – I started back from the Indian village; came to St. Joseph and went out six miles and bought twelve
barrels of corn at 60 cents a bushel. There we were to stay two days and load one wagon with corn, then go on
to the Indian Village and from there to the river. The wagon’s expenses $2.50; distance ten miles.
April 11th – I met the wagons two miles before they got to Little Platte River, and crossed Little Platte River this
evening. Five miles will bring us to where I bought the corn, and then six miles will bring us to St. Joseph.
Expenses today $6.50; distance seven miles.
April 12th – traveled five miles to where I bought corn.
April 13th – today we rested.
April 14th – Sunday, and we rested. The entire expense of our wagons is $10.00. Ferry across Little Platte
River, 55 cents. Expenses for lodging where I bought corn, $1.00. Total amount for my wagon up to this date,
April 15th – we rested