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Mormon Pioneer

Overland Travel

From the Life of John Clark Dowdle, 1866

Humor on the Plains

We then travled on our homeward journey feeling firstrate, from heare we traveled some hundreds of miles without scarcly seeing such a thing as a tree or a stick of wood thus being forced to burn for fuel bufalo chips for to cook our food. this being in the travels of the buffalo known as there excavations, or sometimes caled by the boys, chewed grass. sometimes while geathering these chips one must be very carful in examening the under part or they might find them not so hard as he would wish. There is one little circumstance connected with this part of the program worth mentioning[.] it stands with me as well as some others as a rich joke". There was in our train a very nice young lady who was very fond of assisting here [her] parants in all kinds of camp duties expecly [especially] here [her] mother, expecly in gathering chips." not with standing the abhorance she had in regard to them." On evening while geathering them for there evenings use and not being very far from camp, and watching very clostly to see if anyone was looking in her direction and on beinging convinced that all was right, just at this time turning over one very nice large one, and finding something rather soft and getting some thing on it that did not suit her, she gave her hand a turable [terrible] shake making some of the teamsters think that she was bitten by a rattle snake, she not wishing to let the secret be known. yet it was mistrusted what the alement was" that she had pressed the chip rather hard and the affect being not very plesant, so the reader can well imagen the effect of the joke. However this little affare was a very agreeable one."

Read more of John Clark Dowdle’s trail experience.