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Mormon Pioneer

Overland Travel

From the Life of Zebulon Jacobs, 24 August 1861

Humor on the Plains

Saturday, August 24. We traveled 6 miles in the forenoon and stopped for noon close to a large grove of cottonwood, in which a few years ago the Indians waylaid and killed quite a number of white people who were traveling west. In the afternoon we traveled 6 miles, crossed the Platte River the second time, went three miles further and camped by a beautiful grove. When Bro. Parker and I were on guard about 10 o'clock p.m. we saw a man coming toward us. We hailed him the second time but he failed to stop so we stopped him and found that he belonged to Heber P. Kimball's train which was a short distance ahead of us. The boys had induced him to catch rabbits in Yankee fashion by building a small fire and lying down by it with an open sack for the rabbits to run into, and then hit them on the head with a club, now and then giving a low whistle; other boys going out to drive the rabbits in, when, all of a sudden the boys gave a yell. The man thought the Indians were upon him, and off he started at full run. He had run about a mile when we stopped him. The fellow was scared out of his wits. The cause of his scare was this that he knew everything but Yankee tricks. We took him back to his train which was three-fourths of a mile distant. The method of catching rabbits just described was just a trick played on the man.

Read more of Zebulon Jacob's trail experience.