Page 26 - Cornelius Hedges Story
P. 26

13 The Cornelius Hedges Story

bullets, fresh pork, 3 pounds of nails, gold pan, sack of flour, 3
woolen shirts, pair of woolen blankets, pair of rubber blankets, pair
of boots, shovel, 2 other rifles, one pint of Brandy, l oz. of quinine,
and 4 pounds of smoking tobacco.35

    On that day, he left Edna, with $60. They managed to travel
l2 miles on bard roads that day before night fall.36 His destination
was originally the mines of Idaho; however, the portion he finally
reached was included in the new Montana Territory. While Hedges
was in route, Montana was created by Congress on May 26, l864.37

    Hedges traveled with his partners southwesterly across Iowa,
passing through Vinton, Le Grand, Newton, and they reached Des
Moines on the 25th of April. Continuing, they passed through Adel
and Lewis, crossed both forks of the Nishnabotna River and reached
Council Bluffs on April 30.38

    On May 2, they crossed the Missouri River by ferry and camped
just west of Omaha. Traveling along the north bank of the Platte,
they reached Columbus, then the outpost of settlement on May 6
and Hedges utilized his last opportunity to stay in a hotel before
crossing the plains. By May 11, they reached the struggling frontier
settlement of Kearney, and it was that day he recorded first eating
buffalo meat.

    Travel on May 15 and 16, put them into the sand hills region
with tougher traveling; so on the 17th, they lightened their load by
328 pounds and pocketed $19.68 from the sale.

    On the afternoon of May 20, they “passed Ash Hollow, saw
teams coming on opposite side of Platte.” They were in sight of the
landmarks of Chimney Rock and Court House Rock during the days
of the 21st and 22nd, passed Scotts Bluff on the 23rd, and camped
on the north side of the North Platte River opposite Fort Laramie
on May 25. Hedges walked six miles each way to visit the Fort just
to receive the dejecting news that there was no letter waiting from
Edna. However, he did learn that the Major commanding the post
was a Royal Arch Mason.

    From Fort Laramie they continued traveling west on the north
side of the North Platte, but they were detained four hours on the
26th by a false accusation and arrest for taking stray cattle. They
reached Platte Bridge Station (the site of present Casper, Wyoming)
on June 2, and Hedges crossed the Platte by bridge to deposit
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