Page 28 - Cornelius Hedges Story
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15 The Cornelius Hedges Story

    The next day, Independence Day, they overtook Jim Bridger and
his train and traveled with them the remaining distance to Virginia
City. They also crossed the Yellowstone that day by ferry, with the
ferry charge of $2.50. Hedges entered the following into his journal.

   “We spent July 4th on the river at the crossing and that morning
   the mountains and foot-hills all around us were white with
   fresh-fallen snow. I spend most of the day fishing and caught
   several handsome strings of trout, enough to last use two or
   three days on our further journey. Some left the train here and
   started for Virginia City on horse-back, which was told them
   could be made in four days. Jacobs persuaded many that he
   knew a better route to the Gallatin than Bridger proposed to
   take, but our team stayed with Bridger. When we came out near
   where Bozeman now is¸ we, who were in advance, saw who
   followed Jacobs in the valley below.”
   “In the Yellowstone Mountains bear were so numerous that we
   counted no less than seven at one time. Here it was that my
   reputation as a hunter came near costing my life. Several who
   had tasted the antelope I had accidentally and providentially
   shot, insisted that I should head a party to hunt bear. I could not
   well go back on my reputation and started with a half-dozen
   men who agreed to stay with me to the end. We had not far to
   go or long to wait till us a large bear apparently hunting for
   us and coming through an opening at a pace that was rapidly
   covering the interval. I had barely time to get a position by a
   large boulder when the bear was within shooting distance. The
   situation was becoming intensely interesting but I reserved my
   fire until I could be sure of hitting the bear. The ball evidently
   hit the best, for he staggered some and changed his course to
   my great relief. On looking around for my associates there
   was but one in sight and he was up a tree. Reflecting upon my
   narrow escape and the character of my support, I resolutely
   decline to serve on the inquest of that bear and have charitably
   hoped the wound was not fatal.”
    On July 7, he recorded “passed the headwaters of Yellowstone
undoubtedly the confluence of the Shields River with the Yellowstone
and struck those of the Gallatin.”
    By the 9th the Madison River was reached and on July 10, he
finally recorded:
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