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Montana Freemason                                             March 2018                                 Volume 94   Number 2
        and Court House Rock during  the days of the 21st and  It almost brought tears and made one feel more like
        22nd, passed Scotts Bluff  on the 23rd,   and camped on  being homesick than anything else. Nothing can be got
        the north side of the North Platte River opposite Fort  without much trouble.”
        Laramie  on  May  25.  Hedges  walked  six  miles  each
        way to visit the Fort just to receive the dejecting news   The  next  day,  Independence  Day,  they  overtook
        that there was no letter waiting from Edna. However,  Jim Bridger and his train and traveled with them the
        he did learn that the Major commanding the post was a  remaining distance to Virginia City. They also crossed
        Royal Arch Mason.                                      the Yellowstone that day by ferry, with the ferry charge
                                                               of $2.50. Hedges entered the following into his journal.
          From  Fort  Laramie,  they  continued  traveling  west   “We spent July 4th on the river at the crossing and
        on  the  north  side  of  the  North  Platte,  but  they  were  that morning the mountains and foot-hills all around
        detained four hours on the 26th by a false accusation  us were white with fresh-fallen snow. I spent most of
        and arrest for taking stray cattle. They reached Platte  the  day  fi shing  and  caught  several  handsome  strings
        Bridge Station (the site of present Casper, Wyoming) on   of trout, enough to last use two or three days on our
        June  2,  and  Hedges  crossed  the  Platte  by  bridge  to  further  journey.  Some  left  the  train  here  and  started
        deposit letters for Iowa. As they crossed the Wyoming  for Virginia City on horseback, which was told them
        plains, more and more small trains banded together for  could be made in four days. Jacobs persuaded many
        added protection and by June 5, he noted: “more teams  that he knew a better route to the Gallatin than Bridger
        came in today; our train is over 100 wagons now.”      proposed  to  take,  but  our  team  stayed  with  Bridger.
                                                               When we came out near where Bozeman now is¸ we,
          Notwithstanding their drunken guide, a Frenchman  who were in advance, saw who followed Jacobs in the
        named Rouleau; they averaged 20 to 25 miles on most  valley below.”
        days. They reached the Wind River, known as the Big
        Horn River north of the Wind River canyon, on June 11    “In the Yellowstone Mountains bear were so numerous
        and crossed it on Sunday, June 12. The wagons were  that we counted no less than seven at one time. Here it
        ferried, but they “swam” the horses and mules.         was that my reputation as a hunter came near costing
                                                               my  life.  Several  who  had  tasted  the  antelope  I  had
          That evening on the other side, Hedges for the fi rst  accidentally  and  providentially  shot,  insisted  that  I
        time since leaving Council Bluff s noted:               should head a party to hunt bear. I could not well go
          “Preaching  in  the  evening”  and  he  added  “good  back on my reputation and started with a half-dozen
        sermon.”                                               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
          Moving  northward  into  the  Big  Horn  Basin,  they  hunting for us and coming through an opening at a pace
        camped on the “Greybull” River on June 15. The route  that was rapidly covering the interval. I had barely time
        they  were  following  was  a  new  cut-off   which  Jim  to get a position by a large boulder when the bear was
        Bridger was in the process of blazing. And on the 17th,  within shooting distance. The situation was becoming
        their train learned from two of Bridger’s men that the  intensely interesting but I reserved my fi re until I could
        Bridger train was but 12 miles ahead. A portion of his  be sure of hitting the bear. The ball evidently hit the
        journal entry for June 23, read:                       beast, for he staggered some and changed his course to
          “Went  up  the  mountain  and  saw  Yellowstone  and  my great relief. On looking around for my associates
        junction of Clarkes fork with it water cool and good,  there  was  but  one  in  sight  and  he  was  up  a  tree.
        good grass.”                                           Refl ecting upon my narrow escape and the character of
                                                               my support, I resolutely decline to serve on the inquest
          On the 25th, the Journal contains two points of special  of that bear and have charitably hoped the wound was
        interest; fi rst, they overtook Jacob’s train, and second,  not fatal.”
        his true love for books and knowledge was shown by
        the fact that he was reading ” Richardson’s Monitor of   On  July  7,  he  recorded  “passed  the  headwaters  of
        Freemasonry” out there on the  trail.                  Yellowstone undoubtedly the confl uence of the Shields
                                                               River  with  the  Yellowstone  and  struck  those  of  the
          Near  the  end  of  the  trip,  their  wagon  broke  down.  Gallatin.”
        They reached the Yellowstone River on July 2, and on
        July 3, he sadly recorded:                               By the 9th the Madison River was reached, and on
          “Up  before  3  and  began  the  melancholy  work  of  July 10, he fi nally recorded:
        cleaning our wagon preparatory to leaving it. I repacked   “Started out at 6:30 to go up to Virginia City estimated
        everything to suit a man who was willing to carry our  15 miles, found it 40 and much uphill at that got very
        things and double team. Old wagon soon disappeared  tired before I got through - reached the city about 2:30,

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