Joseph E. Johnson
- Published the Huntsman's Echo
about a year in 1860-1861
Mormon - two wives and
numerous children on his arrival at Wood River Center in 1859.
In 1860 another woman came from Iowa; later he married her in Utah
Possibly the increasing prejudice against the Mormons and especially
polygamy caused Mr. Johnson to abandon
the ranche and move to Utah.
1861 - Moved to Utah, with all
of his goods.
1882 – Died of pneumonia –Had 3 wives, 27 children and many grandchildren.
Topics covered by Johnson
1. Weather - Typical
Rain, Rain! After little rain during the past spring the area received a
good soaking rain.
- The Platte was high but teams occasionally were crossing.
June 27 - The waters of the Platte had receded so crossings were being made
Late Sept - No frost yet and the vegetables were still growing
Feb - 2-3 day storm, cold, drifts, several days of heavy clouds, no
2. Buffalo & other wild life
---Johnson reported “our beautiful town site has been rudely trampled upon
by those ugly-looking wild beasts known as buffalo”
Many buffalo in the area. Last week one broke
down a fence and got into Boyd’s corn field. Boyd shot it. On Friday two
more were killed when they got into the crops.
Buffalo were coming around
and eating his vegetables. He sent “the boys” out to chase them away with
the result of two buffalo being shot. “…and (Johnson reported) as dogs and
wolves are scarce we have had to breakfast, dine and sup from their flesh…”
That fall Johnson killed
another buffalo which had wondered onto the townsite and was outside his
Other Wild Life - High water in the Wood
River had driven 4 beavers out of their homes and up on the bank in front of
the Echo office.
Sept – Several antelope, a red fox, three large white wolves, buffalo have
not been bothering in the last couple of weeks. There were still plenty of
them cross the river
June - The crops were looking good …. Specific
items mentioned: Apple and other fruit trees, wild plum & grapes, radishes,
lettuces, onions, green peas, & beans in the garden, field potatoes
Sept - Corn crop in
settlements along the Platte on ground broken last year will yield 20-35
bushels per acre. Corn on ground broken in the current year was not doing
well. Potato yield was light.
James Boyd had given
Johnson a large watermelon. His farm is 7 miles away with comfortable
buildings, several hundred fenced in acres and about 200 acres in crops
4. On the Trail
June 14, 1860 - “For Utah Tuesday 12---The first
Mormon train for Utah passed, consisting of 31 wagons, 53 yoke oxen, 35 cows
9 horses, with 169 souls, 97 males, and 72 females, all well, and stock in
fine order…. The company are two weeks out from Florence---no accidents or
26, 1860 - On Sunday the 22nd and last handcart train came through. 144
people – 20 Swiss, 53 English, and 71 Scandinavians. 21 carts, 9 wagons, 30
head of stock. 14 days out of Florence.
Sept 27, 1860 - Many “Peakers” who had gone
through to the mines were returning as quickly as possible
5. Ft. Kearney
Early June - Improvements are again going on at
A theatrical group was playing to crowded houses at Ft. Kearny.
A new military ford had been made at Wood River Centre.
July 26, 1860 - Ft.
Kearney had posted an advertisement asking for 700 tons of hay, contract to
be let Aug. 1 for delivery over the next two months.
Sept 13, 1860 - Troops
from Ft. Kearney were being sent out to help protect the Pawnee from attacks
by the Cheyenne