Fletcher-Dimmit 1902 Wagon Trip

Transcription of Fred Dimmit's diary

In 1902, the Fletcher's and Dimmit families moved from Kansas to Chesaw, Washington. What was unusual about this migration was that they chose to travel by wagon in a day dominated by rail travel. In 1902, there were wagon roads from town to town, but no organized highways. 

Of interest to Mullan Road scholars are the toll fee near Clinton, the ferry charge near Superior, and the July 21 camp near the fourth crossing (see Dunsmore's St. Regis River Crossings.)

The trip took three months. The horses names were Pet, Sage, & Molly, Dude, Belle, Black Hawk, and Old Heck (Hector). The entire outfit:

  • Henery (sic) J. & Ellen Fletcher—Buggy and one horse
  • Barney Fletcher (son)—Wagon with 4 horse team
  • Fred & Laura Dimmitt—Wagon and 2 mules
  • Oliver, Ella, and Bertha Fletcher—rode horses

The Diary of Fred Dimmit

May 18 – Started for Washington. Pulled as far as Chat’s. [Chatsfield]

May 19 – Took Dinner at McCall’s. Camped ½ mile Northeast of Bob Bresingham’s.

May 20 – Saw five coyotes, camped at noon near post office Hale, Colorado. Crossed the Republican River about half past one; camped at night near Idalia, Colo. Killed two bunnies.

May 21 – Saw three coyotes and slayed 9 jack rabbits. Was cool and cloudy all day. Camped by big tank.

May 22 – Stopped at Cope. Colo., in the morning. Saw 2 coyotes and 3 antelope. Old Pete, the dog, left us. Was warm all day but rained at night.

May 23 – Saw 6 coyotes; passed a sheep ranch with 14 head of sheep. Was nice all day. But sprinkled some at night.

May 24 – Passed Gary, a post office. Stopped at Brush a few minutes. Camped about 4 miles west of Brush. Was nice all day.

May 25 – Passed through Ft. Morgan, Goodrich and Orchard on the U.P. Railroad. Crossed the Platte R. Was warm all day.

May 26 – Passed Masters and Harding Colo. Old deer-hound joined the caravan. Was cloudy all day and rained at night.

May 27 – Passed through Keisey and Greely.  Was cloudy and rainy all day.

May 28 – Passed Farmers. Brescell and Windsor. Lost the little shepherd pup of Barney’s and the old hound. Was cloudy all day. Camped 6 miles east of Ft. Collins, by the Observatory Schoolhouse.

May 29 – Was in Ft. Collins in the morning; camped at noon in a lane. Was nice all day.

May 30 – Saw 2 coyotes and 2 antelope. Was warm all day.

May 31 – Crossed the State line from Colo. into Wyoming about 9 o’clock. Passed through Cheyenne, the Capitol. Camped 9 miles north of there. Was warm all day.

June 1 – Saw 2 coyotes; camped at noon by Pale Creek. Pa caught the first trout, weighing about a “lb”. Camped at night by horse creek. Was warm all day. But cold and windy at night.

June 2 – Saw 3 coyotes and 2 antelope. Camped at night about ½ mile south of Chugwater, Wyo.

June 3 – Killed 2 rabbits. Saw 6 grouse; shot at them but didn’t get any. Camped about 1½ miles southeast of Wheatland, Wyo.

June 4 – Passed through Wheatland. Crossed the Laramie River. Camped at noon about a mile north of Laramie. Saw a turtle that would weigh some 30 pounds. Killed 2 ducks, one jacksnipe and 2 rabbits. Was warm all day. Camped at night one mile north of the Cottonwood Creek.

June 5 – Camped at noon by the Horseshoe River. Caught a mess of fish. Saw 3 sage hens and killed one. Was warm all day.

June 6 – Crossed the Elkhorn River. Camped at noon by the Platte. Saw 2 sage hens. Killed 5 rabbits. Was warm all day. Camped at night by the Platte.

June 7 – Passed Inez station and Gary, unknown. Joined a caravan of 6 more wagons. Killed 5 rabbits. Camped at noon by the Platte and by the same at night. Was warm all day.

June 8 – Passed through Glenrock, Wyoming. Killed 4 rabbits. Was warm all day. Camped by the Platte.

June 9 – Passed through Casper, Wyoming. Was warm all day. Camped at noon by the Platte. Camped at night by a large sheep ranch.

June 10 – Camped at noon by Johnson’s Half-way House. Saw 12 hens and saw a crowd of Indians hunting wool. Was hot all day.

June 11 – Passed through Woolton; saw a crowd of Indians. Saw 3 sage hens and some little chickens. Was hot all day. Camped about 4 miles west of Woldon, Wyo.

June 12 – Passed Round Hill. Camped at noon 2 miles north of Round Hill. Was hot and still in the forenoon, but hot and windy in the afternoon.

June 13 – Camped at noon by a town by the name of Murrat. Camped at night by Wind Ricer. Hot all day. Still in A.M. Windy in P.M.

June14 – Traveled in forenoon. Camped on Wind River all P.M. Was hot all day.

June 15 – Still in camp at Wind R. Done a washing. Was hot and still all day. Bought some goods from peddlers.

June 16 – Turned back and started for the big basin. Was hot all day. Camped at noon and night on Wind River.

June 17 – Camped at noon by Wind R; at night by Big Horn River. Was hot all day.

June 18 – Camped all day by the Big Horn River. Had good grass. Was hot all day.

June 19 – Camped all day by the Big Horn River. Was windy and ugly all day.

June 20 – Camped all day by the Big Horn River. Was hot all day.

June 21 – Pulled over first range of mountains; roads very rocky all day. Thompsons and Grooms still in camp on account of sickness. Was hot all day. Camped at night 20 miles from Thermopolis, Wyoming.

June 22 – Traveled all day; reached Thermopolis. Was hot all day.

June 23 – Camped all day at Thermopolis. Saw the hot springs. Had some horses shod. Was hot all day.

June 24 – Crossed Owl Creek. Camped at noon and night on Owl Creek. Was windy and dusty all day.

June 25 – Traveled all day. Was hot all day. Camped at night by a grove of cedars on the mountain-side.

June 26 – Traveled all day. Was hot all day. Killed 1 old sage hen and duck. Camped in dry creek.

June 27 – Traveled all day. Was rather cool. Camped at night on North fork of Wind River.

June 28 – Traveled until noon. Camped all afternoon; 1 ½ miles west of Dubois, Wyoming. Cloudy, rainy, and cold all day.

June 29 – Traveled in forenoon; laid over in afternoon in camp on Wind River. Was windy and cold all afternoon, and killed on old hen.

June 30 – Traveled all day. Was cold and cloudy; snowed some. Camped by Wind River.

July 1 – Traveled in forenoon. Camp in afternoon 4 miles northeast of Brooks Lake, Wyoming. Caught 5 fish about 15 inches long.

July 2 – Camped all day in same place. Was nice all day. Rained at night. Caught 19 fish.

July 3 – Traveled all day; crossed the dived of the East Range. Was cold and snowy all day.

July 4 – Celebrate the 4th. in a snow bank. Was cold and cloudy all day. Saw 3 elk and killed one.

July 5 – Was cold and cloudy all day. Saw a bunch of 20 or more elk. Camped at night in the deserted cabin.

July 6 – Saw 8 elk. Was cool and cloudy all day. Camped at night by Jackson Lake, Wyoming

July 7 – Entered the Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming in the afternoon. Saw the Moose falls. Was nice all day. Camped by Lewis Lake.

July 8 – Crossed Lewis River saw Lewis Lake. Took a look at the Hot Springs and Thump Bay. Saw 1 deer; caught 25 fish. Camped at night by Thump Bay.

July 9 – Saw a steam boat on Yellowstone Lake. Saw 3 deer; caught 17 fish – some 18 inches long. Was nice all day. Camped at night by Yellowstone River. Registered at lake Station

July 10 – Saw mud geyser and saw lower Yellowstone Falls, height 200 feet. Saw a herd of elk of 40, and the falls in Cascade Cr. Camped at noon by the Yellowstone River. Saw 3 deer. Camped at night by the Yellowstone River.

July 11 – Viewed the Nanis Geyser Basin. Camped at noon in Elk Pack, by the Gibbon River. Saw the Virginia Cascade, Mount Schurg and the gibbon Falls and passed through Gibbon canyon. Camped at night by the Gibbon River.

July 12 – Stopped at Riverside station and got the seals taken off the guns. Camped at night 10 miles southeast of Henry Lake, Idaho. Camp 54 was our first camp on Idaho.

July 13 – Traveled all day, was nice. There was nothing particular..

July 14 – Traveled all day. Was nice. Camped at night about 1 ½ miles northeast of Monida, Montana.

July 15 – Passed through Monida, Montana. Leima, and Dell – all on the O.R. and N. on Montana. Saw one wolf and 1 jackrabbit. Was nice all day. Camped at night about 1 mile north of Dell.

July 16 – Traveled all day; passed through Red Rock. Was nice all day. Camped at night by Medicine Lodge.

July 17 – Was rainy and cloudy for awhile in the forenoon and cold in the afternoon.

July 18 – Passed through Barrats and stopped at Dillon, Montana and got the donkeys shod. Was nice all day. Rather cool.

July 19 – Passed through Browns station. Was nice all day. Camped at night 2 miles north of Browns Station.

July 20 – Passed through Melrose, Montana. Was nice all day.

July 21 – Went to Butte, Montana after the mail. Got some letters from home. Passed through Silver Bow, Montana. Camped at night about 2 miles from Gregon.

July 22 – Passed through Deer Lodge. Was nice all day. Camped at night about 2 miles from Gregon [or 2 miles north].

Deer Lodge, MT
Feed 3.40
butter 0.95
bread 0.50
cheese 0.50
swamp root 1.00
bananas 0.10
onions 0.25

July 23 – Passed through Garrison and Gold Creek. Camped at night 4 miles east of Drummond, Montana. Was nice all day.

July 24 – Passed through Drummond. Was nice all day.

Drummond, MT
flour 1.40
sugar 0.50
coffee 0.35
candy 0.05
cinch 1.25
tea 0.10
pencil 0.10
tomatoes 0.50
stamps 0.18
money order 0.20

July 25 – Passed through Carlan [Carlsen], Bolina [Bolive], and Clinton. Camped near Bonner. Camp # 68

Clinton, MT
Toll 2.00
feed 1.75
crackers .25
salt .20
axle grease .25

July 26 – Passed through Missoula, Frenchtown, and Huston. Camped at night by an old saw mill.

De Smet, MT
matches .10
S. Tobacco .10
Missoula, MT
syrup 0.50
butter 0.50
shoes 1.25
baking powder 0.25
salt 0.35
cheese 0.25

July 27 – Traveled until noon. Camped in P.M. by the Missoda [Missoula] River. Was nice all day.

July 28 – Was hot and dusty all day. Camped in P.M. by Missoda River.

July 29 – Passed through Superior, Montana. Was hot and dusty all day. Camped at night same.

Superior, MT
feed 3.60
meat 1.50
potatoes 1.00
cheese 0.80
sugar 0.50
baking powder 0.40
soup 0.25
calico 0.10
butter 0.50

July 30 – Traveled all day. Was nice all day.

ferry bill 5.00
shoes 1.50
skirt 0.75
pillow shams 0.35
stockings 0.95
guases 0.50
looking glass 0.50
overalls 0.40
buttons 0.10
needles 0.05
haipins [sic] 0.05

July 31 – Traveled about 2 miles on railroad track. Passed through DeBorga, Montana. Camped at night by the 4th crossing of the St. Regis River.

Aug. 1 – Traveled in the A.M. Camped all P.M. by the St. Regis River. Was nice. Traveled over some bad roads this day.

DeBorgia, MT
flour 1.75
overalls 0.75
coffee 0.30
baking powder 0.50

Aug. 2 – Passed through Mullan. Barney’s wagon upset in the St. Regis River, Broke nothing. Crossed the divide between Idaho and Montana. Camped 2 miles from Mullan.

Mullen [sic], Idaho
rice .25
milk .15
tomatoes .60
swamp root 1.00
bread 0.50
baking powder 0.30
molasses 1.40
butter 0.60
tobacco 0.50

Aug. 3 – Passed through Wallace, Osborn, and Wardner.

Aug. 4 – Went through Fourth of July canyon. Passed through Kingston.

Milo, Idaho
feed 2.75

Aug. 5 – Passed through Coeur De’ Alene, Idaho. Was hot and dusty all day. Camped on the Spokane River.

Aug. 6 – Passed through Post Falls and Trent station in Washington. Camped at noon by Spokane River, and at night 6 miles east of Spokane.

Cour d'Alene, Id. [sic]
coffee 0.45
sugar 0.50
meat 1.65
spuds 0.65
syrup 0.85
oil 0.10
onions 0.25
shoes 2.00
bonnet 0.25
fish 0.15
shoes 1.75
oranges 0.20
lard 0.55
butter 0.50
candy 0.05

Aug. 7 – Passed through Spokane; was nice all day. Camped at night 4 miles south of Chattaroy.

candy 0.20

Aug. 8 – Passed Chattaroy and Deer Park. Killed 3 grouse. Camped at night 1 mile from Deer Park.

Aug. 9 – Passed through Clayton. Saw Loon Lake. Was nice all day.

Aug. 10 – Passed through Chewelah, Washington, Camped at night 11 miles east of Colville Washington.

Aug. 11 – Passed through Colville. Camped at night by Indian Mission at Goodwin P.O. Washington.

Aug. 12 – Crossed the Columbia River on the ferry at Marcus, Wash. Was nice all day.

Aug. 13 – Passed Russell; crossed into Canada. Camped with Johnny Bull.

Aug. 14 – Passed through Cascade and Grandforks. Camped by Molson, Washington.

Aug. 15 – Passed through Carson and Nelson. Camped on the South fork of the Kettle River.

Aug. 16 – Passed through Midway. Camped at night 7 miles from Chesaw, Wash.

Aug. 17 – Camped all day 7 miles from Chesaw on account of rain.

Aug. 18 – Passed through Chesaw. Was cool all day. Camped about ½ mile from Elmer’s cabin.

Aug. 19 – Stayed until noon in the same place in the afternoon. Pulled into Elmer’s cabin.


Document history:

  1. Original diary transcribed by G. Evelyn Dimmitt, Goodland, Kansas.
  2. E. Dimmitt transcription re-transcribed by Ron Fletcher, Wenatchee, Washington.
  3. Fred Dimmitt expense log book transcribed by Ron Fletcher.
  4. E. Dimmitt transcription copied by Ruth E. Leslie, September 1967.
  5. Ruth E. Leslie copy re-copied by Irma E. McGuire, October 1, 1974.
  6. Irma McGuire copy re-copied by JoAnn Townsend, January 4, 2001.
  7. J. Townsend copy transcribed into Microsoft Word by Amanda Townsend, c July, 2004.
  8. Kris Townsend, using the Amanda Townsend and Ron Fletcher transcriptions, recreated the content here.

There are numerous discrepencies between the two transciptions derived from G. Evelyn Dimmitt's original transcription. The original diary needs to be found and digitally scanned.

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