Submitted by scott on Tue, 02/21/2017 - 12:54

Beyond Kennekuk we crossed the first Grasshopper Creek. Creek, I must warn the English reader, is pronounced "crik," and in these lands, as in the jargon of Australia, means not "an arm of the sea," but a small stream of sweet water, a rivulet; the rivers of Europe, according to the Anglo-American of the West, are "criks." On our line there are many grasshopper creeks; they anastomose with, or debouch into, the Kansas River, and they reach the sea via the Missouri, and the Mississippi. This particular Grasshopper was dry and dusty up to the ankles; timber clothed the banks, and slabs of sandstone cumbered the sole. Our next obstacle was the Walnut Creek, which we found, however, provided with a corduroy bridge; formerly it was a dangerous ford, rolling down heavy streams of melted snow, and then crossed by means of the "bouco" or coracle, two hides sewed together, distended like a leather tub with willow rods, and poled or paddled. At this point the country is unusually well populated; a house appears after every mile. Beyond Walnut Creek a dense nimbus, rising ghost-like from the northern horizon, furnished us with a spectacle of those perilous prairie storms which make the prudent lay aside their revolvers and disembarrass themselves of their cartridges. Gusts of raw, cold, and violent wind from the west whizzed overhead, thunder crashed and rattled closer and closer, and vivid lightning, flashing out of the murky depths around, made earth and air one blaze of living fire. Then the rain began to patter ominously upon the carriages; the canvas, however, by swelling, did its duty in becoming water-tight, and we rode out the storm dry. Those learned in the weather predicted a succession of such outbursts, but the prophecy was not fulfilled. The thermometer fell about 6 F and a strong north wind set in, blowing dust or gravel, a fair specimen of "Kansas gales," which are equally common in Nebraska, especially during the month of October. It subsided on the 9th of August.

Arriving about 1 AM at Locknan's Station, a few log and timber huts near a creek, well feathered with white oak and American elm, hickory, and black walnut, we found beds and snatched an hourful of sleep. 


Burton, Richard. 1861. The City Of The Saints. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts.