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#7. This next letter was written by William M. Tigard and was sent to Eli and Mary Boyd of Washington County, AR.  The letter describes his terrible journey on the Oregon Trail in 1852.  The letter is significant to our family because it tells the story of two daughters of Luke Standifer.   Luke, son of William and Jemima Jones Standifer, had farmed in Marion County, TN until 1830 at which time he moved to Arkansas with his family.  He married Jemima Butcher January 15, 1815 in Marion County, TN.  Luke fared well in Arkansas and at the age of 65, he decided to join a wagon train and migrate to Oregon.   He equipped an ox wagon and left Washington County, AR and four of his children joined him on this trip and, apparently, it was uneventful and Luke and his children settled in Oregon in 1851.  One year later, another wagon train left Arkansas for Oregon and his other two daughters and their families joined that party to join their parents in Oregon. Unfortunately, this trip was disastrous. Luke's daughters were Sarah Standifer (b. October 14, 1818 in Marion Co., TN) and her husband, David Harer.  Sarah and David were married April 4, 1843 in Washington Co., AR.  Her sister, Jane (Mary), [b. abt 1831 in AR] had married James C. Harer on April 9, 1851 in Washington Co., AR.  

This is their story:

Dear Relatives,

It is through the mercies of Almighty God that I am permitted to make an attempt to let you know that we are alive and enjoying the best of health at the present time and I hope these bad written lines will find you all enjoying the same like blessings.

Our journey was long and perilous lasting over six months.  I will tell you of some of our troubles, sufferings and misfortunes. Grass was scarce all the way.  Our cattle began to give out and a great many died.  My teams all died except three steers and one cow.  Jackson lost all but one steer.  James Galbreath lost all his teams except four steers and one cow.  We left two of our wagons and every other thing that we could possibly do without and went on in one wagon.

After leaving Green River we came to the worst mountains that a wagon ever traveled over.  Before we left our wagons Craig and his wife had died.   Craig died four days after his wife.  It seemed that everything was against us.

By this time our provisions were nearly gone.  I was taken sick with Mountain Fever and came very near dying.  We were over five weeks without bread.   We had to kill our own cattle and eat them without bread or salt.

I will now tell you about the deaths in our group.  Hufmaster and wife Minerva are both dead.  JAMES HARER AND WIFE MARY STANDEFER AND BABY are dead.   Craig's child also died.  Uncle Enos is dead.  John Harer and wife and youngest child is dead. James Crawford's baby is dead.  The baby of DAVID HARER AND WIFE SARAH STANDEFER is dead.

Samuel Harer has been at the point of death but is on the mend.  I think they have not reached the STANDEFERS yet!  Nelson's little girl got shot by pulling or moving a gun as she got in the wagon.  Evan Harer's child is dead.   Nancy a sight to look at.  Jacob Rushe's widow and little girl are dead.   There were a great many deaths in the Enan's Route Company too.

................So no more at present but remain your affectionate grandson and granddaughter, till death. 

Signed, William M. Tigard.

* The original letter can be found at the Archives of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR.

** In 1861, David Harer took his cattle and sheep to Walla Walla, Washington where in 1864 he opened the first meat market in that area.  In 1872, he sold the market to devote his full time to raising livestock.   He became one of the largest cattlemen in the Northwest.  He built Peacock Flour Mill at Milton, Oregon.  His son John entered the business with Luke.   John trailed as many as 20,000 head of sheep to Rawlings, Wyoming where his Uncle Frank owned a large cattle ranch.  This was the nearest railroad where livestock could be shipped to the eastern coast.  (From: Standefer, etc. A Family History by Harry Standefer)

If you have a comment regarding this letter, I will post it here!

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