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Sunday, March 31, 1850

Today is Easter Sunday. Generally, pioneers rested on the Sabbath (Sunday) and did not travel. John and Jake are camped at a farm, about 5 miles (8 km) west of Macomb, Illinois, and the owner has invited them to his house for dinner. Today’s post describes in detail that interesting Easter Day, and how some hogs made off with some of their food (grub) while they were away from the wagon.

Stopping Point: 5 miles west of Macomb, Illinois
Approximate Miles Traveled: 0 (did not travel this day)
GPS Latitude: 40° 26.484′ N; Longitude: 90° 48.047′ W

Sunday Evenig March 31 st – this morning we waked up rather Late on account of having to good a bed to sleep on. but as it is the sabboth day, men were not in a hurry, we Cooked our Breakfast and then shaved washed, and cleaned up, all things, to order this day has been rather a dull day, Being Easter, to, Mr Stickels is the mans name that owns the Farm we are stoping on now he very kindly invited, us to his house and take dinner with him, we concluded that it would save our cooking at Home Therefore we thanked him very kindly, and accepted the Invitation. Being Easter we had plenty of Eggs and a first rate dinner, after which I sat down at the Reading table and among the Books I found a Singing Book (Carmina Sacra) I inquired if any of them sing, (as I thought it a good way to pass off the day) some of them soon replyed they did, a little, soon all hands got to singing, and Just as I had got in my most mellodious strains of music, a little Boy came running into the door, and said that the Hogs were rooting at our tent. Jake started first before he reached the Tent the Hoggs had Eat all our provisions which was not much, half Loaf of Bread, 1 peck of potatoes and Twelve or Fourteen lbs Ham, so all we had Left was a Prarie Chicken that Jake shot Yesterday, so we did not make much by dining with our good old methodist Friend, next me and my good Old Friend started for methodist meeting of 1 1/4 mile walked, and Heard a Real Old Fashioned sermon and did not see a ___ ___ ___ and then footed it home (I call my Tent Home) now the next was our grub again. I called on the Old Man for a few of the substantials, got a Ham & some Bread. this Evening we had Coffee, Bread & our Prarie Chicken stewed, and went fine now ready to go to Bed- Looks very much like rain

Catching up with his previous three days' diary entries:

Stopping Point: 1 mile west of Canton, Illinois
Approximate Miles Traveled: 15
GPS Latitude: 40° 33.495′ N; Longitude: 90° 02.897′ W

March 28 – we Camped for the first time 1 mile west of Canton, had Ham Bread & water for supper and went Glorious fine for we were most darned Hungry this day we had rather a better time of it than Yesterday {Commenced on a ham 17 lbs-}

Stopping Point: At Burnedott, Illinois
Approximate Miles Traveled: 20
GPS Latitude: 40° 24.206′ N; Longitude: 90° 19.232′ W

March the 29 – Last Knight we slept on the ground was rather an unpleasant Knight Cloudy Threatening rain & cold, this morning, Opened very fine, the sun Rose in its brightest Hugh and not a cloud was to the seen, the birds seemed to rejoice singing and Chirping in Every direction a mor Lovely morning I never beheld, Especially when, we were taking our breakfast on  the Trunk of an Old Oak, It would have been amusing to you to have seen us taking our grub, It Consisted of  Ham, Coffee & Bread a little Better than Last Knight, this Evening we had Ham Eggs Bread & Coffee done up Brown and went very fine, we had a very Fine day and are now camped at Burnedott, Traveled First day Only 10 miles second day 15 miles and To day 20-. Looks a little Like rain

About 1835 the term “seeing the elephant” became popular in this country. It certainly was metaphorical (since there were no elephants living in the wild in America) and conveyed various meanings. In the context of the westward migration, it generally meant to “experience things larger than one has ever experienced”, “to see profound things”, “to encounter the hardest of circumstances along the trail”. Hopefully this will help make sense of posts using the term, “seeing the elephant”.

Stopping Point: 5 miles west of Macomb, Illinois
Approximate Miles Traveled: 35
GPS Latitude: 40° 26.484′ N; Longitude: 90° 48.047′ W

March 30th – waked up this morning very Comfortable, Looked Like rain. Cloudy and gloomy about 9 o’clock it Cleared up and sun shone bright as Ever, We Traveled about 35 miles to day, and a fine time we had, Lots of fun, It is amusing to see the natives run to the road to see the Elephant. Old men, women, Girls & Boys, when they see us coming if it is a half mile off across their fields,  they shinet to the road helter skelter, little fellows falling down others stumbling over them, Hurra boys the Elephant the Elephant they Cry, this Evening we are camped in Modonaugh County about 5 miles west of Mc Comb at a good Ol Pennsylvania Farm House, are going to stop till monday morning, This Evening we had Ham, Eggs, Potatoes, Bread, and Coffee- we now have a little stove Just weighs 11½ lb with all the cooking utensils, and it is very Comfortable, in our tent this evening  the stove makes it so warm that we have to open the tent and let out the heat, so let it rain or shine and we are at home my hat full of wood will cook our meals vituals, this Evening we have straw to sleep on and now it is bed time Jake let us turn in.

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