Many emigrants journals and diaries from the 1840s to 1860s mention experiences such as; "nooning," camping for the night, crossing over, or burying a loved one on the banks of Rawhide Creek. Of these experiences, death and disease were common. It's been estimated that there is an average of ten graves to every mile along the emigrant trails. The top five causes were; unclean water, poor food preparation, chilly night watches, sleeping on cold or wet ground, months of exhausting toil, and diseases - measles, whooping cough, fever, cholera, and dysentery.
In September, 1862, Ezra Francis Martin recorded that his wife Sophia and young daughter Esther Jane died. The wagon train continued on until it reached Rawhide Creek where the wagon master permitted time for her to be laid to rest. Before breaking camp the next morning , two other children were also buried along the steam bank.
For most emigrants, once on the trail, there were no markets, no doctors, no laws, and no second chances. Until they reached the trail's end, the pioneers were on their own.
(Journal entries, side-bar at bottom, left)
Many explores, emigrants, and pioneers kept diaries or journals of their 4-5 month trek across the prairies and mountains that provided us with insight into their experiences.
Heber C. Kimball, Monday May 31, 1847 - "We traveled till a quarter to 7 and then formed our encampment on the east bank of a shoal stream about 10 feet wide, and is doubtless the "Raw Hide" as stated by Mr. Grosclaude.
William Clayton, Tuesday, June 1, 1847 - "At nine o'clock we pursued our journey, the stream we passed over is called by Grosclaude: "The Raw Hide."
Thomas Bullock May 31, 1847 - "A very fine day, clear sky. Gathered up cattle & started at 8:10 over a barren country yet abounding with Prickly Pears. I was taken very sick with Auge and Fever, & was obliged to relinquish driving my team to Conrad Klineman... we camped on "Raw Hide Creek" In the evening Doctor administered a Lobelia Emetic & attended me through the operation.
Ezra Francis Martin, September 2, 1862 - "the company crossed sand hills, the wind blew and it was cold - no fire and no supper. Sophia (Martin's wife) is sick and full of pain.
September 11, 1862 - "Esther Jane Martin (daughter of Ezra and Sophia Martin) age 1 1/2 years died with a slight convulsion about twenty miles east of Laramie. Teamsters finally permitted time to bury her at Rawhide Creek 12 miles east of Fort Laramie.