Letter from Ephraim Cranston to His Brother, Chris Cranston – and Relatives in Woodstock, OH from Lebanon, OR After Arrival. November 23, 1851

Lebanon, OR – Marion Co. Nov 23, 1851

Dear friends and relatives. We are all here and well every one of us. It has been almost two years since we have seen each other. I should be glad to see you all but in all probability we shall never see each other again in this world. The distance is wide between us. After we left Laramie, we continued our march over mountains and plains and changing scenery without interruption until we came to the desert on Greenwoods cutoff as it is sometimes called. I was taken sick with the mountain fever occasioned most I think by putting on thin clothing the weather had been very warm, but here we had hard frost in the latter part of June while sick some of my oxen died of fatigue. I would not go through the cutoff should I ever go this trip again. Ronianna had the cough fever on Snake River. The children had good health the entire route. Her sickness and mine detained us some on the Cascade mountains. We had a cold rain storm which turned to snow the night after we descended them chilling many cattle and horses to death. The weather before for a long time had been very fine. The rain in the mountains was the first we had had since leaving Laramie. West of the Rocky Mountains we had no dew even from Laramie to the Cascade mountains. It is barren over plains interrupted occasionally with here and there a fertile spot or rugged mountains as far as I saw. The soil in the Cascade mountains in places is extremely rich and could you see the dense forest you would believe all that had been said or written about the talk. Hemlock Fir Pine or Cedar timber in Oregon. Or could you see the tall Pine here it would be sights to you. I faced an old down tree in the mountains which was over 100 paces and long over at that. The people are all well here but Roxanna she is homesick or sick of her home. I have seen but one sick person here and he was about had the ague. The soil in this place is better than I expected to find. It will compare favorably with the best I ever saw anywhere. It is of such a dark chocolate color and very mellow and is covered with a rich coat of grass and is now green and growing. It resembles the blue grass.  We have had as yet ut two frosts and one of them was very light. The cattle are all good beef but those which have come through the season and they are thriving as fast as yours are in June in the best of pasture. Wheat grows here almost of itself. The wheat we have used was the third crop from our sowing. Oats and potatoes frequently grow in the same way. All sorts of vegetables grow well. Fruit trees also do well. I saw an apple on a tree not much larger than a ___ which and so on our tree no larger than a chair post. I have seen some peach trees but 8 years old quite full of peaches.  I have the certificate of deposit you sent  me the receipt you gave Timothy Davenport at never got. He lost it. We are now living on our own land. I want you to close the business with the Mill Creek folks as soon as possible and all the money in your hands should you not want it put it at interest which it can be got at the shortest notice for when the people here get things, I shall want to buy as I can’t hold but own a half section of land under the donation act. The land is all claimed here but very little improved. You will please forward to Dr. Barly the subscription price of his paper with with my P.O. and request him to send it to me. It seems you have all forgot since as none have written to me nothing soon. Write all the news. I should be glad to hear from you all often.

I am your


E. Cranston

PS – Since writing the above we have had two light frosts and one light snow in the morning which disappeared very early in the day. The weather has been showery. We are all still well have ween well since we have been here.

I got all my horses through but young bess she died on Snake river with some disease. We got all of our heifers and cows here and 20 oxen. The four mares are worth here $800. The 31 head of cattle are worth her $90 per head at present but cattle prices are expected to fall. They can be raised here cheaper than any place I ever saw.


E. Cranston

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