Saturday March 30, 1850
Stopping Point: 5 miles west of Macomb, Illinois
Approximate Miles Traveled: 35
GPS Latitude: 40° 26.484′ N; Longitude: 90° 48.047′ W
Introduction to this post: 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 carried varied meanings. In the context of the westward immigration it generally means 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”.
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