Antoine of Oregon - James Otis

Ash Hollow Post Office

Susan rode with me, as she had from the beginning of the journey. Nothing of note happened to us, unless I should set down that this day was stormy, and on that day the sun shone, until we came into the valley of the North Fork of the Platte, through a pass which is known as Ash Hollow.

There we drove down a dry ravine on our winding way to the river bottoms, stopping now and then to gather a store of wild currants and gooseberries which grew in abundance.

[Illustration] from Antoine of Oregon by James Otis

Near the mouth of the ravine we came upon a small log cabin, which had evidently been built by trappers, but the emigrants on their way into the Oregon country had converted it into a post office, by sticking here and there, in the crevices of the logs, letters to be forwarded to their friends in the States. Hung on the wall where all might see it, was a general notice requesting any who passed on their way to the Missouri River to take these missives, and deposit them in the nearest regular post office.

The little cabin had an odd appearance, and Susan confessed that, almost for the first time since leaving Independence, she was growing homesick, solely because of seeing this queer post office.

After crossing the stream we came upon a party of emigrants from Ohio, having only four wagons drawn by ten yoke of oxen, and driving six cows.

Truly it was a small company to set out on so long a march, and when the leader begged that they be allowed to join us, I could not object, understanding that unless the strangers had some one of experience to guide them, the chances were strongly against their arriving at the Columbia River.