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9 May 1845: On the banks of the Missouri River

We left early this morning. Uncle Luke brought his wagon round to our cabin last night, all packed and ready to go. Mama cried a little bit. It is so sad to have to leave friends you have made, although we haven’t been in Independence very long.

Mama and Aunt Marie sat with me and Annabelle in the back of Papa’s wagon for much of the morning, until we stopped to cook some breakfast. Afterwards Mama and I took turns riding up front with Papa, and Aunt Marie rode with Uncle Luke.

The weather has been beautiful. The birds are all out and singing, and the spring is just lovely. We saw some Indians on the other side of the river, and a few barges moving downstream.

We stopped the wagons in the late afternoon about 3 o’clock according to Uncle Luke’s watch. Papa says it’s best to stop early enough to set up camp before dark.

There are several other children on the journey besides Annabelle and me. Eva is closest to me in age. She is eleven. Her sister Barbara is twelve and Peter is fourteen. Little Tommy is five. There are some older boys, Liam and Jean, who are both about fifteen. They pronounce Jean more like John because it’s French. Mama speaks French, so I have learned how to say a few things.

Now, Mama has called for dinner, so I must say adieu, dear diary.