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Historic Diaries: Marsh, 1834

Moral Dilemma on the Des Moines

Editor's Note:

It was a common practice to rise early, travel during the cool of the morning, and rest during the heat of the day. The journey would then resume in the hours before the sunset.


Since Indian women performed most of the manual labor, the illness of his guide's wife was a significant concern.



26th July

Fri. eve. had a high fever after I lay down to rest, which lasted a considerable [part] of the night and prevented me from sleeping much. This morn (Sat.) felt tolerably well and before sunrise were on our march. Weather very warm during the day, but my umbrella was an excellent protection against the heat.


Che-moak-a-pin's wife very sick and unable to assist in working the canoe.


Felt unpleasantly, in view of the manner in which I must pass the approaching Sabbath. If I stop, the Indians will hunt all day and this will probably annoy me; but if I tell them they must not, then they will expect me to pay them for their time which I have not the means of doing. And I cannot leave them, as I am in a wilderness and cannot get along with my luggage should I let them go on. In view of these things I have concluded to keep on and spend the time in reading and devout meditation and pray when opportunity might offer.


In the eve about 5 o'clock we encamped under a bluff and I spread my mat etc under the shade of a bass wood tree, and rested quietly during the night.




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