Grand Canyon History
(From The Great Unknown, The Journals of the Historic First Expedition Down the Colorado River, John Cooley, 1998)
John Wesley Powell, Commanding
Frank Goodman left after Disaster Falls, went to Indian Agency
Billy Hawkins - trapper, may have been fugitive
Walter Powell, JWPs brother, "Old Shady"
John Colton Sumner proprietor of trading post at Hot Springs, in Middle
Journals kept on the river George Bradley, Billy Hawkins
Written later John W. Powell, John Sumner
May 24 August 30, 1869 (71 days duration)
(Page # in parentheses)
- Powell seems almost oblivious to personnel concerns during the trip
- Sumner states that the trip was originally his idea. . (pg. 20)
- Powell was originally going to go down the Grand to the Colorado, but the
completion of the Railroad to Green River, UT changed his mind. (22)
- Hawkins account, 7/24: "I can say one thing truthfully about the Major
that no man living was ever thought of more by his men up to the time
he wanted to drive Bill Dunn from the party (see Hawkins account of Late July,
attached). I have written only once here a few facts on things that happened
on the Colorado expedition. There is no revenge in my heart. With the best
of feelings toward the Major, I have written this because I think his Report
is somewhat lacking. I am willing to do more by him than he ever did by any
of us men. I am willing to call him a brave and daring leader, but I do not
think the boys who left the party, the Howland brothers and Bill Dunn, under
the circumstances herein mentioned, deserve to be branded as cowards. I do
not wish to cast any discredit on Major Powells Report or upon his memory
of the Colorado expedition. But in justice to Dunn and the Howland brothers
I must say that the account in the Report which accuses them of cowardice
is entirely wrong, and that it was made to cover up the real cause of their
- Animosity between Powell and George Dunn and the Howlands may have begun
with the loss of the No Name at Disaster falls. (39)
- Powells account was one day behind Bradleys and Sumners
from June 8-19. (54)
- Bradley, 7/11: lost a rifle, leaves but seven left. Emma Dean swamps, gear
falls out of the open compartment. Powells life preserver now owned
by the Smithsonian. (99)
- Sumner, 7/11: "broke many oars, and most of the Ten Commandments."
- Bradley, 7/26: "another day wasted foolishly." Powell wanted
to climb mountains out of a side canyon. Other started after pitching camp,
but it was too hot. (121)
- Sumner, 7/28: Some panned for gold. "Placer" gold found at least
to Paria River (Lees Ferry). "High grade, but very fine and hard
to save." (127)
- Hawkins says no one liked Capt. (Walter) Powell. He had a "bull dozing
- 8/3: Reach Crossing of the Fathers, 39 mi. above Lees Ferry.
- 8/4: Paria R.- Lees Ferry, est. 1872 by John D. Lee. Many milling
Stones. Ancient Fort on small butte near crossing. Many pots and old camps.
(138) ed. A ring of rocks still exists on a low butte.
- 8/8: Redwall Cavern. Marble Canyon is 65 miles long. Walls at head = 200
ft., at foot = 3,500.
- 8/9: Vast number of caves and alcoves. Vaseys Paradise fountains
from the wall. (George Vasey accompanied Powell on his Rocky Mt. Exploring
and Scientific Expedition, summer of 1869.
- 8/10: Reach Little Colorado ("Flax River). A "disgusting stream,"
muddy and salty. They walk up 5 mi. Old Indian camps and worn paths seen.
(The Little Colorado drains most of NE Arizona and part of New Mexico.) The
group traveled here to Virgin River in 18 days (217 miles).
- 8/14: Minute Gun Falls probably Hance Rapids. Peculiar sound at intervals
of about 10 sec.
- 8/15: Reach "Silver Creek," (Named Bright Angel, probably to contrast
with the Dirty Devil named earlier. "Moqui" ruins Anasazi,
whose descendents are Pueblo and Hopi.
- They always measured the descent of the river, and height of cliffs and
rock formations with barometers. These were in bad shape by this time.
- Sumner, 8/13: Encountered granite (schist) for the first time, probably
at bottom of Unkar, Mile 11. "Grand Canyon" first appeared on a
railroad map in 1868. Sumner says Powell was going to name it after him "if
he ever got through."
- Sumner: Major Powell spent the following day geologizing, as he was a nuisance
in the work of portaging. His imperious orders were not appreciated. We had
troubles enough with him. There was another spat between the Major and Howland
at this point."
- Sumner, 8/21: Rapid with a fall of 30 ft. in 300 yds. Possibly Dubendorf
rapid, which is difficult in low water.
- Bradley, 8/22: It rained all day, so they pitched tents, "which may
prevent it from raining tonight."
- 8/23: Pass stream on right, most certainly Deer Creek Falls, which is quite
visible from the river.
- 8/26: They take squashes from and Indian garden (probably at the mouth of
Whitman Wash, Mile 188. Pictographs were found there.)
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