DAYS 25-28 ......................................................................................................................................................... FROM LEES FERRY TO NEARLY TO CEDAR RIDGE

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Tanks (Day 28)

 September 29, 1884 - Bitter Spring to Cedar Ridge
Day 28 of 44 - Week 5 - (Day 2)
Bitter Spring to Cedar Ridge = 20 Miles: Total Miles = 479
Total trip Average Miles per Day =  17.1:  Average Miles per Day - Week 5 = 15

September 29 - 30

Original Journal Entry (Posted)
Monday Sep 29
Arose early and went back to Bitter Springs and watered the horses.  Hitched up and drove till about 2 0'clock - nooned on good feed - drove nearly to Ceder Ridge Seen 10 antelope but could not shoot any of them Killed 2 Rabets traveled about 20 miles. Some sand.

Final Journal Entry 
Sep. 29.  Took horses back to Bitter Springs for water - drove till 2 o'clock - nooned on good feed - drove nearly to Cedar Ridge - saw 10 antelopes - did not kill any - killed two rabbits -traveled 20 miles - some sand.

Note:  This was one of the most difficult posts to do.  I am still not exactly sure of all the places the pioneers stopped.  I will be reading other journals in the future for clarification.  This post should give a fairly good picture though.  There are some differences between the maps, journals, and highway posts.  Limestone Tank is a good example of maps differing from the journals.

Charles did not mention Tanner Well, Limestone Tank, or McClellan Tanks on his way to Cedar Ridge.  These locations will briefly be included here because they were included in some pioneer journals.   Possibly the Andersons did not need to stop at any of these places as they had sufficient water, or Charles just did not mention the names where they stopped.

Bitter Spring to Cedar Ridge = 20 Miles
Bitter Springs, the springs is on why 89A; the town is on hwy 89

Tanner's Well was about four miles from Bitter Springs.  The springs are on highway 89A, and you cross over to highway 89 to Bitter Springs, the town.

Tanner's Well

The pioneers would have passed by this area. There were inscriptions down the wash.

Bitter Spring Baptist Church
(tank and cottonwood tree are  in the background)

tank, windmill, and cottonwood tree just off road
trough near the tank

inscriptions at Tanner's Well

North of  the tank on the other side of the wash are several inscriptions.  I haven't identified for sure the people behind these inscriptions.   The names as near as I can tell are:
John Gibbons Apr 6, 1885
H C MacDonald Apr 6, 1885
C ? Curtis  1879
R Clark ? 1878  ::    RTK

The Charles Curtis Family family came to Arizona in 1877.  The Curtis inscription may have been made by somebody in that family, or even Charles Curtis on a trip by there in 1879.  At present it hasn't been determined which Curtis inscribed his name. MacDonald and Gibbons from families who traveled the Pioneer trail, but am not sure who these particular people were.  Clark or RTK are not  known either.  Hopefully further research will reveal who these people were.

When Sharlot Hall, Arizona Territorial History, passed by here on her 1911 trip she said:
"Near the upper end of the valley where the hills on the left hand run into a regular canyon wall we watered the horses at Tanner's Well.  It is a pool scraped out a few feet deep so the horses could walk down an incline to the water which is better with some mineral which we were told is arsenic.  The well looked like a corner of Palestine and there were some ruins of small stone houses near and old, forgotten names scratched on the cliffs and boulders.  The Mormon emigrants had made many a camp here and before them some prehistoric people had left figures scratched on the same cliffs." Diary of Sharlot Hall, Pg. 45.

Limestone Tank ?

Minnie Brown, the wife of George Brown, gave many interesting detail along the trail.  Details we don't get anyplace else. It is great the have the perspective of both men and women along the trail. Here account is especially relevant to this story because the Browns were just a few days behind the Andersons on the trail in 1884.  The Browns would later catch up with them, and arrive in St. Johns before them.

Minnie Brown said they stopped at Limestone Tank.  Here she said, "There lived a veteran of the Civil War.  We had to buy our water here, so we stayed all night.  We met many sheep herds and their herders were Indian boys."

Minnie Brown then said: "The next watering place was just holes in the rocks that had been filled with the rain.  The water was bitter and green...... We didn't stay long as the water was even unfit for the horses to drink....... We traveled very late that night and it was 10 P.M before we made camp.  Wood was plentiful so we soon had supper and were happy to rest."  They were especially concerned about water at this time because:  "A child of Mrs. Brown's had loosened the tap on their barrel and wasted the water, so that we had to share with them."

Bishop Roundy (1876) said:  "Drove to Limestone Tanks, nine miles (from Bitter Springs) and nooned; found plenty of good water in upper tank.

John Tate (1880) "Traveled 14 miles to Limestone tanks (from Cedar Ridge)........1/2 mile  from the road, watered horses, dinner and drove on 9 miles to Bitter spring." (going the other direction)

"Nine miles beyond Bitter Springs over a similar road were the Limestone Tanks where rain collected in pockets to afford a scanty supply of water."  (Take Up Your Mission, Charles S. Peterson).

James S. Brown (1875) "Pass on to the Limestone Tank and did not get to camp till after dark; clear cold water."

McClellan Tanks

Minnie Brown said: "When we got to McClellan Fork (Tanks?), we found a man camped there with a herd of horned stock.  The owner was a Mr. Bushman from Salt Lake County.  We had to pay for water at this camp.  Mr. Bushman would not understand how we had overtaken him for we were not due at this watering place for two or three days.  We told him we had crossed the Colorado the day we arrived and that we had traveled late at night.  Mr. Bushman spoke to the caretaker and told him to let us fill our barrels in the morning so we could get started ahead of him.  They guarded the stock all night so that they wouldn't drink the water.  We had eleven horse in our company who liked to drink, too; so, we went up just before daylight.  Mr Bushman had to wait until the tanks filled again.  As we pulled away he shouted, "Don't let me overtake you"."

Charles Anderson said they "Drove nearly to Cedar Ridge."  They could have camped near McClellan Tanks, but no mention was made of them actually going there.

The Anderson family saw 10 antelope but did not kill any instead they killed two rabbits.

Charles saw 10 antelope
McClellan Tanks to Cedar Ridge

Cedar Ridge

old post office at Cedar Ridge near Highway 89
Cedar Ridge cedar

"The little cedars on the ledges look like ornamental plants and a dark fringe of piñon hangs over the top of the farthest cliff line.  On the left low hills of red and white sandstone are broken by dozens of deep, short canyons and covered with scrubby cedar and piñon." Shalot Hall, Pg. 44.

Impressions of the country along the trail were many.  Examples include:

"Nature herself built the walls around this treasure vault and it is not strange that she has kept her secrets so well.  This whole plateau will one day be a playground for the nation-a playground unique in its grandeur and offering attractions not to be found anywhere else in the world."

Shallot Hall (1911)

However, it did not always appear that way to those who first went to settle that land but returned:

"This is the worst country, I ever saw.  It is composed of rock and sand with very little water.  What there is, is full of alkaline...timber, game grass, and all facilities for building settlements are very scarce.  It is more like desert than anything else."  Horton Haight (1873)

"Barren and forbidding, although doubtless the Lord had a purpose in view when He made it so."  Henry Holmes (1873)

Yes the Lord did have a purpose.  An inscription at Willow Spring said, "Praise him for his goodness and his wonderful works."

WORKS" (PSALMS 107:31)
This scripture and over 150 names are inscribed at Willow Springs, the next stopping place, on the trip to Arizona in 1884.


  1. What a wonderful blog! Thanks for sharing Grant. Many of my Perkins ancestors took this trail originally in settling AZ and then returning to the temple via the Honeymoon Trail so it is wonderful to be able to visually retrace their journeys through your blog. Thanks for your efforts and for sharing. Ann

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