Charles Hinman, a forty-niner from Peoria, remembers his faithful dog
submitted by Janine Crandell

 

 

Charles Hinman, a forty-niner from Peoria, Illinois, recorded the actions of his dog Chum in his letters home:

May 3, 1849—Chum is quite a favorite.

June 17—Chum keeps fat. I have seen a great many dead dogs by the way and am told that but few live to travel over 600 miles, but I don’t allow Chum to run about. I tie him under the wagon every night.

July 20—Chum keeps fat but can’t stand it long without water, but I shall provide for him.

October 7—Chum had a hard time on a desert of 70 miles. He lay down to die one night and howled for some time. I tried to coax him along, but he would not get up. We had but 12 miles further to go til we would find water. I took about a pint (the last we had) and carried it back 1-1/2 miles to him, which so revived him that he got along 7 miles further, when he lay down again. Howled and whined, but would not come along. I begged a pint of water of Jackman for him which gave him strength to get through.

Chum finished the trek, only to be lost later in California.

February 17, 1850—I have lost Chum. I loaned him to Holland and when he went to the City, he lost him. I was very sorry. He was so good a guard. He would not let any one come round in the night nor an Indian in the day time. I still hope to find him.

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