EVENING BULLETIN – San Francisco, Calif.
the Montana Missourian
WALK FOR LIFE – Nine Days’ Tramp in the Snow Without Food (Richard
the winter of 1864, a party, headed by Bacon, the Elko County
expressman, started from Lewiston, Nez Perce County, Indian Territory,
for Elk City, a spur of the Rocky Mountains, whose altitude is not less
than 12,000 feet, through dense timber
Silverwood’s Mountain-house, no stopping place existed until 26 miles
were made over mountains to Newsome Creek.
In the party of some seven or eight was one Richard Wildan, a
Norwegian, well-known to the writer of this article.
He had the ill-luck to break a snowshoe and was advised to take
it back to Silverwood’s, as the party could not stop in the snow.
Believing he could go back by the plainly marked trail in the
snow and blazes on the trees for a guide, the others pushed on and
safely arrived at Elk City, and no fears were expressed regarding the
fate of Wildan, till seven days later a new party crossed the mountain,
and then it was ascertained that Wildan had not gone back.
a party was mustered, and on snow shoes started to find the lost man.
His trail was at last found and followed by the hardy pioneers in
search of him. On the ninth day he was found, still on foot, walking in
a circle on the hard-beaten trail of his own making, his feet badly
frozen, yet enclosed in the sleeves of his coat, which he had wrapped
thermometer showed nine degrees below zero, a great part of the time he
was struggling on his feet for life.
The party finding him saw that he was thoroughly crazy. On accosting him and asking if he was not hungry, he at once
replied no. He was fed on
pork and beans at a house not far back.
Not a trace could be found where he had sat down, not a sign of
where he could have taken rest; in fact, with the cold never less than
four degrees below zero, he never had walked again had he rested.
He was brought to Newsome Creek Station on the ninth night of
this wild, cold, unfed, cheerless walk into the deep snow – tenderly
cared for by Wall & Beard, keepers of that Station, and eventually
recovered so as to do a good season’s work with a pick and shovel.
In a mining camp called Ebon Water Station, sixteen miles below
Elk City camp. Mr. Wildan
was a man of about 108 pounds weight, short and stout.
this article is true in every respect, is easily to be proven.
L.P. Brown, Deputy United States Tax Collector, now of Mt. Idaho,
or Charles Frush, a clerk now in the Land Office of the Interior
Department, can vouch for the general truthfulness of this slight
sketch. Here is a case
where seven days of real walking took place without any refreshment or
selection of apparel – without cheer of any kind, and all for life.
Let fools prance on boards, stages, etc. Dick Wildan’s feat
will overshadow anything they can ever do.
I hope some representative man from Idaho will see this article,
and give the particulars more fully than is here done, although this is
a simple account in all truth given. Wildan and those who found him and cared for him should live
in history, and I hope he is still on his feet.