DAILY EVENING BULLETIN – San Francisco, Calif.

November 12, 1875

News from the Montana Missourian

A WALK FOR LIFE – Nine Days’ Tramp in the Snow Without Food (Richard Wildan)

During 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

Leaving 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.

Immediately 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 about them.

The 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.

That 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.







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