In May 1880, the families of Benjamin and Susan Clizer, John and Nancy Clizer and and their sister Sarah (Sallie) Clizer headed out to the Northwest Territory from Missouri. See Oregon Trail map at bottom of this page. They crossed the great plains in a train of 110 wagons. The journey took nearly 3 months. They started out three times before finally making the trip. They were turned back once because of uprisings in the Black Hills and once because of the measles. Some of John and Benjamin Clizer's daughters had to wear boys clothing and keep their hair up under their hats so that the Indians would think they were boys and not kidnap them. Click on link for a close-up of the Oregon Trail map.

They crossed the plains of Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado. They were recorded in the 1880 Federal Census at Ft. Laramie. From Ft. Laramie, they travelled northwest through the Rockies of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. See Oregon Trail map below this page. They finally settled in eastern Washington around Tekoa, Farmington and Latah in south eastern Washington. See map of Whitman County link below. The towns of Tekoa, Farmington and Latah appear in upper right corner. The picture below here on the right give you an idea on what the interior looked like on one of these prairie schooners / covered wagons.



Sarah Clizer was born in Page County, Virginia and moved to Andrew County, Missouri with her family in 1847. She later moved west with her two brothers John and Benjamin Clizer in 1880.

This letter was written to her brother and sister in Missouri (Joshua and Mildred)....

Latah, W.T.
December 18, 1883
Dear brother & Sister,
After a long delay, I have seated myself to answer your kind letter which came to hand sometime last Spring. I kept putting it off writing from time to time until it seemed that I would never write. But a great desire to hear from you and an unwillingness that the new year shall find me so delinquent. We have had a beautiful fall and winter up to this time, health of the country is good. Scarlet fever in some localities. Considerable excitement prevails in consequence of the new discovery of new gold mines in the Coeur d'Alene mountains about 80 miles from us. Several of our neighbors have been over and taken claims and returned to wait for Spring. I don't know if William will go or not.
Our country is improving very fast. We have a little town starting about two miles from us - some very substantial buildings going up, a grist mill, dry goods store, livery, blacksmith shop and restaurant. Emigrants are continually coming in since the completion of the North Pacific Railroad. Sue's cousin, Billy Fix, came through about a month ago; there were 9 in his family. They have bought property in Spokane Falls. John and Ben's family are all well and do not regret coming west. Richard was to see us not long since; he was an engineer in a grist mill in Farmington. Charlie is with Anna's husband in a drug store post office and are said to be making money fast. Anna has another girl a few weeks old. Bettie was at Anna's when I heard from there last. Malissa has not been down. They have another girl, a real pretty girl.
Well Christmas is almost here. We are to have a grand Christmas tree in our new town (Latah). I haven't seen the programme. I am notified that I am expected to read an essay, so will have to rack my brain and do the best I can. The children are in great glee wondering what will be on the tree. Thursday after Christmas, we will begin a protracted meeting at our congregation. I think we will have a good meeting. Tell Edith that Alice was very proud to get a letter from her and began to answer it several times but would then say they were not good enough to send. Her health has been poor for some time, she say's to tell edith she will write her a long letter when she gets well.
I will give you some of our prices - pork, 7 cents lb., Beef, 6 cent lb., Butter, 40 to 50 cents lb., eggs, 35 to 40 cents, wheat, 70 cents a bushel and Oats, 72 cents, good Milk cows cost $50.
I forgot to tell you that we had taken a little boy to raise. He is four years old and he went with us into town today and he wanted a doll so the clerk put up a little blackeyes doll for him. Alice and Ann are dressing it up for him tonight. His mother dies on the plains; we have had him nearly a year. I often think of you all and wish I could see you all. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and if we are not permitted to meet each other again on earth, let us live so we may meet in the great beyond, and please excuse me for being so intellegibly, but you can gather enough fromit to see that we and the children join me in much love to you all. Kiss the children for their Aunt Sallie. Goodnight from your loving sister.
Sallie M. Gibbons