The main one is A Year in the Great Republic volume 2 of 2.  Emily Katherine (sic) Bates.  London: Ward and Downey 1887.  I refer to this in the text as GR1.

Twenty years after the trip, Kat published a kind of spiritualist memoir, Seen and Unseen.  Emily Katherine (sic) Bates.  London: Greening and Co.  1907.  In it she added more information on the seances she had been to during the Year, and the spiritualists she had met.  I refer to this in the text as S/U.

Kat’s own source: on GR2 p1 she warns travellers not to put too much faith in statements made in Appleton’s Guide.  Perhaps she put too much faith in her own!  Kat’s most likely to have been using Appleton’s General Guide to the US and Canada, issued every year from 1879 to 1901; and its specialist guide to the North East of the USA, issued yearly from 1853.  However she might also have been able to pick up a copy of the 1876 guide to the American cities and the 1877 guide to winter resorts; and there was a specialist guide to the US south and south-west, published 1882. 

Source: wikipedia on Appleton’s Guides, which were published from as early as the 1840s by the firm D Appleton and Co of New York.  The firm began by issuing railway guides but in 1848 it issued its first tourist handbook.  The 1848 handbook only covered the USA but Appleton and Co later published guides to Canada, Europe and Latin America. 



Kat Bates was born in 1846, the youngest child of a Church of England cleric.  Both her parents had died by the time she was 10.  When she was 25 she inherited enough of an income to make her financially independent.  She was already widely travelled by 1885 but had never ventured quite so far, or for so long, before.  She was ready to rough it if necessary, and for a particular end in view, but she wasn’t really a pioneer.  She usually stayed in hotels; with friends or relations; or with people she had a letter of introduction to.  She isn’t good on dates!


For more on Kat’s life see my life-by-dates files. 



It seems astonishing to me but Kat had met the woman she calls Miss Greenlow only a short time before the two of them set out for the United States and Canada.  The trip was of the kind that can put a strain on any friendship: they were intending to be away for twelve months, and to travel in the relatively remote parts of the western states, as well as the sophisticated north east.  At least when they set out, Miss Greenlow knew very little about Kat’s past and was not acquainted with most of her friends.  However, they seem to have survived the experience with their friendship intact, due in large part, I think, to Miss Greenlow’s “very self-contained and unemotional”, phlegmatic character.  Miss Greenlow was, like Kat, a woman of independent means; I think those means were rather larger than Kat’s although their difference in income doesn’t seem to have caused problems between them.

Source: GR1 p199, p205; S/U p22, p26, p228.

Comment on Miss Greenlow’s identity from Sally Davis: I think ‘greenlow’ is one of Kat’s pseudonyms – she uses them a lot in her books.  I certainly haven’t been able to find much evidence of a likely ‘miss greenlow’ in the usual family history sources.



Kat and Miss Greenlow travelled by the Baltimore and Ohio Line.  Kat was disappointed with the Allegheny Mountains, but put it down to the horrors of the train trip: they were held up by floods for 17 hours at a village she couldn’t even name, on a train which had no dining car, and arrived at their destination nearly 24 hours late. 

Source: GR2 pp1-7 and as Kat herself said, this trip was a good training for, and a good indication of, what was normal train travel in the American hinterland and west.  She was furious to discover that the floods had been known about since the previous train had left Philadelphia: Kat’s train caught it up at the point where the floodwater became impassable.  Why – she wanted to know – had her train been allowed to depart?

Comment by Sally Davis: this was the first flood that Kat and Miss Greenlow were inconvenienced by, but it wasn’t the last.  Floods held Kat up so often that eventually I took a look online to see if 1886 was a notorious year for them.  It turns out that she and Miss Greenlow were unlucky.  In mid-February New England had 5-8 inches of rain in four days plus 2 inches of snow-melt.   In mid-April 1886 there was spring-thaw flooding along the St Lawrence river in which Montreal was submerged for a week.  Parts of the Mississippi floodplain in Tennessee and Alabama also had it bad, with the river up to 36 feet higher than usual.  I couldn’t find any references to unusual floods in the US south-western states, though, so the hold-ups there must have been caused by weather that was usual for the time of year!


A great part of the trouble, Kat eventually realised, was how vulnerable the railway infrastructure was – having been built too quickly and cheaply, in remote areas, without the proper engineering and back-up.  I’m not sure whether Kat would have attempted the trip if she had realised just how little provision there was on most western railways – of food on the journey, of places to sleep between connections.  Maybe it was what she meant when she said people shouldn’t believe everything printed by their traveller’s handbook.  She never thought of giving up though. 


A lot of the railways Kat travelled on are no longer in existence.


// Historical Floods in New England, Paul T Hellmann 2006 ppM52-M54 based on contemporary newspaper accounts and reminiscences from residents.  The storm of 11 to 14 February 1886 is one of the Twelve Great Storms of New England.

At in its From the Archives section, an online article using information originally published in the Montreal Gazette 19 April 1886 about flooding caused by larger-than-usual amounts of spring ice getting stuck in the narrows at St Mary’s Current, Montreal around 17 and 18 April 1886.  This website also confirmed the smallpox outbreak of 1885 which kept Kat and Miss Greenlow from visiting the city. 

At, the Government of Canada website: Flooding Events in Canada: Quebec. 

Professional Paper United States Geological Survey 1911: p95 for floods in 1886 on the Coosa River in Alabama; and flood plain of lower Tennessee.


4 to ?9 APRIL 1886 – CINCINNATI

The city was blanketed by fog and snow throughout Kat’s stay.  There were no rooms available at the hotel they had chosen.  The streets were the filthiest they had seen in the US (until they reached St Louis).  They tried twice to drive out of town towards the hills they could just about see, but were turned back by the “pea-soup atmosphere varied by sleet and rain”. The river kept rising all their week in the city and was over the level of their train’s wheels when they left.

Source: GR2 pp7-8.

Comment by Sally Davis: I think Kat suffered from the same misunderstanding of the North American climate that Roger and I did when we visited Oregon.  We found ourselves in a white-out on the road up to Crater Lake.  It was June and in our British innocence, we had thought it was summer!



Kat would not have bothered with Louisville but it was the stopping-off point for those wanting to visit Kentucky’s Mammoth Caves.  She and Miss Greenlow went to Cave City by train, then by open-topped cart to the caves over “such a road as had never come within my travelling  experiences...Conversation was physically impossible”.  The caves were a disappointment, to Kat at least, who compared them unfavourably with the Adelberg cave in Europe, although she thought their guide, a black man called William, was “excellent”.  She and Miss Greenlow put stones on the cairn for England; and Kat put one on the cairn for “dear old Boston”.   

Source: GR2 pp9-16.

Comment by Sally Davis: the guide William was one of the few black people Kat mentions in GR1 and GR2.  She admired William’s ingenuity in setting up the lighting in the caves to very good effect; and his abilities as a ventriloquist in a son et lumière he had devised of an apparent sunrise.   She was horrified, though, to discover that the cave had been used in the 1840s, in an attempt to cure tuberculosis by having the sufferers live inside it in total darkness for five months.  All the patients died.



Kat and Miss Greenlow arrived in St Louis during a rail strike, their train going through a “miniature Aldershot Camp on the line” with soldiers guarding the “property and lives of the employers”.  Kat was disgusted to discover that the unions could “buy up all the justice they want”..  They spent a week at St Louis for “health and rest”.

Source: GR2 p16.

Comment by Sally Davis: Kat got the  low-down on the unions’ ability to buy justice from a local man, likely to have been a prejudiced source.  And despite the strike her train did get her and Miss Greenlow to St Louis – a “black manufacturing smoky city” Kat did not bother to describe at greater length.



Kat and Miss Greenlow travelled on the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fé railroad, having probably joined it at Topeka.  Kat had her first look at the “endless prairie”, as the train went west through Kansas with “Indian territory” to the south.  The prairie was interrupted only by “fires...thick and fast as we moved...along through this prairie ocean”.  At Trinidad Colorado, near the border with New Mexico, Kat saw her first adobe hut.

Source: GR2 pp17-19.

About the name of the railroad Kat and Miss Greenlow travelled on.  See (for example) the wikipedia page of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad for the very complex and fast-changing history of the various companies that laid and ran railroads between the Mississippi basin and the west coast in the second half of the 19th century.  In her Year in the Great Republic, Kat gets mixed up herself.  I’m going to call it the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fé (AT&SF) because – due to the song – that was the name I knew.

Comment by Sally Davis: this time it was fire making the train trip a process of “jolting and stopping, stopping and jolting”.   Kat was bored by the monotony of the American plains and would happily have slept through it all.  However, the train’s carriages spent the days as seating and the nights as berths; the passengers were hassled out of their berths by seven so that the staff could make the change-over.  In use all the time, the carriages were very stuffy; Kat tried opening the windows but her “steam-heated” American fellow travellers objected to the fresh air.

The Atchison Topeka and Santa Fé railroad – which included ferries and buses as well as trains - was given its charter in 1859, to link the Mississippi catchment area with the state capital of New Mexico.  A bi-product of the building of a railway through such a sparsely-populated area was the opening-up of the state to white settlement: Congress gave the company grants of land in Kansas to sell.  The railroad also made possible coal mining in the area around Ratón New Mexico.  Though the original end of the line had been Santa Fé, it ended up on a branch line while the main railway went to Kat and Miss Greenlow’s destination, Las Vegas New Mexico.  From the town of Las Vegas another branch line took them five miles further, to the Hot Springs Hotel.  Kat doesn’t mention having seen any cattle but by the time she was travelling across New Mexico there were about a quarter of a million of them in the state.  There had already been a range war over their grazing land, in which Billy the Kid had worked as a hired gunman. 

Sources: wikipedia pages of Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, the AT&SF and Billy the Kid – more on him later in this account.  The song, by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer, was written in 1946 for the film The Harvey Girls. 

For the number of cattle in New Mexico by 1883: Riparian Areas of the South-Western United States: Hydrology by Peter F ffolliott and Leonard F DeBano.  2003: p43.  Arizona, where Kat and Miss Greenlow went next, had even more: 1.5 million cattle and half a million sheep by 1891.



After a journey of more than 800 miles and more than 50 hours and no dinner on the last day, Kat and Miss Greenlow arrived at the hot springs at nine in the evening, to be told that the Hot Springs Hotel was full.  Kat passed the night in a cubby-hole-sized room above the boiler while Miss Greenlow opted for the billiard room.  After two days, they decided to push on to Santa Fé.  But in those two days the river had risen and destroyed nearly all the bridges on the way, so they had to stay for several days more.  Eventually they hired a carriage and after a “very nasty five minutes” fording the river, when it seemed the carriage would fall on its side into the water, they had a relatively easy drive back to Las Vegas NM.  

Source: GR2 pp19-23. 

Comment by Sally Davis: while the rain poured down on Las Vegas Hot Springs, Kat and Miss Greenlow managed to get out on donkeys for one ride into the hills behind the hotel and another along the canyon to some fine views.



In Las Vegas NM they found the railroad company hosting increasing numbers of  passengers unable to travel eastwards - a mile of track had been washed away since Kat and Miss Greenlow had travelled along it.  The town was running out of food and the railway company’s dining room was operating a rota; when Kat and Miss Greenlow were let in, there were only some “very tough meat and a few eggs” left, but they were grateful for them.  By this time they were “prepared for any misfortune” but trains to the west were still running.  After a change at Lamy, “a midnight crawl” got Kat and Miss Greenlow’s train up the branch line and into Santa Fé in time for Good Friday.

Source: GR2 pp24-25.  Website gives Good Friday in 1886 as 23 April.



Kat was delighted with Santa Fé; though she found it difficult to breathe at that height and was unable to do much walking; and there was a shortage of meat due to the problems on the railway.  Good Friday was a sunny, bright day and she was thrilled with the views of the mountain peaks.  Kat knew of someone who lived in the town, a Mr Staab; he and his daughter took her and Miss Greenlow on a drive into the surrounding country and entertained them at home several times.  On the Easter Monday [26 April] Kat and Miss Greenlow hired a carriage and went over the mountain ridge to an Indian village Kat called Tisuki, getting a view along the Río Grande towards México.  In the Indian village they visited one of the houses – getting in and out in the usual way via ladders.  Kat found that her knowledge of Italian meant she could get the drift of what the Indian inhabitants were saying in their “mongrel Spanish”.  On the journeys out and back, their driver entertained them with stories of the wild west and was surprised to find Kat knew so much about Billy the Kid.  Kat had found a biography of him and was reading it.  She and Miss Greenlow also spent a morning at Professor Ladd’s Indian school just outside the town; most of the pupils were Apaches.

Source: GR2 pp25-35.

Comments by Sally Davis: it seems odd that a town in a cattle ranching state should have a meat shortage but when Kat asked, she was told that Santa Fé got its meat from Kansas City.

On Mr Staab. 

Kat must have meant Abraham Staab.  I don’t think she could possibly have met him before she arrived – he’d been living in Santa Fé since 1858 – so she must have obtained one of her letters of introduction to him, from someone back East.  Abraham Staab was the most prominent member of Santa Fé’s important Jewish community.  He ran a dry goods business, having the US Army amongst his customers; and was very active in local government as well.  The house he invited Kat and Miss Greenlow to had only just been finished.  He must have been pleased to show it to two European visitors: its architecture was French 2nd Empire and its contents had been bought in from the East coast and Germany.  Staab House is now the La Posada Hotel and is haunted by the ghost of Abraham Staab’s wife Julia, who died in 1896 – Kat would have been delighted to know that!

Sources for the Staabs: there are plenty of websites on the ghost of Julia Staab.  I’ve taken my information on her and Abraham from – High Country News; its article The Soul in Suite 100: A Ghost Story was posted in 2012 by a descendant of Abraham and Julia, Hannah Nordhaus. 

Santa Fé: 400 Questions by Elizabeth West, 2012 and seen on google.  Its question 138 is about the Jewish community in Santa Fé and gives more details of Abraham Staab as a businessman.

On Professor Ladd. 

This was Rev Horatio O Ladd (1839-1932) who had been appointed principal of Santa Fé Academy, a Protestant college, in 1879.  In 1881 he had helped found the University of New Mexico.  He also set up an industrial school for Indian girls though I don’t think that was the school Kat visited, from her description of it.

Sources for Professor Ladd:

Captain Jack Crawford: Buckskin Poet… by Darlis A Miller 2012 p97.

Details at // which draws on the introduction to the Ladd Papers 1881-87 now at the University of New Mexico Center for South Western Research.


Although they found Santa Fé very enjoyable, especially after the difficulties of the last few days, Kat and Miss Greenlow soon started asking around for information on whether and how they could get to see the Grand Canyon: they had both thought of it from the outset as the highlight of the whole year-long trip.  Kat found her Appleton guide no help at all on the logistics of getting there.  It confined itself to waxing lyrical about the views, making them her more determined to go, despite having – so everyone told her – arrived far too early in the year for it to be open.  Mr Staab was also horrified to think that “two ladies travelling alone” (ie without a man) should even think of making a journey so far off the beaten track.  Nothing daunted, and having “received a vague telegram from some unknown source” confirming that it was now open, Kat and Miss Greenlow set out for the Grand Canyon.

Source: GR2 pp30-31, p34.  



At the junction at Lamy, Kat and Miss Greenlow had to wait three hours for their train to Albuquerque.  The train that finally arrived had a sleeping car, but at six in the morning, just after going through Albuquerque Junction, its wheels caught fire.  Kat and Miss Greenlow grabbed all the luggage they could and fled to the next carriage in their dressing-gowns.  The next carriage was already full.  The passengers had breakfast at Coolidge, surrounded by Navajo Indians selling pottery.  As the train went on through Arizona, Kat was fascinated by the colours and “fantastic” shapes of the rock formations - “towers, castles, minarets...rising up in the midst of the plain” though they didn’t really compensate for the “dull, dreary waste of sandy desert”.  At four in the morning, the train reached a depot a quarter of a mile from Peach Springs, where Kat and Miss Greenlow had to get off.  There was no transport, so they persuaded a boy to show them the way, and walked into town.

Comments by Sally Davis:

On Coolidge, a wonderful example of how quickly settlements could come and go in this part of the US.   The rail depot Kat and Miss Greenlow had their breakfasted existed for only a few years.  But what years! - one website I saw said there were 14 saloons!  Coolidge was set up by the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad in 1880 to supply Fort Wingate, 11 miles west of it; and was originally called something else.  As it was situated in or near a Navajo Indian reservation, there were Indian trading posts.  And as the railroad was following the line of an older military wagon trail, Coolidge also had some livery stables.  By the time Kat’s train passed through, the APR had been taken over by the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fé, who renamed the depot after the company president, Thomas Jefferson Coolidge.  But in 1890, the need for Coolidge was ended by the ATSF’s decision to have Gallup as its divisional headquarters.  When a fire destroyed much of Coolidge shortly afterwards, the town was abandoned.  There is a  a modern truck stop called Coolidge on Interstate 40 (Route 66), near the remains of the railroad depot.


The train was late at Peach Springs but by now Kat and Miss Greenlow were used to that.  It was not as though Peach Springs was worth arriving on time for: Kat described it as a “miserable little collection of wooden shanties, containing some hundred inhabitants”.  Its sole use for Kat and Miss Greenlow was in being as near as it was possible to get by train to the Grand Canyon.

Sources: GR2 pp35-37.

On Coolidge:

Google Streetview for the truck stop. 

Information on website

Harvey Houses of New Mexico: Hospitality from Raton to Deming by Rosa Walton Latimer.  Chapter 6 pp123-124.  ATSF’s depots were known as Harvey Houses.  The one at Coolidge closed in 1889. 



Kat and Miss Greenlow were making for Mr Farlee’s hotel.  Mr Farlee – they had been told – ran a stage coach service to the Grand Canyon.  His hotel turned out to be a “small wooden shanty, but any refuge was welcome”.  Mr Farlee didn’t provide any meals, you had to walk back to the depot to get anything to eat.  He also hadn’t yet received the telegram they had sent telling him they were coming.  He did have two rooms available though, so they took them for a night.  While they were asleep he had their luggage fetched from the depot where they had left it; and he did have transport and a guide-cum-cook available for a trip into the Grand Canyon.

Source: GR2 pp37-38.

On Kat’s Mr Farlie.  Most websites on the Grand Canyon and its history spell it Farley with a ‘y’, but Farlee – with two e’s – was the spelling the man himself gave the authorities. 


At a copy of the Mohave County Miner published in Mineral Park Arizona, issue of Sat 10 September 1887 p3 mentioned the divorce suit brought by Julius H Farlee against Ellen A Farlee; which had been granted.  At there’s a list of Mohave County Marriages 1875-1905 which includes that of Julius H Farlee to Celia M Riney, at Peach Springs on 17 September 1887.  Website states that Julius H Farlee is buried in the Citizens’ Cemetery at Prescott Arizona, having died in the town in March 1901.  He had been born in New York in 1840.


Comments by Sally Davis on Peach Springs Arizona, now a centre for white water rafting and fly-fishing.  It is situated in the reservation of the Hualapai people – whom Kat doesn’t mention and possibly never saw – who farmed near the river which ran down Diamond Creek into the Colorado in the Grand Canyon.  The district was surveyed in 1857 by US Government officials planning a wagon trail from Arkansas to California, and this and the coming of the railroad attracted a small number of European settlers.  Amongst them were Kat’s Mr Farlie.  Julius H Farlee arrived in Peach Springs in 1883.  For the next few years, he ran a stage coach company and was the first to develop Diamond Creek as a tourist destination.   However, when Kat and Miss Greenlow showed up, the tourism idea was for the not-easily-daunted only.  

Sources for Peach Springs: its wikipedia page, which says that the town has been in decline since 1978 when Interstate 40 was opened, not nearby – which would have boosted the local economy - but 25 miles south.

Scientific American volume 66 number 25 is online.  Its p392 issue of 18 June 1892.  The first white American known to have gone down Diamond Creek was the US army’s Lieutenant Ives, in April 1858.  All routes from Peach Springs to Diamond Creek have to go round a hill.  The route Farlee chose was the shortest, at 18 miles.

Website which says that it was only in 1887 that Peach Springs got such amenities as a railroad Harvey House and a Post Office.  I wonder where Kat’s telegram ended up?



Kat and Miss Greenlow slept for a few hours at Mr Farlee’s shanty in Peach Springs.  Then Mr Farlee drove them and their cook-cum-guide Billy to and along Diamond Creek in a buckboard, down a track that Kat thought was almost the worst road she’d ever been on, but not quite.  Despite that, she was thrilled to see the “Mountains of granite and old red sandstone” on either side of them, and the great profusion of wild flowers.  Eventually they came to “a tiny wooden hut...looking like a child’s toy house” which they realised was their Grand Canyon hotel.  This was Friday afternoon.  Mr Farlee told them he would be back the following day to turn them out of the hotel, which had been booked by a photographer.  He left enough food for their 24-hour stay, and took the buckboard back to Peach Springs.


The ‘hotel’ had a downstairs, with three chairs and a sofabed and a small kitchen area; and a ladder to an upstairs with two rooms, each with a chair and a tin bowl for washing.  Kat and Miss Greenlow slept upstairs with Billy on the sofabed below. 


After cooking breakfast [on Saturday] and doing the housework, Billy took Kat and Miss Greenlow a little way along on a walk back up Diamond Creek.  He helped them over a rock fall with a waterfall on the far side and then he went back to the ‘hotel’ to wait for Mr Farlee, leaving the women with a lunch of bacon and bread and a couple of lemons.  The bacon was so tough they couldn’t eat it but they were glad of the bread and the juice at the bottom of the billy-can that contained the bacon.  They walked on along the creek until it got so narrow they could touch both sides of it at the same time, and then went back.  Without Billy to help them, they had to get into the river to get round the rockfall, but they managed that, and got back to the ‘hotel’ in the late afternoon.  Mr Farlee didn’t come, so Billy cooked a meal.  After it, Kat had a bath in an india-rubber contraption she still had in her luggage, and then she, Miss Greenlow and Billy sat contemplating the view.


Encouraged by Mr Farlee’s description of the climb to the peak she called Prospect Point, as a “little half-hour’s run”, Kat determined to climb it.   Miss Greenlow had sprained her foot on the walk up the creek the day before, so just Kat and Billy set out at five the following morning [Sunday].  They first walked the mile and a half from the ‘hotel’ to the Colorado River “full of strong currents [and] snow waters from the mountains...with the rising sun just warming” the peaks on the opposite side.


They began the ascent by scrambling up a “mountain torrent bed” to the “first saddle” of Prospect Point; which gave them a fabulous view.  After half an hour more they reached some easier slopes covered in cacti and flowers.  Then they climbed a circuitous route to the bottom of Pyramid Rock, where – at 8.30am and at about 3000 feet  – they had a rest and Billy smoked a cigarette which he lit by firing his pistol when he found he hadn’t any matches.  Kat already knew that Mr Farlee had hired Billy from the local saloon, and had only known him for six weeks.  She began to wonder whether she’d been lured up this climb so that Billy could kill her and Miss Greenlow, steal Miss Greenlow’s valuable watch, and get away into the wilderness where no one was likely to find him.  Nothing so dramatic happened, and the two of them made the “terribly rough and stony” descent, in temperatures of 105°F in the shade, to find Miss Greenlow – who had heard the shot but thought it was a shriek – wondering if her foot was up to going in search of their corpses.  It was eleven in the morning.  Having done the whole climb on nothing but a cup of weak coffee, Kat was ravenous; but as Mr Farlee still hadn’t come back, all there was to eat was the remnants of the inedible bacon, and more weak coffee.


Kat, Miss Greenlow and Billy spent the rest of the day waiting for Mr Farlee to come; which he didn’t.  Supper was Indian corn, weak sugarless tea and dry bread, and then Billy entertained them both and frightened Kat again by telling them the story of his life – shoot-outs and hold-ups - and about how Billy the Kid had shot dead his own wife. 


The following morning [Monday] there was one small square of bread left, but Mr Farlee finally reappeared at half past one.  He’d been in two minds whether to leave them till the Tuesday, a more convenient day for him.  He brought some bacon which by now Kat greeted as “tough but most acceptable” and some supplies for Billy, who was to stay behind at the ‘hotel’  awaiting the next guest – though not the photographer, who hadn’t turned up.  Billy made up “two stringy bacon sandwiches” for Kat and Miss Greenlow, and Mr Farlee drove them back to Peach Springs – a longer journey this time, up hill all the way.  They had nothing to drink and they couldn’t eat the sandwiches for fear they would knock their teeth out as the buckboard jolted along.  They got back to Peach Springs at eleven at night and of course the general store was shut and the next train was two hours late.  So they went to Mr Farlee’s town ‘hotel’, lay down still fully dressed, and went to sleep.

Comment by Sally Davis: until I started trying to work out where Kat and Miss Greenlow stayed, I didn’t realise how off the beaten track the Grand Canyon still was in 1886; no wonder their acquaintances in Santa Fè were so concerned about them.  I wonder how near to serious illness they both got, due to Mr Farlee’s casual neglect, in such heat and with the food running out.  They had reached the stage where they were too exhausted to complain when, on the journey back, Mr Farlee wouldn’t let them stop at the creek to have a drink of water.


Kat doesn’t use the name ‘Diamond Creek’ for where she and Miss Greenlow went; perhaps it hadn’t acquired the name yet.


Kat names the peak she and Billy climbed as Prospect Point several times in GR2, but when I looked online I couldn’t find any references to a place of that name in the Grand Canyon in Arizona.  I think Kat’s mixed that peak up with a peak that is called Prospect Point, in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park which she visited a few weeks later.


In GR2 Kat hardly mentions spiritualism.  But in Do the Dead Depart?, published in 1908, she covered the trip to the Grand Canyon again, with the added spiritualist dimension of having her mother (dead since 1848) watching over her.  In this account, on the Monday morning, when the food had all but run out and there was still no sign of Mr Farlee, Kat acted as her own medium and contacted her mother.  Her mother assured her that she and Miss Greenlow would survive this ordeal – and sure enough, in due course Mr Farlee reappeared to take them back to town.   Source: Do/Dead pp65-66.  In this account (p57) Kat also describes the guide-cum-cook Billy as a great friend of Billy the Kid; which I’m sure he wasn’t.


Sources for Diamond Creek: plenty of pictures of it on google and its wikipedia page.  It’s still one of the few places you can drive a vehicle down to the Grand Canyon floor.

Website says that Farley (sic) built his ‘hotel’ at the junction of Diamond Creek and the Grand Canyon in 1884.  It lasted five years.


Website is run by Arizona State University.  Its information on Diamond Creek’s history is taken from Living at the Edge: Explorers, Exploiters and Settlers in the Grand Canyon Region by Michael F Anderson; published by the Grand Canyon Association 1998.  It spells Mr Farlie’s name correctly as Farlee.  On the website you can see a photograph of the hut Kat and Miss Greenlow must have stayed in! - from the NAU Cline Library collection, its NAU PH  The Creek gets its western name from a diamond-shaped peak which towers above it.  The river is one of the Grand Canyon complex’s longest, running between 1000-foot-high cliffs.  At the point where Diamond Creek flows into the Colorado there are wide sandy beaches.

At //, website of the Mohave Museum of History and Arts, there’s a photograph taken between 1915 and 1920 of a second ‘hotel’ built in Diamond Creek by Farlee.  The photo is from the Ora Gruninger Collection; object number 682.  This ‘hotel’ looks slightly bigger and was 3 or 3½ miles from the confluence where the Creek met the Colorado River – a bit further away than the one Kat and Miss Greenlow stayed in.  

One or two books on the area refer to Mr Farlee’s ‘hotel’:

The Brave Ones: The Journals and Letters of the 1911-12 Expedition by Ellsworth Leonardson Kolb, William C Suran and Emery Clifford Kolb; 2003.  Part Four p142 a journal extract mentions “an old house where Farley used to keep tourists” (isn’t that a wonderful phrase?) about 1 mile up Diamond Creek.

The Everything Grand Canyon Book: A-Z Travelogue by Richard Kerry Holtzin 2015 calls it a “crude tent and board hotel”.   





16 April 2018



Find the web pages of Roger Wright and Sally Davis, including my list of people initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn between 1888 and 1901, at: