The discovery of gold in California in 1848 brought thousands of
travelers to the Oregon Trail. These '49'ers endured Indian raids,
drought, and the scarcity of water, prairie fires, and many hardships
along the trail. Some were buried along the east side of the Vermillion
River near the Vieux Cemetery. A diary entry for May of 1849 by David
Dewolf mentions six or seven graves on the banks of the Vermillion.
Later diaries mention more graves. Over the years as many as fifty may
have been buried here, each grave was marked with a large slab of
limestone, the name and burial date carved on some stones. Only three of
these stones can be found today and only one bears the chiseled letters
-- T. S. Prather May 27, 1849.