Potato tops are not good greens
July 6.-Start early this morning. A short distance below the mouth of
the Uinta, we come to the head of a long island. Last winter, a man
named Johnson, a hunter and Indian trader, visited us at our camp in
White River Valley. This man has an Indian wife, and, having no fixed
home, usually travels with one of the Ute bands. He informed me it was
his intention to plant some corn, potatoes, and other vegetables on
this island in the spring, and, knowing that we would pass it, invited
us to stop and help ourselves, even if he should not be there; so we
land and go out on the island. Looking about, we soon discover his
garden, but it is in sad condition, having received no care since it
was planted. It is yet too early in the season for corn, but Hall
suggests that potato tops are good greens, and, anxious for some
change from our salt meat fare, we gather a quantity and take them
aboard. At noon we stop and cook our greens for dinner; but soon, one
after another of the party is taken sick; nausea first, and then
severe vomiting, and we tumble around under the trees, groaning with
pain, and I feel a little alarmed, lest our poisoning be severe.
Emetics are administered to those who are willing to take them, and
about the middle of the afternoon we are all rid of the pain. Jack
Sumner records in his diary that "Potato tops are not good greens on
the sixth of July."
- J. W. Powell, Exploration of the Colorado River of the West and its
Tributaries (Washington: Government Printing Offices, 1875), 45.
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