Transcript for Arthur P. Welchman reminiscences and diary, circa 1854-1917, Volume 1, 14-25
As fast as the teams were hitched to their respective wagons, whitch were well loaded, a nan [man] or more if nesecary, was placed to guard each one, At length the outfit having the best teamsters started their teams, for a short distance perhaps they held them under tolerable control, but they would gradually become more unruly, and increase their spead, untill all the teamsters could posibly do was to run along first on Ni side then on yhe [the] Off side and by shouting and cracking his whip keep his excited teams as near as posible to the coarse he wished them to go.
In a few minutes the whole train was in rapid motion; it was an exciting spectacle, to see ten or twelve teams scampering madly over the wild prairy raising such a cloud of dust at times almost obscuring them from sight; to witness the wild gestures of the men, with their whips. and hear their loud shouts, as they exerted them selves to manage the beasts. luckily it was, to, that it was a wide even country before them. It was not long, however, till they showed evident signs exhausted strength. and soon their pace slackened that the boys got near enough to be able to throw their whips over them.
The mastery might now all most be considered great for when teamsters handling the whip as skilfuly as the Texas boys did, and can pop the whip over the off ox they are bound to “ha”, and the “Geeing” operation is comparativly easy.
We of coarse, had more ore less trouble with them for several weaks [weeks]; in fact there were four of them un yoked within a weak, and some of them constantly carried their yokes for half a dozen weaks. from the day they were first driven up till the first night we camped three days, never had a morsel to eat, whitch helped to bring them sooner under control when we started.
I drove one of these teams all the way to Salt Lake City. I recolect, soon, after we commenced un yoking, in the for part of the journey, while unyoking my catle one one evening, one of them knocked me with great voilance against a tree about a rod from where I had stood. With what particular motion he did this. I never knew, the ocation [occasion] was was to[o] quickly done, but I was glad to find I was but little hurt.
After traveling a few days, we halted to receive in to our company some more brethren from another camp, and then our journey to the valleys of the mountains commenced in earnest.
In about three months we came to the indian teritory where the company concluded to camp for the winter. They stoped on the Virdigres [Verdigris] River.
There was a young man, about my own age (18 years) with whom I had farmed [formed] an intimate acquantence, his name was Hamilton stuart, Scotchman, and he was one of the poor brethren who went with me to Texas, and assisted them them several several weeks before starting on the road.
This young man and myself stoped before we got to the Virdigres [Verdigris], at a place called the Great Agency, with a Mr. Loughbridge a missionary of the Presbetarian Church to the Greek [Creek] Indians. He was the Cerp and principle teacher of a school for Indians children, and while we were there had from 70 to 80 boarders.
Brother Hamilton and myself stayed here about two months, having a little log cabin to live in by our selves.
Mr. Loughbridge had a custom, among his household of requiring every one, when asembled at the breakfast table to repeat a verse of scripture; now although we did not supose he would ask us to do this, we concluded we would do it without asking. We had a double purpose in this course. One was for a little amusement, and the other to quote some passage as would of them selves, preach the gospel and bear a testimony.
The last object we gennerly accomplished by each selecting a pasage whitch, besides being very clear and pointed concerning the Gospel and the laterday work, would coroberate and theough [throw] light upon each other, our amusment consisted in the various changes of contentions asumed by gentleman acording to his apresiation [appreciation] and the nature of scripture advancer [advanced]; and in thinking how this passage would hit his tredition [tradition], and how this one would exposed the falacies of his false religions.
Besides, a fair opportunity presented them selves of holding previous agruments with him, particularly were they [there] oppertunities presented to brother Stewart; of course, they were equaly exceptable [acceptable] to us.
Polygamy was discussed upon several ocasions as well as the first principles, and the prophesies not with standing, we were young in years and in the work, and but poorly educated we allways come of first place.
One thing I will say ror [for] Mr. loughbridge he always treated us with respect and kindness.
At the end of two months, Loughbridge having no further use for us, we took a visit to our brethren at the camp. we found they had got their winter quarters nearly nearly finished, and in good health and spirits.
Bro. Jooly [Washington Lafayette Jolley] was sustained as President or Captain of the camp, and with Bros. Aastrr [John Ostler] and Moodi as his councelors. The company was organized into Ten’s; Aaster [John Ostler] Capt. of the first 10, Modi [John Moody] Capt. of the second 10. And Bro. Baran [Alexander Franklin Barron] of the third 10. Bro. Kots [Coats] was appointed Sorjent [Sergeant]-of-the-guard. and Bro. Jaan [John] Richards Clerk of the camp.
On the 10th. of June the camp rolled some 12 mile, and traveled steadily for a week. about this time we had some strange weather, the days were fine, the evenings cool and windy, and the mornings, from daylight till sunup rather foggy or rain.
We were visited by a white man and three Indians, who reported that a battle had lately taken place, betwen a party of Oisaj [Osage] Indians and some Whites, that 30 whites had been killed, and 13 indians.
On saturday, in passing over a gulley Bro. Aastrr [John Ostler’s] wagon broke down, but having a mechanic and tools, it was soon repaired, when at dinner, and rolled on making abt 15 miles, over a hill and bad roads. my journal says all things are going on smoothly, and the camp is unefied. Thank God.
On the following morning, Sunday, I had a bath before breakfast. Was ready and waiting till about 2 pm. then asembled with the rest camp. In meeting all the officers adressed the people. and some others spoke, myself among the number. The spirit of God was powerful. In our meeting; my heart was so full I could not restrain my tears. Nor was I the only one thus effected. At the close of the meeting President Jolly extended an ivitation at baptism for strangers and
This man said. We were commanded, in the book of Doc[trine]. & Cov[enants]. To build up holy places, and imagined himself authorized to build up one of them.
rebaptism for the saints. In the evening several old and young saints and strangers imbraced the oppertunity: I for one, was baptised for my health and also for the remitance of my sons [sins]. Then followed the ordinence of confermation. The blessing of Health and Kno[w]ledge and Wisdom as regards the cause of Christ, were promised upon my head, if I proved faithful.
Thursday June 15th. We have traveled every day since sunday at a prety good rate, and had fine weather. Yesterday we were detained a time by missing a crossing, still made a good days journey.
Some Indians visited our camp, presenting writen petitions (in english) for arms, which they received. They said we were within two travel of buffalow. We had passed Wallnut [Walnut] Creek.
Thursday June 22. Have traveled pretty well this weak [week], also then detained more or less during a couple of days by Loosing of our stears [steers], and then had to go without them. Leaving some of the boys to look for them. A wagon also got mired, whitch caused trouble. During this time we have very little wood, some times having to dispence with[out] cucking [cooking], for want of it. We have seen elk and and antilope, but have none yet: we have seen buffalow heads too. but no buffalow. Met two men on foot, with one pack animal, they said they were from Miksigo [Mexico] going to Missouri. We got a little information from them respecting our road. We like wise met a man with one wagon, with his family alone; a trader I think. There are two companies in sight, camped, distinguish Misksikos [Mexicans]: others are in head, at a large creek. We were detained by high water. An old indian with two squaws came into camp, reporting that the Ziootaws were about to make war with several other tribes.
July 2nd. Some men who with us reporting to have came from Salt Lake. Having been six weaks on the road: they report the people of Utah healthy. We broke camp again yesterday and are now in sight of old fort atkinson.
I will here mention of the Prairie-dog. Towns we have lately passed, and whitch are quite common on the plains, of the great west. The towns are composed frequently of many acres (in some cases many hundreds of acres) of land, completely riddled, as it were, with hoords of the little dogs. They are called dogs from their claws resemblence to a puppi, and for a peculiar barking sound which they emit when alarmed. Some consider them excelent eating, but they are not easily obtained, being very dificult to shoot, seldom exposing more than their head to view, and being remarkably expert in dodging, then if one is hit, unless the hunter is very active in grasping it, it slides back down its hole and disapears. It is said owles and rattle snakes intrude themselvs to the abode of these infesting animals and there living in perfect harmony. I supose these little dogs are true philosophers and there fore make the best of that which they can not hinder. Mankind might learn a lesson of wisdom here I think.
We now have to depend entirly upon bufalo meat or dried dripings; these are generaly plentiful, and answer very well, of course a person must not be overly fastidious; in fact fastidious is often found thought of less in days when one goes camping.
The weather is now generaly fine, and contrasted by particular dry winds. We are still traveling up the arkansas river; one feature of which rather annoying to us, where chips fall, namely, the trees, found scatering as they are, appear only on one side of it, and that side of it, and that side hapens to be the other side, at least to us. I supose travelers have used them on this side.
About the 9th. of July. A company of travelers, with six wagons overtook us, they had been chasing us some time, desiring to travel with us, they reported four of their horses had been stolen by indians.
Sunday 16 July. Preaching in camp, the californians attended. Bro. Richards [&] Joull [Jolley] were the speakers. Timber became more abundent as we proced up the river. A little dog belonging to Bro. Hiat shot in mistake for a wolf. Bro. John Lens [Lane’s] wagon broke down but was repaired and brought in son after dark. Bro. John Richards was run over by his gagon [wagon] but was not seriously hurt.
We now arived at Bents – Trading – establishment. Here we went into camp. A man with his wife and child on their way to california. and about this time a man named Samuel Martin was told he could no longer travel with this company, on account of his bad conduct. this caused consderable talk and some dissatisfaction.
At our next sunday meeting president
Jall Jooly [Jolley] was under the neccesity of chiding camp for their lack of unity. Post-Old-Bent-Fort. Martin repenting was alowed to remain. Bro. Modi [John Moody] taking him to his camp on condition he would do as he was told. At a meeting Bro. Baren [Alexander Franklin Barron] inquired if he was to bee responsible for the cattle lost on the road. Bro. Joll Jooly [Jolley] informed him he was not.
Abt. 25 July. We left the Arkansas river and camped on the Fountai-de-Baiuri. and two of the brethren have been quarling, for which they were repramanded. The horses have broke ground twice lately, and could have run back.
26 of July. Stoped to get some stone coal. and that evening camped in a fine grove of fine timber with good water.
We camped about a weak [week] repairing wagons for the californians and ourselvs. Our stone coal proving to be worthless, Char Coal had to be burned on the 1st. of Aug.
Some traders rolled into camp after dark, they made so much noise in camp as to causing surmising as to their object in comming here, how ever they proved quit[e] peasable [peaceable]. We had that day mooved again about six miles.
12 Aug. Are now camped on Woolf River making and doing other nncessary work. Since leaving the fine Grove we have passed the following places, Cherry Creek, crossed the South Platt[e], Sponi Creek, Clear Creek, Powder River and little Grand. We have still been Troubled by horses and cattle straying of from time to time. One evening some Mexicans, from Fort Larimy [Laramie] camped near us. Our hunters have brought in three Antilope, and two dear. Two heavy thunder storms have occured, one of whitch lasted an hour. We have also had one rain storm during this month, so far. We have seen two graves. Also some mountain sheep horns. The first I ever saw, they they were very large and strong in preportion to the size of the animal. I should think they would feel very and clumsy to the animal, but then sertainly seemed well butting.
Not withstanding our constant traveling, and the cares and labors attending camp, we still find time to dance a little when travel spots grind and favorable opertunity presents themselvs, to make camp resound with lively strain; nor was the worship of God neglected.
1st , Sep. We are now in sight of the rockymountains. For the last nineteen days we have had a very rough heavy road to travel over; we have left the main route. Beside this heavy road we had to contend against other dificulties; we have had, part of the way mudy water for our selves and our animals to drink, and often scarce at that, on one ocasion we found no water for 20 miles. The grass to has been scarce and dry. Owing to these circumstances our teams have become badly jaded, some have even given out, and one ox droped dead in his yoke. Other companies seem to have suffered in this part of the route. as well as we, for betwen 30 and 40 carcases of dead cattle have been passed.
Several stears [steers] have been found in this region to; and no doubt trains will find some of our animals whitch are missing from time to time; not very many however I think, for our officers are verry vigalent, and, when animals are missed men are imediatlt [immediately] dispached to hunt them, and generaly succede.
Most of the time we have had fine weather, having had only one heavy rain and one heavy hail storm.
On out we have passed Little-Sandy, Badger-Creek. Black-duck Creek, Big-Sandy, North Fork of the canadian River, a tributary of the north fork, the dividing ridge betwen the Canadian, and its tributaries, and Green, and Dry Creek.
After passing Big Sandy we traveled 13 miles through a very high pine timbered mountain and camped in the woods with good watter. Before we had fairly un hitched our teams, at this place, a brother named Bevers came running into camp quite out of breath, and apearantly very much excited, reporting that he had seen a bear, he had gon out with his gun, to hunt I supose, but when my Grisley apeared, and the brave fellow, cocked his gun, to shoot, behold it was capless. A search was imediatly instuted for Bruno, but the sight of that gun had been hint enough for him scarse. A couple of days fresh tracks were seen; demonstrating that some were in that region of country.
As we entered the mountain country, game of various kinds became more plentiful: Black-tailed Deer, Antelope, Sage-hens, were from time to time brought into camp, A bufalow also was shot but not brought into camp. We did not come in the trail of the main body of these wild cattle and there fore did not see but few.
We found plenty of wild fruit, of what kind my journal does not state. Our fire wood now consisted of wild sage brush.
Here to, the wolves quite bold and ravenous than at the back of a team, and the hind part of a lamb carcas and the hind part of an ox that had been murdered.
We of our camp, in particular, aforded us a season of rejoicing, by reason of the abundance of the spirit of God. After the meeting a marriage was solemized, uniting Bro. John Richards and one of the sisters. I also had a reckonciliation with Bro. John Lan[e], betwen him and myself their had come a little dificulty existed.
Sep. 2nd. We traveled over such rough to day that I was forcibly reminded of Napolian [Napoleon] crossing the Alps, altho, in reality, I supose the camparision was rather far fetched. We camped on top of mountain; and had to get our drinking watter from the bottom of a ravene so deep and steap-sided that it was impossible to get our cattle down to drink.
Next day we camped on Green River, here we found the Californians <bound> for home. We did some Placer mining At the [illegible] near Samuel [illegible] They had <been> here about a weak [week] recuperating their cattle.
September 4th Captain Jaly [Jolley]; having found a suitable ford we crossed partly over the river, on to a small island having passed over one larger in our passing to it, here we camped, without wood. The hurd [herd] was still behind us and a few brethren left with it.
We remained four days, during whitch time the members of the camp were variously engaged. Some washing and mending, others repairing or greasing their wagons, some hurding [herding] stock, and fishing (here fish are plentiful) conversing, singing, laughing etc.
While here a meeting was held in whitch it was proposed to cut William Doogans [Duggins] of[f] from the church, if he would not repent and do his first works over again: he had refused to obey our Captain, and threatened him.
Bro. Jali [Washington L. Jolley] and Oaslor [John Ostler] also spoke of the duties of the saints in providing for the elders who were returning to Zion. Some of the brethren could not see that it was their duty to provide for some returning elders: and the next meeting some of them discussed more among themselves, In my opinion their conversation was disrespectful towaed [toward] the priesthood. That evening, not feeling very well I had retired early, After a while I heard our Captain talking vehemently: Getting up I found a meeting had been called, and that he was lecturing , the discourse of this morning for their conduct. After Bro. Jali [Jolley] sat down several of the brethren spoke. Mostly in self justification, untill quite a bitter feeling prevailed in the camp. However before the meeting dismissed general love prevailed. Bro. John Richards prophesied in the name of the Lord that all would not reach the valley. Bro. Baran [Barron] spoke of Bro. Hamlin Stuart [Hamilton Stewart] as a worthy man: and Bro. Osler [Ostler] blessed me in the name of the Lord.
Sept. 8 Camped on Hams Fork. The following day we traveled over a bad hill, and camped again on Hams Fork.
On the 10th. we crossed Hams Fork just above its Fork, at whitch place struck the Northern-route, and incountered a large train of Californians with a hurd of cattle and 30 wagons, also a man with a large flock of sheep.
Here we received news of the aproach of Bro. Preston Thomas and others going out on a mission. Among their number was a Bro. John Taylor one of the twelve apostles of this last dispension. We crossed Hams Fork again. To night we camped with some of our missionaries on their way to relieve some imigrents with provisions. Mormons.
Sept. 11. Met the out going missionaries They stopped a short time and brothers Taylor, Jefr Klinton and Thomas adressed us. As Teylor and Klinton were bound for New York I sent a letter to my brither Ned. That evening we camped on Black Fork. The following day we had a visit from a Bro. Sanders, Captain of a company of saints, Home Ward Bound like ourselvs. Through the day we had a cold chilly rain storm. but it cleared up before evening. Brothers Modi [Moody] and Spires [Spiers] went on to Salt Lake City, to announce our coming and make arangements for our comfort. Crossed Black Fork again, also Smiths Fork on which we camped.
Sept. 13 Detained on account of missing steers, and in order to render assistence to some brethren who were distressed for lack of teams; they having sent all their spare animals to relieve other companies behind them, and since that having lost some of their remaining ones. We detailed about a dozen yoke to them in charge of brother Gots [Coats].
In order to free Bro. Gots [Coats] I now agreed to drive his team, whitch I had refused to do before, because he had pleanty of money to pay me for so doing, but would not spend of it.
We passed Fort-Bridger to day, and crossed a creek that runs by it. We nooned next day by a Soda Spring; and in the evening camped on Silver Creek.
On Bear Creek,
and had a short but heavy hail storm. At eko [Echo] Canyon brother Oslors [Ostler] wagon turned over in a mud hole, nearly drounding [drowning] sister Oslors [Ostler], and Damaging their luggage considerable with mudy watter.
Sept. 17th. Did not travel on again on account of missing animals whitch still stray from time to time. Our relief detail reported to camp, they reported the company they went to assist coming along finly. Sister Oslor [Ostler] proved to have been more fr[i]ghtened than hurt her experience.
We left from Eko [Echo] Canyon on the Weber-river, where we found a log house for the Sale of whisky. I did not sale of whisky. I did not inquire if the [---] were to eat with the whisky. Some indians were incamped near the establishment.
Traveling down the Weber some distance we finaly left it at Parlis [Parleys] Park, The river here passed through a narrow gorge called Parlies- [Parley’s] Pass; I supose it was named after the apostle Parley P. Prat[t]. After passing down willow canyon we camped on the feet of the big mountain. Bro. John Spi[e]rs, who acompanied Moodi [Moody] to the city in advance of the company, met us at this place, acompanied by William Moodi [Moody], brother of John, who had been in utah for some years.
Sep 20. Crossed the Big-Mountain and camped at the foot of the little-Mountain, the last betwen us and Great Salt Lake City.
Sep. 21 1854 Passed over the Little-Mountain, traveled down Emigration-Canyon to the end, or mouth of it; and from there in to and through the City to borders of the west borders of it.