Transcript for "Autobiography. [Life and Travels of Nancy M. Tracy]," Woman's Exponent, 1 February 1910, 55-56
We had school and meetings and the winter passed off very agreeably. The Saints would go forth in the dance, and the Spirit of God was with them, and we felt to rejoice, for there was none in our midst to prohibit us from worshipping God according to the dictates of our conscience.
We did not fear our enemies, and had the red men for our neighbors; and they were very civil that winter. Our old Nauvoo friend, Amos Davis, came through and called on us. He was traveling through to Kanesville with goods. We made him as comfortable as we could, and he was glad to see us. When he left he gave us tea, sugar and rice that lasted all winter. We felt it a God-send to us in those close times.
We did not leave this place as we expected in the spring. We lived here for three years and raised grain and vegetables and did well. My seventh son was born here the second winter that we lived here; and when we left to go west we were fitted up with two yoke of oxen and one yoke of cows both of them giving milk, when we started out. We crossed over the Missouri river and went into the camp of the Saints, for there was a general rally to move on this spring. One hundred and eighty-five gathered on the bluffs to organize the camp. There were one hundred wagons to move on in our company, Brother Hawkins captain of the hundred. Then there were captains of fifties and of tens. Thomas Johnson was over the fifty that we were in.
After all was made ready we started out on our toilsome journey to the Rocky Mountains; this was about the tenth of June 1850. My husband was then called as captain over two tens.
Traveling was very slow, in consequence of new roads and lengthy train of wagons. We took a widow with us by the name of Bracket. We traveled on until we came to the Platte river country without any sickness, but sometimes the Indians would come into camp and steal. At one time a young Indian got away with a sack of crackers. The old chief brought him back into camp and whipped him severely before the camp. This was while we were near the Platte, in the buffalo country. The men thought they ought to rest their teams for a day or two, and have a hunt. Several went out, the weather was very hot, and the water bad. They came in at night loaded with buffalo meat. One young man, Charlie Johnson, was taken with the cholera that night and died at daybreak. He was rolled up in a blanket and buried in a deep grave, so the wolves could not dig him up, for they were very numerous. This was the first commencement of cholera in the camp. After this there were several deaths in the company, some of cholera and some of other complaints. At last one died of smallpox, but so much caution was used that no one else took it, nearly all were vaccinated.
We continued our journey now, but the camp was divided into fifties and traveled in two companies, they would travel with more comfort than with such a large company. We came on to the Black Hills. There were deserted soldiers came into camp and plead to travel with us, but they were soon overtaken by their officers and strapped on horses and taken back to quarters, and I suppose had to pay the penalty.
The camp stopped in the Black Hills to let the cattle rest and put shoes on them, for their feet had become so sore and tender they could not travel. We stayed here twelve days. The men killed elk and deer until we were all supplied. It was salted and dried over the smoke, so it would keep for the rest of the journey. While we were here, the wolves would make the night hideous with their howling. There were panthers here, too, and I was glad, for my part, when we left the place, for I did not fancy this kind of enemies, so we left them, as we did those who had robbed us and driven us from our possessions and homes. The journey was long and tedious, sometimes having to camp without wood or water. I have seen the cattle tied up at night after traveling all day without feed or water. We had two cows that worked in the yoke all the time, but they gave us milk, so when there was no water we could drink their milk for supper. The traveling became more slow and fatiguing every day. When we got to the crossing of the Green River it ran very swift, it looked deep and angry. Among the first that went in to the river was one Brother Gifford. He hung on to the bows as long as he could, but lost his hold and the current took him down. Some few had got across, and one of the brethren jumped into the stream and swam to his rescue, and fetched him ashore. He was nearly gone, but came around all right after a while. The rest all got over without any accident, and moved on towards the mountains that we were now nearing. At last we began to raise their heights and reach the summit, and look down into the valley below, the goal of our destination. It looked like a paradise, dotted with dwellings and gardens. Our eyes dwelt and hearts feasted upon the lovely scene after three months of hard toil and travel and under all circumstances of a trying nature.
On the 15 of September we came into Salt Lake City. We camped for a few days at the west of the city to look around and rest and see where to make a home. My husband's health was very much impaired by our long journey and constant exposure, and cold weather coming on; we traveled north eight miles to Sessions Settlement to get better feed for our stock and camped for three weeks. My husband and son went into the mountains and got out wood and sold to get something to live upon. The crickets, which had made such havoc in the crops left some, but provision were hard to get, as this was the third year that ever anything had been attempted to be grown in the desert land.