Transcript for Beard, Thomas, "Life of Thomas Beard," 39-41 in Katherine Lake Andreasen, Journal of Thomas Beard [2006]

The teams that came from Utah to meet the emigrants to take them over the plains to Utah were very late in coming to Florence on account of high water that year. We had to wait 6 weeks before we could start our journey of 1000 miles over the plains. My wife, our little girl Mary Hannah and I came with Captain Duncan about July 1, 1862.

When we started on our journey across the plains, my Brother John, who had come with us from England, staid later and worked his fare over the plains by driving a cattle team in the church freight train. There were 50 wagons and there were covers over bows with white canvas and each wagon had 2 yoke of oxen too pull it and 10 persons with their bedding to each wagon after the other.

When we stopped for dinner or at night, the first wagon would stop in a suitable place for camping under the orders of the Captain. Then the next wagon drove close to it, so close that the cattle wouldn't pass between the wagons and the 50 wagons did the same with their wagon tongues inside the correll this made for they were driven in such a manner to form a circle except in one place between the first and last wagon which was left open for about a rod wide to let the cattle out for feed and water. After they were unyoked, they driven in to be yoke. Where we camped at, there were hundreds of fires lighted to cook food for the people.

We traveled along the Platt[e] River for some hundreds of miles and it furnished us with wood for our fires. When we left it we traveled through a country that had no trees in it. There were occasionly a few dwarf willows ranging from 2 feet to 4 feet high. As we traveled we pulled the dry ones out and put them in bundles and carried them on our backs to make fires at our camping ground. We had sacks in which we gathered the droppings of buffalos which had become dry. These we called buffalo chips. These made fires.

Along this country, my Brother Stephen's wife died. She was burried on Sand Nobe in a blanket for boards couldn't be found. My Brother Stephen had been married in England to John Lee's daughter of Ashton Underlyne. He had left her with one child and came to Utah one year before us. He worked and sent her money to come with but she had another child after he left. She and her folks came in the ship we did but her oldest child had died on the sea. Soon after she died on the barren land, her other child died. When we met him on our journeys end at Hoytsville, it was hard blow for him.

When we passed out of this barren country and came to where the sage brush grows, we could make better fire. We passed by large rocks which looked like an old England Castle. These were known as "Castle Rocks". A little farther on, was a narrow split in high mountains where the Sweet water [Sweetwater] runs through it. I was tempted to go through it. When I got nearly to the other end of it the water became so deep, I was obliged to turn back. The stream was low and I stepped from one rock to another. I think the canyon was ¼ mile long. I traveled over the mountain in a cold mist. I fell in with another man that belonged to the train. We could not see the train anywhere. We found the trail and followed it. It got dark, but we saw the camp fires which guided us too the camp.

There was something in the air of Devils Gate or in the mountain which affected me very greatly for I was very sick next morning. I was so sick I could not raise my head nor did I, until the train got to Echo Canyon. I was told it was mountain fever that had struck me. We camped toward the upper end of it. Next day I was able to sit up in bed and as we passed Echo Rock, the teamsters cracked their whips so hard the echo shook me for they sounded like guns going off. We traveled through Coalville which consisted at that time of 12 or 15 houses in Sept. 1862. We had traveled nearly 1000 miles without seeing any houses except U.S. Mail Stations which were 10 to 15 miles apart and many days we traveled farther in the country away from them to get feed for the cattle.

When the people saw Coalville, many lifted their hats and shouted for joy. It was the first settlement of the Saints in Utah the travelers had seen. After we camped at Holtsville [Hoytsville], I was able to get out of bed for the first time since I took sick at Devil's Gate. After dark while we were around the camp fire, I heard someone coming down the hill on the other side of the valley. He was singing and whistling and driving a wagon and yoke of oxen. He had been to Salt Lake City with a load of coal. As he got nearer to the camp I recognized my brother Stephen's voice. When he came to camp his joy was turned to the greatest grief and sorrow. When we told him of the death of his wife and 2 children. He sobbed and cried and went nearly crazy.

Next day the train traveled to Parleys Park where the immegrants agent met us and took our names and caused us to sign notes of what we owed to the P.E. funds. The next day I traveled down Silver Creek Canyon back to Coalville where brother Stephen had taken my wife and child. He had no home of his own but lived and worked for a man named Job Franklin.