Transcript for Belliston, Thomas, [Autobiography], in Lester H. Belliston, comp., Belliston: James Thomas Belliston and Louisa Miller, Their Forebears and Descendants , 8-9
It was at Keokuk where we received our oxen and wagon, and was on our way across Iowa in Claudius V. Spencer's Company. We worked our cows in the swing, making three yoke altogether. The cows never failed to do their share, besides giving us a good supply of milk, which we appreciated very much.
Soon, after starting our overland journey, our Captain began complaining about some being overloaded. We were referred to as being among the number. Father then sacrificed a valuable set of tools, realizing only five dollars for them. Then to satisfy the captain, my mother's stove had to go. Our team was young and not well broke, so father was advised to trade one yoke of them to a friend of the captain for an old yoke and pay five dollars difference, which he did. A few days later one of the old oxen got in a mud hole during the noon hour, and stayed there. Then father sold the other for twenty dollars, and allowed the train to go on and leave us.
A few days later, Brother Cyrus H. Wheelock came along with his train. When he saw father he asked him what he was doing there. After a little explanation he exclaimed. "If Brother Wheelock gets into the valley Brother Belliston shall if he wants to go." We appreciated his kindness, and hitched up the oxen (black ones named Peter and Michael) and the cows (Prim and Rose). We were soon on our jou[r]ney again.
From there on we had a pleasant journey, occasionally seeing some wild buffalo, and sometimes Indians visited our camp. On one occasion I remember some of our leading men forming a circle on the ground, (sitting down) with them. They had a large pipe with a long stem. They lit the pipe and one smoked it a little and passed it around until all had smoked a little. This was called the pipe of peace. This was a very solemn token of friendship with the Indians.
I remember, on one occasion, my brother James being taken seriously sick. Some thought he was dead, but the power of God saved him, through his Holy Priesthood.
Sometime previous to our arrival in Salt Lake City, one of our cows died, but Brother Wheelock borrowed another for us to work the rest of the journey.
We arrived, safely, in Salt Lake City on October 6, 1853, and drove to the public square.