Transcript

Transcript for "History of C. L. Christensen as He Told It", DUP Pioneer History Collection, Page 1-4.

Our outfitting place where we bought oxen, wagons, cows, etc., was at Florence, Nebraska. The wagons were called Chicago wagons. They had linch pins, no thimble scones at that time, and no brakes, only a chain hanging on the side of the wagons, and they were seldom used only on very steep hills: in consequence of which we had many a runaway. Some of the oxen had harnesses on, a great mistake, for the team would often tangle up in the stretchers and fall down and get tangled, espeshially while crossing large streams such as the North Platte, which we forded a number of times. The emigrant company to which we belonged was an independant company. I mean by that they owned their own outfits. It was presided over by a man called Carl Wederburg [Widerburg], who had once been a Catholic Priest in Norway, but by now a very prominent Mormon, our spiritual guide. We had two men from Utah who were pilots. They had crossed the plains often with other outfits. One was a A. H. Pattison of Payson, the other was Nephi Johnson of southern Utah. They were both young men, and how they could manage such a babble of tongues is more than ordinary mortals can tell. Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, German and English, and none of them had ever seen an ox team in their lives. It must have been a stupendous undertaking.

We had all the trouble incident to a journey of this kind over the plains, said to be a distance of 1,140 miles to Salt Lake City. We encountered many of the Sioux Indians traveling parallel with us. On the 26th of August, while thus traveling, they stole a Danish old maid, 35 years old, who was behind the train driving an old lame cow. She had a young lad along to help her. It was against the rules of the guides to thus fall behind. A young robust warrior took hold of her and carried her off on a white horse, but she fought him desperately, so she managed to dismount often and he had to drag her back again. But it delayed his travel so the lad had time to run get some help. The 80 wagons were circled into a corral as usual when we camped, and five men with guns in hand went to the rescue of the stolen woman. When they got back to the cow the indian was still in sight.

Nephi Johnson, who was an unusual Indian interpreter, got an old Indian to go and bring the woman back, which he did. For this friendly act they gave him the cow. Father was one of the five men. It was quite a formidable army amongst 1800 Sioux Indians. The woman hid for several days in the wagon under a feather bed. She had been terribly frightened.

On the first of September, 1860 the company crossed the North Platte River from the south to the north side. Here we camped for noon on the Horse Shoe Creek. The company had much trouble crossing the Platte; wagons were mixed up in all kinds of entanglements, mostly on account of the harness and stretchers on the teams. Harnesses on oxen are a failure. Father who was a large man, carried 17 women across the river, who were too badly frightened to shift for themselves, among them was my mother. After everything was crossed, and the wagons in corral and cattle turned out under guard to feed, father came up to our wagon and mother announced that the pancakes were ready. He answered that he did not care to eat and said to mother, "I understand there are many sage hens on the creek and as we have many sick folks in the train, I will go and try for some fresh meat for them." He picked up his double barreled shotgun and passed over to the east side, where he fell in with S. M. Lovendahl, a Swedish friend. The two had not been gone long when a shot was heard and Mr. Lovendahl came running into camp for help, he had shot father. Nephi Johnson and others grabbed some bedding and ran to the wounded man's assistance. The information ran through the camp like wildfire. Mother and I got there as they were laying him on some bedding. He said but little, but it was all for the welfare of his widow and two small boys. One was 5½ years old and the other 3½, (1½ or 2½?), and the prospect of another soon to be. It appears that Mr. Lovendahl had seen some sage hens and they had dodged out of sight and while he yet had his gun cocked he fell over some obstacle and shot father in the bowels. About one half of the shot hit the stock of fathers gun, but enough hit father so he died sometime during the night. Next morning before sunrise he was buried by the wayside, in an unknown grave. His coffin was burlap sacks, and his gravestone, a buffalo skull.

It was wonderful to see the sympathy and pity and weeping for mother by those large, husky women of the great Sioux nation, out in the wilderness on the plains of Nebraska. Father owned one-half interest in a wagon and one yoke of oxen and a cow, another man whose name I do not know owned the same; that made a team of three yoke of cattle. The wagon had a partition in it; mother occupied the back end. When father had gone the old man and his wife, who had no children, treated mother very cruelly by making her walk. He even whipped her. This went on for a short time until Nephi Johnson pulled his whiskers some, then things went some better. An old German gentleman took me by the hand and each day we walked ahead of the train as far as the pilot would let us. We had a chance often to sit down and rest. He provided me with lunch each day and I never shall forget the many times he would say "Du haf en gut fadder." I walked all the way from where father died to Salt Lake City. A few people whom I have met since that came in that company, including Nephi Johnson, told me the train waited once for three days to let about 3500 buffalo pass by. The buffalo divided and passed one each side of the wagons. Our stock was inside of the corral so they would not stampede. No one was allowed to shoot until they had all gone by, then our hunters killed a few calves and the meat was distributed to the company according to their needs.

We landed in Salt Lake City on November 23, 1860 and camped where the city and county building now stands, thirteen years after the first pioneers arrived. We rested there a number of days. Many of the Saints came to bid us welcome, distributing food and comfort where needed. President Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball and Elder John Van Cott, who was the interpreter for the Danes, came and found out the occupation of each of these newcomers, and they were assigned to each new community where they were needed. This was the custom of the leaders of the Church, so no community would be short of mechanics of any kind. Men who were farmers in the old country were sent to Sanpete and Cashe [Cache] Counties, these were called the graneries of Utah.

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