Transcript for Critchlow, Benjamin Chamberlin, [Autobiography], in Georgina Bolette Critchlow Bickmore, Charlotte Rhoda Critchlow Ryberg, and Frances Elizabeth Critchlow, ed., Critchlow and Related Families, 101-4
After being some weeks on the road, we reached Council Bluffs. Our company was joined by others and numbered 60 wagons and was known by the name of the Garden Grove company. Harry Walton was made captain on account of having crossed to Utah previously.
After crossing [the] Missouri River, we camped at a place called Winter Quarters, where the first companies remained in the winter of 1846 and 47. The weather continued rainy and the Horn River overflowed its banks. Several companies, ours with the rest, started to go around the head of the stream. After several days, the companies were able to cross the stream by bridging to an island and [then] on to the opposite bank.
Luman A. Shurtliff and Isaac Allred, captains of two other companies, travelled near by, with our companies sometimes in the lead and sometimes in the rear. The first stampede we knew of took place in Allred's company. Oxen became frightened without any known cause [and] would start up with full speed, sometimes breaking wagons and [causing] other damage. We were now in a wild uninhabited country, and the cattle manifested an uneasy and restless feeling.
We soon came to what is known now as the sand hills of Nebraska and had changed our course from a northwest to a southwest direction to intercept the roadthe Pioneers had travelled. Four horses were stolen one morning by Indians at early dawn.
While journeying on as usual one day, all in an instant thirty of the sixty teams stampeded. One woman, a Sister [Ellen] Kingsley, was killed by being run over by Wm. Barton's wagon, and three wagons were broken. Our team was the hindmost among those stampeding and consisted of one yoke of oxen, two yokes of cows and a mare hitched on the lead. Instead of following [the] other teams ahead, the mare led the team in a half circle towards the rear of the train and came to stand without damage to our family.
After repairs to broken wagons, we journey[ed] on, all the time on the lookout for possibly more stampeding. When we halted far the night, we formed our wagons to make a corral, something after the pattern of a horseshoe. The wagons were so arranged that the front wheels of one wagon interlocked with the hind wheel of the wagon ahead, the fronts of the wagons pointing outward from the corral. The cattle were driven into this enclosure nights and guards were placed at the horseshoe entrance to hold the cattle till morning.
One night, while so corralled, the cattle stampeded in spite of the guards and in the morning but one cow was in sight and that was our cow, who always kept away from other cattle, and her peculiar habit cost her her life after we came to the valley; the coyotes finding her alone that winter had a feast.
I remember that night when they said the cattle were all gone that father's [William Coe Critchlow's] nerves were so affected that his agitation was so great as to shake the wagon; himself unable to walk a step, our teams all gone, and [being] in the midst of a desolate wilderness was enough to make anyone so situated have peculiar thoughts pass through their minds.
After three days of searching over the surrounding¬ country, all but twenty head of cattle were found, and we were enabled to proceed on our journey. I remember while crossing the Loup Fork of Platte River that while the stream was a shallow one, its bottom was composed of a kind of quicksand so that unless constantly on the move, wagon and team would settle in the sand and become immovable. The movement of the wheels through the sand would cause a continual jarring or shaking of the wagon.
After all our aroundabout journey, we came into [the] main road and met with other companies who had remained back until the water had subsided and at the time were as far in advance on their journey [as] our companies were.
Some 4 or 500 miles of the ensuing part of our journey is partially a blank in my mind because of [my] having been stricken with mountain fever, of which I was told I came near to death.
The next was our experience with buffalo. There appeared to be hundreds of thousands of [them] passing to the North across our road. Our train was divided upinto sections and halted for some time to let the buffalo pass through. My brother William [Fuller Critchlow] on the back part of our wagon [was] using the ox whip to keep the buffalo from crowding against us. The journey from now on was uneventful.
We arrived in Salt Lake City the latter part of September [September 24, 1851] . . .