Transcript for Daniel Hadlond Thomas, Preston Thomas: His Life and Travels, 1942, 417-23

Sunday 13th. This morning I resolved to move the camp to where we could get good grass for our stock, although it was Sunday. I make it a point never to travel on Sunday only when we have poor grass or no water or something of the kind, but usually devote the day to worship of Almighty God. At 8 o’clock we got under way and traveled some five or six miles and camped when we had excellent grass and water, wood being abundant everywhere in this country.

This afternoon we held meeting and organization of the camp was gone into and myself was chosen Captain. Bro. John Ostler, sergeant of the guard and Bro. [William] Southwick and Bro. Philip Hosking, clerk. I addressed the saints at length upon their duties. Bro. Ostler followed with some good remarks. The evening was further spent in singing and prayers, etc.

Monday 14th. This morning we took an early start and drove hard all day and camped at sundown, traveled today 22½ miles.

Tues. 15th. Today we traveled over rough roads all day, made 18 miles.

Wednesday 16th. Today we took an early start and traveled 13 miles and camped early in the afternoon on account of getting good grass.

Thurs. 17th. Took an early start this morning crossed the Colorado River at the town of Lograne, a splendid ferry took[.] only three quarters of an hour to cross all our five wagons over, traveled today 16½ miles.

Fri. 18th. Took an early start this morning sent Bro. Hosking ahead to hunt for Bro. [James Addison] Lane’s Camp. Late in the afternoon we were met by Bro. Lane and were conducted by him to his camp in the Labordee Prairie, by a creek, where there was a small grove of timber. We reached camp at 8 o’clock at night having traveled very hard all day, making some 21 miles. All the saints of both parties were glad to meet and see us and we had some splendid singing and prayer.

Saturday 19th. This morning I sent Bro. Hosking to hunt up Br. Phelps and see if he was ready and to join us as speedily as possible so we might all set off on our long journey. Today Bro. Lane and I have been very busily changing our freight from one wagon to another and adjusting our loads, at night we had some splendid music, Bro. Ostler plays on the violin and all the saints sang most charmingly.

Sunday 20th. This forenoon the camp all spent the time in fixing up their wagons and in the afternoon, we held meeting and many of the inhabitants of the country came to here us and I preached to them. Tonight Bro. Phelps and family arrived in camp.

Monday 21st. This morning we had many preparations to make and at 10 o’clock we were ready and our trains started to move which now consisted of 8 wagons, 34 persons, 60 head of oxen, one milk cow, five head of horses and one mule. Bro. Harris Phelps was with us at starting but he had to go back on business and his family and two wagons journeyed on with us. Today several of Bro. Lane’s old friends traveled with us and assisted us over the bad places which were numerous for the road the whole of the day was rougher than we have yet had on our journey. Late in the evening we crossed the Yana River but not without great difficulty, as it has a very wide swampy bottom which is reckoned one of the worst in Texas—we camped, but we had very little grass for our stock.

Tuesday 22nd. Today we traveled some 15 miles. We had a very bad road.

Wednesday 23rd. Today we were joined by Bro. Phelps, the day was hot and roads—so we made a short day’s travel.

Thursday 24th. This morning I sent Bro. John Whitman to go to Bro. Coley’s camp on the St. Gabriel River, and learning of their whereabouts I sent by him four hundred and thirty-five dollars in gold to the two Br. Coleys. This amount they had sent by me to St. Louis to buy them some wagons and other things which I had done and they failed to meet me at Powder Horn, but had sent John Whitman down to sell the things so Bro. Lane and myself bought the wagons, blacksmith tools and everything and this money was to pay for them. Today we had a very sandy road and at several places we had to double teams, the day was distressing by hot weather, so we made a short day’s travel. After we camped I went out hunting with my big new rifle and killed two very large bucks, and was assisted by Bros. Lane and Phelps in bringing them into camp, and they were dressed and distributed in the camp.

Friday 25th. The roads still continue bad in places. We crossed today a little river and passed through the town of Cameron, traveled today 16 miles.

Saturday 26th. Last night it rained and today the roads are muddy and we had great difficulty in crossing a large creek, called Elm Creek. It was swollen from the rain and we had to block up our wagon boxes to keep our goods in them from getting wet, we also had to double teams going out up the bank, in the afternoon it rained and thundered a great deal, and we had great difficulty in traveling so we camped early.

Sunday 27th. Today we have spent in camp, we held meeting in the fore and afternoon, Bros. Ostler and myself both addressed the saints; a very good spirit prevailed and in the afternoon the Sacrament was administered and the entire day was spent in preaching, and prayer and songs of rejoicing.

Monday 28th This morning the camp got off at an early hour, but from the abundance of rain which had fallen the roads were very muddy and traveling was heavy and slow; in the afternoon it rained again and the whole country is literally covered with water.

Tuesday 29th. This morning a dense fog covered the earth and everything was wet and muddy and everybody in camp felt so uncomfortable. As soon as possible the camp got into motion at an early hour and made very slow progress through the deep black mud, it sometime clogging up the wheels of the wagons so as to stop the wheels of the wagons from rolling and the whole train would have to stop and clear the wheels of mud; in this way we made out to travel some 12 or 14 miles and we camped at night there we had very little wood to kindle fires. Tonight it rained and we had another great thunderstorm.

Wednesday 30th. This the last day of April and we are here in Texas laboring indeed but making slow progress towards Salt Lake. The day has been very fair and windy and the mud has dried up very fast.

Thursday May 1, 1856. Today we crossed the Breses [Brazos] River at the town of Waco with our train of wagon. We were detained several hours in crossing as the ferry boat was a very poor one and the river swollen with the recent rains. We traveled today 13 miles.

Friday 2nd. Today we traveled 24 miles, the roads having dried very much but still there are some bad mud holes.

Saturday 3rd. Today we traveled 16 miles and camped by a beautiful creek, still some mud in the roads.

Sunday 4th. Today we have spent in camp, in the forenoon I settled with Bros. Lane, Phelps and [William A.] McCullough, in the afternoon we held meeting and a great many gentiles from the surrounding country came to attend, but they manifested a very bad spirit—Bro. Ostler preached on the Gospel.

Monday 5th. Last night it rained a hard shower and today the prairies have been very muddy and the roads have been very heavy. At noon had we traveled some 8 miles and soon after starting we came to a large creek known as Chambers Creek where we found swollen with rain from last night, and was overflowing so we had to go into Camp, and must wait until the flood subsides. Some seven years ago I was with a small company of saints waterbound for a day or two at this same creek.

Tuesday 6th. This afternoon the creek had so fallen as to admit of being crossed by blocking up the wagon boxes a little tighter on the wheels. We traveled some 8 miles and the train camped for the night on the banks of a large creek called ashatchco, after having crossed it. Today a Brother by the name of Whitmore who had recently been baptized by Bro. Homer Duncan who has been laboring in this part of the country, came to camp. He seems to be a first rate man and above mediocrity. He informed us he was offering all his property for sale and among other things he had a great many cattle and among them many good milk cows which he would sell. I therefore proposed to some of the brethren in the camp that we buy some to give us milk on the road, Bro. Lane and I went home with him and look at his cows and concluded to purchase some of them. After supper we went back to camp—Bro. Whitmore and family accompanying us and during the evening we had some good singing and intrumental music. Bro. Homer Duncan with Bro. Snedaker whom I had found at Bro. Whitmore’s and had accompanied us to camp addressed the saints for a short time as also Bro. John Ostler and myself. Bro. Homer Duncan gave it as his opinion that Bro. Ostler had better stay in Texas this year and preach. This we all regretted very much to hear for we had all very much desired that he should go home with us and he also desired it very much.

Wed. 7th. This morning Bros. Phelps and Lane and myself went to the house of Bro. Whitmore and bought ten cows and calves, three of them I purchased. We had much trouble to drive them to camp but Bro. Whitmore went with us and as he was a good cowdriver rennered us very great assistance. My cows proved to be good milkers but very wild and had to be tied head and foot to go to milk them. For many days we have very muddy roads to contend with and of course we had to travel slow.

Thursday 8th. Today we crossed the Trinity River at Paddy’s Ferry as we were told it was better to go that way than by Dallas on account of the latter being much the worse way for mud. We found the river very high and all of its bottoms had been overflown but the flood had began to recede.

Today Bro. John Ostler, who had traveled with us up to this time left us amid the regrets of all the saints in Camp and turned back. He spoke of spending his time preaching in the counties along the Gulf coast.

Friday 9th. For several days past we have had a very rainy time and the roads which we pass over are a rich black soil but muddy.

Saturday 10th. Today it continues to rain and the black mud rolls upon our wagon wheels. During the day we have had much difficulty in finding our way as we left the main road to cross the Trinity River and ever since we have been following neighborhood roads and have had much difficulty in getting along, but at noon we reached the main road leaving from Dallas to Preston on Red River. This we found to be better. At 5 o’clock we camped by a beautiful creek and a good grass where we propose spending the Sabbath, and at prayer tonight I informed the saints so and instructed them to prepare themselves on the morrow for meeting and partaking of the Sacrament.

Sunday 11th. Today we have remained in camp and held meeting and in the afternoon we partook of the Lord’s supper, and during the meeting many persons came in from the surrounding country to see and hear the Mormons. And, some requested that we would preach to them at night, which I did—many turning out.

Sunday 18th. Here I find myself in camp with my company in one mile from Boggs Depot in the Chocktow Indian Nation 45 miles north of Red River. For the past week we have traveled very well and made a little over one hundred miles. Notwithstanding it has been raining almost every day and we have had to wallow through the back mud. On Thursday a.m. one of Bro. Phelps wagons broke down and we had to go to Preston to obtain a mechanic to repair it which was done by making an almost new wheel in the place of a broken one.

On Thursday—the day we crossed Red River we were very much annoyed by some drunken half breed Chickasaw Indians. This I was informed of when I came into camp, for I was not with the train while the Indians were insulting our teamsters and women, for I had gone ahead during the time—driving the milk cows and other loose cattle, had I been with them something pretty serious might have occurred for I certainly should have been inclined to have beaten some of them.

Sunday 18th. Today for the first time on this journey I have been induced to travel, for it always was repugnant to my feelings to travel on Sunday, and I feel we have been well chastised for it, for one of my wagons in passing a bad place was upset and many little accidents occurred to disturb the harmonious feeling of the saints in camp, and I could well feel the displeasure of the Almighty was upon us. Upon our arrival here we found the little boggy river one mile ahead of this place was swimming and we had to turn off the road a mile to a small prairie in the timber to find a poor camping place where we could wait until the waters could fall. I truly am persuaded that it is displeasing to the Almighty for his saints to travel on Sunday.