Transcript for Dickson, Albert Douglas, Reminiscence [ca. 1911], 2-5

In the spring of 1852 he sold his place and bought 2 yoke of oxen and 2 yokes of cows. Went to the Missouri River bottom where Ezra T. Benson organized the Saints which gathered there which was the fourteenth company which left for the Salt Lake Valley in the spring of 1852 <(bapt. John B. Walker)>. Crossed on a large flat boat, two wagons to a trip, three men to the car and one to the rear to steer; would land down the river about 1/4 of a mile from the starting point, and pulled the boat back with oxen. The company consisted of 50 wagons and five tens and each ten had a captain and our captain was David M. Conley. Made the westward start and went over to the Elkhorn, Neb., river and found an old decaded flat boat of about four or five tons capacity. We supposed it to be the property of some fur traders who had lost or left it there. The next camp was on the Platte River, Neb., where the cholera broke out and two of our number succumbed to the dread disease, which did not leave our company until we reached Loup Fork, which is up the river from our first camp on the Platte and ten more or our company died of cholera. At this point some one threw out a buffalo robe and stampeded about fifty wagons and one woman was thrown out and killed. Trailed along up to the Grand Island. Traveled two days up the river and saw the first buffaloes on the route, six or eight, and my father and some of the rest of the men tried to kill one and shot and crippled one bull and our dog took up the chase of the injured buffalo and melted itself and we children mourned the loss of our noble dog, and the hunt was unsuccessful for we got no buffalo.

Went on two more days and the first buffalo was killed by our company[.] Wm. Lindsey [Lindsay], which was distributed in our company. After this we saw them every day and got one any time we needed meat for there were thousands of them and we would stop the train and watch the vast herds pass. Now, of course, there were lots of buffalo bones and we began to learn somewhat concerning the advance companies for they would write their messages on the skull bones and set them by the roadside and we, likewise, would leave messages to the companies still to come. It will be remembered that we were going up the north side of the Platte and now in a few days more we could see thousands of buffalo on the south side of the river but none on the side we were on. So when we had used all our meat it was necessary for some of the company to cross the river and try and get some for meat. So my father [Billa Dickson], Ephraim Lindsay and Geo[rge]. [Barton] Hicks waded the river and killed some and night came on and in the darkness they dared not cross the river for camp and consequently had to lay out, which greatly alarmed the rest of the company, and I never expected to see my father again. The next morning a search party was organized but before they were ready to start they saw them coming carrying all they could of the very best meat from the carcass. Farther up the river small buffalo small bluffs and cedar were in sight. The cedar, however, were on the other side of the river. We observed that a large number of the wagon tires were getting loose so we camped by a small bluff and men with their shovels soon dug around a piece of earth, which was used for an anvil block. In the meantime some had crossed the river to get a load of cedar. On their return they made a pit by setting the wood on end and in the form of an Indian wigwam and then covered it with grass and dirt and then burned it and the next morning, with the charcoal, they cut and welded the tires and set them. We passed Ash Hollow after several day's travel. The next place of importance was Chimney Rock. Traveled twelve miles and came to Scotts Bluffs and 64 miles from here we arrived at Fort Laramie. Here we forded the Platte to the south side. We stopped at Deer Creek where the washing for the camp was done. I went hunting with father and we saw a bunch of buffalo of about 50 head. They run out on a large plain. Two men were after the same ones as we were and they were on one side and we on the other but out of sight. They shot and they came straight toward us up a hill where we were on the top. When within 50 yards father shot and killed one and the others came on in their mad rush not seeing us till their hoofs were nearly on us. They just parted enough to keep from killing us. We went down to where the buffalo lay and found that he was not dead and father had to finish him with a butcher knife. The two men then came over. They belonged to a Welsh Company. Father cut out a pack or what he could carry and gave the rest to them, being the first buffalo meat they had on their trip. We got back to camp after dark.

We traveled a few days and stopped again for repairs, setting wagon tires, shoeing oxen, etc.

Went on up the Platte until the last crossing and we crossed back on the north side. After traveling for a few days we arrived on the Sweetwater. Here a man overtook our ten who belonged to the ten in the rear and said he had broken his wagon tire and father was sent back to make the repair. He took a piece of wagon tire and a drill and with four rivets, made the mend and then made a fire and set the tire and it came through to the Valley.

Passed Independence Rock and next to the Devil's Gate. Got short of tar; found some nice pitch pine and we had a big sugar kettle in our company. We split the pitch fine in small pieces, drove these in to the kettle in a vertical manner as tightly as possible, turned the kettle bottom side up on a large flat rock and then made a fire over the kettle, and was successful in making enough to grease our wooden axles and linch pin to last us to our journey’s end.

We went up to the three crossings of Sweet Water and camped. These crossings are not a half a mile apart. Father and some went out and killed a buffalo, the last one we saw on the trip. It must be remembered that we also killed antelopes, and only father killed a dear on the trip.

The next place is Ice Springs where there is several boggs and some say that there is ice there year round if dug after. Crossed over Rocky Ridge and several small streams and crossed the last crossing on the Sweet Water, and passed over the pass and camped on Pacific Creek. This pass is the divide of the continent and why they named the creek Pacific, because the water runs into the Pacific Ocean. Went over to Dry Sandy, thence to Little Sandy. In this vicinity is where the roads fork, one going to Oregon and California, the other to Salt Lake. This is called the Sublett Cutoff.

The next point enroute is Big Sandy. Traveled down this until we came to Green River. Crossed the river and went over onto Black’s Fork. Traveled up this a few days and came to Fort Bridger, Next to the Muddy; from here over to the Pioneer Ridge. Came to a little creek called Wolf Creek. From here to Needle Rocks on Yellow Creek and there we buried a young man by the name of [Samuel] Sherman, the last death on long and wearisome march. From here we came down a fork of Echo Canyon. We came down and passed Redden’s or Cache Cave. Traveled down a day or two and came to Weber River. Traveled down the Weber four miles and crossed where Hennefer [Henefer] now stands. Went about ten miles southwest and came to East Canyon. Beaver dams and mud holes and brush made it very difficult for us to drive the sheep. It will be remembered that we brought sheep across the plains. Went up East Canyon and then up a hollow to the right nearly to the top of the Big Mountain. From here we crossed over the Little Mountain late that afternoon and down Emigration Canyon into the Salt Lake Valley about the last of September or the first of October, 1852. <(Oct. 3, 1852)>