I determined on going west and made arrangements with Elijah Mayhew (husband of my sister Lydia) to go with them and help what I could on that long tedious journey of 1700 miles. He fitted up two wagons and teams and we, being comfortably supplied, bid adieu to our many friends and relatives and stared from Indianapolis, Indiana, Marcy 15, 1853, on our pilgrimage. Our company consisted of Elijah Mayhew and wife, Lydia, his children, Otto L., Austin S., Caroline A., Walter F., and myself. I had left Edinburgh, March 8th, so as to help fit up the wagons, and when we started for good we were rather a raw set of teamsters, for Otto and I herded the oxteams through the streets of Indianapolis, attracting considerable attention, as we were so green with our nervous "Gee, Haw, Buck and Berry." That our cattle knew more than we did is evident from the fact that we struck the center post on the bridge over Pognes, run in the heart of the city, but soon extricating our wagons we were successful in getting through town onto the turnpike on our way towards Terre Haute. We made ten miles the first day and stopped for the night at a wayside Inn kept by Zimmerman. The next day we started early and at noon arrived at the terminus of the plank road. Then our experiences commenced in earnest-mud, slush, and snow gave us all we could desire. We necessarily had to travel slowly and the journey seemed more serious the farther west we went. The prairies of Western Indiana and over into Illinois were almost a sea of mud and slush, and as grass had not started to grow we had to buy corn and hay for the animals. They soon showed the effects of travel. So with patience and toil until we were almost worn out we finally reached Kanesville, Iowa on the 6
day of May. This was a joyful time for us for we remained in this vicinity until the 7
day of June. On the 8
we crossed the Missouri River by ferry and started on the overland journey across the great plains. Our company had 46 wagons. John W. Cooley was captain, Daniel Mellor [Miller] assistant. We had the usual monotonous travel from day to day, resting, shoeing oxen, setting wagon tires, etc., when necessary. This routine was only enlivened by the sudden appearance of Indians who would come into camp to beg or steal as opportunity presented. We had to keep strict watch by day and guard by night so as to prevent a stampede of the animals and we had all the experiences of tiresome travel that anyone could desire. Though the hardships of overland travel may have been overestimated by some, yet we had enough and plenty to satisfy the most ambitious.
In the beginning and following the wake of the pioneers, it was a necessity for the Mormon people that had been exiled and driven, they had no homes wherein they could dwell in peace among their christian friends, and they had to try the realities of life beyond the pale of civilization. To me this journey caused much serious reflection. I had left a good home, pleasant surroundings, a good position, and a bright outlook for future success, but having decided to cast my lot among this people no such word as regreat [sic] entered my mind and heart, but to push ahead, taking things as they come, and no matter what it cost. I was determined to stay with it. Day by day we continued our journey until finally on the ninth of Sept., 1853, we reached Salt Lake City.