Transcript for Fuller, William, [Letter], Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star, 24 Jan. 1863, 60-61
Brother William Fuller writes from Great Salt Lake City to his wife's parents, who live near Basingstoke, --"I left Florence on the 6th of August, two days after Lizzie (his wife) left, she having gone in one of the Church trains, while I engaged as a teamster and worked my way through, thus saving considerable. The companies we were in passed and repassed several times, so that we had several opportunities of seeing each other. She reached Great Salt Lake City two days before me, but she found several friends immediately on her arrival who treated her very kindly.
I would like to give you a description of the journey here if I could, but my powers are not equal to the task. We began the land journey from Florence by travelling some 5, 10, 15 and so on, miles per day; further on we reached 20, 22, and once 28 miles in a day. You may be startled at this, and especially when I say that Lizzie walked almost the entire way. The truth is, you somehow get the spirit of walking, and the travelling is not half so bad as it is to sit and think of it. You would be somewhat amused to see our tents and tent-fires, our bake-cattles and our wagons drawn by oxen-some by 4, 6, 8 and 10 oxen, over the hills, valleys, rivers and ditches. In the morning the horn would blow for the people to rise; then, all would prepare and get breakfast, and about 8 or 9 o'clock the tents would be rolled up and put on the wagons, and out they roll on the road one after the other, the 'pilgrims' journeying on ahead, plucking the flowers, climbing the hills, or travelling on faster to sit down and rest till the train arrives. The oxen travel from one and a half to two miles per hour. At noon the train halts about two hours for dinner; after which it jogs along till sundown, and then the wagons are placed round in a circle, the tents are pitched, men get the water and wood, women make the fire and cook, and the horn again sounds to repair to bed. All in a train are under the direction of one man placed as captain. Thus passes along some ten or eleven weeks of our journey here. The Indians were very scarce on the road this year. The emigration being so large they were all driven farther in to the country to hunt. Stage coaches run backwards and forwards every day all the distance, and the stations are some ten miles, more or less apart.
The first 500 miles of the journey is called the plains, and truly so called. We travelled about that distance, in nearly a straight line, by one river, the Platte; and at intervals we crossed numerous tributary streams. The land is exceedingly fertile; wheat, corn, water-melons, &c., grow in rich profusion when cultivated. Then we strike into the hills; and the rest of the way is over hills and through valleys, round and over mountain's till we reach the Valley. The journey through the mountainous country is not near so difficult as one unacquainted with it would think. The roads pass through the valleys, and when the mountains are approached the roads are dug round them, as you might dig out a path round a rising ground; and thus we escape having to climb the mountains. The journey over the plains is hardy and healthy. Of course, persons may make it pleasant or unpleasant to a great extent themselves.
The first sight you have of the city is only four miles away from it, just as you come out from the mountains; and the sight is splendid. You look upon a valley about 30 miles long and 20 or so wide. The position and arrangement of the city are beautiful. It is divided into square 'blocks,' with a stream of water running through every street. Each house is on a lot or piece of land with an orchard or garden round it. I have seen Presidents Young, Kimball and Wells. At the meeting in the Bowery there were over 5,000 persons present. I feel amply repaid for all the difficulties I had to encounter while coming here. The city surprises and pleases all comers. Building is going on all the time. Every kind of trade is carried on in it. Improvement is the order, independence the aim of the people; happiness and plenty are the results. The altitude of this valley is considerable, as it is over 4,000 feet above the level of the sea, embosomed in mountain, with valleys stretching beyond on the other side. It is summer yet with us; no signs of winter having made their appearance since we arrived. We enjoy firstrate health."