Transcript

Transcript for Hadley, Lorenzo, [Interview], in "Utah Pioneer Biographies," 44 vols., 12:14-17

On the tenth day of August we were loaded up and started for Utah under the direction of Captain Thomas E. Ricks. There were seventy covered wagons in our train and some of the teamsters driving the ox-teams were John E. Bitton, Miles Jones, Hammond Green, Bill Shafer, Caleb Parry and others. When we came to the Platte River it was so high they concluded the only way to cross was to make a ferry. They swam the cattle across all ready yoked up so they could pull the wagons onto the bank when they reached the other side. Everything went along just fine and we continued our journey across the plains. The next time we came to the river it was so low we could easily cross by fording. We were very fortunate in only having one death along the way and that was a little girl who ate some poison berries from a cedar bush. They buried her along the way.

I think it was between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming that we came to a river and the water was so low that the fish had accumulated in one place. Captain Thomas Ricks concluded they could get the fish for the benefit of the people. We didn't have any too much to eat along the way unless the men could shoot rabbits or wild chickens. Captain Ricks had some of the men take one of the new wagon coves off and using this for a seine they must have taken out one ton of fish with just one drag. There were mostly cat-fish, suckers, chubs and there were also two sawfish. One of these was three feet long and the other was about three feet six inches. The men had to be careful getting them out on the bank because right down their backs they had teeth just like the teeth of a saw. We had all the fish we could eat for several days.

Daddy [George Hadley] would often stop and mend pans and buckets along the way as he was handy with a soldering iron. He did this in exchange for food. One of those times I was with him and returning to our wagon, daddy got quite a little ways ahead of me and I found a red leather purse. On opening it I saw some green papers (I didn't know at the time they were green backs and had the value of money) and some coins that looked like our English gold. I took it back to the wagon and showed it to mother [Hannah Brown Handley] and she said she would let father see it and see what we should do with it. When daddy came back he said he would see if anyone claimed it. That night they had a meeting and a doctor in the camp heading for California gave out that he had lost a purse and would give five dollars for anyone finding it. Daddy told him that I had found a purse and if he would come over to our wagon in the morning he could get it. The next morning he came over and asked me where I had found it and I told him but he only gave me one dollar for it.

We didn't see any large wild animals along the way with the exception of one elk. At one place though some Indians came up and asked Captain Ricks where we were going and Captain Ricks told them to Utah. Then they wanted to know why we were going to Utah and Captain Ricks told them we were going for the Big Spirit. We didn't have any trouble with Indians along the way. At one place our teamster told my brother, sister [Mary Ann] and myself that if we went just on the other side of a large mound we would see an Indian burying ground. We went over to see it and we found a big cedar tree under which were all kinds of Indian bones, fingers, toes, skulls, arms and legs. They had evidently been burying their dead for years there and on looking up in the tree we saw a body. It apparently had just recently been placed there and when we saw it we got scared and ran back to the wagon.

At Ft. Bridger about ten soldiers came up on horseback and asked at every one of our seventy wagons if we had any powder. I don't know if they got any or not but we didn't have any extra. Continuing on we came to Coalville, Utah where we camped over night. My brother and I always slept under the wagon at night and this night we had a snow storm and mother hollered to us to cover up our heads. In the morning daddy got some sage brush to brush the snow off our bed with. There were about four inches of snow on it. We went on down Emigration Canyon into Salt Lake City and we arrived there on the fourth day of October.

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