Transcript for Hammond, Selina Walker, Autobiographical sketch [ca. 1913-1915], 1-3
We crossed the Missouri River on a ferry boat. Mother’s sister, Catherine, and sister-in-law and one of her boys stayed there at Kanesville. (James Preece died on the ship before they reached New Orleans. He was buried there.) They would not go farther, so we went on without them. Before we came to the Missouri River we crossed some water that came out of the river when the river was high, and we had to cross with a ferry boat, and one of our wagons went back into the water and wet all our things that were in it. Father [John Walker] had a stove pipe hat in a leather case and it went floating down the stream and John threw his hat in to keep it company.
We took up our march across the great plains where Indians, wolves, coyotes, buffalo and jack rabbits roamed. I remember well the first Indians we met. I think they were the Sioux or Shoshones. They were traveling, the warriors, squaws and papooses, with tent poles fastened to the horses sides, and dragging it along. I thought they looked queer as they were the first Indians we had seen and we felt a little afraid of them as we had heard what dreadful things they had done to the immigrants on the plains. Then, when we came to Wood River we came across a big heard of buffalo and some of our men shot one or two to have some meat. Father thought he would like to have one of the hides to make a robe, so he went to where they had killed them. My sister Maria and I were with him as he drove a pair of horses there. One was a mare and a very spirited animal, and when he tried to put the hide in behind, she smelled the hide and dashed off at full speed. Father grabbed at the lines but missed them. Then he got hold of one side of the bridle, but after holding on for a hundred yards or more he was knocked down and hurt. The horses and wagon went over him. He was able to stop them again and unhitched her and lead her away a distance and had me hold her while Sarah went to help him. The horse pulled away from me and ran off as fast as she could run, with harness on, and we never saw her again. The President of the company said it was not safe for any men to go back to hunt for her so we got along the best we could. We had to take a yoke of cattle to haul the light wagon until we got to Laramie. Father was badly hurt and had to lie in bed most of the way, and did not get well enough to work until after he moved out to Cottonwood. At Laramie father bought another horse and my sister Maria drove them from there to Salt Lake.
We all enjoyed traveling, although it was a long hard trip. Claudi[u]s [Victor] Spencer was president of the company and there were fifty wagons in the train. Brother [Christopher] Arthur was Captain of the ten we belonged to. Mother [Ann Preece Walker] made some butter and also cheese on the way. When we stopped to rest the teams, she would save the milk and make cheese, and would press them with a wagon tongue. We milked two cows, good ones, and lots of the people of the company would come to her to buy some of the cheese, and she would sell what she could spare. Our cattle got quite poor before we got through, and mother would mix up flour in dough and feed them the dough in balls to give them strength to get through.
Well, we got through and arrived in Salt Lake the 20th of September. Father and mother commenced hunting for a place that they could buy so we could have a home.