Transcript for Homer, William H., Reminiscences, in Rachel Maretta Homer Crockett, Homer Family History [1942], 25-27

In the summer of 1858, an independent company of emigrants and returning missionaries was organized to leave Florence, Nebraska, for Salt Lake City; of that company, Russell K. Homer was captain and Christian Felsted was chaplain and president. The company left for Utah July 3, 1858. It was in this company that the Homer family crossed the Plains. The family was well equipped with conveniences for camping. They had tents, a camp stove, a light spring wagon for the family, and had three additional wagons loaded with their effects and two loaded with merchandise they were freighting for merchants in Utah. They also drove with them a bunch of loose stock consisting of horses, mules, and cattle. The rest of the company was mostly from Denmark. They were also pretty well equipped, all having pretty good outfits and their own supplies. Early in the journey, they came to some high water, but ferried across in tight wagon boxes which were build tight for just such an emergency.

They made good time all the way and saw hundreds of loaded wagons hauling supplies for Johnston's Army which had gone on the year before. One of the boys, William H. Homer, who was 12 years at the time, reports in his diary the following incident:

"On one occasion we seemed about to meet our fate at the hands of Sioux Indians on the warpath. Decked out in their war paint and feathers, a band of these fierce-looking fellows swooped down upon us about four o'clock in the afternoon, circling around our wagon train. Captain Homer, understanding the situation, called all the teams to a halt and sent out a man with a white flag to meet them. They kept coming closer whooping and yelling, until they were quite close to the man with the flag, when their chieftain held up his hand and they all stopped. He came forward alone on a beautiful white pony; he spoke to the man with the flag, and after a brief conversation asked to talk to the big white chief. After very impressive preparations, father went out to meet the Indian chief, who demanded great quantities of flour, sugar, tobacco, and beef cattle. After some time spent in parlying, they agreed to settle for a much smaller amount and various trinkets—beads, mirrors, bandanna handkerchiefs, etc. The chief, very gratified, then said, 'I see you are peaceful travellers wishing to pass through our country, and we will make a dance in your honor,' which they did. When all matters were satisfactorily settled, the chief took father to one side and said, 'There are hostile tribes of Indians ahead watching for wagon trains, and if the great white chief so desires, we will go along to protect your company; however, we would prefer to keep out of sight, but would see that no harm came to the white chief and his friends.' This offer was gladly accepted and he kept his word. We caught glimpses of them in the distance for a few days, but they did not come near us; and that was the last of our Indian troubles.

"At the crossing of the Green River, we camped near the tents of that famous scout and trapper, Jim Bridger. With father [Russell King Homer], I visited his tents and saw his two Indian wives, and played with his children while father traded horses with the illustrious Jim Bridger.

"One night when we camped on Wood river, near its junction with the Platte, we had just got our cook tent pitched when it started to rain. How it poured down; accompanied by fierce thunder and lightning! Everybody rushed for cover; sixteen crowded into our tent. Mother was near the stove cooking; I was on the ground behind the stove. I heard a heavy clap of thunder, and the next thing I knew was next day we were travelling along in the wagon. Mother [Eliza Williamson Homer] told me how the tent had been struck and everybody in it stunned. I was the last to come to. Mother was the worst injured; she was badly burned about her feet and legs, her shoes were torn off and her clothing was torn and burned."

They travelled as fast as their teams could stand, stopping only for the regular Sunday rest. They made what was considered very good time all the way, and on October 7, 1858, arrived in Salt Lake City.