Transcript for Hunt, John A., [Journal], in "Church Emigration Book"

The company which left the camp-ground near Iowa City, in charge of Captain Jones, Aug. 1st, 1856, is what became known afterwards as Capt. Hunt’s wagon company. In September, 1891, when the writer visited St. Charles, Bear Lake County, Idaho, where Captain John A. Hunt now acts as Bishop, he obtained the journal kept in his company while crossing the plains in 1856, and from the interesting narrative contained therein the following items have principally been culled:

When the company left the camping ground near Iowa City, it consisted of 56 wagons, but when fairly out on the plains it numbered 240 persons, with 50 wagons, 297 oxen and cows, and 7 horses and mules. The majority of the company had light loads and good teams, and were well provisioned generally. There were also some wagons along loaded with Church goods.

While journeying through Iowa, Thomas Parry, a teamster, aged 21 years, died on August 13th. On the 14th, Elders Ferguson, Webb, McAllister and Dan Jones started ahead with the mule teams, leaving John A. Hunt in charge of the company.

On the 15th the train crossed the Des Moines River at Fort Des Moines, and on the 27th arrived at the Missouri River and camped near the town of Florence.

On the 29th the people were busy laying in their stock of provisions for the journey across the plains. Flour at this point cost $4.50 per hundred; cornmeal $2.50 per hundred; sugar from 12 to 15 cents per pound.

On Saturday the 30th, a meeting was held at which Apostle Snow gave instructions to the emigrants. A child two years old died that day.

On Sunday the 31st the company moved out of Florence about 3 miles, to a place where the feed was good, and in a meeting held in the evening Apostles Erastus Snow and Franklin D. Richards addressed the emigrating Saints.

On the 2nd of September the journey was resumed and continued for some time, averaging about 15 miles a day.

On the 6th, Sister Esther Walters gave birth to a daughter; and the train <was> passed by Apostle Franklin D. Richards and company of missionaries.

On the 8th and 9th the company was ferried across the Loup Fork.

Wood River was crossed on the 15th. On the 21st Brother Elias Davis died of diarrhoea.

On the 24th, Sister Mary Noble, of Brighton, England, gave birth to a daughter.

On the 2nd of October the company crossed the Platte from the north to the south side, at a point about 30 miles east of Chimney Rock.

On the 4th, Susannah Bruner, from Switzerland, died quite suddenly.

On the 5th they met Parley P. Pratt and escort, en route for the States.

On the 6th, John Turner, an English brother, died with diarrhoea, near Scotts Bluffs, and another child was born.

While traveling on the 7th some of the oxen took fright and stampeded about 12 wagons left the road carried off by the frightened cattle at a break-neck speed in all directions. During the consternation, which became general throughout the camp, Sister Esther Walters from Swansea, <Wales,> was knocked down and so injured that she expired a few minutes later, leaving a babe only four weeks old – the same that was born on the 6th of September.

On the 9th of October the company arrived near Fort Laramie; a five-year old boy [John Joseph Wiseman] died.

On the 12th Brother [William] Beesley and [William] Bell with their respective families and wagons left the company and returned to Fort Laramie, in order to escape the severity of the weather.

On the 15th the company forded the river to the north side, and on the following day forded it again to the south side.

On the 19th the company passed Capt. Martin’s hand-cart company just as the people were pulling out after dinner; many of them hauled their hand-carts along side of the wagons of Captain Hunt’s company, in which several of the of the Saints shed tears when they saw aged women and children, with haggard countenances and worn out constitutions, pull with all their strength to get their carts along over the sandy road. That same evening the company arrived at the upper crossing of the Platte, followed closely by the hand-cart company. Captain Hodgett’s company had just forded the stream.

When the emigrants in the three respective companies mentioned opened their eyes to behold the morning of Monday, Oct. 20th, they found the ground covered with snow, which during the night had fallen to such a depth that the companies could not move. The cattle in Captain Hunt’s company were driven into the camp corral in the afternoon, when it was found that 12 or 14 head were missing. It commenced to snow again late in the day.