Transcript for Jackson, Aaron, [Reminiscences], in "Utah Pioneer Biographies," 44 vols., 15:2-7

"We reached Iowa City by train, July 8th. We had expected to find our handcarts already for us but instead we had to delay two weeks to make them. Instead of iron axles they were poorly constructed of wood. The boxes were of leather.

"There were two companies organized containing 556 persons, 146 handcarts, seven wagons, six mules and horses, fifty milch [milk] cows and beef animals. There was one wagon with goods for the L.D.S. Church at Salt Lake City. To each of the two companies was apportioned a mule team and two wagons hauled by oxen to carry tents, stores, etc.

"On July 15th the company left Iowa City for Florence, Neb., 277 miles away. At Florence the two companies were consolidated. Edward Martin, was made captain, and Daniel Tyler, his aide. On August 25th we broke camp and traveled two miles. On August 27th we left Cutler's Fork.

"On September 7th when we were near Soup [Loup] Fork we were overtaken and passed by Apostle F.D. Richards, C.H. Wheelock, and other returning missionaries. We learned that A[lmon]. W. Babbitt had been killed by Indians. Apostle Richards encouraged the companies to move on although some were wondering if we could get across the plains and over the mountains before winter set in, as autumn was already with us and had barely got a good start. The apostle and the missionaries were traveling light with a fast outfit of horses and soon passed us and got to Salt Lake weeks before we reached South Pass.

"On October 8th we reached Fort Laramie. Our provisions were beginning to run low so some of the converts who had money or jewels took them to the fort and exchanged them for food.

"We had been poorly outfitted from the first and when our food supply got low we were reduced to one half pound of flour per person per day.

"On October 19th we got to the last crossing of the Platte river. My father was very sick. He was too ill to walk so they gave him a ride in a wagon. When we got to the river the teams were too weak to ford the stream and he had to wade.

"The weather turned off very cold. The people were hungry and weary. Their shoes were wearing out and many were barefooted. My mother's sister, Mary Horrocks Leavitt, became ill and was deranged her mind from the hardships. While mother carried us children across, her sister helped my father wade through the cold waters of the Platte.

"Then a terrible storm set in. We struggled along as best we could. My mother told how the chilled and tired company would join in singing that famous old Mormon hymn,
Come, Come ye saints, no toil nor labor fear, But with joy wend your way;
Tho hard to you this journey may appear, grace shall be as your day.
'Tis better far for us to strive, Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell-All is well! All is well!

"It was after this crossing that a terribly foolish thing was done. The carts were heavily laden with clothing, bedding and other equipment. The people were getting so weak they could hardly pull the carts. Instead of making camp there as they were forced to do a few miles further on when the snow got too deep, they actually piled up great heaps of clothing and bedding and burned them. Those precious quilts and coats would have been greatly appreciated a few days later, but the great mistake was made. Instead of caching the goods or just leaving it by the wayside, they destroyed it so it was impossible to go back and get it when it was sorely needed a few miles further on.

"On October 20th the company walked ten miles in the snow and camped near the Platte river about where it leaves the Sweetwater. For three days snow fell and we remained in camp. Then on again. On October 25th we stopped at sundown, and the men put up the tents. My father died in the tent that night. My mother discovered he was dead about midnight and called for help, but none could come to her aid, so she had to lie there by the corpse all night.

"The next morning they put him and thirteen other dead persons in a great pile and covered them with snow. The ground was too hard to dig graves.

"Many took sick and died along that weary trail. Nearly one hundred fifty lives were lost from cold and starvation as that company of inexperienced English people, unused to the wilderness, tried to make their way through deep snow over the Rockies, by way of the Sweetwater and Southpass.

"The men became so weak and so few remained that they could not put up the tents. My mother related that one night when it was bitterly cold she was too weak to find wood or make a fire. Sitting by the cart on a stone she clasped her three little children to her and sheltered them with her shawl as best she could. Holding me on her lap with my sisters at her side she remained that way all night, a widow, cold and hungry in a strange land. While the wolves howled and sharp wind chilled the heart the poor travelers somehow managed to keep on going.

"On October 28th Joseph A. Young, Daniel Jones and Abel Garr, galloped into camp from Salt Lake City amid the cheers and tears of the sufferers. They brought news that relief was coming and that Brigham Young had ordered wagons to come to our aid from Utah.

"The next day we started up the Sweetwater. On October 31st, at Greasewood creek, George D. Grand [Grant], R.F. Burton, Charles Decker, Chauncey G. Webb and others with six wagons of flour from Salt Lake, met our company.

"On November 1st, we got to the bridge of the Sweetwater, five miles from Devil's Gate, Wyoming. There was a foot and a half of snow on the ground. The travelers had to scrape it away from the ground with cooking utensels in order to make a place to camp.

"At Devil's Gate we left Daniel W. Jones, Thomas M. Alexander, and Ben Hamilton and 17 others to guard a cache of freight we left there. Several days after that we came to the last crossing of the Sweetwater. The water was two feet deep and there was three or four inches of ice. When the people and carts tried to cross, the ice broke, plunging them into the cold water, the jagged pieces of ice cut their legs and feet, and many of them left blood on the snow and bore the scars to their death.

"One poor chap, when he saw the stream broke down crying, and said, 'Do we have to cross here? I can't! His wife said, 'Jimmie, I will pull the cart for you'. Luggage had long since been reduced to ten pounds for adults, and five pounds for children.

"Then we camped for several days at Martin's Ravine. There is a monument there now to commemorate the suffering of that place. There were several days of storm and it was impossible to move. E.K. Hanks said he had seen nothing worse in his years in the wilderness. He had killed a buffalo and he gave us some meat to eat.

"Finally we got over the South Pass, and down to Fort Bridger, and into Utah. We reached Salt Lake, Sunday, November 30th.