Transcript for "James T. Sutton, reminiscences", DUP Pioneer History Collection, Page 2-4.
We finally reached the end of the railroad tracks and had to prepare ourselves for the journey across the plains. At that time there was a perpetual emigration fund. The people who were already settled and living here in Utah, in the various wards, used to send whatever they could in the way of wagons and oxen to bring the emigrants to Zion. Of course there were many provisions, not only for us, but also for the people living in Utah, and the wagons were loaded to the limit. Nothing in the line of food could come from the west and the price of foods brought from the east by pony express was too high for most of us. Tea and coffee sold for one to two dollars per pound. Flour and sugar were a dollar a pound.
We stayed about two weeks getting ready for the westward march. The provisions had to be divided and all arrangements made. We were not very well prepared for the bad heavy rains we experienced and after camping for awhile we were in a pretty bad mess. We were to drive teams across the country to pay for our way and transportation. I drove six head of oxen all the way. Of course at times they were hard to manage. We used whips aplenty. When they wore out we used to see if we could find a big snake. It was killed and a stick shoved in it's mouth and that used as a whip.
The first day out we made about ten miles. The distance we traveled each day varied because we had to make watering places. If we had good going we sometimes made as many as 20 or 25 miles in one day. Scouts were sent ahead on horses to locate camping places. Of course all others were warned not to leave wagons for fear of Indians. Everyone else walked, women, children, and all. If any were sick and couldn't stand it they had to die. Such an occurrence was always very sad. The whole train could not be held up for burial services, and so—three or four teamsters driving better and younger oxen would stay behind for the task of disposing of the body. They would dig a crude grave, often hitting water. If that occurred dirt and brush would be thrown in the grave, then the body wrapped in whatever could be spared was laid away with very little ceremony. Then those who had participated in the burial rushed to catch up with the rest of the wagons.
Often in walking along we would slip into badger holes and a warning would be shouted back to the next teamster to beware. Fording the rivers was hard and dangerous work. Women and children as well as men waded across which accounted for a great deal of the sickness and death. If the oxen happened to get in deep water they would swim. There were 52 of our people died while crossing the plains.
At times buffaloes would get among the cattle and stampede them. At night there was small danger from that as a corral was formed with the wagons and the cattle driven in the center of the circle. The tongue of one wagon was hooked onto the back of the next wagon and so on around, making it improbable that the cattle would stray. After we were settled for the night and our small portion of food eaten, (we were on small rations long before reaching Salt Lake) we would dance and sing, have meeting and prayer before going to bed. "Come, Come Ye Saints" sung whole heartedly by the whole company would give us fresh courage to face the next day's hardships. Many Indians visited the camp and Martin Dale, the captain of one of the wings of the wagon train, made friends with them by giving them food and various little articles.
We were between three and four months coming across the plains and one weary day we found ourselves traveling down Weber canyon within one day's travel of our destination—Salt Lake City. Captain [William] Hyde had gone on ahead when Bishop Cannon from Salt Lake met us. He inquired for Captain Hyde and on being told he had ridden ahead he turned to father and said, "You are English?" "Yes," replied Dad. "Well" said Bishop Cannon, "I have a chest of tea in my buggy—take it—and when you reach camp to-night we'll have a good supper for you, and when you reach Salt Lake we'll have some fine food ready."
It was in October when we reached Salt Lake and there was snow on the ground. We had all gone through a great deal of suffering and were very happy to pull into the 8th ward square, the emigrants camping grounds. The City and County Building now stands on that spot.