Transcript for Jensen, Michel, [Interview], in "Utah Pioneer Biographies," 44 vols., 15:111-18
Mr. Jensen had all the necessary tools for use, with which to build a house on arrival at their destination. A company of men and women, and their families, with an outfit of three wagons, and teams of horses, who were prospectors, on their way to Oregon to seek gold, traveled with the hand cart company for a few days, but decided the hand cart company traveled too slow, so they went on ahead. After a few days travel the hand cart company came upon the place where the prospectors had last camped. They found the gold seekers, who were on their way to Oregon, had suffered an attact [attack] by Indians, and that all of the men, and some of the children had been killed and scalped by the Indians, the wagons and other equipment, had been burned, the horses stolen, and the hand cart pioneers believed, that some of the young women and girls, were taken prisoner, by the Indians. Mr. Jensen said that He has often wondered if the ones who were taken prisoners by the Indians ever lived to be able to tell of the fate of the others, and their experiences to any other white people, as these Indians were from the north, and that some of the northern Indians had white squaws.
The hand cart company was accompanied by three wagons pulled by ox teams, which carried their surplus flour, bacon, and other supplies for use along the almost endless trail. The company had made camp one night about three weeks time after they had started on their journey, when a herd of about two thousand buffalo stampeded through the place where their oxen, and stock were feeding, taking the oxen , and cattle with them. The company made camp there for three days, while Captain Willie, and two aids tried to locate the cattle, and oxen. They failed to find any trace of their stock, so they were compelled to leave the supply wagons there, probably in the vicinity of Laramie, Wyoming, until such time when other companies of emigrants came through that way, or they could send back for them. They decided that some arrangements could be made to have the wagons, and their contents brought on to Salt Lake Valley. The members of the hand cart company left all of their personal belongings, which were placed in the wagons. Mr. Jensen's father, with deepest regrets left his carpenter tools. An additional 100 pounds of flour was placed on each cart, and the company again started on it's trip toward Deseret. When the hand cart company reached the eastern edge of Wyoming a band of Indians swooped down on the company. Mr. Jensen said that we thought we had met our doom, and was bound for such a fate as the Oregon Prospecting group. The excitement, and fear was almost beyond comprehension.
The captain of the company, with another man or two, went out to talk with the Indians, and to the great surprise of all the company, after these men had explained to the Indians that these were new people, and they were all going to where Brigham Young, and the other white settlers were, the Indians did not harm any of the company, but rode away. These were the only Indians encountered on the entire trip to Salt Lake Valley.
Mr. Jensen said that food supplies became so low that each person was allowed only one half of a pound of flour per day, and that any roots, or weeds, that could possibly be found, were utilized for food, that prickly pears were gathered, the stickers burned off in the fire, and then they were prepared, by being cut into pieces then boiled, then eaten. Sometimes they were baked, then eaten. Finally a snow storm covered the ground so very few roots or weeds could be found. The men would give their portion of the food to the women and children. Old bones with the dry hide on them were gathered to boil for food. They would drink the broth. The company was so desperate for food that many of the men who gave their share of the food to the women and children became completely exhausted, and died from starvation, and exposure. Mr. Jensen said that thirteen men were burried in one grave at one time on this journey, who had died of exposure and starvation. Mr. Jensen's mother and father pulled their hand cart, his younger brother being too small to walk, rode on the hand cart; <(and he trailed behind, walking and helping push the cart.)> Finally they made a camp near Green River, Wyoming. They were out of food for the next three days. The sight of the camp was called "Willies Cove". A few bones from a critter that had died on the desert was found. They were boiled for food. That was the only nourishment available.
On the 29th of October the remainder of the company was picked up by some wagons, and again started toward Salt Lake Valley.
Mr. Jensen said that it was at this time his father fell over, exhausted, and died there from exposure, and hunger, as he had given his portions of food to his wife and children.
Mr. Jensen said that he believes his fathers tools reached Salt Lake City, but that his father was left on the plains.
When the company was picked up in the vicinity of Green River, by the wagons, the handcarts were left behind, and he with his younger brother and m other arrived in Salt Lake valley on November 11, 1856.