Transcript for John Clark Dowdle autobiography and journal inCache Valley historical material, circa 1955
During the year of 1866 I was caled on a mission to the Missoury river to assist the emigration to Utah. After all necessary preparations being mad
we started on our journey April the 25. 1866 Leaving home we were loaded with tithing to Salt Lake City. Expecting at that place to meet with the rest of our company. But on reaching that place, we found that they had gon up the Weebe kenyon by way of Davis Co. therefore, we had to turn back and follow after them. finding them camped in Weeber kenyon near mountain Green. We there took our place in the camp, we were her organized by our Captin. Hartin [Horton] D. Height [Haight], of Davis Co. during our travels through the mountains the roads were very bad. We had a great deal of snow and rain, rendering everything very disagreeable for several weeks, tho after surmounting these dificultyes, we had for the remainder of the journey a very pleasant time. Nothing of importance transpiring during our downward journey to the fronteers.
Reaching there some time ion the month of june and on reaching there we found quite a large company of the saints camped at Wyoming a little place, some six miles above Nebraskey city on the Missoury river. After remaining there several days it was thought best for our train with Freight in stead of the emigration. There was at this time a large amount of telegraph wire for the deseret telegraph line in Utah territory cosigned to Eldrige and Clawsen. On the arivel of this freight. I was appointed to receive the same from the steemer, there was shiped to this place one hundred and sixty seven thousand pounds of wire 25 incelater. After getting our loading on our wagons, and ready for a start home (and in connection with this loading we had four families of our emigration in our train. These being mostly friends of some of the teamsters there names being as follows. Samuel Chandler, and family, widow [Mary Caper] Burous [Burrows], and family. Brother [James] Dinsdale and family, and some friends of Bro. Burton, of Kays Ward Daves, Co. There names are forgoteen. We were visited by one W. E. McCelelen one of the twelve appostels of an early day when the church were at Kirtlen Ohio, having with him the shirif of [blank space] County Nebrakey [Nebraska] and rits of attachments to surve on our loading with a pretence of some old debt held against Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimble, concerning some Kirtland money, once had by the saints. At that place. At the time the attachment was made it had arisen to quite a large sum, several thousand dollars. But on investigation of his case before the County Court of [blank space] it was found that he had no case at all. However, we were hindred with this matter for one month, after the trial the jury found nothing against us, so we were discharged, or dismissed and alowed to go with our loading for home on the fourth of August. Leaving Mr Mc with some nine hundred dollars worse off than he started in. Still we could not feel to cry for him, yet his case is a soriful one. During our stay at this place, and our difficulty with this fellow we were in the best of health and spirits. Nevetheless expecting to encount some storm before reaching our homes in the valeys. Still our journey was somewhat a plesant one, tho we met with some hard weather. yet our team stood the journey splendedly.
On reaching the plat[te] river some forty miles above fort Karney [Kearny] a government military post 26 we here had a somewhat peculier time in crossing the river, we camped on the south bank with Captin Nebakers train or company of emigrants.
The following day we crossed the Plat river a distance of one and a fourth mile, and in so doing we were forced to dubble our team putting on to our wagon from eight to twelve yokes of oxen to enable them to draw the loads through the water however not with standing we got through all rite. without any axident [accident] or loss.
The emigrants in Capten Peter Nebakers [Nebeker's] team narly all forded the river on foot both men and women. this ocurance causing some comment from the teamsters in both trains and some went so fare as to blame him for so allowing them to wade the river expecly [especially] the women. But on finding out the particulars pertaining to the matter he could not be blamed for so doing. However all got through all rite, We then travled on our homeward journey feeling firstrate, from heare we traveled some hundreds of miles without scarcly seeing such a thing as a tree or a stick of wood thus being forced to burn for fuel bufalo chips for to cook our food. this being in the travels of the buffalo known as there excavations, or sometimes caled by the boys, chewed grass. sometimes while geathering these chips one must be very carful in examening the under part or they might find them not so hard as he would wish. There is one little circumstance connected with this part of the program worth mentioning[.] it stands with me as well as some others as a rich joke". There was in our train a very nice young lady who was very fond of assisting here [her] parants in all kinds of camp duties expecly [especially] here [her] mother, expecly in gathering chips." not with standing the abhorance she had in regard to them." On evening while geathering them for there evenings use and not being very far from camp, and watching very clostly to see if anyone was looking in her direction and on beinging convinced that all was right, just at this time turning over one very nice large one, and finding something rather soft and getting some thing on it that did not suit her, she gave her hand a turable [terrible] shake making some of the teamsters think that she was bitten by a rattle snake, she not wishing to let the secret be known. yet it was mistrusted what the alement was" that she had pressed the chip rather hard and the affect being not very plesant, so the reader can well imagen the effect of the joke. However this little affare was a very agreeable one."
We then traveled on our journey finding nothing of very great importance till reaching Fort Laramy [Laramie.] at this place we agane found a great many Sioux Indians, who semed to be very inquisitive concerning us[.] no doubt they had been told a greate many storys about the mormons.
We continued our journey on the north side of the Plat[t] river, till we reached some distance from that place, here we considered it best to cross to the other side, so as to be in closter [closer] communication with the telagraph line, as we often sent dispatches to President Young cosirning [concerning] our condition. or where abouts. We kept this side of the river till we reached Plat river brige, here was camped one or two companys of soldiers, an[d] this was at that time government fort or military post, at this place they wanted us to pay tole [toll] for crossing the bridg but we thought our self able to pull through almost anything" we didnot feare to try the river tho it was very rough and rapped [rapid], and very deep, still in we went, and after much hard labor we reached the other side in safety this 28 movement making some of th[em] look quite sour or grum. by our doing so we saved about one hundred and fifty dollars, for our selfs and as a matter of cours they hated to loos so much, from this point we travled through the low mountains having a very good time, the weather being fine, and the roads being good, and feed being plentiful our teams fared well, and seemed to improve in flesh no doubt by having plenty of good mountain grass, something they had been raised in. after several days journey we reached the sweet water, here finding plenty of bottom grass for our teams, and in many placed [places] there being great amounts of mountain alkely [alkali] and salaratus [selaratus] this being very dangerous for our teames, in one place we found quite a large lake of salarat seemingly very pure, and good for use, some of the teamsters geathered quite a large amount to fetch home with them. While travling up this river we encountred some very bad stormes, snow and rain, rendering it very hard for both man and beasts, we were somewhere about one week on this river after leaving here we soon crossed the black ridge. this being the highest point between the Atlantic and the Paciffic [Pacific] coasts. the exact hight I doant just remember at this time. Tho it being some thousands of feet above sea leavel. At this place just at the west foot of the hill we camped for the night tho we pitched our camp some what earley, while we were eating our supper, there came three large bufalow running just as if they were coming through our camp. just at this time an old gentleman, by the name of Vanvolten Birg caught up his gun, fired and at the crack of the gun down came one of the largest of them. then we all fell to work dressing him and roasting some of the meat before the fire for a change; the weight of this animel was estimated at about nine hundred pounds weight.
On 29 the following day we took up our march towards the parciffic [Pacific] coast or the great Salt Lake valley, this being nothing more than a dry wash, tho in the spring or time of the spring freshit, there seams to be great deel of water. flows throw this gulch.
On the next day late in the eavening we reached what is known as the big sandy. at this place we found plenty of fead [feed] and water, for our animels. This being a very fine country to travel over, and to look upon.
the next day we reached Green River, the well known waters of the great Colorado River. which emptys into the gulf of California. this noted river runs some two thousands miles through the southern rockey mountains. I presume from what I learn (not being acquanted with the county) that this is one of the roughest water courses, there are in the world. there being hundreds of miles that is entirely impassable for man or beast, expecly [especially] through the grand kenon [canyon]. After leaving the green river we made a long days travel to hams fork. the train reaching this place at about eleven o clock at night. while in camp at green river we found some of our misses were out of flour, so something had to be done to remady this difficulty, and to do this I was caled on to go with our bugy and start for Granger some thirty miles travel before I could reach the camp at hams fork, and could only bring three sacks back with me, we started on the morrow on our homeward march. Shortly after this we had some very rough weather such as snow starmes, cold nights never the less we made tolerably good time, tho our road was mountainous. All went well, for several days,
the next place of note was Coalville City the Capital of sum[m]it county Utah. Here we reached in good season, in the afternoon and camped for the night here I met with my oldest brother who resided at this place, myself and some others of our company spent the evening and took supper with him and famely. We had a very pleasant time together,. Himself and family, I had not seen before for several years.
On the following day we traveled only twelve miles and camped at the mouth of Silver Creek. Here I met an old friend by the name of Danyels [Daniels], who kept the mail station.
The next day traveled some twelve or thirteen miles, camped a short distance below Sniders [Snyder's] mills, on the above mentioned creek. At this place, we was met by my old friend, George Facer, from home. This being the only one we had seen from there since we left. He came for the purpose of meeting his parents, father, mother, brothers and sisters etc. Bringing with him some fresh fruit, peaches, apples etc., which was very good, especially for poor tender footed pilgrims who had traveled for one thousand miles through lone and dreary land. Here he took his folks and started for home with them.
On the morrow we started down Parleys Kenyon [Canyon] reaching at a late hour at night a camping place near the Utah Penatentry [Penitentiary]. The capten, myself, and some of the teamsters went with the cattle to Brother Joseph Youngs pasture, and he had prepared for us a nice meal for our late supper. After which we returned to camp for the night.
On the following (day) we reached Salt Lake City and delivered our loding at President Brigham Young's place and camped in the tithing yeard [yard] for the night.