Transcript for John J. Riser in Army of Israel: Mormon Battalion Narratives (2000) edited by David L. Bigler and Will Bagley, 399
And now just prior to my last discharge from the Army a company had arrived from Salt Lake. They came through the Tejon [Cajon] pass or the southern route as it was called. They came they said to buy cattle and drive [them] to Salt Lake. Among them was the notorious Porter Rockwell, and also one James Shaw. Mr. Shaw went to work for one Colonel Isaac Williams, a rancher, but Rockwell lived by his wits. All the Balance Except these two mentioned above returned to Salt Lake as soon as they had made their purchase of stock but this party when they came to california brought many letter to the soldier Boys from their friends from Salt Lake. I also got one from my Brother George, telling me that he had arrived there in safety, and asking me to come to the valley of salt lake also and describing the valley to me.
Well as I said before we got our discharge, many of us had a longing to see the atlantic states or salt lake. I contemplated that if we could raise a company I would be one that would go. But I had not thought much about staying in salt Lake, but would not stop until I reached Ohio where my Father lived.
But man proposes and God disposes. We Brought a company together of 23 persons, among the number was James Shaw an[d] Porter Rockwell. Some of us Engaged James Shaw for our Guide to Salt Lake, and others Engaged Rockwell. One man Captain [Daniel Coon] Davis took a wagon. It was however a question, if we would get it through, as no wagon had ever made tracks in that region before. The rest of us had packmules or Horses. I had two mules and three Horses. We took the Tejon Pass route and made the first wagon road to Salt Lake on that route that was ever made there and [it] was the route taken by Emigrants in after years, the distance being about Eight hundred miles.
We started on the 12th of April 1848 and arrived in salt Lake on the 5th of June, but our route was beset with many hardships and dangers, passing over much desert Country and [through what] was also an Indian Country, and the most of them were treacherous and Hostile, stealing in one Haule from us Eleven Horses and mules. And they were constantly hanging on our trail night and day, but we sometimes paid them dear for their trouble with us.