Transcript for John Nielsen reminiscences, 1936-1948, 21-24
On the morning of the day that we were to make the start, all the women and children were ordered to get into the wagons. The wagons were run together into two half circles forming a corral with open spaces at each end. Presently we spied a big herd of cattle coming toward us which proved to be the oxen which were to draw the wagons. These were driven into the corral. The teamsters were very busy for sometime, each picking out his oxen and yoking them up. That was the first oxen that the great majority of the company had ever seen. When they finally got them hitched to the wagons, ready for the start all women and children able to walk were ordered out of the wagons as they were so heavily loaded with freight, that was the only way they had of getting freight to Utah. I was old enough to be considered able to walk, having my eighth birthday [.......] so I walked almost the entire distance from the Missouri River. Many times I felt as if I could not go another step, I was so tired but the Lord gave me strength to go on.
Shortly after we left the Missouri River, that dreaded disease cholera attacked the company to an alarming degree. For a time there was never a day went by without someone having to leave a loved one in a lonely grave on the plains.
The captain of the company was a husky man by the name of Abner Lowry. The outfits had come from San Pete County and was known as the San Pete Train. The captain was very considerate of the company. He had a large tent which he had pitched every evening and had his teamsters assist in carrying the sick into it in the evening and back into the wagons in the morning. Terrible was the suffering and sorrow that the saints were called to endure. The deaths were far past the hundred mark, and in history it has gone down as the cholera train.
As we neared the mountains the disease abated, but it left practically every family broken up. My mother [Magdalene Rasmussen Nielsen] took two families of children into her care, whose parents had been taken from them. What a relief it was not to be worrying every minute about a loved one lying ill. And so the going was easier though we were weary and worn.
But then we had a new experience. Just after dark we got an Indian scare. Six or seven Indians rode boldly into camp but they proved to be friendly. The captain had a tent erected for them and had some of the teamsters care for their horses and cook supper for them. They made the captain understand that they had been off to some other tribe smoking the pipe of peace and that friendship was restored between the two tribes.
Every morning the company sang a song and had prayer. The morning the Indians were there they came over when they heard the singing and joined the prayer circle. One of the Indians had a great long sword. Afterward one of the women in the company having read of the sword of Laban and the Laminites, was wondering if that was the sword of Laban which he had.
When we neared Fort Bridger we were encountered by a big snow storm and the provisions were getting short. But about that time we were met by a relief train, which brought us ample food to last us on the remainder of the journey.
One day as we were traveling along I noticed the head team stop and the next and go on till on till an irregular circle was formed. I learned that we had just crossed the line into Utah and the company all bared and bowed their heads, and Niels Nielsen the Presiding Elder, offered up a prayer of thanksgiving after which we proceeded on our journey.
On the evening of the 18th of October 1866 we camped in the mouth of Parleys Canyon, the next day drove into Salt Lake City, and camped in the 8th ward square where now the city and county building stands.