Transcript for Joseph Fielding journals, 1837-1859, Journal, 1843 December-1859 March, 134-141
. . . but [I] still felt a desire to go if the way should open, and as I was A Member of the Council I was advised by Bro H[eber] C[hase] Kimbal[l] to try and make a Start, I sold my Claim, borrowed some Corn and did my best for Starting, but both my Sister [Mary Fielding Smith] and myself found it very difficult to get off, A great Part of our Teams was made up cows and young Oxen that had not been broke, and we were obliged to fix two waggons together for lack of Leaders and Drivers, Bro Terry who had engaged to drive A Team to the Valey and to bring one back to take his own Family, was quite discouraged, and said it was great Folly to attempt to go as we were fixt—
we left Winter Quarters on Sunday the 4th of June being about the last, Bro Kimballs Company was waiting for us at the Elk-Horn River some 25 Miles[.] when we had got about half the distance there we received from Bro [Howard] Egan 2 Yoke of Oxen through the Influence of Brother Kimball, and we joined the Company on Tuesday Evening and the next morning the Co started, we seemed to improve in our traveling and our Cattle improved in there Condition untill we crossed the Platte River, we overtook Bro B[righam]. Young Company at the Loup-Fork, and it was an intresting Sight, when to behold in the Morning, A String of Oxen reaching from one Side of the River to the other about A Mile from Brighams Co—coming to assist us in crossing, for the Waggons sunk into the Sand and it was hard draving for the Cattle so we put our Cattle to our waggons
a and put an extra Team to each and got through well, it was indeed an intresting Sight, you might have taken us for two Armies encamped on either Side of the River waiting the Signal for Conflict but how different was the Case when we saw almost the whole Strength of the one, wading through the River from one to 3 feet in debth, to help their Friends, here we stayed over Sunday—as I did not keep a Journal, I cannot now give any detail of the long and laborious Journey, Brother Youngs Co went Ahead, so we in all formed two Companies each Co. being organized into 50—and 10—C[ornelius] P[eter]—Lot[t] was our Captain of 10 and John Pack of 50, Henry Herriman [Harriman] of the 100, with Bro Kimball at the Head, but when the Feed began to fail we were separated into Fifties and finally into tens as the feed for our Cattle was very short and each 10 had to do the best they could, and we could travil but short Journeys Per Day and some times it was judged necessary to rest our Cattle for several Days,
we crossed the Platte River about Miles below fort Laramie from which time we had but little good feed and the Road was much worse, it is wonderful to see the Buffalo and the Marks of them, for several hundred Miles the Prairie is covered with their Dung from which one is sure there must be Thousands of them—our Companies shot many of them[.] we ate freely of the Flesh and also dried great Quantities and brought on to the Valey—A great Part of the Road the ground is partly covered with Salaratus, or Salt Petre which is very injurious to the Oxen as they eat it freely, owing to the many fine Oxen died, in fact you cannot go far on the Road but you see the Carcase or the Bones of Cattle, at one Place we came to large Beds of Salaratus where almost every Family gathered as much as they wished to carry[.] I and my Family got from one to two Bushels[.] in some Places the Road is sandy and is hard upon the Cattle especially when the Weather is hot and dry, we sometimes had to as<s>cend Mountains of Sand, several times the Companies received fresh Cattle from the Valey which in our Situation was very acceptable—we saw but few Indians, and they were quite friendly[.] I never heard of them taking
our any of our Cattle—
we cross the Loup Fork but first the Elk horn A small Stream, the Platte about a Mile across the Laramie Fork, and then the Platte again at the last Place it quite narrow[.] we also have to ford several small [streams] Viz the Green River, the Bear River and the Weber River besides many Creeks great and Small
we found some frost in the Morning early in September but as we came near the Valley the Weather became warmer altho the Snow lay on the Top of the Mountains, and in the Valley there have been no frost in the middle of October, the last 40 or 50 Miles the Road is shocking bad, in Short I wonder that so little Damage was sustained, it seems A wonder that any Waggon can stand it, one Creek we have to cross 17 times, but after all, we came Saflely into the Valley on the Evening of the [blank space] of October, we found our Friends well, and the whole People here seemed to rejoice, but we had about four Months on the Way[.] this was in some Measure owing to the bad Feed and the sickliness of our Cattle, we did not find as much Grain here as we expected, . . .