Transcript for Kennard, L. H., [Autobiography], in Leonidas Hamlin Kennard: His Family, 2 vols. , 2:27-29
We heard of the Mormon outfit with mules coming from Salt Lake City; so we waited for it. While waiting, we did considerable work such as unloading cars of corn in 100 pound sacks. We earned 75 cents an hour. At this, we made more than enough for our expenses by boarding ourselves in a tent that we rented.
Finally, the Mormon outfit came; and it fell to my lot to see if there was a chance to be hired. I went to the foreman, William [Henry] Streeper, who was wagon boss of the outfit, consisting of 11 wagons, 72 mules and 1 bell mare for herding. Streeper had four teams. J[udson]. L[yman]. Stoddard had four. Alf Reynolds [Randall] had two. Lot Smith had one. He wanted two teamsters at $30 per month and board. We took the job.
[James] McAdams drove for Streeper, Alf[red Jason] Randall, Hyrum Holden, Marion [Leslie] Stoddard, John Wandless and a Mr. Kimball and Nathaniel Smith. They were camped a mile out where there was plenty of grass for the mules, waiting for the freight to arrive. We loaded up with the merchandise for Kimball and Lawrence, for Salt Lake City and started out. The second day, while camped at noon at Big Spring Ranch with our mules by the North Platte River to feed, seven Indians on their ponies ran down out of a nearby gulch and drove the whole band off before we could stop them. They left us afoot. There were three or four mule teams which had just driven up and had not been unhitched. Several of us boys had the privilege of choosing which mules we wanted to go use to go out to find our mules. Only four of us went; Alf Randall, Hyrum Holden, Jack Streeper, and I. We went out a mile or so and were overtaken by the young ranchmen; and four Irishmen, who were working on the railroad grading. We all decided that the young ranchman should be the captain as he was acquainted with the country. He soon struck the trail which we followed for several miles and came in sight of our mules and a few Indians. Our captain said we would just spread out and surround them and drive our mules to camp. The Indians, no doubt, saw us as we drove across a low piece of country. They stopped for a consultation when it seemed to me that about 50 Indians came into sight on three sides, leaving the side next to our camp open—as much as to say, "Go back!" Well, our captain said it was no use. There were too many Indians for us. He and his Irishmen started back for camp on their horses and were soon out of sight.
We, on our mules, stopped a while to see the result and talk the situation over. The Indians began their favorite mode of warfare of riding in a circle, whooping and hallooing, coming in gunshot of us. Jack Streeper's mule was struck by one of their gunshots. They had mostly bows and arrows. Jack was the only one that returned the fire.
We concluded we had better go back since four of us could not put up much of a fight nor could we have gotten away if they had wanted us. We started on our little mule gallop for camp. They followed us for two or three miles to be sure we were going and not trying to cut us off. I have always thought it was a cut up game by the ranchmen to not have us follow after the mules; and if we had gone out with our own forces, we could have succeeded in getting our mules. The Indians would not have resisted us. William Booth, with another outfit, came by in the evening and said he would drive to Julesburg and come back with his teams and haul us, which he did on the morrow.
We lay in Julesburg six to eight days, when our wagonboss [wagon boss], Streeper, said he had an offer from a camp over on the North Fork of the Platte to help us get our mules if we would come. Most of the boys went, but I could not see that we were prepared after so long a time for such a campaign; and I refused to go. They went, were gone over a week, depending on the other camp for help and supplies. They failed to get the help, got their ammunition wet crossing the river, ran out of provisions, and NO MULES.
Well, the railroad had reached Julesberg by now; and the order was to go back to North Platte where we could get cattle to haul our freight to Salt Lake City. We went and got our cattle and drove back with some empty wagons. We rigged up our wagons for cattle. I had four yoke in my team. After three week's delay, we started on our way. During our layover, [James] McAdams and I had several chances to drive cattle at $50 per month; but we preferred to stay with the outfit since we were acquainted with them.
While in North Platte, I loaned $25 to H.C. Cobb, a man who said he wanted to start a laundry. I left before he got started; therefore, I lost the $25 as I have not heard from him in 53 years.
I took a turn herding the cattle on Bitter Creek one night. In the morning I found I had an extra ox in the herd—a stray from some outfit. This ox was put in with the loose cattle and driven along. I had a poor ox in my team, which in a short time died; and I put the one I found in my team and named him "Stranger". This ox turned out to be a very good one.
We arrived in Salt Lake City in very good time, stopping in Farmington on September 30, 1867.