Transcript for Larsen, Oluf Christian, Autobiography, 34-36
The companies from the West now began to arrive fast, one after another and everybody was busy and especially the leaders. There was no time to stay longer than necessary. The wagons should be loaded and a certain number of persons assigned to each. The number was generally 15 with one tent to each wagon. Two or three baking kettles went with each wagon as well as bedding and luggage allowing a certain number of pounds for each person. Those who brought more than their allotment had to pay extra for overweight. New trouble came that emigrants had not anticipated for the luggage generally outweighed the allotment. Everything should be done in a hurry and it was sometimes hard to decide what to throw away. Such things as mattresses, feather beds, trunks, boxes and unnecessary cooking utensils had to be discarded. As many of the Danish people had supplied themselves with many pairs of fine new wooden shoes they had, also, to be sacrificed although it was quite a trial to some.
One woman in our company had a spinning wheel along. The weigher told her to throw it away as there was plenty of wood in Utah. The woman cried very bitterly and said if her wheel could not be taken along she also would stay. The woman, however, came along but the wheel had to remain. The day of loading and packing was a busy one. It passed with little friction as the minds of all were filled with anxiety about getting on the road leading toward the mountains. There were near seventy-five wagons in our company. Our captain, Joseph Horn, was an experienced hand on the plains. The day we left camp was one of rejoicing as the slowness with no progress for several weeks was very tiring.
The first few days of travel made us very tired, but when we got a little used to it we didn't feel it so much. Riding was out of the question except for those who were sick. The distance traveled daily was between ten and twenty miles. For young people after getting used to it, it was no hard task. In the evenings after having attended to camp duties, we generally had a da[n]ce. Then after a good nights sleep we were ready for another days journey across the praries, over creeks, and rivers.
In crossing Green River I had an experience which was not easily forgotten. The river which was yet quite high and wide where we crossed and the current was very swift with cobbles at the bottom. Being foolish enough to take my shoes and stockings off it was very hard walking. In the middle of the stream the swift current was halfway up my waist and even the oxen had all they could do to walk across. I disliked the idea of my wife [Amelia Christine Amundsen] wading across the river and had concluded to carry her. When I got into the stream it was useless to try to turn back and I feared the worst, but succeeded after hard struggling to gain shallow water on the opposite side. No one but a young unexperienced man would dare undertake such a task. Reaching shore I thanked God in my heart for our delivery though my feet were sore and bleeding. I then decided I never again would attempt to cross a swift flowing river with my wife on my sholders. Many men who desired to have dry clothing when they reached shore and therefore carried them, came out without them and some came out with only a shirt on. There was some sickness and a few deaths, mostly children[,] on our journey diahreah being the principal complaint. Otherwise we had a very pleasand journey with no severe storms, no trouble tospeak of and no accidnets and the Indians did not bother us. We moved on day by day like clockwork. The captain knew just where to drive every day to find good feed and good water for the teams and also to keep out of reach from the companies ahead and behind.
Our diet, bacon and flour, we got along with very well by change in cooking and our supply was sufficient. How to procure and prepare fuel for cooking was one of our chief studies. Our fuel most of the time was buffalo chips (or droppings) which men, women, and children gathered in the course of the days travel. Every day brought us nearer the mountains and vallies and the last week of our journey our provisions became short. As we got nearer the mountains the climate grew colder and consequently the appetite got keener. The old fat bacon we so detested[,] we could not get now and we wished for what we had thrown away. We had to satisfy ourselves with flour now and that without a pinch of salt.
That evening we heard from the teamsters that the next day we would enter the valley. Very few slept as there was dancing and merrymaking all night. An early start next morning was required to bring us into the city before night.
When noon came we had nothing to eat but we washed and dressed as well as we could to make a good appearance when entering the city. Coming down through emigration canyon we found teams camping all the way inquiring for friends and relatives. These teams had come out from the city loaded with good things for their friends but not for others so we had to plod along. We were all eager to get into the open valley and when there on the bench all eyes were directed toward Great Salt Lake City which at that time was hardly visible from that distance. With light, yet tired and faint steps we passed by the Penetentiary through Sugarhouse into town where streets everywhere were lined with people to see the emigrants. In the afternoon about 4 o'clock, September 29th, 1862, we arrived on the Eighth Ward Square, it being nearly six months since we started on our journey from Norway.