Transcript for Lillie Jane Orr Taylor, Life History of Thomas Orr, Jr. (1930), 13-15
“That was the last trouble we had with Indians until we returned to Winter Quarters in the spring of ‘47. We found everyone there in a turmoil of excitement, making preparations to resume the overland trip to California. Father [Thomas Orr] loaded a three-ox team with supplies.
“The caravan started out with seven hundred wagons. I was then 16 years of age. We got along very well as far as Luke Fork of Platt River. At that season of the year the river was too high to ford so we unloaded some of the wagons and tied the wagon boxes together to make an improvised ferry boat, and used it to transport the train piecemeal across the river.
“The next halt was made on the North Platte, a river about a mile and one-quarter wide, but shallow enough to ford. The quicksand was treacherous and we were cautioned against letting the horse and stock stop even for a minute. In one place the sand washed away and took a wagon and oxen with it, though the occupants were rescued.
"In order to get across the river it was necessary to hitch six yoke of oxen to each wagon and two drivers were stationed on each side to whip them and keep them going. The train eventually got across after considerable delay and then we went into an open country and followed the course of South Fork Platte for 500 miles on level plain, without trees or mountains to vary the monotony of the landscape.
“Several times Sioux Indians came to us on the plains but caused no trouble because of our force. We saw herds of buffaloes in countless numbers but killed only the ones we needed for actual necessities, such as meat and hides. While on the plains it was decided to organize the caravan into companies of 100 wagons, and certain ones were placed in charge of each. Brigham Young was commander-in-chief. John Taylor was captain of our company.
“After forming into companies when camping for the night fifty wagons were placed in a semi-circle with the lead wagons in front and two men were detailed at each end to stand guard. During the daytime eight men were kept with the herd of cattle and oftimes experienced difficulty in keeping the buffaloes from mingling with the stock. A stampede of our stock was a frequent occurence. At night time the stock would be driven into the wagon enclosure and watches would be kept, at regular intervals. Before dawn the stock would be taken out to graze until the train was ready to start again.
“We proceeded across the plains double file, fifty wagons to the side. There was no timber and we were compelled to use buffalo chips as fuel for our camp fires. We continued the use of these chips until we arrived at an island in the South Fork, covered with timber. This place was later named Grand Island, a Nebraska town. We killed a buffalo there, dried the flesh and jerked it with a wood fire. We camped at Grand Island a week. The young men made side excursions to Scotts Bluff, above Chimney Rock.
“We crossed the Rockies at Sweetwater, came on past Pacific Springs, (east of Fort Bridger) down Big Sandy Creek, through Echo Canyon to Green River, Wyoming.
“Without special incident, we got to Fort Laramie on the old Oregon Trail, and only two or three men were stationed there. They were the first whites we had seen outside of our own train since leaving Winter Quarters. The train divided at Fort Laramie. We next went to Fort Bridger, then to Sublet’s Cut Off, and headed into Salt Lake country, and it took all summer for the hundreds of wagons to get in.
“We arrived at Salt Lake July 27, 1847.”