Transcript for Lindsay, William, Reminiscences, 1927-1930, 274-76

About the 20 th of July Captain Homer Duncan's oxtrain [ox train] arrived & we were assigned to John Turner's wagon. This was a strange & a wonderful sight to us who had seen oxen hitched to waggons. And the teamsters shouting & cracking their big long whips it sure was all very strange to us at first. As quickly as possible we started on the dreary tramp of 1000 miles. Tents were provided one for every wagon & a man appointed to see that the tents were properly staked out each night & placed in the wagon next morning[.] an average of 12 persons slept in each tent & had all their belongings in one wagon. Prayers were held in the camp night & morning. All were called together for that purpose at the sound of the bugle & the Captain gave counsel & issued orders for the day. Flour & bacon was furnished to everybody but of course every family had to do their own cooking[,] bake skillets & frying pans & camp kettles were furnished. Most of the time we could get wood to make the fires. But it was really a great trial for many people to cook their food outdoors in the heat, the wind & the smoke[.] But each helped the others wherever they could & we got along very nicely considering the peculiar conditions they were placed in.

I think we left Florence on the 22nd of July on the wearisome journey & on the 24th we reached the Platte river & there we celebrated the entering into Salt Lake Valley of Brigham Young the first company of Pioneers by having a dance on a nice sand place where the river had overflowed & the emigrants especially the girls took part for the first time in the American dances. Fifteen to sixteen miles was an average days travel. Everybody was warned to keep close to the wagons on account of danger from Indians who were seen nearly every day in large numbers. The oxen stirred up a lot of dust & the people sweating with the hot days & in the dust naturally got quite dirty before the days drive was done. Some of the older people got quite tired not being used to walking & everybody had to walk that could. The teams had all the load they could haul with the luggage & small children & some who were sick at times. Most of the time they laid over either all day or a part of Saturday to give the women folks a chance to wash the clothes & also on Sundays if we were where the oxen could get plenty of grass to eat. Of course when prayers were held in a public way every morning it was in the nature of a meeting when instructions & counsel were given according to what was considered necessary from day to day. Thus we traveled on from day to day & in the evening with oxyokes [ox yokes] for seats[.] we sat around the camp fires & sang songs or told stories. The emigrants would tell of their homes & friends they had left for the Gospel's sake & their voyages over the sea & some of the things they had experienced thus far on the way to the gathering place of the saints & the teamsters in turn would tell of places & conditions in Utah & of the dangerous trip they had coming to meet them to bring them over the plains into the vallies of the mountains. Some had violin’s, Accordions, Concertina's or other musical instruments so we had all kinds of entertainments & most of the people enjoyed themselves in the evenings & forgot the hard traveling in the dust thru the day. There was some sickness & several deaths while on the way and those who died had to be buried without coffins & with very little ceremony as the train had to keep moving on every day possible. We had a sample of what was called a stampede but fortunately no one was injured. For some cause at times those stupid slow oxen back on the plains would take fright at some trivial thing & every ox whether lying down or hitched to a wagon would start almost in a moment to run like deers perfectly crazy & very seldom could they be stopped until they were completely exhausted

I will state that an ox train usually consisted of fifty or more teams & wagons[.] four yoke or eight oxen on each wagon & of course a man called a teamster to drive each wagon. There was a Captain to each train & an assistant[.] also 4 to 6 night herders[.] these all had a horse each. The Captain & assistant looked after the general welfare of the whole especially finding suitable camping places each night where feed & water could be got for the oxen as grass was their only feed[.] The herders job was to watch over the oxen during the night & bring them into the corrall in the morning where each teamster picked out his own oxen. yoked them up & hitched them on to the wagons. The corrall was formed by the wagons when coming into make a camp[.] one half of the wagons were driven to the right & the <other> half to the left leaving an open space between where the oxen could be yoked up for the days travel Prayers were held each morning in the correll before the oxen were brought in the morning. There was a man appointed to each wagon to put up the tent for the sleeping place of those whose luggage belonged in that wagon & in the morning he took the tent down & placed it & all the bedding[,] pans & kettles in the wagon ready for starting usually by 7 A.M. Everything was done in a systematic way & good order prevailed in the Mormon Camps. By traveling in large companies & using caution & good judgement & always being on their guard the Indians seldom gave them any trouble. We often saw herds of Buffalo at a distance but none very close by. We traveled on the north side of the Platte river up what was called Fort Laramie passing Scotts Bluffs & Chimney Rock[.] they were on the other side of the Platte river. At Fort Laramie we crossed the Platte & traveled up the south side to Platte bridge we forded the river at both places[.] in fact saw no bridge & of course all had to wade & the water <was> quite deep. From there we went several days drive over to Independence Rock on the Sweetwater & traveled up that stream for a week or more passing Devils Gate & Rocky ridge on the way up. Then came over the South Pass past Pacific Springs, Little & Big Sandy on to Green River another quite deep stream to wade. Then on by Hams Fork & up to Fort Bridger. Then on over very steep Quakin<g> asp hill on over to Bear river passed Yellow creek & Needle Rocks & on into Echo Kanyon & traveled down it where we struck the Weber river. Up the Weber past Coalville[,] Hoytsville, & Wanship to Rockport, then up 3 mile Canyon & on over to Silver creek which was then a really silvery clear stream. Here we left the train & came over into what was then called Provo Valley