Transcript for Mary Isabella Horne, "Pioneer Reminiscences," Young Woman's Journal, July 1902, 292-93
Agreeable to your request, I will endeavor to give a few items of my experience in the pioneer days, which I trust will be of interest and profit to your readers.
When we left Winter Quarters, in June, 1847, and commenced our journey to the Rocky Mountains, our family consisted of Mr. [Joseph] Horne, myself, and four children, one of whom had been born since we left our home in Nauvoo. We also brought a man and his wife with us, he driving one of the teams. We had three wagons, with two yoke of oxen to each, which contained farming implements, seed-grain, cooking utensils, a few necessary dishes, etc., clothing, and provisions that must last eight people for at least eighteen months; we also brought a small cooking stove, a very rare article in the pioneer camps, and a small rocking chair. This was all the household furniture it was possible to bring.
I will not take space in your valuable paper to enter into details of that never-to-be-forgotten journey but will merely mention a few incidents that may be of interest. While traveling along the Platte River, a large band of Indians were camped on the opposite side. Many of them, men, women and children, swam across the river, and President John Taylor invited Mr. Horne and me to go with himself and wife to meet them. They wanted to trade buffalo robes for corn and provisions. While trading, one of the Indians took a fancy to my baby girl and wanted me to trade her for a pony. When I refused he brought another pony, and still another, until finally he went to get the fourth one, and seemed so determined to have her that I was afraid he would steal her from my arms. Just at this time the rest of our company came up. While the brethren were trading with the Indian men, the squaws and children were going among our wagons, stealing cooking utensils or anything else they could get hold of, so that when we camped that night many useful articles were missing.
On another occasion, while still on the Platte river, we were called up in the middle of the night as thousands of buffalo were crossing the river, heading straight for the camp. The splashing and bellowing were terrible to hear. We were in great danger, as buffalo were never known to stop for anything when traveling in such large numbers; it appeared as though they would destroy the camp, but suddenly they altered their course and went further down the river.
On another occasion when we were in the Black Hills, a large band of Indians placed themselves directly across our path, and would not allow us to pass; they demanded corn, sugar, and coffee. Some of the brethren went through the camp and collected as much as possible from our meagre supply, which the Indians accepted, and made no further trouble. When our company arrived at what was then called the Sweetwater, which was east of Green River, we met President Young and a majority of the Pioneers, returning to Winter Quarters for their families. Bishop Hunter and Brother John Taylor, who were in charge of our company, suggested that a feast be made in honor of the Pioneers. A nice fat steer was bought from Bishop Hunter, the dishes were unpacked, and the sisters did the best possible to prepare a dinner worthy of the occasion. This was performed under difficulties, as it was snowing heavily, although only September, which made camp-cooking quite a task. The storm passed before dinner, and the brethren cleared away the brush and improvised a rude table, and I can assure you we had a feast indeed, spiritual as well as temporal. The food remaining was given to the Pioneers to help them on their journey.
We arrived in Salt Lake valley in the evening of October 6th, 1847. From the mouth of the canyon we traveled in the dark, having no guide but the flickering light of the camp fires on Pioneer Square.