Transcript for McKay, Williamena McKay, A short story of the life of Williamena McKay McKay, in Nora Crystal Hall Lund, Biographies collection [ca. 1950-1983], reel 2, 2

In the spring of 1859 the family had [-] gathered means enough to buy an old wagon, a yoke of steers and a yoke of cows, and an old ox, hitched up in a harness on lead. There were 7 of us. We were with a group of ten wagons from Iowa City. We traveled 300 miles to Florence, Neb. Here a big company of immigrants were being fitted out to cross the plains. When the whole company was organized, there were sixty wagons in it. James [Stephens] Brown was the Capt. and Ely Kenk [Kent] was the captain of the Iowa ten. We were called the “Independent[”] Company.

When we were about to start, there was a widow woman and a girl about my age, without means to take them further. My parents [William and Ellen Oman McKay] took pity on her and said they could go with us, so her bedding and bundles were taken on our already crowded wagon and jaded team. She was very lame and had to ride, also helped off and on the wagon. I thought it pretty hard for her and her daughter to ride, when my bare feet were bleeding from traveling through the mud. Soon she was trying to run the entire outfit. When she got to the valley she never even said “thank You” for her trip.

On the plains at night we used to sing and have dances, old and young took part. Sometime we had to share our scanty provisions with the Indians. We arrived in Salt Lake Aug. 29, 1859, weary, hungry and foot-sore.