Transcript

Transcript for McRae, Anna Christina Jensen, Reminiscences, 2-3

Next we traveled by rail to Omaha. Here we received our ox teams and started across the plains. The handcarts followed us up pretty close. I had heard about the Indians, called Wild Men, but they were not as wild as I thought. Some had large feathers in their hair, their faces painted red, with large tin and brass rings in their ears. Their clothing consisted of a small piece of buckskin and their skin was the color of the ground. They did not harm us, but wanted us to give them coffee and sugar. We always treated them well. We met the grasshoppers on the plains the same as were here in 1856 when they cleaned everything off and left the ground bare. We traveled amon[g] them several days, they were like a heavy cloud, so thick that we could hardly see the sun.

I crossed the plains in 1857.

Johnston’s Army came up here the same year. They were not far behind us. They were sent here to straighten out the Mormons or to wipe them out, but the Mormon boys stopped them in Echo Canyon and kept them there all winter. By spring they were pretty weak and peaceable and agreed to go according to orders. Brigham Young feared that they would break their promise and turn loose on the people here, so he ordered everybody to move out of the valley. We moved south to Spanish Fork in 1858.

It took us about three months to cross the plains. We reached Salt Lake in September. All Father’s Family reached here except my elder brother, who crossed the plains the year before. He was killed in a cattle stampede. He was twenty years old. We were not the last oxteams to cross the plains, but the last hand carts came close behind us.

On the plains Captain [Matthias] Cowley would ride on horseback ahead of the train to find a camping ground where there was grass and water. Sometimes we would have to gather fuel along the road for campfires. We had one hour noon and traveled about 30 miles per day. Sometimes night overtook us before camping. Sometimes we had to ford rivers and pull over mountains, neither man nor ox had had any training. The oxen were yoked up the night before for the first time and some of the men had never seen an ox yoked up before so they made a poor beginning but they made the journey after all. A Norwegian took lead all the way. He was a good driver. He had two yoke of cattle to each wagon. I could hear him sing all day, “Git up Logan Dick,” as that was his lead cattle. As we were coming down the Big Mountain the road was slippery as it had been raining. The men held to the wagons by ropes but the back part came first and it rolled over into a gulley. Children were in it but none were hurt. After that we all walked down the mountain to save trouble. We soon arrived in Salt Lake.

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