Transcript for Moyle, James, Reminiscence, 1886, 12-14
Our passengers was seven women, and four men, the women all wanted to ride at once. The Captain gave me charge of the wagon and to stop all disputed with the women about riding, I used to allow two of them to ride twenty minutes at a time and we had a watch to keep time. Mrs. Hughes used to wash my clothes and cook for us, so she rode a little more. William Hughes, John Tripp and myself took turns driving; the other man was too old to do anything. On the whole, we got along very well. As we come near Fort Kearney, we began to see signs of buffalo that we had heard so much about. About four miles West of the Fort we seen about ten that the men at the Fort had killed a few days before. They were strange looking animals to me as they lay there swelled up in the hot sun, but I soon after became familiar with such sights as we were now getting into the buffalo country, and as we come into the Platte Valley the buffalo trails were paths about three feet wide, and sometimes eighteen inches deep. These paths would lead to and from the river. Sometimes we have seen several herds of buffalo at the same time and some of them would seem to extend for miles in length and breadth and the plains would appear black with them. Sometimes they would come and run right through our train. One day Tripp and I come very near catching a young calf. Some of our men shot a number of them, but I did not like the meat so well as our beef.
The Pawnee Indians bothered us some, they would come and demand presents from us for traveling through their country. After we left them we come into the country of the Cheyenne Indians. I have a vivid recollection of how they looked on their horses and dressed for mischief. We camped one day at noon in a good place and the Captain said he would stay there for the day and wash. The cattle was turned out with no one to watch them. We had been camped an hour or more and the Captain noticed that the cattle were straying off into the low foot hills, and wished me to run and turn them back as he was afraid that the Indians were watching to run them off and that he would send some more to help me. So I ran off alone with nothing but a small whip in my hand. I found that the cattle, some of them had got over among the low hills, and when I looked back to the camp which was a mile off, I could just see two or three men starting out to help me, so I went on among the hills. They could not see me now from the camp nor I could not see the camp. After running among the hills for some time I found about twelve of them in a bunch together, and as I ran around to turn them back there were six Cheyenne Indians on their horses looking at me and talking to each other. I seemed to know in a moment what they were after, that was that they intended to run them cattle off and if necessary to shoot me. I think that my hair must have stood on end. When I saw them I felt very much frightened but I thought I would not let them see it. So I put on as bold a front as I could and commenced hollering to the cattle and turned them back, and in coming back we passed right close to the Indians who had come down so that I would have to pass close to them. As I passed I looked at them and said, "How, how", they grunted out something but I did not know what it meant, and I was very thankful when I got out of the hills with the cattle all safe. When I got back to the camp the Captain said that I had a very narrow escape, and that he should not have sent me alone. But there were none of us that throught [thought] that the cattle had strayed so far. We found buffalo all the way up the Platte valley for over three hundred miles. There were some days we would estimate that we had seen over ten thousand buffalo. Some days we would not see any.
Our cattle could sometimes show signes of being frightened, which if not checked would have caused us a great deal of damage, as when they got that way they would run sometimes in all directions when they are hitched up to the wagons although ours did not. It was the rule in our camp to have a night guard to guard the cattle by night and all the men had to take their turns in this labor. There were six at a time and we were relieved after four hours. One night I was out guarding and it was raining and very dark, all at once the cattle stampeded[.] I thought they were coming towards me so I ran on one side and they rushed past where I stood, but they ran over one man and hurt him bad and it was late the next day before we found them all. Some of them were found twelve miles off, so we did not move that day.
When we came near Chimney rock we could see it for three days before we came opposite it. We camped as I thought about two miles from it, so I thought that I would get up early and go and see it before breakfast, so I started early the next morning, as soon as it was light. I walked and ran and I must have been about four hours before I got there and I found it so different from what I expected that I was angry with myself for coming so far to see nothing but a pile of gravel in layers, one above another, about sixty feet high. It was a lonely quiet place, I did not stop long, but started back to find the camp, and it took me until noon before I caught up with it and I was almost dead with thirst.
When about six miles east from Fort Laramie, we came to a very large camp of Sioux Indians. Some of our people said there were two thousand of them. They were camped in a fine meadow, some of them were horse racing and as our train passed along the road they stood on both sides of us. They were a fine looking lot of people, great tall fellows and clean looking squaws, but they did not molest us so we passed on and staid at the Fort a little time, when we went on and camped about six or eight miles West of the fort and crossed the North Platte and camped near the river. Soon after we camped a man rode up and said the Indians had killed two soldiers that had been sent to their camp on some business and that they intended to attack us. There was a large Danish company just behind us and we were afraid they would attack them before they caught up to us but we soon seen the Danes coming and we were very glad. The poor fellows were in a great hurry as they understood the Indians were coming. So we made a large corral with the two companies. That is we made a circle with our wagons and chained them together, so that our cattle could be safe on the inside. We got all the old guns and cleaned them and sharpened our knives expecting the Indians any minute, but they did not come. During the night we had several parties come and beg to be allowed to stay with us. I remember a small party with two wagons with horse teams who were going to Oregon. They came after night and I heard them say, "For God's sake Mr. Richardson give us shelter for the Indians are after us". We also had a mountaineer that stayed with us and traveled over a week, but we were not molested nor did not see any more of the Indians. But the Indians did attack Fort Laramie and killed a number of the soldiers. Soon after this we got into the Sweet-water country and our cattle began to fail and die. When we came to the Devils Gate, I with two or three others thought that we would travel down through the gorge. We had a rough time but we were paid for it by what we saw. The mountain appeared to have been split open. It is composed of red granite and a stream of water run through it about it, about the size of City creek in the Spring. With large rough boulders laying in the bottom and one side of the gorge looked as if it had been broken from the other. We got through all right and met the teams who had gone around by the road. Before we got to the City our food become scarce and we were met by some teams with flour from the valley which was a great help to us. We arrived in Salt Lake City on the thirteenth day of September and camped on Union Square, where the University building now stands.