Transcript for Nelson Winch Green, Fifteen Years among the Mormons: Being the Narrative of Mrs. Mary Ettie V. Smith, Late of Great Salt Lake City (New York: Charles Scribner, 1858), 140-44
I was anxious to go on to New Fort Karney [Kearny], where my mother and brothers were. Joseph Young, the brother of the Prophet, was now about to leave, with his family, for Utah, and his first wife, that is, the one he first married-his lawful wife-was very anxious I should travel with them; and I therefore went to her house to prepare for the journey.
Everything was now ready, and in June, 1849 , we commenced a journey that was to last for months, over a wild stretch of prairie and desert, and among bleak and snow-capped mountains-a journey memorable for its hardships, from fatigue, hunger and sickness. The cholera raged that season with uncommon fury on the plains, among all classes of emigrants, and the entire route was almost an unbroken succession of burying-grounds. Newly made graves met the eye at every step; and there, amidst these, and the loneliness and solitude of the great desert, we struggled on. Alone with the one great God, of whose mysterious existence we knew but little, and between whom and us stood our own Prophet, as our guide over the wide plains, sublime in their vastness.
When we arrived at New Fort Karney [Kearny], I was again disappointed at finding my mother and brothers had gone on to the valley, and I was under the necessity of making the entire journey with the family of Joseph Young. The company in which we travelled, were uncommonly fortunate in losing but few of its members by cholera, while other parties were in some cases nearly cut off by it.
But the Gentile emigrants were still more unfortunate. Whole companies were swept off, and their cattle and other effects fell into the hands of the Mormons. Their teams, too, were liable to become worn down, and would often die; and then, the emigrant who had loaded his wagon with such articles of furniture and tools as he had deemed indispensable to him, would be under the necessity of leaving them on the way. Of course they could not be sold, as no one would buy, when the chances were, that sooner or later he could find more than he could carry, abandoned on the way. The Mormons were generally well provided with teams, and owing to their experience in the hardships of such migrations, and the better discipline introduced by the Prophet, among their various companies of ten wagons each, their cattle seldom gave out, and they were thus always prepared to appropriate anything valuable to be found on the route.
This state of things was soon understood among the Gentiles, and they adopted the plan of privately burying their most valuable property when obliged to leave it, among the graves of the dead, and erecting over it a headstone, and marking thereon some name to indicate the locality of a stranger's grave-so that one unversed in the secret, might unwitingly walk among real graves, mingled with valuable property "cached" among them, and if sentimentally inclined, might drop a silent tear of sympathy over a valuable stove, or plow, or the like, purporting to be the grave of Amos Brown, or Hackaliah Thompson, of Connecticut or Kentucky. . . .
I do not propose to give a detailed account of our journey to Salt Lake, as I kept no journal of it. It was long and tiresome, occupying four months for its accomplishment, every day bringing with it a new adventure. Now harrassed with the fear of an attack from the Indian bands, that roam the boundless plains through which our route lay, who are governed by no law save that of a strongest arm; parched one day by thirst under a scorching sun, and the next, drenched by soaking rains. Suffocated by the hot airs of the plains during the day, and at night, chilled by the cold breath of the mountains: in short, suffering all the chances and mischances of a wandering life in the open air. Joyous and glad when the sun and the heavens were propitious, and sternly resolute to protect the aged, and the frail women and little children, when the face of nature frowned upon us, we struggled through to the end, and about the middle of September, 1849 , arrived at Great Salt Lake City.