Transcript for Nielsen, Jens Christian, History of Jens Christian Nielsen, 1847-1888, 60-61
June 16, 1856 I hunted work but did not find any.
June 17—I got work in digging a shelter, together with A. Fredericksen, and to June 21 made $9.00 and I got work again by the 25th made $8.00.
June 25, 1856 Came Brother N.L. Christensen from camp and said I could get to drive a team and that way work my way through, and by paying Bro. Samuel Lee $30.00 he would take Maria, and Bro. Lund would take Else with for nothing. So I made haste in getting ready as the emigration was to start the next morning. Now $30.00 was very near all my money and I needed some boots and clothing. What could I do? Bro. Christensen said to me if you do not take a girl with you it will be hard for you to get one when you come up to Utah, but there was no time for me to hunt a girl and go into engagement, so I concluded to try my luck. This Maria was very anxious to get up and I paid the $30.00 for her without any engagement whatever, nor a word on my money.
June 26, 1856 Got a wagon, got my things packed off and left Omaha for Florence camp ground and I got a place to drive English Brother F. Pollens' team and paying the $30.00 for Maria to Lee's English family.
Now we commenced our journey across the great desert or plains and we got along all right. I had no trouble in driving my team as I had drove Oxen before. When we came to the first river, which was very deep, could not be crossed with teams. The wagons were took over on a ferry boat and the oxen and cows to be swimmed over, and there was not too many men that liked to swim that water. I was generally handy to do all I could for the saints. I did swim that river three times after cattle, with my clothes on. That went all right, but after we got everything across I was ordered to stand guard in the night and given no opportunity to get dry clothes on. That was more than I could stand and the chills took hold of me and I suffered greatly for 400 miles in doing my work. It was hard and some thought I would die, but I did get over it. When I came to Salt Lake I was well.
Now I am not keeping any journal but will say that we had our trials, especially in crossing rivers and in the buffalo country many times our oxen stampeded. The man that I drove for was run over and picked up for dead, but came to but laid up in the wagon most of the balance of the road. At another stampede a man was run over and died on the spot. Another time a hind axle was broke and no wheel-wright in camp, so it fell on me to make an axle out of a green cottonwood and I made it and Brother Lee had blacksmith tools so we got it all fixed up, but that was a hard day for it happened on a sand hill and was blowing almost a hurricane. We had many stampedes but those were of the worst. Well, the oxen began to give out, got tender footed and had to be shod, and some dying and the saints had to unload their things on the plains, and I saw some emptying out the feathers from their featherbeds.
Then we had to dig wells for water for our stock and sometimes it was not good when we found it. I do not know how many oxen did die, but some teams lost half. Our team I drove did not lose any, but Tollins wagon was an old light wagon with two good yoke oxen.
When we came to Sweetwater there was snow on the ground and cold, and Green River was quite cold for women to wade across, and grass got a little sscarce for our teams, but I did not hear much grumbling. Many old ladies walking nearly all the way from Florence.
Knute Petersen was the Captain of this company, but left the English, or one-half of the company, at Laramie, on account of grass not being enough for so large a company. He took the Danish and went on. We, that is all about crossing the plains. The reader may guess the balance. I will however say that the Saints had much patience and would dance and sing around those camp fires and bake the bread by the buffalo chips, praying, singing the songs of Zion.
September 22, 1856 We arrived in Salt Lake City and I left Brother Pollen, the same staying in Brother Reiser's home that night.