Transcript for Nielson, Andrew Christian, Autobiography [ca. 1890], 5
An hour after we had started out from camp that memorable day with our wagons, you could for 5 miles all around the plains see oxen, wagons, teamsters and a dozen horsemen going at break neck speed, and it was a meracle that none got hurt, nor anything broke, but under these conditions I have seen strong men cry. But on we went. We had 1200 miles from Atchison to Salt Lake City.
We struck Platt[e] River at Fort Kearney then traveled to within 88 miles of Julesberg, there it took us two days to cross the Platt River. Sometimes it took 20 yolk of cattle to pull one wagon, and water waste deep. But it went all right till we got toward Fort Laramie then our oxen commenced dying and before we reached Sweetwater we had lost nearly half of our oxen and of course the loads got too heavy for the others.
At Willard Springs our captain [Joseph Sharp] died and James Sharp went 50 miles to a telegraph station and sent a dispatch to Salt Lake City for a metal coffin and 80 yolk of cattle, also provisions. Meanwhile we made a rough coffin. I washed, shaved and cleaned him as well as I could and John Smith the Patriarck who had been our captain from Copenhagen and took the independent company across the plains, hitched his horse with the captains and him and me drove with the corpse. It was calculated to take him to Salt Lake City or till we met the metal coffin, then put him in that, but the next day we had to bury him as we could not keep him in the hot weather.
We drove through Devils Gate in the middle of the night and burried him at tree crossing, then when the coffin came we took him up and put him on the train, but before the oxen and provisions came we had been without grub for several days. All we had was a little chop feed that the captains horses had left. In the meantime I had left the train and got to drive a mule team 300 miles to Salt Lake City and had a good time, while the oxen had a pretty hard time. I arrived in Salt Lake City the 26th of September 1864, two weeks before the oxen came in.