Transcript for Pilling, Catherine Adams, [Reminiscence], in Susan Arrington Madsen, I Walked to Zion [1994], 122-23

It was in the spring of 1850 that we started for Utah. Our party was the smallest that ever crossed the plains. There were seventeen or eighteen wagons.

The buffalo were thick in those days. We used to kill one now and again, but we had to wait till one wandered away from the herd. Instead of frightening them away, the sound of the gun seemed to infuriate them so that they stampeded and charged right for camp, where they'd go pell-mell over everything in their way, wagons, animals, everything. The buffalo doesn't run, you know, he lopes. And when a large herd is moving in the distance, it looks like a small, dark mountain swaying. They stay close together and seldom stray. They didn't try to keep out of our way.

We were always afraid of Indians. But our party was fortunate in not running into many of them nor having them run into us. Once we had quite a fright: eight or ten warriors came into camp. They were painted in all their savage, hideous war paint, but they were sober, which was a blessing. It was the liquor that made the Indians so dangerous in those days. Father [Elias Adams] got talking with them and gave them some food. It wasn't food they were after; it was ammunition. But we only had enough for our own use, and Father didn't give them any.

My father was fairly well-to-do, and we traveled in covered wagons. We didn't have to use the pushcart (handcart) in our outfit, as so many had to do. The pushcart, you know, is almost like a big wheelbarrow, but it holds a mighty heavy load. The men would get between the handles and pull it while the women and children pushed. The widows who crossed had to pull their own. It was terribly tiring and tedious in the hot and rainy weather, especially through the part of the country where one could travel for days without seeing even a bunch of willows.

We had many good times, though. In the evenings after the horses were tethered the men would light a big bonfire, clear off a level piece of ground, dampen it down to pack it a bit and have a dance. There were some fine musicians along who played the fiddle, mouth organ, and accordion, and we used to enjoy sitting around the fire listening to them or having a sing-song.

Instead of cooking on a stove, father used to dig a trench about a foot wide in the sod to set the kettle on. We'd fill the trench with buffalo chips and cook our meals over it.

The way we made our butter was we'd milk the cows in the morning and strain the milk into large churns, which were put in the back of the wagons. At night, through the constant motion of the wagon all day, there would be pieces of rich yellow butter clinging to the sides of the churn; some of them would be the size of goose eggs.

We reached Utah in September.