Transcript for Pratt, Parley P., Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt , 329-31
Early in June I loaded my goods and family into my wagons, and, obtaining a few more cattle, started for the Rocky Mountains; or rather for the Elk Horn River, where we expected to form a rendezvous, and establish a ferry, and wait the arrival of others, and the organization of companies for the purpose of mutual safety in travelling.
Arriving at Elk Horn River with a small company, we made a ferry of a raft of dry cotton-wood timber, and rafted over our own company of about fifty wagons. We then organized for herding and grazing purposes, and continued to aid others in crossing and organizing until five hundred and sixty-six wagons were finally crossed and organized ready for a march. In the final organization of this vast company Father Isaac Morley and Bishop Whitney assisted, or rather took the oversight—being a committee appointed for that purpose by the Presidency before they left. As Brother Taylor and myself were present, we were appointed and invited to take a general superintendency of this emigration.
The organization consisted of companies of tens, fifties and hundreds, with a captain over each, and the whole presided over by a president and two counselors, a marshal, etc. President John Young was called to preside—having been nominated by the Presidency before their departure. John Van Cott was appointed marshal.
Thus organized, this large company moved on up the Platte about the Fourth of July. There were some difficulties and jealousies during the first few days, on account of some misunderstanding and insubordination in the order of travel. This at length became so far developed that it was found necessary to call a general halt on the Platte River, and hold a council of the principal officers, in which things were amicably adjusted and the camp moved on.
Arriving at the Loupe [Loup] Fork of Platte River, we continued up it quite a distance above the trail the pioneers had made, as we could not ford the river in their track. We at length found a ford, and with some difficulty on account of quicksands, forded the river and made our way over to the Main Platte, re-entering the pioneer trail. As we passed up the Platte on this trail the companies in front had frequently to halt and build bridges, etc. On one occasion Peregrine Sessions, who was captain of our company of fifty, and myself found two horses which had probably strayed from some former travellers, and which, after several unsuccessful attempts by different parties, Brother Taylor succeeded in driving into camp, and he and I captured them. We were at the time ahead of the company, following up a stream to try and find a ford. This was a very timely providence to me, as I had lost all my horses the previous winter, and was now pioneering for the company without any horse, and on foot.
After journeying for several hundred miles up the Platte, we at length met two messengers from the pioneers under President Young, from Salt Lake Valley. These were P[orter]. Rockwell and E[zra]. T. Benson; who had been sent out to try to find us and report our progress and circumstances. Having visited all the camps, they returned to the valley, or rather to where they met the President and pioneers, on their way back to Winter Quarters on the Missouri. I accompanied them back nearly one day's ride on the way, and then bid them God speed, and returned to my own camp. Soon after this our fifty met the President and company of pioneers and camped with them one day.
A council was called, in which I was highly censured and chastened by President Young and others. This arose in part from some defect in the organization under my superintendence at the Elk Horn, and in part from other misunderstandings on the road. I was charged with neglecting to observe the order of organization entered into under the superintendence of the President before he left the camps at Winter Quarters; and of variously interfering with previous arrangements. In short, I was severely reproved and chastened. I no doubt deserved this chastisement; and I humbled myself, acknowledged my faults and errors, and asked forgiveness. I was frankly forgiven, and, bidding each other farewell, each company passed on their way. This school of experience made me more humble and careful in future, and I think it was the means of making me a wiser and better man ever after.
After bidding farewell to the President and pioneers, and to my own brother, Orson Pratt, who was one of them, we continued our journey; and after many toils, vexations and trials, such as breaking wagons, losing cattle, upsetting, etc., we arrived in the Valley of Great Salt Lake late in September, 1847.