Transcript for Rees, Watkin, Reminiscences, 8-12, in Watkin Rees, Papers [ca. 1880-1905]
we ware landed in the woods about a half a mile above, ware we put up our tents and camped two or thre[e] weeks and ware soon joined by other Emigrants from Denmark. the River bottom here was quite flat and covered with tall timber covered with climbing grapevines so dence that we had to look straight up in order to see the sky;
this place was very unhelthy the c[h]olera brokout again and many people died here and after camping here about two or three weeks we ware moved out to Magees farm several miles away from the River, and then again soon after, farther out, to a place near Westport on the edge of the pririe, near wich, is about 8 miles from Independence Mis[s]ourie, ware we camped about three Months waiteing for cattle and wagons, wich arrived in the Latter part of June, the various companys was now soon organized, ours with Daniel Garns of Salt Lake as captain William Empy being emigration agent for that year;
The wether was fine, and we ware in an open prairie country the fitout seen that was furnished us was for the most part wild unbroken cattle and the start we made was anything but elegant.
The foremost teams whent right along for they had broken cattle used to work but some of those that followed ran in every direction; as I mentioned it was an open grasy country, and swampy as well in places ware we used to herd the cattle on;
The Oxen ran for their grazeing ground takeing the wagons with them and they never stoped until they ware fast in the mud
thare was an aged sister rideing in one of those wagons and Considerable anxiety was felt for her but she was not hurt.
this stampeed caused a delay of a day or two repareing wagons[.] New wagons that had been broken on their first day out;
This driving Oxen was a new business to most of us Emigrants, many of us having never Seen a pare of Oxen yoked together before we came to America (some of us seem to think that everything that had horns was cows[.] One lady looking at a bunch of Oxen that had been brought together to be yoked up asked how they milked them cows, they looked difrent to the cow she had seen milked) and we had to learn as well as the cattle but fortunately thare ware plenty of us 10 to a wagon and as a rule two teemsters [teamsters] could be furnished to a wagon, one on each side to keep the team in the Road, and pulling the heavy loads soon quieted the cattle down so that they could be managed by one teamster.
These Great Prairies look to us the people from Little England, like the open sea, thare is not a mountain, or a tree in site in some places, there is plenty of grass, and the cattle are doing well, Buffalos are frequently seen in site, and seemed to have become somewhat tamed, a small herd of about twenty Buffalo passed right through our train going back from the watter, and some of our hunters gave chase and managed to kill one Cow.
We are now nearing fort Laramy [Laramie] we have had no accident or Incedent worthy of note since our stampeed on the first day out; we are camped for the night[.] a courier comes into our camp from fort Laramie warning us to be careful of the Indians, for they ware on the war Path and two thousand of them had had a fight with soldiers at the fort the day before whare they had killed thirteen soldiers.
We passed that way the following day the Indians ware all gone, the ground they camped on an extensive grassy flat was smoothly tramped as if many people had camped thare;
The courier was going east for reinforcement, while the people at the fort had shut themselves up in fear lest the Sues [Sioux] whould return and kill them all
The trouble seem to have started over a lame cow belonging to a Danish Brother in the company ahead of us, the cow had droped behind not being able to follow[.] one of Indians killed the cow, propably for the meat, and the Brother whaunted pay for him and complained to the Officer at the fort[.] The officer proceded to arrest the Indian, but they whould not give him up, the Officer ordered a platoon of soldiers with a cannon, and to intimidate the Indians, they fired a shot, over their heads. as soon as they done that, the Indians was upon them and cleaned out the whole platoon, and broke camp and left
We are now in the neighborhood of the Black Hills we come to a tradeing post kept by a Frenchman and camped for noon, we had been preceded by a large band of Indians to this place, they had their horses tied head to head in a compleat and compact circle as Indians [k]now how to tie them in the apsence [absence] of hitching posts
we did not stay here long thare ware no watter for our animals[.] in leaveing this camp two of our wagons was tardy and dropped behind, and the camp was a half a mile on the Road when one of the men from the wagons that was left came running after us saying that the Indians seeing that the train had gone was heping themselves to everything, so the train was stoped, and men ran back armed with gunns and in time before thare was much damage done other than a fright to thes people
I ran back with the other men but had no gunn, willing to do what I could to help those people but before returning to the train a strange thing happened. I was armed with two pistols that I had found in the brush
thare had been propably a fight or a massacre by Indians whare those Pistols were droped[.] both Pistols ware of English make, and considerably rusted I gave one of them to William Carter of provo for cleaning the other one Brother Carter was a returning missionary and our Blacksmith on the plains!
When we ware nearing the rocky mountains it was found that provisions ware running low with some of the people and some ware almost entirely without but by enquirey it was found that thare was plenty in camp to take us through to Salt Lake, so those that had more than they needed turned it over to the Captain to be devided out to those that was short[.] thare had to be a readjustment also of teams for some of them ware lame, and some had given out, but we managed to get to Salt Lake with all the wagons[.] we started with ariveing in Salt Lake about the 6 of October 1854 when Conference was in session; here on the Public Square many of the emigrants ware met by friends others had places to go to go to and it was not long befor the whole camp was disposed of it happened that I and the wife and baby was left till last and we felt somewhat Lonesome without money without friend and all gone but us it looked blue . . .