Transcript

Transcript for Skidmore, William Lobark, [Autobiography], in Amos W. Bair, The History of Richmond, Utah [1976], 243-44

In April, 1855, with my mother and other members of the family, we started for Utah. My mother, Harriet Henrietta Sharedier [Schrader] Skidmore, the oldest son Henry, his wife and daughter Harriet, and another man, Samuel, who settled in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a daughter, Rachel, made up the party who came to Utah. The father, Charles Breet [Brett] Skidmore, a son George, and a daughter Mary were left in Philidelphia [Philadelphia]. They did not join the Church. We went to Pittsburgh by rail, then down the Ohio and up the Missouri to Atchinson [Atchison], Kansas, where we had our first experience of camp life. It rained for several days which made it very unpleasant for us. My brothers soon bought some cattle and an outfit, and we joined Captain John Hindley’s Company for the journey across the plains. It fell to my lot to provide the fuel with which to cook our food. Since no wood grew on the plains, I would take a sack and gather up dry buffalo chips to fry our bacon and bake our bread. Often the wind would blow the lid off the pan, and some of our food would be seasoned with sand and ashes. This annoyed the women until all of us would have to laugh.

We had no fresh meat except when someone killed a buffalo. What was not eaten immediately was cut into strips and dried in the sun. At one time we saw a band of Indians coming toward us, and the captain gave orders for the train to stop. All who had guns were ready to defend us. When the Indians saw that we were ready for them, they became friendly and wanted to trade buckskins and moccasins for sugar and salt. My brother, Henry’s wife was young and pretty, and the Chief wanted to trade a pony for her. Sometimes we would stop for a day to rest and shoe the oxen and make necessary repairs. One day when the Captain was riding by, he told my brother, Henry, that our family was one of the best of the train and never caused him any trouble as did some of the others. At a place called Ash Hollow, the road was very steep. Mother with two girls had to walk and were left behind. Darkness came on, and they thought they were lost and were about to give up when they saw our camp fires. They were very tired and hungry when they reached camp, but no trouble came to them. We had tried to play a joke on them by filling the wagon with service berry bushes, but when we saw their plight we were sorry.

When we neared the Rocky Mountains, we met a company from Utah on their way east. They advised us to go back with them, saying that the grasshoppers were so bad in the Salt Lake Valley that they had eaten everything up and we would starve. We were not convinced by what they told us, and so we continued our journey. We reached Salt Lake City on October 3rd, after a journey of five months by ox teams.

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