Transcript

Transcript for Sorensen, Isaac, [Journal], Utah Historical Quarterly, 1956, 52-53, 60

We bade farewell to uncles, cousins, aunts, friends, many of them, who seemed to feel very sorry for us, but we felt sorry for them who might, if they would, have believed our testimony and rejoiced in the glorious gospel, and been happy in leaving all for the same. We were happy in leaving the fatherland and traveling over seas, railroads, plains, rocky mountains, sandy hills in all kinds of weather, braving the danger of Indian attacks, buffalo herds and much else in a wild wilderness. We had great faith in the Lord and his prophets. . .

In Philadelphia it was awkward for us to do our trading because we could not speak English, but we bought a number of things. I got a new suit of clothes. We soon were on a train speeding west, and arrived in Iowa City seven or eight days after leaving Philadelphia, and were very busy picking out our outfits for crossing the plains. These outfits seemed wonderful to us, for many of us had never seen an ox before. The scenes to be witnessed the first few days are difficult to portray. You had to be there to appreciate them. It was indeed comical as well as pitiful. Driving oxen must, like everything else, be learned, and mastering the art took time. Sometimes the oxen would be piled up on top of each other in spite of the efforts of men on each side of them, for many of them had never been worked. However, we got along in a sure way. We left the yokes on until we reached Florence three weeks later. No one was hurt. There we found a handcart company and traveled with them most of the way to Utah, often camping with them for the night. We soon learned to yoke and drive our oxen and I was picking up English expressions. After 9 or 10 weeks we arrived in Salt Lake City on September 15.

I was sick part of the way across the plains. I had chills and fever. In the hottest August days I lay in the wagon under the cover with a feather bed over me and would still shake. We saw many buffalo herds and sometimes killed a buffalo for meat. We were fortunate in having no stampedes. Other companies had them. We suffered no accidents, but we lost a number of oxen from poison alkali. Our best ox died and we had to buy a yoke of young oxen. Also we bought a cow that gave us milk.

Across Wyoming we often passed long freight wagon trains with ten yoke of oxen to a wagon. These were carrying provisions for the army on the way to Utah. Naturally we wondered what would happen to our people in Utah, and how we would figure in the outcome. But since we had braved much, but more because of our faith, we went on. . .

1862 was a late spring and an eventful one for me. I was called as a teamster to go to Omaha after emigrants. I left Mendon on April 29. Our company waited in the Ogden bottom for eleven days for ferry boats to be built to cross the river in the highest water year known in Utah. All the tributaries of Green River were fearfully high and we had trouble with all of them and the Green. After this we made 25 miles a day. I encountered poison ivy on the Platte, and was a long time getting over it, but I got to Florence somehow. We stayed there for a week or more. It was a stirring sight to see the hundreds of tents on the rolling hills. We had brought flour from home and found ready buyers among traders and people aiming at California. I bought a fine buffalo robe which I brought home and used for many years.

We loaded our wagons to the bows. Eighteen persons with their luggage was the apportionment for each wagon. The return trip was made with efficiency. I had the luck of having an increase in my wagon. Mother and boy did first-rate. This family and another came with me to Mendon, but moved to Clarkston. The boy was named after me.

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