Transcript for Weight, Frederick, A short history of the life of Frederick Weight by himself [ca. 1895], 9-10

In the Spring I bought a light wagon and a yoke of cows to cross the plains with. My Brother, who had arrived in America, started with this team to the Council Bluffs with a large company, a distance of 500 miles and me and my wife [Charlotte Burgum Weight] and infant [Martin Burgum Weight] went on the Steam Boat up the Missouri River and met the company. We had a very poor passage on this boat. There was not much comfort for a woman and a young baby on a steam boat, but we done the best we could. The boat got aground once and was in danger of going down stream but after a while she got off and went all right. We got to the Bluffs and at last and stayed there for some time. I found my wagon broke and one of my cows dead, leaving me only one cow to cross the plains with.

I was now in a strange land and no house, no home, with a sick wife and a 3 months old baby and no provisions and very little money. I did not know what to do, so I told my circumstances to Brother [Edward] Brain and he said he would take us as passengers in his wagon if we could pay him so much. I do not remember how much I paid him but I paid him all I had and sold my cow and my wagon for what I could get and paid him all I had and he agreed to take us as passengers but I had to walk most of the way, a distance of 1000 and 13 miles. We started on our journey on the ninth of June 1852, from the Missouri River to cross the mighty plains with oxen and wagons, taking with us provisions to last us about 3 or 4 months. My Brother went with some other teams in another company. Our Company was 50 wagons and one head captain over them all (Captain [Thomas C.D. Howell). He then divided them into companys of ten, ten wagons to a company with a captain over every ten. We was the first 10 and took the lead. I was in the second wagon. We went about 10 or 12 miles the first day and then camped. There was 9 of us in Brother Brain’s wagon, 3 women, 2 men, and 4 children, and we was packed very close I can assure you. We were up about day light and got breakfast and got up the cattle and on again traveling from 15 to 20 miles a day.

I had a sick wife and baby to take care of and stand on guard at night in my turn. I had to cook and wash for my wife and baby and myself and to do camp duties and everything as my wife was not able to do anything. She had no milk for her baby so I had to feed him on cow’s milk with a bottle. This was a great trial to us as we had no cow of our own. I had to go round the camp and get milk for him, every morning and every night. I also had to drive team and to do all camp duties independent of all my troubles. We held meetings on Sundays and laid over to rest. Sometimes we had a little dance in the evenings when all things went well and this was the first place I ever saw a Cottillion danced in all my life. I soon learned to dance them and some other dances also. I had to sing in the meetings and take my part in prayer as well as others. I had a very hard time of it.

I drove an ox team 500 miles and walked all the way, through mud holes and creeks and wade through rivers and over rought rocks and prickley pears and hot sands, and all bare feet. I walked 500 miles bare footed until my feet were like an ox hoof. I was carrying a young girl through a creek and my foot stuck in the mud and down I went in the water, girl and all. We got wet but got over all right.

One time I went ahead of the train about a mile and saw a pack of wolfs and I thought they were dogs till I got up to them and they stopped and looked at me. I tried to drive them away but they stood and looked at me, but they heard the teams coming and they went away one at a time and left me and I was very glad they did. I never went ahead of the wagons again.

I was on guard one night and there was a herd of deer rushed by us like the wind. In this neighborhood there was Grizzly bears and I think they was after them. We did not see any and I did not wish to make their acquaintance there in the night all alone.

We now come to a place where the Indians was thought to be troublesome and corralled the cattle that night and put out an extra guard. I was one. The night was very dark and it thundered and the lightning flashed and the rain poured down in torrents. I had to put my gun under my poor coat to keep it dry but my coat did not keep me very dry that night. I walked round the wagons out side and listened for I could not see my hand before me. I never shall forget that night but they did not come and I was very glad of it.

At day light we let the cattle go out to feed and a strong guard with them to stay with them. One night we camped in a willow patch and we had to go to the spring for water. I went for 2 buckets, one in each hand. The mosquitoes covered my hands and face so that I had to put my buckets down to brush them off, and then I could not keep them off. I had to blow them out of my mouth till I got to come in the smoke. It had been a warm rain just before we got to camp and that made them worse. We had to burn buffalo chips to cook with for we had no wood in this region.

My wife was getting worse and worse and the baby was a great trouble to her. She could hardly wash him or dress him. We thought she would be better when we got to the valley but she did not. We passed through many trying scenes in this journey which I will not write now. We arrived at the mouth of Emigration Canyon on the 15 of September 1852 being about 4 months on our journey crossing the plains. I came into the city that day and left my wife in the wagon and came back at nights [night] and went to a meeting. The next day we came to Salt Lake City.