Transcript for William Butler autobiography, 1850-1875, 3-5
Myself and another man left the camp, packed our provisions and Blankets, and started on foot for Salt Lake Valley.—we had traveled one day—and at night the India[ns] Headed us just after we had crossed the Platte River.
The Indians were on horseback.—we both saw them at the [sa]me time.—we dropped down amongst the sage brush, in a …w hollow place.—the Indians going north to head us.—we [to]ok the contrary course, and traveled all night and thereby [m]ade our escape.—we suffered very much for want of wa[te]r, and also on account of the heavy loads we each had to [p]ack.—the first water we came to was alkali springs, w[e] [d]rank freely of it being then ignorant of bad effects, which[h] [r]esulted therefrom.—we became very sick and tired.—we [tra]velled on to the Willow Springs where we struck the roads [and] made some coffee, drank it, and laid down to rest in [the] blazing hot sun in August, after a while we heard a [voic]e calling on us to awake, we sat looking at each in sur[pri]ze.—we ask each other the question, did you hear anything?...[B]oth said we heard it.—which caused us to think and [ref]lect what to do.—we both thought it best, to get up and [pro]ceed on our journey, so we traveled and overtook a mormon company in the evening.—led by Captain Lake we stayed with them.—they gave us some milk, which helped [c]ure us of the bad effects produced by drinking the Alkali [wat]er.
[T]his year there was great destruction of life [and property among] the peo[ple] who were [mostly] …tes of Illinois and Missouri.—traveling on the plains to the gol[d] [mi]nes of California.
the next morning we left the train, and in [th]e evening passed by devils gate on sweetwater—we travelle[d] [a]ll night, because of the howling of the wolves who were very nu[m]erous, and followed on our track.—
on the morrow we overtook [a]nd camped with a small train.—they gave me some bone linement to rub my feet with which did me much good.
We traveled on till we come to two men traveling alone.—we [tr]avelled in company with them untill night, and then camped [I] in a low place amongst the brush.—one of the men was an Irish man, who got up, about midnight to light his pipe.—his comrade woke me and exclaimed, there is a Bear! Whereupon [I] called my comrade, when we got a pistol and a knife, with the [in]tention of going for the Bear, as we supposed. When to our [s]urprize, we found it to be the Irishman.—who seeing the dan[g]er he was in exclaimed—I am not a Bear! Whereat we had a hearty laugh.
Next morning at dawn of day, we prepared to travel again[.] this was about the sixth of August <1850>—We had not proceeded far on our way when we came across a man (from the State of Illinois) in a dying condition,— and no one near him—he [o]ffered me all he had, if I would but take care of him and see hi[m] safe to Salt Lake city.—life being as sweet to me as to him,— and wishing to make my journey as short as possible—I engage[d] the other two men to stay with him.—A day or two afte[ r]wards I heard that the man had died.—and left for the wolves [to] [pl]uck his bones.
I kept gaining strength daily, so that I was enabled [to tr]avel with ease.—my companion kept getting worse al[l] the ti[me].—with great difficulty I got him along as far as Gr[een] River, when we began to be short of provisions.—here [w]e found a Cow that had been left by a company on accou[nt] [of] its lameness.—we drove it about a mile to a camp, and sold it for five pounds of Bacon, and fifty cents in money which enabled me to get to my journey's end.—otherwise I sh[ould] [h]ave perished with hunger.—at the Green River crossin[g] the ferry man had been murdered for his mon[ey and the ferry boat] sunk by so[m]e m[oun]tain[eer] which necessitated us to make a raft of logs which we contrive[ed] to fasten together with willows. previous to this we tried to ford the stream, but found it impracticable. I took a pole and ferried ourselves across. the Logs sunk under the water up to our knee[s] and in this plight we got across.—our provisions also got wet.—we had to dry them the best we could.
We travelled on till we came to the head of echo Kanyon[.] here I left my companion (he being sick) with a company we had overtook.—I then took my knife and Pistol,— tightened up my belt,—(my provisions being about give out) and started out on a trot, realizing the importance of getting to the valley as soon as possible.—
the last day of my journey, I had but an oun[ce] of Pork (when I was in Parley's Park) on this I made my way t[o] the first House in the valley, where I was treated to a good supper and Bed—being the first bed I had lain on since the first of April <1850> (the time I started from Canada) till I [la]nded in the valley, on the 16th of August <1850> it was just sixteen days since I left Deer Creek on the Platte—a distance of four hundred and twenty miles.—making twenty five miles per day, carrying my provisions Blankets pistol and a knife.
Whilst travelling through Echo Kanyon.—it was terrible to see, and hear the echoing of the wolves, and to fee[l] the desolate situation I was in—in a strange country an[d] all alone at that.—(the company that I left at Deer Creek did not arrive till about the last of September)[.] it was sa[t]urday when I arrived—