Transcript for Zollinger, Jacob, Reminiscences, 19, in Ruth Zollinger, comp., Jacob Zollinger family genealogy
An unusual experience occured one day as we approached a bluff. I was in the lead and my mules balked and refused to go on. Upon investigation we found a great many dead Indians on the top of this bluff as evidence that a battle had ensued. We made a detour around this hill and continued our journey by way of the Sublette Cutoff and to The Green River where we had to ferry our outfits across. We crossed the Big and little Sandy Rivers, then crossed the Continental Divide or South Pass, followed the Sweet Water River to Independence Rock and forded the North platte river east of Casper Wyoming[.] The course of the Oregon and Mormon Trail then paralleled the North Platte River into Nebraska.
We reached Omaha in June and camped on the banks of the Missouri River and waited for three weeks for the emigrants to arrive[.] The steamship with the emigrants aboard put ashore at our camp site. How fortunate I was to be here and not seven miles up stream at it's usual landing place. I was over joyed to find among the passengers, my sister Anna and her husband, John Ulrich Haderli[e] and their four children. It had been four years since we left Switzerland. Anna and her family had been living in our old home and had written to us a year previous about losing their property and that her husband had become a member of the church and of their great desire to come to Zion. To help them emigrate to America I was able to turn into the Salt Lake Tithing Office, one load of oats and two four hundred pound hogs in exchange for their emigration fees. All the arrangements for this transaction were made by Sister Lau who was then living in Salt Lake City. Later she and her husband lived in Providence across the street west of Theurer's Store.
With permission from the captain of our company to take Anna and her family in my wagon, I proceeded to make them as comfortable as possible. My sister was the happiest woman to be able to come to Zion and be united with the family again. Anna always thought a great deal of me and was glad I was there to meet them. I encouraged them in the gospel and told them how things were in our new home. Before departing she made me bathe in the river while she boiled my clothes to rid me of lice.
We averaged 20 to 30 miles a day on our trek across the plains. We were the first to leave, of our two mule trains, thus having the advantage of good feed and a choice of camping sites. The others were ox teams, four or eight animals to each wagon.
There were also three men in a white top buggy traveling with us, one of them was a son of the prophet Joseph Smith. We forded all the streams except the Green River and had to use four teams of mules on a wagon to ford the one mile span of the Platte river. The captain of the company did the hunting and provided the venison for the entire company, the teamsters receiving their portion first. After we had crossed the Big and Little Sandy Rivers, my sister's little girl died. We placed her in a food supply box and buried her along the trail. This was a very trying experience for them. We ferried our outfits across the Green River, crossed a stream called Ham's fork and then on to Fort Bridger. By now our mules were becoming thin even though we had sufficient grain to feed them. We had just crossed the Bear River and was approaching Echo Canyon when another of my sister's girls, Emily, died. We didn't have a box to put her in so we wrapped her in a blanket and buried her by the trail. It was very hard for them to leave their dear Emily but we had to go on with the company. Down through Emigration Canyon and to the great Salt Lake Valley we traveled. At last we came to rest in the tithing office coral, located where the Hotel Utah now stands. People from a wide area came to welcome their loved ones. The teamsters were released to return to their homes.
We arrived in Cache Valley on a Sunday, September 15, 1866 and you may guess how we were received. It was a joyous occasion.