Jenkins, John, Autobiographical sketch, 1933, 1-2.
A soon as possible my father took out his naturalization papers. He then homesteaded a quarter section of land on which we lived for eleven years. While we lived here our neighbors were Mormon apostates and Josephites who were very bitter against the church, with the exception of one family named Fisher. These people succeeded in influencing Mrs. Fisher and my mother to the extent that they refused to move on to Utah. When means were provided by which we could have moved to Utah, mother refused to sign the deeds so father could sell his land.
About 1859 or 1860 Brother Fisher took some wheat for a grist to the mill one day. Leaving it there, he stated that he would call back for it. When he went back for the flour he continued on to Utah, leaving his family behind him. When my mother learned of the Fisher episode she changed her mind in regard to signing the deed and father sold his land for five hundred dollars ($500). He equipped an outfit and we started for Utah in the first part of June 1861, in Homer Duncan’s company.
Our train was in independent outfit; that is, it consisted of people who fitted up their own outfits. Father had two wagons two yokes of oxen, eight cows, and two or three horses. Father drove one wagon and I drove one. The family was in the wagon father drove. I drove one yoke of oxen and one yoke of cows. We worked the cows as well as the oxen.
When we started in the morning the milk would be put in the churn and by noon when we stopped it would be churned to butter. The Indians caused us no trouble on our journey, although they often they and begged us for flour and sugar.
One of our sports was to stand a dime in the split end of a stick, place the stick on end at about 25 paces, and then let the Indians shoot the dime from the stick with their bow and arrow. The dime belonged to the Indian that could hit it. It was remarkable how often they hit the target.
In the company I was known as the little hunter, and with an old muzzle leading rifle, I obtained more meat than our family could use. So we often had some to give to other families. At one time between the Platte and the Sweet Water Rivers, I wounded an antelope. After tracking it, I got another shot at it and killed it. I then dressed it and started for the train of wagons which was traveling. I soon realized I was lost. I wandered around until nearly sundown. On reaching the top of a knoll I thought I saw a man and started running toward him. On seeing me he ran from me, thinking I was an Indian. My motions in trying to stop him he thought were signals to other Indians to close in on him. However, I finally overtook him and found him to be a member of our company. When I told him about the antelope, nothing could stop him from going back for it. We soon found the game and I split the cord in one front leg, slipped the opposite hind leg through the slit, and put his head between the legs so that the antelope hung on the man’s back. I carried the guns and together, we made our way back to the train, arriving at camp late in the night. I have often been out alone in the hills but have never again had the feeling of being lost.
At this time I was a boy of sixteen. I remember among other members of the company, Pres. Charles W. Penrose, Francis W. Armstrong, and Samuel Russell. President Penrose often took part in the programs held around the campfire. We had many good times during our journey. We arrived in Salt Lake City in September 28, 1861.