Webster, John, [Autobiographical sketch] in Museum Memories, [2009- ], 2:297-99.
In the spring of 1867 they decided to move to Salt Lake City, Utah. Preparations were soon under way, and by June 15, my fifth birthday anniversary, they began their westward trek--my father, my mother, and my three sisters. Father bought two yoke of oxen, one of which he purchased from a neighbor, Chris Snitchler. The oxen, Buck and Bright, we used for wheelers; Jack and Jim, we used for leaders. They were all well broken and did their work well. He also bought a very substantial Schettler waqgon which he rigged up for travel. We brought our Durham cow and a splendid Scotch collie dog.
We put our belongings, consisting of food for the trip, our clothing, many blacksmith tools, a sewing machine, guns and ammunition, a lantern, churn, and many other useful articles into the wagon and started with George Wright, the driver, on our journey. We went southwest across the state of Wisconsin. The first city of importance we reached was Florence, now Omaha, Nebraska. There was no Mormon emigration that year, so we decided to continue traveling alone.
We got along very well for some time, but we had some scare fording the Platte River when its waters came right up into the wagon box. Then there was some squealing! We children all wanted to get out. "We can swim," so we said. But Father and Mother wouldn't let us try. We made it over all right with George Wright guiding the oxen. We found it very convenient traveling on the Mormon Trail because of frequent roadside signs telling the distance to the next running water.
When we got to Ft. Kearney, Nebraska (a government post), the soldiers wouldn't allow us to go any further alone, as the Indians were quite bad at times. But we never saw any. We loaded cattle, wagon, and all on the train and rode to Julesberg, Colorado, a distance of one hundred eighty-five miles. It cost Father five hundred dollars.
Here we waited two or three days for a train of oxen and mule teams belonging to George Dunford. They were hauling goods from the East for Dunford's store in Salt Lake City. When they came, we joined them, and all traveled together to the valley and had a very pleasant trip. At night the wagons were arranged in a circle to form a corral for the animals. This made it easier to catch the mules and the oxen at hitching time. However, our oxen were so well trained that they would come when we called them, walk to their places by the wagon tongue or chain, and wait for their yokes to be put on and to be hitched up. We were thrilled when we passed the men laying the Union Pacific Railroad track . . . .
We drove from Kimball's on Silver Creek four miles north of Park City the last day. Grandfather and Uncle Charley Wright met us on the summit in Parley's Canyon and accompanied us into the Great Salt Lake Valley September 27, 1867. In the early afternoon, we paused by the walls of the state penitentiary to clean up and primp up ready to meet Grandmother and others of the family . . . .