Hansen, Hans Peter, Autobiography and diary, 1893 Jan-1895 Apr.
We landet at thes place, it was a country of roling hills growed over with Oak Brush and the country was unsetlet [unsettled] with the exception of ranches here and there, we made our camp as best we could here and there in the Brush. It rained several times which made it uncomfitable for thoes who had no tent and I and my crowd were among the latter
After staying there for a week ther were a Merchant from Salt Lake or rather a firm named Kimball & Lawrence[.] there hired several men from our Camp to drive the teames for them to Salt Lake City a distance of about 1100 miles through the Wilderness
My Partner and [I] hired out to them for $20.00 pr month[.] my Partners name was Anders Petersen from Falster <Denmark>[.] he was laboring as a missionary on Fyen when I got aquainted with him[.] we took our Bag[g]age down to camp and it was very unconvinient for us as neither of us could talk nor und[er]stand the English Language[.] as soon as we had our Breakfest, we were taken out to the correl[.] there were about 40 men belonging to the Camp viz 8 Danish 14 English Emigrants and the balance being Americans going to Callifornia and Montana.
After Breakfest we went out to the Correll to see them ca[t]ch and yoke up the wild Steers and heach [hitch] them to the Wagons and start them from camp[.] my partner and I stood there watching the Boys for a long time[.] they hitched 4 yoke of Cattle to a 4000 [pound] Wagon and started them away from camp one at a time[.] finely the winked at him to come over as the[y] had a Team reddy to start, they gave him the whip and started the Team[.] I looked at him and he went along with the outfit alright[.] as I was anxously awaiting my turn to come they started up another Team and sent an American with.
After that they called on me for the next, I was asked if [I] could say who[a] haa and I tried to say it the best that I could and the[y] said that would do with a laugh and started the Team and gave me the whip[.] it was the first day that I had ever seen a Team of this kind travel the road. It happen that the grade of the road was a little up hill and the Cattle pulled nicely and I walked by the side a wondering what I should do with that Team as I could neither speak the Language nor did I know what to say to the Cattle in way of commanding them.
The first part of the road went up hill and nicely but I soon came to the top and it commenced to go down and [I] never noticed the Brick [brake] on the Wagon as that was some thing that was never knowen in Danmark, as such the Wagon begun to crowd the Cattle and it commenced to go on a trot and I running from one side of the Wagon to the other to keep the Team on the road as there were Telley[g]raph Poles by the side, and as I was traveling along with the Team on the trot and not knowing what to do with them or say to them. I had been noticed from the camp and a man soon appeared on the scene to aid me, along came one on horsback and told me to put on the Brick (brake) but as I could not understand him he finely wrode up to the side of the Wagon and showed me the Brick (brake), and I got a hold of it and pulled and the Wagon stoped[.] ha ha[.] I thought that much learned[.] I traveled on and soon I came to the other Wagons who had started before me, when I reached them I tried to stope the Team but as my language was not very plain english the[y] didet pay much attention to it and passed right along by the side but the teamster ahead of me who was an American came to my rescu and stoped the Team.
This was my first triel to drive Oxen[.] we stayed by our Teams till the[y] got the full Train in order and when all of the Wagons get started from camp, the lead Team started up and we all followed after and there were a Train of 30 Wagons with 4 yoke of Oxen on each and a few in recerve [reserve][.] We traveled about a mile and camped for the night making a round Correll of the Wagons with all of the Wagon tongues outside
We unhitched for the night and turned the Cattle out[.] grass was abondent. The Captain than handet us out the our Flour[,] Bakon[,] dryed Aples[,] Beans[,] Coffe & Sugar. Campketles Knives Forks and Spones and told us to cook all of us 8 Danish being in one Mess. As we were all born in Danmark and not use to cooking, we discused the si[t]uation for a while in regard to the one that would undertake the great task of starting to cook, it was finely desided that I should take the first traiel[.] As I had partly learned the Bakers trade I get a hold of the doe [dough] pan and mixed the doe but not being aquainted with the Baking powder it was a little difficulty in order to know how much to use as none of us could read the proscription. Finely we got supper made and we all enjoied the first meal together. We laid over at this place one day to get everything in order and reddy to start on the great journey the next.
The Captain awaked us earley about day brake[.] it was in the midle of the month of June, days were long and we started without Breakfest and drove till about 8 or 9 oclock and then we stoped for 5 or 6 hours and grass was abundent.
The next morning we had a little difficulty in getting the Cattle matched as we had them the first day as we were all strangers[.] we started up and as we were to pass the corner of field one of the english Boys failed to get swing enough as such his Wagon brook the corner of the fence down but we passed on[.] the Captain Paid the damages
We were now started in good shape and everything went splendid with good fat cattle and plenty of Grass[.] we traveled from 15 to 20 miles a day and no accident happened and we reach Julesburg a station built for the Mail-Route service, we had now traveled on the south side of the Southplatt [South Platte] River for several hundred miles[.] the Roads at this place parted the one going South to the Mines in Colerado [Colorado] or Denver. The other crossed the River and went in a northerly direction to Utah Montana & Callefornia[.] ther were several Stores at this place and several Companies with fraight like the one we had. The River being quite deep we hade to block up our Wagon Box so the water should <not> damage the freight[.] And I with some more hade to wade across the River to get thoes Blocks which the Captain optained from another Train[.] it was about a mile across it
It took us a day to prepare and the next day we put on 12 or 14 yoke of Cattle to each Wagon and 2 Teamsters done the driving[.] I was among thoes that were appointed to drive[.] as such I crossed that River 5 or 6 times that day and we succeedet in getting the whole Train accross in one day and we rested the next on the other side, we were now about half way accross the plaines
We traveled on with good luck but as we got closer to the Ro[c]ky Mountains the road became more hilley and the grass got less and our Cattle begun to get poor <Tender Footed and shoe oxen at noon> and cold nights as such we did [not] travel so fast as in the begining, but all went first rate till we got to Salt Lake City which place we reached on the 5 day of September.
[Text also in Don "H" Smith, Journal and Life Story of Hans Peter Hansen , 9-13]