Henderson, John Harris, Autobiography [ca. 1909], 38-42.
all things being ready we hitched up our teams leaving the Clark family behind and traveled eight or ten miles and camped just about where the line divided the united States and mexaco [Mexico] at that time. but we was on the way to the great starting place so we traveled with out my particular incedent transpiring. Stoping about two miles below where they crosed the river to winterquarters by a nice little lake with plenty of fish so I could use my spare time ketching fish which was very little as we had to gather our suplys for the journey[.] so we made two trips in to missourri [Missouri] for corn and such other things that we needed. but when all was ready we crosed the river to winterquarters and stayed a few days geting organised to the different companys then started for the horne river where each would get with the company he was to travel with crossing the plains. here we had to buyld rafts of logs and ferrey the wagons across. while here two men started bac[k] to winterquarters in a wagon and was attacted by indians and one of them killed. but it was geting in to july and we had got only forty miles on our journey but each company got together traveled twenty miles to the platt[e] river[.] here we found where a man had been killed by indians and afterwards lerned that he was a half breed returning from the ponneer vilige so we knew that there was danger all now so no indival was to be alowed to stray a away from the train. now our way up the north side of the platt[e] river and we traveled on the north side of the loup fork above the old ponneer village[.] here we found a sutiable crossing place where the river was wide and not deep but full of quick sand which made it quite dificult. So the men was in the water waist deep all day long. Some teams would get stalled and we would have to go their assistence with five or six yoke of oxen to pull them out. but we all got across with no other damage than the breaking of one wagon tongue[.] but we soon put in a cottonwood pole for a tongue and went on our journey. we were now on grand island[.] here we experienced one of these wilde stormes which their part of the country is subject to. while we were traveling along and the wether being clear and warme there came up a cloud very sudenly and the wind began to blow and the rain began to fall and within a few minits we were in a torant of rain and wind and the rain beat through the wagoncovers and the wind blew some of them off and tore others and we got well soaked. but the storm was soon over and the sun shining as bright as ever and we was on the move again. and eventually reached the maine platt[e]. now when we organised our company we was to have tain of the hundred then a captain of each fifty and captans of tens and Jedadiah M. Grant was captain of the hundred and Joseph B[ates] Nobles caption of the first fifty with Willard Snow captian of the second fifty and our orders was to travel all together in one company till we reached green river and from there we was to travel any way to make the best time to the valey. but there had been a sadies bacti[...]ith some of the second fifty and to [-] asked to be each fifty travel to its self. by the time we reached the main platt[e] the fealing had grown quite strong. so one ev[en]ing after we had been traveling all day through the sand hills and the teams very tired and the men weary and mabe a little cross captian with his fifty about half a mile from where the first fifty camped and that night the order for traveling was vilated for the first time so the squel was their cattle stamped [stampeded] in the night and broke away from them. So next morning when they gathered them in there was mising over ninty head of their cattle. and word was sent ahead to the other companys and all halted[.] here the famous porter rock. Will [Porter Rockwell] met us who had been sent from the valey to hurry up the companys and joined in the search for the lost cattle. but after severls days no trace having been found the diferend companys furnished what help they could spare and by yoking in many cows captians Snows company was able to move again and he made the boast that they would give us a wild goose chace. but ocasionly the cattle would come in to the the road and follow it for a short distance then turn off again. So the chace went on till they reached the place of an old frenchman ten miles below fort larema [Laramie] and here they found the cattle in his karall [corral.] the frenchman had seen them pasing or they had come to his place and he had karaled them. So the men began to try to negosiate with him for his services for stoping the cattle. but ocasionly the cattle would come in to the the road and follow it for a short distance then turn off again. So the chace went on till they reached the place of an old frenchman ten miles below fort larema [Laramie] and here they found the cattle in his karall [corral.] the frenchman had seen them pasing or they had come to his place and he had karaled them. So the men began to try to negosiate with him for his services for stoping the cattle. but the old fellow was hard hearted and wanted to drive a hard bargin and no persuasion as to the value of the oxen to the emagrants would do and the men was entierly at the mercey and the out come of it all was the frenchman picked out two of the finest and best oxen in the drove and the men started back with the others. but during this time we were having hard work at the camp to manage the cattle[.] they had became so unruly we would herd them in the day time and karaal them at night in a karaal formed of our wagons with an opening at each end for the cattle to pas in and out with a gard at each opening to keep them from going out through the night. but one night somthing started them and they made abrake for the mouth of the karaal and the gard in trying to stop them was knocked down and only saved himself from being trampled to death by falling near one of the wagons and crawling under it out of their way. the cattle took down a dry wash through heavy timber and over the dry trees that had been blown down and ran for four miles before they stoped. but the men was soon after them and when we got around them we staid and herded them untill morning and when they were brought in to camp we found we had several head crippled and on[e] of the g[u]ard quite badly hurt. S[o] it was desided to hitch up and travel and leave our friends that was after the runaways behind which was a pretty hard proposion but it seemed that we could do nothing else so away we went. but every day we would put provison in a sack and sit a pole in the ground and hang the sack on it. but this soon ended the second or third day they over took us. but terrebly used up[.] now it is to be remembered that these men was on barback horses not even a blanket under them and the horses poore you can guess their condition after a ride of about a hundred and fifty miles. but we was all together once more and on the jorney through the black hill country. after this I only remember one time that our cattle stamped and then they broke two wagon wheels and one axel tree. kiled one cow and broke the leg of a two year colt. from this on we mostly left them on the range with herdsmen with them. So we traveled on crossed the platt[e] river at what was called the last crossing[.] from there twenty miles to a place called the poison springs[.] so caled from the great number of cattle that died here and was suposed to be poisoned by drinking the watter but most likley going to long with out watter it being nearly two days jorney from the platt[e]. the next camping place was twenty miles to what we called willow creek[.] here arived quite late it being a very long drive[.] so the herdsmen took the cattle out for the night. and was a little carless and let some of them stray off and in the morning when they brought in the cattle about one third of them mising and after a short search levi [Evans] writter [Riter,] amos [Herr] neff and me was sent back on the road as there was the tracks of three head of cattle going back on the road. So we traveled for miles and could [not] find any more tracks. So I said to the others that the rest of the herd not gone back the[n] on the road. So we rode long distances each side of the road but could find not trace of any cattle. So we rode on till we reached the poison spring wash and here we found the three head that we had been tracking all the fore noon lying down chewing their coodes. after reaching the main platt[e] the buffalo became very numarious, in fact so plentiful that they were troblesome and one fore noon when we had got barly started we seen the advanced guard coming over the bluffs about four off making strate for our train[.] now at first it seamed nothing to be alarmed at but as they come nearer with the wings growing wider till they extended up and down the river botom for miles and the leaders but a few hundred yards away making strate for the center of our train and no signs of turning to the right or left we seen that we would sweept in to the river wagon teams and people. they were so close we could see their eyes glimmer. so the impuls[e] seemed to work on every man at the same time and all sprang from the wagon, with guns in their hands faceing them and began to fire at them. and after nearly all had fired and some read to give them another round the leaders threw up their heads give a sniff and turned down the line of wagons and as soon as they reached the end of the train jumped in to the river. but word soon came along the line to hurry up the buffalos was crowding the hind wagons and would soon be crushing them if we did not move faster so every teamster began to whip and slash and hurry up his team and we kepted it up till after sundown never stoping for noon. and it may seem incredable to people nowday as there is no buffalos and but few people aliving that ever seen them on the great plains[.] but all day long there was a traveling boddy of buffalos foure miles deep and many miles long pasing our train. I will not atem[p]t to put an e[s]timate on the number that I seen that day for it would seem unreasable to people these days. it seems to be the nature of these anamals when traveling from one place to another to always travel on the lope never noticeing any thing in front of them. and it was but little less than a mericle that we got them turned aside. there is another incedent I will mention here while traveling up the platt[e]. we had been traveling across some sand riges and as we emerged on to the river bottom we seen a large camp of indians on the oposit side of the river. and a little farther on we some to a place where the ground was literly covered with dead buffalos[.] the indians had been over the day before and rounded them in a flat the shape of a basin and kepted them there and slautered them till they lay thick over several acres of ground. then they would hide down e[a]ch side of the back and take out the sinues and some times would take a part of the hind quarter but otherwise they lay as they died. not one of them had the skin taken off as they were not fit for robes this time of the year. and here let me say I seen a site that was quite interesting. there was a gang of very large wolves close by the oxen and they seemed not to be anyways afrade of us but would move off slowly when we rode toward them then stop and look back at us. there was what white wolves gray wolves and black wolves and there was an anamel that I can not tell to this day what it was. he was a very stout built fellow very heavy in front and liter behind with a thick short head and smooth hair and his tail was not bushy like the others and he had short stuby ears loo[k]ed more like a bull dog than any thing else that I know of. and he wood turn and look at us as though he said I am not afraid of you. I dont know to this day what it is caled. but now lets return to our hunt for our cattle[.] if I had been left to my self I should have started back with the three that we had found as there was not signs of any more in that direction[.] but not so with mr. witter [Riter] and mr. neff. they led off up the wash and we rode about five miles then rode back again. now here I think these two men alowed their anxiety to overcome their judgement and when the jugement is over balanced the reasoning facilty is dorment[.] it seems they could not reason so they started back on the toards the platt[e] river and rode ten miles before they could discover that no cattle had traveled back on the road[.] So we rode back but not yet satisfied theire anxiety down the wash three miles to the platt[e.] here we got off of our horses and led them to water and here I expected a little beter sense but was fooled [a]gain when ritter said to neff that he better go back and get three head of oxen and start on the road toards camp and he would take me with him and go through the hills and come to him some where on the road[.] to me this was one of the most insaine idiers yet as there was no chance for the cattle to be where he proposed to go[.] they could not of yet got without cross the road that we had traveled from the camp all the time looking for tracks and could discover only the three them to supose that a hundred head of cattle could cross a dry dusty road with out making any track was more than I could see. but neff refused to go eteither for fear or becase he had no faith in the trip so he (neff) proposed that I had beter go. So when I see the dirty trick they were going to play on me first thought was to object but I had always been taught to listen to those older than myself. So I said if I have to go its time to start and turned and rode away and left them. I will tell you here of our mount so you can better understand our sittuation. riter was on an old horse quite poor and very slow and neff rode a nice high spirited mare in good flesh. and I rode a two year old colt quite thin in flesh but plenty of life. So here I parted with my two frends and turned my lonely face toards the three head oxen when I got to them they were half mile below the road. So I hured them along. but just at this time a number of old buffalo bulls come down from the hills rite between me and the road and put up a terable belowing and bauling and pawing of the earth around the dead carcakus and as I was pasing them the oxen atem[p]ted to go to them which gave me considerable troble but my colt being spry and easy managed[.] I steared them by and reached the road and started toards home if there was any home[.] the sun was not over two hours high here I began to feel my situation and lonelesess more acute than ever alone on the plains. and my little colt liable to fail me at any time and leave me about[.] I had no faith that writer [Riter] and neff would come to me any more from the way they had acted[.] I thought they would traver the same corse till they were far ahead of me then come to the road and then go to camp and leave me to get there the best I could with the oxen. but no use to try to discribe my fealings and lonelyness them few hours for its imposable. So I hurryed them oxen for four or five miles faster than they traveled it the last time before. they all had their mouths open and their tounges out so I seen that would not do so I slowed up and took it more easy for a while. and here I discovered that some persons was ahead of me[.] I could see their tracks plain in the road so I inspec[t]ed them and two wearing mackisons and two seemed to have their feet raped up in cloths and there was one foot track but who could they be. I could give no idea. So the oxen being rested I pushed on again faster. and a little after sundown I came in sight of them half a mile or more ahead. and thinking they had not seen me the country full of riges and hollows and while they was in one hollow out of sight of I would rush the oxen and reach another holow to be out of sight when they were on top the rige so this went on till there was only one more rige between us. So as they raised the top of one ri[d]ge I raised the top of the one behind so we came in full view of each other[.] this was the first they had seen me and one of the men hollowed[.] I now seen they were white men and answered back. and when I came to them they were five men from our camp. I now remembered our pasing them just after we left camp but suposed that they turned back after we past them but they had followed about sixteen miles before they turned back but now I had company and felt satisfied with my lot. we was now fifteen miles from where we had left camp. So we traveled slowly as all was very tired and on our way we found a large ox that some of the companys had left behind. and had escaped the wolves and indians. and he had been here so long that he was in fine condition and very genttle so the men would take turns riding the ox and my poney for a little rest. So we traveled along in this way till within four miles of where we left the camp. and near a spring of water a few rods from the road we stoped and turned off to get a drink. and just after we left the road two horsemen rode up to the oxen and suposing it to be writer [Riter] and neff I turned and told them to drive the oxen along and we would over take them in a short time. now the men had been with out water all day and we taried a few miniuts at the spring. but when we got back to the road there stoot [stood] the oxen the same as we left them and no horsemen in sight[.] so we started on and when we reached where we left the camp there was no camp here. now here we was tired out, and nothing to eat and had had nothing all day. but we conclued to stop and rest till morning so we struck a fire as it was geting cool but we could get no sleep having no beding and the night air being quite cool. and when we sent a man to see about the oxen he reported that they were gone so this of corse was the end of our camp for that night. and when we reached bear river we were met by O.B. Adams of the mormon batalian with a fresh yoke of oxen[.] we thought now we would hurry on and soon be to the valley but that night our best ox was bitten by a rattle snake. and was so swolen in the morning that we had to leave him so we had but very little benifit only having a fresh yoke but no more teame than before. from here on we traveled withh out any respect to company and having nothing to hinder only rough roads to travel and high mountains to cross. we made very good time and reached the place where Salt lake City now is. on the first day of october eighteen hundred and fourty seven and camped on what is known as the old pioneer square.