Adams, John V., Biography of John V. Adams, [1-3].
Trail excerpt transcribed from "Pioneer History Collection" available at Pioneer Memorial Museum [Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum], Salt Lake City, Utah. Some restrictions apply.
When all things were prepared we started on our journey, arriving at Kaisville [Kanesville] on the 4th of July,
crossed the Missouri River on the 13th and 14th.
Started from its banks to cross the plains on the 17th of July.
August 2, we passed the Paunee [Pawnee] village and about five hundred of the Paunee Indians came and stood before our teams, which compeled us to stop. They had with them their instruments of war, such as gunds [guns] and the bettle [battle] axe, the knife, and the bow and arrow. They threatened to molest us if we did not give to them of our provisions. So in order to pass peacefully we collected a little from each person in our company, and gave it to them. Through which we passed without being molested.
August 5, we passed Buffalo Creek, about three miles west of which I beheld the grave of my friend Richard Healy, a brother of which I had eaten drunk, worked and slept, has [had] sang and prayed together. I gazed upon his grave with a pensive heart. Upon the board of his grave was written, Richard Healy, Died July 23, 1853.
On the 8th and 9th of August, we killed two buffaloes, one of which came into view in a singular way—we were encamped by the foot of a high bluff all of a sudden, a buffalo came running down the bluff at full speed, with a large wolf hanging to its tail. When the wolf and subbalo [buffalo] came near our camp, the wo[l]f gave up the chase and retraced its steps back up the bluff, but the buffalo ran among our cattle and the men of our camp pursued it and killed it.
During the night of the 9th, the wind blew and the rain decended and beat upon our tent. Fairy Adams and myself were exposed to the storm, but we rolled up our bedding and threw them under the wagon. We got into the wagon ourselves and remained there until the rain stopped.
We traveled up by the side of the Platt[e] River for about three hundred miles, two hundred of which, we had no timber with which to make fires, there was not any in that section of the country, consequently we used buffalo chips for fuel, they answered the purpose very well. After traveling up the Platt River for three hundred miles, we then crossed over the north branch of it, which was one hundred and eight yards wide. Near the point of the crossing. The north and south branches of the river unite and Fort Lar[a]mie is built near the junction of the two branches. Fort Laramie consists of the soldiers barricks and a grocery store. It is five hundred and twenty two miles from Council Bluff City, and nine hundred from Salt Lake Valley. After traveling seven miles from the point of crossing the river we came to a very steep hill which we had to decend and in order to decend it without impairing our wagons, we let them down with ropes. We then camped on the low land near the river. During the night the wolves howled dreadfully. The next eighty miles of our journey were very bad for travelling, being a succession of hills and valleys called the black hills. They were very difficult both to ascend and decend because they were so steep and rocky. When we had traveled over the hills, we again came to the north branch of the Platt river, and traveled up by its side for about nine miles, which brought us to Deer Creek. Deer Creek is a beautiful place for camping, a coal mine is near by.
We proceeded on having good road until we crossed the river, which is called the upper Platt Ford. After crossing the river we ascended down the other side. The decent of this hill was the roughest that I had ever seen traveled with teams.
The roughness of the road and the many singular places through which we passed, caused me to think that the men who first traveled the road were very enterprizing characters. We traveled on through rough and smooth until we arrived at Devil's Gate, which is a river running through a mountain four thousand feet high. I ascended a mountain a little to the west of Devil's Gate, which was still higher, on the summit of which was a pond of water. I took a view of the surrounding country, while I was up there I felt to exclaim, "America, thou land of wonders, with lofty mountains extending as far as the eye can penetrate". I then descended and returned to camp considerably fatigued.
We traveled between mountains, through rivers and over rocky ridges and at length we came to the South pass, which is the highest point of land in North America, it is called by some the dividing ridge, because the water east of it runs into the Atlantic Ocean and the stream west runs into the Pacific Ocean.
With tolerable good roads we came to Green River, We still had good roads till we were eleven miles west of Fort Bridger then we came to terrible roads, rough and ragged bluggs [bluffs] which we had to descend, being very dangerous. After descending this bluff, we had a few miles of good road. Our next was a mountin seven or eight miles to the top. Here we camped for the night,
the next morning we descended on th[e] other side and came into a narrow space between mountains and thus we traveled with lofty mountains on each side, for a considerable distance. At length we came to Bear River. We had bad roads all the way to the valley of the Great Salt Lake, through Echo Canyon,
when we got to the bottom of Emigration Canyon we then beheld to our great joy, the Great Salt Lake glittering in the distance. We also beheld the great Salt Lake City, the place of our destination. The beholding of which afforded us great joy and rejoicing. I arrived in Salt Lake City on the 10th of October 1853.