Lightner, Mary Elizabeth Rollins, [Journal], Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Oct. 1926, 256-60.
We started; Monday night we camped out, and such a night—thunder, lightning and wind, but we slept, or rather stayed in our wagons, did not get very wet, but felt rather stiff—we cooked our breakfast, milked the cow, dried our things, and were ready for another day's tramp. One company of 50 or 60 wagons is ahead of us, and a good many behind us. It is quite amusing to see a corral formed and the cattle driven into the center of the corral of wagons to keep them safe. Each man unyoking his own, all done in the best order. We had a good man for captain of our company. I don't think we could have got a better one. We have meetings every evening.
July 3rd, passed a very hot day, up with the dawn, cook breakfast with buffalo manure for fuel—do up our work and travel sixteen miles, hard wind most of the time. Tired out when camped for the night. One wagon upset in a mud hole, no one hurt.
July 4th. All Well. Caught up with the company ahead, John R. Murdock, captain; had a dance in the evening. Traveled well the next day, saw a variety of beautiful flowers.
10th. Nothing of interest has occurred, the weather very not. Had another dance, we are on a large prairie, saw a buffalo herd, and passed through a dog village. Cunning little fellows, dodging in and out of their burrows. Nothing of moment had occurred for four or five days. The prairie is one vast desert as far as game is concerned, except now and then a rabbit or sage hen. One of the brethren killed an antelope and gave me a nice piece. Friday, camped at Pawnee Springs, the water boils up from a great depth, there are four of them, but I am told that a few weeks ago, there were but two. The flowers are very pretty and of all colors.
18th. All well, warm when the sun is out, but chilly under a cloud.
22nd. Had a thunder shower, no sickness as yet.
23rd. One man sick—at noon, a babe belonging to some of the saints from Australia, died very suddenly. We have had a hard time today, traveling through sand hills, had to double teams.
24th. Mr. [Adam] Lightner quite unwell.
25th. Very hot; traveled through a great deal of sand, saw plenty of prickly pear, it does very well to look at, but not good to handle or walk over. Three Indians came into camp, driving two yoke of oxen, which our captain traded for, as they belonged to the company ahead of us and will be given to their owners. One of our wagons broke down, which delayed us three hours.
27th. He is better, but babe very sick with canker and bowel complaint.
28th. Morning quite foggy, passed some natural curiosities, one called the court house, from its resemblance to that edifice, also a large rock formed like a church steeple and called the chimney. This part of the country is the most barren and desolate that I ever saw. Nothing to relieve the eye but sky and sand and hills, expected to see some buffalo but am disappointed.
29th. Passed a small government train from the fort, often meet a few persons passing along in this dreary place, as though they were in the States.
30th. Passed a trading post, three tents and a few trees, which did my eyes good, after seeing so much sand and barren soil.
31st. It was blown sand and dust, enough to choke one, all day. Passed two deserted stations, and four graves of immigrants.
August 1st. Among the hills and rocks most of the day, and dust an inch thick. Saw the telegraph station; it consists of two log houses, outbuildings and a good well of water which was worth a great deal to us. Nothing but hills and sage brush to be seen. No grass save in patches along the river. Camped in dust as if in the middle of the street in the States. Baked a shortcake, fried some bacon and had tea for supper after dark. Tired almost to death-lost the children's pet rabbit today.
2nd. A train of government wagons and soldiers passed us to settle some difficulty with the Indians and gold seekers. Our train stopped this afternoon to fix wagons and do our washing, the young folks danced and played until twelve at night—we always have prayers in the evening.
3rd. Saw some returned Californians, who spoke well of the Mormons in the Valley. We lost one of our cows from drinking alkali water. Saw six more dead.
4th. Lost an ox. More sick from the cause. A child fell out of a wagon and the wheels passed over both limbs, but was not much hurt. Passed sixteen dead cattle, from the other train. This is a heavy loss. 8th. Came to the telegraph station, quite a little place. Saw a large freight train, had coffee, bread, and thickened milk for dinner. We fixed up and passed through the aforesaid train; all well.
10th. Came to another station, crossed the Platte River Bridge, which is a good structure. Camped on a large hill, more dead cattle. The prospects look gloomy enough. Elizabeth crazy all night with the tooth ache-been so for two days.
11th. The eleventh of August, the anniversary of our marriage—twenty-five years of joys and sorrow have passed over my head since then. Years never to be forgotten. Came to what is termed the "Devil's Back Bone." It consists of a long range of rocks, and looks as though they were thrown up from beneath, and pointing up like ice in a jamb. It is a singular sight. A company of gold seekers camped near us. Our company lost more cattle. Came to a saleratus lake, which looked like ice in the distance. We cut out a great quantity of it to take with us, as the captain said there was none in the valley.
13th. Passed another station, also "Devil's Gate," which consists of two mountains of rock so near together that a wagon can pass between them. The walls on each side are perpendicular, rather sloping on the other side, and so high that a man on the top looks like a small boy.
15th. Had breakfast of bacon, fried cakes and coffee, traveled on a good road for miles, then stopped-cook dinner. Wind blowing gale of sand all over us. I think we will get the proverbial peck of dust before we get through-our cow sick, no milk for two or three days. Some sage hens and rabbits were killed today. We have had fresh meat but once since leaving the Mississippi River.
16th. Sand and gravel all day, feel sick and cross; for if there is a bad place in camp, we are sure to get it. Antelope was killed today.
17th. Saw mountains covered with snow in the distance; up and down hills all day; heavy wind; camped in a good place for a wonder, writing by fire light. Danes are at prayers by themselves-our folks the same. While I, poor sinner, am baking bread. In fact, I don't much like our preacher. He strokes his beard too much, and speaks too low.
18th. Saw a lot of antelope; two were killed. The captain gave me a nice piece. Saw a camp of immigrants close by, another not far off. Camped on a hill for dinner. The hill was covered with small black rocks. It is a beautiful day, ice formed in our buckets as thick as a knife blade. More game was killed today, but little or no sickness has befallen us so far, the captain says we are greatly blessed to what some of the companies were. I hope we will continue to be, until our journey ends. We have been in sight of snow for two or three days. It looks cool for the month of August. We are on the highest land on this side of the Mississippi. Here, on the eastern side of the mountains the rivers flow toward the Atlantic, and on the western side, to the Pacific. The scenery is grand. A bear was killed weighing near four hundred pounds, and was divided among our company of sixty persons. I could not stomach it. I don't believe they were made for man's food. We are now in Utah, but I don't see much change in the face of the land for the better; but I can't see much, as I have been quite sick for six or seven days. Crossed Green River Sunday evening, it is a beautiful stream of water, and plenty of trees on its banks. Two trains are close behind us, which makes us hurry to keep the front place, for the roads are so dusty we can hardly see our front teams. Stopped at a station where our men were required to take the oath of allegiance to the United States government, our wagons were searched for powder, etc. I have not much to say for the past week, as I have been very sick all the time, was administered to by Brothers Stork [John Stock] and Martin—and was helped immediately. We saw a stage pass twice yesterday, and more travel today—which makes it look more like being in the land of the living. Snow all around in the mountains, only think of it; snow near, and yet almost smothered with dust. A stage passed with two of our missionaries, one was Brigham Young, Jr. Arrived at Fort Bridger, a nice place, good and substantial building. It looks comfortable. The days warm, the nights cold. Last evening we bought some onions and potatoes, which were quite a treat. They did us good, as we were getting the canker bad, from so long a diet of salt pork, but I trust our journey is nearly over. The earth at this place is of a reddish color, and the mountains look somewhat greener than they have for some time.
31st. Passed through some mountains in a round about way, they look solemn in their grandeur; rising one above another, and their verdure of many colored hues and rocks of various shades looked beautiful to me; if I had the materials and time I should paint some of them. One of the curiosities of this place is a spring of tar. The people get it for their wagons. The weather cold but pleasant. Passed a mail station, also a field of grain. It looked nice, but I should not like to live there. There were some singular looking rocks, very large, they appeared like huge blocks of clay, sprinkled full of pebbles, and inclined to be a red color. The earth in many places looked like burnt brick-near is a large cave in the rock, it has a singular appearance. It is called the cascade. Some fruit was brought in at famine prices—apples eleven cents apiece.
September 1st. Passed through Echo Canyon. The scenery is beautiful to behold, such rocks I never saw. Saw a few houses and potato patches, also a mail station which looks comfortable. I think from the appearance of things, Uncle Samuel feeds his men and animals pretty well. I feel weak today, from not having proper food (we have been on short rations for seven or eight days) and breathing in so much alkali dust. Camped near the town of Weber. Came over a narrow road on the side of a mountain. It looked dangerous. Came to W. Kimball's Ranch, he is rich in cattle and sheep.
September 3rd. Rained last night for the first time since we left the Platte River. I hope it has laid the dust. I think it is the fourth rain we have had on our journey so far.
14th. Camped at a station in dust enough to smother one.
15th. Arrived in Salt Lake City on Emigration Square. All well—went through some of the streets; there were some beautiful houses, orchards, and shade trees.