Turner, Frederick, The History of Frederick Turner, 3-4.
The Civil War broke out between the North and the South just as we were leaving Chicago. Boy like, I was anxious to enlist as a drummer boy and go to the war, but father would not listen to this. My brother Charley however enlisted in a company of the Light Artillery, stayed in the army for 3 years, was in 13 heavy engagements, came out of the service without a scratch. When the family (now consisting of 3 members) reached Iowa City, State of Iowa, we found a branch of the Saints. With Edwin Stratford (now a bishop at Ogden) acting as President. We found a small party of saints preparing to leave for the valleys that spring preparing teams and wagons of their own. Our family was very anxious to leave with the company. Our journey from Chicago to Iowa City had consumed our little supply of money. Times in Iowa City were hard, not much employment for good mechanics brought work being done such as building lumber fences and c.c. Father being determined in his nature, he took a contract to build 5 miles of fence 13 miles from Iowa City. We hired some laborers to dig the postholes, Father & I setting the posts and nailing the boards.
Every Monday morning, we would leave our home on foot at 2 o'clock a.m. and walk to our work returning on Saturday night. In 6 weeks time we finished our contract, had enough money to buy one wagon, one cow and enough provisions to last us to Utah. There was a widow who desired to emigrated to the valleys. She furnished a yoke of oxen and one cow, our family furnishing the wagon and one cow. We were equipped ready for starting with a yoke of oxen and a yoke of cows for leaders. My occupation was to lead those cows by a rope to their heads across the plains. When the company at Iowa City was ready to start westward, it consisted of 10 wagons. I cannot remember all who comprised the small company. Edwin Startford [Stratford] was President. On later years after having experience of a western life, I smile to myself when I think of the starting of that company. With wild cows on lead with drivers that would slash themselves with the whips more than the cattle they were driving. When yoking up their animals to start, forgetting the near from the off oxen, after having them misplaced, would sometimes get on the off side to drive. The drivers jumping across the wagon tongue behind the cattle to keep them from tipping the wagon over. In short, that little company consisted of as green a lot as ever started out with teams, with one exception, and that was in W[illia]m. Bedingfield [Bedenfield] who was a man in the prime of life being strong and willing. He certainly was a Godsend to that little company. Of the time I write, no railroads were built west of Iowa City. The wagon roads were almost impassable. We had high streams to ford, in some places bridges to build, had many severe storms during the journey to Florence. Many a night the writer did not have a dry thread on his body. Through the blessing of the Lord, after 6 weeks of hard labor, we reached Florence without a death in our little company. We, however, had a very close call of a severe accident. Going down a sliding, hill one of the wagons tipped over, rolling down into a river with all its contents—a sister and her family being in the wagon—death almost seemed inevitable. Father, I remember, done a noble work by jumping in the river and extricating them from the wagon. After reaching Florence, we camped about 4 miles west of this place for 3 weeks, awaiting the organization of the company with whom we were to travel to Utah. While at this place, my time was occupied in milking the cows and walking to Florence night and morning to sell it. I got very tired in so doing but was ever willing to work at anything to bring in a few dollars for the family to help us on our journey.
We formed a part of Homer Duncan's Company in crossing the plains. He was a very good captain, taking plenty of time so the stock looked well when they reached their journey's end. We had a good time in crossing the plains, saw a lot of buffalo and small game of various kinds. I think I did not ride 100 miles on the whole journey.
We reached Salt Lake City in the month of August, 1861.