Saunders, Hannah Barwell, autobiography, 1914.
On March 30, 1860, our ocean and overland journey to Utah began. We sailed from Liverpool on board the sailing ship, Underwriter. There were seven hundred souls on board and a cooked meal could only be obtained one in three days as the galley was so small. We had a good but rough passage, and several deaths occured on board. We landed in Castle Garden, New York, May 1, 1860.
We went by board and rail to St. Joseph and from there took a boat up the Missouri River to Florence, Nebraska. We stayed in Florence until June 6th, when we began our journey with handcarts over the plains to Utah. There were about two hundred souls in our company, with fifty handcarts and four wagons with ox teams to carry stores, tents, etc. Captain Daniel Robinson was in command.
For two and one-half months, we toiled on, dragging the handcarts loaded with provisions, clothing and supplies through sand and fording may streams. It was a long, dreary journey and we travelled many miles each day till camp was reached. Tired and weary, we cooked supper and retired to rest, to gain strength to pursue our course the next day.
The weather was warm and we suffered from heat, thirst and hunger. The provisions ran low until each person was drawing only one ounce of flour per day. This was mixed with water and a little salt and soda and baked in a skillet. Water was scarce and it was often necessary to travel long distances to find sufficient water to drink. We crossed many streams and as there were no bridges, we had to ford them. In some cases the men carried the women on their backs. At other times, they waded as the men did.
When we reached Laramie, my sister-in-law, Ann Hook lent money to the Captain to buy flour and men were sent into Laramie to procure it. The only game seen was one rabbit. One of the men claimed he shot at it, and another claimed his dog caught it, and in the ensuing quarrel, the rabbit was torn in two, each taking half.
One day as my mother-in-law, Alice Hook, was sitting in her cart, her son attempted to draw a shotgun from the cart, when the gun was discharged, the shot going through her arm. She was healed by the power of faith, through the administration of the brethren.
As the men and teams grew tired and weaker, our load had to be lightened and clothing and other belongings were taken out and burned. Only one death occurred during the trip, that of a child which died suddenly. Judging from the experience of other companies, we considered ourselves greatly blessed in this regard.
One day, a band of Indians, accompanied by some drunken mountaineers, appeared hostile and preparations were made to defend ourselves, but the men in the company were able to quiet them and they passed on in peace.
Our rations ran very low. One day, all we had was one biscuit. Therefore, it was with great joy that we hailed the arrival of a relief party from the valley bringing provisions.
We wended our way over big and little mountains in Emigration Canyon. When the "hogback" at the mouth of Emigration was reached, we obtained our first view of the city. Worn with hunger, and tired out from my long trip, I cried with disappointment. It was such a contrast to the beautiful towns and cities of England. We reached the city on August 27, 1860 and camped on the Eighth Ward Square, where the City and County Building now stands.