Frederick A. Cooper reminiscences in Historical Department journal history of the Church, 1896-2001 July, 4 September 1859, 4-8.
View this source online
Elder Frederick A. Cooper, a resident of West Jordan, Utah,
who (in 1913) who crossed the plaines in Capt. Rowley's Handcart Company gives the following account of eventful journey:
"We started on our long thousand mile journey across the plaines June 9, 1859. Our party consisted of about
265 235 persons with only 6 ox teams and wagons, but with 60 or 70 handcarts, four persons being assigned to each cart. e Each person in the company was allowed 17 lbs. of luggage, cook[ing] utensil[s], etc. The wagons were intended to carry the sick and inform, as well as our provisions and baggage. We started off with good cheer and traveled about 3 three miles the first day; but we increased our rate of travel, only and this constituted our diet, with the exception of a few beans which we had on the first part of the journey. The first settlement we came to was a small place called Genoa, where there was we had to cross it being that we did not have to ford on the entire journey. There few not many after until we came to el ll to do in their costumes. They were very friendly with us at first for us and cut it up but one of them wanted I can tell you we expected trouble. We started off ver in order to frighten us, but We found it was nothing more than to simply Apparently There was a great deal of travel across the plaines that year, were going to California and Pike's Peak, Colo. These trains ahead of us would occasionally kill a buffalo, and after using all they enough they would leave a ticket with the balance of its carcass, giving the dates when it was killed, so when we came to it we would know whether or not we could use it for food. During our journey we saw a number of herds of buffalo, but we were never fortunate enough to be able to ever butcher one. As we journeyed on, we we met a number of small companies of apostates who were returning to the East, just after the Johnston army had arrived in Utah. They were and had all kinds of excusses for returning and gave us some very discouraging reports both of the country that we were and all manner to find with the authorities some effect in discouraging a few of the weakest of us; but the y when we were in a very poor part of the country <(> somewhere in We [H]ere The and started us on for life of death. There were but three pounds of M mail S station on Wyoming and was so called There was a great number o of Indians They had just had a A great battle between two tribes they invited a number of [we strikeout] go to to death their prisoners However We respectfully declined the invitation. We had some sickness during our journey and burried three members of our company on the road. We used the side-boards of the wagons to make their coffins. We would frequently pass The grave markers were with the name of the on with a pocket knife. These inscriptions were eagerly read, as number[s] of our ompany had relatives and friends who had proceded them tell a story that I can learve only I can tell you The camp felt very gloomy and sorrowful we came to a small station where we which we were borrowing from the And I came to tell you what rejoicing we had. They gave us for rations one pound of flour each to make pan cakes with and us off again. a long day to a good camping place when our company were traveling along the Platte River we had some very hard pulling through the sand and tried to cross the Platte with the carts, but the women and children and older ones could had we had to put up with at one time we lost one of our brethren, and stopped the train for dwy days hunting for him. We lighted fires on the hills and mountains finally went on. and Upon to make a defence against the Indians and And also to have prayer. Then were some The tents which the company carried and at night they would be together on the road and stopped the whole train for three days, sending men out in all directions were She Who had been torn to pieces by the wolves. She was burried where they found her, and just as this news reached us, her husband died and was burried on Yellow Creek.... Our company enterd the valley through Echo canyon, where we had the fist news about the brethren and We followed the trail of the Johnston Army for awhile and saw what was left of the wagons, etc., after they had been burned <by lot="" smith's="" company="">. As afcrosaid Our captain was inexperienced, and for this reason was not a capable man to entrust the lives of so many people. He had been over the trail but once before, and we had to depend mainly on very incomplete guides and maps, were almost perished of thirst before we got relief. When we prepared to take up our journey again, two young men of the company refused to go and risk We came in through Echo Canyon, came down through Emigration canyon. When we arrived at the mouth of Emigration canyon, we camped and cleaned up as best we could the which was as bare as the road with the exception of loads of produce which had been gathered from the several wards for our benefit. By and by some of the brethren came along with some stewed beef etc I can assure you I did too