Young, Thomas, Autobiographical sketch.
I secured work on a farm and worked until the first of August, then left to get ready to cross the Plains. We began our great adventure on August 8 and reached Salt Lake City on November 9, walking all the way, driving an ox team for Abraham Smoot, father of Reed Smoot. We came in the Captain Willing company. There were five hundred people, one hundred twenty hand carts, five wagons, twenty-four oxen and forty-five beef cattle.
When we reached Florence there were several days’ delay on account of the hand carts. We mended old carts, made new ones, and obtained supplies.
We had many thrilling experiences crossing the plains, and some that made it very hard for our company. One was the Indians driving off our beef cattle. There was an extremely early winter that year and no one had warm enough clothing nor enough bedding to keep warm. The hand carts were so rickety that it took rawhide a plenty to tie them together.
The provisions were so low that on October 12 every one was rationed out with ten ounces of flour. On the nineteenth the snow began to fall and fell eighteen inches deep on the level. We pushed on as far as we could but were forced to make camp on the Sweetwater.
A company of men, headed by Franklin D. Richard, passed the immigrants and learned of their sad plight—their shortage for food, clothing, and their sickness. Brigham Young learned of this in the October conference. He dismissed the conference and sent twenty wagons, each with two teamsters, provisions, quilts and all kinds of supplies that had been volunteered to aid our company, and others who were on the Plains.
Two men were sent ahead to let the Saints know that help was coming, and to encourage them. Help came just in time; they had had nothing to eat for forty-eight hours. Nine died the night help came. When they reached the valley, one sixteenth of their company had been left buried by the wayside.