Lightner, Mary Elizabeth Rollins, Diary, 1863 May-Sept.
Sunday fixing al day for a March in the Morning—
Monday We have had our first night camping out. And such a night Thunder Lightening Rain & Wind—But we Slept or rather Staid in our waggon, did not get much rest—but felt rather Stiff Cooked our Break fast—dried our things—& are ready for another days Tramp. One Camp of 50 or 60 Waggons are a head of us, and a good many behind us. It is quite exciting to see a Corrill formed & the cattle drove into the Center & Each Person taking his Own and Yoking them up for a Start, all done in Order. We have a good Man for Captain, I do not think we Could have got a better. We have Meetings Every Evening.
July 3rd passed a very hot day. up with the dawn[.] Cook Break <fast> put up the Smith, do up the work[.] put up our Tent fixings—& travel 16 Miles through Sun & Mud, Camp'd tired out[.] 1 wagon upset in a mud puddle. No one hurt
4th al well. some of one train danced in Bro' Murdoc [John R. Murdock] Camp having Caught up with them. Traveled pretty well to day. for it is very warm saw a great Many beautiful flowers
10th Nothing of interest has occurred the weather very hot all well had another dance, we are upon a Large prarie—saw a Buffalow head & passed through a dog Village Cunning little fellows they are dodging in & out of their Houses[.] Nothing of Much Moment has Occurred for 4 or 5 days. the Pararie is one Vast Desert as to Game. None seen except now and then a Rabbit or a few Ducks—1 of the Brethren Killed an Antelope and gave me a Piece it was very nice—
Friday Camped at the Paniea [Pawnee] Springs, the water Boils up from a great depth. there are 4 of them but I am told that a few weeks ago there were but 2. the flowers are prettier than any wild flowers I ever saw of al Colors—
15th all well[.] very warm when the sun is out but Chilly when under a Cloud
22 had a Thunder Shower last night. No Sickness as yet
23rd One man Sick to day & at noon a Babe belonging to the Affricans [Africans] died very suddenly—We have had a hard time Coming through Sand hills Yesterday and to day
24th Mr [Adam] Lightner quite un wel
27 he is better. but Baby very sick with Canker & Bowel Complaint, to day very hot[.] Traveled over a great deal of Sand & saw plenty of Prickly Pear, it was very well to look at, but not so good to walk over—3 Indians Came into Camp driving 2 Yoke of Oxen, for which Our Captain Traded for as they belonged to the Camp ahead and will be given up to their Owners—Some One of our waggons Broke down which delaide us 3 hours
28' morning quite foggy[.] passed Some natural Curiosities 1 called the Court House from its resemblance to that Eddifice—Also a Large Rock cut a good deal like a Church steeple & Called the Chimny—this part of the country is the most Dessolate & Barren that I ever saw[.] Nothing to relieve the eye but sand hills. I Expected to see some Buffalow but am disappointed—to day passed a Smal Train from the Fort—often meet a few Persons passing along in this dreary place—as though as though they were in the States
3rd passed a Trading Post. Saw 3 Tents & a few trees which did My Eyes good after seeing so much sand & Barren soil—
3rd- it has been sand & dust Enough to Choke one all day—passed 2 deserter Stations saw 4 Graves of Emigrants—
4th among hills & Rocks the most of the day & dust an inch thick[.] passed the Tellegraph Station it consists of 1 or 2 Log Houses & out Buildings and a good well of water which was worth More than all[.] Nothing but Hills & Sage brush & Sand to be seen, no grass save in patches on the River[.] Camped in the dust the Same <passed frt Laramie> as if in the middle of the Streets in the States—Baked a Short Cake Fried Bacon & had Tea for supper—After Dark & tired almost to death—lost our pet Rabbit to day
5th a train of Goverment waggons and Soldiers passed us—to Settle some difficulties with the Indians & Gold Seekers[.] our Train stoped this Afternoon to work fix waggons &c. all well—the young folks danced & played til 12 o clock at Night
6th passed through sand hills[.] saw some returned Californians who spoke well of the Mormons at the Valley—Our Camp lost a Cow from drinking alchali [alkali] water, saw 6 Dead Cattle on the Road—
7th lost an Ox & more sick from the Same Cause—a Child fell out of a Waggon & the wheels passed over both Limbs—but it is safe without much injury—passed 10 Dead Cattle—
8th Came to the Tellegraph station—quite a little place, saw a large Freight Train[.] had Bread thickened milk & coffee for dinner. Scoured up my Tin Ware fixed up—And passed through the Aforesaid Train on our journy[,] all well—
10th passed another station Crossed the Platt[e] Bridge which is a good structure for both Saint & Sinner. Camped on a large hill More Dead Oxen. prospects look gloomy Enough—Elizabeth [Lightner] Crazy with the teeth ache al night & so for 2 days
11th to day is the Anniversary of our Marriage[.] 25 years of joy & sorrow has passed over my head Since then. Years never to be forgotten—Passed what is termed the Devils 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[.] passed 2 Trains of Gold seekers and Camped Near another
12th our company lost more Cattle[.] also came to a Saleratus Lake which looked like ice in the distance—our Company went on it and cut out a great quantity of it to take to the Valley[.] we got a Bushel and it was very Nice—Passed another station also Devils Gate
13 Which is 2 Mountains of Rock so near together that a Waggon could pass between them the walls on 1 side is perpendicular[,] rather sloping on the Other & so high that a Man on top looked like a Small Boy—
15 Breakfast Coffee Bacon fried Cakes—Traveld on a good road for miles. then stoped cooked our dinner[.] wind blowing a gale of Dust & Sand al over us[.] I think we shal get our peck of dirt before we get through. Our Cow very sick no milk for 2 or 3 days[.] some of our men Killed some Sage hens & Rabbits—we have had no fresh meat but a piece of Antelope since leaving Florence
16 sand & Gravel the whole day—almost sick & feel cross for if there is a Bad place on the Camp ground we are sure to get it
17th an Antelope was killed to day, saw Mountains Covered with snow in the distance[.] up and down hill all day[.] wind blowing a Gale, Camped in a good place all well[.] writing this by fire Light—the Danes are at Prayers by themselves—& our folks the same—& I poor sinner am Baking Bread & writing this, in fact do not much like our preacher[.] he strokes his Beard too much & Speaks to low—
18th Saw a lot of Antelopes & some of our Camp Killed 1 in the Evening Another was killed. the Captain gave me a nice piece for Break fast
18 tolerable well[.] passed a Tellegraph station & 1 Camp of Emigrants. saw Another ahead of us. Camped on a high hill for Diner Covered with small Black flat Rocks[.] it is a beautiful day rather windy[.] this morning was very Cold & Ice in the Buckets as thick as a Knife Blade—a little more Game was Killed this morning—Our men have not killed any thing yet, but little or no sickness has befallen us on our journy thus far[.] Our Captain says that we have been greatly blessed to what some of our Prediccisors have been—I hope we will Continue to be until our journy Ends—we are in sight of Snow on the Mountains[,] in fact have seen it for 2 or 3 days[.] it looks rather cool for the 17 of August—we are also on the highest Land on this side of the Mississippi[.] for here, on the Eastern side of the mountains the Rivers flow toward the atlantic Ocean and on the Western side towards the Paciffic [Pacific]—the scenery is grand[.] Rocks Mountains & Vast plains of Sand & Sage Brush[.] a Bear was Killed weighing near 400 Pounds And divided amongst us[.] I had a dish of Broth made from him but Could not digest the Meat[.] I do not believe they were made to Eat—We are now in Utah but I do not see much Change in the face of the Land for the better—have not been able to see much of it on account of being quite Sick for 6 or 7 days[.] Crossed green River Sundy Evening[.] it is a beautiful Stream of Water & the first Trees we saw for days were on its Bank. 2 large Trains are close behind us, which makes us hurry to keep the front Place—for the Roads are very dry & much Travel makes them very dusty.
Tuesday stopt at a station the Oath of allegiance had to be taken by one Man & our Waggons searched for pouder[.] we Traveled on through Dust & Sand and so another day has past. I have not much to say about the past week having been sick al that time. was administered to by Brs Stork [John Stock] & Martin and was helped immediately—my disease was checked from that hour—we saw the stage pass twice yesterday & more Travel to day which makes it look a little more like being in the Land of the living. in sight of snow again—Only to think of snow being around us & yet <we are> nearly Smothered with dust—2 stages passed us to day[.] One Contained 2 of our Missionaries 1 the son of Brigham Young & his namesake—
August 27 Came in to Fort Bridger it is quite a nice Place[.] good & Substantial Houses & altogether it has a Comfortable look, the day is quite warm the Nights very Cold—
last evening some Potatoes & Onions & Apples were 28 brought into Camp from Salt Lake[.] I had some & they did me Considerable good for we were getting the Canker or Scurvy very bad, from so long a diet upon salt food—but I trust our journy is nearly at an End. at the time of writing this, the men are busily Engaged playing Ball—and from the noise they make, I think they must enjoy themselves very much—the Earth at this Place has a Red <d> dish appearance & the Mountains look somewhat greener than they have <had> for some time,
Saturday <29> passed through the Mountains in winding kind of way, And they looks Sollemn in their Grandeur, Rising one above another and their verdu[r]e of Many Colored hues & Roks [rocks] of various Shades looked (to me) to be beautiful indeed—& had I time & the necessary Implements I should take a sketch of our Camp at the foot of a Mountain with the Cattle feeding or lying down on the sloping sides—One of the Curiosities of this place is a Spring of Tar[.] it oozes out of the Ground[.] the Company get it for their Waggons—
31st very Cold but pleasant, passed a Mail station last Eve which was very pretty in a small Valley of the Mountains, a large Field of Grain was growing & out buildings &c looked like Comfort, but it would be a lonesome place for Me to live in. we passed some Singular looking Rocks[,] some very large & had the appearance of huge Blocks of Clay Sprinkled al over with different sized pebbles—Baked hard, they inclined to a Red Colour & were Curious in their shape—the Earth in many places look like Burnt Brick[.] A large Cave in the Rock at this place presents a singular appear<ance>. I think it is called the Cascade, some of the people are busy Eating Mellons Apples, Peaches, & Green Corn which has been brought in from the Valley at Famine Prices—Potatoes 200 a Bushel[,] Apples 10ct a piece—
31th a beautiful Morning Mountains al day.
Sept 1st passed through Ecko Kanyon [Echo Canyon.] the scenery was beautiful to behold—such Rocks I Never Saw—passed More Houses and. Potatoe patches. the Trail Stations look comfortable[.] I think Uncle Sam feeds his men pretty well—I feel very weak to day from Not having propper food & Breathing in so much dust[.] passed through the Town of Weaver [Weber] & Camped close by it.
2nd Came on a Narrow Road on the side of the Mountain[.] it lookes rather dangerous[.] Came to Bro Kimbles Ranch[.] he is rich in Cattle & Sheep
3rd Rained last night for the first time Since we left the Platt River, I hope it has laid the dust[.] I think it is 4" Rain we have had on the Road Since we left Florence
4th Camped at a Station in dust—Enough to smother one—
5th Arived in Salt Lake[.] Camped on Emigration square—al well