Annie Catherine Christensen, reminiscence
View this source online
From New Orleans we sailed up the river to St. Louis, where we stayed for three weeks, Father secured work on the rail-road that was being built and earned a few dollars, so Mother was able to get calico for a dress for herself, Karenstene and myself. This was the first calico dress we had ever owned, so we thot it very fine, and was very careful of it for a long time. After three weeks we sailed up the river to Kierpuk [Keokuk, Iowa], where we stayed for about three weeks, while they perchased oxen and brok them to drive across the plains. The men were inexperienced as to steers and those from Falster had never seen oxen used, The Danes thot surly the poor animals could never draw a wagon with that big yoke, or piece of wood across their necks, so they took their heavy home made feather ticks to make pads and straps to make sort of harness so they should not be pained, with the weight of the yoke—of course this did not last long, After they were able to drive them we went to Counc[i]l Bluff[s], where we were again delayed two or three weeks waiting for flour here each family received some flour, peice of bacon, black tea, and some brow[n] sugar. My greatest trouble the whole trip was lack of sufficient food, I was always hungry.
There was two yoke of oxen to each wagon, but our wagon carried the belonging for three families, so I had to walk so did many others, Crossing the plains we often met with unfreindly Indians, so each night our wagon[s] were driven in a circle with the cattle in side and several men was on guard each night. We often saw great herds of Bison or Buffalo, but our company had no weapons except a few shot guns so we did not get any fame for meat on the whole trip. We reached the place where Salt Lake City now is Sept. 29 1853 after a long and tedious trip of nine months.