Farnes, Ebenezer, Reminiscences [ca. 1910], 5-7.
You can imagine my surprise. I had not even seen an oxen yoked and did not know how to drive them. Well, the leader of the wagon train started the first team, and the rest of us piloted out cattle behind and we traveled about ten miles the first day on our journey of one thousand miles across the American Desert.
The next day all were busy cooking breakfast and yoking cattle. Most of the boys did not know their cattle, myself among the rest. After some hours hard work we got started and all went well until one leading team got stuck in a slew and the next team tried to cross above and got stuck also. There were five teams all stuck at one time. Then our Captain, Ben Hampton, put twelve yoke of oxen on one wagon and tried to pull it out, but the chain breaking and at last we had to unload the wagons and pull them out empty. That day we did not travel far. The next day we got started earlier in the day and so traveled about fifteen miles, as we got used to hitching up our cattle. We drove long distances until the first crossing of the Platt[e] River was reached; that took us two days. After that we drove fifteen to twenty-three miles per day.
The Platt River bottom is a very level country with beautiful green grass as far as the eye can see. We made good time until reaching the sand hill. There we traveled slowly as we had to put two teams on one wagon to cross. The cattle stood it fine until we got to the hilly country, and then they got foot sore and lame. We began to get in the Buffalo country as in traveling along we could see small bands of buffalo almost any time. On one occasion we had to stop five hours in order to let a herd of buffalo pass across our path, as it was not safe to get close to them, for they will not turn out of the way of their course, but will follow the leader through hills, rivers, freight trains or anything else. The black hill country was well supplied with large game, viz; deer, antelope, sheep, buffalo, bears, porcupines, and wolves, so a man that is good with a gun need not want for fresh meat. There were also plenty of fish in the streams and wild fowl along the banks.
We made pretty good time on the plains, but it became monotonous day after day, the same old thing; get up in the morning at 4:00 o'clock, make a fire, cook breakfast, eat and get ready to start at 6:00 or 7:00 a. m. It was hard on me as I had a very bad leg through a kick one of the boys gave me because I beat him in a wrestling match. My leg got so bad that my shin bone was bare for four or five inches and made me very lame, but I got along as well as I could riding in the wagon sometimes on good roads, until we reached Green River. The river was high that year and it was very dangerous to cross it. However, the Captain found a gravel bar so that we could cross the stream. We started to cross when the third team got stalled in the river and my leg hurt me so much standing in the water up to my waist that I started to pass the team that was stuck. The captain saw me and came dashing up to me and commanded me to stop for if I had gone twenty feet further across the stream my team wagon and myself would have gone down the river and perhaps been lost, as the bar in the river was narrow and there was not room for two teams to pass each other. I had to stand in the ice cold water for more than an hour. At first my leg hurt me, then got numb[.] at last it seemed no use to me. I had to drag it along like a piece of lead, but at last we got across the river and camped. After turning our cattle out to feed I got back to the river and took my boot off and the sight of my poor leg made me feel sick. The flesh of my leg around the sore place looked all white like a piece of boiled tripe. In pouring water on it the water ran out of a hole in my heel. I wrapped up my leg and thought perhaps I could get to Utah and then have it taken off. Pleasant thoughts for a young man all alone in the desert, but from that day forth the sore did not pain me so much and day by day the wound got smaller and smaller, so when we got to Salt Lake City the wound was more than half closed and soon got well.
After crossing Green River, things went O. K., some days climbing steep hills, going down deep canyons, and there was very little level ground until we got to the valley. We camped on the Eighth Ward square the first night and unloaded our freight next day.