Horace Thornton letter to Brother G. Rognon, 29 December 1896, 1-3.
Trail excerpt transcribed from "Pioneer History Collection" available at Pioneer Memorial Museum [Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum], Salt Lake City, Utah. Some restrictions apply.
Brother G. Rognon,
In attempting to respond to the request of the honorable Committee I feel my inability to make out any instrument of writing that will be respectable enough to go into print as a matter of History in regard to that important and memorable event which took place A D 1847. But will say to begin with that in the Spring of the above named year I was attending a meeting in Winter Quarters, they talked about getting up a company of Pioneers and after they had talked sufficiently they commenced calling names and some of the men of whose names were called were sick (it will be remembered that the scurvy was raging and a good many down with it) and some one asked if they were going to call sick men to go and H[eber]. C. Kimball answered and said yes; said he if you stay here you will die; but if you go you will get well; I well remember the busy time we had in getting ready to start also the scarcity of grass on account of the backwardness of the season and how we had to do to keep the teams alive and able to travel; we had to cut down cottonwood trees of which we frequently found a grove to camp in at night. The swollen buds and twigs would do for the cattle and the limbs and trunks the bark of which served a very good purpose for the horses by cutting it up into lengths about four feet long and piling it between stakes driven into the ground and then tie the horses in reach of
camp <them> and they would eat what bark they could gnaw off.
I well remember nooning near the Pawnee village and a good many Indians came to the camp and wanted presents and we made quite a present consisting of amunition and such other things as could be spared but they did not seem to be altogether satisfied with it, consequently it was deemed advisable (to insure safety to the camp) for all to stand guard that night therefore Pres. Brigham Young and H.C. Kimball took their turns with the rest of the Company; after which they chose a select guard who guarded the balance of the way, each one coming on 6 hours every second night; (I was one of that number). I meant to have told the name of the company to which I belonged ere I got so far along it was Seth Tafts Ten. I also did the cooking for him myself vividly upon my mind is a certain time while we were stoping over Sunday and Brother Brigham was giving some instructions in regard to how we should travel. He said, we must have no quarreling in the Camp, says he here if Col Wright whom we have appointed our Chief grumbler if you have any quarreling to do you must employ him (pointing to Henry Sherwood) who spoke up and said yes. I can't get half enough to do, can't make a half a living at it; I well remember what I thought at the time, thinks I to myself well you are a wonderfull good old chap to take a joke. I learned many years afterwards by talking with Stephen Markham the main purpose for which he was put in chief grumbler there seems to have been two objects in view, one of which was to keep down or avoid quarreling; the other object was to break a man from quarreling who was altogether to much given to it; but it failed to have its desired effect for they kept up their contention the whole journey; Col. Wright and this man whom I could give you the two first letters of his name; the nearest that comes to my; mind is something that occurred on an other Sunday Bro Brigham and Brother Heber took a walk and when they returned to camp some one told them that there had one of the men been back on the road a little way from the wagons and got snake bit; and Brother Brigham said well if you all had done the way Brother Heber and I did you would not have go[t] snake bit. Said he. I took my cane along and Brother Heber his hatchet and I calculated to him every snake that came in our way to the ground and have Brother Heber to chop their heads off with his hatchet. Of course many notable things happened upon this lengthy journey but will bring my narrative to a close by saying that ere we got to the Weber River where we left it the Mountain Fever raged[.] I had it and had recovered but Brother Young, H.C. Kimball and quite a number of others were down with it, therefore they picked out as far as practicable the most able bodied men and the weakest teams with Orson Pratt at their head to go ahead and work the road; I also was one of that number who happened to get into Salt Lake Valley on the 22nd of July A D 1847 w[h]ere I remained till the later part of August and then started back to Winter Quarters with the Ox-team Co. driving three yoke of oxen belonging to H. S. Eldredge. The date of our arrival to Winter Quarters I know not but presume you have it; I moved to Utah A D 1850. Was Born May 7, 1882, in Hinsdale Cataraugus Co. N. Y. Am now a Temple worker in the Manti Temple and have been ever since it sta[r]ted, if you can make any good out of this you are welcome to it.