Autobiography, John Smith. Salt Lake City, 1885 in Utah and the Mormons collection, undated.
View this source online
In April of 1848, I started with the family for Great Salt Lake. It was rather a hard journey, as we did not have team enough. I remember I had to drive a team composed of wild steers, cows and oxen, with two wagons tied together, and, before we had gone over two miles, a wagon tongue broke and we had to camp for the night. On the way over the plains I broke several yoke of cows and steers to work, and had to take a man's place, standing guard at night and in the day time, noon, etc. I had to be the boy who brought the wood and water, herded the cows, and assisted to double teams over bad places, up hills, etc. On one occasion a circumstance occurred, which I shall never forget. At about sundown, while we were encamped on the Platte River, it was reported that a woman was lost. Without ceremony I took my coat on my arm and a piece of corn bread in my hand, and started out up the road, to follow a part of the company which had left us at noon. I had not gone far when I came up with a dead carcass, which was covered with wolves, fighting and howling. I walked past as fast and as quietly as possible. I travelled six miles before I came up with any wagons. During this distance I passed about twenty such frightful scenes. I got through safe and I think unnoticed by the wolves. I stopped for the balance of the night with an aquaintance. At daybreak I proceeded on my journey and found the lost woman, safe with her mother, a little after sunrise, six miles from where I stayed for the night.
On the 22nd of September, my 16th birthday, I drove five wagons down the "Big Mountain," east of Salt Lake City. It was dark long before I got into camp with the last wagon. On the way one wheel of my wagon ran into a tree about fifteen inches through, and I had to lie on my back and chop the tree down with a dull ax before I could go any further. At about 11 p.m. on the 23rd of September, 1848, we arrived in Great Salt Lake Valley.