James Ratcliffe reminiscences and diary, circa 1898-1913, 11-13.
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Having worked at Florence long enough to buy a good strong wagon and a yoke of oxen known as Tom and Jerry, this was accomplished through the good bargaining of Unlce [Uncle] John, as we didn't know much difference between a shilling and a dollar Lucy also parted with a black silk dress, and a flowered party dress for two cows, having plenty to buy supplies for the journey, we packed our belongings and on Mon. July 28th we commenced our long and dreary march across the plains with a company of 52 wagons but we had good luck, only losing one person and that was a delicate young woman who died about the second day of our journey. There being no settlements along the way until you came to Fort Laramie Wyo. just mail stations. We had a great fear of Indians but we never saw one until we reached Pacific Springs, here an old Indian with two squaws and a couple of papooses rode up and traveled with us some miles, this rather took the fear of Indians away, we saw one more bunch of Indians when we reached Fort Laramie, they riding into camp all bedecked in stove pipe hats and swallow tailed coats, that had been given them by some immigrants some time before and what a good laugh we had at their expense, after giving them what supplies we could spare they rode away. After passing Rocky Ridge we pitched our tents for the night but on arising next morning we found our oxen mired in the mud, it having rained during the night. We got ropes and pulled out all those we could but I remember our poor old Jerry sinking until nothing could be seen but his nose and we had to leave him to die. This crippled us for traveling but at South Pass, a trading post, we gave up our good strong wagon, faithful old Tom, a sum of money for a white topped buggy and a yoke of oxen, we were beaten but there was no other way, if we intended to go on. When we reached the Black Hills we turned our cattle out and had commenced to cook supper, when the order came to hitch up and drive on, which we did, but we never knew why this order was given.
We reached Salt Lake City Thurs. Oct. 2, having been 2 months and 2 days on the way. Pres. Brigham Young and Bishop Hunter came to meet us and give us a welcome.