Hansen, Martin, “A Synopsis or Sketch of My Life,” 1-2.
After a tiresome voyage we landed in the harbor of Philadelphia in a heavy rain storm. The next day we boarded the train and traveled west to Iowa City, arriving there June the 9th 1857.
A handcart company was then formed and the Saints loaded their belongings on the handcarts and started west. We endure many hardships, pulling and pushing up and down hills and through sand and mud, wading stream of water and crossing rivers we had to unload and pack our things across on our heads to keep them from getting wet and also to make fires and dry ourselves before starting on again.
But before we got much further, we found out we had too much load and were nearly all worn out. Then a halt was called and a meeting was pronounced that we might council as to what was best to do. It was agreed that we lighten our load by leaving on the camping ground such things as we could spare. It was a shame to see so many good things left, such as feather beds and bedding and many other articles that would have been of great use to them on their journey.
We were now ready to travel on, so we made another start on our journey. We go along better until we came to Amaha [Omaha]. Here Ole Petterson and family gave out and could go no farther, and had to stop there [their] journey. This was in the latter part of June or the first part of July as near as I can remember of 1857. Bidding our friends goodby, we left them in Omaha.
After thinking the matter over we decided that we still had too much load to pull, so the captain called a meeting of the company to ascertain how much money could be raised among the saints to buy a team and wagon. Enough was raised to buy a span of large mules, harness and wagon costing $700. This team and wagon was then loaded with all our trunks of clothing and heavy things that we could get along without until we came to Utah. Father’s heavy trunk was put in the bottom of the wagon and covered up with everybody’s goods in the company. We were now ready to leave Omaha and continue our journey westward.
We got along fine until we got 100 miles west of Omaha when father took sick and was not able to help mother pull the handcart. So the captain sent a man to help mother, thinking father would soon be better. We go twenty miles further west, then mother gave out and could go no further. This was 120 miles this side of Omaha. We were now camped on a branch of the Missouri River, across the river from our camp was a small settlement named Jenoa [Genoa].
The people there were nearly all Mormons except a few cattle men. A man across the river, seeing our camp, came across to our camp to see what chance there was to go with the company to Utah with the Saints. He told the captain he had 160 acres of land he would give for a chance to go with the company to Utah. So father, being sick and mother not able to go on, decided to remain and let the man go in our place.
Our trunks with all our best clothing in was on the bottom of the wagon and being too much trouble to unload, they were given in charge to a friend of father’s to take care of until such time that we might be able to continue our journey to the valleys of the mountains. Then bidding our friends goodby (and the Saints), we crossed the river to our new home land[,] the company started again on their journey westward.