Richard Fryer, Biographical information relating to Mormon pioneer overland travel database, 2003-2017.
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The time for us to leave being close at hand Geary started up the River to get Cattle and Wagon. In a few days I received a letter from him wishing me to come to Keokuk. consequently I started by the next boat and arrived at Keokuk late in the evening of the next day, found Geary who delivered into my hands 2 yoke of cattle which I found to be very troublesome.
There was about 1200 of the Saints camped here in their wagons and tents and on arrival of Geary and my sisters, we joined with them. We stayed here a fortnight during which time they organized 3 companys but Geary not being ready we organized in the last company, John Brown Captain, after considerable trouble joking up the cattle, owing principally to our want of experience in that line. We succeeded however in making the start. We traveled over a considerable extent of country chiefly prairie land, distance about 500 miles which took us a fortnight to travel and during which time I had some little experience in driving team, watching cattle and camping in tents.
We arrived at Council Bluffs on the Missouri River on 17th of July 1853, camped just below the City and drove the cattle 2 miles off to feed.
August 7th This morning while herding the Cattle, I discovered a few Indians coming up the road, they were all armed with spears, bows and arrows and guns and they came thicker and faster until the Captain being alarmed sent out men to us to help us drive in the Cattle to the Corral. By the time we came to camp the Indians had gathered to the amount of 5 or 600 and demanded we pay for traveling through their land. Our Captains consulting on the matter gave them Flour, Coffee, Sugar and all that we could spare. But they were very dissatisfied with it and upon finding they could not get any more began jumping from their horses, loading their guns, yelling and said they would fight us. Consequently Captain Brown ordered every person to arm themselves with every weapon they could muster and forming the wagons into 2 lines along the road told the Indians that if they did not move out of the road and let us pass we would fight them. Consequently they moved out and we passed on but they tormented us along the road running among the teams pricking us with their arrows and doing all the mischief they could until the Chief called them away leaving us traveling peaceably on until dark when we camped.
We crossed the Platte 15 miles below Fort Laramie, the Sioux were very peaceable and friendly. Just before we crossed 5 of our teamsters left the train on account of the Captain acting so mean to us and threating 2 men who was sick with the fever and ague, if they did not get out of their beds and work he would make them pay when they got to the Valley for boarding and hauling them.