Johnson, Mildred Eliza, to My Dearest Sister, 18 Sep. 1859, in Mildred Moss Boyce, [Biographical sketch of Mildred Eliza Johnson Randall] 1979, 2-3.
Sept. 18, 1859
My Dearest Sister,
It has been a long time since I’ve heard from you, but a still longer time since I have written, so I will write you this beautiful evening.
You, no doubt, have heard, ere this, that I have united with God’s chosen people, called Mormons, or Latter-day Saints. I wrote to Mother the day before I left Council Bluffs to cross the wide and barren plains of Nebraska to Utah.
Well I must tell you something about our journey of about 1100 miles across the plains. We left Florence on the Missouri River, Nebraska on the 13th of June with some 50 odd wagons and upwards of 300 persons. Some wagons joined us on the way so that the whole number was 69 and 387 people, a pretty good company. Capt. James Brown of Ogden City, Utah had the command of it and a better man there never was. I cooked for him and his brother [Willis] and myself all the way. I slept with one of William Steel’s daughters. I had, take it altogether, a pleasant trip, though sometimes I got very tired, had to walk about half the way. A great many of the women walked all the way, and felt as if they had not walked any. For hundreds of miles we had to travel over sandy roads and sand hills, with a burning sun over our heads and burning sands beneath our feet and no wood at all for weeks, nothing but Buffalo chips to cook with and we got along finely, and I never had better health. We had ice and frost among the Rocky Mountains on the 8th of August and there is snow on the tops of them all the year through.
In passing through some of the Kanyons in the Mountains we found bushels of wild currants, service berries, and chokecherries. They were just ripe and we feasted on them. Some of the Kanyons [canyons] are so narrow that only one wagon can pass at a time. I have rambled over the sides of these steep mountains for miles gathering berries, and what a pleasant time we had with the other girls.
On the evening of the 29th of August, we arrived in Great Salt Lake City. As we marched up the beautiful streets to Union Square where we camped, the citizens came out to meet us and welcome us home.