The history of Eli Wiggill, 1883, 466-485.
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And while I stayed at Florance [Florence, Nebraska]. . . [I] got My New Wagon into my hands which I payed 80 Dollars for I fitted it with ride boxes and covered it with two covers and a Carpet and Made it very comfortable for the long journey that was before me of a thousand miles. I had six Oxen two Cows and one Calf which I bought at Florance, So when we were all ready we were organized into a Company of about fifty Wagons and Homer Dunkin [Duncan] was chosen to be our Captain who was just returning home from of[f] a Mission from England on account of poor health, eight of those Wagons belonged to My Company who came from Africa, Well after we were organized the Train left Florance and went about one Mile, and Camped, and I beleive we stayed there two days, so I went into a small Bush, or Forest, and has I had been so used to going into the Forest when in Africa I thought that as it was so near the Camp that I would Amuse Myself by rambling about awhile but I found it to be very much like the African Forest, so tangled with underbrush that it was almost imposable to get through it, However I cut a small Hickory stick to take along with me in case of any breakeage,
And while Camping there Mr Henry Talbot Sen, was chosen Chaplen [Chaplain] by the Captain, And about the last of June 1861 we left that Camp and made a grand starte to cross the Plains, and for Many days we traveled over a beautiful roling Country where there was plenty of good grass and Water but very little wood, and it contunied so for Miles and Miles, untill we came to wood River center, which to My Mind is a very beautifull Country well wooded and watered and the creeks seems to come from so Many directions, we could trace them by the mouth of the splendid ash timber which lines their banks, and between those Streams was nice level farms and the grass I am sure was two feet high then wavering beautifull, And here at this Station caled wood river Center, And in the Company there was a Man whos Name was Charles Dean who had bought an old Wagon to start on such a journey and at this place one of the Wheels gave out, And the Captain knowing that I was a wheelwright by trade, He asked me to repair the Wheel, I told him there was a Wagon Shop here at the station to get it Mended there but he made me no reply but commenced to work at it himself, So when I seen Captain Donkin [Duncan] at work I took it in hand and repaired the Wheel and put the Tire on, or has they say in America Setting the Tire, Well we moved on from this Camp and when we Camped the next night Myself with two or three others was caled on to go out to gard the Cattle which was to Me a very disagreable job for the Night was very dark so that we could not see the Cattle when they Moved a little distance off, And the grass was up to our knees And has wet as it could be with the Dew.
Well we contunied on our journey through a Country Undulated rolling and in Many places well Wooded. We also passed several very nice farm houses, which I beleive were mostly tradeing Stations who kept quite a veriety of goods and Buffalo robes one of which I bought and found it very usefull and warm, So we journeyed on untill we came to Loopfork [Loup Fork] Ferry passing a village caled Columbia, and at this ferry there was a Middling sized Boat and every Wagon being fifty in Number had to be taken over one at a time which took very Near all the day, And after Landing the Dean Wagon had to undergo More repairs, so I went to work at it, It was a beautifull place on the Bank of the river adorned with cotton wood and some other kinds of trees so it was very shady where we camped and pleasent to work.
And I think it was somewhere in this vecinety that we Meet a Train of Wagons from Utah going down to Florence for Emegrants and goods, In company with those Wagons were two Missionerys on their way to South Africa,
One of those men was the Son of Mr Henry Talbot, Sen, who had Emegrated out to Utah about one year before whos Name was John Talbot, And the other was William Tothengom, John Talbot stayed and Camped with his father and mother one night, while the other Man Camped with the other Train,
So that Night John gave his father and Mother a detailed account of the Manners and customs of Utah, so Next Morning John bid goodby to his folks again, And he started East and our Company to the West, And as the Wagons kept breaking every day or two it kept me pritty buissy Mending, so the Captain thought that I aught to be exempt from the Cattle guard been has I had so much work to do at the Wagons which sutted me much better,
So we contunied on our journey day after day until we came to the Platte river where we contunied off and on its banks for two or three weeks, the road been very level and smoth and in some places not a stone to be seen, and in others not any wood, And it was then we had to gather what is caled in Utah Buffalo Chips; But what we call in Africa, Cowdung, to burn[.] And but very little game except Hares; But on one occution one of the Boys killed an Antilope which was devided in the Camp for frish Meat, This river abounded all along its banks with wild grapes and Curents, We campted one Night on this river in a place caled Ashhollow [Ash Hollow] And there we were visited by quite a Number of Indians who came beging so the Captain came around the Camp and colected a little from differant ones and gave it to them and they went away very civel, This Camp was very scarce of fuel.
Then after traviling for some days we came to some dreadfull heavy Sand ridges where we could not get along at all without doubleing and
and helping each other along[.] Those ridges contunied up and down for at least ten Miles, It took us all one day to go that distance, And when we left the Platte river in the Morning we Made a perfect Horseshoe shape to get to the river in the evening to Camp
And all along this sandy road there lay such lots of broken Wagons and one stove and so Meny lose Tires that the Boys just rolled them down in to river for pass times[.] A person would gather Wagon loads of real good Materials of differant kinds on those Plains at the time we past in 1861.
Well we traveled on and on, till we came to what is caled Chimney Rock, a place of note that has been Mentioned in History, but in reality it is not rock, None of those romantic looking Mounds although they are called Rock and looks like rock at a distance, But I have been close up and examined for myself and found them to consist of hard Muraly clay which to my Mind and Understanding of things generly I think that Most of the Plains has been the bed of the Sea, And by some Mighty convultions of the earth the Water as been run off with great force which has caused those Mounds to stand in some places, And those great and heavy Sandridges to be gathered in others by the washing of the current of Water from the higher Country, There are very great Mountains which can be seen at a distance, with which appeares to be dotted here and there with Pine Timbers and passing on the Next place of Note that we came to is a place caled the Divels [Devil's] Gate, And the great Independence Rock which is of hard ironstone granet and Many a traveler pasing that way left their Name up on its side, Well we passed this rock a little distance and crossed the river caled the sweetwater (which is a beautifull stream) and then Camped, and here I had to Mend a broken axle. And right in this Naighbourhood is the Divills [Devil's] Gate, that has been so Much talked about, Well it is a very Narrow glen whos sides rises up some hundreds of feet perpendicular, and in between the two rocks the beautifull sweetwater river runs, and there is some trees and shrubery grows along <the> Margen [margin] of the stream, I did not go through the gate Myself but some of my Children did, and Meet the Wagons on the opposite side of the glen.
After Camping at this place one Night we traviled on and on untill we came to a very beautifull river caled green river which we crossed, or forded, and at a rough guess is about two hundreds yards wide, and it is a very rapped [rapid] stream and the water
is as green [h]as very green apperance and its banks is beautifully wooded with Cottonwood and Birch. Well after getting across this stream we drove on about a Mile and then Camped in a grove of Cottonwood trees, so that we had plenty of fuel and we had some of the biggest camp fires and enjoyed ourselves well, and for better protection for the Cattle that Night Captain Donkin [Duncan] had them drove across the river to an Island just oppesiet the Camp. For on the side of the river where we was it was nothing but sand and Sagebrush. My Son Jeremiah was out on guard that Night with two or three others and they amused themselves by telling storys, one of them told a yarn about the jumping Banters or Methodist which made great fun for them[.] one of them was an old Woman who had a wooden leg and she unscrued it and used it to beat on the flore with and Make all the noise she could, and hollow glory Hallelujah, and. Hold him fast. Meaning to get hold of Jesus, And some of them trying to climb up the walls for the same purpose, so that night the guard enjoyed themselves first rate.
Well from this place we rolled out and the Next Camp we made that I can remember that was of any note was at a place caled Fort Bridger which is a Village and was at that time a Militery Post, This place took it Name from an old Mountaineer who used to <live> there years before there was Much, or any travel that way, by the Name of Bridger. It is a very pritty place and well suplyed with several beautifull streams of Water runing through it, and the Mountains around seemed to be very well Wooded, And the soil in and around the Village was very Nice and loamy, and has far as I could see it had every capability of makeing a very good town
This place is about one hundred and fifty Miles from Salt Lake City.
And from there we traveled for days and seemed to be assending all the time but when we got on the level it was very pleasent and we was surrounded with shrubery and Sagebrush. And then again we traveled on ridges and there were vallies on each side of the road. And here we had to go a long distance for good Water
And the next place of Note we came to was the Bear river, which is a very beautifull stream just as clear as posable, a person might count every boulder and pebble stone in its bottom, And the banks are well wooded princally [principally] with the Cottonwood tree,
And the next place which attracted my attention was going through what is caled Echo Canyon, which is the most romantic scenery that I ever saw, up each side is the Most conglomerated Mass of rocks and pebbles all cemented togather in the Most fantastic shapes imaginable, and some of them on Account of their curious shapes has been caled the Witches rocks[.] in one place there is three collums of such rocks stand, nearly in a Row and they are caled the three Witches,
This Cluff or Canyon has got its name from the wonderfull hollow sound or echo from the crack of a Whip or people talking, and through it runs a creek of Nice clear Water which we had to cross a great Many times, And some times the road run close to such fearfull preceptious rocks, And the sides or banks of this creek is lined with willows and other kinds of brush wood and just at the time that we pased through the Hops were ready for picking and some of the people gathered great bundles of them. This Canyon is about twenty Miles long from one Mouth to the other, or from one end to the other, It leads right to what is caled the Weber river which we crossed and here we found the first Mormon Settlement along the side of this river which is caled Heniferville [Henefer]
This Weber river is also a very beautifull stream and well supplyed with plenty of Wood on its banks, This settlement is about forty Miles from Salt Lake City.
Well after leaveing this Settlement we traveled some five or six Miles up in the Mountains and Camped that Night, And the Next Morning Mr Talbot and Myself left the Camp and started for the City, with his Horses and Wagon but we did not Make the City that day, But we camped between the Big and Little Mountains with another company who was ahead of Captain Donkins Company a day or two. But the next day we arrived in the City. And found an old acquaintance from Africa by the name of Charles Roper, who lived in the Seventh Ward. . . . stay at his house untill our Company came into the City who came in the Next day and we campted on the Emigration Square.