Joseph Fish collection, circa 1857-1969, Journal, circa 1857 - 1895. 18-19.
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Having collected a little means for a team and fitout [outfit] my father commenced preperations for our departure west, and on the 29 of May <1850> we left our home to go further west with the body of the Saints. We went down the river to the lower ferry and crossed the Missouri river on the 1st day of June 1850. went out from the ferry a few miles where the saints were gathering previous to starting west[.] here we remained a few days awaiting the organization of the company. which was soon completed[.] it consisted of fifty wagons and divided into tens there being a captain of each ten. Milo Andrus was chosen Captain of the company and Robert Wiley was Captain of our ten. the organization being completed preparations were soon made for to commence the journey, but our start and progress for a few days was quite slow[.] nearly all had wild and unbroke cattle, and it required time and patience to get them to their place. our cows were nearly all worked and soon became tractable and the best part of the team.
our teams and wagons were varied but few however being of the best kind. My fathers team consisted of one large yoke of oxen good but very old[.] the rest were wild steers and cows. we found with all that many of the teamsters were raw hands and not accustomed to handling wild animals but a few days produced quite a change and teamsters and teams soon learned their place and duty. when our progress was a little better.
We arrived at Fort Keerney [Kearney] on the 23 of June and we spent the fourth day of July in crossing the South fork of the Platt[e] river[.] we crossed at an angle which made it a little ove[r] a mile acrst [acrost], the water averaged about 18 inchs deep with a quick sand bottom.
Here was a subject for reflection a few poor half clothed and fed Saints Spending the Nations Holiday toiling from early dawn until dark through water and quick sand to place the desert between them and their persecutors. and this in a land of liberty and many of these marches were made at the very time when 500 of our men were in the field fighting the battles of the government that had allowed this driving if they had not aided in it. These toilsome journeys[,] hardship[,] exposures &c caused many lay down to rest never to rise until the morning of the reserection.
We arrived at Fort Lerramie [Laramie] on the 19 of July[.] here we found a few U. S. troops with several traders halfbreeds, vagabonds, &c.
August 4 we arrived at the "Devils Gate" this is quite a remarkable looking place where the Sweet Water runs through a place where the rocks on either side rise for hundreds of feet perpendicular from the edge of water. at this place we found where quite a number of wagons had been burned[.] the emigrants going to the mines of California had found it impossible to take all their wagons so they burnt them rather than see them fall into the hands of the "mormons[.]" many were eager to get to the mines of which such fabulous stories had been told and wagons and give out animals with other property was left by the hundreds[.] some of this was gathered up and helped the saints very much. Game existed along the valley of the Platt[e] in great abundance but owing to the great emigration this season it was quite wild. Buffalo however was seen almost daily and sometimes in vast herds.
We crossed Green river on the 18th. of August[.] here we encountered a very hard storm[.] it was very cold and snowed considerable on the mountains. quite a number of our poorer cattle died. our team had dwindled to one half of its original number and many others had shared no better.
We arrived at Bear river on the 22 of August and on the 25 we crossed Weber river[.] these two streams are in the great basin and empty into Salt Lake while Green river forms the main branch of the Colorado river and empties into the Gulf of California.
A few days before getting into Salt Lake City we were met by J. C. L. Smith his wife Sarah and their little boy Horace C. who had come out to meet us. we were much pleased to see them. we arrived in Salt Lake City on the 29 of August after a toilsome march of three months[.] we however had enjoyed good health, my ears and nose <and lips> was a raw sore caused from the heat of the Sun which affected my skin very much and I suffred much from it[.] I believe I was the worst Sun burnt boy in that company. Our team what was left of it was quite jaded[.] Our Wagon which my father made himself stood the trip very well.