Josiah Rogerson autobiographical sketch in Autobiographical accounts by Beaver residents, circa 1879, 22-28.
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About three miles north west of Iowa, there was a large camp of our brethren & Sisters, skirted on the west by the Iowa River, and surrounded by hazel brush and young trees. Hand carts were being made here and fitted up, as also wagons, tents, wagon covers yokes etc, steers & oxen being gentled and every thing necessary for a Journey of 1300 miles over the plains being put in readiness.
We remained here, till the afternoon of the 26th July, Capt Willies, Hand Cart Company, starting out, about the 12th or 15th of the month, in advance of our Company.
On the 26th we rolled <out> and travelled some 3-1/2 miles, next day increasing the distance, and so on till one day we made 28 miles reaching Council Bluffs about the 22d or 23d of Aug, having made some 294 or 300 miles in a little over three weeks. Nothing of any great consequence occurred on this trial trip of our hand Carts, and ourselves, except that we had some excessive hot weather, very dusty and badly cut up roads, and probably 15 to 25 deaths occurring, mostly children with a few old people.
Passing through Council Bluffs City, we reached Florence, or Winter Quarters, about noon on the 24th Aug, and to the best of my memory we remained here till the 29th, but John Jacques, says the 26th, which I think is wrong.
Some 625 men, women and children were formed into one Company; given in charge of, and placed under the direction of Edward Martin and Daniel Tyler, making up the last Hand Cart Company for the season 1856.
We left Camp, a little east of the Old Mormon Saw Mill, and east of the town of Florence, at that time, moved up the steep hill and on west some 3 miles turning to the left of the road in a Grove, where there is a good spring of water, Here we staid the next day,
making a start the next morning which would be the 31st of Aug. Of this date I feel quite certain, and am sure it could not have been earlier than the 30th.
We crossed Elk Horn a day or so after, and Loup Fork. Next from the north to the south side of the Platte. Travelled on past Wood River, Kearney, Scots Bluffs and to Laramie, where we arrived on the afternoon of Oct 6th, Daniel Tyler, agrees with me firmly as to this date Leaving Laramie the next day (7th) we travelled lively till we reached deer Creek, which is about 125 miles from Laramie, making the distance in about 7 days.
I wish that I had more space and time to write up the particulars of our travel from Deer Creek, till our arrival in Salt Lake City; as from this point commenced our privations and sufferings, which have never yet, and I doubt if they ever will—or can be written.
Passing the Platte Bridge, about noon of this day (say the 16th of Oct), we reached and crossed the North Platte between 2 pm and 5 pm. The black hills, Just south of the crossing were Covered with snow clouds, whirling and threatening an immediate storm. Large cakes of Ice, sleet and snow, were coming down the river while we were crossing, and
the one of the coldest nights followed, we experienced on the trip. The same evening we went up the river, 3 or 4 miles, and camped. This night, the first snow fell, to the depth of 4 to six inches.
I was called to go on guard at mid night; and as I was going out of the Tent I stumbled over a dead mans feet; whom I had wheeled from the Crossing to this Camp, the night before, on an empty hand Cart. His wife and children were lying on each side of him, and did not Know of his death till morning.
The next two—(and I think three) days, we pulled our Carts in a continuous, and at times heavy snow-storm; the snow increasing in depth, daily
This seemed to drag the life and snap completely out of us all, and from the last crossing of the Platte we commenced to bury the exhausted, rapidly.
We reached Red Buttes, somewhere about the 21st of Oct, where we were Compelled to stop, on account of the continued storm, and the depth of Snow which was from 12-18 and 24 inches deep.
D. Tyler, says we camped here 9 days; I say only 7 days. Here the cold was intense, and rations very low; half a pound flour for adults, 4 oz for children, per day. On <a> wednesday morning about 11 am, of the 2nd week of our stay here, Joseph A Young with Dan Jones (then from Provo) rode into Camp with the news of relief, consisting of 10 wagons at Devils Gate, 45 miles from us. We hitched up next morning, and on saturday about sundown reached Greasewood Creek, north east of Devils Gate where we met G. D. Grant with ten wagons. We reached the Fort at Ds. Gate next day near sundown; where from this day till the next saturday morning following we never saw the sun.
At Red Buttes, some died every night, and day; and here I helped to bury 18 one morning, in two graves. The greatest number buried at one time on the Journey.
I think we left here
I think on a Saturday morning the 6th or 7th of November, and the snow between 12 and 18 inches deep. We crossed the Sweetwater, and went up north west off the road to a ravine called Martin's Ravine, where fire wood was tolerably plentiful.
We camped here about three days, the weather continuing as intensely cold as at Devils Gate. I cannot remember as to the deaths here, but our appetites (if it were possible,) were getting keener, the weak getting weaker, and roasted raw hide eaten with considerable relish.
About the tenth (10th) we left here; and from this on till we reached the south Pass, made all the headway every day we could; the relief teams being met every day with additional provisions etc, and more being taken into the wagons daily as help and relief increased
The last time I remember pulling the Hand Cart, was through the three (3) Crossings of Sweetwater, Camp being formed that night to the left of the rocky bluff, Just this side the crossing.
Here Albert [Alfred] R Bridges [Bridge], a young man of 22 or 24, died near our Camp fire. He was the nephew of Mrs. C. Shepherd; a Baker, and from London. My brother-in-laws father, John Ollorton, died here, and both were buried at this Camp.
I and my brother Wm. continued to walk the greater part of the day, as also a number of other young men, and grown young women, till we reached the South pass, where all from this place were taken in the wagons, and rode.
From the South Pass, the teams commenced to travel in earnest—early and late making big drives to Big and little Sandy, Blacks fork, Hams fork, Green River and to Bridger; where we must have reached about the 22d or 23d, of Nov. and Salt Lake City, on Sunday morning the 30th,. 1856.
Our Company seemed to have more of old men and women, than any of the others that season, being the last, and the cleanings up of that years emigration. We had only six (6) ox teams, to haul provisions, which were loaded to the bows; mainly with flour. Capt Martin, had a light kind of a wagon or buggy, drawn by a span of mules, and a riding mule for himself and Daniel Tyler. We lacked very much in Tea, sugar, yeast powders, Bacon, and salt; which gave out, or nearly so even before we reached the Red Buttes. Our ration of flour would have gone a great deal farther, and done our bodies much more good if—we could have had something to rise it with; and lives would have been saved, if we could have had a few ounces of Cayenne pepper, with a little warming medicine, something to arrest excessive diarrhea, and a few gallons of good brandy or liquor, to have revived the spirits of many who died from sheer exhaustion and Cold!
I cannot close this short sketch, without saying that if less night guarding had been done, from Laramie to the Devils Gate, and even from Iowa City to Winter Quarters, and from Winter Quarters to the Devils Gate, the death list, would not have been so great by several, large able bodied men, who seemed at the Commencement of the Journey, able to endure anything. After a man had pulled a hand Cart 20-25-and 30 miles in a day, to go, and tramp around on guard from sundown till midnight, every other night, and sometimes oftener, is more than mortal bone and Sinew Cand stand, and the fact that more men died than women, attests what I have above written. Passing a good many things that occurred on the Journey, forgiven, and I wish were forgotten, I will close by saying, that for a man or half dozen men to lead and direct a Company of Hand Cart emigrants, through the terrible scenes and privations we passed through, is more than the wisdom of man is Capable of doing to the satisfaction of the company or themselves.
With regard to the number of deaths in the company from Winter Quarters, till our arrival in Salt Lake, I could not say they were less than 150, and I believe more, though one of our leaders says 102, yet I know it is set down by many who survived at 200 or more.
The winter setting in at least a month earlier than usual, and the mistake of starting us a month too late from Winter Quarters, are the main causes of that calamity.