Crook, John, Autobiography, in Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Collection, 1828-1963, reel 12, item 6, 8-10.
About the 1st of June 1856 we left Hang Hollow for Florence Nebraska. We were to gather at Bluff City about 6 miles across the Missouri River. We crossed the river on a ferry boat the 2 day of June.
The first company of saints to cross the plains was organized about the 4 of June under direction of Phils Merril [Philemon C. Merrill]. The company consisted 50 wagons divided into 10 companies. E[noch]. B[artlett]. Tripp was the sub captain over the Giles and my self company. The first day’s drive was 6 miles and the next day to the river ferry which was a trying time to all who were green hands with cattle.
In going down a steep hill to the ferry my 2 wild yoke started to run and ran the wagon into deep gully and broke the axle. After all repairs and crossing the river we were organized with camp and cattle guards. All went very peacefully until one night something stampeded the cattle overturning wagons in their mad rush. It was supposed that the stampede was caused by some roughs who followed us from Council Bluffs. We had to stay here 3 days gathering up our cattle some never being found, having mixed up with the Buffalo. This season thousands of Buffalo were seen every day. One time a herd of Buffalo charged our train and stampeded the who[le] train causing accidents to some of the people. Sometimes we traveled on the north side and sometimes on the south side of the Platte River. In going over the Black Hills we had to camp without water a drive of 35 miles.
In traveling through the Black hills the train was divided into three divisions, we traveled about one half day’s drive apart until we reached the Big Mountain. In going over this Mountain we had our first view of the Salt Lake valley.
On the 14 of Aug we mooned [nooned] in a little valley at the head of Parley’s canyon there was no road so we had to travel over Little Mountain[.] We had a hard time getting over this mountain. as we passed what was termed as Hogs back a road cut through a hill we had a full view of Salt Lake valley, oh what joy filled each of us at the sight.
About noon on the 15 of August we rolled into Salt Lake City and camped on Emigration square.