Watkins, William Lampard, History of William Lampard Watkins, 6-7.
Trail excerpt transcribed from "Pioneer History Collection" available at Pioneer Memorial Museum [Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum], Salt Lake City, Utah. Some restrictions apply.
- Source Locations
- Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Salt Lake City
- Related Companies
- Thomas C.D. Howell Company (1852)
In 1851 the missionaries were sent by President Young urging the Saints to hasten to Salt Lake. Apostle Benson was laboring in our vicinity, it being decided to vacate Council Bluffs completely and all were required to unite and leave the next spring. I had on my claim a nice lot of timber suitable for wagon building, also for ox-bows, and by changing work succeeded in building my own wagon, which brought me across the plains in company with my father, mother and three brothers.
My brother Henry drove my team and traveled with us in a company of ten, William Whitehead being captain. There was a large number of cattle with the company. A brother Stan[d]ley owned the greatest number, which caused some dissatisfaction on account of the burden imposed on others. We came near losing all the cattle on the Platte River at the South Fork on account of quick sand in the river, and the cattle being frightened returned from the middle of the river and drifted down stream into an eddy which was very deep. Here they kept in a bunch with their heads just showing above the water, and we could not start them out. At last my brother Henry, seeing one of my steers which he was driving, got down among the cattle and caught him by the horns and led him out from the bunch into the river. The men got long poles and urged the herd to follow till all got fairly started. It was a very narrow chance by which a large portion of our stock were saved and there was great rejoicing.
After the scare, all felt thankful to God and gave great praise to my brother for the risk he made of his life to save the stock. He was only in his fifteenth year. We traveled on fairly well until one night we had to travel late to the camping ground where the stock could obtain food, and coming down a steep bluff to the river we had just come to a halt with the front teams, my team was the second. My father followed and the train of a dozen wagons still coming on with the loose stock. We had not got the steers from the wagon when a stampede was raised. It was dark and close to the river, the banks of which were high, and almost perpendicular. The cows had been liberated from the lead and Henry had started to unfasten the steers when off they went. I had just got onto the wagon tongue and stood in the front, holding on to my two little children in the wagon. My wife was on foot, wagons were coming in all directions but as a miracle they turned from the river bank and ran to the hills over deep gullies which looked as though it would have been impossible for teams with wagons to cross. My team ran in this manner until exhausted, when I slipped down between them and loosed them from the wagon tongue when they again ran off. I went into the wagon and made a light and soon lights were to be seen scattered about. It took a long time to find all the folks. We found Henry lying in a ravine as we traveled about with lantern calling out to the missing. He was very badly injured internally, but no bones were broken. A wagon had passed over him, crossing his body from shoulder to hips on the opposite side, and blood passed from him for several days. My wife was knocked down and her apron torn from her body and her head grazed. We were compelled to lay by for a few days to repair wagons and gather stock together. We had to fix a kind of hammock in our wagon to carry Henry as he was in great pain for several days. We had a few cases of cholera in the company and two deaths. On the crossing of Bear River, September 5, 1852 my daughter Sophronia was born. My parents remained with us with their team the rest of the company all continuing onto the valley. On the seventh, my wife's father came to meet us with a horse team and as soon as possible we continued our journey arriving at my father-in-law's home on Little Cottonwood on the 12th day of September, late in the evening.