West, David, Reminiscences.
Trail excerpt transcribed from "Pioneer History Collection" available at Pioneer Memorial Museum [Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum], Salt Lake City, Utah. Some restrictions apply.
We began to prepare for our journey for Utah. We sold what few things we had and got a lot of flour and bacon and other things; we bought bed ticking and my wife and my sister-in-law made a cover to put on the wagon bows. I got a yoke made to put on the cows necks, and got my wagon repaired and loaded up all ready to move out of the city of St. Joseph. The wagon box was full. We moved out of the city in the afternoon of the 25th of May, 1853. When a little distance from the City we camped for the night. In the morning we ate breakfast and then yoked up our cattle and went on our journey. we had not traveled far when we came to a small grove of timber and there we found three or four men yoking up their teams. They were Welshmen and they were going to Utah. We traveled together. When we arrived at a place called Council, I found Moses Daley, a man who had come from Utah. I got acquainted with him in St. Joseph. Part of his family had been living in St. Joseph and he came to help them out. He came to our meeting. One Sunday, after meeting, I asked him to go with me to dinner, and we had a long talk about Utah, and he told me what he was come for. He had a son and his wife and a son-in-law and his wife, and he had come to take them out to Utah. I told him that I expected to go to Utah, and how I was situated. He said if you should get in the company I am in, and get stuck in a hold, I will help you out.
We camped at Council for a little while. One of our cows had a sore neck, the yoke had chafed it, and I was afraid she would not be able to stand the journey. I saw a man and told him I had a cow with a sore neck and asked him if he had a cow that he would trade. My cow was good looking and was young, and he brought his cow. She was a good sized cow but she was getting into years. I asked how he wanted to trade. He knew I was in a pinch, and said he wanted a dollar to boot. I gave him the dollar and we traded. In a few days we left that place and went to Council Bluffs and remained there a long time, until there was a company organized.
Irie Aldridge and Jacob Houtese came into the camp and talked with Moses Daley, and said to him that they wanted him to take charge of a company across the plains to Utah, to start as soon as possible. The river was very high that season. We would have to have waited a long, long time before we could have been taken across at that place, so we went down to a place called Sarpen's landing, and there were some men at that place who had a boat called a [-] boat so we crossed the river in that. It was not a very strong boat, and it took us about three miles to make a trip across and back again. I worked on the boat until we got all the company over safely on the other side. We were now in an Indian country. It was on the 6th day of July, 1865, when we had all got over safe. It was dangerous work. I was on guard the first night, the Church owned some of the wagons and teams and they had some loose stock to be driven. The Captain was allowed a horse for his use and he asked me if I would let my nephew drive the loose stock and he ride on the horse. When we had fully organized the company we started on our journey. The Captain had my wagon next to his all the way until we arrived in Salt Lake City. Sometimes he put me and team at the head of the train. He treated me and all my family pretty good all the way. We could not travel many miles in a day. At night we formed our wagons into a corral and had our cattle on the inside. One night they broke out after the people had retired, except the guards. They went right through the wagons and broke some of the wheels, and it was three days before we recovered all the cattle.
When we arrived at Fort Laramie, the river was pretty high and we had to put blocks on top of the bolsters to raise up the wagon boxes to keep out the water. We had to wade across along side of the cattle. I bought one hundred pounds of flour, for which I paid ten dollars. We saw a great number of buffalo on the plains.
My wife walked a great deal of the way and carried a baby. My sister-in-law rode in the wagon with the Captain. We arrived in Great Salt Lake valley on the 27th of September, 1853.