Layne, Jonathan Ellis, Reminiscences, in Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 27 Sept. 1852, 1B-7.
"In the summer of 1851 nearly all of our people in Pottawattamie <county>
be prepared to go the next year to Salt Lake Valley and <in> the month of May <1852> the saints of the North Pigeon Branch started and <the> next day or two crossed the Missouri river in a flat boat. The cattle had to swim the river, but all got over safely though the river was over half a mile wide where we crossed.
We traveled on the next day and crossed the Elk Horn River and camped on the west side. I was driving team some of the time but most of the time I was driving loose stock for Bro. John W. Lasley. The company I was in was organized, as all companies of our people are who cross the plains.
Our <The> Captain of the <our> company was Benjamin Gardner (our former branch president), the captain of the first ten was Mark Hall, the <names of the> other captains of tens I have forgotten their names. We traveled on very slowly to allow our cattle all the time possible to feed. I stood guard as long as we camped and also stood cattle guard extra for another man nearly all the way to Utah. We soon came to where the buffalo was seen in countless numbers and we had plenty of buffalo meat most of the time. In June we came to the Loup Fork River, which we had to ford and the river was full of quicksand, so that if a wagon stopped moving while going across, the running water would take the sand from under the wheels and they would sink down in a foot or more in a few minutes, and so completely enveloped were the lower side of the wheels that two or more teams had to be hitched on before the wagon could be moved. Several had to be helped out in this way. It was the same with cattle, horses or men, all had to keep moving or their feet would get fast in the sand.
We at last got all safely over and camped for the night. Early the next morning we moved on passing Bishop W. W. Lane's company camped on the Loup Fork river, <having> cholera in camp. We passed by them to the west fork of the river and stopped to noon. Soon they came up and passed by us up the river. After two hours' nooning, we started on and soon overtook the Bishop's wagon and several with him. The Bishop was dead of the cholera and they had stopped to bury him. They had dug a grave and were just lowering the corpse into it. I looked into the grave; it was filled with water on the bottom to a depth of 6 or 8 inches, and the corpse was half buried in water. After covering up the grave they left immediately and started on. They were then behind us and did not catch up
to <with> us. About 4 o'clock in the afternoon we overtook another wagon by the side of the road. It was one of Bishop Lane's wagons. His wife had died of the cholera and they were digging her grave not more than seven miles from where her <husband> was buried. Indeed it was a sad sight; death was stalking abroad in daylight as well as in darkness. We passed on to Wood River, about 10 miles from the last mentioned grave. The cholera attacked three or four in our camp that night, and at noon the next day Bro. Amos Hunt lost a son about 16 years of age who was immediately buried. The camp moved on and at night another died and was likewise buried, and in the morning we moved on again. Indeed it seemed as if we were in death valley, so many new graves did we pass every day. We were now on the river Platte and in a day or two after <wards> sickness ceased and we all felt <that> a great relief had come to us and we thanked the Lord for it.
The camp always laid over on the Sabbath day and meetings were held as often as we could do so. On the Sabbath three and sometimes four men were on guard at night in camp and <sometimes> two or more men with the cattle. We had to drive the cattle several miles to get good feed and the guard stayed with them all night. Our coral was formed every night by the first wagon which would stop at a designated place. The next wagon was turned a little to the right and moved forward till the front wheel of one was just opposite the hind wheel of the first and so on till all were disposed of, leaving room in front or rear, whichever was most convenient for the stock to pass in or out. A few men stationed at these openings could keep all the cattle in very easily and we could better defend ourselves against Indians or other enemies and by this means were always ready. We got along in peace, if not in plenty, but troublesome as all these cares were it was better than the fear of mobs, and it was pleasant to reflect that we are going to a land of peace, if not of plenty. Thus day by day and week by week we traveled onward toward a land of promise where we would be free to serve and worship the Lord our God according to the dictates of our own conscience, with none to afflict or oppress, free from the oppression of such men as those who killed the Prophets of the Lord and drove helpless and sick men and women, whose husbands and sons were in the service of the government. This same government did not raise a hand to prevent these outrages. Surely the God of Israel will remember this and reward every man according to his works whether they be good or whether they be evil. Near the forks of the Platte River it was thought best to divide our company into two or more camps that we might travel faster. Accordingly this was done and we
did go <traveled> faster. One night, near Laramie, about 11 o'clock <one of> the guards who was making his rounds went out amongst the horses to see if all was right with them, when he (Edward Thompson) was shot by some one among the horses. Camp was immediately aroused. Each man took his gun and went to see what was the matter, but we never knew who fired the shot that wounded the guard, though suspicion rested on a young man in the company. However, nothing was proved against him. We did not sleep any more that night. The man who was shot had his leg broken close to his body; and as it was very warm weather it was difficult <to> prevent ing the wound from motifying, but in a few weeks it got well. We did not know but what an Indian had done the shooting. The next morning we looked for signs of Indians as the ground was quite sandy; but could find no signs of them or anything missing.
Our company did not cross the Platte river at Ft. Laramie, but continued up the north side till we reached the mountains 40 or 50 miles above Ft. Laramie. <Where> we camped with the 11th company, James McGaw captain. We stayed here two or three days as the feed was good and we had a good time visiting old acquaintances.It was a new thing for us to climb the mountains, the different kinds of timber, <such as> pine and spruce, the magnificent mountain scenery and views to be had were so entirely new to me and I greatly enjoyed it. In after years in Utah I grew to love <it> with all my heart.
The buffalos that were seen at this time on the hills were wonderful to behold. One could see <them> from the hills bordering the river which were probably 50 ft. high, as far as eye could reach. <There were occasionally> moving masses of buffalo so close together <that> the ground <could> not be seen. We had to put out guards right and left to prevent them from going between the wagons and stampeding our cattle and horses, but being thus prepared we got along without any stampeded which was not the case with <several> others who were less watchful, and as the buffalo did not travel much in the night we got along very well indeed. We saw an old work ox which was traveling with the buffalos and we could not get him to
them <leave> them.
When we left this camp ground we left he 11th company and saw them no more till we arrived in Utah.
We soon <At length we> crossed the Platte river to the south side. The country on the north side was so rough <that> we could hardly travel over it, and our teams were beginning to get a little weary and feed at the camping places was not enough for large herds. It was thought best to again divide our company. This was done, and to lighten our loads as much as possible we threw out boxes and other things that could be spared to help the poor hard worked teams. My brother-in-law Geo. Wilding, who had married my Sister Mary Elizabeth in <the> spring of 1851, broke his wagon and his team being weak and nothing with which to mend the wagon it was thought best to leave his wagon and putting his <load> and team to other wagons, so we moved on and in a few days reached Deer Creek. There was coal here right in the bed of the creek, so we stopped two days to mend wagons, yokes, chains, etc., and to spend Sunday. We moved on next day and when stopping at noon quite a large camp of Cheyenne Indians came to us as these Indians. <They> were in their war just suited us best, and after they had gone a little while we moved on too, but not in the direction they went, and that night <we> put on double guard. We saw them no more and we were glad of <it> the change. We soon reached the last crossing of the Platte River which was very sandy, the sand being about 2 feet deep at this place. After some difficulty we all got safely over and in 1 1/2 days reached Independence Rock on the Sweetwater River <where we> camped there and waited one day for the cattle to fill up, as the feed was good. Had <We had> plenty of cedar for wood. Next day we moved onto <a> crossing of <the> Sweetwater River. As I was driving loose stock I left the road and went to see the Devils Gate where the river runs between perpendicular rocks from one to 200 feet high. The water taking all the room between rocks. At Independence Rock, or near there, we saw saleratus lakes which were about <one foot> feet deep of crystal saleratus of which we could gather a ton in thirty minutes, had we wanted to. We gathered what we needed and passed on.
We camped on Strawberry Creek
where gold was discovered in 1801. <Where> the ground was white with frost, on the morning of Sept. 1st. Next day we went over the celebrated South Pass where the waters divide, those on the east going to the gulf of Mexico those on the west to the Pacific Ocean or gulf of California. <We> camped at Pacific Springs. There was Another company here and <being encamped> the young men of both companies got together, and we thought they were very insulting in their language. We proposed to resent this and at night we got together to <go> down to their camp to have it out with them, but the captain of our company with others found out what we were up to and went to the captain of the other company and the fun we expected to have did not come off, better counsel prevailing.
We started next morning and at night camped in a patch of the largest sage brush we had seen, but as the nights here were quite cool
was sage <brush> was very acceptable to make camp fires.
The next day we killed quite a number of prairie dogs which we cooked over our sagebrush fires and <it> was very palatable meat, although some of the folks could not persuade them<selves to> taste it because it was called dog.
Camping <on the> Big Sandy, <we found> nights
were cool and the days clear and warm. We came to Green River and camped. The near <From this point> the Big Wind River Mountain were clearly seen to <the> north, with Fremont's Peak towering high above the others. <These> could be seen for hundreds of miles. All the lowlands being <were> covered with sagebrush and a little grass between, peopled <inhabited> with prairie dogs, hares, antelope, hyenas, coyotes and Indians, and what <also a> few white men, or halfbreeds and a few mountaineers, some of whom kept stock. which <Their animals> were very fat and nice to our eyes, compared with our <own> very thin poor stock which had come all the way from the Missouri river this season and were well nigh worn out with long traveling. Passing <Leaving> Green River, we passed on to the west over a somewhat elevated sage plain, to the south of the road, a few miles in some <distant were seen> small broken hills. I saw quite a number of petrified pine trees broken off 7 and 8 ft. from the ground with the rough bark and all turned to sandstone. There had evidently been quite a forest of them at some time in the long ago and is in the present state of Wyoming.
<When we> camped on Blacks Fork, cattle were ranging on the plains along the road right and left. <We> traveled about 20 miles and camped with sage brush and cottonwood for fuel. Some snow fell during the night. We started early next morning and at night came to Fort Bridger <and> crossing to the west side of Black's Fork camped for the night.
and Next day <we> went to the top of Aspen Hill <and> camped in the quaking asp timber. Snow fell to a depth of 5 inches. This was our introduction to mountain snow storms. In the morning <the> cattle were all gone and snow everywhere. We hunted till about noon and found <our cattle> them alright. They had gone west down off the ridge where <only a> little snow fell and were doing first rate. We started about 2 o'clock and got to <reached> Bear River that night. There had been no snow here and we had a good place to camp; < and with> plenty of good wood for fires; as it was cold chilly night.
About two hours drive the next morning brought up to a spring branch,
a little bad to cross, <where the crossing was bad> the mud being deep, and Bro. Vinson Cooper turned his wagon over. But we soon had all things righted and went on over the divide and into Echo Canyon. <We> nooned at Cache Cave. There I quit work for Bro. John W. Lasley, as we could not agree and traveled with my Uncle A.A. Bybee, my brother's mother's brother. <We> camped on the Weber River at the mouth of Echo Canyon, visited the Witches Rocks on the east side of Weber River and then crossed to the west side of the river near where the town of Henefer is afterwards was located. We went up a small stream and over a divide to Canyon Creek, which we crossed at least a dozen times and camped in the timber. Here I was married to Mrs. Lucinda M. Bassett, whose husband Hyrum D. Bassett died at Winter Quarters in the winter of 1847 and was a very good man. Elder Peter Manger performed the ceremony. Bro. John. W. Lasley and his wife, Mrs. Bassett's sister, both said when she asked them to come and see us married that they would rather follow her to her grave than to see her married <to me>. We stood up dressed as we were in our every day clothes ate < and after> supper by the campfire and the ceremony was performed. At the this time, when I felt <like> I could have carried on my back at one load all we possessed. We <but we> had plenty of faith in God the Eternal Father who has never yet forsaken us.
We traveled on through the timber up the Big Mountain till we reached the top and then began the descent. It was very steep and dangerous, but we got safely down and nooned on a little creek at the foot of the mountain. We did not stop long here as we had been told that from the top of the next
little <mountain (Little Mountain)> we could see some of the valley of the Great Salt Lake, so we married <hurried> to see who should get there first. We soon reached the top and there before us lay the valley we had come so far to see. Some were very <moved to tears for> thankfulness while others appeared disappointed with the looks of the place, which was all <a treeless plain covered with> sage brush. a treeless plain. I felt <myself> was very much disappointed and felt quite blue. However, we went on and <traveled> down the Little Mountain and across the bench to the city, where we arrived at 4 o'clock Sept. 27, 1852.