Job Smith autobiography, circa 1902, 15-16.
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As the spring of 1848 approached, preparations were made for the journey westward. The pioneers of course having returned, we were informed of the length of the journey and the kind of country we were expected to settle.
Again the wagon question came up, and seeing that the vehicle had carried us so far a distance of 330 miles from Nauvoo with safety, and further that no opportunity had been found to obtain a better one, it was decided to try it again. Brother John Alger volunteered to repair it with new bolster and sanboards and it was then loaded up for the 1000 mile journey. My sister Ann had already gone, and myself to drive for my board, and the hauling of 400 lbs of breadstuff, there were but two left for whom to haul the required amount of provisions, 400 lbs. to each person with seed wheat, and what other goods and chattels we possessed were again loaded up. My uncle was now so far recovered from his lameness that he was able to drive his steers on his wagon, they being very gentle. He started in [Zera] Pulsipher’s company, and the Perkin’s teams in Pres. [Brigham] Young’s company. Prest. Young’s company numbered 200 wagons, Pulsipher’s about 50. After travelling 120 miles I was transferred to drive one of President Young’s teams, which I drove about 100 miles, and was then transferred to drive for Thomas Bullock, the clerk of the camp and general church recorder, at that time. Elder [Wilson Gardner] Perkins team and also Prest. Young’s team, which I had driven were not overloaded and the work was pleasant and not over burdensome. Of course I did my share of herding and attending the cattle in common with all the other drivers. My teams had consisted one of 4 and the other of six manageable oxen. But Bullock’s team was another sort of task. His team consisted of six oxen and three cows, which always left one odd animal to take turns with those which gave out. The load was very heavy and the animals very poor so that I had very hard work to keep pace with the better teams, frequently having to unyoke a tired animal and fill its place with the odd cow. Bullock’s occupation being a clerk, he knew nothing about cattle and often blamed me when I thought I deserved pity. I always did the best I could for him and his team and we finally arrived in Salt Lake Valley on September 25th, 1848. During the journey I had my trials in addition to the daily routine of driving and caring for a tired team. I started with very poor shoes which soon wore out on the road, and my clothes very scant and thin which soon became very ragged. Sister [Henrietta] Bullock helped to keep my rags together but shoes, I did without, travelling barefooted several hundred miles, finally when nearing the journey’s end I obtained a pair of moccasins from some Indians.
Our manner of travelling was quite unique. Up the north side of the Platte river two lines of wagons abreast. After unyoking cattle at night several teamsters drove the herd to where they could best find feed, sometimes as far as a mile, herding them until dark, then driving them to camp, place a rope around each animal’s horns and at the other end of the rope driving a stake in the ground. Very early in the morning cattle released and started up again at given signal. Wagons were all driven at camping time so as to form two half circles, thus making one circle complete, each wagon driven so as to lock his off front wheel behind the near hind wheel of the wagon before him. This formed a complete corral for the teams all night, instead of roping them. Another curiosity of travel at that time was the vast number of Buffaloes to be seen for a number of days. At one time looking forward up the Platte Valley as far as the eye could reach, the landscape was almost black with them, they were so numerous.
My uncle with his wooden wagon made better time than my company so that he got in a number of days before the President’s company. I found him camping near the old Fort. He [his] wagon seemed to have lasted very well so long as the country was not rocky or gravelly, but when arriving in the mountain country the fellies nearly wore out; to prevent this as far as possible, they were wrapped in Buffalo raw hide so that the wagon lasted until reaching their destination.