Nielson, Peter Anton, Autobiographical sketch, [1-2], in Utah Pioneer Biographies, compiled by Yalecrest Camp, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.
- Related Companies
- Miner G. Atwood Company (1865)
June 14th arrived in New York, June 15th got into Castlegarten [Castle Garden].
June 19th arrived at Quincy, Ill, crossed the Mississippi River to Missouri side, stayed two days without tents or shelter and in heavy rain storm.
Arrived at St. Joseph on 23rd, left by steam boat up Missouri River, arrived at Wyoming, Nebraska on 26th. Brought with us 3 corpses that died on the steamer, four others died between New York and St. Joseph. We stayed at Wyoming 5 weeks, got cleaned up and ready to start for our journey crossing the Plains.
Prices for wagons were $200.00 in greenbacks and about $100.00 in gold. Each pair of oxen cost $150.00 and 80% had never had a yoke on them, which was the cause of our slow travel.
Here, on June 29th we buried Lars Peterson. He was 30 years old, he had sold his property in Denmark for $1800, about $1000 in our money.
On July 31st we started to cross the plains with 45 wagons and teams in charge of Captain Minor G. Atwood and C[harles] B[arber] Taylor, his assistant. John Stevenson [Swenson] in charge of commissary, John Gindrup, Secretary.
On September 19th the company arrived at Ft. Laramie. Here we called a meeting, where it was given out in three languages from the U.S. Officers of the Fort that the Indians were on the Warpath, and not for us to go farther, and offered us free passage to any part of the U.S. we wished to go. After we were all made familiar with the offer it was called to a vote by A[nders] W[ilhelm] Winberg. We all voted to refuse the offer and took a chance to go to Zion.
September 22nd about three days going from Laramie at a place named Cotton Wood Hollow, we had camped for noon driving the loose stock and our teams up a ravine to a watering place about ¾ mile or more from camp. The Indians came up on us from their hiding places. Seven of our company was badly wounded. John Stevenson [Swenson] came to camp with two arrows in his left arm. Peter Doctor with an arrow in his cheek and one clear through his neck. A Swedish Brother had one arrow in the small of his back. He never was able to walk on the rest of the journey. All we could do to relieve the wounded was let them sit down on the wagon hub, with their backs resting against the spokes.
Our instruments of relief consisting of common blacksmith pinchers or nippers, with these we extracted all the arrows except the one from Peter Doctor’s neck. We hunted the camp over and found a pair with extra long handles. We laid the Doctor on the ground with his head resting on an ox yoke, two men sat on him while Albert Davis gave a strong pull and managed to get the arrow from his neck.
Brother Peter [Oluf] Holmgreen [Holmgren] (later of Bear River City) was shot by a bullet, he fell, then arose, staggered three or four steps and fell again. We took him for dead but he recovered. Anderson was shot in the face. It took a little of his cheek and nose. Holmgreen was still lying as if dead until we had cared for the other wounded. At this time Mrs. [Johanna Janssen] Holmgreen was lying in their wagon with her new born son, John [Peter], in her arms. Brother Frederick [Frantz] Grunottwick [Grundtvig] came to camp with an arrow fastened in his hip. His wife was taken by the Indians and we never heard of her again.
At Sweet Water a relief train consisting of 44 mule teams met us with provisions, and relieved us of our sick and invalids, so we went on shoveling snow so we could put up our tents.
We reached Green River at noon and decided to cross that day, it took until after dark. One wagon with a man, wife and children was left on a sand bank in the middle of the river all night. The king bolt of the wagon had broken. Captain asked me to go and bring them in at daylight. They were all well only had a restless night. We had to swim our teams and many a teamster had to hold on to oxen or wagons to keep from being drowned.
On Nov. 8 we landed in S.L.C. Utah on 8th ward square where the City and County Building now stands. Brigham Young, W. W. Riter met us and shook hands. Beside the company of emigrants of 45 wagons we were joined by 10 more wagons of emigrants, which gave more protection, as the Indians were on the warpath. These wagons were loaded with freight in charge of Albert Davis with Lewis Romney [Miles Park Romney] his assistant. These two captains coming from Utah at age of 25 years in my opinion was more than half the fighting force against the Indians for protection of emigrants