Peder Madsen diary, 1856 April-September translated by Don H. Smith, 19-29.
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- Source Locations
- Church History Library, MS 1451
- Related Companies
- James G. Willie Company (1856)
- Related Persons
- Johan August Ahmanson
- Maria Kristine Andersen
- Johanne Kirstine Andersen
- Millen Atwood
- Niels Lars Christensen
- Joseph Benson Elder
- Anna Catherine Hansen
- Maren Hansen
- Nils Hansen
- Anna Kirstine Mortensen
- Elizabeth Ingrey
- Paul Jacobsen
- James Peter Jacobson
- Anna Kirstine Jacobson
- Christian Jensen
- Karen Jensen Jensen
- Petrea Caroline Jensen
- Lars Julius Larsen
- Peter Larsen
- Ole Lykke Madsen
- Peter Madsen
- Petrea Elisa Mathaea Madsen
- Helle Nielsen
- Jens Nielsen
- Levi Savage Jr.
- Olof Jacobsson Wicklund
- James Grey Willie
Saturday, June 28, 1856. Weather: unstable; thunder with storm and rain. Provisions were issued for two days: flour, sugar, coffee, tea, dried apples, and smoked pork. The sisters began to sew tents, and some were set up. Brother VanCott (John VanCott) came here with a large herd of male and female cattle, they say 400, which are destined for the journey.
Sunday, June 29, 1856. Weather: beautiful. Morning and afternoon gatherings for worship. Many strangers were present and there was good order. Prayer gathering at 8 o'clock. VanCott, Bishop Tyler (Daniel Tyler), and several others gave sermons and Christiansen spoke of the experiences he had encountered.
Monday, June 30, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 10 o'clock provisions were issued for two days: flour, sugar, dried apples, coffee, tea, salt, and smoked pork. It was made known to the handcart company that no person could convey more than 17 pounds per person with them on the carts. The remaining goods, however, can be transported to the valley by some of the inhabitants for (left blank) dollars per 100 pounds. There are those who sold their belongings in Iowa (City), and I gave mine to the brothers in St. Louis who are unable to come home. (I) sold flour to Line Larsen for 35 cents. 8 o'clock prayer gathering. Talks by Ahmanson, Christiansen, and Larsen against grumbling, dissatisfaction, and complaining which have crept in among the company by some individuals who have not yet learned their duty and obedience to God's law and his servants. The thirtieth of June Christian Jensen's son, Jens Christian Jensen, died. He was born August 16, 1854, in Peterborg Parish, Hagerup City, Soro County, on Selland in Denmark.
Tuesday, July 1, 1856. Weather: unstable; thunder and rain. The sisters and the brothers who can sew are busy sewing tents and thinking about what they are going to do with thee goods they cannot take with them. Some go to town and sell, and purchasers appear here in the camp. Prayer gathering 8 o'clock.
Wednesday July 2, 1856. Weather: unstable; loud thunder and much rain. Christiansen left us this afternoon and went on his mission to St. Louis and elsewhere. We were happy for him and wished the Lord's blessings upon him. Provisions were issued for two days: flour, sugar, coffee, tea, dried apples, salt, and smoked pork. Tents were sewn. Prayer gathering 8 o'clock.
Thursday July 3, 1856. Weather: unstable; thunder and much rain. This morning our beloved brother VanCott and traveled to St Louis in order to purchase perhaps seven hundred male and female cattle to drive to the valley. He bid us a hearty farewell, wished us an enjoyable trip, and hoped he would see us again in Council Bluffs. He asked me to greet the saints in Denmark and Scandinavia whom he loved. This afternoon tents were set up and in each tent twenty persons shall be placed. 9 o'clock prayer and song in the tents.
Friday, July 4, 1856. Weather: beautiful. This morning we bathed in a little river or a large stream which crosses through meadow and woods. Here the sisters have good access to wash in it. The freedom which one has here is not known in Denmark. Several hundred tender of land, exceptionally good ground, is like our own property. Upon it our oxen and mules graze. In the woods we obtain the needed fuel supply. One finds here very dry fuel. The company had shooting practice and gatherings in order to celebrate the day upon which the North American people won their freedom and a constitution.
Saturday July 5, 1856. Weather: beautiful; very warm. 8 o'clock some of the brethren went to Iowa (City) with transport handcarts loaded with bedding and other items for sale. Some went through the city and sold (miscellaneous) items for a low price. Brother Ahmanson, however, who was on the scene, discovered an auction place and showed the brethren the same. The brethren helped with the sale here. The bedding was sold at 27 to 55 cents per pound. Linen and clothing did not sell well. Much effort is required in order to dispose of our surplus items, if one is to be reimbursed for the money expended in transporting extra weight to this place. It cost me $8 for 105 pounds over weight. The freight from here to the valley is so high that the materials sent would have to be of good quality in order to be profitable. At 6 o'clock Sister Hagemand (Larsen) gave birth to a son who was given the name Lars Julius Larsen. She is doing well.
Sunday, July 6, 1856. Weather: beautiful. Morning and afternoon worship gatherings. Hannah Andersen, who didn't have the money to pay for her journey beyond this place, bid Brother Ahmanson ask Lars Madsen and Hans Rasmusen to loan her the necessary money. She received such: $20 from Lars Madsen and $20 from Hans Rasmusen, for which she gave her note. At the gathering Brother Ahmanson gave a sermon.
Monday, July 7, 1856. Weather: beautful; very warm. 9 o'clock this morning a number of the brethren went to Iowa (City) drawing three handcarts loaded with bedding and clothing which were sold for $71. Some of the bretheren went together and purchased a yoke of oxen for $115 and intend to buy a wagon in which to transport their surplus goods to the valley. The health of the company is good. On the contrary it is difficult to preserve a good spirit when many delusions creep in. Because of this the authorities have much to combat and watch over.
Tuesday, July 8, 1856. Weather: unstable; thunder with much rain. Provisions were issued. Many orders were given to the company, among which were orderliness and industry. This evening part of an English company arrived here during a rain and thunderstorm. The group numbers 800 (Martin Company), who for the most part will travel with a handcart company. They were cheerful and happy to arrive. They were distributed among all the tents and were treated with coffee and bread.
Wednesday, July 9, 1856. Weather: beautiful; in the afternoon some rain. Orders were given to pack up with the return of our beloved brother Spencer. He has prepared the way for us. We are glad that the time is so near for the continuance of our journey, upon which we will gather experiences that will follow us into eternity. The Lord will bless and preserve the faithful who will do his will.
Thursday, July 10, 1856. Weather: unstable; thunder and much rain during the night. The day was spent packing etc., and orders were given to the effect that we will depart tomorrow afternoon. One handcart with a cover is allotted to each tent where there are children who need to ride. The brethren who had gone together in obtaining oxen, purchased a wagon for $60. They received a loan of $50 from Lars Madsen and promised to pay him back when they arrive home in Salt Lake City. A note was issued in which the oxen and the wagon were listed as colateral.
Friday, July 11, 1856. Weather: unstable. Preparations were made for our departure. The handcarts which were delivered to us are well constructed and light. They have very strong wooden wheels, four feet high. The rim is made up of two steam bent fellies around which is fasteneed an iron tire. They have wooden axels upon which are attached two shafts eight feet long with five matching crosss pieces. The carts are four feet wide and weigh 60 pounds. They provide approximately sixteen square feet for the belongings of five persons which weigh 85 pounds. Prayer 9 o'clock.
Saturday, July 12, 1856. Weather: beautiful. The shareholders in the oxen and wagon weighed their belongings, 1000 pounds, and loaded them. Some of the brethren are in the city in order to sell their possessions. 10 o'clock provisions were issued for two days: flour, pork, dried apples, sugar, coffee, tea, salt, and soda. Thereafter our things were weighed which we are taking with us on the handcarts. Prayer gathering 8 o'clock.
Sunday, July 13, 1856. Weather: beautiful. In the afternoon there was a worship service in which we partook of the Holy Sacrament. Although many strangers were present, there was very good order in camp and many instructions were given.
Monday, July 14, 1856. Weather: beautiful.
Tuesday, July 15, 1856. Weather: beautiful; very warm. Provisions were given for one day, and the handcart company prepared itself for its departure. The Danish division of the Willie Handcart Company numbers 93 persons of whom 4 are sick. They are divided into 5 tents; number 1 has 17 persons and numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5 have 19 persons each. Each tent has 3 regular handcarts and one covered handcart for the children. Lars Madsen loaned me $10 which brother Ahmanson and I expect to use in obtaining the necessitites for the company. I gave him a note promising to repay at our home coming in the valley. I received 65 cents from the brethren for the sustaining of the treasury.
Tent No. 1[.] 4 brothers 12 sisters 1 child
Tent No. 2[.] 4 families 5 brothers 4 sisters 10 children
Tent No. 3[.] 4 families 5 brothers 4 sisters 10 children
Tent No. 4[.] 4 families 6 brothers 7 sisters 6 children
Tent No. 5[.] 4 families 4 brothers 4 sisters 11 children
Wednesday, July 16, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 7 o’clock part of the English and Danish portions of the company which shall travel together over the plains moved. The company is made up of 5 divisions with 23 tents; four handcarts and 19 to 20 persons per tent. Each division has a wagon drawn by 4 oxen which transports the provisions, tents, and sick. This group made a journey of a few hundred yards and moved camp in the order in which they shall henceforth travel. Each tent was assigned its captain and its people. Provisions were given for one day.
Thursday, July 17, 1856. Weather: beautiful. Three Indians visited the camp and showed their skill in shooting with a bow. 7 o’clock the 5 divisions left the camp and had a two hours march. 9 o’clock we camped on a flat area in a circle with 22 tents and 42 handcarts. One tent had to remain in the camp with 3 sick persons who shall come later. Our provisions came with the tents (in the provision wagons). Our oxen found abundant grazing—hay grass. The area is beautiful and fertile but sparcely settled. 10 o’clock the signal was given for prayer and song in the tents. Guards were set out.
Friday, July 18, 1856. Weather: unstable; later on in the day very warm. 4 o’clock President [James Gray] Willie blew the horn for everyone to get up and put his things in order. 8 o’clock provisions were issued for one day: flour, sugar, pork, rice, soap, salt, and dried apples. Right after the prayer gathering the horn sounded to move out. The company of 500 has 5 wagons with provisions and tents. The wagon used to carry the sick is drawn by 4 mules and the others by 6 oxen. Brothers Willie and [Johna August] Ahmanson drove the last two wagons and had much difficulty in driving their oxen. The company was cheerful and happy. One sick sister was carried on a covered handcart. We journeyed 10 to 12 miles. Those with handcarts were anxious and wanted to pass one another. 3 o’clock we camped by a wooded area. At 5 o’clock Willie and Ahmanson came with their wagons after much difficulty and danger in driving over the bad bridges and hole filled roads which are found here. Rocks are seldom found, the roads receive no improvements, and one drives where best he can through fertile hills and plains. The country is wave like in form, with tree clad hills, sparsely settled, yet much of the land is under cultivation. It produces good crops of wheat and corn which are almost the only grains that are grown here. 8 o’clock the horn sounded for prayer and song.
Saturday, July 19, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock the horn was blown to get up. 6 o’clock prayer and song. 9 o’clock the company drew away. 7 o’clock camped in a wooded area 20 miles from Iowa City by a stream, a convenient place to bathe and wash. Brothers Willie, [Millen] Atwood, and Ahmanson drove the oxen here. Prayer gathering 9 o’clock.
Sunday, July 20, 1856. Weather: beautiful. The company bathed and washed. A meeting was held this aftrnoon. Many strangers visited the camp, and the saints were happy. Provisions: flour for one day, coffee etc. for three days. Lars Julius Larsen born July 5, 1856, was blessed by Elder Ahmanson.
Monday, July 21, 1856. Weather: beautiful; very warm. 4 o’clock President Willie blew the horn to get up, 7 o’clock prayer, and departure thereafter. 11 o’clock we camped in a wooded area by a stream where we had ample opportunity to bathe and wash. This evening some strangers tried to disturb us and by threats tried to drive us away. President Willie, who knew the people in Illinois, made a comparison and upheld the brethren in arming themselves for battle. Our enemies found it unadvisable (to carry out their threats) and failed to appear.
Tuesday, July 22, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock President Willie blew the horn to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and thereafter departure. 1 o’clock we camped by a stream in a wooded area where there was ample opportunity for bathing and washing. 6 o’clock provisions: flour for one day. Prayer 8 o’clock.
Wednesday, July 23, 1856. Weather: unstable, however no rain; very warm. 4 o’clock the horn was blown to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. We rested a few hours on a hill until 6 o’clock and then traveled to a wooded area through which flows a stream. We found abundant grass for the oxen. We arrived here at 8 o’clock. When the tents were set up provisions were issued: flour for one day, sugar, coffee, dried apples, tea, pork, and salt. Prayer 11 o’clock. The company traveled 14 miles. It was difficult to hold the train together in the order assigned because many try to pass one another. Brother Ahmanson must still drive the oxen because he will not yet trust anyone. The 5 sick and 2 lame were carried, one on a handcart and the others in the wagon.
Thursday, July 24, 1856. Weather: beautiful; very hot. 4 o’clock the horn was blown to get up. 9 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. Here in this region the people are more friendly toward us. They give us milk, and we have purchased wheat flour for 2 cents per pound, about 4 _____ in Danish money. 11 o’clock we camped in a wooded area by a stream where we had opportunity to bathe and wash. About 2 miles from the former place we passed a brick factory. Here they use only bricks for chimneys. Although this area is very fruitful, it is yet sparsely settled. Here one finds large locust trees. Wine and plum svugten brugter bruges til deient (possibly—grape and plum prunes are used as dessert). The wheat has been cut and bound in most places. Here one finds a beautiful people; their homes are clean and neat. There are strong and powerful blooded horses og s_____jorguve rasen. The cows and oxen are larger and more beautiful than in Holstein, almost all red. Prayer 8 o’clock. Brother Willie and others spoke a great deal about the wickedness that has been discovered among the English, who will be punished according to the law for milking strangers’ cows and killing their pigs. An English sister died and was buried.
Ole Madsen paid 15 cents
Christensen paid 10 cents
Jens Nielsen paid 10 cents
Friday, July 25, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock the horn was blown to get up. 6 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. The rain had flooded the ground so that it was difficult to draw the handcarts. We traveled 8 miles and camped by a wooded area and brook. Provisions: flour for one day, sugar, coffee, port etc. for three days.
Sunday, July 27, 1856. Weather: unstable. 4 o’clock the horn was blown to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure. We traveled two hours and reached a wooded area; a branch of the Mississippi winds through it. Here was ample opportunity to bathe and wash. The region was very hilly with small wood lots and much grass. This afternoon gathering for worship. 8 o’clock prayer gathering. Some strangers visited the camp.
Monday, July 28, 1856. Weather: unstable. 5 o’clock the horn was blown to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. We traveled through an uneven country with many steep hills which required all of our strength in order to get through. The land is fertile with large wooded areas, sparsely populated. With the approach of evening we passed through Newton, a new city which has come into existence in the last few years. Some distance from it we camped by a wooded area and stream. Prayer 8 o’clock.
Tuesday, July 29, 1856. Weather: unstable. 4 o’clock the horn was blown to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. The Danish division were ordered to take the lead. I was therefore the very first over the many decayed bridges and difficulties which we met this day. Ahmanson with his wagon was in danger. The bridges had to be repaired etc., yet we survived and everything was well after the day’s hardships. At 3 o’clock we arrived happy and well at the camping place. We found abundant grass and water for ourselves and the animals by a little river and wooded area. Provisions were given: flour for one day, sugar, tea, coffee, salt, dried apples, and pork for three days. The provisions were somewhat less. Prayer 7 o’clock. Willie gave warning with much seriousness against the disorder which was present.
Wednesday, July 30, 1856. Weather: unstable. 4 o’clock the horn was blown to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. We traveled 18 miles and camped at 7 o’clock near [blank space] (Fort Des Moines) City. Our oxen were tied by the wagons during the night. At noon time we passed through [blank space] (Jericho?) City which also has just recently come into existence. The land is fertile and there are many large farms here. 8 o’clock prayer.
Thursday, July 31, 1856. Weather: beautiful; very warm. 3:30 o’clock the horn was blown to get up. 5 o’clock prayer, departure thereafter. During the morning hours we passed through [blank space] (Fort Des Moines) City, a large city which had many nice houses and the inhabitants were also a nice people. Through the city flows the [blank space] (Des Moines) River by which we camped, outside of the city, where we found water and abundant grazing for the cattle. Here we purchased the necessities. 5 o’clock we camped by a stream and wooded area, good grazing. 8 o’clock prayer. Some strangers tried to disturb us so Willie gave orders that the brethren might be dressed and prepared to come when called. The strangers did nothing more than make a little noise.
Friday, August 1, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock the horn was blown to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. At noon time we passed through [blank space] (between Fort Des Moines and Adel) City. At 5 o’clock we camped by a stream and wooded area. 8 o’clock prayer.
Saturday, August 2, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 5 o’clock we were called up. Prayer 7 o’clock and departure thereafter. We traveled far. There was much unrest in the company, and the bad feelings showed themselves in word as well as deed. The unrest and disorder ensued because we had to wade across two rivers and had several hills that were hard to climb. 6 o’clock we camped by a river in a wooded area near a mill. We were visited here by many strangers. 8 o’clock prayer.
Sunday, August 3, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 5 o’clock called up. 8 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. In the forenoon we passed a terrain, wave like in form, and observed a phenomenon in the air. A beam of fire like a large rocket went through the sky and left behind a wide stripe with wide dots which developed into small clouds that followed the flow of air in the direction of the beam of fire from west to east. Some minutes after it was followed by a loud clap of thunder in otherwise clear air. At noon we camped on a plain by a river and wooded area. We had good opportunity to bathe and wash. A spring gave us the best drinking water.
Monday, August 4, 1856. Weather: beautiful. Called up at 4 o’clock. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. The region was very hilly and only slightly settled. We camped by a wooded area and stream. 8 o’clock prayer.
Tuesday, August 5, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock called to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. We camped on a plain where good water and pasture were found. Prayer 8 o’clock.
Wednesday, August 6, 1856. Weather: unstable; thunder and rain during the night. 4 o’clock called to get up. 7 o’clock prayer, departure thereafter. Because of the rain the road was not good. Since one finds no gravel here we travel on black humus which in rainy weather is very slick. The nights for several days have been cold which has caused colds so that we have 12 sick. Sister Jacobsen gave birth. A four month old sister and a boy were very sick.
Thursday, August 7, 1856. Weather: beautiful; the night very cold. 4 o’clock called to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. During the noon hour we traveled through [blank space] (Indian Town) City by a little river where there were merchants and trading which supplied us with our needs. 5 o’clock we camped on a plain by a brook and good pasture. Loaned haugmand Peder Larsen 10 cents. Paul Jacobsen borrowed 10 cents.
Friday, August 8, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock called to get up. 7 o’clock prayer, departure therafter. 4 o’clock we camped by a stream. 8 o’clock prayer.
Saturday, August 9, 1856. Weather: thunder and rain. 4 o’clock called up. 7 o’clock prayer, departure thereafter. 3 o’clock we camped on a plain by a stream. The region we passed was very wave like with high hills and very little settled. Prayer 8 o’clock.
Sunday, August 10, 1856. Weather: beautiful. The day was spent washing, baking, preparing food, and in worship until 4 o’clock. The company then left the camp site and traveled westward over hill and dale until 8 o’clock. We camped by a stream in the vicinity of Council Bluffs, on a plain by the Missouri River. 8 o’clock prayer gathering.
Monday, August 11, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock called up. 7 o’clock prayer, departure thereafter. During the forenoon we traveled through Council Bluffs, a city which several years ago came into being and appears to have made good progress due to its good location. In the afternoon we came to the Missouri River and were ferried over by the steamboat to Florence, a city which has arisen this summer. The place is notable because it was known ten years ago as Winter Quarters by those Mormons who were driven from Missouri (Illinois). They lived here until they were again expelled and had to look to the West where they found rest in the mountain valley where they established a city. (Note in margin) 3000 Mormons built a city which they called Winter Quarters and which they left the next spring and lost 300 who died here. We have here a supply house for the preservation of provisions and other necessities for emigration. We are going to hold up here several days in order to rest and prepare ourselves for the journey through the wilderness. Towards evening we were encamped by the river and the woods. We found here good grazing for the cattle and for several hundred cows and oxen which brother Vancott had purchased and brought here to supply the emigration. 520 cows and heifers and 123 calves.
Tuesday, August 12, 1856. Weather: beautiful. The saints were happy, busy with washing, repairing, and daily provisioning which is now given regularly. A cow was slaughtered and distributed. Fresh meat soup was eaten. We bathed and visited the beautiful neighborhood and the Mormon ruins. In the evening five brothers and sisters were baptized, the sick were washed, namely Peder Jacobsen, Anne K. Jacobsen, Petrea Madsen, Marie Andersen, and Ellen [Helle] Nielsen. They were baptized (for their health) by [Olof] Wicklund.
Wednesday, August 13, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 7 o’clock prayer. Brother VanCott came back and had found the lost cows. We were happy to see him and especially since he told me that he had thought about me a great deal and wanted to drive his wagon, which offer I received with thanksgiving. Notes to Daniel Spencer were issued and signed by the company as surety for the provisioning etc. 8 o’clock prayer. Ane Andersen renewed her covenant and was baptized by Jens Nielsen.
Thursday, August 14, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 7 o’clock prayer. Provisions are given daily. The wagons were loaded with provisions for the trip. All the wagons and handcarts are looked after and repaired; the tents are looked after and repaired. Bewilderment is written (on the faces) of the whole group who will continue with the handcart company regarding what weapons and ammunition they ought to take with them. Some of the English brothers and sisters are remaining behind here and two of the Danish division, Namely Niels Hansen and his wife Anne [Anna] C[atherine]. Hansen. They have found a place in Council Bluffs where many apostate Mormons are staying and seek to draw others with them. They say that high wages are given. Rasmussen from Regnegade and his wife live there. She has been excommunicated. He visited us and says that he earns 2 dollars, room, and board per day. Ane K. Mortensen renewed her covenant and was baptized by Wicklund.
Friday, August 15, 1856. Weather: beautiful. Prayer 7 o’clock. A cow was slaughtered and distributed. Niels Hansen came back to get his things. He owes Elder Ahmanson 10 spesier which he can’t pay. After being requested for it he gave a pocket watch which was valued at 4 spesier and a note for a share in two oxen and a wagon valued at 6 spesier and the same to Ole Madsen for 1 dollar. Extra meat was given for soup for the sick, to which was added 50 cents’ worth of herbs, which money was taken from the possessions of Maren Hansen. Prayer 8 o’clock. At 7 o’clock this morning Maren Hansen, 52 years, died. Her belongings were made note of and preserved.
Saturday, August 16, 1856. Weather: beautiful. Prayer 7 o’clock. Maren Hansen’s possessions were distributed among the poor, and a measurement was taken of the feet of those who needed shoes. Those who needed small shoes were given canvas to use, if they desire it, until they receive new shoes in place of it. The repaired handcarts were delivered. The Danish section received 15 open and 4 covered handcarts. During the afternoon two English sections left camp for the next camp 6 miles away. The four English sections are considerably reduced in number, [blank space] individuals stayed behind in Florence. The whole company now numbers thus: [blank space] individuals, [blank space] English and [blank space] Danish. [blank space] American families who have remained here a time with their oxen and wagons will travel through the wilderness with us. The oxen were selected, 8 to each wagon. Twenty beef cows and their calves were selected which shall give us milk and meat on the journey. 7 o’clock the dead Maren Hansen was driven out to the Mormon graveyard where 10 years ago 300 Mormons were buried. She was accompanied by 8 brothers (probably pallbearers). Willie gave the prayer (dedicated the grave), then the body was lowered into the grave; with this the ceremony came to an end. 8 o’clock prayer.
Sunday, August 17, 1856. Weather: unstable. 8 o’clock prayer. 11 o’clock we left the camp grounds at Florence and traveled 6 miles west. We camped by a stream where we found good water and good grazing for the cattle. We joined the two sections who had left before us. We are now in the wilderness, a wave-like country without wooded areas, only a few. The soil is of exceptional quality which produces the best grass varieties, is rich in humus, clay, and lime; good for the raising of wheat. 8 o’clock prayer gathering. Brother Ahmanson gave a sermon and warning to those who are disorderly in their work. Ole Masen [Madsen] borrowed 20 cents for hooks and line.
Monday, August 18, 1856. Weather: unstable. 4 o’clock called up. 8 o’clock prayer. Different orders were given for the arrangement of our belongings. New eating utensils were distributed among those in need. During the afternoon we traveled 6 miles and thereafter camped by a stream. 8 o’clock prayer gathering. Sister Petrea Caroline Jensen, born in Frederikstad, Norway, August 12, 1831, who has stayed in America in [blank space], is now accompanying the Danish section to the valley.
Tuesday, August 19, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock called up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. At 11 o’clock we arrived at the ferrying place by the Elkhorn River [blank space]. A place of business had been established here which was supplied with merchandise that was usable for the travelers. The company supplied themselves with the needed necessities. During the afternoon we were carried over on the ferry and traveled one mile from the river. We camped by a stream where good water and good grazing were found.
Wednesday, August 20, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock Brother Willie blew the horn to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. We now traveled over the plains, a flat land like Amager (an island in Denmark), several miles wide, through which the Platte River has its course. Towards the south and the north the terrain was wave like in form. 12 o’clock lunch for 2 hours. 7 o’clock we camped by the Platte River. We met a company with wagons and horses, some carrying packs. Part of the company was horseback and some in nice wagons. They said they had come from California and had passed Deseret and Salt Lake.
Thursday, August 21, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 5 o’clock the horn blew to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. 12 o’clock lunch for 2 hours. 8 o’clock we camped in the wilderness without water or fuel. 9 o’clock prayer.
Friday, August 22, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock the horn blew to get up. 5 o’clock departure. 8 o’clock breakfast by the river. 1 o’clock lunch. 7 o’clock we camped by the river, after we had traveled 18 miles. 9 o’clock prayer.
Saturday, August 23, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock the horn blew to get up. 6 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. During the noon hour we arrived at the ferrying place (ferry over the Loup Fork River) and began crossing which took all afternoon. In the meantime a cow and a calf were slaughtered and distributed, one pound per person. We camped by the river near a wooded area and good grazing. 8 o’clock prayer.
Sunday, August 24, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock the horn blew to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. We traveled 23 miles and had 4 hours rest during breakfast and lunch. 7 o’clock we camped by the river. 8 o’clock prayer.
Monday, August 25, 1856. Weather: unstable with rain and blowing. 4 o’clock the horn blew to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. We traveled 18 miles, crossed a mountain and a sandy terrain which slowed us down greatly. 7 o’clock we camped by the river. The cow whose calf was taken from her (slaughtered) has run away and taken two others with her. One was found but two are lost.
Tuesday, August 26, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock the horn blew to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. We traveled 12 miles and camped at 2 o’clock by the river. We found tracks of wolves and animals along the way. Buffalo were here in the wilderness, and we look forward to getting buffalo steak soon. 8 o’clock prayer. 9 o’clock council meeting. By unanimous vote it was adopted that the presidents, in shifts of half each night, have supervision of the guard. Those who have weapons must be prepared to assemble themselves together when the signal is given on the horn in case the Indians should seek to rob us of something.
Wednesday, August 27, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock the horn blew to get up. 6 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. 11 :30 we stopped and had lunch on the heath. We traveled 18 miles through waste land with difficulty. 6 o’clock we stopped on the heath by a water puddle. We camped here. During the morning we met 3 wanderers who said that in two days we would see a great number of buffalo etc. These three were deserters from a fort where the government has soldiers in order to have supervision over the Indians that attack the travelers who pass this way to and from California and Utah territory. 8 o’clock prayer.
Thursday, August 28, 1856. Weather: beautiful and during the night thunder and rain. 4 o’clock the horn blew to get up. 6 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. 11 to 1 lunch by a stream (Prairie Creek). Thereafter we traveled over the plains to the stream [blank space] (Wood River) where we arrived at 7 o‘clock and camped. Here we saw the first buffalo but didn’t have time to hunt them because we had to try to reach our camping spot before nightfall. 9 o’clock prayer.
Friday, August 29, 1856. Weather: unstable. Prayer 7 o’clock. Some of the brethren were sent out in search of an old Englishman who was left out over night in rain and thunder; he remained on the prairie. They found him and he was allowed to ride back. The handcarts that needed to be repaired were put in shape during the morning. 12 o’clock we left the camp and traveled towards the Indian camp. We met many who came toward us with friendliness and followed us to the camp where we stayed overnight, one mile from the Indian camp. We camped at 3 o’clock. Brothers Willie, Atwood, [Levi] Savage, and Ahmanson presented the chief of the Omaha tribe with presents and paid their respects. They received from him dried buffalo meat. Ahmanson gave him a tattered nightcap. The chief gave him his pipe to smoke and was very friendly towards the brethren. The tribe in the camp numbers 800 individuals. They told the brethren that the Cheyenne Indian tribe had killed 2 men and a child on Monday the 25th of August from Secretary Babbit’s company of 4 loaded wagons headed for Utah. These were scattered with the goods and the oxen driven away. Secretary Babbit drove into the camp where he stayed overnight. Secretary Babbit, who had driven from Florence in 4 days, said that the wagon company (Hodgett’s Wagon Train) had arrived in Florence in good condition. Hansen (Niels Hansen who had stayed behind) had held them up in Council Bluffs and antaget paacurater (perhaps obtain a writ) with demand to get his things (out of the wagon).
Saturday, August 30, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock the horn blew to get up. 7 o’clock prayer and departure thereafter. Early in the morning many Indians appeared in the camp to trade with us. We received dried buffalo meat and moccasins for handkerchiefs and pieces of clothing. I received a pair of moccasins for two handkerchiefs. About 2 miles from the camp we traveled past the place where Secretary Babbit’s 4 wagons were plundered and 2 [blank space] were killed by the Indians. We are told the Indians had stolen some mules and were therefore pursued by the military which the United States government has stationed in a Losfort (Fort Kearney) in order to hold the Indians under observation for peace along the route. The military overtook them and shot 16 Indians. The Indians were furious and sought to revenge them. Babbit who is secretary in Utah is also paid by the states who [blank space]. He is not a Mormon nor his people who drove his wagons. The dead were buried. Some of their things lay about the place which the brethren found bloody and therefore assumed that they were murdered in their beds. Some of the few things that were left nearby were burned (by the Willie Company). During the noon hour there was a hunt after what we believed were buffalo, but they were two of Babbit’s oxen which were held together with a yoke. (The hunt) was carried out by 2 brothers, Savage and [blank space] (J[oseph]. B[enson]. Elder), on horseback. 5 o’clock we camped by a stream.
Sunday, August 31, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock the horn blew to get up. 7 o’clock prayer, departure thereafter. During the morning hours we met 4 gold diggers from California who told us that they had passed Utah territory and that everything was well there etc. They were riding and had race horses which carried some of their things. Shortly thereafter Babbit came driving four mules in full caricature and went to the fort (Fort Kearney). Willie shot a large rattle snake. We traveled 20 miles and camped at 7 o’clock by the Platte River where we had good water and good grazing for the oxen. 8 o’clock prayer.
Monday, September 1, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock the horn blew to get up. 6 o’clock prayer, departure ½ hour thereafter. We saw several buffalo; one was shot some miles from them and brought to the camp the same evening. A cow was slaughtered. We camped by a stream at 5 o’clock. Prayer 8 o’clock.
Tuesday, September 2, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock up, 8 o’clock prayer, 9 o’clock departure. The meat was distributed: ¾ pound cow and 1½ pounds buffalo per person. Provisions were likewise distributed: sugar, coffee, tea, salt, soap, rice etc. for 6 days. 1 pound flour per person daily. Lunch 1 to 3 o’clock. In the afternoon we traveled only 2 miles because the crossing over the stream was bad. The delay forced us to camp one hour later by the same stream because we couldn’t reach our next camping place the same day. Some dissatisfaction and unwillingness among the brethren regarding the distribution of items among the handcarts caused Brother Ahmanson to decide that all materials should be weighed and 6 persons’ belongings place in each handcart. Here we found fuel in over abundance; good water and grazing.
Wednesday, September 3, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 4 o’clock up, 7 o’clock prayer, 8 o’clock departure. We traveled several miles over hill and dale and saw buffalo by the thousands. During the noon hour Ole Madsen shot a large buffalo and an Englishman another. Both were distributed, about 2 pounds per person. 12 to 3 o’clock lunch time. 6 o’clock we camped by a little stream. 8 o’clock prayer. An old English sister [Elizabeth Ingra] was buried before departure.
Thursday, September 4, 1856. Weather: unstable during the night, heavy thunderstorm and much rain. 4 o’clock up, 7 o’clock prayer. Some oxen had gone away during the night, which the brethren were sent out to find. In the meantime Secretary Babbit drove in and said that he had passed today, 20 miles back, brother Wolley’s Company with [Abraham O.] Smoot Wagons from Kansas; some Danish are among them. Prayer 8 o’clock in the council meeting. During the night a storm raged with strong hurricane (winds) which upset some of the tents and brought much disturbance.
Friday, September 5, 1856. Weather: unstable with cold air. 7 o’clock prayer. Council was held thereafter where it was decided that Elder [Niels Larsen] Christensen as captain of some of the Danish brethren was to be sent out to look for the lost oxen, 22 in all. They were not found. In the evening the brethren came back. Bishop [Abraham O.] Smoot and Rockwell visited us and told us that their company was camped on the other side of the Platte River and were willing to carry some of our flour. In the evening it was decided by the council that the train should move tomorrow morning in two divisions. The first is to come back in order to get the wagons and give help to the second. Prayer 8 o’clock.
Saturday, September 6, 1856. Weather: unstable. 5 o’clock called up. 8 o’clock prayer. Elders Ahmanson and Christensen preached repentance from the wickedness that then prevailed or the Lord’s punishment which now had begun would bring death and destruction upon us. At 10 o’clock in the morning the first division, 3 sections and 7 wagons, moved 4 miles to the side of the river. In the afternoon 2 sections with 5 wagons made this move. 5 o’clock we camped. Prayer 9 o’clock.
Sunday, September 7, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 5 o’clock called up. 8 o’clock prayer. Before prayer we held council in which it was decided that the handcarts should be loaded with sacks of flour and tents from the wagons. These, namely 5 wagons, should then be drawn with 12 oxen and the best cows. This is to be done in order to continue the journey with the strength we have. We can’t move too fast, but necessity dictates that we traverse the wild waste, where we are surrounded by wild people and animals, as fast as possible. 10 o’clock worship service was held with sermons and encouragement. In the afternoon the handcarts were repaired and put into the very best condition possible.
Monday, September 8, 1856. Weather: beautiful. 5 o’clock called up. 8 o’clock prayer. An American came riding and said that some days ago he had camped with his family (the families of Thomas Margetts and James Cowdy), 6 in number, about 70 miles from here and had gone out after buffalo. (Peter Madsen’s diary ends at this point).