Ahlstrom, Mary Larsen, Autobiographical sketch, 1919, 2-4.
Now we came to Platte River; there were quicksand bottoms here and we had a serious time to cross. They had to hurry and not stop for then the oxen’s feet would go down in the sand and also the wagons wheels; they had to hitch on 4 and 5 yoke of oxen to one wagon to pull them across, and that would take a long time. All of us women had to wade and we had to hurry so we wouldn’t sink in the sand. My husband carried our baby and I held to his arm so I wouldn’t fall. At [last] we all got across and started further West. We jogged along till we could see Chimney Rock. It looks like a chimney a long way off, and it took us several days to reach it. We saw no settlments, only Indian camps until we came to Fort Laramie, and it was only a few houses with a wall around them to protect them from the Indians.
On and on we went; we had two deaths on the road, a baby and an old man. They were buried by the road side. At last we came to Green River; that is a big stream of water and a dangerous stream to cross and it took us several days before all the teams got over. Here there were good feed for the cattle and also wood to burn. Women folks could not cade [wade] across that river; we had to ride in wagons. One Irish woman wouldn’t ride and she got out in the stream and nearly went under, and lots of men had to get out to help her to shore. We had bad roads all the way and poor feed for the cattle. Lots of them died from alkali water. My father lost one ox. We waded lots of streams of water and we had to sit down and dry our feet and put our shoes and stockings on again. The road was full of sand, prickly pears and snakes: we nearly stepped on them sometimes.
I don’t remember dates, but on my birthday the 21st of August, we were out of flour and had nothing to eat. We had coffee, and that tasted good: so we got a pan full of flour from a family and a boy had killed a rabbit and gave that to mother and we had a rabbit soup that night on my birthday. Mother made dumplings of flour and water and soda and it tasted good I guess. I ate the dumplings but I couldn’t think of the rabbit. Next morning we had biscuits, just one for each person, and the same at noon and evening. After a day or two we got some flour from somebody so we had bread until we got to Salt Lake City on the 29th of Aug. 1859. But the last days before we got there we had a hard struggle up the big mountain. We had to stop every few minutes and pick up rocks and put them under the wagon wheels so them [they] wouldn’t roll back. The mountain was so steep the oxen couldn’t hold them. That mountain was five miles high up hill, and I carried my baby all the way. When we got to the top we rested a little while. I don’t remember how far it was across the top, but we had to get down the other side to camp where there was water and feed. That was dangerous to go down, too, so it took all the men to help so the wagons wouldn’t tip over. Then there was a little mountain it was steep too but not so high. We came through Echo Canyon and Emigration Canyon and arrived safely on the camping place in Salt Lake, where the people came to look for old friends and brought watermelons and molasses cookies. We camped here for some days and the oxen were drove away to feed.