Pickett, J. W., Autobiography, in Joel Edward Ricks, Cache Valley Historical Material [ca. 1955], reel 4, item 87, pgs. 1-5 (second set of numbering).
But all of the men followed the oxen in the river. The ice was broken and away they go but they make a go of it. We had to drive them a long way up the river in order to cross because the current was so rapid.
I was cook. One day I planned to cook beans. I thought that beans were cooked just like potatoes and before I got through, I had to borrow everything in camp to put beans in and still we had a surplus of beans.
No trouble crossing the Green River.
We then came to the Sandies where we passed Lot Smith's Fire Trap.
We crossed over the South Pass. The elevation here is very high. There are no mountains, it is just a gradual climb.
No trouble crossing the Sandies.
We go out of the Mountains where the snow was nearly all gone. We passed the Sandies and then the South Pass over Pacific Creek, and then we go over to the Sweet Water. The road was very rough. We ran across a train that had been burned by the Indians in the Fall. We dug trenches and burried all the iron that was left and everything else that was of any use, intending to return the following fall for it but we came back on the Simpson Cut-off. I suppose the things we buried are there to this day.
The Sweet Water is a big river in the Spring of the year. We cross Sweet Water several times. Three Crosses is where Johnston's Army suffered great losses.
We had no trouble all the way down.
A challenge was made by John Armstrong, a young fellow who bet that there was not a fellow who could swim Sweet Water. Parley Driggs took up the challenge and swam the river and took the $5.00. When he got back it was like $20.00 in Utah. There was nothing particular occurred until we reached Fort Laramie.
But going down on Goose Creek, here we met an Ox Train. They had wintered there. The snow had overtaken them and they stayed there over winter.
Each one of the boys threw an ox yoke from the train that had wintered there over winter, into his wagon. Just imagine a crowd of boys taking a yoke each and putting it in their wagons. At noon here came one of the men and told the captain that if the yokes and Bows were not returned they would have us all arrested. The captain knew nothing about it. We cast lots and it fell on the chaplin to take them back.
Here we crossed Plat[te] Bridge. We left a portion of our supplies here to gather up on our return journey. We left 100 head of cattle here.
We strike North Plat[te] when we left Sweet Water. And then we go to Deer Creek from Plat[te] Bridge which is several days drive. Here we see more buffalo robes than I have ever seen in my life. That was a mail station. There was a settlers store. You can see veins of coal above the ground.
We wend our way over toward the North. We travel down between the two Plat[te]s. We were on the south side of the North Plat[te]. We finally land at Fort Laramie.
The cholera struck us and they began to die shortly after we started and they continued to die one after another. Shortly after we left the river, they commenced getting sick and died, the old people and babies.
We crossed the Plat[te]. We traveled up the same side of the Plat[te] we traveled in 1866. We crossed the Plat[te] near Laramie. We were on the South side of the South Plat[te] the same as we traveled in 1866.
We came through Ju[lesburg], Rock Creek and Pole Creek. We were on the South side of the South Plat[te]. We had a great deal of grief and trouble with those green teamsters. We go on to Wagon Hound, Pole Creek and wend toward the North. We keep north of the old trail on the Sweet Water.
Bitter Creek is a sluggish stream and it is down a long valley, rough and rugged.
After we get up into Scotch Bluff we are in Wyoming. We came down Bitter Creek. We had more grief traveling and sickness. We were overloaded, had green teamsters not accustomed to handling cattle and you can imagine the grief we had.
We crossed Green River. I believe it is where Green River City is now. The line runs up Bitter Creek and I think that is where Green River City is.
From Green River City we traveled Lone Tree, Blacks Fork, Blacks Fork River across Hams Fork, I believe that is what they call Granger now.
We came over into the Muddy where we burried two in one grave. One by the name of [John] Collins and an elderly woman. The storms came upon us then. Our cattle were tired. We pulled them out of the mud. They would go to drink out of the sluggish streams and would get down and we would have to pull them out of the mud. I have seen the poor fellows drop in the yoke just as though they were shot.
We came down Chalk Creek from Fort Bridge[r] over to Chalk Creek and that is a terribley rough road, hilly and very uneven. We had to balance our wagons with a poll and chain to keep them from tipping over. The snow storms were beginning to come. Children were still dieing.
We came down on the Weber to Coalville. We couldn't travel more than 8 or 9 miles a day. We were heavily loaded. Relief trains came and helped us in but our cattle were terribly reduced. The snow by this time and the frost were so bad that it was almost impossible to drive a tent pin.
We came through Bridges Pass, Wagon Hound. We passed Little Laramie.
We buried another man at Silver Creek.
We came across to Chalk Creek.
We broke an Oxes neck at the head of Parleys Canyon in the yoke in some way. A man by the name of Liddard died and we took him into Salt Lake City. He had relatives in Provo.
We landed in Salt Lake City and that is when I drove this Newton Wagon up into President Young's yard.—November 4 or 19.
Sixteen men were in our mess and two would cook.
We stayed there until the eleventh of June. We loaded up with freight and passengers. The passengers were allowed 100 pounds each. There were 12 passengers to the wagon.
We left there on June 11 and came back the same road. We left Beaver Creek and drove up on the south side of South Plat[te] to Jeweles Burge. The mosquitoes were dreadful.
We crossed the South Plat[te]. There were 12 yoke to the wagon. We loaded with dry goods, candy, different things for the stores and as a matter of course the dandy wagon was spotted. We took boots and shoes out to trade.
Nothing particular occurred. We came over from South Plat[te], started on August 6 from there. We drove over to North Plat[te] down Ash Hollow – (Ash Creek) where there was a big massacre in 1851 when the California immigrants were making their way to California.
We were now in the Sue [blank space] country.
Three tribes were camped at Laramie when we went down. They had a lot of the best horses and mules I had ever seen. We stayed there over night at Ash Creek and wended our way to Chimney Rock and then to Scotts Bluff. It was August and was terribly hot. The moment we would stop the oxen would stop and lie down to rest. We were still on the south side of the North Plat[te].
Fort Laramie. We were held up there by officers and examined in regard to our ammunition and guns and men and they considered us strong enough to go through but we were cautioned against Indians.
Leaving Fort Laramie we go over onto the LaBonte. It was on Sunday, August 19, 1866 when the Indians made a raid on us at noon. We were camped in the big Cottonwood timber.
We were camped at noon. The right wing had turned their cattle up stream and the left wing down. Consequently our wing did not suffer as much as the right wing did. The Indians stampeded the cattle and stole 95 head and three horses. We yoked up the balance of our cattle that were not stolen and moved our train onto the hill. A telegraph operator that was in the train climbed a pole and telegraphed to President Young for help. The Indians cut the wire and burned all the stations from Deer Creek to Plat[te] Bridge. They burned everything and massacred everything before them. When we came to Deer Creek it was still smoking. Everything was burned. We went to Plat[te] Bridge where everything was correlled.
We gathered up all the cattle that had been left by the ox trains going down. They were all choice cattle. A supply train met us on Sandy with provisions.
We traveled up the Plat[te] a little way and stayed over on the Sweet Water.
After we left the Plat[et] we make a dry camp. There is poison water in this vicinity and we had to be very careful.
Seventy-five yoke of cattle was run into our correll just after we awoke in the morning. They ran into our correll before they discovered our train. I remember I gathered a big yoke of black cattle and I felt The Indians had stolen one of my oxen. We met the herders by noon. The Indians had shot at them through the night and had stolen their cattle. They were headed for Fort Reno, the only soldiers Fort that I know of in that section of country at that time. We had no trouble from there. A supply train met us with provisions on Sandy. We were getting short of provisions.
We burried only four or five passengers in our train that year. We had no trouble whatever as we crossed Green River. We rolled right along. We came through that section of country where Evanston is now, down Echo canyon and into the Weber section and landed in Salt Lake City on the 16th day of September.