Linford, James Henry, An Autobiography of James Henry Linford, Sr. Patriarch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of Kaysville, Utah , 31-33.
When we arrived at St. Joseph, we took a boat to Florence and from the time we embarked until we arrived at our destination, the bell was kept ringing to warn boats traveling in the opposite direction on account of the fog. Some of the boat's crew were constantly taking depth of the water to keep from running into sand bars, the results were reported as soon as taken. This noise, together with the fact that there were no sleeping accomodations on the boat, where ever you found room out of the way of the crew to lay your bed down, that was your bedchamber, made sleep almost impossible.
While staying in Florence, Zillah Crockett and her brother James arrived; of course we spent a few pleasant days together.
Upon our company arriving in Florence, we camped in the deserted houses of the early pioneers; it being the place where many of the exiles from Nauvoo wintered; later it became the outfitting place of the emigrants.
One evening a boat load of Saints arrived, one of whose number, a man, had died while coming up the river. His body was placed in charge of the authorities at Florence. It was taken to a house outside of the camp, and the captain of the guard asked two young men and myself to watch the body. After sundown it became very cold and I told my companions that I should have to go for my coat; they objected to my leaving them, saying that if I left them they would not stay alone. I told them where they would find my coat and said that if they would go for it I would stay. This was too much for them and they consented for me to go.
While waiting for the train of Captain Ira Eldridge to start for Utah, my companion William Clayson and I walked to Omaha to seek work for a few days; he found work at his trade of slipper making, and I at repairing shoes. A strong wind blew from the river which gave me a severe cold causing malaria to take hold of me again. I was soon able to throw it off, however, and return to work.
After staying in Florence for two months and ten days, I commenced my journey across the plains on June 30, 1861, in Captain Ira Eldridge's [Eldredge's] Company. I was appointed captain of the wagon and my duties were to draw the provisions and keep peace in our little company; in this I got along very well with all except one family. They were always grumbling about the food saying, among other things, that they could not get enough to eat. The mother had the misfortune to fall under the wagon and was severely injured.
The company was called together morning and evening for prayers. In forming camp after the days journey, the wagons were drawn into a circle to form a corral. When the cattle were unyoked, they were given into the care of the herders who took them to the feed which was located by the captain of the guard. There were men appointed every night to guard the camp; this guard was composed of emigrants, while the cattle guard was made up of men appointed and fitted out by the several wards of Utah, and often the teamsters were the owners of the outfits. All of the able bodied emigrants walked from Florence to Utah, a distance of a thousand miles. The emigrants often had a concert or dance by the light of their campfire. These festivities were sometimes broken into by Indians whose approach was detected by the camp guard.
My wife related to me an incident that occurred on one of these occasions. Several Indian chiefs came to her camp and offered Captain Sextus [Sixtus] Johnson twenty ponies for her. Captain Johnson told her to go to her wagon and he ordered the covers tied down and the greatest care was taken of her and her companion for several days.
Toward evening the company would gather buffalo chips with which to cook supper and to make a light. After breakfast and prayers the captain would call out, "Gather up the cattle." They were run into the corral to be yoked up; when all was ready to start, only one wagon at a time would leave the circle, no one trying to get ahead or out of his place.
Sometimes we had to travel after dark before water could be found for camping purposes. Take it all in all it was a nice trip for the healthy and strong. I enjoyed the journey very much until I took sick with mountain fever which remained with me until after I got to Utah. In general there was little sickness in the company and only one death, a young man, and he was sick when he left his native land. There was a sameness in every day's travel until we got into the mountains. The captain and teamsters were very kind to the emigrating Saints.