Poulter, Thomas Ambrose, [Journal], in "Utah Pioneer Biographies," 44 vols., 44:139-41.
We stayed at this place for six weeks. The cholera had broken out at President Eldridge's camp so the other camp from St. Louis concluded to go on to Zion and not wait any longer. My brother William got his team, two cows and four steers and started with the St. Louis company. Our cattle were wild, but young noble animals. The day we started it rained, blew and thundered. We had a good start and camped twelve miles from the camp in a lovely grove with plenty of grass. The St. Louis Mormons were old hands, up to it all. They were to go ahead. Their cattle were all well broken in. We made twenty miles and arrived in a lovely grove, good water and grass.
Six Indian chiefs, elderly men, all sat down in a circle and smoked the pipe of peace, they passed the pipes around, wanted to know where we were going and they told us that 300 of their braves were out on the plains on the war path and were at war with the Snake Indians.
On the third day out we camped in a lovely spot, a fine river running through the grove of timber. Lots of chubs and trout; we had no trouble to catch them. On the fourth day we camped on a creek. Good water and grass. Just as we were going to have supper the 300 Indian Braves came into camp. They told us they had had no food for three days, that they wanted supper right away. We had to give them supper, then they wanted us to give them food for three days. They took two young steers and killed them and dressed them. It was a fine sight to see them mount their horses and start off full of glee.
The next day we camped in another lovely grove with a stream filled with fish, but the mosquitoes were awful. Sickness now broke out in our camp. Several women died and the children several were sick and died. They were buried by the wayside. One girl about fourteen said to me, "Brother Poulter give me a drink of cold water, for I am dying." We were now on the plains. We had no water. She died. It was terrible. My wife's left breast was sore, so the twins fared bad. At last they took sick. I slept in a tent. I Took the twins and prayed to God to spare them to get to Salt Lake, as I dreaded the wolves, for we had them on our trail every night howling terrible.
Still our crowd was a merry one. Every evening we made large fires. We had a band in our crowd, dancing and singing. The cattle were guarded by two of the brothers every night. One night we killed a beef. It was near my tent. At midnight the large white wolves came howling and snapping their jaws, and followed the next day for several miles. We were now on the river Platt, where the grass was two feet high but no wood but wagon loads of buffalo chips which make a beautiful fire. At this place were large herds of buffalo, hundreds in a drove. My brother William and two more of the brethren took horses and went over the hills to hunt. Night came on, it was dark but the hunters did not come. I fired off guns but not an answer. At last I hoisted a lantern on the wagon top. Soon the three hunters were in the camp loaded with meat. The wolves were after them howling terrible. The hunters said that the lantern in the top of the wagon saved them.
We now broke camp and traveled to where we had to ford the river, Ashby Fork. The stream was running rapid. We had to drive the cattle by men on both sides to keep them from floating down the stream. When we got over we had two double teams to go over the hill. On this side the feed was very good, lots of wood and game and fish. We stayed here three days. On the top of a hill we found a dead Indian Chief. He must have been a great chief as he had a medal from the President George Washington. His hammock was filled with beads, children shoes, pipes, tobacco. He was dressed in white skins. He smelled like cedar. He must have been a man of about six feet or more. We got spades and dug a grave and put him in it.
We now traveled about twenty miles. We camped but it was a bad place to camp. No grass. This night eight of the steers had gone back to the last camping place. Two of them was William's. Eight men with eight horses and a week's grub went in search of them. They traced them to the banks of Ashby Fork and there they had crossed the river. While the eight men camped the first night the wolves and bears roared, howled and snapped that seven of the men would not go a foot further, but my brother William took the best horse and went over the river. On the plot he met a train of Saints, 300 wagons this train had got the cattle, my brother helped them across. In three days he overtook us. His eyes were bloodshot, he having had no rest for three days and nights. He was followed by two Indians and three squaws all the time. We killed a beef. The two Indians came into our camp. They were fine looking men, six feet and stout, part of the tribe of Sioux.
A government train passed us going to Fort Laramie. Three days after this we came in sight of the fort and passed a camp of Sioux Indians, 10,000 waiting for their rations. They had been here for three months. The young bucks came out to trade for a wife. They offered three ponies for a wife. Some of the girls for the fun of it made a trade which nearly ended in a fuss. We camped near the Fort. In the evening the young squaws came to visit us. They were very pretty, dressed in white skins with trimmings of beads. A buggy with the officer and lady wanted to hire me and my wife at high wages if we would stay with them.
We stayed here for three days, then camped in a lovely place. While we were at supper a man came riding in saying, "The Indians had shot an officer and twenty-nine men, had burned up the Forts and were on the war path. The man wanted us to wait for his train. At break of day we had prayers. Got up the cattle. After breakfast we took council. It ended, obey orders, proceed to Salt Lake only delay on the Sabbath. We had now traveled about ten miles. In looking back we saw a large company of Indians in red blankets coming horse back with a large train of horses and cattle. The cry run through the train to get arms ready, but to our joy it was a company of Indian squaws and a trader flying for his life. He left us, the cattle and went ahead with the horses. We saw no more of this crowd. It was a Godsend to us, as we needed a fresh lot of cattle as our cattle were getting sore feet.
We met several teams going east after freight. One day we Passed a large camp which had white tent covers on their wagons and fine fat cattle. They came to us and said, "Go back." They proved to be a company of Josephites. They ran the Mormons down in every way. Well, we kept on our way. Several fast teams passed us. Our food began to give out. We came across a steer which was scratched all over. We shot it and skinned it for beef. The wolves were bad. My wife had a bad breast which was hard on the twins. We now traveled about twenty miles a day.
One day we passed a church team going east for freight and emigrants. We noticed the teamsters had beautiful teeth, clean and white. We also met one of the twelve apostles, Brother Benson. He camped with us all night. He told us that we should not find Salt Lake a heaven but all kinds of fish and said he, "Some of the biggest rogues in all the world. Now brethren look out for sharpers. By the by brethren, I want to trade a mule. It is rather lame but you bet it will lead you right into Salt Lake."
Well a brother had six fine mules. Well, he said, "I guess I can let you have one good mule."
"Dear Brother, you shall be blessed." Well, the trade was made and the dear Brother got took in. We were nearing Salt Lake. At last the end arrived. It was told us that a band would meet us and Brigham to take us in. Well, now let us see how it turned out. It was a lovely day, about noon, just as were going down the canyon opening to view the great Salt Lake. It was a lovely sight, the sun shining on the lake. Well, they told us in England we should see a beautiful Temple. Now for some fun as we were nearing the City, we should meet some men, Mormons of cours[e]. "How do you do brothers? Your teams look well." On their long trip of five months our teams were four steers, three cows and one horse. Well this brother took us home to his house, a hut. Was not room to sit down anywhere.