Graehl, Louise, Reminiscences.
Trail excerpt transcribed from "Pioneer History Collection" available at Pioneer Memorial Museum [Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum], Salt Lake City, Utah. Some restrictions apply.
It was in the beginning of July that our tiresome journey across the plains was begun. We found out when we were ready to start that we lacked many things that would be needed on the road and that it would be difficult to procure them. Father had met some people that had discouraged him and one fine afternoon taking his trunk and his gun, he started for the village, where he had not been able to coax me to remain for I was afraid of the country, for there were so many apostates around, and I had not left my beautiful country to make my home anywhere outside of Zion.
That afternoon was a sad one for me, for I felt bad for my husband [George Louis Graehl] and didn't know how I could manage to travel alone with my children. The sisters came and comforted me promising that I would certainly be helped. But in the evening my husband came back having met a good brother who promised him that he would procure the desired articles, and so we resumed our journey.
We had been traveling a few days, I was in the wagon with my three little ones [George Louis, Marie Adeline, Fanny] when all at once we had a stampede. Our team composed of two yokes of oxen and another one, started running in the grass that at that place was about five feet high. Sometimes the wagons came near wrecking each other, then again the gay animals ran in different directions not seeming to feel any trouble at pulling their heavy loads. At last they were stopped, our companion losing one yoke of oxen that could not be found again. After such a scare we were glad to walk to camp, but it was not so easy for me for I had to carry my little girl in one arm and baby in the other and to find my way through the high grass I was very much afraid that I would trample on a rattle snake. Well, we arrived in camp at last; it was past dinner time. The good sisters came to welcome us and give us some dinner. But the next day and for quite a long time I could not persuade the children to ride in the wagon and as for myself I had to help father drive and I tell you it was a pretty hard job to help driving through a long summer day with a baby in my arms and another at my side crying to be carried too, but after a time we had no more runaways and the children rode in the wagon for I still had to help to drive and as little George wanted his mamma so bad and was always creeping to the front of the wagon trying to come to her, we had to tie him to the wagon so he would not fall out and kill himself and I think to this day he feels bad about it.
Well, we had many adventures in crossing the plains; they would fill a volume if we could write them all, but as the time is short I will only write about a few. My husband had not been well since we left the old country, and now he became worse and had to keep his bed in the wagon so I had to drive. That was alright for some of the sisters helped to drive sometimes but what made it hard for me was that we had a kind of yoke for oxen that were not strong enough. They were tied with buckstring [buckskin] strings that would wear out and break at any time causing me much trouble. Once, for instance, it was dusk we were a little behind the company when our yoke broke and our oxen ran away to camp about two miles off. There we were right in the road, obliged to stay alone until some good brother by chance meeting our oxen, had the kindness to come to our rescue. I could not light a fire for I had no materials so I sat on the front seat holding my axe in my hands ready to try to defend myself and dear ones from the wolves who were howling around, or possibly the indians. So I waited until midnight when some brothers came for us. They made a big fire to scare the wolves away and we slept by turn until morning.
Another time there was a river to cross, again it was toward evening and we were the last of the company. There was no one to help us as our captain was absent. "What are you going to do" called dear father from his bed. "I am going to drive right over and the Lord will help us." I answered, and we did it alright. At camp in the evening, the captain went around to find out who had helped sister G. Well, I think it was the last but one night before we reached Salt Lake City; it had been snowing and it was dark before we stopped for the night. That night I could not get any wood to light a fire nor could I bake my bread. The next day we mixed sugar with the flour and ate it raw. The same night a little child was born in the camp. The next day we arrived in Salt Lake[.] It was with a sad heart that I parted with many of our traveling companions who had been so kind and obliging to me in my trouble.
It was the last day of October, 1854 that we arrived and we immediately started in search of rooms in which to live.