Madsen, Andrew, Autobiographical sketch ca. 1908.
President Peterson was our Captain and appointed an assistant captain for each ten wagons. We started on our journey for Salt Lake City, June 10, 1856. The first day’s journey was a hard one. Some of our oxen were wild and we did not know how to handle them and consequently did not make much headway the first day. The following day we made good headway. It was very hot and our oxen became very tired, traveling with their tongues out, some of them getting overheated and dying. We were compelled to leave some of our supplies, owing to our heavy loads and this was taken off and left. After a few weeks journey we reached the unsettled[,] wild west, where the buffaloes were grazing in great herds.
One day there was a stampede and our oxen became frightened, rushing together, one outfit crashing into the other. The women and children became frightened, some of the wagons were broken and a few of our number were hurt and one man killed, which caused a gloom to pass over us. He was buried in a coffin such as we could prepare. We then repaired our outfits and journeyed on. A few of the buffalo were killed, dressed for beef and divided among our company.
Now and again the Indians were seen roaming from one side of the valley to the other and on occasions they would come to visit us. In order to maintain a friendly feeling, we would oft times give them some of our supplies and provisions such as we could spare. We were compelled to guard our oxen at all times when we were not travelling to prevent them from being driven away or stolen by the Indians. We were called together morning and night by the sound of a bugle to receive our instructions. Sundays, we had meetings and regular services were conducted, adding much comfort and pleasure to our journey.
Sometimes we had dances on the green grass and enjoyed ourselves as best we could. During the days while journeying along, nearly all of us walked except those who were sick and the smaller children. We went along laughing and singing the songs and hymns of Zion. We arrived at Salt Lake City, September 20, 1856 and on the entire journey of three months not more than a half dozen persons were seen outside of our own company. Not a house was seen from Elk Horn River, near Omaha to Salt Lake City, except a government post at Laramie, Wyoming, also a trading post about twenty miles therefrom and Fort Bridger also in Wyoming.
The only thing that attracted our attention was the various tribes of Indians wandering about, the herds of buffalo, deer, antelope, and now and then the sound of some wild animal and the howling of the lone coyote.
[Edited version of this autobiography also published in The Personal History of Andrew Madsen and the Early History of Sanpete County and Mt. Pleasant, Utah , G5-G6.]