Nielson, Jens, Autobiography.
Accordingly the Captain had to cut down our flour to ½ pound a day till there was not a pound of flour in camp[.] This caused a terrible starvation
When we started from Iowa there was 20 people to each tent 5 men and the rest women and children[.] I was the captain of our tent. When we came to Lar[a]mi [e] we had the first snow storm about 500 miles from S.L.C. from that time the people began to die very fast[.] We traveled about 200 miles fa[r]ther sometimes pooling the handcart through the snow two feet deep[.] The captain told us there was not a pound of flour in camp. He said he. would saddle his mule and ride night & day till he found a team with flour for we understood there were teams on the road to meet us with flour.
Next night the flour came to camp and there was great rejoicing. We could get very little because they had too pass on another handcart company three weeks behind us.
So we had to start our Journey again but before we did we had to dig a hole and burry 14 bodies & my only son [Niels Nielson] was among them and a girl who I had a long for Bro Martensen[.] I told you there were 5 men to the tent but now the four was dead and I was the only man left so I had to ask some of the largest and strongest women to help me to raise the tents and it looked like we should all die
I remember my prayers as distinctly today as I did then. If the Lord would let me live to come to S.L.C. that all my days should be spent in usefulness under the direction of his Holly [Holy] Priesthood[.] How far I have come short of this promise I do not know but I have been called to make 6 new homes and as far as this goes I have complied
Speaking of the hardships of the handcart company no pen can describe nor can it be understood or comprehended by any human being in this life but only those who were called to pass through it. It would not be so terrible had they started in good season & had plenty of food to eat[.] I have already told you we laid 5 weeks at Iowa one week at Omaha about 100 miles from there we lost 14 young oxen[.] hunted 5 days for them but did not find them[.] So we had to yoke our steers & heifers which were brought along for beef[.] these were used to haul food tents and other things we could not get on the handcarts[.] Then we had to put 100 lbs. of flour on each handcart & it made our journey very slow[.] About a week after the first team met us with flour. We were met by another team and after this were allowed 1 pound of flour day. If the saints in Zion had not given us a helping hand not one would be able to reach Zion. You have heard about Bro. Kimball’s prophesies about a bushel of flour would be worth a bushel of Gold. If I had been offered a bushel of flour or a bushel of gold I would say keep your gold and give me the flour for the gold could not sustain life. We came to Fort Bri[d]ger and teams came from S.L.C. to me[e]t we & here we left our handcarts. We came to S.L.C. on Sunday Nov. 9th 1856