Nathan T. Porter reminiscences, circa 1879, 146-62.
View this source online
. . . . So that it requiered what means we Boath [both] could command to make the ne[ce]ssary outfit for the Journey in the spring which we accomplished in connection with his Fatherinlaw Joseph Rich. arriving at the Bluffs on the first of June as we drew near to the crossing of the River we met Father on his way down into the state of Mosuria [Missouri] after sup[p]lies. we were mutch Pleased to see him & to learn that the rest of the family were alive & well. he stated that President Young with company of Pioneers had left for the Rocky Mountains in se[a]rch of a place for the church to locate with instructions for as many as could make the necessary outfit for them selves & families, to follow immediately on their track, and that there were companies now being organised to start by the 15th or 20th of the present month, and that he was anceaus [anxious] to go with them[.] But having suf[f]ered with many others in
They set out on the 15th of April[.] The following companies commenced leading forth on their trail from the Horn on the 20th of June following forming into 4 colum[n]s of teams abrest as a precaution against the attacts of Indians upon whose borders we were now entering. leaving the Horn, the trail led us a cross on to the Platt[e] River after trav[e]ling a few days the trains were redused in to 2 columns which was maintained for some five hundred miles; terminating at Fort Larima [Laramie] on the main fork-or rather north fork of the Platt[e]. from this point, the componies traveled in Single colum[n]s. having to incounter a mountainous reagon [region] duering [during] the remainder of the Journey Which was a wide contrast from the levil grade of the Platt[e] valley bordered by low hills on either side now & then dotted with large heards of Buffaloes whes [whose] bellowing resembled the distant thunder. Several bands of the Sious [Siouxs] & Shians [Cheyennes] were met with; there were two or three can[y]ons distributed in the several compones [companies] one in the compony [company] I was organised in—led by—Elder Charles C. Rich—these were fiered [ferried] occasion[a]lly to deter the Indians which had the dsired [desired] effect we were met on one occasion by a band who presented a hostile appearence as they approached to ward us. leaving their Women & Children in the background while the Warries [Warriors] advanced carrying a red flag. our componey was soon thrown into a defencive position[.] they came to a halt sent their flag forward which was met by one of our men. the token of friendship was extended by shaking hands and extending the pipe. the Women & children then came forward and with the men were permited to come within our lines. The Wagon b[e]aring the Cannon was drawn out to which their attention was directed. they gathered around to see the curious Wagon[.] it was plased [placed] in position and on motioning to them they step[p]ed back. the torch was applied & off she went, causing a gineral [general] stampede on the part of the Indians[.] men and Women were struck with consternation for a few minutes. We learned that the impression went out among the Indians that all our wagons would Shoot. no one wished to correct the impression as it answer[e]d well; to deter them from molesting us by day or night;
On leaving F[or]t Larime [Laramie] the trail left the River b[e]aring to the South west through what is called the Black hills [Black Hills][.] these had some the appearence of a Mountain forest; as a great portion of them were clothed with Scattering pines (mostly frich-pine)
A few days travel brough[t] us agane [again] on to the Platt[e] which we crossed for the last time—thus it is called the last crossing of the Platt[e][.] Our course being more directly west than the course of the River which now bares [bears] almost south[.] the trail led on to what is called the Sweet Water a beautiful clear stream this stream heads up in what is called the wind River Mountains[.] after following this stream for several days we left it to our right passing over the devid [divide] Between the Atlantic & Pacific Slope called the South-pass. our feelings was better felt than discribed. when the fact occured to ther [their] mind that we were actualy on the Back bone of the Great American Continent. (I will here note that before leaving the Sweet water we were met by President Young & Compony on their return. he informed us that they had penetrated the Bason [Basin] of the Great Salt Lake in which they had selected a location for the Saints. And having left a few of their number to await the arrival of the Emigrating componies & to put in a <few> Seeds to test the Soil—they were returning to bring their families the insuing season. this was cheering news to all and put anend [an end] to our ankzieties [anxieties] as to where we should find a country; where we could subsist; & live undisturbed by a ruthless Bob [mob] & under the Edicts of Mob-Governers. We continued on with light hearts & Boyent Spirits without an expression of doubt as to the results by our labours in that hither-to unknown Reagion [region]. Leaving the pass. the trail led us down the Gradual Pacific Slope on to what is called the Sandies (tributaries of Green River) on reaching the latter, we could readily under stand why the name of Green was applied to this River, its water being of a Green cast yet remarkably clear. being in a low stage we forded it without difficulty. its head waters flow from the wind River Country in the North while it turminates in the Colorado on the south; which baring to the South West, emties [empties] in to the Gulf of Mexico. leaving this River we were led on too and crossed tow [two] of its tributaries called Black & Hams fork[.] there was a trading post at the latter streeam [stream] occupied <by> one Bridger a Mountain eere [mountaineer], of land standing in the wilds of the Rocky & Wacatch [Wasatch] Mountains as an Indian trader. He professed an expearience of twenty years in the climate of the Great Bason [Basin] of the Salt Lake which he affermed to President Young was most forbidding to agriculture, as heavy frosts prevailed duering the Summer months[.] to rivet this statement more firmly on the mind; he proffered to give one thousand Dollars for the first ear of Corn Grown in Salt Lake Valley. all this however was enef[f]ectual in producing the least discouragement in the mind <of> his inqui[r]er; as to the results of planting & Sowing in the soil of that Valley. So untimely visited by this bliting temper[a]ment; des[c]ending from the Snow Capt [capped] Mountains on either Side: —This Moses (of the last days) looked ca.[l]mly on the distructive eleme[n]ts before him. forbiding the approach of the confiding multitude now wending their way forwarad on the dim trail left in his rear. consisting of Men Women & chi[l]dren fleeing from a Modern Phario. destitute: with but a [s]canty supply of provisions: impeled on, with the assuerance that he whome they chosen to lead them would (under God) lead them a right.
But to return. Leaving F T Briger [Bridger] we came to Bare [Bear] River from thense to the Weber, these Rivers head in Wacatch [Wasatch] Mountains on the East of the Bason [Basin] <heading> to the south east. entering the Bason [Basin]; & empting into the Salt Lake on the North East on the 1st day of October we made the summit of the pass over these ranges. When for the first time our anceous [anxious] eyes rested on the Silvery Lake & Slopes intervening in the distance below. the dusty hat, & the faded Sunbonnet was seen waveing above the head of its occupant while shouts of joy and admiration, assended up as each in his exciety [anxiety] made the summit. the tears of sorrow having now fled, those of gratitude burst forth with affusion making a pathway down many a care worn face. the contrast, between the long dreary sage plains; and this valley like a rose bed in the Desert, a wating the hand of the husband man to set it Blooming with f[r]uits s[h]rubs and flowers. coupled with the though[t] of peace and safety from the hand of the oppressor was truly Soul stiring. leaving the summit the trail led down a canyon for a short distance then baring to the right passed over a divide into another Canyon—called Emigration Canyon. here we camped for the night. on the morrow we entered the valley, and desending passed over a large tract of table land came to a more level grad[e] extending to the Shores of the Lake. we were met by some of the preseeding companies who were in advance of us: also the Pioneeres who were left—as before mentioned—