Harrison, Henry James, Journal, in Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 27 Aug. 1860, 1B-1F.
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The following details of the first part of Daniel Robinson's handcart company across the plains are culled from the private journal of Henry James Harrison, who crossed the plains in said company:
"The company with which I crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the ship "Underwriter" arrived in Florance, Nebraska, May 12, 1860. On the day of our arrival we had to contend with clouds of dust but succeeded <in securing> a house in the afternoon, in which we found a little shelter, but not sufficient to protect us from the wind which blew through the opening cracks in the building from all directions. On Sunday, May 13th, <in the afternoon> a meeting was held at Florence,
in the afternoon and here we experienced the worst thunder storm that I have ever witnessed. I enjoyed myself very much during our stay in Florence we generally spent the evenings pleasantly with singing and recitations and I was busy assisting Bro. Crouch fixing up his wagon for crossing the plains. My health was not the best, as I think I was unfavorably effected by the climate, not being used to the heat. On Sunday, May 20th we attended a splendid meeting in the bowery (a place made of wood and evergreen). During the following week we made preparations for crossing the plains and also spent some time taking walks in the neighborhood of Florence and getting acquainted with the country. On Wednesday, May 23rd, another steam boat arrived at Florence with a company of Saints from New York and Philadelphia and other places. During our stay in Florence one of the emigrant sisters died. On Sunday, May 27th another good meeting was held in which timely instructions were given by Elder George Q. Cannon pertaining to our crossing the plains. A company of wagons left Florence for the plains on Tuesday, May 29th, and we have spent the week getting ready for the long journey. On Sunday, May 30th, a Scotch brother <named Russell> was accidentally drowned while bathing in the creek, about 8 o'clock in the morning. His body was not found until Monday night. We have our <By this time we had our> hand carts and are <some were> sleeping in tents. On Monday, May 29th our provisions were served out to us and all moved on to the camp ground. On Tuesday, May 29th we formed a square with our handcarts on the camp ground which now looked most beautiful. We had seven tents for 200 persons, but most of the brethren slept in the open air. Personally I slept in the handcart which I found a somewhat cold experience. I generally stood guard half the night, from 12 o'clock midnight until morning. We had prayers in the camp every evening and all the members of our company gathered in the square at 8 o'clock. The morning of June 5th was beautiful, but rather cold. We had our luggage weighed to us, each person being allowed 20 lbs., including clothing and cooking utensils, and we were instructed to grease our handcarts three times a week. The Scotch brother, who was drowned wad buried at 3.30 in the afternoon. After the funeral was over the rain came pouring down very fast and the wind was so rough that it blew some of the tents down and a great many of the emigrants were soaked to the skin. We were <engaged in> singing in the tents when they blew down. Until we left Florence most of the brethren and sisters slept in houses. I observed the dimensions of our handcarts and will describe one which was 4 feet long and 3 feet wide, the wheels were four feet high and <the> t bed nine inches deep. The handcarts were constructed very light and ran quite easily.
Wednesday, June 6. The morning was beautiful and clothes were spread out <by the emigrants> in all directions to dry after the storm. About 1 o'clock p.m. we left Florence and started on our long journey across the plains. We traveled that day seven miles and found the journey
rather un pleasant. Before We arrived at the camp ground about 6 o'clock in the evening. Here we met a company of brethren from the Valley <including Apostles Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich, and> a meeting was held in the evening at which there was considerable singing and some recitations; we all enjoyed it. <George Q. Cannon arrived in the camp in the evening.>
Thursday, June 7.
We arose about 3 o'clock <We arose early> in the morning after a stormy night. Apostles Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich, two of the twelve apostles <who attended our prayer meeting at 8 o'clock a.m.> gave us good instructions with regard to our journey. in the afternoon we had prayer at 8 o'clock p.m. Bro. Geo. Q. Cannon gave us <timely> instructions for our journey. We continued our journey at 10 o'clock in the morning but were delayed in the afternoon by the brethren who were busy making up their accounts for the journey. We camped for the night at 8 o'clock on a creek.
Friday, June 8. We continued our journey at 7.30 a.m. and about noon we reached the Elk Horn river, where we pitched our tents and remained till the next day. I went fishing and caught two fish.
Saturday, June 9. The day was fine, but the air rather cold. We resumed our journey at 5.30 a.m., stopped in the middle of the day for dinner and overtook the wagons. We then proceeded to Fremont and traveled to a point two miles beyond <that little town> where we camped for the night.
Sunday, June 10. We left our beautiful camp ground at 7 o'clock but as a rain storm came on as <upon us as> we advanced, we stopped at 10 a.m. to pitch our tents for shelter. But notwithstanding this we all got wet, the hail and rain fall <falling> in torrents. We held a sacrament meeting in the afternoon between the storms.
Monday, June 11. The morning was beautiful and there was considerable washing and drying of clothes in the forenoon. At 1.30 p.m. we resumed our journey and traveled over heavy roads to North Bend, arriving there at 7.30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 12. We left North Bend at 7 o'clock a.m. the morning being beautiful, and a <the> handcarts going lighter. After stopping for dinner, we journeyed along and camped <for the night> on the roadside at 7 o'clock p.m. A rain storm, accompanied by thunder and lightning, commenced in the evening and continued all night. Nearly all of us suffered with cold, being unable to make a fire, owing to everything being so wet.
Wednesday, <June> 13. The rain storm continued in the forenoon, but after the storm had abated we resumed our journey about 2 o'clock p.m. and continued traveling until 8 o'clock p.m. when we camped for the night. being tired and worn out after the long march. It was too dark to do much cooking.
Thursday, June 14. The morning was beautiful after the stormy weather, but some of the company were were not well, having been exposed too much to damp and cold. About 8 o'clock <a.m.> we resumed our journey. Having arrived at Columbus we remained there the remainder of the day.
Friday, June 15. We resumed our journey at 11 o'clock, arriving at our camping place at 8 o'clock <p.m.> about 7 miles from Fort Kearney.
Saturday, June 16. The morning was beautiful, and, continuing the journey, we arrived at the ferry <on Loup Fork> about 10 o'clock in the morning.
We resumed our journey about At this place there is an Indian settlement.
Sunday, June 17. We had a good meetings in the morning, afternoon and evening.
Monday, June 18. We were busy all day ferrying our train over Loup Fork. All <had> crossed over in safety by sunset.
Tuesday, June 19. We resumed our journey at [illegible] a.m. and traveled 17 miles. The oxen got mired in the mud and we were obliged to help them out. We camped for the night at 7 o'clock p.m. The night was very warm and yet there was thunder and lightning off and on during the night.
Wednesday, June 20. The day was fine. We traveled about 20 miles to the Lone Tree and held a meeting in the evening for strangers.
Thursday, June 21. The day was fine. We traveled all day and stopped for the night about two miles from the town of <Genoa>. The cattle were herded out.
Friday, June 22. The weather was rather dull in the forenoon. We only traveled a few miles, and, meeting some brethren from the Valley, we had a meeting with them in the evening, at which valuable instruction was given by Joseph W. Young. After <the> meeting we enjoyed ourselves with dancing and listening to music.
Saturday, June 23. We resumed our journey at 5.30 a.m. The brethren from the valley were delighted to watch us progress on our journey. We crossed Wood river, the water in the stream being about knee deep, and going on a few miles further we went into camp and stopped the remainder of the day. During the day's travel a sister was left behind a few miles, but the pilot went back after her.
Sunday, June 24. A good meeting was held in the morning and the teachers went around to ascertain the condition of the different families in the camp. A testimony meeting was held in the afternoon and another meeting in the evening, in which Brother F preached on baptism for the dead.
Monday, June 25. We resumed our journey about 5.30 a.m., traveled about ten miles and stopped for dinner. Resuming our journey in the afternoon we had traveled about four miles when a wagon axel broke and we were compelled to stop to put in a new one, which <labor> took all night. At this place we found plenty of
ripe wild plums <but they were not ripe>.
Tuesday, June 26. We resumed our journey at 4 o'clock a.m. traveled 19 miles and overtook the handcarts at night. I was more fatigued than if I had drawn a handcart.
Wednesday, June 27. We resumed our journey over rather rough roads. A number of buffalo were seen, and the brethren shot at them, but did not kill any. We traveled until dark
before we <and> camped for the night.
Thursday, June 28. Continuing our journey over a very good road, we stopped about 9 o'clock at a camping ground where we found the grave of a Mormon child three days old (buried 14, 1859). We traveled on until afternoon and then took our rest.
Friday, June 29. We resumed our journey at 6 o'clock and traveled until 9 o'clock in the evening, when we camped for the night, all being very tired. The weather was fine.
Saturday, June 30. The day was beautiful in the early part <of the day> but <somewhat> damp later in the day. We found a nice camping place.
Sunday, July 1. A good meeting was held in the forenoon and a council meeting was also held by the brethren <in which> instructions of a timely nature
being <were> given. a At the testimony meeting held in the evening one of the sisters spoke in tongues, in which she asserted that no evil should befall us as we proceeded on our journey, if we were faithful; also one of the brethren belonging to the wagon company spoke in tongues. A company carrying freight to the Valley passed us during the day.
Monday, July 2. We traveled about 19 miles during the day, the latter part of the journey being over rough roads.
Tuesday, July 3. The morning was beautiful and the places where we camped abounded with fine scenery on both sides of the Platte Valley. We resumed our journey about 5 o'clock a.m., stopping in the middle of the day for dinner. We found good water as we traveled along. Our day's journey was 18 miles. We found but very little wood in this neighborhood.
Wednesday, July 4. The weather was fine. On our journey this day we passed a beautiful spring, the largest I have seen on our travels. Soon after passing the spring we came to a small river where we caught a great many fish and stopped for dinner. We traveled about two miles in the afternoon and camped for the night.
Thursday, July 5. The day was beautiful, but the roads over which we traveled somewhat rough. We had to wade through two very muddy creeks and camped about two miles beyond them for the night.
Friday, July 6. We remained in camp all day. One of the sisters was confined during the night, giving birth to a baby girl. While thus being delayed we served out provisions for the week. A company of missionaries from the Valley arrived at our camp late in the evening.
Saturday, July 7. We resumed our journey at 4 o'clock in the morning and camped about 10 o'clock at the crossing of Muddy Creek where our services were required to help over a mule train from the other side of the valley. The train was traveling eastward. We camped for the day on the bank of a large creek where there was lots of good fishing.