Peter Olsen Hansen papers, circa 1869-1893, Journal, circa 1876, 67-69.
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In due time the companys started
After wards some more companies fitted out & started under the guidance of Elder John Taylor. I was started off on the 14th of June with a waggon & 3 yolke of cattle. Four of the wagons were B. Kimballs. Our captain of ten was br James Smithies, and George B. Wallace who was president of the Boston branch when I joined the church, was our captain of fifty & A[braham]. O. Smoot our captain of hundred. For the first week I felt tired when night came, but after that I
F did not feel so any more and I was happy indeed, and felt proud of my trust. Beside Sister [Nancy Ann] Smithies we had two other women with us, Mary Ellen K[imball]. & Mary [Ann] Forsgren. Bro. Fayett [Lafayette] Granger & Moses Thurston came <from Nauvoo> with two wagons & desired to travel with us for to have one woman each for them on condition that they would furnish us with bacon & groceries, and this prooved a blessing unto us. Granger was a clever man to travel with and his teamster was a good lad. It was said that 9 hundred waggons had past over the rocky went on the road that season. But we got along well & were much blest by our heavenly father continually, and the journey was very interesting to me and I took much delight in keeping a dayly journal for Mr. Kimball, which I, sorry to say, lost on another trip. Many a little insident transpired which I will make mention of as far as I remember them.
The first half of the journey we made on the north side of the Platte or Nebraska river. which is <so> very wide & shallow & was a great natural curiosity to me. Before we struck this we crossed the Elk horn on a raft. Now & then we would see where the Pioneers had fallen cotton wood trees for their animals to brows on. And when we got to
the Loup fork we camped for night and crossed over next day. This is no small tas undertaking as the river is very wide and full of quick sand, so that we were under the necessity of dobling teams, that is hitching-to with one another, which of course took dobble the time, as we had to go back after the other half of the wagons. Next day we continued our journey up the river, <Platte> always camping within a short distance of the river and how I used to delight to see our cattle on good grass, eating till they were filled and laid down. Now we were on the great planes where we sometimes would see many thousands of Buffalos in a day. This name however is misplaced as it belongs to a kind of ox without any hunch, and these are hunchbacked ones should be called Bisons. We passed three vacated villages belonging to the Pawnees. The houses or wikiups were round and built of wood. It was said that the Sioux had drove them away because of hors for horse stealing. Soon after this we passed a large encampment of Sioux of about 500 fine looking lodges made of Buffalo hides. Some of them followed us 2-3 days and were very friendly, nevertheless we were required to have our guns hanging in the wagons so as to be seen. We crossed over many fine streams of water & travelled over many a beautiful meadows & prairies, but trees & bushes were very scarce. Jed[ediah]. Grants camp lost most of their cattle by a stampede. Some 60 miles behind us but few found.
The stampede was caused by a person going into the correl [corral] by moonlight in a white shirt & several wagons broke down.
For 150 miles we were without any wood at all, and had to be thankful for the dry dung <dropt by> from the wild cattle, which answered very well for fuel. Windy days were ha[r]d on us teamsters, and we very glad after camping to go and have a good wash in shallow water which was warmed by the rays of the sun. One Sunday we were encamped oposite Scotts Bluff, which consist of hard clay & is said to be 300 feet high. Notwithstanding the great width of the river, some of us waded across and ascended the Bluff where we found Bro. Parley P. Pratt ahead of us. On the top was a grove of scrub pines, and from there we saw 7 camps looking like so many white chalk circles on green paper. and returning I felt well paid for going. The plains being so exceedingly level this mountain is seen by The Traveler more than 20 miles below, where there is another curiosity of hard clay called Chimney rock <because it resembles a high chimney> which I ought to have mentioned first. This is also seen a long way off. B/ A few days after passing these places we came to Fort Laramie where below which we crossed over to the south side
of and soon after crossed the Laramie fork, after which we came along by the Fort which had the appearance of being clean & orderly. Pretty soon I saw a wild mountain sheep run up the hill for here we struck the extremities of the Rocky Mountains, and Laramie peak was looming up before, and the vast plains we saw no more that time. From this time hence we saw far less grass than we would liked to see, and every where <the> vegetation was more grey than green, for now we got int were in the regions of wild sage as it is rather wrongfully called. Now we went going into the Black Hills, which had been presented by to us by some strangers as being dreary, destitute of feed & dangerous to pass.
B/ camping on wood river, plum creek, Elm creek etc. Dog town. One place in that region after the month of June because of a certain poisonous weed growing there.
We however did not find it so, and there were plenty of grass in places especially on the la Bont [La Bonte] & the la Prel
le which are tributaries to the upper Platte. After coming out of the hills which we had some distance of level ground to travel over and then we had to cross over onto the north side again when we left the Platte and traveled over a barren Desert for 2-3 days till we struck the Sweet Water. This stream we followed up for a week, crossing it a number of times, the country being very rocky and bleake. After leaving Sweet water for good we crossed over the Summit of the rocky Mountains on what is called the south pass.
first at Independance Rock where we camped for the night & I took a good look at that solid rock with its many two names &
in Next day we traveled to Devils gate. We also camped at the three crossings. The Region is sandy & full of granite rocks.
After leaving Sweet Water for good we crossed past through another ruggy region, crossing
goos straw berry creek & following up the Wagon Back a rocky ridge to pass over the summit of the Rocky Mountains or as it is called the south Pas[s].
When we crossed Greeswood [Greasewood] creek Grangers lead cattle got scared & pulled the wagon off the bank & it turned bottom up into the creek. One of the women were sitting in the wagon when it turned over and got under the load. Two of us jumped into the water & saved her from drowning. We past Willard Snows
camp <company> and stayed for to repare the wagon.
Just over the ri<d>ge we camped at the Pacific Springs, called so because it runs to the Pacific Ocean. On the north side of the road is a big meadow or swamp which however is rather dangerous for the cattle to walk on. Right there at the pacific Springs we met our beloved President Brigham Young, Elder Kimball and more than half of the Pioneers on their way back to Winter Quarters. We were of course glad to see each other, but as the air was very chilly we could not feel as good as we otherwise would. We stopped next day & held meeting.
The Pioneers told us that they arrived in entered Salt Lake Valley on the 24th of July and hot. they had had to make much road[,] had commenced to plow & sow the same day, but that after it had come up a company of the dismissed soldiers from the Mormon Battalion had arrived & while they were rejoicing in dance their cattle destroyed a whole plantation. After this we traveled
for several days over a level country crossing the Sandies [Big and Little Sandy Creeks], which are branches of Green river, which we came to after four days travel, forded it and continued traveling over a level country crossing the branches or as the here are called forks of the river. On the last of these branch streams lies Fort Bridger, a trading post. Here is a nice green plain, and from here to Salt Lake Valley we traveled over mountains. At first we came up through a forest of cedars where I saw two natural curiosities viz. two cedar trees in spiral form. After some days travel we came to a opn place where there was a spring of mountain tar or asphalt which we used for axel grease. Next we had Bear river to ford, which is a very at a very rough & strong place. After this we came to a place where is a cave in the mountain side. From this place we traveled in 3 days down through Echo Kanyon [Canyon] and forded the Weber river before camping for night. The high perpendicular red <sandstone> cliffs at the mouth of Echo canyon drew my attention as one of the grandest natural sites I ever saw. Next day we travelled up thro Pratts pas[s], and after crossing a mountain stream <many times> which I afterwards learned was called Big canyon creek, we encamped at the foot of the Big Mountain or as we called it the "five mile hill" because we had a rough upward road for five miles. Going up that hill was our task the next day & as it was near night when we got to the top of th and our cattle were tired we camped night but there were scarcely any grass & after letting them browse a little on the oak brush we had to tie them to the wagons. Speaking of oak I must here note observe that the first place we saw oak was t in Echo canyon and I was the first seeing it for I had an occasion to go unto the hills to look for a missing ox & coming down I came through an oak patch which reached to my knees. From this high point we could see the great salt Lake.
In the morning we took an early start. The road down was so steep that we had to lock both hind wheels, and so dusty that we had to stop at times to let the dust pas off so that we could see where w<:h>ere we were going, and there were also many stumps of maple trees which our Pioneers had cut down to make road. At night we camped on a flat place at the foot of the last
mountain hill called the little mountain. To ascent this we had to double teams, and from there we had a very exceedingly rough road to travel down through what is called Emigration canyon & encamped in a hollow on the west side of the mountains. After so much rough traveling I was glad for having got through.
Next day we drove down over the bench to the fort, arrived in G. S. L. City Sept. 29, 1847.