Lucinda Haws Holdaway reminiscences.
Trail excerpt transcribed from "Pioneer History Collection." Some restrictions apply.
My husband was away much of the time, buying up oxen preparatory to starting back to Salt Lake Valley.
March 3, 1850, we left Lebanon to go to Kanesville, Iowa, where we would receive a shipment of woolen mills machinery which we were to take to Salt Lake Valley, this being the first machinery of its kind to enter that Valley.
We reached Kanesville about the 15th of May. I took sick with chills and fever; but after we crossed the Missouri River I got better.
In the early part of June we left Kanesville in Wm. Pace's Co. It was divided in two sections, with 50 in a section. Richard Sessions was at the head of our division. Everything went well until the cholera broke out. We could not get a bit of good water anywhere. The water in the Platte River was thick with mud and very warm. We had no boxes to bury them in, so they were wrapped in a white sheet and laid in the cold ground—not even a slab to mark their graves. Sometimes a large rock or tree marked their burial place.
After the cholera died out, we got along real well without an accident for several hundred miles. We had all the buffalo and antelope meat we wanted and some deer meat, which we got in the Black Hills. The company dried a lot of it and it came in very well, for we needed it when we go out of the buffalo country. One day we say a large herd of buffalo. They were crossing our path just ahead of our train. The men rushed upon them and had a lively chase. One man's horse was hooked from under him but fortunately he was not hurt. Many times I have seen great heards of buffalo feeding at the river edge. In the evening they came out of the hills and went down to the Platte River to drink. At first they were so tame that they would come up in our herd of cows and sheep and smell around. One night a buffalo ran past the camp. Some of the men shot and wounded it but it didn't stop. My husband and a Mr. Reynolds chased the animal and killed it. They lost their way in the dark and didn't reach camp until the next morning. I sat up all night looking for them for I was afraid that the wolves would kill them. The camp had to wait three days for a young man who went on foot after the buffalo and was lost. We were glad when all of the company was safe again.
My husband was on guard at night and during the day he walked ahead and drove the stock. He shod the horses and was looked to as a kind of overseer of the company. I had to cook for 4 men and drive our team besides.
One day I got in some serious trouble. My team was the last one. We had to cross a stream with a very steep bank. My wagon plunged into the stream and the wagon nearly stood on end. My horses balked and I could neither get out of the wagon nor make them pull the wagon out. Fortunately there was a man walking behind me who helped me get the team through the stream.
We were not getting into the mountains on this side of the Sweetwater River. Our wagons were loaded with machinery and our teams were just about given out. Our bread stuff was all used up except some whole corn, which I made hominy of and we lived on this until we reached Salt Lake Valley in September, 1850.