Sarah Evans Rutherford and Ann Hughes Treharne, Reminiscences, reel 11, box 14, fd. 11, item 9, 1-2.
Sarah and I got real well acquainted after we left the railroad at Iowa City and crossed to Florence in wagons.
Then in 1860 we started for Utah. We used to walk with a couple of other girls ahead of the train so we would be out of the dust. One time we were travelling by moonlight to reach water for a camping ground. One man had two cows with calves in yoke, pulling his wagon. He struck a match to light his pipe, and the calves got frightened and began to bellow. It scared all the oxen in the train, and about ten yoke of them stampeded with the wagons. I’ve never seen such excitement. We were ahead, so were out of danger, but a lot of people were hurt.
Buffalo skulls were the mail boxes of the plains. I was with one woman when she found a letter from her husband in a skull. He was ahead in a freight company, and had no way of getting word to his wife other than leaving notes along the trail.
We had to be resourceful in those days. My mother, Sarah Jones Hughes, was as enterprising a woman as I’ve ever known. We brought along a cow so we could have fresh milk all the way across the plains. So mother conceived the idea of taking the cream from the night and morning milkings, putting it in a heavy covered jar, and placing it in the wagon where it would be joggled and shaken all day. The rougher the trail, the better. By night she’d have butter for us. She made some yeast from cornmeal before we left Florence, dried it thoroughly, and used it for bread all the way out here.
Some days it was so hot the tongues of the oxen would hang out pitifully, and their noses bleed. Their feet got so tender that we’d have to throw the beasts to the ground, and shoe them with pieces of leather so they could finish the trip.
We arrived in Salt Lake City late in the fall, coming down through Parley’s Canyon. The whole panorama of the valley spread before us as we rounded that last bend. There were a few scattered houses, surrounded by gleaned fields.
“You know, we walked every step of the way,” Mrs. Rutherford declared at this point, “and we didn’t seem to feel so tired. We were three months on the plains, and I never remember anyone even mentioning the word fatigue.”