Williams, Joseph John, "History of Joseph John Williams Junior," .
Trail excerpt transcribed from "Pioneer History Collection" available at Pioneer Memorial Museum [Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum], Salt Lake City, Utah. Some restrictions apply.
On the 15th day of July 1868 we started by mule team across the plains for Salt Lake City. At this time I was 14 years of age. We, my father and mother included, came with the Captain John Murdock Company. Each wagon carried 2 families with all of the provisions. As the loads were heavy, everyone—man, woman or child who was able to walk, did so; for all able-bodied had to. After a very tedious journey of 4 weeks our company of 600 arrived in Zion.
Three days before we left Fort Laramie, there was another train (of 300) left under Captain Joseph S. Rollins [Rawlins]—and our Capt. was determined to beat him in. So, while the former came by the “Sweet Water” [Sweetwater] route, our train came by the “Bitter Creek” route; and so caused a hardship to the immigrants.
The name “Bitter Creek” came from the impurities of the water. This caused much sickness. There was an epidemic of measles and we had to stop very often while a grave was dug by the wayside, and some dear one buried in this hot desolate country. The children were afflicted most; three of them being my younger brothers (one only three months old) who were sick with this dreadful disease.
We were called to arms once on account of Irish Railroaders. But there was no real bad trouble. Once the Indians seemed as though they were going to make a raid, but only milled around, whooping and yelling, then rode away.
Another interesting experience happened one night. In camping, the wagons were formed in a circle, with the tongues inside. The cattle were herded together to prevent any surprise attack by the Indians, who were often seen prowling around, watching their chance to cause the animals to stampede. On this particular night, the men who were guarding the camp rushed in and said the Indians were driving the cattle away! When daylight came they found it was not Indians but a herd of buffaloe that had frightened the animals and caused the stampede. They were all found and brought back.
Now I was siezed with a carbuncle on my left shoulder when about half-ways across the plains. Now, Understand, all able bodied people had to walk, and I was considered in that class. One day I was nearly lost and if it had not been for the Truck wagon (of which the teamster took me on the seat with him) I should of been left for sure!
Arriving in Salt Lake City August 19th, we beat the John Rollins Company by quite a ways (considering that they started before we did.) They arrived August 20, 1868.