[Burton, William W.], "Little Willie," Juvenile Instructor, 1 Apr. 1893, 204, 206-7.
Before reaching Laramie the company passed a very large number of Sioux Indians. There seemed to be thousands of them. They did not appear to very friendly. It was afterwards learned that there were some differences between them and the soldiers situated at Fort Laramie, and next day it culminated in a fight, when on of the chiefs were killed. By this time the company had reached the Black Hills, and late at night drove into camp alongside of Captain Brown's company. Next morning a Crow Indian, and special friend of a post trader whose place was not far from camp, gave him the news of the Laramie trouble with the Sioux Indians, and warned him to flee immediately, as they would probably murder all the white people they could find, for they were on the war path and traveling westward. The trader and Indian visited the camp and informed Job Smith, the captain, of the situation, who immediately consulted with Captain Brown (whose company was ready to start), and desired him to wait till his company could also get their cattle up, and then the two companies started together. But Captain Brown declined and moved on. The cattle had been driven off two or three miles to get feed. Willie and three others were sent after them and brought them up with all possible speed. In a few minutes the cattle were yoked up and the wagons rolled out. The cattle also seemed to partake of the fear felt by the people, and traveled much faster than usual. About two o'clock p.m. they stopped at a swampy place, where the grass was good, and gave them a good feed, then rolled out again and traveled till sunset. A corral was formed, and the cattle with yokes were chained to the wheels inside. Many of the sisters especially were alarmed at fires seen on distant hills, which were said to indicate the presence of Indians. As soon as darkness came on the company moved onward again. The cattle seemed frightened and traveled remarkably fast till nearly morning, and in this way the company succeeded in avoiding trouble with the Indians. Some time before this a Brother Ford, now residing in Centerville, Davis County, was taken sick with mountain fever, and was now reduced nigh unto death. He could not walk and had to be moved like a child, and while lying helplessly sick in the wagon the train moved on up a dugway. About half way up was a very sharp turn, and on the off-side quite a precipice. A little boy was driving team. The off hind wheel slid down to the very edge of the precipice. Willie, who was driving the next team behind, and was close up to the wagon in which Brother Ford was riding, instantly took in the situation, sprang on to the nigh hind wheel and told the cattle to stop, and called for help, and his weight balanced the wagon till other teamsters near at hand came to the rescue. The cattle were kept still and the wagon held in position until Brother Ford had been lifted out, and the wagon was then put on the firm road again. All felt very thankful that Brother Ford and his team had been saved, for had they fell it must have been certain death. As the company neared the Sweet water, Brother Ford took a turn for the better, but was still extremely feeble. He was told that a little good French brandy would do him good. A man in the company named H. J. Jarvis had a keg of it. He was asked to let Brother Ford have a little, but refused, and in the absence of money the latter offered his watch as security, promising to redeem it as soon as possible after the arrival of the company, but all to no purpose. Jarvis did not wish to break into the keg, and therefore the sick man had to get along without it as best he could. At night Willie and some others were sitting around the camp fire talking with Captain Job Smith about the matter, when Captain Smith said, "That man has got but little feeling; but you take notice, that keg of brandy will not reach Salt Lake in safety." This saying became known throughout the camp, and was frequently a topic for conversation during the rest of the journey. Finally camp was formed at the western foot of the Little Mountain, in Emigration Canyon, and the cattle were unyoked for the last time before arrival at Salt Lake City. Many remarks were made as the still safe condition of the noted brandy keg and its contents, and it was believed that the captain would not prove to be a true prophet. The night passed away, and early morning found the camp astir and full of joy that their long and wearisome journey of over eight months would be ended soon after noon that day. In this found anticipation and rejoicing all in camp appeared to have forgotten the story of the brandy keg. As the cattle were hitched up the wagons rolled out. The only prevailing idea seemed to be that the journey would end that day; but all the wagons had hardly left the camp ground before the wagon carrying the brandy upset. One end of the keg came out, and the brandy suddenly mixed with the waters of the Canyon Creek, and coursed on its downward path to mix with the salt waters of the Great Salt Lake, and all the camp rejoiced except the owner of the keg. Without further interruption the company reached Salt Lake City in the afternoon, and many hearts were made glad in meeting father, mother, sister, brother , or dear friends who had gone to Utah before them, who brought supplies of bread, potatoes, etc., for the incoming company, who had been on short ration for some time. The night before Willie and some others gathered mushrooms for supper, their provisions having given out. The great mealy potatoes and loaves of bread that their friends had brought appeared more beautiful than would nuggets of gold. The company had been over three months crossing the plains from the Missouri River, during which time they had never seen any vegetables. Therefore, this first meal in the valley of Great Salt Lake seemed to be the sweetest and best they had ever eaten.