Loosli, Ulrich, History of Ulrich Loosli, 1-4. (Trail excerpt from "Pioneer History Collection" available at Pioneer Memorial Museum [Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum], Salt Lake City, Utah. Some restrictions apply.)
"Dear Beloved Mother, Brothers, and Sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ:
Once again I take my pen in hand to write to you to give you further information concerning my travels over the plains of America, concerning that which you hear so much concerning that which you hear so much of in Europe, also the hardships and inconveniences of the travelers. So I thought I would write some of my experiences just as they happened to me.
It is 1030 English miles from Florence to Salt Lake City or 370 Swiss hours. I had a real good wagon, three yoke of oxen, two cows, and one calf which I bought in Florence. Our company consisting of thirty-six wagons, left Florence on June 14th. Our company's captain's name was Brother [James Darling]. Ross, who was first counselor of the European Mission. This company was divided into four sections, and each section had a leader. I was appointed leader of the Swiss company, which consisted of ten wagons. We bought our provisions in Florence which consisted of flour, butter, bacon, onions, ham, sugar, dried fruit and many other things. We took many cows with us, therefore, we had an abundance of milk. During the first five hundred miles the feed was plentiful, but as we traveled further, the grass became scarce, and so, naturally, by the time we reached Salt Lake City, the cows were nearly dry.
As a rule we traveled fifteen to twenty miles a day, starting at six o'clock in the morning and stopping a half hour at noon for lunch. We pitched our camps early in the evening, afterwhich each man took care of his oxen, which didn't take very long; and then the men gathered wood, while the women prepared the evening meal. Everything was done in order. The wagons were drawn in a circle, and outside of the tents the women did the cooking. The cattle were guarded day and night as a protection against the Indians, and to prevent them from straying. Each morning I blew the horn to call the company for prayer. The English gathered on one side while the Germans gathered on the other side; after this we all had breakfast. I blew the horn as a signal to hitch up the oxen. After everything was in readiness, I blew the horn as a signal for the company to start. In the evening I blew the horn for prayer, afterwhich we retired. The signal for us to rise was given by the guards, or by those who watched the cattle during the night. In the beginning the oxen were hard to catch and hitch, but they soon became tame. Many people in Switzerland think that this kind of travel is hard, but I can truthfully tell you that during the last twenty years I've worked harder than I did on this journey even though I was the leader of the company and had more to do than did the others. I had to take care of my company; each day I had to blow the bugle eight times for all four companies. Whenever we came to a bad place in the road, I had to stop and wait until every wagon had passed safely by. My brother, Hans Kasper Loosli and Jacob Fuhriman, often say this journey was only a joke for them. We had good times spending our evenings in songs, speeches, and in encouraging entertainment of all kinds. I had my wagon at the head of the company all during the trip. Notwithstanding, we had many bad places in the road to pass over; our trip was better than we had expected. Four hours we traveled on a road that was wide and level. It was a beautiful sight to see these thirty-six wagons traveling along the level road. I had a brother from Thurgan who drove my oxen, but many times I had to take the whip and drive them myself. When I was four hundred miles from Florence, I purchased another yoke of oxen. I then had four yoke of oxen on my wagon and with them I was able to drive safely under any conditions. It took knowledge, alertness, and skill to drive over bad roads, but on good roads the driver could ride if he understood the driving of oxen.
In Switzerland you would be amazed to see from four to six oxen on one wagon without a line or halter or rope of any kind with which to drive them. It also made me open my eyes. On the more unruly oxen we placed ropes on their horns so that we could guide them. Many times when the oxen became unruly, I had to drive them for the other drivers. We also lost a few oxen.
The English and the Americans admired us and marveled at our strength and many times we helped them out of their troubles.
On the first of September we camped ten miles from Salt Lake City, and on the
second day [September], four Apostles came to our camp and preached to us, and on the
third [September] we entered Salt Lake City. The same day Brigham Young and Brother Wells, his second counselor, and many others came to our camp to give us any advice we wanted.
Let us take one more glance back over our trip. I have often wondered at the success of our journey, for we were always so happy and blessed. The people in Salt Lake City marveled at our appearance. Some men made the remark that we were in better condition at our arrival than any other company that they had seen. We had but one death in our company, a man from Switzerland. There were no accidents of the oxen or wagons throughout the journey and everything went well and successfully. We sang and prayed together like the children of a good family.
Many times during the journey we went hunting and caught rabbits, sage hens, and ducks. We also killed one deer and a bear. It was a great joy for me to travel over the great plains. As we traveled we passed many houses, also some stores where we all could buy anything we wished, such as coffee, sugar, ham, vinegar, brandy, bacon, butter, soap, whips, rope, etc., but we paid a very high price for these things.
As far as the Indians were concerned we had no complaint to make. During the first 600 miles several Indians visited our camp and wanted something to eat. We gave them some flour. I saw the Indian town, Chevoa, a city of about 5,000 inhabitants, the most Indians I have seen in one place.