Allen, Mary Ann Barton, "Autobiography of Mary (Ann) Barton Allen," [1-2].
Trail excerpt transcribed from "Pioneer History Collection" available at Pioneer Memorial Museum [Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum], Salt Lake City, Utah. Some restrictions apply.
When we arrived in Iowa, we had three miles to walk to the camp grounds. It rained all the way, and we were soaking wet when we reached camp that night at twelve o’clock.
We had to stay on the camp grounds five weeks waiting for the handcarts to be made. When everything was ready we started. Traveling through Ohio and Council Bluffs (Nebraska), we had to cross the Missouri River which was about a mile from Florence. At that time so many of our company took sick that we had to camp at Florence for two weeks. Then we started on a journey of thirteen hundred miles across the plains. The people began to get sick and died from drinking muddy water. We had to drink pools of rain water most of the time. While traveling, one of the wagons split and let flour out. The Indians who were nearly starved to death came along behind us picking it up and eating it, dirt and all.
One day while we were camped an Indian came to me and asked me to give him my shawl which I had on my shoulders. I told him it was all I had to keep me from freezing to death. He turned and walked away.
Some of us had to stand guard every night to keep the Indians from stealing our cattle. One day as we were going along we came across three Indians buried in the ground with just their heads sticking out. Upon reaching the Platt[e] River we found Indians wrapped in blankets and laid across the boughs of trees. This was another form of burial the Indians had for their dead.
The soldiers came and guarded us past Chimney Rock. They stayed with us until we reached Fort Bridger. There they stopped and we had to go on alone. When we got on one side of Devils Gate, we had to rest about a week, and our cattle died. We roasted the feet and the hides. Then we ate them.
Joseph Young came on a donkey to meet us. He told us to come on about three miles further. Then we would meet the Mormons who were coming to meet us with wagons of provisions. They could only carry a small amount because the snow was so deep, and they had to carry grain for their horses.
We started that morning and traveled all day. We got to the Mormon camp about five o’clock. The next morning we started with the Mormons and camped at South Pass that night. After pitching our tents we lay down on the ground to get some sleep and rest. In the night the tents all blew over. It was all ice and snow where I was lying, and when the tents blew off I didn’t wake up I was so tired. One man came and looked at me. He called some more men over saying, “I wonder if she is dead?” He patted me on the head and just then I opened my eyes. He jumped back. I tried to raise my head but found that my hair was frozen to the ground. They chopped the ice all around my hair, and I got up and went over to the fire and melted the large pieces of ice that were clinging to my hair. The men laughed to think that I could lie there all night with my hair frozen in the ice, but were very glad that I wasn’t dead. This same night the handcarts all blew away, and some of us had to walk until we met some other wagons.
Mrs. [Ellen Pucell] Unthanks got her feet frozen and had to have them taken off, but when we met more wagons we could all ride. There were four men in our tent, and all of them died, father dying first. Over two-thirds of the company died.
We reached Salt Lake City in the last of November, 1856. We were waiting on the streets for people to ask us home with them, when a man by the name of Daniel King asked me to go home with him. I went but did not like to stay at his place.