Bennett, Margaret Ann McFall Caldwell, Reminiscences, 4-5.
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 19th of August we left camp and started in real earnest the journey across the plains, traveling about 18 miles a day, including the crossing of the Elk Horn river. On the 8 August we came to a large camp of Omaha Indians who were very friendly. I was on the alert in trading small trinkets for buffalo meat. I found friends where I least expected. The hand carts were frail, the material being too green, they kept breaking so that only a few miles could be made a day. After becoming accustomed to walking it wasn't too bad.
The 4 September we were 265 miles west of Florence, Nebraska. The Cheyennes and Arraphoes [Arapahoes] were doing much damage to small companies on their way to California. We were lucky they left us alone.
Frost came on the 17th day of September.
While in Florence some old Texas cows were bought for the people to milk. Thomas [Caldwell], my 14 year old boy, who should have been a great help in pulling the hand cart, roped one of these cows to hold for a young girl while she milked it, the cow broke and ran catching Thomas' foot in the rope throwing him to the ground and drag[g]ing him quite a distance. When he released the rope the cow turned and stepped on him, which he and I supposed broke his collar bone. This left me with a great deal of pulling to do, Robert [Caldwell] my 17 year old was good but he was needed to help keep the carts in repair. Christene helped. Thomas' collar bone did not heal like it should, gang green set in and I had quite a time clearing it up. Inspite of all these trials my faith was strengthened.
September 28 we met about (100) one hundred saints who had apostatized and were on their way back to the states.
Each day our rations were reduced, starvation seemed inevitable.
September 30 we arrived at Ft. Lar[a]mie.
October 12, rations were fixed at 10½ ounces of flour for men and 9 ounces for the women, 6 oz. for children and 3 oz. for babies. Provisions had all been given out and used, children began crying for bread. For three days we were snowed in with these meager rations. I boiled a small piece of buffalo meat, seasoned it with salt crackers and thickened it with a little flour, then divided it with others desperately in need of food. Two young boys on guard, remembered it for years after as being the best thing they ever ate. I was greatly blessed as my indurance and strength seemed to increase. Elizabeth [Caldwell], my 12 year old, had her toes frozen and because of the continuous walking had to have her toes amputated upon our arrival in Salt Lake. I still had much to be thankful for. There were so many who lost their lives on that perilous journey. The most distasterous day was encountered in crossing the rock[y] ridge, here 15 died of exposure and were placed in a shallow grave.
October 20th wagons came with provisions, flour, onions and clothing. We praised God for our timely deliverance.
More help came the 1st day of November and on the
2th day of Nov. we passed Ft. Bridger and on the
9th day of November we entered Salt Lake Valley.