Thursday, December 15, 2011



William B. Preston

William B. Preston Company (1864)

Departure: 4 July 1864 Arrival: 15 September 1864Company Information: About 400 individuals and 50 wagons were in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Wyoming, Nebraska (the west bank of the Missouri River about 40 miles south of Omaha)

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
"Emigrant Train," Salt Lake Daily Telegraph, 16 Sep. 1864, 3.
Read Trail Excerpt:
EMIGRANT TRAIN.—Unexpectedly to everybody, but that one person who "just expected he would be in on Thursday," Capt. [William B.] Preston's train arrived yesterday forenoon. There were forty-nine church wagons and nine others of private individuals; three hundred and seventy-eight persons—chiefly Danes and Swedes, left the Missouri river, of which number, five children, four women, and one man had died on the plains, and four children were born during the seventy days journey. Seven oxen died on the down journey and eleven died on the return. Capt. Preston looked well, considered that he had had a favorable trip, and the company seemed composed of very substantial, sober, good people.
As this paper has an extensive circulation on the route, we take this opportunity to say to Captains of trains that it would greatly benefit many in their companies and their friends if they would telegraph from Bridger and Weber when they expected to arrive. We saw some Danish folks in the street yesterday morning, who had come from San Pete to meet this train and only an hour before it was within sight on the "bench" they left, not expecting it before Tuesday—they did not happen to see him "who just expected it" at the hour it arrived.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Ballard, Henry, Private journal of Henry Ballard, 1852-1904, 49-60.
Read Trail Excerpt
Apr. 24. Camped on the east side of the little mountain.
Apr.25. Camped in Parley's Park.
Apr. 26. Camped at the head of Silver Creek.
Apr.27. We reached Grass Creek and found good feed. Here we had to leave Brother A. Thorn sick with a family. He was badly afflicted with rheumatic.
Apr.28. We came up with the other part of our company who was from Box Elder county also Weber county. They came up through Weber canyon. Here we made a full organization by appointing a chaplain, five captains of ten and four night horse guards, two to be on duty at a time.
Apr. 29. Camped at the cave near the head of Echo Canyon.
Apr. 30. Camped on Sulfer [Sulphur] Creek one mile from Bear River.
May 1. We camped on the Muddy and continued down it until the fourth when we struck Hams Fork and camped.
May 5. Camped on Green River a little above the Jerry [ferry].
May 6. We forded the river, the water striking the box. One passed the place where Lot Smith burnt the wagons on Little Sandy in the time of Johnston's Army. We camped on Big Sandy.
May 7. We crossed it and camped.
May 8. We camped on Dry Sandy.
May 9. The wind was blowing very cold all day from the east. We camped at Pacific Springs.
May 10. We crossed the south pass and came over unto the Sweet water. Captain John Murdock's mule Church train camped a little above us, D.H. Wells, Brigham Young, Jr., and a number others going on a mission was with him.
May 11. They passed us and we camped on the west side of the rocky ridge on Sweet water.
May 12. Crossed the rocky ridge and camped on Allcolic Creek [Alkali Springs].
May 13. Crossed Sweet Water and camped five miles above the three crossings.
May 14. Remained in camp till noon shoeing oxen, then passed the three crossings and camped.
May 15. Camped 10 miles above Devil's Gate on Sweet water.
May 16. Nooned at Devil's Slide and went five below and camped.
May 17. While we were yoking up our cattle in the morning, Albert Baker, the associate captain rode fast on the outside of the corral of wagons and the ground sounded like it was hollow. The noise excited the cattle and they made a rush for the opposite end of the corral and started off at full gallup. They knocked down three men and some oxen and upset one wagon but did not do much harm. After we got started and was passing Independence Rock, the excited cattle again started to run but we soon got them stopped. We nooned on Grease Wood creek [Greaswood Creek] and camped on the south fork of the same.
May 18. We traveled all day without water till we struck the North Platte where we camped by the side of a large emigrant camp going to the northern mines. Old Captain Bridger, of Ford Bridger, was piloting them over a new road with about 100 wagons.
May 19. Traveled down the river to the upper bridge expecting to cross it but they wanted to charge us $3.00 per wagon to cross it. We went seven miles farther down and got the chance of crossing this bridge for 50¢ per wagon.
May 20. We crossed the Platte at this bridge onto the south side and here traded for some buffalo robes of a mountaineer and camped five miles below.
May 21. We crossed Deer Creek and went four miles below.
May 22. Crossed Boise Creek and nooned on Box Elder Creek and camped on Laperlay [La Prele] Creek. It rained on us in torrents, the water running all around us.
May 23. We camped on Labonty [La Bonte].
May 24. Camped on Horse Shoe Creek a little above the station.
May 25. We reached the Platte and camped 10 miles above Laramie.
May 26. We moved one mile and camped on account of the rain.
May 27. We passed Laramie and forded Laramie fork, the water running into the wagon boxes. We went thirteen miles down the river and camped.
May 28. Camped on Horse [Horseshoe] Creek.
May 29. Camped three miles above Scotts Bluffs [Bluff].
May 30. Passed Scotts Bluffs 50 miles below Laramie. Went 25 miles more and camped near Chimney Rock.
May 31. Went 25 miles down the river. The next day 24 miles.
June 2. It rained all the morning. We went 16 miles afterwards.
June 3. Went 15 miles and camped at Ash Hollow.
June 4. Went up Ash Hollow going on over the south Platte 18 miles and nooned. Here we found the river booming high and no way to cross it only having to ford and swim it. A number of the brethren that could swim went into the river to hunt a ford. They finally concluded that two miles above the old California crossing was the best place at the Buck eye ranch. The river was three-fourths of a mile wide. We commenced to cross at 4 p.m. In some places the cattle would have to swim. Then they could ford it while the wagons would float. We had to wade it holding onto our oxen. When we came to the deep channels after we had got about half way over, some of the teams had got down too low, coming too near to some of the Islands. In one of these places five wagons boxes floated off. We got them out the best we could. We succeeded in getting four out that night.
June 5. When we went to get the other one out we found that a burr had worked off and the wheel was gone and buried up in some hole and we could not find the wheel anywhere. We had to give it up. We got the wagon out and took it to pieces and loaded it up in other wagons and got a new wheel when we got to the Missouri river. We lost a few things. We were meeting about 200 teams per day going to the new gold fields in the north, many taking their families with them to get away from the war that was still raging. We went 15 miles and camped at the Lone Tree ranch.
June 6. Traveled 20 miles and camped 6 miles above Baker's Ranch.
June 7. Went 22 miles down the river and camped at Fremony [Fremont] Slough.
June 8. Went 25 miles. We passed the Cottonwood's military post and where the north and south Platte come together we camped three miles below this post on very poor feed.
June 9. We started at day break and went 8 miles and stopped till noon in good feed. We then went 12 miles.
June 10. Went 25 miles and camped 12 miles above Plumb Creek.
June 11. Passed Plumb [Plum] Creek and camped 2 miles below. It was raining hard.
June 12. Went 8 miles and nooned. Here we left 59 of our weakest cattle to recruit up at a ranch till we returned. We left Brother Wm. Hall to take care of them. We camped below Hopeville, 10 miles above Kerny [Kearney] Post.
June 13. We passed Kerney and went 4 miles below and camped.
June 14. Went 25 miles and camped.
June 15. Nooned 11 miles below at the Junction of the road where it leaves the river 40 miles below, Kerney. We took the road leaving the river which led toward toward Nebraska City. We went 10 miles farther and camped at some springs where the captain and guards horses ran away. But the camp guard soon got them back.
June 16. Went 12 miles and nooned at the first striking of Beaver Creek. We followed down it 33 miles to where it emptied into the Big Blue river.
June 17. Camped at that point.
June 18. Camped on the north fork o the Big Pine.
June 19. Camped on Salt Creek.
June 20. Camped on Mimmeaha [Nemaha] Creek.
June 21. Went within four miles of Wyoming, the landing place for the Saints this season.
June 22. Some of the brethren went into see the emigrants, about 1,000 had arrived. The captain went in to get his instructions from Joseph W. Young, who had charge of this season's emigration.
June 23. I went to Nebraska City to get some blacksmithing done and trade a little, but everything was very high on account of the war that was going on.
June 24. I went to Wyoming and stayed overnight.
June 25. Was helping to fix up some new wagons and making arrangements to get me a cook stove hauled through which I did.
June 26. Returned to camp and Joe. Rollands company had arrived and camped near us.
June 27. In Camp.
June 28. We moved our wagons to Wyoming and sent the most of our cattle back to the old camp. We then commenced to load up our wagons.
June 29-30. Still loading up.
July 1. I went to Nebraska City after a wagon.
July 2. In camp all day.
July 3. 800 more emigrants arrived at Wyoming. All the Utah trains had arrived.
July 4. We moved four miles out this time taking Platte road. We were very heavy loaded. We had 380 passengers and their baggage and provisions and 1,500 lbs. of freight to each of the 50 wagons.
July 5. I unloaded my 40 sacks of flour giving to each wagon and returned for a load of groceries. I then took this load to camp and divided it up amongst the passengers to last them to Laramie.
July 6. I then went back for my load of groceries to take across the plains. The reason that I did not have any passengers was that I had been cooking for the captain all the way down and we had slept together in going down and he wanted me to still cook for him and the Logan boys, eight of us altogether, so I had my wagon more to myself but it was filled to the top. I could hardly find a corner to lay down. The captain slept with Hans Munk upon a load of flour where there was more room.
July 7-8. The clerks were settling up with the emigrants.
July 9. They finished up with them and we moved four miles.
July 10. Went to Weeping water, 25 miles.
July 11. Made one drive. We had a very heavy rain.
July 12. Went to Salt Creek.
July 13-14. Traveled over a very rolling country.
July 15. A woman and child died in camp.
July 16. We buried them six miles below where the road comes down onto the Platte Bottom.
July 17. Nooned on Clear Creek.
July 18. Made but one drive.
July 19. A woman died in camp 60 years of age.
July 20-21. Traveling upon the Platte Bottoms.
July 22. A son was born in camp. We came to the Junction of the road where we left the river road going down.
July 23. We camped 25 miles below Fort Kearney.
July 24. Another child died in camp. We camped four miles below Kearney.
July 25. Passed Kearney and camped 10 miles above.
July 26. We came up to our cattle at noon where we left them going down. They had done well. We remained here for the night.
July 27. We camped two miles above Plumb [Plum] Creek.
July 28. We traveled 23 miles.
July 29. Another woman died in camp. We camped 17 miles below Cottonwood's military post.
July 30. We passed the post and went 6 miles above and camped after dark.
July 31. It was a very hot, dusty day. We only traveled 15 miles and camped on Fremont Slough.
Aug. 1. Camped two miles below Baker's ranch.
Aug. 2. A man passenger died in camp.
Aug. 3. We camped at our old camp ground going down, one mile below the Lone Tree ranch.
Aug. 4. We passed the place where we crossed the Platte going down and camped three miles above. We concluded to go by way of Jul[e]sburg thinking it to be a better road.
Aug.. 5. Another son was born in camp. We traveled through some very heavy sand and camped four miles below Julsburg.
Aug. 6. We crossed the river at Julsburg very well by doubling teams. the water struck the box in one place. We traveled 5 miles afterwards and camped on Pole Creek.
Aug. 7, Sun. We remained in camp the forepart of the day to let our cattle rest. At noon as we were yoking up our oxen, a mule from a little camp near us which had been traveling with us for protection, had been snake bitten a few days before and it came to the corral and jumped over the chain that had been fastened from one wagon wheel to the other to keep the cattle in. As soon as it jumped over it gave a big groan and died. This frightened the cattle and they made a rush to get out of the corral. They tipped over one wagon and broke an axle tree and a tongue. This was about all the harm done, we had to stop the rest of the day to fix up our wagons. The most of the emigrants had started on before us so they were out of the way or some of them might have got hurt.
Aug. 8. We traveled 18 miles in the afternoon. As we were traveling the fore part of the train got to running away but the brethren were lucky in soon getting them stopped. The hinder part of our train was behind a divide so we did not see it nor our cattle partake of the spirit.
Aug. 9. We traveled 10 miles and nooned by the side of a large freight train that had been up to Laramie and in coming back had lost 75 head of their cattle out of 600 in eight days by Bloody Murrin, and some trains going to Utah with freight had to leave a portion of their loading at Laramie on account of their loss of stock and we had lost several head and quite a number were sick. Our captain and Reuben Collett and Warren Childs started back to Julesburg to telegraph to Pres. Young in Salt Lake City to get his mind about going the Pole Creek route, as we believed it would be better to go that way as there would be less dust and more feed on that route. We remained in camp that day.
Aug. 10. We moved camp five miles and waited for our captain and his guard. They came back at dark but he could not get his dispatch through on account of the Indian disturbances back on the road. The operator would not take time to send it, so we had to go it on our account. The Indians had taken a small train of 15 wagons, killed the men and took two women and three children and run of a large amount of stock about the Cottonwood's station and some other depredation reported. The next Church train to us was 60 miles behind us.
Aug. 11. Another freight train from Laramie passed us which had lost 50 head of cattle out of 300 in eight days and they said another company behind them had lost about the same amount and the ranch mens' cattle were also dying very fast. The captain thought from all the reports that he could gather, it would be best to take the Pole Creek route. We went on 2 miles to the forks of the road where it turned off to go to Laramie 40 miles above Julesburg. We went on the Pole Creek route trusting in the Lord for our best good.
Aug. 14. A child died in camp.
Aug. 15. We crossed the right hand fork of the creek 75 miles from the forks at the road and 115 miles from Julesburg. We traveled the right hand fork going 14 miles without water.
Aug. 16. We had to camp all night without water. It had sunk again for 18 miles.
Aug. 17. We started an hour before daylight and went 10 miles and stopped for water and then traveled on some more.
Aug. 18. We came over to the head of the left hand fork of Pole Creek and camped at Chyann [Cheyenne] Springs by the ruins of camp Walbock 180 miles from Julesburg. We had another son born in camp.
Aug. 19. We noon on Chyann Summit at some springs on the left handside of the road. We afterward came on top of the summit and beheld a fine looking valley lying beneath us and the two Laramie forks running through it and several high mountains around it with everlasting snows laying on them. We soon descended down to the big Laramie fork and camped making 25 miles.
Aug. 20. We traveled 16 miles without water when we came to the little Laramie fork and camped.
Aug. 21. We passed where the mail stage road turned off the left going by Denver City. We traveled 7 miles and nooned on a dry creek. There had been water there not long before. In the afternoon we traveled 6 miles across a very rough, rolling, rocky bunch and then came down a very steep rough hill, then went one mile across the bottom to Cooper Creek and camped.
Aug. 22. We traveled 10 miles over some very rough country and the wind was blowing the dust hard in our faces. We nooned on a small creek two miles south of Rock Creek. It rained in the afternoon and we remained in camp.
Aug. 23. The wind was still blowing very cold but the rain had settled the dust. We crossed Rock Creek and it was well named for it was a very rocky country all around that part. We camped up with a company that had gone the north Platte road to Fort Laramie and when they had got to Laramie their cattle commenced dying so fast that they thought they would turn back. They came over to the Pole Creek and followed up it. In the afternoon we had some very rough places to cross. We got over into the big Medicine Bow and camped one mile below the ford.
Aug. 24. We crossed it and 6 miles farther we passed fort Hallick, seven miles father brought us to the head of Pass Creek and nooned, then followed 9 miles down it to the crossing of little Medicine Bow.
Aug. 25. Went 20 miles and nooned without water. Afterwarad went 6 miles to the north Platte and crossed it and camped. We drove our cattle two miles up the river to good feed.
Aug. 26. Our cattle were driven up to camp and it was supposed that some were driven off by some tracks seen across the river from the herd. We soon yoked up our cattle and found that five were missing, the number that were tracked away. We soon unyoked again and the horse guards and all the horses in camp that could go, started on their tracks and followed them back in the road about 2 miles and then went down the river and crossed back onto the same side of the river as they drove them from and the tracks of two horse men following them. It had been some men living at the station that had a little hay cut and they wanted pay for damages and they took that plan to get it. After we got them back the captain offered them two head of oxen but they refused the offer and wanted $500.00 damage for three tons of hay as they called it and as the captain refused their request they said they would go to Fort Halleck and bring on the troops and force their demand upon us. We hitched up about 4 p.m. and traveled 16 miles and camped after dark on Sage Creek on very poor feed. We put eight men on guard with the cattle at a time in place of two as before.
Aug. 27. We traveled 10 miles and camped at the Pine Grove spring station. Here we expected to be attacked by the troops if these unjust ranchers could induce them to hearken to their story, but no troops appeared.
Aug. 28. We started at daylight and traveled five miles and halted for breakfast, when the camp nearly caught fire by the large sage brush catching fire. We crossed Bridger's Pass and camped at Sulfer Springs station in the Muddy making 20 miles.
Aug. 29. Traveled 10 miles down the Muddy and nooned, then followed it 7 miles further, then turned 4 miles into the hills and camped without water but good feed.
Aug. 30. We traveled 15 miles without water when reached the Barrell Springs and camped.
Aug. 31. After going four miles farther we passed the Dug Springs station. We then had to travel 18 miles again for water at the next station at the head of Bitter Creek 90 miles from Green River. We went 2 miles down this creek and camped. Another woman died, 60 years of age.
Sept. 1. Went three miles down the Creek and turned up the south fork four miles to good feed and camped.
Sept. 2. We again struck the road we had left.
Sept. 3. Started at daylight, traveled 11 miles and nooned at Rock Point springs station. Went 10 miles and camped on good feed four miles above Salt Wells station.
Sept. 4. In the afternoon a very heavy thunder storm over took us and we halted for a short time during this storm another son was born. We passed Rock Springs station and camped 2 miles below making 20 miles. We had good feed again.
Sept. 5. One of the men that had the damages against us at north Platte passed us in the stage going to Fort Bridger to try to get the troops from there after us, as they had failed to get them from Fort Halleck. We went 16 miles which brought us to Green river and nooned at the ford. We then forded it and on going up out of the river, George Langley broke the hind wheel of his wagon all to pieces. We loaded up his wagon into other wagons then tied a pole under his and traveled three miles farther. We lessened our guard to four at a time.
Sept. 6. We traveled 10 miles and struck the Blacks fork where the mail stage line turns off to go past Bridger. We followed up Blacks Fork one mile and stopped the remainder of the day and fixed up the broken wheel.
Sept. 7. Still followed up Blacks Fork 22 miles farther which brought us to the old Pioneer road at the crossing of Hams Fork where I once stood guard all night, where we camped on the same piece of ground that we did in going down. We only lost three head of oxen on the Pole Creek route. The Lord greatly favored us by sending great showers of rain a head of us to fill up the Bitter Creek where it so often sunk in ordinary times so we did not suffer much for water for such a big train and we knew nothing of the road. We saved a great many cattle by coming that way.
Sept. 8. We started up the Muddy and went 24 miles and camped after dark.
Sept. 9. Two women died of dysentery. We went 20 miles and camped one mile below the station at the old ford of the Muddy on the Bridger road.
Sept. 10. We sent two men to Bridger to learn what the news was of our persecutors. The brethren learned that the commander of the fort would do nothing till he should get orders from Col. Conner at Camp Douglas, Salt Lake City. He sent for an order but got no answer so our persecutors had to return home without anything. We nooned at the Pioneer Ridge, after traveling one mile in the afternoon. We met with a very bad accident that happened to Brother Martin Wood just returning from a mission to England. Brother Wood was driving a team at the time loaded with 4,000 lbs. of stoves. At noon he fixed up a foot board, but not making it safe and as he started out he got up to ride with his feet upon this board and in going down a little incline he lost his balance and the board tipped throwing him in front of the wagon, and both near wheels passed over his neck nearly killing him on the spot, but we took him along a short distance to Sulfer [Sulphur] Creek near Bear River. We watched over him all night and he felt like he would recover.
Sept. 11. We left him at Bear river station, and Benjamin Garr with him to help take are of him. He appeared a little better but we learned afterward that he died in three days after we left him. We camped at our old camp ground, Cache cave.
Sept. 12. I was called to drive the same team after the accident. A child died in camp. We camped two miles above the mouth of Echo Canyon.
Sept. 13. Camped at the head of Silver Creek.
Sept. 14. We got on top of the little mountain after dark and camped on it.
Sept. 15. Arrived in Salt Lake City and unloaded our freight and passengers that wanted to stop in that part of the country. The rest we took along to our part of the country.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Bodily, Robert, Journal, in Library of Congress, Collection of Mormon diaries [1935-1938], reel 2, item 4, 14-17.
Read Trail Excerpt:
In 1864 I was called to go to the Missouri River for Emigrants[.] three teams were sent from Kaysville[.] John Blocksom [Bloxham,] Thomas Harris and myself[.] Chris Burton herder drove the teams[,] 4 yoke of oxen to the team[.] Bearlake [Bear Lake,] County[,] Cach[e] County and Davis County furnished the teams in our train[.] Bp Wm Preston was our Captain[.] we went up Weber Can[y]on a pretty rough road at that time[.] we forded the river 3 times and the river was getting quite high[.] it would be up to the wagon boxes but everything went along all right untill we got to the Devils gate on the sweetwater Creek[.] the Cattle had been brought into the coral[.] the Coral is formed by drawin[g] the wagons in two half circles[,] ½ the wagons on one side of the Circle and the other half on the other side[.] on the right hand side of the circle the cattle would be on the inside of the coral with the front wheel 3 feet from the hind wheel of the wagon ahead of it and a chain would tie the two wheels together on the left hand side of the circle[.] the cattle would be on the outside of the caral with the wheels placed the same as the other side[.] well the Cattle had just been brought and some of the Oxen had been yoked when like a flash of lightning they stampeeded and went out at on[e] end of the Coral and turned a wagon or two over on each side of the Gaps and hurting Several but no deaths[.] after the Cattle had been headed and brought back we finished yokeing the oxen, and as we proceeded all went well untill we arived at the plat[te] river[.] the Rivers were all high now and the Plat being no exception for it was very high but we found a place to ford but in crossing the forse of the water Kept crowding the teams down untill they were away below the ford and the water much deeper[.] it floated some of the wagon boxes off and turned some of the wheels backward and four of the wheels were lost[.] the burs turned backward and came off letting the wheels off[.] the Captain sent a lot of us into the River holding each others hands to try and find them with our feet but none could we find so we had to put the parts that were left into other wagons and get new ones at the Missouri River[.] so things went about as before[,] Yoke up in the morning unyoke at noon[.] yoke up again and unyoke again at night untill we arived at the River[.] the date I have forgotten[.] we camped at a place called Florence on the Missouri River[.] there we laid over for some time as part of the Saints to go with us had not arived and some more new Wagons and other mds. [merchandise] & ct had not came[.] while we laid at Florence some of us boys went down the river to Nebraska City to see the place and oh what a City compared with S L City[.] little narrow streets running everywhere in general and nowhere in particula[r.] houses they were so high and the streets so narrow that should one of the buildings collaps on one side of the street it would fall completely accross the street[.] finally the Saints and other things we had been waiting for arived and we began loading some with one thing and some another[.] I had iron bars about 30 or 40 hundred pounds and 11 passengers[,] 4 or 5 males and 6 or 7 females and their luggage
well we fineally got started for Utah with a thor[o]ugh organization as before but much larger and a lot more people in it[.] it put me in mind of the time I crossed 4 years before but the drivers were more accustomed to handle the oxen[.] I often regognized our old Camping places of 4 years before but some things had changed[.] the buffalo were not near so numerous as before and there being more people and the wagons loaded with mds. a good many people had walk every foot of the way across those plains both men and women across rivers[.] it made no difference but they did not complain or at least we heard nothing of it but anyone could see how tired they were as with us on our former trip[.] in the start the days were long and plenty of grass and water[.] we could camp allmost anywhere but as we came on the days grew shorter[,] the water dried up in lots of places[,] the grass dry and not much for the cattle[.] it made it very hard on the people[.] some times we would be very late coming into camp and then supper to get and Children put to bed but when we got into camp in any decent time we allways had camp prayers and all would assemble together and sing a hymn and all seemed to enjoy it and forget the days hard work and all seemed to enjoy good health[.] so in due time we arived in S L City Sep. 10th 1864

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Child, Warren G., [Journal], in Chronicles of Courage, 8 vols. [1990-97], 8:290.
Read Trail Excerpt:
Monday, June 27, we commenced loading our wagons, all being accomplished. Our damaged wagons were all repaired. On the 5th of July we started our homeward journey, making about six to ten miles per day as our wagons were heavy laden. The passengers or emigrants, with a few exceptions, were compelled to walk, making a line some two miles in length when all were in traveling order. We arrived in Salt Lake City on the 16th of September 1864 having a comparatively pleasant journey, if there is any pleasure in a journey of this kind, which I must confess there was.
I think the Latter-day Saints could make Hell pleasant should the world get their wish and that should be our destiny. We would crowd out the devils and make a heaven of it. I do not know but that this is the way the world is to be cleansed. Althogether we had a prosperous journey with but few deaths amongst the passengers.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Hold, Trine Marie, [Letter], in Charles Keilgaard Hansen, Record [ca. 1917], fd. 1, 45-46.
Read Trail Excerpt:
Caroline Marthene Andersen Hansen. died September 9th 1864 on the Plaines, in a church Oxteam Company led by captain William B. Preston.
This was a bloody war, and very disastrous for the little Denmark, and the last battle was fought on the 28th of April, 1864, and after the war was ended Prussia was not satisfied with the two rich Provincess Schlesvig and Holstein, but demanded furthermore. Millions of dollars of war expencess, and kept hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the country, (and especially all over Gutland) almost the whole summer to torment, and further oppress the people till satisfactory arrangements was made to pay the enormous amount of war expen[s]ess.—In this critical war, many of the sons of Denmark, who also had enlisted in the army of Christ, was Elders of Israel; and some had traveled for years preaching the gospel. the[y] hated to go to the battle field; and take up arms, against their fellow men, and to escape they used all lawful meanes to raise money to go to America, so those few who had a little money was stripped. My wife felt very uneasy about me, as there was all probability that I also would be called into the war, (and would have been, if the war had continued a little longer.) and preferred to go with the Emigrants to Utah; as I had promiss from a sister, who I had assisted in selling her property, to get money enough to emigrate both me and my wife, but when I called for the money, that sister found that she had been to liberal in letting the missionaries have money to desert to America, that she could not keep her promiss good to me, but managed to get enough for one to emigrate, and as my wife together with two young sisters there lived with us, named Sine [Jensine] Gyldenluve, and Trine Marie Hold, begged, and pleaded with me, to give my consent to let my wife go with them to Zion, I finally consented, with the hope that we was to meet again in Zion, in one year, as I was promissed if I should be called into the war that the brethren would sent me to Norway on a mission, to free me from serving as a soldier.—
On the 8th of April 1864 the emigrants went on board a steamer in Randers to go to Copenhagen and from there to proseed their journey towards America but the feeling there prevailed in my home that morning, when the day of separation had arrived, none, but those who has tried it knows, for to sacrifice a lovely home, and deare wife and husband, with only a faint hope of ever see each other again in this life, as she had now 8,000 miles before her to travel, a very hardeous [arduous] road over the mighty deep; in old sailing vessels, there took from five to eight weeks to cross from England; to America, and an account of the long time in the water, and the Emigrants close together; and the seasickness together with half rodden [rotten] or decayed group [grub] and drinking water, caused a great deal of sickness and deaths, among the people, and after crossing the Continent from New York to Wyoming, then they had yet 1,000 miles to travel across the plains or great American Deseret with Oxtteames, which took the balance of the summer and generally landed the surviving Emigrants in Salt Lake City in the fore part of October.—My wife crossed the plains in a church train, their captain was William B. Preston. —I received three letters from her after she left Randers, one from Copenhagen, one from Grimsby, England, and one from Wyoming, and will now leave her for a while once in her company, traveling Zionward step by step; and will return home to my ones [once] happy home in Randers, but what a feeling, in entering the empty rooms, and see that the star there previously gave light and cheerfulness to all who visited there, was gone, the cheerful singing, merry laughing and jocking [joking] was not heard any more, consequently, it was no more a home to me. . . .
But I must now go back again, and try to find my wife, who left Wyoming in the summer of 1864 in captain Preston's company, en route to Salt Lake City, my last letter I received from her was dated from Wyoming and of cours there was no chance for her to mail another letter, till she arrived at her destination and when the latter part of October was reached, how angtious [anxious] I was looking at the letter carriers every day to recieve a letter with good news that she had arrived in Zion all right, and was there laboring among the saints, to earn a little toward starting a little humble home for me when I was to arrive the next year. This was my fancy hope, although God had showed it to me repeatedly, in dreames, and visions that we was not to see each other any more in this life, and the spirit of God testified to it, but I worked against that impression, as much as possible, as I felt like it was impossible for me to sacrifice, what I considered the richest treasure on earth, the one in whom my lifes future happiness was depending, but finally the day that was to close my long-anticipated hope, dawned, a letter arrived from America, there gave much joy to my hosstes [hostess] when the letter carrier handed it to her, thinking, it was from my wife, she quickly returned into my room with the letter in her hand, and her face be[a]ming of [with] joy; expecting to make me the happiest man on earth; to handle me that so long-looked-for letter, to come from that far of part of the earth; but, on my first glance at it, while it yet was in her hand, told the sad story, a strange handwriting, I grabed the letter opened it saw it signed Trine Mary Hold one of the girls with her, I glanced it over and soon found the word "she is dead." I emidiately closed the letter in silens [silence], was not able to speak, so I could not answer my inquiring hosstess, who was waiting to share in my joy, but she soon discovered there was something wrong and I went in to a neighbor who was of our folks, t[h]rowed the letter on the table, and found relieve in tears.—Brother William was with me that day, and stayed with me a couple of days; and was a great comfort to me. . .

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Nelson, Nels August, Autobiography [ca. 1926], 5-6.
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In due time boys and wagons from Utah arrived and everything was loaded for the trip. There was a stove and tent in each wagon. Then the luggage and two families were piled in and we were off for Zion.
At first there was an abundance of grass. I liked to watch the donkeys in the train. Day after day we traveled and the only living thing of any size was an occasional stage coach and the stations built along the way. One day I got out of the wagon and ran ahead until noon. After that I had to walk most of the way. One day two young women sat down to rest. All at once they screamed and jumped up. Then a man killed a large rattler where they had been. I have seen families take a corpse out of the wagon, dig a shallow grave and then huriedly catch up to the train which did not stop. Then we got a glimpse of the mountains in the distance. We also saw large herds of buffalo. While camping one noon a herd was coming directly towards us. Some men rode out and turned them. To avoid a stampede of our oxen we started out and the teamsters were able to keep them under control.
The first Indians I saw was at a stage station. There must have been several hundred of them and we could see their wigwams in the distance. We were now getting into great sagebrush flats and every body was warned against starting fires. One day at noon we yoked up in a hurry because someone had let their fire get the best of them.
Now we began to meet companies of soldiers. They generally led horses with empty saddles. Next we saw where a fire had burned some wagons in the company in which grandmother crossed in 1862. The whole country round was black and the grass had not started. When we crossed rivers if they were not to deep, the men and women waded. Two government wagons were caught in the quick sand near where we foreded. As we got into the hills there was a lot of elk, dear and antelopes. One man on a gray horse did the hunting for the group. Several times the oxen tried to stampede. On parts of the trail men had to hold the wagons up to keep them from tipping over. The most interesting of all to me was at Echo Canyon where we were told how the Mormon scouts had marched round the cliff and made Johnston's army believe there were a whole lot of them when in fact there were very few. We found chokecherries along the road but they were too green. The last hill seemed the longest and steepest and we did not reach the top until late in the evening. Next morning everyone was happy. Cherries were riper and so good to eat they failed to choke. Happy beyond expression we hastened to get a view of Canaan and Joseph's land, where the Elders of Israel reside, and Prophet's and Apostles to guide the Latter-day Saints.
Having seen some of the big cities of the world you may imagine our dissappointment when we looked down from Emmigration Canyon upon Great Salt Lake City by the Great Salt Lake.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Neve, Soren Peter, Journal, in Soren Peter Neve, His Life Story (19--?), 8.
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negst [next] spring in 1864 then I vent bak to New York for to meat the Emigrants and to travel with them to our Mountin home, an as sutch wee traveled on River Stimers [steamers] & Railroads as fore [far] as wee cut [could] come until wee arrived at Veyoming [Wyoming] close to Newbroka [Nebraska] City and there wee camped and vaited [waited]for other Emigrants to come along froem other Nations[.] English[,] Skandinavians[,] Germaniens[,] Skots [,] Velsch[,] Ireland ex, and there wee camped for 4 weeks to prepare for our future jurny acros the praeries ore Orken [oxen], that wut have to be done by Oksen to draw our provision but the Saints wut have to walk Men[,] Women and Childeren[.] the destance vas 1100 miles across rivers and tru [through] forrest and barren plases allso, at that time there vas hard[l]y a house to bee found all that distance, but ocationaly the vild [wild] Indians vee say and allso heards of Antilopes [antelope] and vild Bufelors [buffalo] ore Oksen, & a great manne sneks of hvits latter I helpt to kil a good manne during our travels on foot hvits lasted abouth 9 weeks[.] when wee left Veyoming the[y] did not all leave at unce but was deveided into compagnies of abouth 50 wagons in itch [each]compagny and with 1-2 and 3 days travel between itch compagny in a/c of grass for our Cattle, the namen of our Kaptain for the compagny that I was with is Preston from Caswally [Cache Valley] in Utah, hee was a verry clever and allso a wise Mand, hee is and have been for many yaers a Bishop in Logan, Cash Valley, Utah, wee arrived in Salt Lake City in September of 1864, seweral of our compagny died on the plains and there wee hade to bury them, and allso seweral of our Oksen and 1 Mjule in a/c of poisen [poison] in the watters, this Mujule was bittn by a ratlesnek [rattle snake] and died shortly after on our arrival in Salt Lake City came manne and received ther relatives and frinds, I and my Wife hade none to come and bid us welcome of relations, but vas cindly [kindly]recived all the samme, the first 3 nights I an my Wife Emma had to make our bead [bed] in a vagon box in the tithing Yard,

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Sessions, Edgar, Autobiographical sketch.
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[Introductory paragraph written by Edgar Sessions' daughter, Louise S. Huntzinger.]
The eleventh day of May 1864 they sold the farm in Wayne Co Illinois and started West one week later on the 18th of May. They had two wagons, ox teams, a cow, and a horse for riding. Traveling were Thomas, his wife Sarah, six sons ranging from 7 to 21 years of age, (the other son was away at war), and two little daughters, 1 and 5 years old. They crossed the Missouri River at Omaha, July 3rd. Five families—ten wagons, but were held [at] Fort Kearney by U.S. troops because their company was not large enough to protect itself from Indian attack. After waiting ten days they joined the first wagon train that [came] along, a company of about 500 Danish converts to the LDS church. Now they had 52 wagons under Captain William B. Preston.
Our Danish immigrants had acquaired the habit of starting before the train was ready to move because all who could walk, had to walk, and they made no exceptions on this morning. But, strung out along the road, about five hundred of them, and after traveling all day and nearly all night, and seeing no sign of the coming wagons, some turned back and began to meet them before we stopped for camp. They kept coming in small squads all night long. Others simply made dry camp beside the road a[n]d sat down to wait. It was noon the next day before we came to the last of them.
It would be useless to try to portray the suffering they endured for aside from tiredness and aching limbs, the endurance of hunger and thirst must have been very acute. So will not attempt it.
After traveling three or four days we came to what is known as Mountain Meadows. It was a beautiful place, rolling hills covered abundantly with grass, and clear running water in nearly every hollow between the hills, and no mountain in sight in any direction. Our little independent train was ordered to join the big train in forming the wagon corral, and turn our stock in with the big herd. “For” said Captain, “If those fellows back there at the station have planned to commit any depredation against us before reaching Bridger, they will do it here.”
They set 32 teamsters out with the herd, besides the regular night watch of sixteen to stand guard until midnight, when they would be relieved by the other sixteen.
Everything was conducted strictly according to military rule. Countersign and all. In placing the guard, Captain Hill told me to get in the center of a small round bunch of willows and not make any noise. He ordered, “If you see a man coming up or down the cañon halt him, and if he don’t say “cañon”, our countersign, by the time you have halted him the third time, fix it so it won’t be necessary for him to answer. But if you should see a man coming down the slope of that hill to the East, don’t say anything, but let your rifle do the ta[l]king Do you understand?” “I think I do,” I responded.
Everything was a quiet as silence could be until about eleven o’clock. I heard a man coming down the cañon afoot, and I sung out, ‘Halt!” But he didn’t halt. I have the second challenge, and still no halt. Don’t try to imagine my feelings, for the man was close, but the night being dark I could not see him. I thought it was Captain Hill. I [was] almost sure I could recognize his walk. But I was on duty and had my orders. So, before giving the third challenge, I cocked my rifle. I didn’t give the third challenge for he sang out “cañon” before I had time.
Captain Hill was asked, “Aren’t you rather reckless?” “Not when I have a man on guard that understands his orders” was his reply.
We didn’t usually have to stand guard all around camp, but one night they had a line of sentinels all around camp, and the countersign was “Brigham”. It so happened our friend Hall was an inveterate Mormon hater, and all the teamsters knew it. So, the sentinel on either side of him planned to be at the end of the beat and challenge who comes there? And, of course he had to say “Brigham” and of course he was furious by the time he was relieved and sent off duty. But otherwise, everything was quiet, no disturbance whatever.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Sprague, Matilda Christina Ohlson, Autobiographical sketch, in Genealogical Charts and Biographical Sketches of Members of the L.D.S. Church, Ogden Stake, 26 vols., 4:46-47.
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we sailed on the large ship Monarch of the Sea, from Liverpool Eng. with 973 Saints under the direction of Patriarch John Smith. The ship sailed very slow and on Sunday May 8th. it was announced that the saints would hold meeting on the deck, where many good instructions were given to the people by the Bretheren. They said their desires were to save souls.
Tuesday May 10th. there was a terrible storm at Sea but through the protecting care of our Heavenly Father no one was hurt. There were many sick and afflicted and my father [Gustave Ohlsson] tied me to a pole with a rope to keep me from getting hurt. I was young and everything was all fun to me. I remember an old Uncle of ours who was traveling with us as a family. He had been up on the deck and had a pot of cooked peas and as he came down the ocean tossed the ship too and fro[.] The old man sat down to enjoy his pot of peas, and the first thing I saw he was sliding back and forth under his birth [berth] in these peas on the floor. As I looked around me I saw everybody clinging for dear life for fear of being knocked over. Many laughed at the awkward falls of others when the Bretheren came and hushed the laughter and said it was time to pray and not to laugh.
We landed safe at New York June 3rd. and the emigrants reached Wyoming Nebraska in safety. Wyoming, a village seven miles north of Nebraska City Neb. had been selected as the outfiting place for the emigrants, crossing the plains, instead of Florence. We camped in some brush there for 3 wks. in the hot weather while we were waiting for the church teams to come to meet us. It was so hot the ground would burn our feet. About 170 church teams were sent from Utah to the Missouri river that year after the poor.
We started on our journey from there July 1st. and experienced a very fatigued journey. I being 10 yrs. of age I had to walk along with my parents [Gustave and Johanna] and sisters [Gustava and Maria]. Although the journey was long and tiresome, when night came the young people would clear away a place and make it a dancing floor and dance after their days journey. While my sisters prepared the meals I would have to hunt for fuel. I remember one instance a lot of Indians came to our camp and acted as though they were on the warpath, and the people were counciled to divide what little they had with them to make peace with them, which made our supplys scarce. On another occasion one of the oxen got bit by a rattlesnake and his bellowing caused a stampede among the cattle. Some of the streams were difficult to cross, and men and women had to wade across the best they could.
We arrived at Salt Lake City[,] Utah the 15th. Sept. 1864 completing our journey in 5 months 11 days.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Sprague, Matilda Olson, [Interview], in "Utah Pioneer Biographies," 44 vols., 27:52.
Read Trail Excerpt:
We took the train out to the little town of Wyoming, Nebraska about 7 miles north of Nebraska City. There we outfitted, meanwhile camping in the brush for three weeks in hot weather waiting for the church teams to come and meet us.
"The ground was so hot it burned our feet. About 170 teams were sent from Utah that year to the Missouri river for the immigrants. We staeted [started] our trip across the plains July 1. Although I was only ten------. Charlotte Olson (Langlois) and Gustova [Gustave] Olson [Ohlsson] (Thomas). When night came, we would be tired and weary but we would clear a spot in camp and enjoy a dance.
"While my sisters prepared the meals I would gather buffalo chips or sticks for fuel.
"One time a group of Indians came to our camp. The immigrants decided to divide their food with them to make peace. This made our supplies run short. Another time, one of the oxen was bitten by a rattlesnake and his bellowing caused a stampede among the cattle.
"We arrived in Salt Lake September 5, 1864, being five months and eleven days on the journey.

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