When we got off the boat we were taken in vehicles out to the edge of St. Louis to McFee's camp ground, where all the saints were camped, preparatory to going to Utah. Father bought all the camp outfit and provisions to start on our journey but it was six weeks before we started. The families of saints father had brought were all to go to Utah in what they called the ten pound company and then settle with father later. We went in an independent company, or a company that furnished themselves. We had in our outfit to travel across the plains 2 wagons, 12 herd [head] of oxen, 1 yoke of cows and a beautiful riding mare, saddle etc. We had two teamsters. We had all kinds of provisions: bacon, hams, flour, crackers, and everything to eat one would wish. We even had a churn and used to put the milk from the cows in the churn in the morning in the wagon and by night we would have butter. We were clothed comfortable and had plenty of good bedding. I think it was about the first week in July when we started across the great plains. The captain of our company was Captain [Darwin] Richardson. There were 40 wagons, three and four families to a wagon. They had to take turns riding part way and walking part way across the plains. I will say that before we started cholera broke out and several hundred died. It still continued and many died (mostly young men) while on our journey. Our company would start first, early in the norming [morning] and we would travel until towards night, when they would find a suitable camping place, where the cattle would be corraled, by the wagons forming a circle on the outside, and the cattle within. Buffalo chip was the fuel. Campfires built, supper prepared, have prayers, sing and retire.
The heat was very oppressive and we would all get very tired, footsore and weary. We always stopped over Sunday where we would have worship and have a glorious time as we had a number of good musicians in our company, who had brought their musical instruments with them. We saw lots of deer, antelope and buffalo, a few were killed. Also saw a few mountain sheep. The indians were our deread [dread] as there were so many of them and they were all on the warpath and we had to be so careful for fear they would kill us. One day we came upon a large number in Ish [Ash] Hollow, of Sioux Indians, we were very frightened of them. They were on their way to war with another tribe. My father gave them a large barrel of crackers and all the company gave them something and we got past them in peace. I had never seen an indian before. I was frightened of the indians and of the panthers roar at night. The loneliness of the plains nearly drove me wild. Mother and the children were like me and we were wishing every day we could reach our destination that night. There were a great many deaths in our company. We just had to sew the corpse in a sheet or blanket, dig a deep hole and bury them and go on.
Oh, the trials the saints endured no tongue can tell, and no pen can write the suffering. Mother [Priscilla Merriman Lewis] was confined at Ash Hollow. Dr. Richardson waited on her. A baby boy was born to her and he was named John Samuel Lewis. She did fine. My sister Mary [Lewis] had the mountain fever and nearly died. I was well during the whole journey and so were the other children. How we did rejoice after many weeks of travel we arrived on the big mountain and could look down on the Great Salt Lake and the Salt Lake Valley. We sung the songs of Zion in earnest and gave up thanks to God that he had watched over us and we were permitted to behold the land of Zion.
We came through Emmigration Canyon through the valley and on to the public square, where we camped with hundreds of others for a few weeks until we could get located. How little Salt Lake City seemed to us. The square was full of people to welcome us in. Brigham Young was there first and gave us a hearty welcome. Some were expecting their loved ones in the company and I tell you it was a grand reunion, a time of rejoicing together. I was glad our journey was ended, but I was very lonesome for awhile. We had been 3 months on the road and arrived in Salt Lake Sept. 30, 1854, just in time to attend the great October conference of the Saints, where we had a glorious time.