Ellsworth, Mary Ann Jones, Diary of Mary Ann Jones (Age 19) on Her Trip Across the Plains.
On the 21st of March 1856 a company of Latter Day Saints, 534 in number left the shores of England on the ship Enock [Enoch] Train[.] arrived in Boston May 1st. Went to Iowa to wait for the hand carts to be got ready for the start across the plains. Left Iowa on the 9th of June. Traveled to Florence, left Florence July 16th, went 4 miles then stopped to have hand carts fixed up[.] they were made so flimsy they were continuly breaking down. Started again on the 20th of July and began our long march across the plains[.] we had on leaving 274 persons in the company, had only 7 deaths on the journey which I think remarkable as we had a number of aged people & lots of children. We had 4 wagons 3 of them drawn by oxen and one 4 horse team. We traveled 1400 miles in nine weeks. We were alloted 1 tent to 20 persons & 4 hand carts to each tent. We traveled as high as 28 miles a day & always got to camp long before the wagons. We were allowed 17 lbs. of baggage each, that meant clothes beding cooking utensils etc, When the brethern came to weigh our things some wanted to take more than alowed so put on extra clothes so that some that wore real thin soon became stout and as soon as the weighing was over put the extra clothes in the hand cart again but that did not last long for in a few days we were called upon to have all weighed again & quite a few were found with more than alowed. One old Sister carried a teapot & calendar [collander] on her apron strings all the way to Salt Lake. Another Sister carried a hat box full of things but she died on the way. The LORD was with us by His spirit for all-though tired & foot sore we could sing the songs of zion as we went along. Some stomacks may recoil at a supper cooked with the water dug in a buffalo wallow & cooked with buffalo chips but it tasted good to us. We came to an emence herd of buffalo[.] It seemed as if the whole prairie was moving[.] we waited for over an hour for them to cross the road so we could go on. We were stopped on the Platt[e] river by a large band of Indians who demanded food. They were painted in war paint & very hostile. Captain Edmund Ellsworth talked to them & told the brethern to pray while he talked, he gave them some beads and they let us go on our way, for which we felt very thankful. A very remarkable thing happened on the Platt[e] river. One of the oxen died & Bro. Ellsworth was asking the Brethern what could be done. Could they put a cow in the team so we could go on. When one of the men said look Bro. Ellsworth at that steer on the hill for There stood a big fat steer looking at us. Bro. Ellsworth said the Lord has sent him to help us in to the valley, go & get him so we can move on. They did so & he worked as good as the others. When we got within 2 days travel of Salt Lake we met some teams sent out from the valley with provisions & to help us in the next morning when the boys went to round up the cattle to start that steer was gone. They hunted for hours but we never saw him again[.] he went as misteriously as he came. Bro. Ellsworth said the Lord lent him to us as long as we needed him. We were met in Emegration Canyon by the first Presidency & a brass band & hundreds of people in carriages on horseback & on foot, it was a day never to be forgotten. We had reached the goal & on foot all the way. I never left my handcart for a day & only rode over 2 rivers. We waded streams, crossed high mountains & pulled through heavy sands, leaving comfortable homes, fathers, mother, brothers & sisters & what for? To be where we could hear a prophets voice and live with the Saints of God. I have never seen the day I regetted my trip—We arrived in Salt Lake the 26 day of September 1856.