Murdock, Gideon Allen, Autobiography and journal, 1873-1923, vol. 1, 13-21.
the Spring of 1864 I was called to take a mission to drive a team to the Missouri river to help bring up the emigration accordingly I fited out and went and having taken care of my money the winter before I bought a wagon down there and furnished it also to bring a load back.
After we had got the train loaded I being the only one that had been down to the river Since they left there Captin [Joseph S.] Rawlins chose me for assistant to him to help him get the train back to Salt Lake as I had been the pilot on the trip down. So we started out with a train of Sixty three wagons and Something over Seven hundred soles of all ages and of a number of different Nationalities.
The first day we drove out five miles and camped and some of the Brethren that was doing business for the Church down there came out to Settle up with the train preparatory to leaving and it was found that one crowd was badly in debt to the office down there (you see that all of the hands from one town or Settlement done their business together independent of all others) So the Captin and train clerk had to take one yoke of oxen from that crowd and go back to settle the account and sent me on with the train Saying the[y] would overtake me that night and I was out three days with the train before they overtook me.
With over work and exposure I caught a heavy cold that made me Sick that I did not get over until we reached the mountains[.] My last real Sick Spell was the night we camped on Alkalie [Alkali] creek near the head of the Sweet watter [Sweetwater]. The captin used to Sometimes tell me to go and ride in the wagon when he saw that I was feeling worse than usual[.] But I would answere him no if I should go and ride in the wagon you would have my bones to bury before we reach home So I staid with my horse and Saddle every day.
While on this Journey home we camped one night about three miles below the upper platt[e] bridge and the night herders lost Some of the cattle and the Captin and I saddled our horses and went out to hunt for them and we went back on the road a mile or So and circled the country to find tracks of them and we road until we came opposite where the train was camped and had found no trail of them[,] then he went and Started the train with what cattle we had and I went on to hunt the rest as they were evidently a head[.] I found them up in the mountain about two miles or more South of the Bridge and brought them down to the road as the train was crossing the Bridge.
Just then I saw a part of the train Stop right in the Soldier camp, and at the Same time I espied one of the night herders returning that had been out in Search for the cattle and I turned the herd over to him and I went to see what was the matter that caused that part of the train to Stop, as I came up I asked the teamster that drove the lead team why he was [s]toped here[,] he Sid these fellowes have Stoped me and wont let me pass[.] Just at the Same time I noticed a Soldier Standing there with his gun[.] I told him to drive on and at that time an Officer Stuck his head out of the door and Says no he cant drive on[.] Says I[,] Sir, what do you want? He answered I am authorized to take that team and all other cattle branded with the letter C[.] Sayes I[,] Sir you had better learn your alphabet as this team is branded plain HB and furthermore if you have any business to attend to come to me and let my teamsters alone[.] He Says well I want to examine the train for cattle branded with the letter C[.] I told the teamster to drive on and told the officer we have got to Stop on the other Side of the river to yoke the rest of them cattle and you can look and See if you have any cattle there then.
So he Sent a corp[o]ral and Six or eight men over where we were yoking the rest of the cattle and they unyoked Seven Oxen and I had some dispute with the possey [posse] and then got on my horse and went back to the post and called on the commander and asked him by what authority he was taking them cattle as I had not Stolen any of them and that I did not have an ox that I had not brought with me from Salt Lake[.] He then Stept into his office and fetched out a dispatch that read as flollows. Examine all Mormon trains and take all cattle branded with the letter C on left Shoulder and ribs I says to him then your men have unyoked Some that don't belong and I will take them back he says Stop and I will see[.] He went in to the office and came out very quickly and yes and the same on the hip.
I was then satisfied in my own mind that it was a case of robbing Mormon people of their rights and we had some very hot words over it and I told him[,] Mister this is a damned Sligh [sly] way you have of ste[a]ling. Just about this time Captin Rollins [Rawlins] Seped [stepped] in and he intered into an agreement that they would hold the cattle until the next day and Rollins would Send back and see about them as the the Soldier Said that a man by the name of Croffer had lost some cattle from Deer Creek (which was some 30 miles back) and he is out hunting them and if he said if mister Coffer finds his cattle he will be back tonight and if he find his cattle we could have ours and if he did not he would come up and see these.
Accordingly we drove 12 miles up to the But[t]es[.] The place where we leave the Platt[e] river and start across to the Sweet watter [Sweetwater]; as it was a bad place to Stop at the Bridge and account of cattle dieing from poison. So we layed over at the Butes the next day on account of them cattle and after breakfast next morning the captin came to me and said he wished me to go back and see about them cattle[.] I did not think he would send me on account of the row I had with the Soldiers the day before and I told him So But he said if I would go I could have any man I wished from the train to go with me.
So I got one of the night herders by the name of Zen Pratt from Provo to go with me, when we got there the cattle was out in the mountain with the government herd and they had not herd from Mr. Coffer yet and I was anxious to get the cattle have any business to attend to come to me and let my teamsters alone he says well I want to examine the train for cattle branded with the letter C. I told the teamster to drive on and told the officer we have got to stop on the other Side of the river to yoke the rest of them cattle and you can look and see if you have any cattle there then Mr. Coffer yet and I was anxious to get the cattle and rather urged my claim so a little while before night there came up a thunder Shower which made me very uneasy and I would have went in the rain to look for my horse if Pratt had not held on to my shoulder and persuaded me to Stop a few minutes until the rain was over and when I got out where my hors[e] had been hobeled he was gone and by the tracks a Soldier had stole him during the rain Storm and they had also Stole our whips and some other little things from our saddles during the day.
Pratt got on his horse and crossed the river and followed the track two or three miles until he went into the river again and he could not find any more of it, So he came back about dark and I had him go to camp for me another horse and I would look after the cattle, he came back about ten or eleven Oclock the next day and the Captin had sent word for me to get on that horse and come to camp as Soon as I could and never mind the cattle as the train had Started for the Sweet watter; but as there was only an Orderly Sargent in command there at the time I got a dispatch from Deer Creek that morning from the first Lieutenant Saying that himself and the Captin of the Sweet Watter division of the army would be up at 2 Oclock that after noon and they would see about it, So I waited till they came and they both proved to be gentlemen and they looked at the cattle and said I could have them as they were not Mr. Coffers cattle for all of his had been fresh branded that summer.
So we Started the cattle from the upper Platt bridge at 8 Oclock that evening and drove them to independence rock on the Sweet watter by 8 Oclock the next evening being a distance of fifty five miles in 24 hours. When the word was circulated that I had arrived I believe all the passengers in the train came to See me and to see if I was actually alive and all right[.] As I had been gone three dayes some had supposed the Soldiers had killed me and others thought maby the Indians had got us.
After getting every thing in regard to the cattle properly arranged, the Lieutenant wanted me to Stop with him as he said that the war with the south was very nigh to a close and then the Government is going to clean the Mormans [Mormons] out and if you will saty [stay] here I will give you as good a position as you can ask for as I hate to see you go out ther for the government is sure to wipe the Mormans out. I replied to him well Sir I thank you for your kind intentions toward me and if you live long enough to see it you will see that this Government will never wipe out the Mormon people, we have been threatened that a great many times and my Father has staied with the Church sofar and I think I can stay with it and follow his foot steps on through.
The fact of the business was that I had got into several rows over the cattle with both officers and soldiers and we had came very nigh to shooting two or three times and I had told him all from first to last and hid nothing and he intimated that the men had told him as much and he wanted to get me in the army. So he wrote an order for to authorize him Self to take the horse where ever he mite find it and I signed the order. As we was the first train back that Season and there was nine behind us, he got the horse and sent him in with one of the last trains.
Nothing particular of note ocured until one of the night herders was taken sick near the head of the Sweet watter but he thought he would be all right in a few days and kept at his work until we got about hams fork one cold day and he Said he would ride in the wagon and asked me to take care of his horse until he got better[.] So one day at noon a family reported that there was a young woman lost from the train that fore noon, so the Captain gave me a team and two men to go back and look for her and we found that she had been picked up by a team that we had met that day that was on their way to meat a train that was coming behind us so we followed on and overtook the train the next day at noon and I was lef[t] there to help mend a broken wagon[.] As I usually had that Job to do when ever there was one broke during the day so we did not Stop the train for one broken wagon[.] I arrived in camp sometime about midnight being tired and Sleepy I went to bed but was awoke about 4 Oclock in the morning and told that Joseph Greenwood was dead.
We were there camped close t[o] a litle settlement in Chalk creek canyon about four or Six miles above Coleville on the Weber[.] I was left to se[e] about his burial and I overtook the train again that evening near Parleys Park[.] That left me to still take care of his horse and saddle and take them to his Father at American Fork in Utah County and tell him all about how and where his son was buried.