Linford, James Henry, Autobiography of James Henry Linford , 32-34.
While waiting for the train of Captain Ira Eldridge to start for Utah, my companion William Clayson and I walked to Omaha to seek work for a few days; he found work at his trade of slipper making, and I at repairing shoes. A strong wind blew from the river which gave me a severe cold causing malaria to take hold of me again, I was soon able to throw it off, however, and return to work.
After staying in Florence for two months and ten days, I commenced my journey across the plains on June 30, 1861, in Captain Ira Eldridge's Company. I was appointed captain of the wagon and my duties were to draw the provisions and to keep peace in our little company; in this I got along very well with all except one family, they were always grumbling about the food saying, among other things, that they could not get enough to eat. The mother had the misfortune to fall under the wagon and was severely injured.
The company was called together morning and evening for prayers. In forming camp after the days journey, the wagons were drawn into a circle to form a corral. When the cattle were unyoked, they were given into the care of the herders who took them to the feed which was located by the captain of the guard. There were men appointed every night to guard the camp; this guard was composed of emigrants, while the cattle guard was made up of men appointed and fitted out by the several ward of Utah, and often the teamsters were the owners of the outfits. All of the able bodied emigrants walked from Florence to Utah, a distance of a thousand miles. The emigrants often had a concert or dance by the light of their campfire. These festivities were sometimes broken into by Indians whose approach was detected by the camp guard.
My wife related to me an incident that occurred on one of these occasions. Several Indian chiefs came to her camp and offered Captain Sextus [Sixtus E.] Johnson twenty ponies for her. Captain Johnson told her to go to her wagon and he ordered the covers tied down and the greatest care was taken of her and her companion for several days.
Toward evening the company would gather buffalo chips with which to cook supper and to make a light. After breakfast and prayers the captain would call out, "Gather up the cattle." They were run into the corral to be yoked up; when all was ready to start, only one wagon at a time would leave the circle, no one trying to get ahead or out of his place.
Sometimes we had to travel after dark before water could be found for camping purposes. Take it all in all it was a nice trip for the healthy and strong. I enjoyed the journey very much until I took sick with mountain fever which remained with me until after I got to Utah. In general there was little sickness in the company and only one death, a young man, and he was sick when he left his native land. There was a sameness in everyday's travel until we got into the mountains. The captain and teamsters were very kind to the emigrating Saints.
I arrived in Salt Lake City on Sunday evening September 15, 1861. My three brothers met me and took me to Centerville, Davis County, Utah, where Mother was living. I met her for the first time in over four and one-half years, during this time conditions had made a great change in her. Father had sold his belongings to emigrate to Utah, leaving me behind, a boy missionary, nineteen years old; they had crossed the sea in a sailing vessel; had camped out in the open near Iowa City, Iowa; and had camped out and dragged a hand-cart twelve hundred miles across the great plains, suffering from exposure to cold and lack of food; and, finally were worn out by dragging their hand-carts under these adverse conditions. Then a supreme test came in the loss of her husband who succumbed and was buried on the Sweetwater; no wonder she did not look as she did when I last saw her.