Today we honor our Pioneer Ancestors. If you have family members who crossed the plains here is a fabulous website you will want to visit and explore: https://familysearch.org/pioneers?cid=hp-pc15-3403#/
Below is a screen shot of some of my Pioneer Ancestors. It tells what company they joined to cross the plains and who traveled with them. It’s fascinating to read the journals and autobiographies that have been collected of my family’s traveling companions. There is always a chance that someone else mentioned my people. Even if they didn’t, they were in the same places on the same days, walking and working side by side.
My Bushman family joined the Easton Kelsey Company. Here is the description of their company:
100 wagons were in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Kanesville, Iowa (present day Council Bluffs). They originally departed about June 10, but turned back due to Indian trouble. They left again June 29. Luman A. Shurtliff was captain of the 1st Fifty and Isaac Allred was captain of the 2nd Fifty.
The company arrived in Salt Lake City between September 22 and October 7, 1851.
Here are some interesting excerpts from one of the accounts listed–it’s the Autiobiography of Augusta Dorius Stevens, a 15 year-old who traveled in that with my Bushman Family ancestors:
There were representatives of several nationalities including Americans but in our particular division of the emigrant tra[in] in which included fifty wagons, there were twenty-eight from Copenhagen and in our company of ten wagons there were included quite a number of Americans. Our Company was presided over by John Butler who was the Captain over our Company which occupied ten wagons. The entire fifty wagons with occupants was presided over by a head captain in the person of E. Kelsey, and the whole emigrant train is known as Kelsey’s Company. There were then five companies with ten wagons to each company. Each presided over by a captain; a chief captain to preside over the entire train of fifty wagons. The women generally rode in the wagons and always slept in the wagons. Personally I thought the emigra[ts]wagons most remarkable vehicles as I had never seen anything of the kind before starting on this journey. Upon nearing the Rocky Mountains, the oxen became somewhat worn out and then it was necessary for many women to walk while traveling. Upon camping at night the wagons were driven in a circle and the camp fires were made inside the circle. Being young and in my fifteenth year, this being the year 1852, it became a part of my regular duty to gather buffalo chips [w]hich served as part of the fuel for the camp fires. During the first part of the journey across the plains, the novelty of travel was new and the evenings across this trip we felt to enjoy the company of the members and the friends we had made. One member had a fiddle as we then knew it and all joined in the evening dances around the camp fires within the big circle. Prayers a[n]d hymns were part of the daily morning and evening program. After walking a good deal during the days, I felt so tired I could often have been glad to have gone to bed without supper but I always had to help with the dishes and help with camp duties including the preparing of the beds.
Occasionally I walked with some of the other girls in head of the train; as far as we dared to go on account of the Indians and then wait for the wagons. My thought would go back to my parents in Denmark feeling sure that I should never see them again because the journey into the wild west seemed so long and hard and uninviting that it seemed I could never hope to have them join me in the distant place somewhere far in the west known as Zion. Surely my elderly parents at least when I had left in the Old Country could not endure the hardships of such a journey. I had my sobs and cries and pangs of sorrow. What comfort it would have been to me if I could even have been able to speak or understand the American language in this to me the New Land of America.
One of the singular incidents that happened enrout[e] was the occasion of a stampede of a herd of buffalo which came direct to ward our wagon train. The stampede ran providentially just in head of the train with the fierceness of the rush and tramp and as it appeared almost a cyclone of dust. This caused a great commotion and almost stampeded among the oxen and horses of the train. The few rifles available were used and fortunately enough for the emigrants, a few buffalo fell which were prepared and this gave us extra provisions on the long journey in head of us. Upon another occasion nearly a dozen Indians came on their horses and approached the emigrant train. A great deal of apprehension was caused among the emigrants as they felt sure an impending disaster was before them. They thought this was the first contingent of hordes of Indians that lurked in the ravines near the trail. The daily prayers were answered and we were assured the Heavenly Father was mindful of the needs and protection of his Saints. The Indians spread their blankets by the side of the trail and each wagon was required to give its toll of food to the Indians as it passed.
When we had advanced to the Green River Station, now Green River Wyoming, the supply of flour had been exhausted. The fall snows commenced bringing the cold blizzard and wintery blast all of which added to the perils of the journey. It became necessary[y] to send a man with the best and fastest equipment on to Salt Lake City to get flour and rush back to Green River which was only sufficient to sustain the party in the train for the balance[e] of the trip.
On into the mountains we went along the already broken trail which had now been traveled over by the emigrant trains for five years. We arrived in Salt Lake City October 16, 1852 after eight months and twelve days of journeying since I had waved my last farewell to my parents and friends from the deck of the ship that sailed away from the port of Copenhagen.
And here is what my 2nd Great Grandpa, Jacob wrote to his brother John looking back from several years later:
Spring of 1851
Jacob Bushman, autobiography, typescript, BYU, Pg. 3
In April 1851, I was baptized by E. H. Davis and confirmed by the same. We then started for Utah. Father had one yoke of oxen and a yoke of cows and one wagon. I drove 3 yoke of oxen and a yoke of cows for Henry Kerns. We crossed the Missouri River at Winter Quarters and went out to a grove a few miles to organize in Mr. Kelsey’s Hundred and Alma Allred’s Fifty. Laid there about two weeks on the account of high water. Then started out to head the Horn and made a complete elbo to get back to the Platt. Got along without much loss. Had two or three stampede, but very little sickness in the camp.
Traveled up the Platt and crossed over the Divide to the Sweet Water. Crossed Green River and over the Mountain and down Emigration to Salt Lake City and from there we went south about 30 miles to Lehi, where they settled down, father and mother and the rest of the family. I went back to Salt Lake City. Now Brother John you know more what was done for the next 6 years than I do.
Your Brother in the Flesh,
I’ll be humming this song all day today, it’s one of my favorites. You can listen along here: https://www.lds.org/music/library/hymns/they-the-builders-of-the-nation?lang=eng