As they (Captain Williams S. Warren’s Ox Team Company) journeyed through the districts inhabited by Indians, they encountered many tribes that were on the warpath. Two companies of immigrants were forced to travel together for protection. The combined company now numbered 500 wagons.
One night, the Indians planned an attack on the company, but through wise leadership, the attack was averted. It was about midnight, just as the moon was coming up. The immigrants were horrified at hearing the wild cries of the red man as they were ready to make their attack.
The captain (William S. Warren), being a real scout and suspicious that trouble was brewing, from the signal fires that had been noticed during the day and early evening. That night all the cattle were kept within the enclosure of the wagons, instead of being night herded, as was the custom. The ox yolk were placed between the wagons, so as to resemble men on guard. Men with loaded guns were stationed between each wagon, but were told not to shoot until ordered to and the first shots were to be fired in the air and no blood was to be shed unless absolutely necessary.
The camp was in a flat, just under the brow of a hill. Just as the moon began to come up, was the time planned for the attack. With their war paint on, out of the stillness of the night, came that awful yell that would almost freeze your blood. Mounted on their horses and swinging their tomahawks, they made a dash for the immigrant camp. The nervous immigrants stood at their posts until the leading Indians had nearly reached the camp, when the order was given to fire into the air. A blast of fire and report of a gun came from between each wagon. This turned the surprise on the Indians, who upon finding the Saints prepared to defend themselves, turned their horses, and with an angry yell, ran back to their camp without anyone being injured.
Mother (Priscilla Pitt) states that she was sleeping in a wagon next to the side circle when the attack was made and by lifting the wagon cover, could see the Indians in the moonlight and the glistening steel of their tomahawks. Imagine the feelings of the Saints who had just left England a few weeks before.
About this time a company of non-Mormons consisting of 5 or 6 wagons and carriages drawn by horses and mules over took the immigrants as they were traveling west. The captain of the ox team tried to persuade the small company to stay and travel with them for safety, but they were not afraid of the Indians, and so they pushed ahead. The next morning, the immigrants reached the place where the small company had camped the night before and there they found all of the party killed, their wagons burned and the horses and mules stolen. Surely the Lord had a watch card over his Saints as they gathered to the headquarters of The Church. I (John Edgar Lunt) have not heard of one losing their life by the Indians on their journey to the valley.
To Be Continued…