There were many hazards on the trail west to the Salt Lake Valley, one of which was getting separated from the company. This sounds improbable, however, I’ve read on a number of occasions this happening. A Sister Stewart got separated from the Willie Handcart Company. In her quest to find them, what was following her?
c. Wilford Woodruff
B A Missourian emigration company
From the Journal of Wilford Woodruff when he saw two horsemen at a distance on the Mormon Trail: I mounted my horse and put after them and soon overtook them and made inquiries about our camp. They said they had not seen it, but had seen a company of about a dozen wagons coming by themselves. I then concluded our camp had stopped by the Willow Springs. So Captain Smith who was the leader of the Missouri company invited us to go on and camp with them for the night, as they did not expect to go but a few miles farther than the creek we were now on. As it was five wagons in sight I concluded that our company would not come and if they should they would go no farther than the creek, so we accepted Captain Smith’s proposal and went on with him to spend the night with his camp. But instead of his going but a little distance he continued on mile after mile and could neither find feed or water, except the salt and alkali ponds and lakes until we struck the Sweetwater River at Independence Rock which is so noted in Fremont’s Journal and other travelers, which was 12 miles west of the creek before spoken of. Their oxen had tired out having traveled about 27 miles and much of the road was very sandy and we had rode about 30 miles and was quite weary. The Sweetwater is truly sweet to man and beast after traveling through so much ground covered with salt, potash and alkali water as is found on the way. We turned out our horse in good feed, got supper, which was bacon, buffalo, corn bread, coffee, milk, etc., then lay down upon the ground and spent the night under a tent with the Missourians, but did not rest well. I found a great difference between the Missouri emigrant companies and our own, for while the men, women and children were all cursing, swearing, quarrelling, scolding and finding fault with each other and other companies, there was nothing of the kind allowed or practiced in our own camp. But to return to our camp I will say at a late hour they came up to the creek that we left back 12 miles, [Greasewood Creek] and the grass being poor we continued on four miles west of the creek and camped for the night. They traveled 20 miles while I traveled 30 miles. The camp not finding me at the creek, nor hearing from me at all felt some alarm lest I was lost, or got into trouble with the Indians or some difficulty, they blew their bugle and watched for me until midnight and finally fired their cannon while I was camped then miles from them not thinking I was giving them any trouble.
Stewart E. Glazier and Robert S. Clark, Journey of the Trail (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997), 23-25.