A portion of William’s account is on the Pioneer Heritage web site. It indicates William McDonald was a 15 year old crossing the plains. The full account includes his marriage and history in Utah so it was written when he was an adult. If you read his words just as he wrote them you will hear yourself speaking with his Scots/Irish accent.
“I was born in Crafords, Burn County, Down, Ireland, in the year 1834, November 16th. My Fathers name was James McDonald. Mothers Name Sarah Forgison McDonald. They joined the Church of Jesus Crist of latter Day Saints in 1841. I Was Baptised When 8 years of age. Elder David Wilken orginized a Branch in Ireland & meetings Were Held in our House Whitch Was Head quarters for the Branch it Being about the first introduction of Mormonism in that Country. Persequishon at first Was very Bad. Father Sold His Home there in 1842 and Started With His family together with the Saints for Navo Sailed from Liverpool England landed in newerleans, America. The Prophet Joseph Smith had a Stam Boat there to take the Pasingers of the Ship up the Missipe River to Navo And as Boat Belonged to the Prophet the Whole Ships crew Wanted to go on it and overloaded the Stemer so it Broke Down very often. So we were Six Weeks Making the trip Whitch other Steemers Made in one Week. People knew the Boat Belonged to the Prophet Joseph and that we Ware Mormons and they came on Board When We Were geting repears and abused us With all the Mean Things they Could tink of Calling us; Old Jos Rats and set the Boat of Fire. It Was steel and no Damage Dun. We Were Met by the Prophet and he Blessed the People and spoke Words of incorigement to them. My Father was Entrusted with Sum Money Sent to the Prophet by our Branch and in Presenting it to Him got personly aquinted with Him.
We Lived in Navo 2 years & Was Driven out With the Rest of the Saints after the Prophet and Paterk was Martred. We crossed the Missipe River on a Flat Boat among a lot of Cattle. Was Taken from There By a Man By the Name of George Hicks to a Little town Called Bonepart about 30 miles from Navo. We Stayed there 3 years and Worked Hard and made a Fitout to Com to Salt Lake Valley together With the Leaders of the Church Whitch Had Located there for the Winter at Counsil Blufs Near Kanesville a gethering Place Before Starting acros the Plains. Got there Early in the fall and Cut Hay to Winter our Stock. We lived that Winter in an old Log Cabin and after geting Located for the Winter My Father & My Brother John 2 years Older than Me and Myself fixed up one Of Our Wagons With one yoke of Oxen and Went Down into Misoure among the Worst Enemes of our Church to trie to get Work With a Man that oned Maney Slaves to Break Hemp among the Negros. He was very Bitter against the Mormons but treated us very Wel. He gave us a log caben to camp in Close to the Negro quarters and as it Was our first Experance With them People We enjoyed Their Performance verey much. Dident Matter How Hard they Worked they always got together in the Evening With their Women and Danced and Played the Banjo & the Way they Handled that Bango was New & Entertaning to us. They Would Sing & Dance & Jump and Play the Gong by knocking it on their head & on Thear Knees & Kick it With Their feet. One Night Father Jumped up and Danced & as He Was a good Step Dancer the negros Hat Him Dance Every Night. He sung & Danced Sume Comic Irish Songs and Had the Negros very Much interested in Him and Som of the girls told their Mistres about Him Singing With them and How they Engoyed it. So the Mistres Sent one of the Servants to invite us to com and Spend the Evenin With them and Bring the Boys with Him. So Father Excepted the invitastrion So We Put on Sum Clean Clothing and Went Over. Was Met at the Door By a Servant Whitch invited us to Com into the Siting Room and she wood inform the Mistress and She came in and invited us into the Parlor and treated us so plesently that We felt well in Her Company. She Said Mr. McDonald our Servants are very Mutch interested with your singing and Dansing in their quarters. We Have Good Music Here and hope you Will Be Pleased to Dance and Sing a Little for us. Father Said My Dear Lady My Humble Efferts to amuse your Servants in their quarters Might be Entirley out of Place in your Parlor. Her Husband Entered the Parlor Whitch Stoped further Conversation at theat time. The Master seemed Pleased to Meet Us and Spoke on the Same Subgect His wife Hat Enterduced and Said that the Darkes Delighted With your Singing and Dancing and we Would like to Have you treat us With the Same Performance. They Had a very Fine intrement and the Lady Played and Sang and Treated us as old Friends of Long Aquaintance. Father Was Pleased With their good treatment and He Danced and Sang Sum of His Irish Comic Songs Whitch Was New to them and We Had a very Plesent evening.
We Worked for that Man about a Month and took Most of our Pay in Pervishions: Flower, Backen, Corn, Dried Apples, Sugar and after Makeing up our Pay in Sutch things He took us into His Smoke House and Gave us a Lot of fine Smoked Hams and Side Meat, in fact Finished Loading our Wagon With good things. Now Me He Says i Want a Comadation of you. i [p.191] Want you to Leave that Boy With Me Pointing to Me. Father told Him He could Not do that. We Parted With Him as good Friends and Father thanked Him for His Kindness to us. That load of Pervishions lasted us acrost the plains & the Winter after we got into the valleys. [Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 11, p.191] When We got Beck to camp We found Everything all Right. Jane & Eliza Were Young Women. My Sisters Had taken good care of Everthing. Mother Had Been Sick in Bonepart For too years and Seemed to improve When camping out the Doctor Said it was nervis Prostration and Said Madison woud Do her No good But She Had to have som and to Please Her He Had to Perscribe Sumthing For Her to take. So He told Jane My Sister to get Sum Oack Bark & Make a Weak tea and tell Her that Was Wat i told you to give her. Jane waigheted on Mother and tended Her like a Helples Child For 2 years. in fact Jane Was a Mother to all of us Children and We Mostly dun as She directed us but Robert Two years younger than Me gave Her sum Trubble Sumtimes.
The Next Thing to Do Was to Fit up the Wagons and Gether With the Company to orginize to Cross the Pleans. Camped at the gathering Place until We got 50 Wagons. That Was in the Spring of 1850. Us boys Engoyed the Wild Countrey and the Wild game Whitch Were in abondance on the Pleans. the Buffilo Were So thick and Went in Sutch Large Hirds We had to Stop the Trein and Corell the Wagons untill Sum of the Large Hirds Pased. in traviling We Were Strung out on the trail Haf a Mile long. i Was 16 years old When We Crosed the Plains and Was Numbered With the Gard and took My turn With the older Men. I Rember We Had to call the Our and all is Well Every our. When it came to that part of it i think there never Was a young Rouster larning to Crow Felt Prouder than i Did. That was My First Military Servis Whitch Was Continued Mor or less in Setteling this Country utah and sorounding Country.”