Transcript for Anderson, Rosella B. and Lilly B. Frandson, "A History of Hans Ulrich Bryner, Sr. and Hans Ulrich Bryner, Jr., 1-4

Hans Ulrich Bryner, Sr.

. . . Barbara and Casper [Bryner] came to America.  They came to Utah in Richard Ballantine's [Ballantyne's] company and were the first Swiss Latter-day Saints to come to Zion. . . .

Hans Ulrich and Verena Wintsch, came in 1857.  They, like most of the other pioneers came by ox team, and like most of the other pioneers had never driven an ox team before.  It took money.  Hans Ulrich had sold out his interest in the shoemaking business where his sons had worked; he sold his home, farm and his pure-bred cattle, and in fact, everything that he owned.  They were allowed only seventeen pounds of baggage on the boat, so every available thing was sold.  He converted it into gold because that was good exchange anywhere.  He carried it in a well-made leather bag suspended over his shoulder and under his arm.  Hans Ulrich opened his purse and bought his team and wagon.  Around him were many poor saints who had neither wagon nor gold, so he opened his heart and bought wagons and teams for many who agreed to return the equivalent when they could procure it in Zion.  It was a long, hard journey at best because he and his wife weren’t young.

One day a dog frightened a team of oxen which ran away, and then they had a regular stampede.  Hans Ulrich, Sr.'s team ran away with his wife, Verena, and little grandson, Henry, in the wagon.  In trying to catch and stop them he was badly hurt and picked up for dead.  The team was finally stopped, and with the help of others, he was revived, but his arm was broken and his back was badly hurt.  The arm healed, but his back was never right again.  But he drove the rest of the way with a broken arm, so it was with a great deal of difficulty that he now drove his team.

Hans Ulrich, Sr. was more blessed than many other fathers who came to Zion.  Every one of his family who had set out from the old home in Switzerland arrived in Utah.  No one died along the way. . . .

Hans Ulrich Bryner, Jr.

. . . In 1856, Hans Ulrich, Jr. and his wife and some members of his family immigrated to Utah.  The voyage took 42 days on the vessel "Enoch Train."  Hans Ulrich, Jr.’s brother, Casper, had purchased a wagon and oxen, and Hans Ulrich, Jr.’s friend, Alowis Bauer, was to drive their outfit.  Everything was ready for them to go on to Utah, but they were delayed in Iowa for two months waiting for 300 handcarts to be built for the others who were to be in their company.

They left Florence about the first of September, 1856. Travel by ox team was difficult for the pioneers, especially for Hans Ulrich, Jr. who could not see.  He held onto the back of the wagon, and if the going got tough for the animals, he would help push the wagon.  He stumbled over the rocks, bumps, ruts, hillocks and gopher holes, and was sometimes dragged along when he lost his footing.

The journey was slow and uneventful for the most part, but at times there was plenty of excitement.  They had two yoke of oxen on their wagon.  Usually the lead yoke had to be led.  When the cattle stampeded, the driver would jump on the back of the lead oxen and beat them over the heads with a whip he always carried.  This caused the oxen to shut their eyes, and then they would slow down.  When Hans Ulrich, Jr.’s oxen stampeded, the driver broke his arm and the wagon was upset.  An old lady who was riding with them, had been holding his little daughter Mary on her lap as she sat on the stove.  In the upset, the wagon was turned over.  Little Mary was on the bottom, but was saved by the old lady who shielded Mary by bracing on her arms.  The old lady was so badly hurt that she died.  Mary was given a blessing that she would live to be her father’s eyes, which she did for twelve years before she passed away.

The trip of about 1000 miles took nearly four months, and it got very cold when they were about half way.  Hans Ulrich, Jr.’s legs and feet were frozen and frostbitten.  Eventually they overtook the Martin Handcart company and were asked to take another family into their wagon, so they had to leave some of their belongings beside the road.

At the crossing of the Platte River, they were snowed in for eleven days.  Sixteen people died, and the ground was frozen so hard that they couldn’t dig graves.  They buried the dead just under the snow.  Little Mary got so cold they thought she was frozen, but her father rubbed life back into her little cold body.  Hans Ulrich, Jr. reported that at one time the snow was 9 feet deep, and the pioneers had to walk in front of the teams to tramp down the snow so the teams could pull the wagons.

In Wyoming, their condition got so desperate from the cold and lack of food.  Word of their plight finally reached Salt Lake, and men and wagons were sent to rescue them.  Hans Ulrich, Jr.’s brother, Casper, was among the rescue group, but missed Hans Ulrich, Jr.’s family.  Finally, on December 24, 1856, Hans Ulrich, Jr. and his wife and daughter arrived in Salt Lake City.