Transcript for Clegg, Margaret Ann Griffiths, Autobiographical sketch

We landed at Boston, U.S.A. and took the cars and came on to Florence, Iowa and camped there four weeks till our handcars were ready for us, then we started to cross the plains. It was the first day of Sept, and we arrived in Salt Lake the same year on the last day of November 1856, making it three months traveling. We were as happy a set of people as ever crossed the plains, till the snow caught us. We would sit around the camp fire and sing and were as happy as larks.

Well after the snow caught us we had a pretty hard time. My father took sick and he had to ride in one of the wagons, that had provisions. One day he felt a little better and thought that he would try and walk, but he could not keep up as he had rheumatism so bad he could not walk, and he took hold of the rod at the end gate of the wagon to help him along and when the teamster saw him, he slashed his long whip around and struck father on the legs and he fell to the ground. He could not get up again, and that was the last wagon for the handcarts had gone on before. As I was pulling a handcart I did not know anything about it till we got into camp, and then I went back about three miles to him, but could not find him, so I went back and I was nearly wild. I thought the wolves might have him.

But there was a company called the Independent Company led by Jesse Have[n] and they were camped in another direction from us, and my father saw their tracks and crawled on his knees all the way to their camp. He was so badly frozen when he got there, they did all they could for him. Two of the brethren brought him into our camp about eleven o'clock that night. He was never well after that. My sister Jane and I and two brothers, named John and Herbert, pulled the handcart till my brother John died (age 12 year old). That was 50 miles the other side of Devil's Gate. We camped there two weeks and all we had to eat was four ounces of flour a day. With having so little to eat and so cold, for the snow was so deep we could not go any further, was I think, the reason he died. He froze to death. At the end of two weeks the horses came running into camp with no riders and we thought they were Indians' horses, but they went back again and about two minutes after, they came back with riders. They were David Kimball and I think the other was Joseph Young. They told us there would be ten wagons come into camp in the morning, from Salt Lake, loaded with provisions. That was good news, but they did not wait until morning but came in that night. They called a meeting but it was too cold so we went to bed.

In the morning we had a little more flour and then moved from there to Devils Gate. (Before the provisions arrived, the company had used up all of their supplies and had rinsed the flour sacks and drank the water.) and camped there in some log houses for a week to recruit up a bid and then we left there and went to Independence Rock on the Sweet Water [Sweetwater] and camped there another week. We left our handcarts and came on with the teams that came from Salt Lake. I think there were about seventy wagons.

With two and three span of horses and mules to each wagon, which we were pretty thankful for, all the sick and frozen rode in the wagons, while those that were well walked as long as they could, and then they all rode. I buried my brother Herbert, six years old at Independence Rock, frozen to death.

My sister Jane lost the first joint of her big tow and I was terribly frozen up myself, I was laid up nine weeks in Salt Lake, because my feet had been so badly frozen. (After I was placed into the wagons and the frost left my feet, large bags of water formed at my heels.) My father died the next morning after we got in to Salt Lake. He was frozen to death, He was 47 years of age.

He died the first day of December, After that we were pretty well scattered.

Source: (accessed 21 March 2006)