Transcript for Edward Wallace East, Biographical information relating to Mormon pioneer overland travel database, 2003-2017
Remeniscence by E. W. East
I was born in Henry County, Va., October 11, 1814...By this time I had the spirit of gathering and all seemed anxious to prepare for the long, arduous journey to Salt Lake. I felt that it was a great undertaking to start two thousand miles with ox team with such a helpless family. We hen had six children and four of the six were helpless, two little girls (twins), then but a little over one year old.
We left Port Sullivan, Texas, set out for Salt Lake on the 14th of March, 1855, thirty-seven in company, wagons heavily loaded with a considerable number of loose oxen and cows and about seventy head of horses. Had no rain to raise the rivers as had been predicted Elder Blair, forded the Brazos, Trinity and Red Rivers, it is extremely rare that either of those rivers can be forded in the spring season. Got along pretty well excepting some trouble with the Johnson family; had a very fatiguing trip, landed at Camp two miles from Atchison on the second day of June, remained in Camp twelve or fourteen days receiving a stock of goods purchased by Blair and Greer, fitting up wagons and etc. During our stay there were frequent cold rains, weather very disagreeable. Some of our company occasionally visited Mormon Grove and learned that the cholera was in the different comps and that several died each day. We set out for Salt Lake City about the 14th of June, having been organized under the direction of President Erastus Snow, Elder S.M. Blair was appointed to lead the Company. We had been joined at Atchison by some elders who had been on missions, who assisted as teamsters for their passage and also a number of families augmenting our company now to over one hundred with, I think, forty-six wagons. the cholera broke out in our Camp on the 18th, some twenty-three miles from Atchison. Brother M. R. Jones daughter was taken in the night and Brother Jones in the morning, and my children, William, over twelve years old, and Mary nearly five, were taken the same day. Brother Jones died first, sometime in the forenoon. Our little Mary who was a promising and lovely child, died about sun-down She sank away calmly and peacefully, as though she was going to a sweet sleep and was buried on the South side of the road before daylight, a rude board with the initials of her name was set at the head of her grave. Brother Jerry Sangford and wife both died during the night and the four were buried at this camp, on the hill some two hundred yards from the Creek on the West side of the road. On the next day Eliza Jost, Mary York, Susan Greer, Martha Allison, Sarah Jones, James Jones, and Elisabeth Langford died and were buried at the same place. On the following day which was the 22nd Sister Middlemas, Eliza Greer, and sister Priestly died and were buried together. On the same day sister Bagley, M.A. Jones, Julia A. Bagley, Fanny Phillips, Emma Middlemas and Hugh A. Phillips. On the 24th John Greer, N.H. Greer died and were buried a half-mile east of the big Nimeha (on the hill), James Rollins died on the next day, also Margaret Jones and William N. Middlemas on the same day on the West Side of the big Blue.
We camped at this place about noon to was and clean up until noon the next day, my son William, died at this camp and I have the date marked on my minutes on 27th. He had been hauled along for eight or nine days speechless the greatest portion of the time. He was buried in a rude box on the hill on the West side of Big Blue three-fourths of a mile from the place called Maryville. Eliza Wright died on Sunday, 1st of July; our daughter Nancy, who had been speechless for several days died on the 4th of July at the second camp on the Little Blue or Sweet Water and was buried after two hours, being about seven years old. In consequence of the loss of so many, and those who survived being so worn-down by digging graves, burying the dead, and attending the sick, and his own feeble health, Brother Blair wrote and sent by express to Brother Andrews who presided at Mormon Grove for help, accordingly on Sunday night, 24th, Brother Stevenson with several men came up with our camp, Brother Stevenson having in consequence of Brother Blair's feeble and worn-down condition to take the Presidency of the company. On Saturday evening, the last day of June, on arriving at the camping ground late, it was announced that George Woods who had had the cholera was missing from the wagon. As soon as the camp was struck almost all of the company turned out to hunt and next morning our company assisted by another company which camped near-by resumed the search and continued it until about noon, but without finding the least trace of the lost man.
Many things occurred during the remainder of the journey that might be interesting to those who may see this sketch, but I cannot now recollect them in their order so as to detail them correctly. We landed in Salt Lake City, after an extremely arduous and fatiguing journey on the eleventh day of September.