Transcript for Fox, Ruth May, Letter, in "A Sketch of Grandfather Ira Rice."
No one who has not had the actual experience of crossing the great plains as the early settlers of Utah did ox team and hand carts (can realize) what it meant to be a Captain of a large Co. of emigrants, of different nationalities, various occupations, and decidelly divirsed habits of life, some of whom had never camped out a night in their life, who had not so much as seen a yoke of cattle, and of course, did not understand the language which frontier oxen were accustomed too.
It was indeed a funny sight to see these new beginers performing the wonderful feat of yoking, invarially goingon the wrong side, and when driving, shouting gee when they wanted them to haw and haw when they would have them gee.
No indeed, it was no easy task to be a captain of an emigrant train. There were weary ones to be encouraged, the over zealous to be held back, order must be maintained, rations measured out, and men be appointed to gaurd the cattle and the camp; Many of these had never seen an Indian or fired a gun.
It was early in Oct. 1867 that our Co. comprizing of about fifty wagons arrived in Salt Lake City, With Leonard Rice as captain. I remember him as a fine looking man spoken of as an Ideal leader who was not known to have lost his temper the whole of the journey, and of whom I heard few complants and any man who could fill such an exacting possion with out making some enemies was truly a great character and this I believe he accomplished.
Well do I remember the crack of his whip on our little tent, which was the signal to get up and make ready, quickly as possible, for the days Journey. Some times this happened very early, and sometimes we travelled very late, a few times it was early morning befofe we reached a camping place and on water. Oh what could we have done with out a captian God bless his memory
Westword: the signal, where the sun’s dying ray
Tinges the mountains of silver and gold,
Where the deserts are longing their joys to unfold;
Come away, Come away,
Oh ye saints come away.