Transcript

Transcript for George W. Turner autobiography and minutebook, 1871-1887, 121-23

we landed in Boston on or about the 26th of May, having been nearly 6 weeks on the water, we staid in Boston, about 2 days, where our Captain Dan Jones, chartered a special train, by which we started for Iowa, where we arrived in about eight days, traveling night and day[.] we camped in the open air, for over three weeks, preparing hand carts, tents &c for our journey, across the plains, a distance of nearly 1300 miles, here my wifes mother who was not very well in health, when we left the old country, had grown until, through the exposure of travelling, night and day, for over a week, was together with the inconveniance, of outdoor camp life, was more than her weak constitution could stand. She d died, in a few days after our arrival at camp, and we had to bury her body in the camp burying ground. in about four weeks after our arrival, every thing being in readiness, our company was organized, as follows, Edward Bunker, returning missionary, Captain, David Grant another returning missionary, Captain of the first hundred, myself Captain of the second, and Elder John Parry, captain of the third, my company numbered 111, so that the company all told, numbered 311, souls. we were only allowed, to take 17 lbs of luggage, including bedding, for each person, the residue of our clothing, we had to leave, to be forwarded by the Church teams, later in the fall,

all things being in readiness, we rolled out of camp, about the first week in June, singing , “some must push and some must pull, as we go marching up the hill, and merrily on the way we’ll go, until we reach the valley.” we had 4 mule teams with us, to help haul our provisions, an Captain Bunker, had a team of two yoke of oxen, which constituted our entire train.

on the third night after we left the camp ground at Iowa, as we were, as we thought secure for the night, and all were wrapt in slumber, we were visited by one of those severe thunder, wind, and rain Storms, so frequent on the praires, of the State of Iowa. our tents were blown over, and the hand <carts> carried for quite a distance by the force of the wind, while the rain poured down in torrents in such a manner, that in the short space, of twenty minutes, every thing in the camp, was floating. the water being from 15 to 18 inches deep, over the entire camp, and men[,] women, and children were in a wet and Shivering condition, half way up their legs in water all night. when day light came in the morning our camp presented quite a novel spectacle, tents and clothing all mixed up. but the sun came out in such splnder, and warmth, that the storm of the previous night, was soon forgotten. It took us nearly all day, to straigten things up, so that it was nearly 4 o clock in the afternoon before we were rady to go strike camp and move. we could only travel some 4 miles. we had an experience of this kind several times, whilst travelling, through the state of Iowa. but not any I think quite so bad, as the first, one.

we were about 3 weeks travelling through the State of Iowa, arriving at Florence, or what was then called Winter Quarters, about the first week in July. here we were detained, about 3 weeks, mending our hand carts, and tents, and making such other preparations, that were necessary, to accomplish the remainder of our journey, over an almost trackless desert, for upwards of 1000 miles.

we left Florence on the 31st of July, and arrived in Salt Lake City, on the 2nd of October. This I consider one of the most remarkable feats of endurance on record. men[,] women and children, averaging nearly 17 miles per day, for 64 days, in all kinds of weather, drawing their own provisions, bedding, closthing, cooking utensils, and all othe neccessaries, fording rivers, and streams, over mountains, and hills, and sandy plains, on a very scanty allowance, of provisions. for all that we we had to subsist upon, for the last 300 miles of the journey, was eight ounces of flour per day, to each person. this was a very severe tax upon human endurance, and several who were stout, and robust, at the commencement of the journey, had were stricken with death, and we had to perform the painful task, of burying <them> by the wayside. I shall never forget the remark of one brother named William Jenkins, a large stout, able bodied <man> wgo [who] lift [left] Cardiff with us. Brother George says he the day before he died, if any person ever asks you the cause of my death, tell them it was lack of the proper amount of necessary food, to sustain my body, in this long and laborious journey. some of the Brethren, and sisters, have said many hard things in my hearing, against the Church authorities, in regard to the hand cart enterprise, owing to the great amount of suffering, and death, caused by that movement, but I do not blame any one. I believe that the Bretheren, in their desire to be economical, in the matter, and through inexperience, put a greater ta upon the human system, than it was able to endure.

 

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