Transcript for Hall, Almira Jane Reid, Autobiography, 46-59
Here I start an nother chapter. The company stoped for to mend breakages in their wagons and shoeing some of their horses and some of the company had their oxen shod but there was a young man sick in the camp. (His name was Hyrum Harrison his fathers name was Elijah [Elisha] Harrison. This young man had brain fever. He had been sick two weeks.) So I learnd that the camp stopd for to give him rest while they did do up such work as I have said. It give William a chance for to look over our wagon and see if it was all right. We examined the wagon all over. I helpd to fix the tent into a wagon cover. I was glad of the tent so I could make a wagon cover. When Mary come around behind the wagon she says look here they have chopd this box of[f] with the axe or hatchet. Guess they did not have a saw. What a funny color this is. It is a kind of sod color yet it is a blueish look. I said it had been hacked off for want of a saw the Kansas man had said because he thought it was to long to suit him by a foot. More than this it is the very identical looking wagon that I saw in the dream when Tom wanted me to leave you with the Indians an I would not do it. I did not say any more for I was afraid I would make her cry. I thought to much of her for to hurt her feelings. She was such a good girl. Prety soon Mary says it is a God send to us any way. So we laughd a little then she was a busy a fixing her things so we would be ready the next day when we should go on with the company. That day at noon they see that Hyrum Harrison was not long for this world. The company most of them went to see him and keep him company. The Rancher’s wife come in the afternoon. She lookd at him[,] [he] seemd to know her from all the rest of the company. Pretty soon she went back to her tent. Some of the women asked her if she thought he would live long. She said no. He was struck with death at noon. He will be gone a little after midnight. They asked her if she could tell what was the matter with him. She said it was all in his head. There was something on the top of his brain near the skull on top of his brain. I cannot tell you right how I understand it. But these white women was dumbstruck for to hear this half white Indian mexican woman tell exactly what was the complaint this young man was dying with. I fixd up every thing for the night so we all could have a good rest. We had our supper in good time. We had the beds all right. William went to bed so did Mary an Josy but I see that poor sick soul all alone. I went to the tent there was one woman there. She was holding one of his hands[;] some other man was a holding the other hand. The woman says that is good you come. His nails digs right into his hands until they almost cut the blood out if we don’t hold them. Pretty soon she had to go out of the tent then she asked me for to hold to his hand. I took hold of one hand like she had. I held it for a while so that he would not sink his nails into his hand when the cramps come on. Pretty soon the man let go of the hand he had been holding and went out of the tent. This woman come in again and nother [another] woman came in to the tent to[o]. He was sinking fast. They did not try to hold his hands any more but I held them for an hour then they began [to] grow weaker. The woman went out again and never come back. I was alone with the dying for a half an hour[.] pretty soon one of the men came into the tent. He says are you all alone: has the woman gone[?] I said yes. The women went to their wagons I guess then his father came in. but they soon went out again and talkd togather. I still set there a watching him. Pretty soon his father and 2 men came in. One of the men says he is nearly gone. They set there about twenty minutes when he breathed his last breath. One of the men had a watch. He pulled it out of his pocket and lookd at the watching saying it is twenty five minutes past twelve. They began to talk of fixing him for burriel. I got up and started to my wagon when his father says can you lend me a rag or something for to wash him to lay him out. I went and got a coarse towel. He says thank you that will do. I says it is a little coarse; but he said it is all right. Then I went to bed in the wagon. This was the first night for me to lay down in the wagon or morning it was nearly. It was after one oclock but the camp was up at sun rise. We had our breakfast. All the camp had heard that Hyrum Harrison was dead. They dug his grave under a big oak tree. It was of the scrubby kind. They burried him there. I shall never forget how I did hate to leave him there. Yet I knew he was better off in the spirit world where he would never suffer any more. He would be with his friends there in heaven. I believed he had a mission in the spirit world. But it was hard for me to part with him is [as] we was almost strangers here on earth. It was some time after this circumstance happened when some of the company was getting in a hurry for to get on to Salt Lake as we calld it. So they divided the company. The fastest to go a head and the slow one follow on as fast as they could come with out killing their teams. Our ten was behind in the roll that day. We took turns that is the first ten was mostly horses and mules but the second ten was made up of oxen and cows but some had horses. The third ten had some horses[,] some had oxen and cows yokd together. The fourth ten was the same way with their teams. The fifth ten had horses and oxen for their teams. The sixth ten had horses and cattle for teams but they took turns in going lead next to the first ten every day along the road. So our ten came in last for the other last companys was faster. The next morning the fastest ones went ahead so it throwd our ten in last company[,] but we kept up pretty close to the other company. They did not get 2 days ahead of the slow company as they call us but the last company did not run their teams so they would not have bad luck but the Captain Wil[e]y Thomas did get a little sick. This was the captain over the last company but he got better but the head company got sick. They lost their horses and mules 2 or 3 times. Some of them lost their oxen for some died and it seem all was wrong. Wily Thomas said they should not be in such a hurry. The company traveld that way for ten days when the last company was a mile behind the other head company the head Captain came back[,] David M. Cannon[,] for to see how the last company was getting along. He met Wily Thomas and some of the other men. He inquired how his company got along. Wily says you don’t get ahead so fast as you thought you would. You are having a heap of trouble. It seems I think that the company had better all go togather or their will be more loss. Some of your company will have more. We have had a little sickness but we have not lost any yet. We have not lost none of the cattle or horses yet; Captain Cannon and Wily had quite a talk then Captain Cannon went back to the head company. We traveld on this way for 2 days more. Then the 2 companys agreed for to unite togather again for the rest of the journey for the first company was only a half a mile ahead of the last company and the boys that herded that night said it was hard work for to keep the cattle and horses from getting mixd up. The boys of the last company was laughing and telling about it the next morning. Wily Thomas says we will ketch the fast ones if they dont be carefull. We traveld on that day and at noon there was not a half a mile between the two companys any we stopd for dinner and rest the teams an hour. Captain come again to talk with the head men of our company. Then some of the men talk togather about traveling. The men of the last company come back to the last company an said that Captain Cannon said we would re unite in camp that night. I shall never forget one little witty woman that said I think the fast ones is afraid we would ketch them any how. And they will do this for to keep us from over taking them in their fast traveling ahead. Yes said one young man they haint [aint] got very good night herders with them an they want their stock taken care of while they sleep themselves. There was some more talk in the way of jest but I will not take time to write it down. This little woman was a good kind woman in every way but I do not know her name and the young mans name I did not learn. There was about 3 hundred persons in the company and the numbers of wagons had increased to seventy two. So the company got hitchd up. We all started out on the road. We traveld on all the afternoon but we all campd early that evening. There was plenty of wood and we was not far from the River. There was a good feed for all the stock to so the men of the company says to the other men let us build a Reunion fire here so we all can set around it. The women will not get chilly in the evening air. We all can have a social talk together. So the fire was built[;] it was burning nice and bright. I had got wood for our own camp use; and I got 3 or four good sticks for to join with them. I was agoing to be out behind in Reuniting. So I carried my sticks. They was pretty good sized ones. I went up and threw them on the fire with the Rest: myself: I did not think of all the croud taking a strit [straight] look at me. I thought to myself I am not a going to be backd out. I know that much. I set down with the rest of them I lookd around I saw William out in the shade of the fire light. He made as though he had just come to the croud he lookd a little ugly at me for puting wood on the fire in token of union; but he did not abuse me when we went back to our wagon. The next day was a long stretch. We all got ready and started out in good time so that we could make good time for the next night where there was good feed for the stock and teams. It was a long drive that day: but we campd in pretty good time. It was a good company place. There was grumbling done the company but you must take no notice of that Captain Cannon said the next morning as we assembled at prayrs that it was a long days drive yesterday. We could not help it for to get to feed for the stock. They was a part of our salvation for to help us on our journey over the plains and we would have a long one today but we must make the trip. We would get to feed and water. So all of the company got ready and started out on the road. We had a pretty good road and not many hills to clime over. We all came in camp in good time: It was pretty good feed and close to the river so all cold have plent[y] of water and wood to. We had a short drive the next day. Old father Chenny [Cheney] had died. We stopd to burry him on Cherry Creek. He was 69 years an ten month old at his death. He was burried like the first one back down near the Mexican Ranchers place. We traveld on after this was completed. We did pretty well there at that camping place. There was no alkaly there to do any hurt. The next day the captain found good grass. It was splendid but all the camp had to carry water nearly a mile. It was so steep down to the water. He says give the cattle and horses a good drink before we start them. We will make for this grass to camp over night. We will start early in the morning. It will be cool and the stock will be full of grass and we will be to the River by noon tomorrow. They wont hurt for want of water; we campd on the grass place. William and Mary went for water. I hunted up wood got supper ready when they come back. We did have enough water for to get supper but some of the company did not have any water. They said (when I says we try to look out for this kind of campings. Mary and William come pretty soon) William says let us make this do over for it is a hard place for to get down to the River. I made this answer supper is ready. Come let us have supper. This tea will rest you; we eat our supper. All the company prepared their evening meals. There come a good dew on the grass that night. The stock did not wonder [wander] about much. They eat and seemed to be satisfied. The camp was calld up the next morning in good time. I was up when the call was made getting out of the wagon; but the rest of the family did not wake until the call for all the camp to get out for the days travel. I had breakfast ready pretty soon we eat our breakfast while we was eating one of the company passing by our wagon says your on time I see. Yes says I we must be ready when the croud is ready. He went on to his wagon he says is breakfast ready? to his wife. She says not quite yet. Then he says to her them folks there has got theirs and they are eating when I passd by them. He was pointing over to where we was in the camp. His wife says I know I know that woman is up early I have see[n] her out early all the way meaning me. I did not hear any more of their talk an I did not listen for that: but we all soon got ready an started out on the road to travel. We got to the River about one oclock. There was some grass there. We camped there. The captain said we had better rest. It was a long road the next day. It could not be helpd so we all rested there that afternoon. We stayd there that night. The camp was calld up at day light. We all got our breakfast and the stock was fetchd up: we yoked up the cattle the horses was all there and harn[e]ssd and all hitchd up and we was out on the road. We had a long drive that day and some grumbler comme[n]cd at the Captain. My husband was disgusted at them: I was no better. But we had a pretty good camping place. I happen to come near to where an old man was setting down. Some of the grumblers had just passd by this old man had been across the plains twice before this time: he was going his third trip now for Salt Lake. We got to talking about the long drive that day. I askd him how far we had come that day. The old man says about 15 miles. I says its an awfull long road: for that short distance. I don’t mean for to complain about it. The old man says indeed the road has wound around between the hills. We could not go over them you know. They are to steep. We have come at least 25 miles for to make 15 miles strit [straight] west to Salt Lake on our Journey. I thankd the old man for his explaining the difficulty. I told him I was not a grumbler. I went to my camping place but I see that the cattle was all right first. We had our supper and went to bed a listening at the grumblers from our own camp place. Now these that grumbled as much as the slowest kind of people in the company. The next day we come to the Sweat water [Sweetwater] country just a few days after we crossed on the new platte bridge. We had crossd this bridge on the head on the north platte river in the morning. We had fordid [forded] the platte River at what was calld fort dodge for to avoid some very high hills some 3 days before. We was recrossing it on the new tole [toll] bridge on the head of platte river. We now left the platte River for good. We had to wind around these very high steep hills that I have been talking about with the old man. He explaind it all just as I have wrote. We come to the sweat water [Sweetwater] country and then we travld on to Indepen[den]ce Rock to camp. There it was a pretty looking country. You see the Salaratus beds as they calld them for miles and alkaly beds too. We had for to look out for not to let the cattle get to these alkaly beds, for to drink the alkaly neither. We was very carefull for to get the cattle to the sweat water [Sweetwater] first so they could drink their fill then they would not touch the Alkaly. While we was coming through this country the company gathered some Salaratus. It was clear on white. The people used it for cooking. I got some but I did not get much like some of the company did. They said they could sell it in Salt Lake but I was afraid may be I would half to throw it out if we loose any of the cattle so I did not get so much. We had campd the second night in the Sweat water Country when I was told by one of the women that Mrs. Eldrige was very sick. I askd what was the sickness. This woman that told me said she did not know rightly. She believed it was a fever. I was sorry indeed for her and the little girls what would become of them[.] I could not bear the idea of loosing her if she was cross at me. This was in the evening that I had first heard that she was sick. I was quiet; but I found out some more about her sickness. I did go and see her in the morning. I took some things I thought she would like. Eldrige himself was out after the cattle. As I said I went to the wagon she was in. I askd her how long she had been sick. She said 2 days that this was the third day. I told her when I heard of her being sick and if I could do any thing to help her I would. Then she says do you think I shall die. I says know [no]. The Lord will not let you die. You must live for to raise your little girls. I will pray for you to get well so you can raise your girls. Tom is so cross. He is to cross to them. I cannot bear it for to see your little girls without a mother. We talk some more about her sickness and the little while of her being sick. I told her I hoped that they all would get well. Just then Eldrige come to the wagon. He gave me a very ugly look of scorn for to think I should come near to where he was. I did not give him no ugly look he did not speak to me. So I did not speak for this reason I did not want to excite his wife and make her worse. I heard him ask his wife what I was there for. I could not hear her tell him. I went back to my own wagon. I helped git ready so we could go with the rest of the croud but Mrs. Eldrige began to get better from the time we had the talk togather[.] Some of the cattle was sick with inflamation in the lungs from breathing the alkali dust some of them died with it but those belongd to the company. Our oxen first one then the other took with a kind of bloody flux. I gave them some ground spice pepper and milk. A slice of fat bacon. They got well then the mouse colord cow that we calld dunnie she was sick. I see some of the men stuying [stewing] tobacco tea. I askd them what it was for. One of the men said it was for one of their oxen it was sick. I says will that cure them of this sickness. The man says yes if you give it quick enough. Tobacco was made for sick cattle. Pretty soon one of the men led up the sick ox by a rope. The other man got the tea and one of them held up the oxs head the other one took hold of the oxs tongue with one hand and with the other hand he pourd the tobacco tea down the oxs neck. Then said he if you can give some tobacco with a piece of salt bacon it will often cure them. The men fixd up the ox so he got well. I went to my own camp I hunted up the tobacco I cut each one of the cattle a piece 2 inches wide across the plug. I went and got a slice of the fatest salt bacon I had, rapped the slice of bacon around the tobacco. I got William for to help me hold their head. I put a piece down every one of their necks. It stopd their nose bleeding like the others had died. In about 2 days more I gave them another dose. They all got well. There was one man by the name of John Thorp he had one yoke of cattle but they was a good yoke of cattle. This was all the team he had. One of his oxen got sick. The captain had said come along as you can. Never mind if you aint in place for some of them got stuck in mudholes. But our ten was in the last of the company that day and as we come around the hill we [see] Thorp with his cattle unyoked[,] the women sitting on the wagon as we come up. He came to William saying I guess I am done. One of the oxen is sick. I am afraid he will die. I walkd up to look at the ox. I see what was the matter. I went back to my wagon and got some spice and pepper and milk. I mixed it in a bottle come back to Thorp saying let me give the ox this it will help him. He says how will you give him that. I says you and william hold his head up hold his nose high. I will pour this down his neck. They fixed the ox so I could open his mouth[.] I shook up the bottle good and sent it the milk, spice and pepper down in a minute but I did not let the bottle go down his throat. Thorp did look at me so strait then he says you are very clever in this kind of business. Then I went and got a piece of salt bacon 2 inches thick and six inches long[.] I says git the ox where we can stand up a little higher and the ox down low so we can hold his head up a little better I will give the ox this bacon. I believe he will get well. We got the ox in a low place while we could hold up his head better. I took a hold of his tongue with one hand[,] I put the bacon down his throat with the other hand. Thorp says are you choking him. I says no but it must get down his throat. We watchd the ox a little while when William says I believe you can come on in about an hour. We went on to camp it was gitting dark when they came up. Some of the men was talking about going back for him. How surprised they was when one of the company heard Thorp speak to his oxen. The whole company was pleased for to see the ox better. One week after this we had helpd him doctoring this ox the other ox took sick the same way but we was in camp this time. They managed to get to camp. It was getting dark but it was not long be fore Thorp hunted up William and me. Thorp says you safed the other ox[,] I believe you can save this ox to. So we went to the place where they stopd and we gave him the same as we had done the other ox. So this ox got well to. When we came on to black fork my sister took sick so she could not do the camp work for the family she was staying with on the road. The old lady says to me I cant wait on your sister will you take her in your wagon. I told her yes I would take her and wait on her. She was my sister. I had a place. She was welcome to stay with me. So my sister come back to me. I nursed her up out of the sickness. I did hear the old lady say as she was going back to her own wagon. There I have got rid of the girl. I will not wait on her no how. I have got off pretty slick any hows. I says to the old lady I never askd you for to wait upon my sister. I am glad she could help you for riding in your wagon. I will take care of my sister. I don’t want you to do it. So that was the end of their kindness to my sister. My own little boy took sick next. My sister she was sick for over 2 weeks so was my boy. Mary was a little sick of 2 or three days but she soon got better. We had got to what was calld big sandy [Big Sandy]. Here was where the government was burned up. My husband was sly, but he did behave pretty well for all the company was kind to him and treated him well. But if he could get any thing that he thought would bother me about the mormons, he was in for it when we was alone but he was very sly about it. So this was a good one he thought and at night he commenced in his usual way. I just simply says there is a just cause I will find it out. He was completely silenced that time. So the next day we was traveling along. The teams was not hurried but was going at a good rate. We was walk[ing] by the teams[.] I happened to be with some more women and Elijah Thomas one of the battalion in 1846 was walking with us. We was close to my husband. I says brother Thomas can you tell us how the mormons come to burn up the government wagons. He says yes . It was in self defence. They he explaind how the government sent them for to kill off all the mormons. Then the mormons was not agoing to set down and let them do any such a thing and when the government wagons was correlld [corralled] here where these black streaks are[,] the mormon boys come up an told the soldiers for to take what clothing and other little nessessaries they really needed and the mormon boys fired the wagons and burns them to the ground. They had no hay prepard for the cattle and mules they thot they could live like the Indians cattle and horses did. But there come a big deep snow and starved the cattle and mules all to death. So when the soldiers then had to walk back a foot the best way they could. My husband heard every word of the explanation as well as I did. He could not blame them neither. It was not long before we all camped for night. After we had got every thing fixd for night we was sitting around the little campfire[.] one of the youn[g] men asked Elijah Thomas some more questions concerning Johnstons army which he explained with ease. Then one of the young men asked him about the battalion army which Elijah Thomas explained in perfect ease. The best was my husband come around sly and set down with the young men for to hear him. This was joy to me for my husband got to hear the Mormons side of the trouble now.