Transcript for James A. Little, Jacob Hamblin (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1881), 23-25


In the spring of 1850 I felt like making an effort to gather with the Saints in the mountains. This at first appeared impossible, as my animals had all strayed off, and I could not learn of their whereabouts.

I had concluded to wait another year, when I dreamed, for three nights in succession, where my oxen were, and went and got them. I found my other lost animals in the same manner.

These kind providences, with strict economy, enabled me to make a start for Utah with the company of Aaron Johnson, in the spring of 1850, as I had desired.

I joined the camp, to travel over a thousand miles of desert, with nine in family, one small wagon, one yoke of oxen and two cows.

While crossing the ferry over the Missouri river, with a boat load of cattle, they crowded to one side of the boat and capsized it. Some of the people on board saved themselves by getting on to the bottom of the boat, others by holding on to planks.

I made an effort to swim to the landing, below which was some three miles of perpendicular river bank, and the water along the bank was full of whirlpools and eddies. Despite my efforts, the current took me past the landing. As I was almost carried under by a strong eddy, I began to despair of saving myself. Fortunately, I discovered where a path had been cut through the bank to the water’s edge. I succeeded in getting so near the top of the bank, that a woman who was near, and had discovered my situation, managed to get hold of my hand, and, with a great effort, I was saved from the surging waters.

In traveling up the Platte river on our way to the mountains, we found the road side, in places, strewn with human bones. The discovery of gold in California and the excitement it had created, had induced many of the Missouri mobocrats, the year previous, to leave their homes in search of the god of this world.

The cholera had raged among them to such an extent, that the dead were buried without coffins, and with but a slight covering of earth. The wolves had dug up and feasted upon their carcasses, and their bones lay bleaching on the desert. There were days of travel in which human skeletons were usually in sight.

We saw the literal fulfillment of the predictions of Joseph the Prophet, during the persecutions of the Saints in Missouri. He said that those who took an active part in driving them from their homes, should themselves die away from home without a decent burial; that their flesh should be devoured by wild beasts, and their bones should bleach on the plains. Boards had usually been placed at the heads of the graves, on which were the names of those who had been buried in them. Many of these names were those of well-known Missouri mobocrats.

The destroyer came into our company, and several persons died. I told my family that it was a plague from the Lord, that nothing but His power could save them from it, and that it would attack some of the family. My wife [Rachael] thought that I had done wrong in asserting that it would attack our family, as the children would be afraid and be more likely to have it. I told her that it would come, but when it did we must depend entirely upon the Lord and all would be right.

One evening, as I returned to my wagon from assisting to bury a Sister [Susan] Hunt, Sister Hamblin was taken violently with the cholera, and she exclaimed, “Oh Lord, help, or I die!” I annointed her with consecrated oil in the name of the Lord Jesus, and she was instantly healed. The next day the cholera attacked me and I was healed under the hands of my father [Isaiah Hamblin].

I was advised to get into the wagon and ride the remainder of the day. As my eldest son [Duane],  a small lad, took the whip to drive the team, he fell forward to the ground and both wheels on the left side of the wagon ran over his body. It appeared to me that he never could breathe again. My father took him out of the road, administered to him, and he arose to his feet and said that he was not hurt.

My youngest son, Lyman, was taken with the cholera, and my father in administering to him, rebuked the destroyer, and commanded him to depart from him, from the family and from the company. To my knowledge no more cases of the cholera occurred after that in the company.

We arrived in Salt Lake Valley on the 1st of September, 1850.