Transcript for John Bond, Handcarts West in '56
Here all ate a hearty breakfast. When the parents and myself went in search of John Taylor's office who then was editing "The Mormon" and acting as an imegration agent for Brigham Young for New York, F.D. Richards for Liverpool England, Erastus Snow for St Louis, and Daniel Spencer, Iowa Camp Ground, Iowa, all agents for the plains. Here father received advice from John Taylor with reference to the supplies needed on the plains should he wish to cross the plains with ox teams and wagons in the "Independent" wagon train it would be to his advantage to leave his money with him as he would be able to buy what he needed cheaper than he buying the same in large quantities. At this juncture he consented to his council giving him $600.00 signing a contract with him to deliver his oxen, wagon, and supplies for the plains in one month to the destination of the railway, Iowa City, Iowa. Then father took all to the North River boat and went on to Patterson, New Jersey, R.R.Y., thence travel by cars through a sparcely settled country to Chicago a city of fifteen to twenty thousand people. The final car ride to Iowa City, Iowa, a city of one thousand inhabitance making the journey in two weeks.
Here were met by church teams and wagons and transferred the parents, sisters, brothers and self to "Iowa Camp Ground" two miles west through a beautiful rolling, grassy country. On arriving on the camp ground father pitched the first emegrant tent excepting the agent "Daniel Spencer" and his teamsters. Some weeks later, the European saints arrived at the R.R. station and twenty one hundred pitched their tents which held twenty people each of all ages with but little feeling of repugnance in so living and such was a grand sight to see the tent life when camp fires were all blazing through camp. Here commeisary [commissary] and hand-cart tents were pitched to supply the emegrants with food. The people had previously paid ten to twelve pounds per head to be taken over the sea, on cars to the camp ground and thence by wagon to Salt Lake City. Also the saints had been counciled in their native land by the elders to bring all the good goods they could in their boxes, as they would be useful to them when arriving at their journeys end. Such boxes were taken to camp by the agents teams and unloaded on the camp ground, two to four boxes to each family and stacked on the camp ground in the inclement weather where were subject to heavy rains to spoil them. The camp was furnished a stand for the agent to hold religious services three times a week. Where eminent sermons were preached. On the stand were seated returning missionaries from Europe on their way to Zion. F.D. Richards, Daniel Spencer, Joseph A. Young, James Furgeson, Geo. D. Grant, John Van Cott, W.C. Dunbar, S.H. Wheelock, Moses Cluff, Savage and others. When the saints twenty one
thousand hundred sang the songs of Zion in concert it was grand making many souls happy. The saints had been camped some weeks when a letter was read in camp by Daniel Spencer from "J.M. Grant Brigham's counciler. A Devine Plan Revealed The devine plan was That the saints were to pull hand-carts to Zion" At this juncture Daniel Spencer called Joseph A. Young to make a few remarks with regards to the letter as read and he spoke as follows: "My brethern and sisters you are here on the western plains and I have no doubt you would be more comfortable in going on the way to the mountains in wagons and less fatigue and hardships than to pull and push hand-carts, but my father is anxious to have as many saints arrive in the valley as possibly can and by the hand-cart source more saints could go that way than with wagons and God will provide the needed strength and that if they have faith in the elders teachings all will be well with them."
The saints had great confidence in his advice as he was such a manly man. When he finally subsided Bro. James Furgeson an eminent talker spoke half an hour on the above and he too was of the same opinion as Jos. A. Young, it was a wise plan to be adopted. At this the meeting closed when all when all returned to their tents some murmured and some in tears. This was a hard question to decide and all waited further council at the next meeting.
A second meeting is called by Daniel Spencer, a fatherly man for council he was. The meeting was opened by singing "O Zion when I Think of Thee" which was sung with much spirit which seemed to make all hearts rejoice. When a prayer was offered by W.H. Kimble, Daniel Spencer arose to make a few remarks. He desired the saints to pray to God on the question of pulling and pushing hand carts thirteen hundred miles to Salt Lake City where every saint longed to see and to his <and> many eloquent prayers were offered over the camp when all of those who had prayed the thoughts crystalized as in one thought, that it was Gods will for all the saints to go west with hand carts and God would provide them with health and strength to pull the carts and replace the boxes of goods in His due time. A general good feeling then insued over the saints minds. At the close of the meeting the saints start in the camp to prepare and commenced to make the hand-carts.
Chancy W. Web[b] was placed in charge as the foreman having assistance from W. Laty, W.C. Owen, E.F. Munn, Geo. Hains [Haynes] and others. When sufficient carts were made, Edmund Elsworth and Bunker were captains of the train and started on the plains with three hundred men, women, and children on a frigile [fragile] cart weighing about sixty pounds which consisted of bedding, cooking utensils and a few necessary changes of underware for their loved ones needs on the journey. Daniel McArther as captain of the second train of saints with approximately the same number as the former train. William Willie the third captain with four hundred saints, English, Scotch, Welsh, German, and Danish. The last hand-cart train was mixed nationalities with Edward Martin and Daniel Taylor as captains. Six hundred start on the way to Zion. The companies start on their journey in July in beneficient spirits animated with a desire to arrive in the valley before the snow storms came in the "Rocky Mountains."
As the saints started from the camp they had from four to seven children on each frigile cart, the husband pulling and the wife pushing with the help of the larger children. They travel on in the dust and with sun burnt faces passing on amidst cheer after cheer from the saints of the two wagon trains of saints, and were soon out of sight, still hearing their much loved hand cart song in the distance. When going up a steep hill they united in joining hands, helping each other until all were on top of the hill.
"And long before the valley gain
We shall be met upon the plain;
With music sweet and friends so dear
And fresh supplies our hearts to cheer.
And then with music and with song
How cheerfully we march along;
And thankful we have made a start
To cross the plains with our hand cart.
Some must push and some must pull
As we go marching up the hill;
As merrily on the way we go
Until we reach the valley o."
There were ox teams sufficient to haul the hand cart saints, tents, flour, bacon, sugar, rice, soda, soap and other things that were necessary as well as let the aged men and women ride when tired. Now is the first knowledge my father recieved with regards to his teams, wagon and supplies for the plains. After sixteen weeks waiting on John Taylor when promising him he would have his team, wagon, and supplies on the camp ground in one month. Not receiving the outfit per promise losing valuable time which had been lost and may suffer through ireparible loss before arriving at the journeys end. Such disregard of a just promise is sorrowful indeed. Father consoled himself the best he could as he was very much infatuated with the belief, "He must endure all things to gain his final glory". The two wagon trains were made ready, the first Independent wagon train is to go on to the plains with thirty wagons in number, two and three yoke of oxen on each wagon, and from two to ten men, women and children in each wagon with Benjiman Hodgets first and Nathan Porter second captains. The following are the names of the brethern of the train C. Provost, captain of the night cattle guard of the first ten wagons, wife and family, G. Dove Sr. with wife and family, captain of the second ten. W. Bond wife and family, John Godsell wife and family, Davis wife and family, C. Barlow wife and family, Bro. Tenent wife and family, third <Swenson> captain of ten wagons, and the captain of the night cattle guard a danish and sweed [Swede] team. The above are the majoirty of the adults of the train to go west.
The train started west in July and John a. Hunt and Daniel Jones were captains of the second ox wagon train, and approximately the same number of saints as the former train. The trains
below follow each other making ten to twenty miles per day according to the feed and watering places. The captain on nearing a campplace went on a head of the train on horse back to find such would call out on the praries of Iowa "All hands get buffalo chips" where the wood was scarce as they made good fires. We now have traveled on the Iowa praries two hundred miles west and found Edward Martin's hand cart train camped on a beautiful stream of crystal water, good grass for the animals up to their sides. Here the captains of both trains meet each other, and a general congratutation [congratulation] insued at the progress the hand-cart saints had made making from ten to twenty miles per day according to watering places. Here the captains of both trains wish to rest, shoe the animals, hunt and wash the clothing, and the hunters bag the small game. They bring the same into camp and divide among the brethern of the train which made all happy and receive heartily.
Captain Hogets [Hodgetts] called the people of both trains to a meeting at night. Hymn no 807, page 364 was sung in full.
Cheer, Saints, cheer! Were bound for peaceful Zion!
Cheer, Saints, cheer! For that free and happy land!
Cheer, Saints, cheer! We'll Israel's God rely on,
We will be led by the power of his right hand
Cheer, Saints, cheer! & [etc]
John Godsell now opens the meeting by prayer. Captain Martin and John Tune made appro<pr>iate remarks of the journey up to that camp. Then the Doxology was sung by the people with great spirit. Captain Ho[d]get[t]s then closed the meeting with prayer. At the close of the speaking the young and old go forth to dance on the green grass until late. When the bugle is sounded by John Watkins to put all fires out and save prairie fires.
Here they rest two days and on the third morning each train of saints cheered each other until all were lost to view. On we go again as usual making good time on the prairies of beautiful black loom [loam] soil as ever the eye could look upon.
At times dark clouds would arrive and in a short time the thunder would roar and light<en>ing flash, and down came the rain in torrents when the wagons would draw into camp until the storm abated. We are approaching Council Bluffs a hilly beautiful place to look at a city approximately one thousand inhabitants a homelike place with many comforts surrounding them.
The saints here were prevailed upon by the people to stay here for company and make homes with them as it was late in the season. Said it was fruitless and dangerous to risk going on to Salt Lake City, Utah, as the snow came in the Rocky Mts. early, but the saints had inlisted in the "Gospel of Christ" to go on the plains could not be frustrated as God was at the helm.
At this juncture, the missionaries of the trains were alert as to the evil consequences to result should "the
wicked Babalon<ion>s councils" prevail, the saints would be lost to the Kingdom of God and how sorrowful such would be to be lost eternally.
All make but a short stay and then go on through a nice black loom [loam] soil country, and were soon in sight of the Missouri river, a very rap
pid running stream of muddy water and were transferred over in a ferry boat and camp at Florence, the last outfitting place to the westward plains near the last of August to receive council from the church agents.
Here a public meeting is called by the captains of the wagon and hand cart trains to receive council from the agents who had traveled over the same. Franklin D. Richards being one of the twelve apostles called the saints to order nearly one thousand by a nice blazing fires over the camp as the stars twinkled and the moon shone brightly in the azure sky. Hymn No. 182 was then given out,
"Now Let us Rejoice in the Day of Salvation,"
No longer as strangers on earth need we roam;
Good tidings are sounding to us and each nation,
And shortly the hour of redemption will come.
When all that was promised the Saints will be given,
And earth will appear as the garden of Eden,
And Jesus will say to all Israel come home.
The hymn was sung in full. When a most fervent prayer was offered by George D. Grant.
When F.D. Richards rose to speak to the saints as they venerated his council and advice in all ways as a man of God. He spoke to the saints as follows
"My brethern and sisters we are now in the last outfitting place to get necessary supplies to supply the saints needs until we reach the land of Zion where we long to hear the councils of "Brigham Young" and be in safety with friends. I hear that there are saints here who fear on account of the lateness of the season and may suffer in the crossing of the Rocky Mts. in snow storms. This I will say as the saints have braved it this far and has anything come to hurt or mar the peace and safety of anyone, therefore, I prophesy in the name of "Isreals God" through [though] the storms we may come from the east, the west, the north, or the south God will keep the way open to the faithful at heart and we'll arrive in the valleys in safety and hoped that the saints would be blessed with health & strength to pursue unto the journey's end and there to meet with the Lords anointed and be saved with the just in the Eternal world" and then subsided. He also called upon Joseph A Young to give his views as to the lateness of the season for the saints to go farther west this season and he spoke as follows
"My beloved saints I must differ with brother Richards with regards to the saints going farther west this season for fear of the snow storms to come in the "Rocky Mts" before the saints could cross in safety being in a weakened state from constant traveling would not be able to stand the freezing cold weather in sleet snow in the higher altitudes, shortness of food. Such would cause untold agonies, sickness and much loss of life, therefore I do not wish such upon my conscience, but wish all to stay here for the winter and then go on in the spring as my father's agents have lost too much time in starting the saints to arrive in the valley safely."
At this stage of the meeting the prevailing opinion was to travel on amidst the flowing of many tears from those who had such confidence in Joseph A. Young's manly and stedfast councils and missionary efforts while he was with them in England. The meeting was closed by singing hymn no 316 in full.
O' ye mountains high, where the clear blue sky
Arches over the vales of the free,
Where the pure breezes blow
And the clear streamlets flow
How I've longed to thy bosom to flee.
O, Zion! Dear Zion home of the free
My own mountain home now to thee I've come;
All my fond hopes are centered in thee.
The hymn was sung by W.C. Dunbar and Sarah H. Wheelock, the audience join<in>g the chorus and was sung with spiritual vigor. When benediction was pronounced by John Van Cott the saints retired to their wagons and tents.
Early in the morning the first of September the people get breakfast and then pack their extra one hundred lbs. of flour on the carts with bedding, cooking utensils, ets [etc] underware which constituted what was needed for the rests of the journey and as all were ready to start all went to bid the returning missionaries farewell.
Alas the good bys, embraces, falling of tears, shall not forget while mortality endures. Captain Hodgets and John a Hunts wagon trains follow the hand-cart train to be all the assistance they could be the remainder of the journey. The missionaries follow shortly with good mule teams with light vehicle with comfort eatibles and speed to reach the valley and warn Brigham Young of the condition of one thousand saints and do not see them again for some time. We travel on making in the wagon train from ten to twenty five miles per day according to feed and water for the animals and selves and follow as near the north Platte river as could. The third day on the way came in contact with thousands of buffalo traveling to the southward when the captain ordered the train to stop and put the wagons in a circle in order to keep the oxen from stampeding. Early in the morning the captain rose and went around the camp to wake the saints from their nights repose, he would rap on the wagon bows with his big stick and say "Up, up everybody, everybody, up up. the cattle guards are here ready to yoke the cattle, up, up, up, everybody and make breakfast as fast as possible in order to make a long drive today."
We drove on through a good grassy country the same up to the sides of the animals, the antelope and deer jumping up in all directions making fine short for the hunters who bagged wild game for the saints use. Arriving at Lamp Fork river, camped at noon and in the afternoon ferry the wagons and swim the cattle to save a dollar a yoke.
The after part of the day make a long drive and camp near the Platte for the night and rest animals to shoe them as a few became tender footed. Early morning start and in two days arrive at Woodriver where was an abundance of wood which made beautiful fires to cook with and sit by and look at the twinkling stars in the sky and hear the constant howling of the large grey wolves making sc<uc>uh [such] hideous noises. Camped here for the night. Early morning get ready as usual, the men pulling the tents down while the wives were washing the dishes when each put the things in the wagons in their proper places, Captain ordered train to drive on and in three days arrive at Lone
Fork <Tree near the> river and camp. Early morning start on again and camp for noon at Scots Bluffs and the after part of the day three thousand indians came past the camp who had been on a buffalo, antelope, and deer hunt for to make dried meat, and to get the animals hides to sell and they were taking them packed, ou r [on] animals east to the Missouri river and all were peacible no harm insued. The after part of the day drive on and camp at night on the Platte river and hold a prayer meeting to return thanks to God for the miraculous escape of the indians fright.
Here camp for the first time since leaving "Florence" with Edward Martin hand cart train the saints
to be congratulated them on making such good time thus far on the way. The saints begin to show weariness of the journey by the sunken eyes and emaciated forms from constant travel leaving the dear ones on the plains in an exausted condition on arriving in camp miss the loved ones, though fatigued themselves they return back on the plains to find them on the road powerless to go on farther, put them on their carts, pull and tug with them until they arrive in camp near midnight their shoes were worn out, their toes protruding from the shoes in a bleeding condition. In the same way some were compelled to stay on the way and pull sand burrs from their feet shedding many tears.
Alas! it was painful and sorr[ow]ful to see the mothers carry their babes on the way giving them the bosom in languid and tired steps with sorrowful hearts. While the husbands were pulling two and three children on the carts who had sore and bleeding feet for want of shoes and were powerless to walk on farther. A sad, sad sight to see indeed. Whatever
the was on the agents minds were in regards the council to the saints to cause the trials and sufferings and heart burnings of an innocent and God fearing saints following should have been more careful in giving them advice as those anxieties with self confidence has rendered untold hardships, broken hearts and so many deaths of loved ones it is sorrowful to c[h]ronicle indeed.
The men in high standing with high priesthood power are yet to meet the innocent ones before the bar of God to answer to Him for the atrocities of inhuman advice. The captains in both trains congratulate each other for the good time made, but deplored the emaciated the sunken forms and eyes too painful to behold from short rations. This too, allowanced one pound of flour per head for adults and less for children without meat little sugar and bacon was a mean pittance to keep life in the body pulling a hand cart daily while the loved ones were traveling as fast as possible so as to receive new supplies as were expected to receive on the way daily from the Salt Lake valley. This rate of rations was to continue on to Fort Larime as Franklin D. Richards had sent letters to the captains from Fort Larime to that effect, that new supplies would meet the trains east of the "South Pass" and for the saints to be as saving as possible to save life on the way. Early morn start on again and go to "Log Cabin Trading Post", took three days. The oxen were still becoming tender footed and rest them here to shoe them and camp. The saints commence to dye [die] off daily when were sewed up in a sheet and laid in their grave with a little brush and earth put over them when a short prayer was said over them and the friends regrets were in leaving their friends on the plains not instead in consecrated ground in Zion.
The sorrows and mournings of the bereaved seeing the loved inter[r]ed broke down the strongest hearted in tears. This was done as there was no time to stay, but pass on as delays were dangerous to those left behind. Many prayers were offered by the saints to God to releive the hunger and distress the saints were in, to send help as soon as possible to avert suffering, sickness and death when many amens were heard in camp. Supper is made ready by large fires of drift wood from the Platte river and made all warm and comfortable.
Early morn <the captain> calls the saints as usual to go on keeping near the Platte river rolling, grassy country travel on five days crossing the Platte river and arrive at a soldier camp.
Fort Larime [Laramie] a government Post. Here the government stationed the troops to guard the overland road to California and the northwest territory. Here rest two days to wash the clothing, shoe the animals and make other repairs and receive council to go to the westward. Here captain Hodgets and Porter call a meeting of the wagon train saints to give them council to travel westward. Captain Hodgets arose to address the meeting. "My brethern and sisters we have met here at a government post to rest two days to receive council to travel to the westward. Now my brethern and sisters you have been traveling making an average of twelve to sixteen miles per day, not including the rests by the way and so constant traveling is tiring on each and every one of you and more especially the teams our lifes protectors. Now I wish to advise one and all to lighten their wagon loads to help the teams and leave all the heavy things at the fort to help you and your loved children so they may have a chance to ride once in a while, daily to the west you can all see that the teams are becoming more foot sore, thin, and tired, and now do help the teams and families for the most good. I wish still further to ask my brethern and sisters to return to their several wagons and the amounts, kinds of provisions that is on hand in the eatable line to a meeting here this afternoon, that my associate, captain Porter and I may further council all for the best good in the matter." The meeting then closed by brother Swenson offering a most appropriate and eloquent player [prayer], when all to their wagons and tents to search for the amount of provisions on hand. In the afternoon a meeting was called again and it is opened by brother Charles Roper offering a short prayer, which was comforting to the honest at heart. When Captain Hodgets called for the amounts of food on hand all the brethern and sisters gave the amounts to him and both captains recorded the several amounts in the presence of the saints. When the captains had finished their reconing their faces told that there was a seriousness at hand amidst down cast looks[.] Captain Hodgets read the amounts to the saints and finally told them that the food on hand was not enough to see the saints through to the valley, if they ate as much as they had eaten for the past five hundred miles to the present camp. You now have to travel in the future slower for the sake of the teams as they are getting very tender footed and the feed getting frost bitten that is not so strengthening as a consequence will have to travel slower, and that would take more food on your parts and to save any further trouble, I now advise every parent to allowance each one in the family, give them a small biscuit per day from now till we receive relief from the valley as I cannot tell whether the relief will reach us in time before all are out of food, and as I see the matter all had better be watchful and obey council for the best good.
It was fatherly advice and all the saints felt it was of the greatest importance for the best good of all. Brother Hodgets then closed his remarks hoping the saints would take council in time avert a good deal of suffering on their way towards Zion. He closed his remarks by saying he hoped God would see that his children were protected from the inclement <weather>, from sickness, hunger and death. Captain Porter then arose, from the looks on his countenance, he showed a look of distress, but in spite of the lateness of the season held out hopes of arriving safely, as God was at the helm and he was of the opinion that the saints would be protected in time, yet he approved of the timely council of his superior, Captain Hodgets and hoped the saints would follow his advice. He gave encouragement as to the road all were about to travel and was of the opinion that all would prove for the best good of the faithful at heart," when he subsided. Benediction was pronounced by George Hains. At the close of the meeting a seriousness came over the countenances of the saints for they knew it was fatherly advice and now must be carried out as far as possible.
My parents on arriving at the wagon looked each other in the face, as much as to say, they believed it would be a hard journey the rest of the way. So they now began to think what they could do to assist the team and follow the captains advice as far as possible.
The stove Left. Mother in Tears Father then said, "Mary Ann, here is our stove, we can leave it at the Fort and so doing will give the children a better chance to ride when they get tired on the way." With that mother said, "Yes" but with tears in her eyes for she had such a liking for the same thinking how nice it would be on arriving at the journeys end. It was a beautiful, No. 8 Charter Oak, but it was finally unloaded and taken to the Fort along with other heavy things and left here, and other saints did likewise. The saints put all things in order ready for the final start for Salt Lake City. I am not aware, whether the captains of the hand cart trains were compelled to reduce their rations to the hand cart saints or not, as our Captains have been with Captains Martin and Tyler to council with each other for the best good of all. I feel to ask God to direct the judgment of the captains that they may do the best for the good of all, and that the relief will soon come from Utah, and that they may bring things to avert the trials of the honest in heart that they will be made more comfortable and that
they peace and comfort may come for the faithful saints in the future.
The captain orders the trains to move on slowly, as the foo<ee>d [feed] is getting short and frost bitten, but live in hopes that <as> we travel on the feed will get better. We traveled on slowly making short drives so as to be near to the Hand cart Saints, to be helpful to them should they need it. The grass is shorter as we travel on daily, and getting quite cool nights needing better wearing apparel, as well as more bedding as in tent life the clothing wears out badly. In three days camp at Horse Shoe and when all arrive in camp and had eaten their short allowance, they retire to their several abodes. John Wadkins sounded the bugle for all to gather to bury a relation of Brother Stone from London England, a dear friend to John Toon. When all arrive, Captain Martin called upon Benjamin Hodgets to give the buriel prayer. The bereaved felt sorry to put their loved one in the ground so far from the land of Zion. The brother was laid away in the tomb sewed up in a sheet with a little brush and earth put upon the remains. We start on for the west as there was no time to spare as all must press on amidst sorrow and tears. The trains are ordered to go near to the Platte River so as to be near to wood and water, as such is helpful to the Hand-cart Saints. Arriving in camp in a tired condition and retire early. Early morn arise to drive to Lahoute thirteen miles, a grassy country with a few scrubby pines, rolling and hilly, a very good place to make a camp. The usual way the hand-cart Saints lay down on the way, getting more exausted as their allowance of food did not seem adiquet for them to pull their carts and live on, and it was fast telling on them. But friends go back on the plains and help them into camp. Though fatigued in doing so yet they have faith in God to protect the famished and that they will receive the desired relief and camp shortly.
The snow Cap[p]ed Larimie Peaks are Seen.
The wind is blowing hard and the snow is seen on the Larimie [Laramie] Peak in the distance which gave every indication that a snow storm was near at hand, and the wolves are following the trains making their mo<no>tonous howlings in all directions a hideous sound to the ears. The snow cap[p]ed Peaks bring much alarm for fear of the sufferings ones in tent life as their bed clothing is worn badly from laying on the camp ground getting damp and cold to lay on, their wearing appearal is in a very bad condition with worn out shoes, their protruding and bleeding from them. It is a shocking and heart aching sight to see, and their care worn and emaciated forms with tears rolling down their sunburnt cheeks, God pity them. He knows of their wounded and aching hearts.
Father weighs The Childrens Bread.
We have traveled some distance and from the looks of the flour on hand, father began to fear a biscuit a day to each head in the family that the flour would not hold out until the relief party could arrive from Utah. These were sorrowful times when all has been done all that lay in their power to carry out the Captains council as a protection to all of the family. Father and mother called the children together in the wagon and said, "Children the flour we have on hand I fear will not hold out, if all have what we have had so far, and mother and I have decided to say that we will have to make an allowance from now on until relief comes, half a biscuit a day to each one so as to live until we get relief. With sorrow this was by parents to all the children, and this all knew that all had been done thus far that could be done to save the lives of the family and all were willing to make the allowance a half a biscuit a day, believing and living in hopes of the deliverances were coming with aid soon while the younger children were constantly begging and calling for more bread. Father spoke to Captain Hodgets about the matter and he finally said to him "Captain is there a possibility of the relief party coming soon with supplies from Utah." "I believe so brother," he answered in a kind hearted way, and he thought that they would come and he hoped and prayed to God that they may come to relieve the distress all were in. At this father made the reply, "Captain if they do not get here soon all of my children will die for want of food". The captain said, "Let us hope and have faith that God in his mercies will care for the suffering and innocent ones now in need." This was a great comfort to father as he had every confidence that Brigham Young would do all that lay in his power to relieve the suffering and distress
ed the saints were in on the snow covered plains and camp here for night. Early morn drive on to Le Parete creek nineteen miles as the clouds were hovering around a storm is coming still cloudy and freezing which made it look gloomy and passing on to Pourch Bosse [Fourche Boise] and camp. Early morn the captain calls us to get up and yoke up the cattle make a drive to the last crossing of the North Platte River, a distance of thirty miles which took a day and a half driving, the cattle were commencing to get weak laying down by the way which made it sorrowful to see them. arriving at the river at noon Oct. 19th and camp on the west side of The river near to the same. Here I was detailed to herd the cattle while my sisters made dinner ready. While herding it commenced to rain and then the rain turned to sleet while the air commenced to get colder just as the courageous Hand-cart Saints arrived at the opposite side of the river. Here Daniel Tyler sat on his mule giving orders to the saints to go on to the west side of the river as soon as they could as a violent storm had approached them and all looked gloomy to us especially the aged and small children in the wagons, and weaker ones. Here the weaker ones pleaded to the captain to unload one of the wagons and haul them over the river as they could not stand the cold water in their condition, the water running so rapid in their weak condition. The weak ones still begging and [w]ringing their hands in tears and shivering with cold. "Do, captain do unload a wagon for us do! And let all ride over the rough and stony crossing." Alas their pleading was in vain, "You must have faith in God and you will not <take> cold wading the stony crossing." The Saints pleaded so earnestly, we could hear their appeals on the opposite side of the river. In tears and bitter anguish they cried, "Captain do have mercy on us." The captain still gave them a deaf ear to their pleadings.
To Have Faith In God
The captain repeated, "Have faith in God and you will not take cold", while he sat on his mule and saw those innocent ones, who had pleaded so, fall in the river as the current was carrying the weak ones off of their feet, but with the stronger and manly aid and courage of John Laty, T.J. Franklin, John Toon, Geo. Hains, Geo. Dove Sr, and others the helpless and weakened ones were taken to the opposite bank of the river and were given all the care they could when brought from the icy cold water. Those noble heroes went backward and forward several times carrying them on their backs, the weaker ones, which is worthy of commendation for their kindheartedness and worthy to be handed down to future generations.
Before fires could be made for those who fell in the river, they cried most piteously. When all had arrived, on the opposite side of the river camped a short time to eat their scanty meal in ice cold clothing, a sorrowful spectacle, disheartening to see indeed. In the afternoon captain Hodgets and Edward Martin hand-cart train start on again, still snowing the first of the season and drive on to Red Butes [Buttes] Wyoming.
Snow Bound Camp of Death
Arriving here on the willow grassy bottoms, the saints [w]ringing their hands and stamping their feet they were so cold. it was still blowing, snowing and freezing on their arrival many in tears. It looked very sad indeed to see the Saints go on to the west in the icy wet clothing pulling and tugging at their carts in eight inches of snow with children crying on their carts as they go on their journey in an exausted condition. As soon as had arrived in camp made the supper ready and ate the same. All retired to their tents and wagons in a wet condition making their beds on a snowy ground as it was still snowing
as do retire to rest.
Early morn all are called and breakfast is made ready by a smoky fire as the snow was still drizzling making tears run down the haggard cheeks of the loved ones when they were eating their scanty meal. Hodgets wagon train camped near Edwin [Edward] Martins Hand-cart train when next morning the bugle is sounded by John Wadkins to go to prayers and when all had met Edward Martin called upon Moses Cluff to offer up a prayer and when it was over Edward Martin announced that six brethern and sisters had died, and desired to have their graves dug. The captains detailed men to dig the graves while others were allotted the task of sewing the departed ones up in a sheet. When Brothers Benjamin Hogets, Porter, T.J. Franklin, Moses Cluff and John Tones [Toon] were detailed to carry the departed ones to their last resting place. Later the bugle is sounded for all to gather at the graves when the brethern came walking in their turns with the departed ones and lay them in their graves, hymn 47 was sung in full.
Come, come, ye Saints no toil nor labor fear,
But with joy wend your way
Though hard your journey may appear
Grace shall be as your day.
Tis better far for us to strive,
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell
All is well; all is well.
Brother Porter made the dedicatory prayer amidst much sorrow and shedding of tears. At conclusion, all go to their several tents and wagons, tenderly leading the bereft ones to their tents, giving them words of comfort and consolation. It is snowing heavy and the feed is being covered with snow, so the captains of both trains detailed brethern to cut trees and brush down so as the teams may brouse [browse] on them for feed until the storm abated making all around look gloomy, as the wolves were howling around in all directions on the snow clad mountains. The saints begin to feel anxious to go on the way having camped here some days and the storm seems not over and delays are dangerous to all, the feed being covered up badly with snow punishing the oxen the lifes protectors on the way and no relief party yet and all look dark and gloomy. Day after day passes away and no tidings of help coming from the west, and the flour will only make a little thickning [thickening] in poor ox soup. The bugle is sounded by John Watkins again to call the saints together for prayers to interceed with the Infinate Father to bring them food, medicines, clothing, shoes, and other necessary things. I had been to many of the prayer meetings previous, but as I had seen Sister Scott cooking a nice pot of dumplings just before the bugle sounded for prayers, she hid the dumplings nicely under the wagon and covered them up ready to eat on her return from the meeting and she being a very zelous woman went to the prayer meeting and I did not go with her this time and as I had been watching her cook the dumplings, I went to look for the same and found them, and being so hungry I could not res<is>t the temptation so I sat down and ate them all and duly admit that those dumplings did me more good than all the prayer
meetings that could have been offered, and for such an act, I have done a grevious wrong for which I regret going and ask God to forgive me in time of hunger. In time the old lady returned from the meeting and went to look for her dumplings, but to her surprise they were all gone, so she inquired of all to see if she could find out who had taken them, but was fruitless in fing[er]ing the one.
Again all were called by the captains of both trains to appeal to the giver of all good, and many fervent prayers were offered in behalf of the famishing ones, who were so patient in the dark hour that assistance may come to the needy and stay the storms which were causing so many deaths in camp. One after another over camp made short and impressive prayers amidst much anguish and falling of tears down their sunken cheeks. Captain Martin looked sorrowful and care worn, but was as firm as the hills that assistance would soon arrive to help all famishing ones. He closed the meeting with prayer, when all retired to their tents and wagons. On arriving at the same Wadkins sounded the bugle again as several dear ones had gone to their eternal home of rest, when brethern were seen walking along with languid and tired steps and lay them in their graves. Here Captain Martin stood over the graves of the departed ones with his shot gun in hand firing at intervals to keep the crows from hovering around in mid air, waiting for service to close and bury the departed ones. It is very sad indeed to see inter[r]ed in the graves, and them not deeply dug by the brethern being so weak for want of food, and from five to ten and upwards to twenty burried a day in the camp with a little brush and earth upon them and the loved ones in the early morn see them scratched up by large gray wolves and eaten, a skull bone here a leg, hip and arm bone on the hills in a bloody condition in the snow, the wolves howling all around. The dear ones sorrows seen of loved ones gone. Alas! At the last moment, as it were, and there didn't seem to be a possibility of any word or relief coming, and what flour my parents had would only make a little thickening in poor ox soup, to eat without salt was giving the saints disentary [dysentery] which made matters worse and the came to the conclusion that they must die an ignomenious death far away from the civilized world, and for the reason of truth. Alas! In the after part of the day, I was playing in front of Sister Scott's wagon with her son Joseph, then seven years old and his mother was looking to the westward. All at once Sister Scott sprang to her feet in the wagon and screamed out at the top of her voice. I see them coming! I see them coming! Surely they are angels from heaven. At such being said, I looked the way she was looking, but could not see or perceive what she was looking at in the distance. When again she called out, I see them plainer! plainer! plainer! I still looked the way she was looking, but could not see what she saw, and I was so anxious to see what she was looking at. By this time, more of the Brethern and Sisters came from their tents and wagons, from over the camp anxious to observe what she saw in the distance.
All kept looking westward for the moving objects, when all commenced to see in the far distance at the curve of the hill what Sister Scott saw, and it was three men on horses driving another slowly in the deep crusted snow, and the wolves were howling in all directions. Still the saints keep waiting for the moving objects, <as> all were anxious to see the relief party coming to releive the distress all were in bringing assistance to elivate [alleviate] the loving saints in all directions. Undaunted faith as the moving objects could be seen distinctly a general cry rent the air. Hurrah! hurrah! Some of the voices choking with laughter and of tears down care worn cheeks. They were so pleased to know that they were to be saved and delivered from the fears of ignomenious death. When Sister Scott waved her shawl, "We are saved!" so loud that all in camp could hear her and still repeating, "It is! It is surely the relief party from Utah."
Joseph A. Young, Daniel W. Jones and Abraham Garr came into camp with a small dun colored mule packed with supplies when much rejoicing insued through camp with Hurrahs! Hurrahs! again and again as the broken hearted mothers ran clasping their emaciated arms around the necks of the relief party, kissing them time and time again and as do rush up in groups to welcome the brethern, fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters fall on each others necks the tears falling from their eyes in profusion being so overjoyed to think that all were to soon have relief and care for the living, sick and bury the dead with a decent burial as they go to their silent tombs. God bless Brigham Young and the resigning parties sent to help all to the valleys over the snow clad Rocky Mts. was heard all over camp. As soon as possible a meeting was called and the saints were anxious to hear Joseph A Young, Brigham Young's son, who spoke to the people in camp and seemed very much affected in doing so. "My Brethern and Sisters, my associates and myself appreciate very much the Hurrahs and God blessings and more so the spirit in which they come, for we are aware they come from the heart and my brethern and sisters, my comrades and self have fared much hardships that we could find you and render you all the assistance possible in our power to elevate <alleviate> the sufferings and distress all are in when I say this, I feel confident that I am saying this in behalf of my companions also, and assure you will continue doing so as comrades, who with me have your welfare at heart and are glad to be here to relieve and elevate <alleviate> you in your many trials and sufferings, as we are satisfied that each and all of you have passed through many trials up to the present time. We want you as LatterDay Saints to cheer up and wipe those tears away as God is at the helm and he will still guide and aid his faithful children in this dark and trying hour as I wish all to understand that your deliverers are near at hand making all press drives they can night and day with flour clothing, shoes, medicines and all other necessary things for your sustenance and comfort.
We as brethern were sent on ahead of the valley boys teams by my father to see if we could find you, as we could warn the valley boys where you all were and how you all were getting along. Now we are in possession of the facts and can assure and instruct what to do, so they could make press drives in order to relieve you as soon as possible with necessary comforts that you are in great need of. Each and every one of you will be put into wagons from the time that they arrive and cared for by tender hearted brethern, into the great Salt Lake Valley, Utah.
Now brethern and sisters, many of you are aware that I went on ahead with other brethern to the valley, but you all are aware too that I did not wish to see you start out from Florence so late in the season, as you were counciled to, and as I had grave fears of the Saints getting to the valley in proper season. We drove on in our train as fast as we could and arrived in Utah, just as the October conference had assembled, and when I arrived I made it known to my father the condition the saints were all in and he said to me that it was too bad for the saints to be started on the plains so late in the season, as they were liable to encounter cold, hunger and many may perish before arriving in the valleys. Such troubled my father and he said that those lives through such advice would rest upon the shoulders of those that caused it. When the Oct. conference was opened, the first thing that my father did was to bring the matter before the people, and he condemed the cruelty of those who were the means of starting the saints on the plains so late in the season. He then called upon the saints to go east to your assistance with teams, wagons, provisions, shoes, clothing to relieve the distress they were in, and a great many throughout the congregation responded to the call anxious to assist the needy. When that was made known to the meeting it fairly electrified the mind and hearts of the saints to see how firm the councils were in those dark times. I am here to assist each and all of you, and to carry out my fathers wishes are for all of your welfares." Many amens were heard through out the audience and "God bless Brigham Young." When the meeting closed singing the Doxology. And all retire for the nights repose. The Captains Martin, Hodgets and Porter were appointed as a committee with Joseph A. Young, Daniel W. Jones and Abraham Garr therefore not more comforting brethern could have been selected to aid and comfort the saints for a short time. Those brethern received the appointments with gladness and proceeded to approach the wagons and tents as their hearts beat with sorrow when visiting the saints in camp to hear the cries and groans of hungry ones in all directions which was pitiful to behold.
My bretheren and sisters as you have detailed the bretheren to visit the saints which we have done we wish to report to you in meeting that we have seen in camp a most dreadful scene to behold, the distress the saints are all in. Went around from wagon to tent and our eyes caught the looks of the emaciated faces and sunken eyes in the tents of the brothers Sermons, Franklins. We were filled with deep sorrow and kindly approached them with a slight allowance of food to strengthen drooping and down cast spirits. Ah! on entering those tents to see the stretched out motionless and without life waiting pestilence as it were before our eyes. At the first glance of their dwelling place a common tomb, and our hearts were filled with sorrow as we looked around and saw on their countenances the narks [marks] of suffering and the last agonies of death (five to twelve die off daily). In some cases the mothers lips were pressed to the loved babys cheek while the babys arms were entwined around the neck of the mother tenderly nursing on the mothers bosom. In other cases they were found as if they had just offered a fervent prayer and that their spirit had taken flight while in the act, showing their great reverence, affection, and faith in the heavenly father and home.
Here we see signs of faith in the redeemer and our eyes filled with tears and tender reverence for the departed ones. Who dare doubt that their rewards are not sure. The spectacles of hunger, sickness, and death seem to cause a cold g[h]astly feeling to almost clog and chain our hearts and minds to the dear ones when seen frozen on the beds, such is horrible to report to you brothers and sisters as a committee.
Snow Bound Camp of Death In Memory
In Red Butes camp we met,
Around the camp fire sat,
Watching the needy day by day;
When the scanty meals ale [ate]
Their tearful eyes do not forget,
With angels spirits have flown away.
Sewed up in sheets there
When kind brothers then bear,
Where the snow covered willows wave;
Lowering them down with care
Then offer o'er them a short prayer,
And lower them into their grave.
Day afler [after] day loved hymns sing
While lifeless remainders
When all is done for the best,
On each others necks
When pale hands
Weeping when loved ones are lowered to rest.
Alas! such untimely death gains
Bringing lifeless body remains,
Such did seem a great pity;
See scattered oer the Platte plains
Those bleaching bone remains,
O'er the Rocky's to Salt Lake City.
In conclusion do now say
To all friends while I may,
Hope to meet the loved by and by;
With respects to them pay
And forever with them stay
In the mansions of glory upon high.
Joseph A. Young, D.W. Jones, and Abraham Garr.
Elders order the trains to Start West so as to get there relief as soon as possible. All finally start on again to get relief as there were many deaths occuring for want of medicine to check the disentary which was so prevalent for the want of salt in eating poor meat. The snow quite crusty near a foot deep, and the wagon saints travel on ahead of the hand-cart trains to break the snow and the saints in them were fatigued resting in the snow by the way while the cattle would lay down on the road give out, they were so weak for want of food. It was a pitiable sight to see the saints lay on the ground to rest, while their friends would plead with them to try and make camp that their burdens would be over as the valley boys teams and wagons were near at hand to drive them to the valley. They still try and go on a short distance when they lay down by the roadside powerless to proceed.
Met on Greecewood Creek, Oct. 31st. And in time arrive in camp hours after night, when the stars shown brightly in the azure sky. The friends in those cases go far back on the plains and found the dear ones numbed with cold put them on their carts the best they could with the tenderest of feelings. The mountains seem to be getting more rugged then they were farther east. As arrive in camp the fires were made ready as usual and make supper as soon as possible as it was a cold night. The captains are becoming uneasy and sorrowful for the needs of the suffering ones. As supper is nearly over, a sound is heard in the distance. Captain Hodgets called out, "Listen! bretheren listen! do hear voices in the distance. They are getting closer! closer! and can hear the cracking of whips. Listen! listen! they are surely the relief valley boys coming from Utah. Hurrah! hurrah! The Relief Boys here.."
All were anxious to see the valley boys as their musical voices could be heard getting closer and closer as the saints sat by large sage brush fires. Finally arrived in camp sing their much loved song to cheer them on the way.
It's every Sunday morning
When I am by her side,
We'll jump into the wagon
And all take a ride.
We'll wait for the wagon,
We'll wait for the wagon,
We'll wait for the wagon,
And all take a ride.
When a man was seen by Captain Hodgets in front of a herd of cattle and he called out, "It is Brother Thomas Jenkins with others driving a herd of oxen from Fort Supply, to assist John A. Hunt and Daniel Jones Church Freight Train that was camped near the North Platte River. The saints were overjoyed to see the first wagon train of supplies, and wish the relief valley boys God's blessings to await them through life. Supper was made ready for all and they were a jolly good hearted men as ever lived. They shared what food they had which all felt thankful for and at a late hour retired to rest.
Early morn the valley boys make a good meal for all and after breakfast a part of the company start east to relieve the church train amidst the saints well wishes with a safe return to the valleys.
TheMother and Babe Sleep Side by Side
All journey on until noon when the wagon and hand-cart trains camp where there was good sage brush to make fires with, and good feed for the cattle to eat as the wind had blown the snow off the ridges uncovering grass and such was very helpful to the cattle. My mother, being a mid wife on the way, was very good to the sick at all times. As she had provided well for medicine to travel westward so as to meet every emergency. When dinner was over the Train moves on towards Independence Rock, but progress was slow as the snow was ten inches deep. As the trains were on the tributaries of the Sweet Water, Brother Rollow came for my mother to attend his wife, as she lay sick on his cart. When mother went through the snow with raw hide shoes to do what she could for the sister, and on arriving at the cart two miles away in ten inches of snow his wife had just been confined on the cart and that the baby was not able to live. She did all in her power to help the sister, but she was in such a weak condition that it was impossible to do anything for her. It was so cold and only a cart for a home and mother gave the husband to understand that mother would secumb [succumb] to the inevitable. The mother and babe would sleep side by side in the grave at Independence Rock, and they were both buried in one grave amidst her husbands sorrowful mourning, the wind blowing a perfect gail [gale]. Early next day travel on and arrive at Devils Gate Nov. 10th, a narrow passage of stone wall where the Sweet Water passes through the narrow gorge and wends its way into the North Platte River. Here we find a few log houses that answer for a stage station, and here make camp again and are hailed with Hurrahs! hurrah! More Relief Boys George D. Grant, John Van Cott, W.H. Kimball, and [Cyrus] Wheelock were here with teams, wagons, food, clothing, shoes and medicine for the suffering and needy ones. Here Geo. D. Grant felt sorry to see the hand-cart Saints approaching the camp. Alas! brother Van Cott you see Sister Sermon that you and I left at Florence some weeks ago a tall and stately woman with long black hair hung down on her shoulders in lovely curls, so cheerful in camp with husband a noble man with their sons anxious to go on to Zion. Ah! now to see her emaciated form, her dark eye so dim and sunken, with the rosy tint left her cheeks brought on from the travels of the plains and her invalid husband who had been ill some time on the way and after her struggles, pulling him on the cart with the aid of her sons John and Robert, to have to bury him here as he is in a dying condition, and her two sons you can see are frost bitten badly so much so, John will have to have one foot amputated and Robert both. God help the poor mother in the trials she is undergoing. It is sad, very sad indeed. Brother Van Cott put all the brothers, sisters and children in the valley boys wagons as soon as possible else any more pass away before they can arrive in the valley.
"Yes Brother Grant, I will do so immediately, and give them strengthening food to elevate [alleviate] and help them." "Will be thankful for you to do so." At this juncture, Captain Hodgets and Nathan Porter were counciled by Geo. Grant to leave fifteen wagons
And unload all the boxes of goods here to lighten the loads and the remaining fifteen wagons put the bedding, cooking utensils in and a few changes of underware with a little food as the valley boys have left supplies at stations to supply the wants of all on the way Westward."
The orders were to put two families in each wagon to go the rest of the way, putting four yoke of oxen and two yoke of cows on each wagon. The goods were left in charge of Brigham Young's agent for the winter, Daniel W Jones and sixteen other bretheren.
Here leave veter[a]n Hand-cart saints to be cared for and ride on to the valley. Captain Hodgets now gave orders for the train to start on the journey westward. We travel
slowly in a foot of snow and very cold following the course of the winding stream of the Sweet Water, crossing the same and recrossing many times, the oxen falling on the ice and bruising their feet badly which made all feel sorry for them in their weak condition as had been so faithful on the way. We traveled on five days, and during that time five and six of the oxen lay down daily give out and the same number froze at nights. When the large gray wolves followed the trains by the hundreds, it was but a short time would be eaten by them. In crossing the South Pass found the snow on the east side thirteen feet deep exausting the oxen in traveling through the same. On do go down grade, and less snow to travel in, and finally arrive at Big Sandy the cattle had died off so fast were unable to proceed on the way farther, but fortunately were met here by Captain Cooper from American Fork, Utah, who was a noble hearted man in the right place to help in time of distress to console the weary travelers. Here he <ordered> his men to hitch on to the wagons and the captains and saints were liberated from camp duties on to the valleys which all felt thankful for in their exausted condition. He then detailed valley boys to drive on to Green River the weak cattle and leave them there for the winter. Here was three inches of snow and the climate warmer from what had been east of here when camp for the night at Lewis Robinsons Green River Ferry. Here a few log houses were for the use of the ferry men which looked home like as fires were made from drift wood brought by the valley boys which made warm and comfortable fires that were helpful to all. The boys were full of life and merriment at the campfires, joking, singing songs, telling emegrant stories which were helpful to liven the down cast spirits of the drooping ones.
At a late hour, the remaining poor animals of the "Hodgets" wagon train were left here for the winter in a very tired condition and many were left by the way give out, and were soon devoured by the wolves. Here father felt sorrowful to leave the last faithful ox out of three yoke that had worked hard on the way the life protectors. Mother and children in tears to leave him behind, the stove at Fort Larrimie, and three large boxes of valuable goods at Devils Gate was very sad to them. At the usual hour and way all retire for a nights repose. Early morn are called as usual by captains to arise and make breakfast to start on the journey two hundred miles to go over big snowy mountains before could enter the valley where long to see and be. After breakfast, the valley boys put things in their places in the wagons ready for the days drive, when the teams were brought in by the guards in a good condition as they had had good dry bunch grass and were well filled up as the captain was a good man to find feed for the animals and camping places which made the saints feel happy as the teams were their protectors on the way.
The captain orders train to go on as clouds were hovering around, and every appearance of a snow storm, and three high mts to cross, which may be difficult to get over.
He rode on ahead horse back with his gun in hand to find feed for the animals and camping places as the valley boys drove they heard a shot fired about ten miles on the way. When the captain is seen dragging a fine deer and left near the road and a dry camp is made as the teamsters unyoke the animals to get feed. Here a rolling greece wood and hilly country. The valley boys made sage brush fires and melted the snow for drinking purposes and commenced to cook the dinner for the weary Saints.
When dinner was ready, the valley boys place the tin plates, cups, knives, forks & spoons on the canvas cover and then brought the brown wheat the mothers had made ready to make coffee to warm the saints who had sunken eyes and emaciated cheeks to help their pale and frail systems. The coffee smelled delicious when cooking as had not had such a thing for a long time, but thanked God for the donners [donors] of such. As soon as the food was cooked ready the Valley Boys took the same to the weak ones, those who were unable to be out of their beds were supplied, and comforted them the best they could and many of those noble hearted boys deprived themselves of many necessaries their loved wives and sisters had made ready for them while gone on an errand of mercy, but gave to the needy saints with loving and contrait [contrite] hearts.
Many times their eyes were full of tears as they returned from taking food to the sick ones. As they handed them the food or medicine it would invariably be, brother, sister or child "I have brought you something strengthening and the best we have brought from the valley what our dear mothers, wives, sisters, and friends sent to help strengthen you, as they have had severe trials to contend with while journeying in the valleys of the mts." Now bretheren and sisters cheer up as will soon be in good houses in the beautiful valleys you all wish to be in and see.
There <were> many helpless in the wagon trains, but more so in the last hand cart trains though a few weeks before were in good spirits, but with short rations, constant striving to save the oxen on the way, the unfortunate hand cart pullers and pushers had been wearing on them east of here. Had the saints been provided with conveyances, with food clothing, shoes, salt and necessary medicine through the long journey, it would have made a great change in the mortality of the saints, reducing the broken hearts of the saints today.The captains order the train to move on passing the large hills or butes crossing the Hams Fork River on the ice driving on ten miles up the Black Fork river all tributaries if the water shed, flow into Green River thence into Colorado River and on to the Gulf of California. Make a camp a short distance from the
Noted Fort Bri[d]ger
Supplies were made ready by willing valley boys, as all had good appetites. Strong young <men> got the sage brush and soon fires were burning over the camp while the weaker ones were helped out of the wagons and bring them before the fires to comfort them and suppers were given them in the usual way. Here the deer meat is cooked smelling nice as well as being delightful to eat. The captain came in to be heartily congratulated for his good fortune in bagging the venison. The river is frozen over a foot deep and it is very cold. The captain feels uneasy on account of the cold and freezing weather for the sake of the valley oxen as the crusty snow was making the oxen feet tender, bleeding badly, which was discouraging as they were the saints life protectors.
The mountains were rugged in the distance and covered with snow on all sides a foot here. The captain called all to retire. Early morn are called up as usual to go on again. The sky looked clear & the solar loominary [luminary] shone bright and from such seemed a good sign of a season of fair weather. Here the captains had a long talk with Jim Bri[d]ger with regards to the 113 miles to travel to Salt Lake City, and he said to them as follows "Now captains you have the most difficult mt. passes to cross, where the snow falls deep, but hope you may not encounter any difficulty." This causes the captain to feel that they would not encounter any more storms as the sky was clear and he started on
At Rock[y] Ridge
Here are met by Captain Whitman Company west of Fort Bri[d]ger valley boys traveling on to help the saints at the peril of their lives encountering snow drifts many feet deep to take needed humanity support and passed all with cheers and laughter. Now go on through a sage brush country and make a camp on
The Big Muddy
Here get dinner ready as quick as could so as to start for a heavy drive up
The Quakenasp [Quaking Aspen] Ridge
Here encounter for miles three feet of snow to travel in which was tiring the oxen as well as the stronger saints who were walking. Alas! pass over the last snowdrift twenty feet deep and camp at the tip on the westside in a Quaknenaspe [Quaking Aspen] grove. Here get the first glimpse in the distance of Wahsatch Range of Mts. covered with snow. When sup[p]er is over all retire. The train moves on in early morn slowly going down between two large snowy divides, passing between the defile, the small creeks flow into the Bear River and passing one hundred and fifly [fifty] miles to the north and empties into the Salt Lake. Now cross the Bear River on a foot of ice and see the snow three feet deep on to the noon camp at
The Yellow Creek Hill
Here have dinner as usual, hitch up the teams, and go up the hill to the "Cash Cave" over eighteen feet of drifted snow, and travel on through snow four feet deep, and camp at Echo Cannon [Canyon] near to Castle Rocks where the wind had blown the snow off the ridges uncovering the dry grass to give the oxen feed. When the valley boys attend to all duties for the good of the saints all retire. In early morn, the cattle guards come in with the cattle well fed ready for the days drive. Willing boys make ready for the days journey. The captain orders the train to go down the cannon [canyon] in deep snow passing gigantic mts. covered with snow to the
and here camp on Weber River in a large grove of cotton wood trees which wood made good fires to warm by, when the boys sang songs until late and then retired for a nights repose.
The morning came when do get breakfast and the valley boys are called by the captain to go down the river to the west passing large groves of cottonwood trees and willows two miles to see the "Witches Rocks" which resemble large castles of conglomerated colored stone with gigantic mts. on each side of the valley. The train crosses the river four miles from where we made the camp, and found a nice meadow and sage brush land. The captain is becoming uneasy as to the saints and warn them to drive on as he fears a storm was near at hand, as the wind was blowing and black clouds were arriving on indication of a storm and traveled on up Main Cannon [Canyon] passing
The Lone Tree
and on do go where abundance of wood and camp in a large grove of wood and willows in a narrow gulsh [gulch] sheltered from the winds at
and camp for the night. It was now snowing hard, so all soon retired. The captain arose early and called to his teamsters to look well to the teams and make breakfast as soon as they could so as to start on the way again, though it had been snowing all night, and the mts. were covered to a great depth. The captains face looked gloomy and showed anxiety to his teamsters, yet he gave them to understand that he did not doubt for a moment but that Brigham Young would do all that lay in his power to relieve the suffering saints and thought would have brethern with teams breaking the snow, as well as having them shoveling the same in all the high mts, but are liable to retard travel. When breakfast was over he called the teamsters to hitch up and start on, and all that could walk were to do so to help the teams on the way and such was done. When the train had gone on the way half a mile the snow as breast deep to the oxen and it was impossible to go farther, and as a consequence, the captain ordered all to return to camp again, and wait until the storm abated and for more help. This is a sad blow to all, and may not be able to cross the snow cap[p]ed mts. which could be seen in the distance. On returning to camp the food was made ready though the same was getting short as were expecting to meet new supplies daily. As soon as the captain could go on a nearby hill he did so, as the saints had been here three days & nights in suspense, but, after he returned the third time from the hill, his face was all smiles, and he told the saints to cheer up as he believed God heard the prayers of the saints as he believed he could see some teams coming in the distance. The snow being very deep, progress was very slow, but brethern and sisters have faith and all will be well. In a short time the teamsters wallowed through the snow to the hill to see if they could see what the captain saw and in a short time they returned and reported that they could see a band of horses and a few wagons moving along slowly this way and could hear them singing distinctly as do get closer which made all hearts to rejoice again. Alas it is the valley boys making all the speed they can for the deep snow had to encounter. As they get closer the band of horses were breaking the snow so the horse teams could follow. This song is distinctly heard the much loved song of the valley boys.
It's every Sunday morning
When I am by her side,
We'll jump into the wagon,
And all take a Ride.
We'll wait for the wagon,
We'll wait for the wagon,
We'll wait for the wagon
And all take a ride.
The bretheren and sisters then gave the relief party three hearty cheers as they do enter camp with more supplies when embraces were in order and shaking of hands delightful to see. The bretheren and sisters talk a short time when all retire for night. Early morn Captains Ephraim Hanks and Albert Workman called all the bretheren to return thanks to God for his protecting care over all and hoped all arrive in the valley in safety. The captains arise early "Up! Up! Hurrah boys get up and make a good drive to Alvy Hanks Cottonwood grove on East Cannon [Canyon]. The valley boys feel happy and are ready <to> do the captains bidding to get near to the
The higher point to cross in deep snow. The saints are transferred into church horse wagons to go the rest of the way to the valley. My parents leave the wagon here which had been hauled over the plains and were sorry to part with the home. The valley oxen were driven onto the valley lose the train arrive and camp at the grove late in the evening and ate supper and retire . Early arise to cross the last high point.
The Big Mt.
The worst snowy point to cross to arrive in the valley. They are ordered to go on again and commence to ascend the mt. five miles in four feet of snow up a heavy grade. The train goes on slowly and every little while the lead team had pulled the wagon while wallowing in the snow, the next team would wallow a while going on in this way until all had a turn breaking the snow down. The teams became prespiring [perspiring] in traveling up the long mt. resting here and there as the snow got deeper and on arriving half a mile from the top of the mt. the valley boys working with patience as the teams were taking a rest, ready for the heavy pull for the horses, and they had not rested long when "Hurrah! Hurrah! is heard from the mt. top and as such is heard from the boys below gave three cheers Hurrah! Hurrah! and a Tiger. When on the top of the mt. they were enjoying a hearty shaking of hands and God blessings. They were volunteer valley boys as snow shovelers. On the top of the mt. the snow had drifted on the east side approximately twenty feet deep and Brigham Young had teams driven backwards and forwards until the snow was well packed so as the "Valley boys" could drive the teams and wagons over with the saints with comfort. The men worked valiantly and I will not forget their manly courage while mortality endures. The teams have rested and now descend the mt. where the saints have the first glimpse of the valley in the opening in the Emigration Cannon [canyon] below, which brought many tears to the eyes of the saints to know that their journey was drawing to a close, what all had suffered so long to see. The snow breakers were all desirous to stay at their post until all the saints were in the valley safely. Now go on down the mt. in deep snow passing groves of quakenasp wood, large willows on a little valley when do see the last high point to cross in two to three feet of snow.
The Little Mt.
Here camp for the night. Early morn the captains arrouse the saints to make the last drive to the valley which all wished to see. When breakfast is over, the captain calls to start on. The sun shines brightly though every thing is calm. The wind ceased blowing and drifting the snow which was a great aid. The teamsters were delighted on ascending the mt. calling to their horses, "Kit & Fanny go on here go on" and pop goes the whip get out of here, pull the wagon like good fellows and pop goes the whip again amidst joking and laughter as the wagon wheels make loud noises in the frozen snow.
On arriving at the top of the mt. encounter very deep snow. When all have arrived at the top of the mt. have a magnificient view of the snow covered mts. on to the east and west. We now see the long looked for Salt Lake Valley through an opening of the gigantic mts. in the valley below. This brought many smiles as well as tears to the faces of the saints what had been so far now so near to where every heart wished to see and be. When the teams and wagons arrive on the top of the hill descend rapidly one mile in deep snow to the bottom of the mt. On arriving here brother Killian brought a large frying pan cake and gave it to me and I thanked him for the same as it was cooked so nice and it tasted so good, did not need any butter on it—and it was one of the best meals I had had west of Fort Larimie.
The teams drove down the cannon [canyon] at a rapid rate being gigantic mts on either side with dense willows and oak brush following the course of the stream of pure water.
The Long Looked For Salt Lake Valley
Here the captain, called the train to camp for noon on the sage brush bench in sight of Salt Lake Valley. Dinner is soon made ready and the teamsters are feeding the horses a good feed of oats to make the last drive to the city, when all were full of merriment in camp.
After dinner the captain calls the train to go on. When the teamsters commenced calling to their horses, cracking their whips, and joking each other as regards to traveling and camping in the future. When the valley boys sang as they drove along the much loved song so helpful on the way to liven the spirits of the downcast in the dark hour of discontent and trial.
It's every Sunday morning
When I am by her side
We'll jump into the wagon,
And all take a ride.
We'll wait for the wagon,
We'll wait for the wagon,
We'll wait for the wagon,
And all take a ride.
All drove on down a sloping bench large mts. on either side of the valley. The mts. seem much broken and rugged. The Ensign Peak is quite visible in the distance as the solar looming rays glisten in the snow.
We travel on and see in the distance, to the northwest, as we approached a most beautiful valley from east to west, and from north to south which gladened the hearts of all. The train descended on the rolling bench quite rapidly and finally arrived at the edge of the city. The houses were built of doby or sun dried clay and were quite home like with from one story dwellings two, four, and six rooms in each house. The popu
lalation ten to 15 thousand. The streets ran east, west, north and south with trees which showed taste as the pioneers were building them. In going through the streets was delighted to hear the roosters crowing which made all feel like they were home again. At this juncture, the train arrived in the
Eight Ward Square
It was four o'clock Nov. <Dec 5th>
3 1, 1856.