Transcript for Mary Field Garner autobiographical sketch, circa 1940, 8-9
After starting west again I helped to tend and yoke the oxen and took my turn driving the team, as I had to walk most of the way across the plains, because there was not enough room in the wagon for all of us. I would help mother [Mary Harding Field Enslow] to tend the children and prepare our meals. We had lots of trouble with the Indians driving off our stock and threatning us, but no one was hurt as we always treated them with kindness.
Here I must tell you of a little experience I had while crossing the plains. As I have said the Indains [Indians] gave us some troble and especially me. You see I had long red, curly hair hanging in ringlests down my back which seemed to attract the Indians. I was afraid of them, but one Indian Chief took a special fancy to me and wanted mother [to] give me to him as his white squaw and he woulds give her many ponies for me. Of course mother refused him, but he was very determined to get me, so he followed our camp of Saints for several days. We were all very worried for fear he would steal me so after he left camp one night mother decided to try and hide me the next day. In there. Sure enough, the Indian Chief came back with his men. He asked for me. Mother told him I was lost. He was not satisfied with this and so proceeded to look in every wagon to see if I was there, then he came to search ours. He even felt of the feather bed I was under but did not find me. He stayed with the company all day to see if I came back. When it became dark that night he went away, saying sometime he would find me, but we never saw him again during the remainder of our trip to Salt Lake Valley.
We had some trouble in fording some of the streams and in many placed [places] the roads were almost empassable. In some places the men would have to stand on the high side of the wagon to keep it from tipping over. We had to travel over man[y] very dangerous cliffs of rock which took us several hours of hard climbing and tedious travel before we were safe again. Some days we only traveled five miles. The journey west was a long and tiresome one, filled with many trails [trials] and hardships. Some died on the way and were buried by the roadside, fire being burned on their graves so the Indians would not disturb their final resting place. Our food supply was nearly gone. We were put on strict rations, but during all these hardships no one complained. The saints rejoiced for their knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and their spirits were undaunted by suffering. Westward, Ho! Westward, was the cry of every Later-say [Latter-day] Saints. Just to be in Salt Lake Valley with our Prophet and leaders and the rest of the Saints was the greatest desire in our hearts.
We often talked of Nauvoo and of our cruel expulsion from Illinois by a murderous, vicious mob, who had no respect for themselves nor the rights of any other people. They were a disgrace to the United States of which they were citizens. Not a spark of manhood or honor or reverence for Deity did they possess. We held campfire meetings, samg [sang] songs and tried to enjoy ourselves the best we could under the existing conditions. The brethern had previously advised the Saints the best way to proceed west.
We arrived in Emigration Canyon late at night. We hurried to make camp, had a little to eat and went to bed hungry and cold. When we woke up the next morning everything was white with snow. It was not a heaby [heavy] snow but it made everything cold and wet. This was our first morning in Utah. The Saints in the valley had been informed of our condition and where we were camped, so they came to cheer us up and to bring us a hot breakfast. OH! what a good not [hot] breakfast it was, and how thankful we were to get it. We were all so hungry. They had prepared good hot potatoes and gravy, some meat and hot bread[.] I had never tasted such a good potato. We did not have any potatoes. After we ate breakfast we all felt warm and much stronger to pack again, break camp and start on, knowing our journey was nearing the end. I shall never forget the first sight of the Great Salt Lake Valley, and the rejoicing in every heart, to be able to be with the Saints of God and to again find a haven of rest from mob violence. We were received with kindness by the Saints and made welcome to Zoin [Zion], the valley of peace and happiness.
By the time we arrived in the valley the Saints here numbered several thousand.
[Text also found in Our Pioneer Heritage, 20 vols. (1958-77), 7:410-11 and Instructor 78, no. 11 (November 1943): 574-75]