Transcript for "Mary Magdalene Fought--Pioneer Mother of the Philip James Garn Family," in Jensen, Eleanor Jean Capener, The Life History of Joseph Ray Capener, His Parents, and Grandparents

In the spring of 1855, they left Sandusky, Ohio with their seven children.  The eldest was fifteen years of age and the baby only three months.  Their wagons formed in line with the [Moses] Thurston Company in regular pioneer style with men acting as guards riding horseback on either side.  This was one of Grandfather’s duties, so it became Grandmother’s duty to keep a watchful eye upon their own wagons and have her turn driving one.  Often she held her little babe in her arms and with three of the children, walked for miles while the older ones took turn about driving; thus making the load lighter.  This was called an Independent Company and had left well equipped for their journey, but had to meet sorrow and disappointments as others.  They also had that grim determination which kept up their courage.  When nightfall had come and the pioneer train was drawn up in a circle for safety, the pioneers met in one group for evening prayers and song.  Many happy hours were spent in stories, games, folk songs and dances.

Bread was mixed in home-made wooden bread trays in the morning and placed in the wagon to rise during the day.  When camp was reached that evening, it was baked in one of the rock ovens built on the trail by previous pioneers.  Two cows made the entire journey and furnished milk and butter for the family with some to spare for others.  The milk and cream not used immediately, were put into the churn and taken on the way, then made into butter at an opportune time.

One evening camp was reached earlier than usual and several of the men went out hunting.  With his gun on his shoulder, Grandfather left with the others, but he did not return with them.  In her anxiety, Grandmother walked out over the prairie, watching in all directions.  As she shielded her eyes with her hand, she could see her husband in the distant.  Then she caught the familiar sound of a buffalo herd as they stampede and saw that he was directly in their path.  Terror seized her, but leader had turned and the herd was thundering off in another direction.

On September 28, 1855, the company reached Salt Lake City.