Transcript for Myron Tanner, Biography of Myron Tanner (1907), 13-15


"Brother George A. Smith on my arrival at Kanesville informed me that he was in need of my services, and put me in charge of his 'ten.' Ezra T. Benson had fifteen wagons under his supervision and we had twelve. There was considerable delay in crossing the Missouri, and George A. Smith becoming impatient put the management of the teams and outfit in my charge, in order to facilitate and hasten the work. My work was so satisfactory, that Brother George A. subsequently gave over to me much of the responsibility of conducting the teams across the plains, as I was familiar with horses and cattle, with which I had worked all my life.

"As an illustration of the difficulties we had, I may say here that some of these brethren whose lives had been given largely to the ministry were hardly familiar with team work and many of those who were driving had little experience. Apostle Benson at the outset took the lead. He would permit his men to drive into muddy places where they became fastened and after struggling for some time in the mud—all the time the wheels becoming more difficult to extricate—he would finally put on an extra team in order to pull out the wagon. Finally, I prevailed upon him and George A. Smith to give me a free hand in management of the teams. After that, whenever we reached a place where I thought we were likely to be 'stuck' in the mud, I would double my teams and put the wagons through, one at a time. Such a method was so much more expeditious than waiting until the wagon became fastened in the mud and then trying to pull it out. The latter method was such an easy means of making balky horses, and besides it entailed a useless lot of pulling to no purpose. Soon those in the rear followed my example and we afterwards got along without so much delay and with less difficulty.

While traveling up the Platte, Apostle Benson became very sick. It looked very much as though he must die, and the anxiety among the brethren and sisters became so great that God’s aid was implored in the most solemn manner. The brethren who had been through the temple dressed in their robes. I was sent as guard to the top of a hill overlooking the country, especially of the little valley where the camp was made. To the top of an opposite hill another young man was sent to act also as guard. From the position I occupied, I could look down upon the fifteen men dressed in their temple robes, devoted in prayer and supplication to God for the recovery of one of their leaders. To me the sight was a most impressive one and had a lasting influence upon my life."

"About the time we left the North Platte our teams began to give out, but in the meantime Brother George A., as he was affectionately called all his life, had sent ahead to Salt Lake for help which met us at the South Pass in Wyoming, just over the main chain of the Rocky Mountains at the head of the Sweet Water. At Willow Springs a heavy snow storm overtook us and we were delayed for some time."

"As may easily be imagined," he says in continuing his narrative of the journey, "there are some men in such a company whose selfishness manifests itself to the displeasure of their companions. About this time a little circumstance occurred that gave me some insight into the character of Brother George A. and into his manner of dealing with men. There was one man in the company who, besides moving his family and provisions was also hauling freight for Livingston. His need of help exceeded that of other members of the party and although some thought that he was using their help to his personal profit in freighting, Brother George A. was nevertheless charitably disposed to favor the man. When help was sent for, Brother George A. asked the use of a new saddle which he had, but the man refused, and George A. was compelled to send the last saddle he had to Salt Lake in order to get new teams. The saddle, however, was very much needed in the camp where those whose business it was at different times to gather in the stock were obliged to ride bare-back.

"When help reached us it was equitably distributed, and the man with his new saddle and his freight was really given more than his share. However, the freight pulled heavy and the man really needed more help than he had secured in order to move it into Salt Lake, but the teams of others were also equally heavily taxed in crossing the mountains. His frequent murmurings to Brother George A. finally aroused the latter’s impatience. George A. then, in a calm and brotherly manner, recited the selfishness of the man who was bent on keeping his saddle new until he entered the valleys, whatever hardship it entailed on others.

"This statement aroused the man’s anger. He became excited and furious when he now saw himself confronted with the results of his own selfishness. He ran to his wagon, got the new saddle, ran back to where Brother George A. was, threw it on the ground and exclaimed,'I hope to God I never see it again.' George A. pointed to the saddle and said, "Of what benefit is such action now? You compelled us to get along the best way we could and put us to great inconvenience in order to keep your saddle new until you reached the valleys, and now having more than your just proportion of the aid sent us, you grow angry, throw your saddle down, which shows your folly and exposes you to the ridicule of the entire camp.' If some of the others had had their way, a rebuke to the man for his selfishness would have taken place long before this. Brother George A. had the happy faculty of waiting till the right time to say the right thing. As a boy, I frequently had the opportunity to observe both the wisdom of his words and the value of his example.

"We reached Salt Lake, as I now recollect, in October, 1849.