Transcript

Transcript for Oscar O. Stoddard journals and record book, 1856-1860; 1883, 295-307

A few incidents of travel that took place on the plains the summer of 1860 in the last Hand cart company of which I had been appointed Captain by George Q. Cannon Emigration agent for that year[.] although not fully equipped we went into camp, on the evening of the fourth of July and never camped two nights on the same ground from that time till we did it on the 8th Ward square in Salt Lake city[.] it was three days before we fairly got all together[:] wagons[,] teams[,] & Hand Carts[.] there were 21 Hand Carts and 7 wagons with three yokes of Oxen to each wagon and there were also with us traveling with their own team[,] Stephen Taylor and family[.] also a brother [Nicholas] Paul and family from South Africa followed us up and joined us about the Sixth day out and by the advice of Bro Cannon[,] Bro [Nicholas] Paul was chosen Chaplain over the english speaking portion of the company[.] Bro Christian Christiansen [Christensen] having been chosen chaplain of the Second anarcian and swits Swiss portion[.] owing to the Minutes of the journey being taken at the time with a lead pencil[,] they became illegible before I had an opportunity of copying them so I am writing from memory and I cannot remember the number of souls who were in the company at the start[,] but Bro Cannon told them at the start if they would humble & faithful not one of them should die on the road to the valley which was literally fulfilled as every one who started from florence with us came into Salt Lake city with us except A Sweedish girl whom her parents left with Bro Myers at Bear river and we also picked up others on the road[.] a Bro Chapman & family with wagon and team joined us at Genoa[.] left by some former company was taken up by us at Wood river and brought to the Valley[.] also a family named [John] Cherrington whom we found at Green river who had had much sickness and had lost three children by death and another a Daughter then sick unto but they were so anxious to come to the valley that we took in and brought them along[.] the sick daughter died in East Canyon a few miles below the foot of the big Mountain and was buried there and now I will mention a few incidents where in the Lord blessed us in A special manner

first just after leaving wood river and reaching the Platte while camped at noon[,] Elizabeth Taylor daughter of the Bro Taylor spoken of as traveling with us with his family[,] while sitting on some bed clothes, spread in the shade of a wagon (not feeling very well), was seized with spasms and severe jerking and twitching till it seemed as though she was going to die[.] I was called by a sister Rogers who was by her to administer to her and seeing her condition was wondering what could be the matter and felt fearful she was going to leave us[.] immediately and with a humble and diffident feeling I laid my hands upon her head and, almost mechanically rebuked the evil spirits and in the name of jesus Christ commanded them to depart and leave her system[;] when immediately her paroxysms ceased and she spoke to us and asked, why we did not let her go[?] why <we> called her back to the world of trouble[?] She had got past all pain and was going off in a nice four horse carriage finely caparisioned during her convalescence <she> informed Sister Roger (the sister who was with her) that while at Council Bluffs spiritualism was quite common and that in the family where she resided they often had sittings or circles headed by the circuit preacher and after a while they induced her, to sit at the table with them when it was discovered she was the strongest medium among them and astonished them at the manifestations given through her[.] they obtained such a hold over her that she began to feel and feare <fear> their influences and resolved to break away from them[.] when some of of the Spirits[,] prominent among them[,] an Indian doctor[,] informed her as she was intending to go to Salt Lake city[,] she would not live to get there for they would come and get her when she got to the Platte river[.] the result of their attempting to carry her off we have seen but the sequel is yet to be told[.] when Sister Rogers told me the foregoing I immediately told Sister Elizabeth she should go to salt Lake City but she would have to go there through the Platte river[.] she would have to be baptized in the Platte so on the 24th of July we camped on the Platte and held a Celebration and looked up a place to baptize in and the weather was nice and clear[,] but as we repaired to the river side to perform the ordinance of baptism the sky be came suddenly over cast with clouds and a severe wind arose raising the waves in the river till they looked fearful and almost discouraging us from doing our work especially as to all appearances it looked like keeping up for the day[,] but a calm feeling came over me and I mildly said Brothers & Sisters let us proceed with our preparations sing[,] pray and get ready and if your faith is sufficient we will yet be able to do our work[.] we kept on getting ready and when we had finished the weather was clear and serene and the water was without a ripple and we finished our work unmolested[.] that evening Bros. G.Q. Cannon[,] H.L. Eldredge[,] W. H. Hooper and others passed our camp on the road to the valley[.] as for Sister Elizabeth she came into the Valley[,] got married and be came the mother of five daughters and three sons all of whom except one daughter are now living and call me father and she has never been troubled with those spirits since.

the next incident I will mention is crossing the Platte river at Laramie[.] having traveled down the Platte on the north side and found it to be a rough hilly road and bad for Hand carts between Laramie and the upper crossing[.] I thought I would try and cross the North Platte at Laramie and travel up the south side of it and as there were some in the company who were timid about crossing with the Hand carts I was in a quandary what to do about it[.] we camped about 4 miles below Laramie and during the night I dreamed I saw ourselves camped on the other side of the river and when I told my dream it seemed to allay all fears so we started at sunrise and moved camp up the river till opposite Laramie[.] then the sisters did their washing while we overhauled our provisions[,] issued ration[s] increasing the rations of flour from a lb a head per day which had been issued up till that time up to 1¼ lbs per head p[e]r day, and hunted up a ford and prepared to cross[.] we hitched up when ready and drove one wagon over unloaded[.] it came back and took in the loads of the Hand carts and then went over with them leaving the empty <carts> to haul over by hand[.] I helping to haul over the first one myself[.] none but the men haul[in]g the carts over <the river> the women and children being hauled over in the wagons and we were in camp over and in Camp 2 miles up the river at sun down [.] the next incident of moment at Independence rock on the sweet water river I got a letter from Bro cannon informing me there was 14 sacks of flour for me at the three crossings of the sweet water when I arrived at the three […] <crossings>[,] we found a man there with the flour which we took into the wagon and from that raised our rations of flour to 1½ lbs p[e]r head p[e]r day, which we kept up till we arrived in Salt Leake city. at the first camp this the west side of quaking asp ridge a few teams from the Valley pass[e]d us & camped a short distance East of [us] and they came back and spent the Evening with us and enjoying themselves as young folks will till between 10 & 11 O clock[.] when they started for <their> camp and feeling jolly hurrahed[,] fired off Pistols[,] shouted &ce. and the Danish Saints having gone to bed in a tent and all asleep [,] being suddenly aroused by the uproar were frightened and some one shouting Indians[.] it created a panic and a rush was made for the tent door to get outside[.] Bro christian Christiansen[,] their Chaplain[,] a small man lying at the tent door[,] started to go with the rest but the rush was too soon and powerful for him and he was trampled underfoot till the tent was cleared when he found himself free but with a shoulder out of joint with the knuckle below the socket[.] the next morning one of the brethren by using his heel as a fulcrum tried to pull his arm out and pry the shoulder in place[.] after three of four unsuccessful attempts[,] he begged him to stop as he could stand <the pulling> [..] no longer[.] I was then informed of the circumstance and went to him and found him with his arm in a sling but able to be around[.] we managed to get him on the Camp pony and let him ride along the road as the camp moved along till we camped at night[,] hoping to find some chance to send him forward into the city but did not and in the evening just after prayers and the camp we were preparing for bed he sent for me to come and administer to him[.] I complied and annointed with his shoulder as well as his head with consecrated oil and in confirming the annointing with my hands upon his head I prayed for the muscles and sinews to relax that the joint might have room to get to its place and after I got through administering I told said Bro Christiansen go to bed and go to sleep and if you will have faith you shall wake up in the Morning with your shoulder in with <its> place[,] and he said[,] I believe you captain[.] after which I went to bed and the first thing I heard in the morning[,] the Danish Interpreter called me and said[, ] Captain, Christiansens shoulder is in its place as you told him last night it would be and so it was and did not trouble him any more to my knowledge though I have never seen him since he left the camp ground in salt Lake city

one more incident and I will close this narration[.] when we got to the mouth of Echo Canyon we stopped to noon and turned out our cattle near a Mail Station and when we hitched up for the afternoon start Bro Paul our chaplain missed a cow of his as the train started[.] He went back to look for it and found it shut up in a pen and on going to let her out he was accosted by the Stage driver who was also stopping for noon who demanded him to desist and drew out a pocket knife and stabbed him in the back near the shoulder blade[.] he came on after the train[.] on his coming up word was brought forward to me and I went back to the Station on horse back and among the passengers on the in coming stage was a district judge for Utah[.] he told me the case should be looked into and for me to take the cow and as soon as he arrived in the city he would have the case put into the hands of the prosecuting attorney and attended to. I came on with the cow and that is the last I ever heard of the scrape, but when we were coming up the big Mountain we met the driver going down with the out going stage having changed teams with the driver of the same when they met and I have never seen him to know him since. the judge came in and I think qualified but did not stay long nor gain a very honorable name or to cause <reason> his name to be had in very honorable remembrance [-] but as I remember his name <it> was to over Judge Crosby and left with Governor Dawson[.] I did in my mind that it was Henry Hudson if there is in the list of judges sent one of that name it was he the judge came in but did not stay long[.] he left with governor Dawson[.] his name, I think was Crosby[.] we landed on the 8th ward square in Salt Lake city on the 24th day of September 1860, having just dealt out one weeks rations and also meeting on the Square persons under the direction of the Bishopric with vegetables[,] molasses[,] provision &c which were distributed among them as needed or required. so they were well received and I must say according to the best of my understanding and knowledge that this[,] the last Hand Cart Co came across the Plains in as good condition as any one of them all

there was one circumstance happened that I regretted and it caused me some anxiety at the time but I soon gained the ascendency over the difficulty[.] it was this[.] Bro. Geo[.] Q. Cannon in selecting teamsters to drive the teams with the wagons taking the provisions and extra freight of the company chose a couple that had came down from the valey that season with Joseph W. Young on a trial trip to try the feasibility of oxen making the trip from the Valley to the Missouri river and back in one season and it proved a success and thus there was no more need for Hand Carts[.] one of these teamsters was danish and was to act as interpreter for me to communicate with the danish saints and the other as having a little experience was to have charge of the teams when it was necessary for me to be absent from them with the Hand carts[.] I trusted him and at his request[,] nominated him before the company as wagon master in my absence and it soon turned out that he got it into his head that he had sole charge of the wagons and had aright to sit in judgment upon the members of the company who were traveling with their own wagon[.] accordingly he cited Bro Paul our chaplain to appear <before> the council of his teamsters, to answer to certain charges and, when Bro Paul asked the privilege of bringing witnesses he was refused[.] I thought it time for me to interfere and I told Bro Paul that he need not answer the summons, if he was refused witnesses upon which the wagon master asserted his claim as independent master of the wagons whether I was present or absent[.] I gave him to understand that <when> the wagons & hand carts were to gether they were all under my charge and he was supposed, to be included with them as I was captain of the company[.] if he had had his will it was his intention to rule over the people like a tyrant but meeting with a determined check[,] he subsided and threatened me with a High council trial when we got to the city and took notes of my actions from that time on but his charges were not noticed and I never heard from them again[.] This was the most unpleasant incident of the journey, and I send you the foregoing communication as Bro Palmer thought you would like it when I informed him I led in the last company of Hand carts

Yours truly in the gospel of Jesus Christ

 

Oscar O. Stoddard
To Junius F. Wells,
Editor of the Contributor

 

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