Transcript for Pratt, Louisa Barnes, Journal and autobiography 1850-1880, 374-81
Astonishment, and consternation seized upon us: what did it mean? another small company were camped near the place, they had heard by a messenger that the company were annoyed by Indians, who commenced driving off stock: the Capt would not wait another day: it was not safe for one or two teams to remain alone, and my daughters were compelled to go and leave me. Even little Ephraim had started with Ellen, expecting us to overtake him. Ann L. cried with grief and anger! Her father was obliged to go back, he had brought nothing with <him> for the journey: husband <and> lover must leave us, to encounter the dangers of passing through an Indian country. Mr P[ratt] committed <us> to the care of Capt Tinny [Nathan C. Tenny]; a good man, had a small company of poor slow teams.
We had a good teamster, kind and obliging, but terribly afraid of Indians! The parting scene was over; a promise that the next year we should see them in the mountains; we were conscious of an uncertainty, and our hearts were too sad to hope for any thing. The old slow company started: scarcely one family with whom we had been acquainted. There was one; a sister Taylor from Australia, a widow, who had seen great sorrow: a grown son was with her; was dissatisfied and determined to go back: she had left one in Australia. She had three daughters, two had gone ahead
wait with the first company. So our families were separated and we communed together, and talked of all that had befallen us, and of the goodness and mercy of God who had brought us safely through many dangers. For days we walked and wept as we crossed the barren desert: thinking of the loved ones behind us, and of those who had gone before.
Often as we let fall our tears by the wayside I thought of the promises of the Lord to the poor Israelites, through the prophet. “With weeping and with supplication will I lead them, for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first born!” We understood the meaning, of Ephraim being called the first born. Ann L’s eyes were seldom dry, till we overtook those who had gone and left us. When we reached the Las vagus [Vegas] we found Ellen and sister Crosby, with their families, camped in the old Fort, waiting with the Indian missionaries for us to come along. Ephraim had been watching for days on the walls, for us; his joy was great when he saw the team drive in, and knew to whom it belonged. Seventeen wagons were crowded into the old Fort. The mountain Indians were likely to steal the cattle any hour, if they were not closely guarded. Those immediately under the care of the missionaries, were a little more honest and civilized.
We felt our hearts revive a little when we had overtaken our friends; still the remembrance of the bitter cup we had been forced to drink, in leaving those behind who should have come with us, at times pained us severely: often times before leaving San B. when it was decided what my fate was to be, when sleep departed from me, I would arise at midnight, walk about my house, and repeat the words of the poor Saviour in the garden of Gethsamane! “Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me.” With the next breath I was compelled to repeat, “nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.” I had undertaken to drink from the cup held out to me, and however bitter, I must not let my courage fail, till I had drained it to the dregs. Untill we reached the Las vagus we had no organization of our company, no chaplain appointed, no prayers at night, or morning: all the anxiety was to watch the indians, and guard the Stock. I never so thirsted, and longed to hear prayers!
At the Vagus we found Father Wade, who had come from the Settlements to the lead mines. The first night we had a meeting in the Fort. The old veteran arose with such Dignity and assurance; prayed for the poor travelers through an indian country: it seemed to me that I heard a voice from heaven, speaking peace and comfort to my soul! He said when we went on our way, we must have order; call on the Lord for his protecting care, and every day return him our thanks. We all knew it was the right way, and said amen, to every sentence. The brethren were faithful in guarding at night, till at length they; laid down, and left no one up to watch. The mountain Indians on the alert drove off one of brother Crosby’s best oxen; slaughtered it, and in the morning when they went out to drive in the stock, they found him roasted, and half devoured.
The owner realized the scripture injunction, wat[ch], and pray. He was fortunate in being supplied with another ox to fill his place. We were all waiting there to recruit the teams; and if we had gone straight forward on our journey, we might have saved many valuable things which the Indians took from us at night. They would cut holes through the covers of the wagon, take out whatever they could lay their hands on, and the sleepers would know nothing of it till morning. Tired of watching and waiting, I determined to go on; and not wait for the main company who were expecting relief teams from the settlements. accordingly my teamster Mr Coal, and W[illia]m Mc Gary my soninlaw resolved to start. We took a friendly indian with <us> for a pilot, entered on a seventy miles Desert! It was a fearful undertaking, but we thought anything better than staying in that old Fort, and having our goods stolen. Bro Crosby had gone ahead of us in company with a missionary. So with our two lone teams we wended our way across the great desert, till we made the old “muddy river.”
The greater part of the indians had gone on a hunting tour. There were only a few, and <they> seemed friendly. The men thought they might venture to trust the cattle for a few moments while they ate their supper: which they did in great haste, but it was time sufficient for the red men to drive off two of the best oxen! Nothing could be found of them; the chief feigned ignorance he knew nothing. I never saw two men more excited. but they were not brave enough to follow the tracks into the canyons; though they <had> pistols and ammunition: myself and two daughters would have staid by the wagons undaunted, but they had not courage to venture. That was the most horrible night I ever spent in my whole life! We were not afraid of being killed, but of losing the other cattle, and being robbed of our provisions.
The cattle were brought and tied to the wagon wheels, and a double watch set over them. Not one moment did we turn our eyes from them the whole night. Our teamster walked to and fro, apparently under the deepest excitement: A more severe windstorm I never knew. It was all we could do to keep the covers on our wagons. We prayed for daylight to dawn upon us! Even then, what should we do for sufficient team to haul the goods? We gathered plugs to feed the animals, and started very early. The indians followed us for several miles, begging for food: we gave what we could spare and told them to go back. The good frien[d]ly fellow who came with us from the vagus, continued with <us> showing signs of real sorrow because we had lost our animals. One giant ox whose mate had been stolen, had to wear a short yoke, and pull alone; it made us feel sad to look upon him.
We dragged a few miles the first day, through deep sand; walking the most of the way. The dear baby would stand at <the> side door, crowing, and playing as though nothing had happened. Night overtook us at the foot of an exceeding high mountain. We knew our teams could not haul the loads over it. So, by a pale lantern light we dug a vault in <the> road, took out all our heavy articles, Stove, books and dishes, cached them there. As the dirt fell on the boxes we felt solemn; for we feared every moment the Indians from the mountains might see our light and come upon us. We told our red friend he must not tell the piutes where we had buried our things; “no; he would not; they were “catch wino!” We fed the cattle and watched them till morning: then carried many articles up by hand put all the cattle on one wagon, hauled it up quite easily; went back for the other; and when on the summit, saw two men with teams, coming!
They were brethren from Santa Clara going to the lead mines. At the sight of them our driver fired his pistol, and shouted, “glory to God!” They came up, and we ate and drank with them. Bro [Jacob] Hamblin then wrote a letter to Bishop Crosby at Santa Clara and sent our red friend, whose name was Amasa to carry it. He told us to give him a little food to last him on the way, that if he had much, he would not go so fast. It was seventy miles. He started on the run, went like a mule till he was out of sight. In the meantime we dragged ourselves along wading, through deep sand, putting all the team on one wagon, drive a few miles, and go back for the other. At length we reached the summit of the Rio Virgin Hill. While on a small desert five miles from the river, our water gave out. A young Indian came to us; we told him we had no water; he made signs that we should give him a bucket, and he would go to the Virgin and bring some to us: left his bow and arrows for security.
Away he went bounding like a deer: In a short time he returned with the water. We praised him, gave him food; and he staid with <us> till we came to the hill top; where a friend came and helped us down, with a team. There we camped, to wait for the company behind to overtake us. A small tribe of Indians lived near. The Chief whose name was Isaac, was friendly to our people. He came to see us, and we told what troubles we had met on the way, that our provisions were scanty. He pitied us, and staid by us over night, to keep the indians from begging and stealing from us. While there a beautiful little ox, whose mate was stolen at the muddy, died from exhaustion. Oh, how it grieved me, to <see> the Savage creatures tear him in pieces!
The faithful boy we sent with the letter never stopt to sleep till he reached bishop Crosby’s, presented the petition, that he would send a team to meet us, and some flour, to last us to the settlements. Accordingly the bishop’s Son came back with the boy, with team and flour: found us camped on the Rio Virgin under the protection of Isaac the chief. Amasa felt that he was of some consequence: he walked about the place, after we had dressed him in shirt hat and pants; thought he must eat with us, after having done so good a deed. He went back with the man an helped take the things from the cache all safe. The camp behind came up, and we started on our way again. We urged the good boy to keep with us; which he would gladly have done, but the Piutes, and Utes, were at variance and he was afraid the Utes would kill him. The company let us have an ox to help out our team, and we went on to Pinto Creek. We were sorry to leave the good faithful boy!
Our Soninlaw J. Hunt, having made the settlements and hearing of our misfortunes, came back and met us at Pinto C.k. At that point our ears were pained at the rehearsal of the awful massacre! Indeed, we had passed over the ground, counted 50 sculls, which the wolves had dug up from their burial, where they had been lightly covered with earth. My daughter, in walking over the ground picked up a gold watch; which she keeps to this day. We made our way along till we came to a camping ground on Shirts Creek; there was mother Hunt, and my daughter Lois. It was the 8th of
April March 58. We encountered a severe snow storm. I had not set my feet on snow for eight years. We were camped in wagons. There was one little log cabbin with a fireplace; into that thirty persons crowded, to warm by the fire.
There my daughter Lois gave birth to her first child. No Dr or midwife; but Mother Hunt with energy equal to any emergency officiated and it proved a happy deliverance; A beautiful daughter was born; on the 8th of March. the day Ellen’s little Emma was one year old. Born by the high way side in a loaded wagon, not as roomy as a “manger.” Long, long to be remembered, will be that birth place. We were twelve miles from Cedar City. Six <miles> from Hamilton’s Fort. To the latter my daughter was moved as soon as she was able; and there she was made comfortable. I went to Cedar City and rented a house. It was lonely; myself, daughter, and the little Island boy, were alone, yet I did not feel like a stranger. We found kind neighbors: brothers and sisters in the gospel. Six miles north my sister <C[aroline]> lived. Six [miles] south my daughter Lois; eighteen north my eldest, Ellen McGary. It would have been more pleasant could we have all been located in the same place, but it was nearly impossible to find a vacant house.