Transcript

Transcript for Rogers, Aurelia Spencer, Life Sketches [1898], 76-79

We left Winter Quarters about the first of May, 1848, traveling in President Young's company. He had made the trip across the plains the year before, as the leader of the Pioneers, and had returned for the rest of his family, and to see after the poor Saints who could not help themselves.

On this journey I met and became acquainted with Thomas Rogers, who afterwards became my husband. He drove a team for Andrew Cahoon, who was captain of our ten; the company was divided into tens and fifties.

There were many ups and downs in our travels; when the weather was pleasant we enjoyed ourselves very much, although having to walk over the roughest part of the road, as the wagons were heavily loaded. In camping at night, the wagons of the company were formed in a circle, with the tongues inside. The cattle (for our teams consisted mostly of oxen and cows,) were either herded or tied, to prevent any surprise by the Indians, who were often seen prowling around, watching their chance to stampede our animals. During the journey the company would stop once in awhile for a few days to recruit their teams and give the women a chance to wash, iron, bake, etc.

On one of these occasions, we camped on Looking-glass Creek, which emptied into the Platt[e] River about a mile below. The people had been counseled not to go far from camp; but either forgetting or not heeding the counsel, about a dozen girls, myself included, took it into our heads, one bright moonlight night, to go to the mouth of the creek and bathe in the river, thinking the distance would make us safe from interruption. The Platt River was very wide in places and the water quite shallow, being interspersed with sand-bars. The company forded it many times in the course of their travels.

One elderly lady, namely Sister Mima [Jemina] Young, generally called Aunt Mima, went with us as a protector, or to stand guard while we should take our bath. A nice place was selected and we were soon splashing around in the water as happy as could be. Presently one of the girls said, "Let us play baptize." Some of the rest consented and were soon ducked under the water although I don't remember that any ceremony was used. We were soon interrupted in our sport, however, by some one exclaiming, "See! what is that? what is that coming?" All looked in the direction pointed out, and sure enough something white and strange looking was coming, right towards us across the river, and only a short distance away. Then such a screaming and rushing for the shore, was perhaps never witnessed before nor since, some of the girls almost falling down in the water from fright. I was like one paralyzed, could not speak or move for a few seconds, and was nearly the last one out of the water. But all gained the shore in safety; looking back we saw the object which had so frightened us go up the creek, and disappear.

Our conjectures were varied in regard to what it might have been; some thought it much larger than it seemed to others. But whatever it was it floated towards us until we started for the shore, then turned and went up the creek. All agreed that it was a warning, and felt that we had done wrong in playing baptize. We had also disobeyed counsel by going so far away from camp, and harm might have come to us. We wended our way back to the wagons quite sobered, reflecting and talking these things over as we went along; but the mystery of what we had seen was never solved.

Sometimes in our travels there was much picturesque scenery to enjoy; many grand looking rocks, one in particular was called Chimney Rock; so named on account of its great height, and peculiar shape. There was a number of names written on this rock, by those who preceded us to the Valley, which made us rejoice, for it was like a guide post in the desert.

In the course of nearly a five months' journey we arrived in Salt Lake Valley, having traveled over a thousand miles. It was a happy time as we merged from Emigration Canyon and took a view of the Valley that was to be the future home of the Saints.

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