Transcript for Romriell, Charles Abram, "The Life of Charles Abram Romriell," [3-4]

From Philadelphia we went to Pittsburg and from there we traveled to St. Louis. We went by boat from St. Louis to Hutchinson. From there we traveled to Mormon Grove. There we paid for our yoke of oxen and a wagon. We were camped at Mormon Grove for a few weeks waiting for our cattle. When they arrived all the younguns in camp ran to watch them hook the oxen together and teach them to go ahead and turn right and left. “Gee” was to turn to the right and “haw” was turn to the left. They were driven around the corral for a few days. The day before they gave us our oxen we had bought, the fellow who was training the oxen yelled to me, “hey there, toe head, come let me show you how to use this whip.” I ran as fast as I could for I sure wanted to try it. It took quite a few times before I could crack my whip but before we arrived at Salt Lake I could pick a horsefly off the oxen’s ear and never make him jump.

I felt very big helping yoke the oxen and hitching them to the wagon. We received one cow with our oxen and at night we would milk her. Mother usually did the milking. Father was busy mending shoes all day until after I had gone to bed.

We were all happy to be on our way to Zion. Our company was the Charles Harper Company. Everything went along fine until we reached the “Little Butte River”. It started to rain just before we got there. By the time we got there the rain was coming down in torrents. The first group got across all right, but as the leader came back after us there was a cloud burst and before we could get started we had to raise our wagon box 8 inches. Before we reached the other side the water came into our wagon. We were next to the last. Father took the whip and coaxed the oxen across. Mother would keep telling us younguns to hang tight, father would make it through all right. The rest of the company had to wait until they could build a ferry boat before they could cross. This was in July 1855.

Whenever we would stop, we made a large circle of our wagons, fastening the tongue of the wagon to the reach of the one in head. This was used as a corral for the oxen. Then we would do the same only make a smaller one for the people. The men would unyoke the oxen while the youngsters gathered sage and buffalo chips to make fires with. The women were busy preparing food and making beds and whatnot. The men would call to us younguns, “don’t go too far away from camp. Remember the indians.”

I used to go with father on his trip around the circle to see if the tongue of each wagon was securely tied to the other. I liked to watch the campfires at night as they would die out, first one and then the other. It was just like watching the stars only the fires were going out and the stars were coming out.

There was always men standing guard to see that nothing happened. One night the oxen broke loose. We hunted all day for them. At last father came back to our wagon and asked mother if she could discern where we could find the oxen. She took a minute and told father they were in a grove of trees about five miles from camp. I begged mother to let me go with father. She told me I could so we ate a bite and started out. It was almost black dark when we reached the small grove of quaking aspen and there the oxen were. We got them headed back for camp. I was tired so father let me ride one of the oxen. Several times I would wake up just in time to save myself from falling off. We got them back about midnight. We were very thankful for the full moon.

We didn’t have any trouble with the Indians thanks to the saints who had gone on before. I saw the sick healed many times by The Lord through the power of the priesthood. The saints were very glad to see us when we reached Salt Lake Valley and we were glad to get there.