Transcript

Transcript for Thompson, Annie Maria Kershaw, "History of Annie Maria Kershaw Thompson," in Danny Jessop and Marla W. Jessop, comps., Joseph Frederick Thompson Ancestry [1996], 38

My mother and her 5 children came with the saints, but we all had to walk, as there were no church wagon trains sent out that year, but there was a freight wagon train loaded to the top of their double beds with freight owned by Thomas Taylor, a merchant of Salt Lake City. And Captain William S. Willis was in charge and when he saw us lagging behind, he would come back and drive us ahead of him on horse back cracking his black snake whip at us, and I tell you we never stayed behind again. The captain of the train ahead of us would write on the buffalo skulls with a piece of charcoal, the date they had passed that way. And we children would go ahead in the mornings and pick them up and give them to the Captain. One morning we found one that said the Indains [sic] had stolen a young woman.

They would hitch 2 wagons together and we children would sit on the tongue to get a little ride, but as soon as the teamster would find us there he would make us get off. We walked from 15 to 20 miles a day and nearly all of the old folks died before we got to Utah. There were also some young people who died on the journey.

When we got to the end of the Platte river the day was very cold, it was the first of November. Brother Sims, a returning missionary was going to cross the river to get the cattle which were on an island, to hitch them up, and in crossing the river he was drowned, and though his horse came out, he was never found. We moved a few miles and camped.

The cattle commenced to die and we were out of provisions and the next morning there was 2 feet of snow on the ground. The Captain had telegraphed to Utah that we were nearly out of provisions. Then one morning we heard whooping and yelling, we thought it was Indians, but it proved to be a train sent from Utah. And we were indeed glad to see them. They told us to hold our aprons and they filled them with potatoes, onions, and other vegetables. They also brought fresh beef and I tell you we had a feast.

All of the old folks, the woman and children were sent with this train of mule teams to Utah. The Utah boys sure treated us fine. We were then 3 or 4 hundred miles from Salt Lake. We arrived here Nov. 11, 1865, but the rest of the train did not get in until the 29th of Nov.

Let me here refer to a little more of the Captain Willis train. There were 22 people to ride in our wagon, so that is the reason we had so much walking to do. Three old people who could not walk and had to ride all of the time. Every night we pitched our tents and I remember one night the rain poured down and ran under our bedding, so mother rolled it up and while we were sitting on it waiting for the storm to stop, mother missed our little 3 year old brother. After hearing him cry, we unrolled the bedding and to our surprise, there he was. The rain soon stopped and we laid our bedding on the wet ground, but the Lord was with us, as the wet ground didn't harm us.

I walked until I had blisters on the bottoms of my feety [sic] as big as fifty cent pieces. I wore my shoes out and then had to wear a pair of my fathers, or go barefoot. The Captain told us not to stay very far behind the train because the Indians were so bad, but we could go ahead.

I remember one time a group of we children saw a grove of potawatome plums, so we stayed back to get some, and we were about a mile back of train. It was then that he got after us with the black snake whip, that I mentioned before.

[Note: A variant of this narrative is in Treasures of Pioneer History, 6 vols. [1952-57], 6:293-94.]

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