Transcript

Transcript for Woodruff, James Jackson, "A Brief Sketch of the Life of James Jackson Woodruff," in Chronicles of Courage, 8 vols. [1990-97], 2:127-29

When I was nineteen days old, my mother started across the Plains to Salt Lake. The team was driven by Grandfather Aphic [Aphek] Woodruff. He had three wagons and six yoke of cattle. One wagon was occupied by my mother, my grandfather, and me. The second wagon contained Joseph Armstrong and his wife and baby. John Beven drove the third wagon, which was loaded with our provisions and some mill machinery. Father was thinking of putting up a mill when he arrived in Salt Lake.

I was the youngest of the Pioneers that made the journey from Winterquarters [Winter Quarters], although quite a number of children were born along the way.

During the entire journey I was always sickly on the Plains.

My mother was wont to get out and ride in Sister John Wooley's wagon when she had a feeling of lonesomeness. Brother Wooley would always accompany her back to the fires if she stayed till night.

It was one of these times that Brother Wooley had gone back with her till they were in sight of the fires. She told him that he need not take any more trouble taking her back because the fires were right there and nothing could harm her, so he said he would go back. When she arrived at the first fire, she asked them if that was Captain A. O. Smoot's company. They told her it must be farther down the line. She started for the second fire, but before she reached it she could hear wolves, although they were quite some distance off. She asked the same question at the second fire, but they answered her in the negative. She set off for the third fire. This time she could hear wolves coming closer. Mother gathered me up in her arms and hurried on a little faster. When she reached the third fire, they told her it must not be very far down, so she set out for the fourth fire. This time the wolves were so close she could see them. She held me tighter and hurried on faster than before. She reached the fourth fire before the wolves were upon her, however, and there she was told that it was the next one down. If she had asked one of the men to go with her, any of them would have volunteered, but she thought she could go alone.

Before she had reached the fifth fire, grandfather had missed her in camp and set out with some of the brethren [sic]. Before long they had found her and took her back to camp.

When going from Winterquarters to Salt Lake, we met father on his return journey from Salt Lake, and he named and blessed me at Sweetwater.

At the time we were traveling on the Plains, grandfather tucked me in his left arm, his rifle was swung on the bows of the wagon. He had his whip on his shoulder, and he traveled by the side of his oxen.

Sometimes when mother would get tired of riding in the wagon, she would put her feet on the hounds [a side bar] of the wagon, jump off while it was going, and walk along by the side of it. There was a hammer on the hounds of the wagon that was always kept there for repairing purposes.

On one occasion [sic] when she was jumping out, the bottom of her dress caught on the hammer and threw her upside down dangling by her dress where it had caught. She had to keep working her hands to keep the wheels from passing over her. Finally one of the men noticed it and stopped the oxen. When mother was on her feet again, grandfather told her never to get out of the wagon again until he had stopped the oxen.

We arrived in Salt Lake August 26, 1847

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