Meeks, Priddy, Reminiscences, 1879.
When I shook hands with Brother Clark on starting he cried like a child and never would have pay for the ox he let me have. With a glad heart and joyful spirit we moved off and reached the horn in good time and when the time came we was organized into Jedediah Grants hundred and Joseph Bates Nobles, fifty, and Josiah Millers ten. They was all three as good men as was to be had here, my family comprising of eight persons, myself and wife and daughters, Elisabeth grown, Margaret Jane not grown. John Henderson a lad I had raised, and a boy and girl belonging to Orson B. Adams, John Adams and Betsey Pason. How our hearts swelled with the glorious expectation of leaving our persecutors behind. We started out not knowing where we was going or what was ahead of us, trusting in the living God and started like Abraham, not knowing whither we went and we did have a good time. Not withstanding the hardships and trials and troubles and sickness many had to endure.
The Lord did pour out his blessings upon us abundantly. The plains furnished abundance of meat and the prairie grass abundance of milk. Now the incidents that took place crossing the plains are so complicated I will only mention a few in this connection.One case of Sister [Esther] Ewinds [Ewing], the first I heard of her she was about dying with what they called the Black Kanker [canker] in her mouth and throat. She did die in a few hours and we halted to bury her and her daughter Rachel Ewens [Ewing], was found to have the same complaint and quite deep seated. I told them I thought I could cure her. My daughter Elizabeth waited on her while I doctored her and she was not long in getting well. The palate of the old ladys mouth was eat up and the fauces of her mouth partly gone. All was in a mortified state. I am convinced that it was the diptheria they both had. The next case was Gilbert [Gilbard] Summers [Summe] wife (he being with the pioneers). She was in company two miles distant from me but they sent for me and when I got there I found her verry low with a fever. And with all the faith and courage I could raise I broke the fever and she soon got up again. Another case was as I was standing guard one night, close by Brother Nobles wagon. I heard some person groan like if they was nearly dead. In the morning I enquired of Brother Nobles who it was, he said it was Richard Norwood the man that drove his team. On examination found it to be the Black Canker as we called it but it was undoubtedly the diptheria in its worst form for his whole palate and fossils [fossaes] of his throat appeared to be in one solid mass of putrefaction. I told Brother Nobles if he would look among the crowd and get such medicine as I would name I would try and do something for him, for without help he could not live but a very few days.
I will recollect one medicine I used, it was rough Elm Bark, taken off a tree stood close by. It is one of the best anticeptics in the compass of medicine.
In the first settling of Kentucky and Indiana we used to put our hogs lard and bears oil in large troughs. We would sometimes have fifty gallons at a time. It would sometimes turn green going into a state of putrifaction. We would take the red or rough Elm Bark in long strips and lay it lengthwise in the troughs and it would take all the smell and collor and tast[e] of putrifaction out of it and render it as sweet as any other oil.
Now for Brother Norwood again. I will just say that he was cured in a much shorter time than I could expect. So we all moved on in order again.
The Lord has His eye on the end from the Beginning, to illustrate I will relate an incident which took place on the plains, the blessings resulting from which are visible to this day and will be to all time, and in eternity. We had a stampede on the plains and lost sixty two head of cattle which we never did find. We laid there eight days not having team enough to travel, but knowing we must move or perish we mustered up all the available teams possible and that was one ox. President John Young was minus one os [ox], he & I being entire strangers. He heard I had a cow that would work and when he found me says "Bro. Meeks, yes Sir I answered. Well we are now organized for traveling if I had one more animal, will you let me have that cow to fit me out". I replied "No", at this his countenance fell like a blaze just put out, "but says I, I will tell you what I will do. I will let you have a good ox and will work the cow myself as she is heavy with calf. I would rather work her myself. At this he brightened up like fire in a stubble field, so we all took up the line of march full of the spirit of rejoicing and while I am speaking on this line of providence resulting from me letting President John Young have an ox, I will trace that line out far enough to show that a person will never lose his reward for doing good. . . .
Apostle Willard Richards had one of his wives dies in childbed with symptoms they did not understand. She seemed to have a smothering, suffocating, sinking spells. He requested us to make an examination by diesection and we found it to be dropsey or water around the heart. Dandelion is a good remedy for it, but not so sure as a thorough course of Thomsonian medicine as repeated till a cure is affected.