Tuttle, Norton Ray, The life of Norton Ray Tuttle, [5-7].
In crossing the south fork of the Platte River, the weather was very warm; I was in the wagon nearly all the day making a breakwater to prevent our wagons from being broken, when we went off the ferry boat. The violent exercise in the water, under the burning sun, brought on an attack of brain fever, from which I think I would have died if it had not been for the power of God in my behalf. I was moved upon by the spirit to be baptized for my health, when I was lifted out of the water I was perfectly free from the pain and fever which I had suffered for three days and nights. I felt that I had the faith and prayers of the entire camp.
I do not remember anything outside of the daily routine of camp life until we arrived at the last crossing of the Sweetwater River. Here we encountered a fierce snowstorm, the snow drifting from two to three feet around our wagons. Fortunately the storm extended only three of four miles to the west of us. Here we ascertained that a number of our people were short of provisions. The captain taking inventory of our stock put us on half rations until we could get relief from Salt Lake City. Other companies were in the same condition. I will here state that there were twenty-one companies organized on the Missouri River that year, with an average of fifty wagons each. A council was held and the captains of the various companies decided to start someone to Salt Lake on foot, as we had no horses that could make the journey of one hundred and seventy miles. I was selected and a brother by the name of Adams. We were notified on Sunday at twelve o-clock, and we started in one hour.
Our outfit for the journey was two blankets, one tin cup, one knife, and one hatchet. Not taking any provisions with us, we had to travel at night until we overtook some company with which we could stay. The nights were very cold for October. We had to break ice with sticks in the morning when we had a stream to cross. It was rather cold bathing our feet in the icy waters in the morning. We had the privilege of doing this nineteen times in the forenoon of the day we traveled up canyon creek, about thirty miles east of Salt Lake City. As we began to ascend the big mountain it began to snow. The snow was about five inches deep on the summit, with about the same depth of dust under the snow. I had but one pair of extra shoes when I left the Missouri River. As they were wood pegged buttons they soon went to pieces on the plains.
I was now traveling in the snow with moccasins, the bottoms were getting full of holes and I would have to stop and unload them when there was not room inside for my feet. To add to my discomfort one of my ankles that had been sprained on the plains began to swell and became very painful. Night was coming on as I was coming out of Emigration Canyon and it was raining very hard. I had not seen my companion for several hours and I had walked since early morning in the snow and mud without anything to eat. Being very faint and weary, as well as lame, I sat down to rest for a few minutes, Apostle Orson Hyde came along with a wagon and two yoke of oxen and a boy with the same kind of team—both were loaded with wood. I asked the boy if I could ride. I got on the wagon, the rain was pouring down in torrents, and I soon began to get cold. I had told the boy how lame I was and he said, "You take this quilt I have around me, and I will get off and run.["] So he put the ship to the oxen. AS we came down off the bench where Camp Douglas now stands, I saw a light and asked the boy to stop, and with chattering teeth, I went to the house where I saw the light and asked if I could stay that night. The brother said, "We just have one small room. I came across the plains last year, have no clothes to offer you, only one bed, but you are welcome to such as we have.["] It was ten-o-clock at night, the brother made a roaring fire in the fire-place, the good sister started getting supper while I was turning myself before the fire getting dry and warm. After supper the sister took part of their bedding and made me a bed on the floor. WE said our prayers and I was down in the arms of Morpheus.
The morning was clear and a white frost on the ground. I started up Emigration Street, stepping rather lightly as the bottoms of my moccasins were nearly gone and a small canyon had opened out on the side of one of my heels, about one and one-half inches long by one fourth of an inch wide from which blood was oozing, besides some ravines on other parts of my feet, of minor importance. As I walked up the street, the frost created a sensation in my feet that I can remember to this day. When I got to Main St., I thought that my partner had looked after our business so I would look after the shoe business although I had not a cent of money in the world. As I went down Main Street I saw a shoemaker's sign. I went to the door, there I recognized a man whom I knew as an elder who had assisted my father's house when I was a boy. I introduced myself to him, showed him my feet, told of my errand to Salt Lake, and he said that the place did not belong to him but to Brother Samuel Mulliner, who would be in in a few minutes. He came in and Brother Trots gave me an introduction. I told him my condition, that I had no money and was going back to my company, but would settle somewhere and that as soon as I could earn enough to pay him I would do so. These were the best terms I could offer him. He looked at me for a moment, then said, "I guess you must have a pair of shoes."
I got fitted, thanked him for his kindness, and walked out. I think I was as well clothed as the sailor who had been on a long voyage and was anxious to procure a pair of shoes. His ship put into a port town one day for supplies. Jack started out with a companion to find a shoe ship. They were sauntering up the street when Jack's companion discovered a sign with this inscription, Adam Strong, Shoe Maker. Jack's companion, not being a very good reader and a little puzzled, finally spelled out what he thought was the answer, "A Dam Strong shoemaker," he exclaimed, "Here's the place to get your shoes."
I met my partner in the street and he said, Bishop Hunter would have five wagons ready with supplies the next day. These were the conditions in which I first entered the Salt Lake Valley, the great gathering place of the Saints, the place where one of the great temples of our God was to be erected in this dispensation, the place to lay the foundation of that beautiful Zion that would be the joy of the whole earth. The prophet Isaiah says, among other things, "How beautiful is Mount Zion." If he saw the hard labor that was required to establish that Zion he had little to say about it. The probabilities are that he only saw it established in its beauty.
We arrived in Salt Lake City, then only a good sized village, on Thursday night, having traveled one hundred and seventy miles in four days and started back with our supplies on Saturday. We crossed the big mountain the next day. We found about one foot of snow on the summit. As my shoes were made of leather very poorly tanned, when they got wet they became so slippery that I was in danger of loosing them, but by tying them tight around my ankles I kept my feet from slipping out of them and was able to proceed on my journey.
Five days out from Salt Lake we met our company about dark. I found my wife not able to give me any supper as she had eaten the last morsel that morning. I had to get something from our supply wagon for her supper and mine. We had very pleasant weather on our return to Salt Lake.