James Palmer reminiscences, circa 1884-1898, 103-13.
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. . . As soon as our Captain discovered that we ware [were] qualified he secured an engagement, and we made our first debut, at the dedication of Dr. Popes medical Coligue [College.] many of the Citizens of saint Louis were surprised at [h]earing such excelent music so tastefully arainged by our leader, and ware at a loss to know where we had sprang from, and the morning papers next day Complimented us for our excelent music and as an eastern band, just arived from New York, whereas the fact was, we ware all Mormon boys the majority of which had been driven from Nauvoo, not being alowed to live there and enjoy our religion in peace. our band was Thenceforth known as Capt D. Ballo band, and remained in Saint Louis until the Spring of 1850 when they moved to Bluff City and remained there until the Spring of 1851, and that season crossed the plains to Salt Lake City. but to retrace, our position had become somewhat disjointed on account of sickness, removeal &c cince 49[.] I spent that winter at the bluffs and enjoyed many happy seasons among the saints Elder Orson Hide [Hyde] Presiding. When as Soon as Spring opened up, I commenced to purchase my oxen suitable to cross the plains, and succeeded in obtaining four youk of well broke oxen, and two cows, but owing to the great demand in that country at that time for work cattle they ware high in price, and hard to obtain. at this time Bishop Edward Hunter had arived from Salt Lake City with a large amount of money donated by the saints there for the purpose of purchasing teams and waggons to be used in gathering up the poor Saints and temple hands that ware driven from Nauvoo, and thereby fulfill the promise made to them in the Temple President Brigham Young Presideing, that the church would never ceas[e] their exertions until all the honest poor of our people was gathered up and located with the main body of our Church, and from this time we may date the establishment of the perpetual Emigration fund, under the Supervision of Brigham Young, then at Salt Lake City. at this time I became thuraly acquainted with the Bishops operations and intentions and designes and I determined to wait patiently his time for starting, during this time our Cattle was making flesh, and gaining strength when by the first of July we crossed the Missouri River and all rololed [rolled] into camp for a final start on the 4th of that month and a jolley crowd we ware, and the greatest Satisfaction was in knowing that we had men to conduct our company that [k]new the roade we had to travel and was conversant with the many obsticles we should have to encounter, before we reached our place of destination, being a distance of one thousand and thirty one miles by ox teams.
I do not purpose, to keep a daily acount of our Journey but only to give a brief sketch of a few of the most tutching events that might transpire when on the road, and as for our heard of cattle <(was concerned> our Bishop was known to be a thaurah [thorough] Stock man, and knew well how to conduct buisness in a traveling camp or otherwise, he would direct us in all those matters satisfactorily, and so we moved ahead with Confidence and with a good heart, under the control and gudeance of Bishop Edward Hunter our noble Captain.
eithertoo [hitherto] I have saide nothing about my Brother Henry he had thoughtlessly married a an unchaste woman, while living in Saint Louis, that resulted in a final seperation, and that was the reason that he had preceeded me to the bluofs [Bluffs] was engaged in business there, when I arived and cordialy received me and family. he was good and kind for a time when he began to exercise undue athoraty over me and wanted the preference over my sisters Children [Charlotte, Mary Eliza and Joseph Thomas Winkless] and told me plainly that it was my duty to come to him for cou[n]cil, and cunsult his feelings upon all matters pertaining to them, and present an accrate acount of all moneys goods chattels and efects, as pertaineth unto them. at this juncture I, took out letters of guardianship to the family in that county, when on hereing of this he was much angred, seeing that I, had blocked the game he was about to play, and in so doing I had fulfilled the desires of my sister on the day of her death, and so he is somewhere on the roade for Salt Lake City
It is about the Mormons, I am about to sing,
for the way they have been used, I think tis quite a sin,
and sing titeng inc o. and sing titeng inc e.
thay ware mobed from their homes, away from Nauvoo,
to seek a home again, in the wilderness anew. chorus and sing &cbr/>
thay made a hault, at Council Bluofs [Bluffs], but here they don’t mean to stay,
for soon thayl all be packing up and joging on the way, and sing
thay live in their log cabbins, the ground thay have for floors,
of Soils thay built their chimneys, of shakes thay make their doors and &cbr/>
there is one thing more, and mention it I must,
Concearning Spiritual wifeng, that raises a hell of a fuss and sing &cbr/>
So some thay have a dozen wives, and some have got a score,
and the man thats got but one wife, is looking out for more and sing &cbr/>
I don’t wish for to discourge you, but marry if you can,
and be sure and don’t <get> a woman, that belongs to another man. and sing &cbr/>
now concearning this strainge people, I have no more to say,
until thay all get settled, in some future day
and sing titeng inc o. and sing titing inc e.
and now to continue my synopsis of our travels[.] when just on the start the mail waggon arived direct from Salt Lake City, in charge of Robert Camble[Campbell], when we learned that all was peace and harmony with our people at that place and while encamped here, an accident acurred to one of George Spilsberrys [Spilsbury] Cows when at the watering place, the hook of one of his ox chains become unhooked and caught in the cows foot thereby rendering her unfit for the journey, and she was left by the roade side. a total loss to the owner, the next trouble was a broken axel, to the same mans waggon, we had to return to the timber region and select a good shel[l] bark hickory tree and split out of it a log sufficent for the job, when Brother [Nicholas] Thomas Silcocks Prepared it and set the waggon up again, we soon overhauled the main company and all moved along in good order, but when in the neighbourhood of salt river, some person stole a saddle horse belonging to Joseph L, Heywood, Suposed to be Indians, we moved on in peace from day to day, we found no settlements until we came to fourt Karney [Fort Kearny] 200 miles on our way and even they did not apear to notice us nor speak to any of us, as for my part I was anxious to get into the buffalo country where I expected to have some sport among them[.] we got sight of a heard of those animals near the foot hills on south side the big Platt[e] river, about 70 miles west of fourt Karney, acordingly I, went forth in high glee for I was a sportsman and loved to bag the game, haveing obtained much practise and expearience with the game keepers of old England when quite a youth, but to atack a buffalo was a new thing to me, however I soon discovered that I was not alone on this buisness, and we footed it bravely and soon, Reached the foot hills but aparantly all our game had disapeared but a little calculation led us to understand, that by secreeting ourselves behind the sand hills within good rifel shot we would soon bag some game, for we were on their trail. no sooner saide than done. we ware all flat on the ground, and panting for the onset. it was understood that three of us, would fire siomoltanuously. as we did not wish to kill more than one animal and waste their flesh unnessusarily we waited about half an hour. when here they came on the fast walk I, alowed one after another to pass us I observed thay ware bulls. at last a fine young bull came within rainge when I whispered make readey and fire the 3 men fired as one, but only two bullets struck the animal in the region of the heart, which brought him down, I saw the bullet from the gun of my friend Spilsburry skim over the animals back and striking the sand went whistleing in the distance. brother George is a good man, but hunting and swiming is not his fourt [forte], we had now all the meat we wanted and how to get it to camp was the trouble. we went to work and quartered the animal being nearly devoured by buffalo gnats and thirst as it was extreemley hot, weather. However I shouldered one hind quarter and made for camp, and others followed when we discovered another big bull laying dead and untouched having been shot by some others of our brethren that followed after us. we continued on a while when at length, we began to lag, and night was aproaching[.] we had to lighten our loads and where to find our camp we knew not. darkness came on before we struck the roade and even then we could not tell wether the train was forward or in the rear, but as good luck would have it we took the back track and finaly reached camp at eleven o clock that night, with a few good steaks of buffalo meat hanging on to our gun barrels, and allmost gave out with [t]hirst and hunger.
and thus ended my first buffalo hunt, but in this respect, I was not daunted for I was well provided with arms and amonition, for business and I, have secured the services asistance of Henry Megridge who carefully drove my team, when ever, I struck out for game. and in this way I intended to make this long journey a sort of pleasure trip, for I seldom struck out but what I brought into camp something that was a treat to our people, some of them ware people of weak stumucks and were thankful for an agreeable chainge of diet. on one ocation I kilted and brought into camp a beautiful fat deer, a doe, that was shared among the people of our camp and many ware the haris [hares], and rabbits, and sage hens, and various other birds that fell before my gun, and rattle snakes without number. in this way the time passed pleasantly along
when one hot day in the month of august and our teams ware suffering with the heat and comeing sudenly round a knowl thay caught sight of the Platt[e] river. when George Spilsburrys team broke and bolted over a bank 12 feet deep into the river, when Instantly all was excitement, at that time my team was traveling imediately behind brother Spilsburys, and when his cattle broke for the river I stopped my team imediately, and ran with all speed so as to render all asistance in my power[.] I was first into the water haveing taken in the situation at a glance, there was not a moment to be lost, the waggon was tiped over on its side and Charles N. Smith, was under the hind wheel, held fast his head just above the water so that he could manage to breath, while Sister Spilsbury was standing partly wet, in a terrible state of excitement, she had lost her babe, of two weeks old, in the confusion every thing was broken loose and turned upside down, and to see her pulling and tearing at the bedclothes that ware under the water for the stream ran thru the waggon. and some of their light goods ware floating down streiam which I had recovered[.] Charles N. Smith was yet under the wheel, when as I helped him he saide to me, Jim saide he, do help me out from under this wheel and then I can assist you alittle. I saide be patient Charley a few minutes until I can get this woman and her child out of this and then I will asist you. at this juncture some of the bretheren came a runing back haveing learned of the accident, I called to them for help that Smith was under the wheel. they rushed into the stream and liberated him immediately[.] at the same moment sister Spilsburry caught sight of her childs clothes, and jerked it out from among the beding[.] she passed it to me in a state of strangulation. I plunged to the shore and conveyed it into the arms of my wife, while she gave it all atention, and we conveyed its mother to my waggon, whare she was taken care off. all this was but the work of a few minnits and thank God no lives ware lost.
we now proseeded to right up the waggon and hitched on the cattle who all this time ware happy indeed by standing in the cooling stream of the Platt river about ¾ of a mile in width and 2 and a half in depth where the accident ocured, and a sandy bottom that was continualy washing out and changeing and a few days drive east of Fourt Larramie [Fort Laramie]. on examination we found that the waggon was not seriously injured[.] the bow ware broken, which was soon repaired, and goods wareput out to dry but night came on before we had accomplished this, and we had to load up and be gone for it was not safe for us to remain there overnight as Indians on those plains are allways on the alert to rob and plunder the passing Imegrant. so we moved onward until about midnight and then tied up our teams to the waggon wheels until daylight[.] that night was very dark, and our cattle very restless[.] we could hardly say that we had any sleep at all, however on the aproach of daylight we hitched on the teams and early that morning we came up to our company. they ware glad to see us rowl into camp, just as thay had gathered their cattle to[gether] for the start.
while traveling over those plains you allways need to be watchful and continualy on your guard, for there are unthought of evils, that are of dailey acurance that needs courage <and> daring to surmount, with a great deal of patience to bear up under the many triveal ivels [evils] incident to human nature which we have to cope with daily even by those that are our bretheren, however we moved ahead, when nothing of importance acured to give us trouble until we arived at Saint Johns fork of the Platt[e] known allso as Larramie [Laramie] fork, there we concluded to rest a short time and visit the fourt, and reblenish our stock of provishions, I visited allso a large Indian encampment of the soiux [Sioux] tribe, thay had come in for their anuiaties [annuities], and were civil, that evening orders were given by our captain to see that our stock was well guarded and all corralled, which was done, the guard being placed at the two ends or openings. Our animals were moderately quiet and the night had worn away, in peace and quiet, when about three o clock that morning, I was guarding the south opening I discovered about twenty steps to the windward of me a slight flash similar to that of a fire fly, when instantly I smelt the stink of buffalo hair, when burnt and before I had time to think or speak our cattle had snufed the stench and on the instant where gone like a shot, from a gun, no man could stop them in their flight, neither did we comprehend at the time what was the cause of their stampeede, but we followed our cattle and when daylight came we discovered whitemen on horseback driving our cattle away at a great speed. we now understood our situation and we ware armed for the ocation but being on foot we ware unable to gain, ground on the theives and they ware soon out of sight among the hills, and we followed the sign and unmistakeable track of our cattle[.] at this time we ware confident that our Captain, and heardsmen being fare a head of us, would be able to keep them in sight, as thay had horses, and in this matter we was <not> mistaken, we passed threw a big heard of government mules[.] the heardsmen on our aproach fired off their guns to signal those theives we ware following, however, at the distance of about six miles we came on to an prominence, where we could see in the distance our cattle, huddled together in a bunch, the theives had discovered thay ware to closely persued to get away with them and so abondond them and flew in various directions[.] When our Captain and his helpr circled around them and carefully conducted them back to camp. when I looked them over, I could not ave beleived that such noble animals could have been so dreadfully used up in so short a time and thay apeared to be afraid of their own shadow. those theives had been careful to select the finest of our cattle amounting to 21 fine work oxen worth 100 dollers per youak. thay had taken three head of mine and I was thankful to see them return to my hands.
the general comanding the fourt [fort] came to see us and saide that if we could identify those theives he would bring them to justice, and make them to suffer, but our Captain thought it best to get away from there as soon as possible for if we prosicute those men thay might retaliate by wreecking vengance another s[e]ason upon our emegration that must pass over that same roade, and we had recovered our cattle, and we concluded to drive as fare as posible that day, and get out of reach of the schoundrells [scoundrels], and I think I have written enough to show up the kind of men that the government fosters around their fourt. that aught to be ocupied by men of honour that would protect the passing emigrant, instead of seeking to plunder them and thereby Cause an endless amount of suffering starvation and prompts untimely death, such men aught to be anialated and the sooner the better. but tis likely that such men will exist as long as satan has power to contrul the children of men. and in the great day of acount, thay will have a just recompence of reward, we now traveled along from day to day. and found it desireable to divide up in small companies as we aproached the black hills[.] in that way we got along more lively and soon reached deer creek, where it became nessasary to rest a while and repare up, and give our women a little time to do their washing[.] that day we ware all buisey, and the guard that was apointed to watch the cattle, neglected to do his duty, and when evening came we soon found out that quite a few of them ware missing and darkness was closing upon us, at this kind of buisness I became indignant and taking my pistol, I struck out, it was now to dark to follow their trail but by being observeing I soon found their trail by the fresh traces of their fluvia[l] beneath my feet, and by signals I soon encountered George Spilsbury that was supposed to be among the brush somewhere north of me[.] at length I gave him to understand that I was on the trail of the cattle and to join me and betwine us bothe we could perapts [perhaps] keep it, he came to me, and we pushed ahead for about two miles, when we came to a bend in the river, and there quietly feeding was our missing cattle. we spoke to them calling some of them by name told them we had come for them gathered them together and made for camp, I was well aware of the troubled condition of our little company and as soon as I was near enough to camp for them to ear a signal I fired off my pistols which thay heard and understood, and shortly we met Charles N. smith[.] the moon now arose and was well up when arived safe in camp and the excitement was soon abated and we retired to rest[.] the Indians had not stolen our cattle as some had supposed.
while here, a large bear made his apearance and would have caught a boy had it not been for the timely asistance of amos [Abraham] O smoot, he being on horseback dashed in a head of the bear, and thereby baffled bruen, and turned him in another direction and saved the boy from distruction, we now struck out and soon made the upper crossing of the Platt river, which we found, and from thence to willow springs and on to the sweet water stream, and haveing passed Independance rock we came to devils gate[.] and thence to the south pass over rocky ridge, we make green river, and this we fourded, and made hams fork of green river thence to fourt [Fort] bridger, crossed the divide to muddy creek, and thence to bear river. we soon found our way to the head of echo kennion [canyon], having passed chash [Cache] cave we arived at the weber at the mouth of echo kennion, and struck direct for east kennion creek[.] having crossed the big mountain we camp on browns fork of kennion creek, next day we crossed the little mountain into emigration kennion and arive at Great Salt Lake City, October 3rd 1850.