Hannah T. Brower autobiography, circa 1911.
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President A[braham]. O. Smoot, was our captain, and in the month of May, men were selected from the company to go to Independence to purchase cattle to take us across the plaines, and he selected a young man named John Taylor, who belonged to our TEN, as there were ten to each tent and wagon, and were allowed 100 pounds of clothes and luggage each. I believe it was the first Saboth of our encampment there above the Missouri river, when we got our chores done up, we put on our clean aprons and sun-bonnets and went for a walk, Cecelia and I and the young man, John Taylor. We took our saboth walk away out in the plantation, where there were beautiful grass and groves of trees. We picked flowers and enjoyed ourselves fine. Toward evening, Cecelia asked me to go back and prepare the supper, and they would be along soon, which I did, and went happily along. When I reached the camping place, which was our home for a while, sister Margaret did not seeme pleased, and asked me what I had done with Cecelia and Taylor. I told her they were coming soon, or by the time I had prepared supper, Margaret thought a good deal of John Taylor herself, and was inclined to be a little jealous. So it was almost night when John and Cecelia returned, and Margaret and I had eaten, leaving them to eat and enjoy theirs by themselves.
It afterward proved they had been planning for the future. They had become engaged during that time of delaying their supper hour, and the next day, Monday, went to Elder G. B. Wallace, who was authorized to perform marriages, and they were married. We could hardly believe it. It transpired just prior to the call which was made on John, by President A. O. Smoot, to go with the other men to purchase cattle that same day.
President Smoot not knowing they had just been married. However he responded to the call and went, as obediance in those days was the rule. They were agreed, and Cecelia was pleased with the idea so that she could have the wagon-cover finished, and every thing fitted up when he got back, but, Alas/ We did not know that God had ordained it otherwise. The following day my dear sister went to washing, as she had many dirty clothes that we had worn traveling, and John had dirty clothes he had worn all the way, as he was a single man and no one to see to him. Cecelia was soon assuming her duty towards him. I do wish that I could give the date of that marriage, for it afterwards proved tragical. She had made some lovely under clothing with ling [sic] night dresses, before leaving home and fitted and trimmed them with narrow edging, and had also washed them. The day was blustery and she had not felt well all day, and concluded to leave the clothes in wrencing, and the flannels in the suds, till the next morning to finish. That night when we were all going to bed, she said: “Hannah, bring in the small pail, for I am afraid I will be sick, as I feel strangely”. About 4 ’oclock in the morning she awoke me to assist her as she was very sick at her stomach, and the poor dear girl, as we all soon discovered, was seighed with cholera in the worst form. Oh I cannot write and tell of the suffering she went through in that 12 hours, from 4 ’oclock in the morning until 4 ’oclock in the evening, at which time death had claimed her. Every one in the room, excepting a brother Henry Pew and I were left to battle with the dread disease and we gave her cholera medicine. All I could do was to remove things from under her, and put dry ones and rub her limbsma[.] they would cramp into knots and she would cry bitterly. My poor dear sister, whom I had seen suffer so much, and who had been so kind to me and watched over me night and day after our dear mother’s death, had to be taken in this lamentable way, and had not been permitted to reach zion, was a great sorrow to me. Sister Margaret saw she was dieing and hurried to get the bridal suit on the line to dry, and the irons heated to iron them, which she accomplished. We were afraid they would burry her before her clothing could be made ready for her. The brethren had gone to the settlement and got a plain wood coffin made in a hurry, as the people were so fearful of the spread of the plague, but it is my testimony that many of the fearful took the disease and died, while I was over my sister all the time she was so sick and suffering, and never felt affected in the least, excepting only through my grief and great sorrow caused by her death. The consolation which came to me, she had gone to Mother, and as the sun was going down that lovely June evening she was borne quietly away, dressed in her bridal atire that she had sewed and washed with her own hands, her work was ended. The brethren carried the precious charge to nearly the same place to which she and her lover had previously had made their solemn vows and covenant to each other. The funeral was directed all in decorum, and hymn L.D.S. Hymn Book Page 186- No53-
The morning flowers display their sweets,
And gay their silken leaves unfold,
As careless of the moontide heats,
As fearless of the evening cold.
Nipped by the wind’s unkindly blast,
Parched by the sun’s directer ray,
The momentary glories wasle,
The short-lived beauties die away.
So blooms the human face divine,
When youth its pride of beauty shows;
Fairer than spring in colors shine,
And sweeter than the virgin rose.
Or worn by slowly rolling years,
Or broke by sickness in a day,
The fading glory disappears,
The short-lived beauties die away.
Yet these, new-rising from the tomb,
With luster brighter far shall shine;
Revive with everlasting bloom,
Safe from diseases and decline.
Let sickness blast, let death devour,
If heaven but recompense our pains;
Perish the grass and fade the flower,
If firm the word of God remains.
The colera continued to spread its raveges, case after case appearing in camp. Elder John Leishman and others captains of other TENS and FIFTY’s made haste to move us all out of the City of Kansas, so they rolled us out the next day a few at a time, according as we could fit out a few wagons, so that by the time Captain A. O. Smoot returned with the boys and cattle, we were all camped out on the frontiers as best we could. We had our tent made and pitched, (the one Cecilia helped to make) and a few days passed, when other ordeals had to be met. Other deaths occurd from the same malady. A brother Dunn and daughter, leaving his wife with little girl. all of whom were members of our TEN. The dead were sewed in quilts and burried without coffins, because we were out of reach of cabinet makers, and material to make them. Our next sadness.
Poor John Taylor, who had married our dear sister Cecelia, the day before her death, and had gone the very day of their marriage, with others to purchase cattle, had not heard of the death of his wife until he reached our tent.
We had received the word that morning that the boys were coming, and after I had gone in the tent and sat down on the bed, Margaret came in and said: “There comes John Taylor./ How can I tell him/ How can I tell him/”
He soon joined us, and said;/ “How are all? Where is Cecelia?”
Oh what a question to be answered to that affectionate loving husband/ when his wife whom he saught had been so suddenly taken away/
We looked at each other. I could not speak. She had to, and broke the terrible news to him the best she could.
He sat down in silence holding his head in his hands for quite a while. He then rallied and tried to ask questions, as why and wherefore, about the case.
We told him all. He was a sick man mentally, but business was to be attended to and he reported on duty at the call of Captain A. O. Smoot, who was very busy organizing the company for a fair start to the Rockey [Rocky] Mountains.
John had to yoke his cattle and make all arrangements to be on hand in the morning. The sick were made as comfortable as possible, and on the morning of June 20, 1852, we made a fair start on the plaines. It was beautiful weather, good grass every night, and when we camped we had now green carpet every night. We were very kind to John. He suffered great grief of heart ache, and mental sorrow. The shock had come upon him so suddenly, it weighed upon his mind too, so that he had a nervous brakedown, or he had spells of fitts which he suffered most of the journey. When those spasms came upon him, as we were traveling, we would stop and the Elders would administer [administer] to him, and then journey along.
When we had been out on our journey a few weeks, our Captain A. O. Smoot, was violently sick with Cholera, and when it was made known to the Company, there were fervent prayers offered in his behalf. We camped for the afternoon, he was so sick. The saints were all called together by brother William Clayton, his assistant, who said “he is so sick we cannot travel to zion without Brother Smoot. I do not know the road. Pray for him, brothers and sisters, for we must hold him here”. He had then lost his speech and was apparently dead. A brother Church went up on a hill to pour out his soul in prayer to the Lord, and frequently plead with him to spare our Captain, as others had done. We soon received word that he had opened his eyes and was apparently better, which continued to be the case slowly until his recovery.
We only laid over a few days, then he was able to be propped up in a bed in his buggy, and he helped to look out the differnt points on the road, where wood and water was located.
We always stopped on the Sabath day and held meetings in the afternoons. In the forenoon, or morning we done a little washing, &c., which was rest from traveling, but all together my journey to zion was happy, with the exception of leaving my dear sister and others behind.
Our company arrived in the Valley September 3, 1852, and were met by Ballos Brass Band, at Echo Canyon.
We were the first company of saints to have been brought by the Perpetual Emigration Fund, which had been organized by President Brigham Young. We received great honors. Our dear Uncle Richard Ballantyne and his wife Hulda Maria and their sweet little babe, David Henry, also came to meet us with cakes and mellons &c. Margaret met them long before I did. She and many others were ambitious and went ahead of the company to see who would see the Valley first, or Great Salt Lake. I was very footsore and weary from the long journey, and did not care to hurry, but I just trugged along. . . .
A strange co-insident occurd while on his [the father's] journey. When he [John Thompson] reached Atchison, Kansas, he had previously arranged to meet a company of saints at that place, with whom to cross the plainses, and to his great surprise he met his own brother-in-law, Richard Ballantyne, who was in charge of the emigrants, with whom he was to travel and to be escorted right to the homes of his two daughters.
Elder Ballantyne had been gone on his mission to India for two years and was now returning home. It was a glorious time in their lives, to have met under such circumstances. They had not seen each other since before Uncle Richard had emigrated from Scotland at the time he bade Mother good bye, and had promised her on her death bed he would remember her children when he reached Zion. At the time he met Father, he was very busy arranging emigrants affairs, and their transportation, and for the moment had to be excused, after the first greeting, but were soon met again and rejoicing in eachothers company. Richard exclaimed—God bless me/ Father Thompson/ Is this you/ then they greeted eachother affectionately. They went to the abiding place where Father was staying and had refreshments together and talked over common-place things and family affairs recalling the incidents of the past with all its joys and sorrows &c.
It was then Father had a tender heart, and was humble, and Uncle Richard was enthused with the spirit of the Gospel and his mission and he taught him the importance of baptism, and of becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and he baptized him before leaving Atchison.
Thus the prophecy of Elder Robert Campbell was fulfilled, when Father had been told by him, that he would yet go to Zion.
Father’s means were getting low, and was becoming anxious to know how he would be able to meet all the expences crossing the plaines. He had many bills to pay before leaving Scotland, besides his transportation. Some of our expences and brother’s funeral and doctor expenses.
Uncle was able to figure out a plan to help him, and then he asked him: “Do you think, Father Thompson, you can drive the baggage wagon?” Father hesitated a moment—“Yes sir” was his reply. He got the job. It paid the balance of his expenses to the Valley.
O how wonderful are the ways of the Lord.
Father was pleased to keep the little money he had, which he found to be very much needed after reaching his new destiny.
One day while wiping perspiration from his face, Uncle asked him if he should release him from his task, and he stratghtened himself up and said: [“]No Sir, <No man> having put his hand to the plough, and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God”. “I’ll drive it through to the Valley”.
Sufitneth [sufficeth] to say he reached his destination safely and without harm or accident.
Early in September we all were looking forward with anticipation to the arrival of the company of emigrants, when we could have the joy of meeting, greeting and welcoming them to the Valley. It was greater joy to us than when we ourselves arrived. We were to meet our dear Father and dear Uncle Richard. A meeting of father and his two daughters, and a husband to meet his dear wife and sweet little children.
We met them with picnic party and a Brass band and escorted them to the City.