Blair, William Moroni, William M. Blair reminiscences and journal, 1931-1933, [1-4].
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I left Home for Zion in the year 1866, May 23rd. I shall not forget the Grand old Ship. “American Congress", with 350 Saints. I may say, the parting from Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters, is a trial that came too often in those days.
to stand on the Deck and watch ones Home pass slowly out of Sight, well ones feelings cannot be described. However my help was needed to care for a little Girl [Caroline Rachel Wakefield], who with her mother had left Father, he being opposed to the Saints. and thought they could come to Zion and be happy.
Dear Sister Wakefield, her Heart failed her as she stepped on Deck. She tried to return, but we were moving out to sea. the dear woman, had to be carried below. she said to me, “I shall never walk again.” she asked me if I would care for the little Girl. well, she was carried up on Deck many times during the next six weeks, but failing every day. she passed away on the Banks of the Missouri. I had been to the River to wash my clothes I staid in the water too long. took cramp. and was laid on a Bed by the side of the Dear dying Sister. I remember telling the little girl to keep the Flies out of mothers mouth, and knew no more for three days. Some motherly woman, woke me and offered some Broth. I asked for Sister Wakefield. she said, she was Buried 2 days since. And the girl has gone on the Plains. thus ended my care for the poor kid. However in a few days I was ready for the trip. and started with Daniel Thompsons Train of 84 wagons.
I well remember the first 10 miles. we came to a Pond 4 Dogs in the middle of it, but we boys laid down and drank all we wanted. I must say the Father of the little Girl Repented after his dear ones left him. and joined the Church. he came to Utah, ever looking for his dear Girlie. he had heard that one Mr Blair, had cared for her, and called on me hoping to see her dear face again. But when I told him I had left her on the Banks of the Missouri River, I thought he would faint. However, he found her later, and lived with her eleven years. and passed away. in full Faith in the Gospel. and the joyous hope of that Reunion of Life that comes to the Faithful. I later met the dear Sister many years after the Episode I have mentioned. the mother of a splendid Family. She seemed overcome at meeting me. and begged me to relate the story of our trip. well “such is life” many things happened on that journey. I rem[em]ber saving a man from Drowning in the Platt[e] River, a close call for both of us. my being only 15, and he a man. But I was spared for other troubles no doubt. after guarding Camp by night, and walking by day we reached the Blessed City of the Saints, where I met dear Friends. I will say I needed them. for I was nearly naked. having left London in May, and this was October.
I had walked a Thousand miles, guarded camp twice a week. and was never in a Bed during the journey. in fact I was lucky to get under a wagon. with an Ox yoke for a Pillow. 84 wagons full of people. ma[n]y Sick some Dying. and many unable to leave their wagons. Well the Dear Lord was with us. and the poor kid who writes this, met Friends on every hand, and some of the Best.