Harvey H. Cluff autobiography, journals, and scrapbook, 1868-1916, Autobiography, 1868-1888, 8-14.
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The time having arived when our financial replenishment and rest justified pulling up stakes and going farther west as great anxiety was felt by all to keep as close to the Pioneers as possible. We pulled out therefore leaving our valuable maple sugar plantation, farm and town improvements be enjoyed by new arrivals of exiles. Had we been permitted to remain in that part of Iowa we should have grown emencely rich, for the land was very productive, besides the natural resources that we had access too.
Mosqueto [Mosquito] Creek about three miles from Council Bluff, proved to me the temporary wants of the family and where recuperation , financially might be as speedy as any other place in that part of the Territory. The farm located at the lower part of the hollar, near to its opening out into the Missouri bottoms and near to a pond of water.
The town finally, as the exiles geathered in, extended along the creek a mile or more the bluffs or rolling hills extending back. The same routeen of preperation for launching our destinie upon a thousand miles of desert country uninhabited except by wild tribes of Indians. To make such a journey necessarily required extra teams, clothing, bedding, and provisions. To emass such an outfit, under the circumstances for a family now numbering fourteen souls, was no small task. Hence energy was displayed in evry move made, by old and young to bring about the chief wish and uppermost desire of the family to join the Pioneers in the Valleys of the mountains. The new farm which the united effort of the family had brought into a state of productiveness, yealded bountiously. Our cribs were full of corn. Now came a providencial demand for the verry products of which we were abundantly supplied. The gold excitement in California had become at feaver heat down East and thousands of peoples were rushing through our Section of country in the greatest inthusiasm. The demand for Supplies ever known in that section, brought corn up to fabilus prices. In addition to this marvelous help, the hast with which these gold seekers traveled reduced their teams so that many of their animals gave out and they were forced to exchange two animals for one good one and by this means, the Mormon exiles reaped great advantages from the very class of men who had aided in forcing our people from their homes. These worn out animal left with the Mormon exiles were in excellent condition for the road, in the Spring when we were prepaired to move west. Thus many were prepaired to go in the Spring of 1850 who might have had to remain years longer. Gratitude, in deed was felt by every exile who was thus aided in going to the Rockey Mountains.
Springtime came in 1850 which found the family putting forth their best efforts prepairing for the long and tedious journey. No regrets seemed to hand upon the faces, or Sorrow over Shadow members of the family in taking such a long journey. The Younger members of the exiles could not circumscribe in their imagination all of the environments trials and hardship, which they would have to encounter in traversing a desert wilderness country of a thousand miles or more. A country infested by bands of Indians which delighted in Scalping the white man who came upon their hunting grounds.
The Spring of 1850 was indeed a busey time for the Cluff family. Every member of the family was assigned to some part pertaining to the preparation necessary. Bushels of corn was parched as a part of the food supply. It must be remembered that the food supply had to be necessarily limited to a few dishes for when clothing, bedding, dishes &c were crowded into a wagon, two yoke of oxen had all they could pull.
While standing near father [David Cluff] watching him split young hickory poles for wagon bows or Mr. [blank space] a near neighbor a bachelor living with his widowed mother came up to father and began to abuse him with all sorts of vile language. The cause of complaint was of a frivelous character. It seems that the family had been annoyed by this neighbors cow coming in the door yard and as kindly protests had been made no heed had been given and the cow persisted in her anoyance. While at breakfast one morning a few day before we were to depart, the cow again came in the yard and Benjamin rushed out and struck the cow with his fist. A few days there after the cow was arround with a fine full developed calf. Our neighbor was determined that the calf was untimely and therefore a claim for damages was demanded. The demand for damages was considered presumptous by all who knew of the claim. The abusive language, however, continued and finally father took one of the hickery poles and struck neighbor [blank space] on the head droping him like a bief animal. At this his mother came rushing out and droped upon her knees, at the wagon tongue and began praying. I stood still during the whole affair although I felt that if I were big enough I certainly would have compeled Mr. neighbor to cease his abuse of my father, and accepted the pole injection. What a useless prayer. The old lady predicted all sorts of troubles that would befall us on our Journey and that we should never reach Utah. Her efforts to pray was absorbed in predicting what should befall the family and teames none of which came to pass. We as a family with teames and outfit reached Utah in safety.
I do not rember the exact day when we pulled out from Mosqueto Creek and made our way through the "Missouri Bottoms" to the river some miles below where the City of Omaha now stands. Wagons and teams and people were carried across the Missouri river on flat boats or Ferryboats and ascended the bluffs or table land and out on to prarie land where we waited for sufficient force and organization to make it safe to venture out into Indian territory.
When fully organized with Bishop Edward Hunter as Captain the start for the Rockey Mountains. I cannot say how many wagons there were in the company but usually not less than forty was considered safe. The Captain had his two assistants and the company divided into tens with captain over each ten wagons. By observing the rules and regulations adopted in traveling perfact order prevailed. A good captain became the most important officer in the company. Upon him or subordinat officer whom he might designate, devolved the responsibility of selecting sutable camping places, where wood, water, and forage for animals could be obtained. Another very important consideration was the stragetic [strategic] precaution against the possible attack of Indians and the anoyance of buffalo. While travelling through the buffalo country, there was much danger while in camp or on the road travelling. Those powerful wild animals would often set our teams wild by coming among our cattle while grazing loose on the prarie, or by attempting to cross the road while our train was in motion, thus causing a general stampede. To witness a whole train of forty or fifty wagons moving pell mele over the country is a blood curdling sight. Men, women, and children in the wagons unable to get out yet uncertain as to whether the wagon will upset and they crus[h]ed to death. If to attempt to get out while the stampede is on, only indangers he who makes the effort; as the following wagon would be upon him before he could regain his footing. A night stampede from a correl formed by wagon, leaves a company helpless. The cattle rush from the inclosure and off upon the plains in great confusion, making successful persute impossible unless by an expert rider with a fleet horse, who perchance, may succeed in gaining the lead of the wild herd and thus gradually wheel them back. Failing to accomplish this, the emigrants must wait until morning and there find the cattle ten or fifteen miles <away> scattered all over the range. I witnessed one of these stampedes of a whole train. If ever a man or boys hair stands upright it will be when he is in a mix up with a stampede. The final stope of the stampede, I allude too, was marvilous indeed. The road led direct towards a great bend of one of the branches of the Platt river but made turn just before it reached that stream, the banks of which were eight or ten feet high. It did really appear that no power could stop the whole train from plunging into the <rive>r unless it <was> the power of God. But the wild bellowing beasts did stop, some of the wagons being so near the bank it was difficult to Swing the team around without danger.
All hands, except teamsters could be seen rushing off for wood and water, as soon as camping ground was decided upon and teams began forming into correl. Often times camp for stragetic considerations would be pitched a great distance from wood or water, but more especially wood: at such times you would see men, women, and children geather up the "buffalo Chips" which answered a very good purpose for fuel. From Ft. Laram[i]e, a small U.S. post, the country becoms more mountainous containg fuel more plentiful and range for stock proportionately small. Our shortage on the food supply was replenished by a greater supply, in variety of wild meat. The novelty of camp life by this time had reached the apex. More up grade travilling became necessary and consequentally pedestrian travelling was more compulsory which was condusive of tropical and semi-tropical feelings. Variety in mountainous scenic country, made travelling somewhat inspiring, besides we felt that we were nearing our mountain home where a long rest awated us. "The chambers of the Lord"was a very appropriate name for the Vallies of the Mountains. Our enemies had forced us into the grandest place of protection to be found on the American Continant. But during this tedious and difficult Journey, we did not know the advantages or disadvantages that we would meet. We were going by faith in the promices of God and in the prophetic utterences of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Day after day, month after month we travelled on our journey Westward rearlising that sufficient was our Strength for the requirements of the day, deeply imbued with the idea of finding a safe abiding place beyond the power and menace of wicked men; all of which gave Strength to our navel and marrow to our bones. There was even more than that to stimulate and make one rearlise, under the circumstances, that we were loosing nothing in being driven from the face of our Countrymen by our Countrymen. Even in the desert there was more satisfaction in facing the painted savage warrior on his own hunting grounds and the wild buffalo on his range, than to get a little consistant friendship or Sympathy from Gentiles. To look a Savage in the <face> all painted for war, was indeed horrowfying, but a little flour, sugar and coffee made the face of the Savage more humanterian. And he proved a closer friend than our white brother. Back of all our environment of dark clouds and trials there was always a smiling Providintial Smiling countinance—A God who had never failed to bring victory to His people. And so our faith enabled us to endure. For the Prophet Joseph Smith had predicted that the Saints would go to the Rockey Mountains and become a great people.
It is not my purpose to weave into my recital of experiences while crossing the plains, romance, in order to make my story extra readable. I shall content myself with recording actual facts. Much of the romance of the journey must come to the reader through his own imagination.
On ariving at Green River, which is about one hundred and fifty miles, as I rember, from Salt Lake Valley, arrangements were entered into between my parents and a Mister Allen a Shoemaker by trade, by which I was to there and then leave my folks and live with Allen family and learn Shoemaking. Mr Allen was travelling in anther company, following the one in which my father was in. This chang resulted in my arrival in Salt Lake three day behind the family.
As I now call to mind, my experience from Green River to Salt Lake in the Allen family was not of the most enticing or winning part of the journey: however, my youth and wild nature of the country through which we were passing, with its varied environments, made my stay imperitive, and I endured willingly because I seemed obiged too. I may say by way of moderation in this conection, that there always loomed up before the pleasing hope of meeting my folke not many days hence. Finally the Summit of the "Little Mountain" near the head of Emigration Canyon was reached when a view of the Great Salt Lake Valley was obtained. We now decend from these hights into Emigration Canyon, thence down the Canyon until we merge out into the Valley where a magnifficent view of the Seniosities of the Mountains ranges forming the Great Salt Lake Valley with the lake in the distance, bursts with delight upon our Vision.
A weary and in many respects a perilous journey, of over a thousand miles with all the monotony of camp life incident to such a journey gives one a relish for home and friends.
Now after fifty <eight> years additional experience <Since crossing the plains> I call vividly to mind the splendid feeling that came over me on looking down from the mountain top into the Valley below. It was not only the rearlization of soon being at the end of the journey, but coupled with that fact, was the meeting of father, mother[,] sister and brothers. The vision upon which I feasted in gazing from that eminance was too sublime for adiquate discription, although its grandure is indelibly impressed upon my mind.
If you ever crossed the plains from the Missouri river to Salt Lake Valley, you can comprehend that feeling you ne're shall feel again, from the Summit of the mountain overlooking Salt Lake Valley. There with eyes affixed on the Valley far below and stretching westward towards the Sitting Sun, you feast upon a landscape embelished by an inland Sea with its two mountain islands the whole incompassed by the "everlasting hills"
The grandure increased its grandure by the fact that there in those peaceful Vales was my future home. I looked intently, with youthful Sparkling eyes from that mountain <top> upon the lovely scene below along the whole extent of the Valley Skirted by grand majestic mountains, cut through by deep canyons through which pure crystal streams of water coursed, plunging and foaming as it rushed on to the Valley below. Down through the center of the Salt Lake Valley from the south moves the waters of the Jordan river from Utah Lake to Salt Lake. On emerging from Emigration canyon you are introduced at once into the Great Salt Lake Vally. The grandure of the Valley and mountain ranges spread out before me coupled with the idea that here I shall find a perminant hom, far away<from> Vile corrupt enemies. Nestting at my very feet, as it were, was "Great Salt Lake City" as it was then called, but a Small Village in reality, a mere baby city with a big name.