Mary Jane Bethers York, Autobiographical sketch, reel 14, box 20, fd. 4, item 4, 1-2.
- Source Locations
- Church History Library, MS 2050
- Related Companies
- Joseph Outhouse Company (1852)
My parents knew the Prophet Joseph Smith well and their religion meant so much to them. I also was a true Letter [Latter] Day Saint.
When the “Mormons” were coming out West my parents decided to come also. When we came from Illinois to Iowa we visited the Nauvoo Temple. We lived in Council Bluff Iowa, six years.
I was now 18 years old when my parents left Iowa for Utah, June 4, 1852, Our company consisting of 45 wagons. My father was captain of the [Fourth Ten of the] company. Our personal equiment consisted of three yoke of cows, three oxen and three new wagons. One was loaded with household goods and one for transportation of our family.
There were no stampedes on our journey. We saw buffalos feeding but we were not bothered by them.
The first Indians we encountered were the Souix [Sioux] Indians, when we were going to cross the bridge over Luke [Loup] Fork River. They wanted $500.00 for the company to cross over; My father had two fine dogs with him whom he prized very highly. The Indians made an agreement with him, if he would give them one of the dogs they would let them cross over the bridge. They took the best dog and the company crossed over.
It was the custom of all the companies to camp early in the afternoon in order to get the cattle out to feed and the evening meal over and the camp arranged before nightfall. Members of the company took their turns guarding the camp at night.
We camped over one day each week to rest the cattle, wash the clothing, bake the bread and make preparations for the following weeks journey. We occasionally had programs and visited and the entire company seemed to be happy. There was one death during the journey. The preceeding campany having numerous deaths from Cholera.
As our company was proceeding along, we noticed some wolves digging up the body of a woman which had been buried by the preceding company.
During our journey to Zion we had driven a long ways, the cows gave but one quart of milk, but after feeding and resting over night they gave considerable milk, supplying the people with plenty of milk and cream to use and make their butter. The cream would be placed in a churn in the morning before starting on the days journey and by the time camp was made for the night the butter would be made.
The first place for our company to camp in the State of Utah was at Devils Gate, near Echo, Utah, where my father killed two antelopes. This is where the death occured. The three year old daughter and only child of Mr. & Mrs. Calvin [Colvin] died. They took their table and made a boc [box] in which to bury the child’s body. The grave was covered with cactus to prevent the wolves from molesting the body. Before the child died her father walked back and forth, carrying her in his arms and singing, “Come, Come Ye Saints.”
The first snow fell before our company left Devils Gate. The cattle were turned loose and they shook the snow from the trees so as they could get the leaves to eat.
My mother, myself and sister, Nancy, also my five brothers had the measles while crossing the Plains. This made us quite miserable for awhile but soon got better.
We arrived in Provo, Sept. 22, 1852, and we were met by many people who had arrived in previous companies. They brought us food to eat and told us where to camp which was very much appreciated.