Lambson, Alfred Boaz, [Letter], in Donnette Smith Kesler, Reminiscences by Donnette Smith Kesler: The Wife of Alonzo Pratt Kesler, , 102-5.
Hon. O. S. Clawson
Prest. Semi-Centennial Celebration Com.
I crossed the plains, from the Missouri River to this Valley in 1847. My family, who accompanied me, consisted of my wife, Melissa J. Lambson, daughter of Mark and Susannah Bigler, and our infant daughter Melissa J. who is now the wife of Bishop Albert W. Davis, of the firm of Davis, Howe and Co. of this city.
We left the camp, at Winter Quarters, on the Missouri River June 4th, and arrived in Salt Lake Valley Sept. 25, 1847.
We travelled in Capt. H. K. Fuller's ten, Perigrine Session's being the Captain of Fifty and Daniel Spencer the Captain of Hundred. I was the Blacksmith of Perigrine Session's Company of "Fifty", which really consisted of about Sixty Wagons.
I think I passed through most—if not all of the perplexing experiences, and trying circumstances incident to my occupation, throughout all that long, dreary and toilsome journey of three months and 21 days. I had provided myself with a bellows of my own make, improvised for the occasion, which I carried on a platform attached to the end-gate of my wagon. It was constructed out of a headless barrel, or bottomless tub, tapering from bottom to top, so that the whoops could be driven down from time to time to keep it air tight, with a wooden diaphragm and valve in the middle. To the top and bottom were attached leather or cow-hide expansions, with the necessary air valve, and bellow's handle and leather hose to be joined to the Tuyere and furnace for the blast. It was a complete success in every particular. Altho' in comparison with the improvements of these days, it might present a somewhat ungainly appearance. For small, incidental repairs, I would set my anvil on the ground, dig a pit by the side of it to a convenient depth, to stand in, put up my bellows and go to work in almost less time than it takes to tell it. For heavy work, tyre setting and the like, we would make an anvil block out of a tree stump, or the body of it prepared and set in the ground for the purpose. On one occasion with the organized help of the camp, and one or two skilled assistants, under my direction, we measured, cut, welded and set eighty-five tires in one day. This occurred a short distance west of old Fort Larimie [Laramie], before entering the Beach [Black] hills.
There is one incident which occurred near the Elk Horn River, that would make a thrilling though very brief chapter in the history of my life, and pioneer journey, to which I will allude, as I do not know that any record was ever made of it. I was in company with Jacob Weatherby travelling with an ox team and wagon from the Elk Horn toward Winter Quarters. When near the Papeo [Papillion Creek] we were attacked by Indians stripped to the bare skin, but armed with guns, while we were unarmed.
Before they could shoot I grappled with an antagonist and a death struggle ensued.
My companion was shot and killed by the savages, while I was miraculously delivered.
His body was taken back to the Elk Horn and buried near its banks. I reached the camp in safety tho' exhausted by excitement fatigue and hunger just before the report came to my wife, that I had been slain by Indians. At the moment however, this word came to her, I was asleep in the wagon under her care.