Memoirs of Anna Clark Hale (1965) edited by in Heber Q. Hale, 16-18.
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Come spring of '48, things were a buzzing in Winter Quarters. Everybody busy with their own affairs, getting ready for the long, hard, journey to the Rocky Mountains. We were among the earliest to leave. We were assigned to the Heber C. Kimball Company.
Oh, how we did miss the stout help of our two oldest boys, who had enlisted with the Mormon Battalion in '46. We had three wagons, five yoke of oxen, two cows and two horses. Father drove the lead wagon with two span of oxen, John (then 16) followed with the second wagon and two span of oxen, and Mother followed in a lighter wagon with one yoke of oxen—Sarah (17) and Mary (14½) relieved Mother a lot in driving and in caring for baby (8 months old Sammy), Jane (10½) and I (7)—sometimes on horse back, sometimes on foot, followed behind, driving the cows.
Our first real trouble across the plains came at Poison Springs, where we lost two of our best oxen—old Buck and old Brandy. Then, we had to work our cows. Father took them on his wagon. It was hard to get them used to the yokes, so they would help pull the load. However, father had given them a little training before we left—just in case.
We encountered many herds of buffalo on the way, and they would sometimes stampede the small herd of cattle which was being driven along with our large company.
I would be assigned every time we camped across the prairies, to go and gather 'Buffalo chips' in my apron for our camp fire on cold nights and for cooking our meals. Before we came to this, I asked my Mother: "Why do we have to use these chips—where did all the wood go?" She replied: "You'll find out soon enough, daughter"—and I surely did.
Here is an incident I shall never forget: I remember Mother had to do some sewing on our clothing, but couldn't do so because she had lost her needle. The next day I showed up with a needle and told Mother I had found it. She said it wasn't hers and asked me where I got it. My answers did not satisfy—and she demanded the truth. I finally confessed that in visiting another camp, I saw a lady sewing on a button and beside her was a little cushion with a lot of pins and needles in it—and I thought she could spare one needle for my poor Mother, who had lost hers. Well, Mother made me take the needle back and apologize to the lady. I can say right here that it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do; but it taught me a lesson that I never forgot. Later, the kind lady came over to see Mother and gave her one of her needles. Incidentally, Mother did have some more needles packed in a trunk down in one of the wagons.
We would camp on Saturdays at some 'watering place', where we could wash our clothes, take our baths, and give our oxen a chance to rest and feed up a little. On Sundays, they would hold services for the entire company, presided over by President Heber C. Kimball. I was always happy to take my bath and wash my dirty feet and put on some clean clothes and go to meeting. I had to go bare-footed most of the time.
One Sunday morning when we got up, we were told that the company horses had been driven away in the night by some Indians, who outsmarted the night herder. President Kimball went ahead with the morning service as usual. Shortly, an old Indian Chief and two of his braves came walking into the meeting and stood at the rear. Right then, one of our Brethren got up and commenced talking in 'tongues'. The Indian Chief understood everything the speaker (Brother Draper) had said. The Chief immediately turned to the Indians who had accompanied him and went through the same motions Brother Draper had used, together with some excited talk of his own—then they hurried out, jumped onto their horses and sped away. In about two hours, they came back with all the stolen horses—not one missing. You see how the Lord can help His children? We never did learn what Brother Draper had said. Maybe he didn't know, himself. Anyway, we all got our horses back, and that was enough for us.
As we were camped one Saturday, some of the children were being baptized by the Brethren—and I cried because my Mother would not let me be baptized too. She said I was not old enough—I would have to wait another year. But I'll say here that when another year rolled around, I was baptized on my 8th birthday (1849), by Miles Weaver, in Provo River. I don't remember who confirmed me. Oh, fiddlesticks, here I am in Provo, before we get across the plains. That's the way my mind runs—pretty fast, isn't it?
Now, what else worth mentioning do I remember of our long, tiresome trip across the plains and over the mountains? Oh, yes, I recall seeing that huge mountainous 'Independence Rock', and 'Devil's Gate' with the stream of water running through it. And we stopped quite a while at Fort Bridger, were some of the men had to make repairs on their wagons—and my father had to do some fixin' too. And, oh, what a sight to behold, when those sky-high Rocky Moutains came into view. I wondered, as a child, how in the world will we ever be able to get over them.
Anyway, our worries about Echo Canyon did not amount to much—we got down through it safely; but when we got to what was called 'Big Mountain' and "Little Mountain', they lived up to their names alright—and more, too. Father and John finally made it with their double yokes of oxen on their wagons; but poor Mother with just one yoke couldn't make it. So, Father sent Mary to help John watch the two lead wagons and oxen, while he took one yoke of his oxen and a long chain back and hitched on in head of Mother's team and helped her over. Oh, My! I never imagined that such big mountains existed in the world.
As we came down through and out of Emigration Canyon, the beautiful valley of the Great Salt Lake stretched out before us. We all stopped our wagons and came together to look and wonder and thrill at what our eyes beheld. At last, we could see our journey's end. We drove on down into the city—a little over a year old—dotted with log and adobe cabins and tents. This was Sunday September 24, 1848.