Conover, Emma Lynette Richardson, Autobiographical sketch 1908, 1-2.
My father, mother and myself worked in the Cotton factory a good deal of the time.
While there my father and a Reverand Whitworth, a Presbyterian minister, (my father was a Presbyterian deacon) decided to form a colony and go to Oregon, as there was much talk of the great possibilities in that far-away country.
My father being a wheelwright and carpenter, and in fact being a master of most all trades made our wagon to cross the plains in and shipped it in sections to St. Joseph, Missouri, that being the place chosen to start from.
My mother wove the cloth for the wagon cover in the factory, then my father oiled it to make it waterproof, and shipped it with the wagon by steamboat down the Ohio river to St. Louis, thence up the Missouri river to St. Jo. where our family soon followed.
One little incident occurs to my mind in our boatriding. One evening my mother, myself and little brother George were enjouing the moonlight on the front of the canalboat, when George said, "Ma I'm going to knock the moon down". Up went the stick of wood and down went George and the moon went sailing on.
We shipped at St. Louis on an Ohio river boat, the Captain thinking that he would like to take a run up the missouri for a change. Now the Ohio is a much larger river with deeper channels, but by following the channel closely they thought they could make it. The second night we ran into a sand-bar right in the middle of the river. We had to float down the river a mile to strike the cannel again. It was a very changeable, bad river at that time. The name of the boat was the Bunder Hill No. [blank space]. Father came up to us in the evening and said, "I want you all to keep together for the Captain fears the boat will split apart before morning as the cabin floor has parted three inches already." But the Lord did not forsake us and we reached St. Jo. all right, but the Captain would have no more to do with that river so turned right back to his old run.
We had to wait six weeks in St. Jo. for the rest of the company. My grandmother Harriet (Burbank) Darrow, my aunt Emma (Darrow) Carson, her husband John Carson also baby boy Frank Albert, were in the company that all went on to Oregon.
Uncle John made his wagon the same as father did his and my mother wove their covers.
We started out on the first of April 1853 in a company of eleven wagons. It took us three months to cross the plains. We all walked a good part of the way as our team was rather weak for our load.
In crossing the North Fork of the Platte river our wagon tipped over and I was taken out for dead, but that was not to be. I was saved for some reason unknown at that time. My father being frightened thinking I was dead dropped the camphor bottle and the strong stuff running into my mouth and nose and all, found a spark of life and I was saved.
The river at that point was one mile wide and so deep that it came up around the teamsters waists.
We saw lots of buffaloes, prarie dogs, and Indians. Our company shot three buffaloes, so we had plenty of buffalo meat which is very good to eat
Once while traveling up the Platte we had to stop for over one hour for a herd of buffaloes to pass by us. They had been down to the river to drink and were going back to their pastures. They travel in single file and would fight before breaking file. Some of the company estimated them at five hundred.
Also saw many graves where the emigrants the year before lost loved ones. The wolves had dug in to lots of the graves and you could see hair[,] bones and bits of clothing that the dead were buried in, scattered around. As they could not get coffins many of the dead were wrapped in quilts or anything that the emigrants could spare. Some took parts of their wagon boxes and made rude coffins of them. How different now in 1908
When we got to the big Sandy River, our best ox died, and there being no extra cattle in the company we were
obliged in a bad fix. In fact did not know what to do. Finally Reverand Whitworth advised father to come into Utah for the winter, then get another ox and recruit his team. then come on to Oregon the next Spring. He said that he thought we could get along with the Mormons one winter if we were careful. We knew nothing about the Mormons only by the vile stories told by their enemies. As there seemed no other recourse father and mother decided to try that course and strive to do the best they could.
We bid farewell to friends and dear ones at Sublett's Cut-Off. My
gran grandmother, aunt, uncle and little cousin all went on and we started out alone in an Indian country and the Indians hostile at that.
But the Lord protected us and we never even saw an Indian in the three long weeks
going we spent before we reached Salt Lake City, August 3rd 1853. We had been three weeks going one hundred and sixty miles.