Smith, Job, Autobiography, [ca. 1902], 41-42.
- Related Companies
- Job Smith Company (1854)
June 7th our organization having been effected with myself as Captain[,] Elder [Thomas C.] Martell (afterwards of Spanish Fork) captain or sargent of the guard, with other brethren as captains of ten (wagons or families) the company consisting of 36 families, we made a start. Our cattle mostly wild with only myself and two others who had ever handled an ox whip in their lives you may guess we had a picnic. We moved a few miles only. Next day tried again.
Friday, June 9th Bro. [Augustus J.] Harper and myself started out with others to get our teams, and when about 200 yards from camp were both stricken with cholera. We crawled our way back to the wagons and every thing was done for us that friends could devise, but about 5 o'clock in the evening Bro. Harper died, and the disease slowly began to abate and I shortly regained my activity. Some of the younger men dug a grave for our beloved friend and brother, and joining two clothes chests end to end together, the adjoining ends being removed, a sort of coffin was improvised and the body buried with all the attention and detail possible on such an occasion.
Monday the 18th another victim was claimed by the cholera in the person of my wife's mother, Mrs. [Ann Sheffield] Fowles, as we had no lumber or boxes to be had, some elm bark was taken from some growing trees and placed around the body and the body buried as sacredly and decently as the conditions permitted. These two were the only deaths which occurred in our company. We now soon got our teams under control and commenced to travel in earnest. Loads that proved to be too heavy for their teams were on appeal lightened by leaving such articles or weight and little value as the families could spare.
The company had subscribed and purchased for me a mule and saddle which gave me an opportunity of riding forward and selecting camping places, searching for good feeding grounds, etc. We made good time every day except Sundays on which day we always rested and once in a while for a general washing day. We also gathered for prayers at night, after which guard was set, every man taking turn half a night. Good order observed and religious services held on Sundays. In this way we made moderately good speed and kept our teams up in good spirits, and soon passed the behind ones which had travelled too fast at first and thus worn out their teams.
W[illiam]. W[alton]. Burton our company clerk some years later wrote for the Juvenile Instructor relates the following incident which occurred on the journey and which I called to mind when I read it. A brother John Ford fell sick on the way, and badly needed a little brandy. Henry [John] Jarvis who had three wagons loaded with merchandise had brandy, but refused to dispose of any except for cash. Bro. Ford's cash had all been spent for his outfit but offered his watch as security for a pint of brandy. But Jarvis was inexorable and refused. Talking the matter over at night around the camp fire the clerk reported that the captain of the company remarked that Jarvis's brandy would never reach Salt Lake City. Nothing more was afterwards thought about brandy until coming down Emigration Canyon the wagon carrying it overturned the demijohn containing the brandy broken and the brandy spilt into the creek. Near Laramy [Laramie] an episode occurred which is related in the August 1908 number of the Improvement Era, which see.
Before arriving at Green River we met Elder John Taylor (apostle) who gave us a letter of introduction to Elder Washington Jolly. He with a large drove of Mexican cattle were some distance ahead of us, and asking in our behalf a few pairs of cattle to strengthen our teams as our force was now growing low. In company with Henry Jarvis who owned four of the wagons I rode ahead and overtook Bro. Jolly at Black's Fork. We gathered and yoked up 24 head of Mexican cattle out of his herd, with which we returned to camp at Green River and after distributing them where most needed we started a gain and passing three other companies on our way reached Salt Lake City September 25th, 1854.