"W. A. C. Smoot Last Man into Valley" in Historical Department journal history of the Church, 1830-2008, 24 July 1907, 26.
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W. C. A. SMOOT "I was the last member of the pioneer band to enter Salt lake Valley, and I expect to be the last one to leave it." Thus remarked William C. A. Smoot, hale, hearty and well eighty, a few days ago. In explanation of the first part of his statement, the veteran continued:
"When the straggling fragments of the pioneer band were in the mountains immediately east of their destination animals belonging to Horace K. Whitney and myself strayed away. While we were hunting them, the rear portion of the company moved on. This was an unusual occurrence, as it had been the custom from the beginning of the journey not to break camp during the absence of even one man. But the end of the trip was all but in sight, and there was no longer need of the strict rule of counting every nose before the daily starts was made.
Mr. Whitney and I found our horses, but not in time to avoid being the last two to emerge from Emigration canyon. I was behind my companion, therefore was the solitary rear guard. As to my saying that I shall be the last one to leave, of course that may not be true, but I am quite confident that I am one of three survivors of the original band. I have kept pretty close track of the pioneer veterans during the last few years, and so far as I know, William P. Vance and Ozro Eastman are the only ones living besides myself, and of Mr. Eastman I am not quite so certain. Of course I am not considering Isaac Perry Decker and Lorenzo Sobieski Young, both of whom are yet alive. They were both small boys at the time of the exodus, and were not numbered among he 144 that actually comprised the pioneer band.
I speak of 144, that being the number that left the Elkhorn on April 14, 1847. Only 143 men are recorded as having reached Salt Lake Valley. One man started, but through sickness was compelled to return to Winter Quarters, and that man was Ellis Eames. He was what we called in those days a "fiddler," and he was a good one, too. While he was with us, his old violin did much to enliven the camp, that is, one of the camps. You know there were two grand divisions, one headed by President Brigham Young and the other by Heber C. Kimball. In Heber's camp there were no women, and the boys used to have a merry time at night dancing to the music produced by Eames, and by another violinist, Hans C. Hansen. We missed Eames very much when he was forced to turn his face eastward, but Hansen and his fiddle we had with us to the end of the journey.
I want to say that in my opinion a happier party of men never traveled together. The best of feeling prevailed from start to finish. I spoke of the merry-making in the dance. Many of us were boys and young men, full of health and hilarity. But one word from our leader, who pointed out that some, especially guards, wanted to sleep, at once put a stop to anything that appeared to be unseemly."
Mr. Smoot lacks but a few months of being 80 years of age. He says that for a long time he believed that he was the baby member of the twelve times twelve organization, but he subsequently learned that several members were younger than himself. He was born Jan. 30, 1828, in Roan county, Tennessee. He is a son of the late Abraham O. and Margaret T. McMeans Smoot. He went with his parents to Missouri soon after they joined the Church. The family afterwards resided in Nauvoo and came west in the general exodus. William C. A. Smoot was 19 years of age when his name was enrolled in the pioneer company. Originally in the seventh ten, he was transferred to the first ten, commanded by Wilford Woodruff. He entered Salt Lake valley July 24, being, as stated, the last man to come in. He has resided on the site of his present home in Sugar House since 1854.