Cameron, Adelia Horrocks, History of Heziakiah [sic] Mitchell, 1959, 14-19.
Trouble continued. They broke the wagon tongue and had to stop and repair it. It rained constantly and they were all soaked. The roads were bad and traveling was slow. The young yoke of cattle were showing signs of fatigue. He tried to trade but was not successful. In spite of all this, they continued on overcoming every possible obstacle. Each evening, they always looked for a comfortable place for the cattle where there was good food and water. They stopped and purchased new supplies at each town. Grandfather [Hezekiah Mitchell] tells of crossing the rivers and comments on the bad condition of bridges that need to be repaired. One new bridge was built in a poor manner; it should be torn down and be rebuilt properly. He tells just the proper way of building it so it would be safe.
From the mention of towns or cities they pass through or near, I have traced the trip on the map.
It was necessary to ford small streams and ferry over the larger ones. When they neared Brunswick, which is located on the Missouri River, they were stopped by a man who told them there was an epidemic of cholera there and wished to warn them. They said they would take a chance. They came to the ferry on the Grand River and crossed over into Carroll County and camped on the banks of the Grand River. They laid down and watched the heavens which were beautiful to behold, went to sleep and woke up and found it had rained a good bit and that the yoke of cows had strayed off. Grandfather and son Fred dressed hurriedly and searched for cattle, found them and returned at daybreak in time to have breakfast and start again on their journey. It was about 3 p.m. Thursday, June 22, that they arrived in Richmond after crossing more bridges that creaked as they crossed and Grandfather said "His heart was sick with fear."
The family continued on until June 23, 1854, when Grandfather ends his journal for that book. There were more pages in the book, but he just stopped writing. I'm sorry. I would like to have followed them until they meet the saints. His journal is not picked up until after they are in the Valley. What a pity to loose this wonderful detailed description of the trip. However, Uncle Fred kept a journal in a very small notebook. It is written in pencil and is hard to read. It was started the day they left Jersey County, Illinois, on the trip west. I will continue from his journal.
"On 25th June, passed through Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. Saddened by the fact that it was here the leaders of the church had been persecuted and suffered. We journed on toward Platte City and crossed Platte River."
They are always concerned about the welfare of the cattle in finding good food for them. They crossed the Missouri River on the ferry at 1 o'clock P. M. After crossing, they met Brother Farr and several of the brethren, after which they traveled about four miles to Williams Camp. Here they met the saints and rejoiced they were on time.
Later, they met a company of Swedish and English saints. They also met Orson Pratt who was on his way to the Valley, which was thrilling, and Brother Fielding whom he had known in England. That, too, was a wonderful experience. Their wagon was placed next to Grandfather's. They spent the evening together rejoicing.
Interferences continued. On July 3, 1854, they prepared to start about 8 a.m., but one of the cattle refused to be yoked. It was 11 a.m. before they got on their way. Then all went well. The Kansas Camp started a few hours before them; hence they were ahead. They traveled until sundown. By the order of Brother Orson Pratt, two yoke of cattle were there to help them over.
"Tuesday, July 4, 1854 -- This morning all the camp was awakened to gather around the Liberty pole on which was highsted the glorious stars and stripes. A couple of guns were fired over it. Our Captain [James] Brown delivered a brief but very appropriate speech and solicited volunteers with tame cattle to go the last camping place for the wagons which were left there. Those that had teams went willingly. I spent the day doing odd jobs to help those here."
On Wednesday, July 18, 1854, Uncle Fred was appointed clerk and historian of the company. He proceeded immediately to taking the names of the company; also a record of a death. Each male member was appointed to take turn to stand guard of the cattle and horses during the nights and resting period on the entire trip.
Some of the wagon tongues were showing signs of wear, so Grandfather and Fredrick spent one day making new tongues in case of trouble.
An interesting item is recorded: "After preparing to travel one morning it was discovered that several yokes of cattle were missing. Several looked for them but unsuccessfull. They traveled on, then suddenly Captain Russell rode up quickly, said that seven Indians had been seen with our cattle by Charles A. Lanson who approached the Indians and made it known he wanted the cattle, but the Indians presented guns and they were compeled to leave. Brother Pratt was ahead but retreated and all men who had arms were requested to go in search of the cattle." The number who volunteered was 30 including Uncle Fred. After searching for three hours they were forced to return. They found from tracks that the Indians had separated in four different directions. The company journeyed ahead without the cows.
While resting, Uncle Fred climbed to the top of a hill, stopped to admire the beauty, and in his artistic way made a sketch of the area.
On one occasion, they were nearing a creek; the road was bad. All men with axes and shovels prepared the road. It was rough and narrow over the creek, not wide enough to take these heavy wagons. Logs were cut and placed on one side, brush and dirt were put between them. This made a safe road for all future wagons to cross. Saw two graves in the area of the repair work. One was hardly covered and the odor was terrible. Soon after they started traveling again, an oxen on Mr. Friel's team dropped dead. No warning symptoms were seen to prepare them for the death.
On Tuesday, July 14, 1854, a council meeting was held and it was decided to let the family wagons go ahead of the freight wagons which travel slower. The family wagons are those whose owners travel in their own wagons; the freight wagons are those who carry paid passengers and extra freight. This is the 19th birthday of Fredrick Mitchell. This day the wagons moved ahead numbering 41. Provisions were getting low, which was the reason for the family wagons to move and not travel as an entire company.
When about to cross the Big Blue Creek, they were advised that all wagons should travel fast and not to stop in the middle because of quicksand. All crossed safely, but at times it was necessary to hitch extra horses to wagons. The creek is 18 or 20 inches deep. After they camped for the night, two men who said they were from the store came to hang around us. Captain Brown politely told them they were not welcome and to please move on, but extra guards were appointed to guard the cattle and camp that night. The cattle and horses seemed troublesome all night.
July 19, 1854, Captain Brown had heard that Brother [William] Fields Company had been robbed of provisions and clothing. They had none to spare so were advised by Captain Brown to travel fast and the men should travel with gun and whip in hand. This seemed rather a novel situation for a young man. At one time they could see something approaching them but when they came face to face with it, it turned out to be a pack of mules from California.
About eight miles from Cotton Creek, they were overtaken by a company of saints from Kansas. They camped across the creek from this company. They were not very clean but seemed healthy. Captain Brown adopted them, but gave them rules and regulations to follow and warned them to obey.
"About 11 p.m. this date, I was asked by Captain Brown to witness a wedding and record same. George Chandler and Hellen Matilda Bozer were married." This same day, there was a birth in camp. A son was born to Sister Stiles in a drenching hard rain.
"Sunday, July 23, Sister Stephens gave birth to a child."
They crossed the Platte River, camped on its banks and traveled to Ke[a]rney. After they were on the road again, they saw several buffalo. They had difficulty in killing two, which were divided among the company. Grandmother salted part of theirs down for future use. Mother tells of Grandmother's [Sarah Mallinson Mitchell's] cooking and how she made many tasty things that others did not bother with. Of course, they milked the cows and made butter, which was delicious.
Mother told the story of an experience with the Indians. "At one point, the wagons were told to travel fast. To make the wagons lighter, the older members of the family were to walk by the side of the wagon. I, being only 8 years of age, was to stay in the wagon with Mother and Sarah. I thought I was as big as anyone and capable of walking. I quietly slid to the end of the wagon unnoticed. Just when I was on the end of the wagon an Indian appeared out of the brush and placed his hands on my waist and was carefully edging me out of the wagon. I was so frightened I couldn't speak or make a sound. Priscilla's shoe came untied and she lagged behind to tie it. As she raised she saw the situation. In another few seconds I would have been missing. She screamed to Father who cracked the whip high over his head. The Indian did not release me. Again he cracked the whip near his head showing the Indian he was serious. At that he let me go, and I certainly was glad to climb to the front of the wagon and stay there."
They passed nine wagons heading for the States filled with apostate followers of Gledden Bishop. They had very little to say to them.
One of the oxen on Grandfather's team was lame suffering from Hollow Horn (whatever that is). Our wagon lagged behind. Sister Warberton also stayed behind. One of her cows was calving. By permission of Captain Brown, they hitched her sister cow to the place of our lame one and traveled on to the end of the day.
From Uncle's journal I quote, "Thursday, August 3, 1854--Stood guard from 2-4 o'clock, got on the road 28 minutes before 7 o'clock. Traveled well untill noon. Our steer gave out in the afternoon, he had traveled as far as his strength would let him. We untied him from behind the wagon and I stayed with him until 8 o'clock. In the meantime, I went off the road a piece toward the river and cut him some grass which he ate. While I was with him the Danish Company passed me. They have 60 wagons and 500 persons all in good health. After they had gone by, I managed with great difficulty to drive him about a mile which brought me to the Danish Camp and finding him not able to go any farther I had to leave him. I was then about 4 miles from our camp. I met father coming to meet me. The night was very pleasant and favored with the light of the moon. We traveled 18 miles today. Grass here was not of the best but some good cold spring water. I got in camp at 9 o'clock p.m."
Next day, they traveled until six o'clock. They met E. T. Benson and Ira Eldredge coming from the Valley to relieve Brother Pratt and H. T. Eldredge, Elder E. Snow to St. Louis, Orson Spencer to Cincinnati, H. Linit to England, Doctor Rust and son with the U. S. mail all in fine spirits. After supper, O. Spencer and E. T. Benson preached to the saints touching on different subjects of the gospel. All felt very much edified.
They crossed the south fork of the Platte River. It is one half mile wide and two feet deep including six inches of sand. All wagons crossed safely, but it was very heavy hauling. They camped in the area after crossing. I remember hearing Mother telling of this incident and how frightened she was. She was 8 years old.
Next day, Uncle Fred tells of picking three quarts of choke cherries and Grandmother made jam. It was delicious. Later that day, Brother Fielding's wagon tipped over. What a mess in the road. Uncle helps pick it up, but is was not an easy task.
The trip has been hard and tedious not only for the saints but the animals are showing effects of the strain. This day, two oxen have died in their places on the team.
"Friday, August 11, 1854--After traveling 16 miles we camped in view of Chimney Rock. Next day we hitched 'Hornet' our lead ox alone because Sister [Lucretia B.] Thorp did not like her cow to be worked." After dinner, they were overtaken by Brothers Benson, Eldredge, and Kesler who told them to rest. Brother Benson told them that Brother Eldredge's camp had stampeded and he had lost 122 head and wanted 5 yoke of their cattle to go and help them. The brethren complied with their request gladly. After hours, they were on their way again and traveled past Chimney Rock. This bluff as described by Uncle Fred is very interesting because of its romantic appearance. They were again overtaken by some of the brethren on their way to the Valley, including Brother O. Pratt, who came to their wagon and spent the evening with them. They were happy to see him.
Uncle Fred's journal ends here. What a shame, I would like to have followed them into the Valley and heard their reaction.