Bowen, Annie Shackleton, "A True Saint: The Autobiography of Annie Shackleton Bowen," Improvement Era, Nov. 1952, 808-9.
This is the inspiring story of a true Latter-day Saint, an early pioneer and the noble mother of Apostle Albert E. Bowen. Mrs. Bowen died in 1929 at the age of eighty-eight years.
At the age of ten I went to work at a large stationer's establishment where I worked at a machine that had every variety of paper then needed, including music. About a year after, my Uncle Sutton, my mother's youngest brother, was converted to Mormonism and at once began to take his evenings (sometimes when working, men left their work an hour or two earlier than on other days) for visiting and preaching to people. It is perhaps worthy of note that he and my Aunt Ann Farnes who were the first to accept the gospel were the only two in a large family who had never before joined any religious sect, all the others having allied themselves to some one of the various Christian denominations. About this time my sister Ellen was taken very ill with inflammatory rheumatism and for weeks her life was despaired of. One night when we were all around her bed waiting for her to draw her last breath, my uncle came in, and my mother turned to him and asked him to pray. He knelt by the bedside and offered such a prayer as I had never heard before. When he rose to his feet, he said, "You will get better, Ellen, and you will embrace the gospel and go to Zion." She did get better and finally, in the spring of 1851, my mother, sisters and myself were baptized. As I grew older, I joined in such Church activities as distributing tracts, singing in choirs, and going with elders to help them sing when they went preaching in the parks and fields.
When I was fourteen, I quite the stationer's business and went to work in a millinery establishment where I continued working until I emigrated in 1860. In that year a family named Pascoe who belonged to the same branch as I did and who was about to emigrate, offered me a chance to go with them and help with the children; I accepted the offer. As Brother [Francis P.] Pascoe could not settle up his business in time to sail with the Mormon emigration, we could not follow until three weeks later when we took passage on the Vanderbilt which landed us at Castle Garden ten days after leaving England and two weeks before the sailing vessel which had preceded us. We remained in New York a few days and then went by steamboat to Albany and from there by train to Omaha.
Six miles by team brought us to Florence (Winter Quarters) where we remained until the company was ready to cross the plains. William Budge was our captain. On our way across the plains we were followed for several days by two hundred Indians in all their finery and war paint, who were going to make war with another tribe. We had to be very circumspect in our dealings with them. They were always trying to trade ponies for some of the girls. Finally everybody had to contribute and make up a big present for them of flour, bacon, sugar, and everything else they fancied, and then they rode off and left us. We were three months on the plains and suffered the usual discomforts of wading streams, tramping over sandhills, getting torn to pieces by prickly pears and tormented by mosquitoes. The latter were so bad at one time that no one in camp could sleep for three nights.
We arrived in Salt Lake City early in October. The Pascoes bought a house in the Seventeenth Ward. The people residing in it, whose name was Ballen, could not move out for two or three weeks so during that time we had to divide the house between us. I was rather badly run down, never having been used to the kind of life I had had for the past three months. I had walked almost the entire distance. I don't think I rode twenty miles of the whole journey. Mrs. Ballen was very kind to me. She saw I was not comfortable and asked me to go and live with her, so when she moved into her own house, I went with her, and she was as good as a mother to me. But I was not long content there and began to look around for fresh quarters.