Benjamin Ashby autobiography, circa 1897-1904, 25-30.
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- Source Locations
- Church History Library, MS 2584
We had now one wagon 3 oxon and two cows[.] one wagon had been sold in the winter and one Bro Noble had taken to the valley[.] the rest of the cattle had never returned from the winter herd ground
We exerted ourselves to get ready to start and I laid in a stock of provisions[.] I bought of Bro [Willard G.] McMullin some 12 busher [bushels] of corn and I came across a man who had twelve Bushels to sell for which I made him a pair of mens shoes giving him twelve and half cts per Bushel[.] we also bought seventy pounds of flour[,] a pound or two of sugar[,] some cloth for one new shirt which with two old ones comprised my wardrobe[.] my sister Martha had accompyed Bro. Nobles family to the valley the year previous[.] my sister Harriett engaged to go with some of President Youngs family[.] My Bro Nathaniel drove the team for old father [Deacon John] Haven so there was seven of us at home very destitute of sutable clothing[.] I had an old pair of Boots and I bought some mogensons [moccasins] from a squaw[.] also had a pair of rubber shoes—which when obliged to wear in the hot sands sweating just so as to be unbearable
I was in possession of an odd ox which I intended to work single but Bro Brigham Young sent us an ox so we had 2 yoke of Oxon and a yoke of cows[.] we went out to the camp as early as we could in order to let the cattle recrute before commencing our Journey[.] In a short time the company was organized and we moved on to the Elkhorn River[.] here I was taken with pain in my stomach which lingered upon me for days[.] at last I endeavored to find some wiskey and I could not find any in camp until I came to Bro McMullen[.] he gave me half of what he had about one third of a gill into which I put a teaspoon full of cyanne [cayenne] pepper and drank it and went to sleep and slept nearly 24 hours and got up [.] well there was very little that occured of intrest except what is recorded in history[.] We were organized in Joseph Busbys [Busby’s] ten but traveled in Erastus Snows as my Sister Elizabeth and had married Bro. Snow in Winter Qua[r]ters
During our stay the first winter in Winter Qua[r]ters a band of Omaha Indians camped a short distance from us, one afternoon a messenger arived in their camp with the news that the Souix [Sioux] Warrers [Warriors] had slain some of their people and for two nights and days the Mourning and lamentation of those people was most pitifull and heart rending to listen to
Before we started on our journey we were organsed and kept guard over the cattle which were staked on the outside of the correll [corral] during the night. At five in the morning the bugle sounded and cattle was loosed and herded[,] breakfast got and everything got ready when the cattle were driven in and yoked[.] the last to leave the camp ground was Prest Brigham Young who[se] fatherly care was always manifest
On[e] morning on the Loup Fork where we had campt Our team was the last to leave the ground and I had just started when the staple droped from the yoke[.] I was obliged to take of[f] the yoke to fix-it[.] Bro Young was just going out of sight over the hill upon his coach[.] in a few miniutes he was by my side and assisted me to replace the staple and yoke the oxon and get under weigh [way] again[.] In a few days he sent me to get the staple which was Brooken [broken] mended by the Blacksmith
One evening as we drove into camp Sister Harriett met us and told us that she had fallen under the wheels of the wagon as she was getting out of it and received but slight injery though the wagon was loaded with about forty hundred pounds[.] a most miraculous escape
When we arived at the alkali country we found [illegible] the thickness of two [illegible] which we found quite handy the next winter for hulling corn which we used for food as it was some time before there was any mills to grind it
When we got to the last crossing of the Sweetwater we stoped some 8 or 10 days waiting for teams from the valley which were to meet us there[.] the oxon commenced to die and it was said it was the alkali[.] the people some of them fed a considerable tobacco to their oxon and according to my observation it poisoned the cattle worse than the alkali and caused more death[.] we had one ox taken sick and I gave him about two pound of fat pork and he recovered
At last the teams arived and was distributed among the companies[.] I lightened up my wagon about from 8.50 to 400 pounds of corn and we started up the hill leading over the South Pass[.] while camped at the Sweetwater we had a heavy storm of snow and rain but we had drawn up our wagons behind a clump of willows which sheltered us much from the storm. We also had some pleasant wheather and I did several jobs of shoe mending for which received some money[.] But it had no purchasing power as their was nothing to sell
The first night we camped at Pacific Springs[.] here we broak [broke] up into small companies in order to better journey through the rugged mountains and be better accommodated with campgrounds and avail ourselves of the smaller pastures for feeding the cattle[.] The roads were of the most primitive kind[.] When we got to Fort Bridger I traded some powder for some Antilope skins from which I made me some mogensens [moccasins] and with which mother faced my pants after we arrived in the valley.
The last day of our Journey was the most arduous and trying of the whole Journey[.] the road crossed the creek about twenty times and in the morning I had broken one of the houses of the wagon and the iron braces was all that held it and they were bent causing the wagon to run out of the road and I was obliged to keep the oxon out of the road so the wagon could be kept in it[.] this was a difficult task and I wished to stop and have assistance come from Salt Lake and help us in[.] but mother objected to stoping unless we were forced to so I kept on successfully passing and overcoming every obstacle until we reached the mouth of the canyon[.] so we got into the fort all right[.] I beleave that nothing but mothers prayers and faith enabled me to accomplish a seeming imposibility[.] We were met by Bro Noble and taken to his house in the north fort and kindly received by his wife Mary and family[.] we occupied one of his rooms during the winter