Young, John R., Memoirs of John R. Young: Utah Pioneer, 1847 , 56, 60-61.
- Related Companies
- Jedediah M. Grant - Joseph B. Noble Company (1847)
In the morning we found that the Indians had killed the cow. It proved to be a band of Sioux, on the war path after Shoshones. Had they been angry at us, they could have killed me as well as the cow,—Brigham's counsel was bearing fruit. Neither my scalp, nor our cattle, beyond that one cow, were interfered with, while Fort Bridger was heavily raided.
To me the migration of our people for the next twenty years was a wonderful history. Our companies often scattered far apart in order to get feed for the cattle; our men, weak in numbers and but poorly armed; our women and children often compelled to walk, and therefore, sometimes quite unconsciously going too far ahead to be safe, or, in spite of the vigilance of the guards, becoming weary and lagging behind, yet not a single life was lost by the hand of the Indians.
Again the cheerfulness with which the people passed under the rod during these unparalleled journeys was no less marvelous than the protecting providence that was over them. Picture in your mind starting out on a certain morning, in company with five hundred men, women, and children. We walk eight or ten miles, then halt for dinner. Five hundred head of cattle have to be unyoked, watered, then driven to pasture and guarded, while fires are built and dinner is being prepared. Then the cattle are reyoked, the wagons packed, and the line of travel is taken up again.
Thousands of our people, many of them mothers with babes in their arms, walked every foot of that ten hundred thirty-seven mile stretch from Winter Quarters to Salt Lake. Day after day the toilsome journey is renewed. At night a quilt or blanket is spread upon mother earth for a resting place. Days pass into weeks, and weeks into months, before the longing eyes find rest and the weary feet pass down the dusty road of Emigration Canyon. Picture then, their feelings, when, on reaching a certain eminence, the Salt Lake Valley, with the Dead Sea glimmering beyond, burst like a vision of glory upon their view! Old and young break down, and weep for joy.
Having foreshadowed the immigration movement in general, I turn back to the parting at Winter Quarters. Owing to the poverty of our people, and to the lack of men, conditions were such that in making up the Pioneer Company many families were divided. Such was the case in my father's family. My dear mother, poor in health, was left behind with my only sister, Harriet, to follow several years later.
It fell to my lot to cross the plains in Captain Jedediah M. Grant's company. Brother Grant was a man of wonderful energy. In fact, the various companies which followed on the heels of the pioneers were led by a host of stalwarts; so that in my youth I became acquainted with many solid men of Joseph's day. Foremost among them, to my mind, were Brigham Young, John Taylor, Geo. A. Smith, Parley P. Pratt, Uncle John Smith, and Uncle John Young.
The last-named stood as a father to me; and yet, during that pilgrimage I was like a waif upon the ocean. The camp fire was my home, and I was everybody's chore boy. While this arrangement taught me self-reliance, it chilled my heart, and turned me against those finer, more tender endearments of life which ever abound in happy, lovable homes; and from this experience I have learned to pity the child that grows up without a mother's care and caress.
On reaching the Valley, our people at first all lived in the "Old Fort."