Sarah K. Buttars autobiography, circa 1923 -1936, 6-8.
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In 1866 my father and mother were going to the valley, and I could not go. My husband said that if I went to see my folks off he would push me overboard, but the Lord helped me. My father and mother told me if I would go with them they would pay for me. I could see I would never get there any other way, so I gave my word to go. I left him, altho it was very hard to part. (I kept my word and obeyed my parents, and like in my dream I shed many tears.) I did not tell my husband I was going, and that day he seemed dinder than ever before which made it hard for me to endure, but I prepared every thing as though I was going back home that night. He ask me if he should come for me and carry the baby, I said "no it might be late when my aunt leaves and I may stay at mothers all night."
Next morning, finding that I did not come home he went to mothers and not finding us there he sent a man dressed in pilots clothes to the ship to find me. This man he questioned me as to where I was going with such a small baby? and as that I hardly told him. When he said, are you going alone, my mother said "No." For I was going with my father [James Joseph Keep] and my brother-in-law [Frederick Downard], (Meaning my sisters husband.) He said Oh and went up the companion ladder. I told mother I was afraid my husband would come, and I passed my baby [Lucy Ann Francis] over to the other side of the ship. I got into the cabin of a young couple that had a feather bed in one corner and I crept down behind it. Three policemen came and looked in every berth and did not see me. They were after two apprentices, and four more sisters and one brother that were leaving husbands and wives. They never got any of us, but the two apprentices went back.
We set sail May 23 or 24, in 1866, on the American Congress. When at sea we were tossed about and nearly all of became seasick. I was blessed by having only three days of sea sickness. Father and mother and my two younger sisters [Ruth Keep and Maria Jane Keep] were very sick, and my baby caught the whooping cough, having caught cold by being passed about when the policemen were after us. The Lord spared her life and she got well. Then the cooks cabin caught fire, and a little while after
our the sea was so rough our main mast broke, and the sail went into the sea. The next day they fixed the mast, then we had a calm and we did not move back or forward, but rocked about. We had a concert on top deck and enjoyed ourselves. Then came a heavy fog, so bad the captain could not see where we were going Brother Rither, the president's councilor was talking to the captain on the quarter deck and saw the fog lift up. He said "What is that?" It was the breaker he saw, but the Captain did not answer. He sprain to the wheel and called about ship; all hands to the rigging! Soon the danger was over, but the captain said that in a short time all would have had a watery grave if the fog had not lifted. (We were saved by Providence.)
(When we were on the river the boat took fire and they carried large firey sticks pas the food of my bed, and threw them in the water.)
We landed in New York July 4, 1866. (We anchored and saw many beautiful fire works. A ship was set on fire on the sea with flames coming out of its many windows, it was a great light.) Next day we went on pier and then came another task. We had to pass a man that rad out names off when he came to my name as I was called Sarah Keep, and child, he said "Stop. Where is your husband and why is he not here? Stand back! he shouted. I stood back and all the young men passed. My old friend Will[iam] Penn[e]y came and asked me what was the matter. I told him and he told me to come with him and they would not know who he was. I went with him and all was well. We stayed in New York three weeks. My sister Lucy's baby was born [Infant Doward]. Then came another task. My father did not have enough money to take me on to the valley. I sold my wedding ring to buy my baby a pair of shoes, and a hat also to pay for an advertisement. I advertised to be a wet nurse. My mother was to take my baby on to Zion and I would follow. I went to the office and was engaged at twenty dollars a month. I was returning home and I met my father. He said that he had bee to the office and Brother Bullock and Thomas Tyler, who were looking after the emigrant company and they told him not to leave me there in a strange land, if I had left my husband for the gospel. My father didn't have the money so they said the church would take me and I could pay it back when I got to Zion and had it to pay. Father desided [sic.] I would go on with him if I wanted to, (but I thought I could save enough to pay my own way.
I was very glad when it was time to leave. When we were on the train, the wheels caught fire and we were pushed into another car as if we were sheep, for we were just emigrants).
When crossing the plains with oxen the cholery [cholera] broke out, and about seventy-one died[.] Many were buried in a quilt or sheet. (The wolves would howl around at night, and perhaps they dug up the dead that were buried.)
One night about twenty-five or thirty Indians came to camp. They seemed to be on the war path. It frightened us very much, for we were afraid we would all be killed. They had scalps of women, long hair hanging from their tomahawks, and their belts were filled with arrows and bows in thier hands. They had a letter which they gave to the captain to read. He called, "Is there anyone in camp, who can read the Indian language. A young sister by the name of Emma [M. Lansaw] who had left her husband and two little girls said, "I can read the Indian language." She had learned to read it as her husband was a soldier and he had taught her. She read the letter and this pleased the Indians. The captain pitched a tent inside the ring of wagons, and fed the Indians. They sang all night and followed us all the next day calling "We want white women,["] at last they left us. When traveling the captain would take my baby [Lucy Ann Francis] on his horse, and tell me to walk on and the teamsters would pick me up, and put me in their wagon and they would ride on the tongue of the wagon. They would ask me to sing to them, and they would walk rather than see me walk as I had sore feet. I used to wash my babys clothes in the streams when we camped and the teamsters would tell me to dry my clothes by their fire. They let me bake my bread in their skillet after their baking was done. (Sometimes I had only a small piece of bread or a piece of bacon to nurse my baby on. (I am thankful I am here and I have learned what I came here for. I can say I do know that the Lord has been with me, and given me more than I deserve but he has promised "He that leaves father and mother, husband or wife (for the gospels sake) shall receive a hundred fold. (I can see now there was work for me to do for the dead, and the Lord has blessed me and preserved by life many times to do this work. I am very thankful for it.)
I traveled first with father [James Joseph Keep] and mother [Ann Miller] and two sisters in Pratts company. Then Captain Enkley came to bring the sick in and I came with his company leaving my parents and arrived in Salt Lake City at Conference—time, the fifth or sixth of October 1866.